25 May 2014

Brewhouse & Kitchen - brew & chew!

Earlier this week I visited the brand new Brewhouse & Kitchen (B&K) in Dorchester not once, but twice.

B&K is located at the former Station Master pub on the corner of Weymouth Avenue and part of the Brewery Square complex.

Loving the quirky messaging:
'Hop in there's a brew on' & 'We like children especially for lunch'
There’s been much anticipation and intrigue for B&K, maybe because we nosey parker's had nothing really to compare it to as their sister establishment is based over in Portsmouth and isn’t one of those chain restaurants.

So, what is B&K? Well, on their website it states that it’s a stylish brewing pub, bringing brewing back to the area where Eldridge Pope brewed famous ales from 1880 to the late 1990s.
The micro-brewery aims to brew 4 times a week, and include a core range of ales IPA, Porter and an English Standard Ale as well as a selection of ‘specials’ that vary from week to week.
My first visit was Tuesday lunch with two of my yummy mummy friends. Finding a table was straight forward enough and they had a high chair for one of the babes.
Inside there are a mix of tables, high chairs and comfy sofas. Lots of shabby chic vintage style plaques adorning the wall and a nod to what they do best – brewing all adding to a welcoming ambience.

I ordered a Sailor Sarnie which was a rather yummy fish finger sarnie with salad, reasonably priced at £5.95.
The Sailor Sarnie...
Now, one of my random tests for how good a new restaurant or pub is, is the state of the toilets and I was pleasantly surprised. I love things which are a bit different and the toilets didn’t disappoint. A selfie mirror and bag rest for your arm candy were just two of the highlights – as well as them being hygienically clean, always good.
Bag rest for beautiful arm candy...
Now, let me take a selfie! I couldn't resist...
The sinks get the seal of approval. Quintessential English.
One of the downsides was that there isn’t a separate baby changing toilet. The disabled toilet doubled up as a changing room, which on this occasion was locked. Interestingly, a changing table pops down above the toilet minus straps – which according to my friends is very important. If you need the toilet too you need to be able to attach the baby to the strap, which just wasn’t possible or practical.

My second visit was Wednesday night to catch up with a friend. I’d reserved a table as I wasn’t sure how busy it would be as B&K had only opened officially on 12th May after some preview nights with the community and local businesses. Rather than just being greeted with a typical ‘reserved’ sign, my name and time of booking was displayed in an antique style frame, which is a lovely touch.
Table reservation, yes, Becky is my name!

The menu offers suggestions for beer and food pairing ‘brew & chew’ which is pretty novel. There’s a good selection on the menu, I would say its pretty meat orientated which I don’t have a problem with. I decided to go for the Naked Chef Burger at £8.95 which again really reasonable and a cider. I didn’t try an ale this time but according to B&K on Facebook they range from £3.00 for a standard larger to £5.75 for an aged beer and something a bit different.
Brew & Chew
What about a beer can chicken?
My burger came served on a rustic wooden platter with chips in a mini shaped fryer which all looked very pleasing on the eye and even more pleasing in my stomach. It’s not often I can go out for dinner and finish a whole meal, but there was most definitely no left overs this time.
Whilst we were eating a pub quiz started at about 8pm, we were asked if we wanted to join, but were far too engrossed in catching up. However, we both noted that it seemed fun and jovial. One to note for next time. There was also a birthday celebration and the B&K team brought out a cake and sang ‘Happy Birthday’.
Would I go back? Yes, most definitely. With 150 seats outside and inside I can see B&K becoming the place to go after work and at the start of a pub crawl round Dorchester. They also host brewing days for £50 which would be perfect for a stag, hen do or special occasion. Plus there is a 10% loyalty card, which is worth investigating.
Oh, and one other important point to note, there seemed to be a much higher ratio of men to women… So, if you want to find me, I’ll be down at B&K this summer!
To find out more about Brewhouse & Kitchen.
  • Visit the website.
  • Become a fan on Facebook or follow @BKDorchester Twitter for all the latest news.
All the best,

Becky x

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17 May 2014

White Stuff, bag loving.

I was a very lucky country bumpkin to be given a £75 White Stuff gift card for my leaving present a fortnight ago.

Even the gift card has horses, see it was a match made in heaven..

It didn’t take me long to know what I wanted… a brand new bag!

Ironically, I drowned my current arm candy; a tan DKNY leather tote from Century 21 in New York on my last day at work with a bottle of water. It was looking very sorry for itself with tide and stretch marks, so has now been relegated to the wardrobe box of bags. I can’t quite bring myself to ditch it yet.

So, which bag was I going to choose? Decisions, decisions. There are some fantastic real leather bags on offer this spring from White Stuff starting at £25 for the fabric Lizzie X Body Bag, up to £85 for the funky geeky-esque leather style Mia Tote. After a trip to the Dorchester store and trying on / accessorising with various bags in front of the mirror I decided on the navy Maise Bag at £75 (which is now sold out online!). Yep, I really did do this, as it needed to fit correctly on the shoulder, across the body, in hand etc. I ended up ordering online, as I wanted a brand new bag, rather than one which had been man/women handled on the shop floor. Not sure if anyone thinks like this or is it just me?
And for anyone who knows me well, I’m a sucker for cutesy twee packaging, so here are a few pics of my gorgeous new purchase. For me it’s everything I was looking for in a bag, smart yet stylish and sophisticated. It has a plaited strap which makes it unique, but also the option with a longer strap to wear across the body. There’s plenty of room to fit my essentials, including my new DLSR. You can’t quite fit the kitchen sink, which means I won’t over stretch it or get weighed down and walk lopsided from carting around my worldly possessions.
It's arrived - hurrah!
Love this cute detailing.. very true too.
The White Stuff Foundation supports 85 local charities, & this order helped their
Leicester DC's charity Wishes 4 Kids. Its the small things that make a difference.
The beaut Maise Bag...
Loving the kitsch floral print lining, very country bumpkin chic!
There she is all gorgeous and brand spanking new to use!
Here’s to new bags, fresh starts and the start of a sunny summer in Dorset!
All the best,

Becky x

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07 May 2014

Behind the Castle Festival with Founder Ian Lyster.

Festival season is almost upon us – hurrah! Folk up and down the country will soon be dusting off their tents, making sure all the creepy crawlies have been discarded and brushing off last year’s Glastonbury mud from the old faithful Hunter wellies. Dancing to their hearts content in a field watching the sun go down, whilst their favourite artist or newly discovered act are on stage, with a standard pint of West Country cider in hand of course. Pure hedonistic bliss!

With so much choice these days from small, boutique festivals such Green Man, End of the Road and Secret Garden Party to the big and bold commercial ones like V-Festival and Reading and Leeds. It’s a minefield to know which one to invest your weekend and hard earned cash into.

As many people will know, I’m a West Country lass, who loves attending festivals and a huge supporter of made in Dorset ventures. So, when I heard there was a brand new festival on the block being held at Sherborne Castle, I got in touch with Behind the Castle founder Ian Lyster who was more than happy to chat to Country Bumpkin Chic. 

Behind the Castle – the low down...
When: Saturday 14th June, gates open 12:00
Where: Sherborne Castle – hence Behind the Castle.
Who’s playing? 3 stages, 15 acts including: Newton Faulkner, Levellers, Seth Lakeman, Cara Dillon and Steve Knightly.
What else: It’s all about the music and food – they’ll be a variety of local food stands.
How much are tickets? £46 all in (including booking fee & car parking).
Head to www.behindthecastle.co.uk/ to buy your tickets.
Follow on Twitter @BehindCastle14 and like on Facebook for all the latest news.

Ian, tell me how the concept for Behind the Castle was born?

For the last 5 years I’ve been busy working at folk festivals in the UK including Purbeck, Bournemouth in Dorset to the Cambridge Festival which is now in its 50th year and was the first festival I attended at the tender age of 3 months!

I’d been working on the North Dorset Folk Festival and putting on some folk nights in a small intimate venue in Marnhull with my music events label Upturned Pebble and realised I needed to upscale to make it profitable. So, the idea of Behind the Castle was put into motion and the first ever one day festival at Sherborne Castle will be held on Saturday 14th June.

What type of music vibe can we expect on Saturday 14th June?

With 15 acts across 3 stages including names you’ll recognise from Seth Lakeman, Newton Faulkner, The Levellers to Cara Dillon it’s a real music lover’s festival. We’ve worked hard on making sure it’s top quality music acts at an affordable ticket price at £46 – making it competitively priced compared to a lot of one day tickets out there. There’s no booking fee or car parking charges, and we’ve decided against any sponsorship tie ins so we can make sure that it really is all about the music and none of the commercial stuff you see at other big named festivals.
Seth Lakeman
Photo courtesy of Tim Young
Newton Faulkner
Photo courtesy of Upturned Pebble & Newton Faulkner
What’s the reception been from the acts towards a brand new festival in Dorset?

We’ve had really positive feedback from everyone we’re working with. The Levellers have truly been fantastic and supportive about the new event and getting behind us on social media.
The Levellers
Photo courtesy of R Marrison

How many people are you expecting to get through the gates?

Capacity is 5,000 which will make it a snug intimate festival. Two-thirds of the ticket allocation have been sold with just under 6 weeks to go, it’s looking like it will be a sell-out event in its first year which is a great feeling.

Are there plans to make this an annual festival?

Yes definitely. Presuming we get the thumbs up from the Castle, we already have a line up in mind for 2015.

Which acts are you most looking forward to seeing on the day?

Oh that’s a tricky one as it’s all the people I like and I hope the Behind the Castle festival goers will enjoy too. It would have to be Paul Brady as I remember sitting on my Dad’s shoulders watching him while I was 9 years old, so it will be great to see him perform.
Paul Brady
Photo courtesy of Upturned Pebble & Paul Brady
Seth Lakeman and Newton Faulkner are both great and real crowd pleasers. I’m a huge fan of Newton’s.

The Levellers will most definitely help get the party going and one not to miss are Bristolian’s Sheelanagig.
Photo courtesy of Upturned Pebble & Sheelanagig
Steve Knightly is fab too, I’ve known him most of my life, so will be great to see him on stage.
And finally, can you sum up Behind the Castle in 5 words?

How about - music, fun, friendly and affordable. Basically, it’s all about the music!

Thanks Ian for being this week's special guest on the Country Bumpkin Chic Blog.

Hopefully that’s got everyone rummaging around for their wellies and sunhats. We look forward to seeing you on the 14th June for some sunny summer tunes.

All the best 

Becky x
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04 May 2014

Dorset Knob Throwing Festival - yes, it really is called that!

What better way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon then wandering round the Dorset Knob Throwing and Frome Valley Food Festival.
Dorset Knob Throwing flyer
Yes, you heard me correctly, it’s a festival, in Dorset, with the word ‘knob’. Cue witty remarks and fits of giggles.

The festival has been running for nearly five years in the picturesque village of Cattistock, which is a traditional Church fete, cricket green style village in Dorset and is, well, proper lush.
Apparently, over 5,000 people attended today according to the BBC and Independent online, which is pretty darn good I say. Who could resist when it’s only £2.50 to enter to through some knobs. What is a knob I hear all my city folk friends thinking?
Well, they’re a unique hard biscuit made by the Moores family since 1880, and usually taste good with some butter or cheese.
Moores Dorset Knob Biscuits
There was lots to keep people entertained from knob throwing, and lots of other knob related games: knob eating, knob painting, knob and spoon race, guess the weight of the big knob – and it goes on!
Knob Throwing Lane
One of the Knob Crew!
There was  a variety of live music as well as lots of quaint food stalls selling everything from marshmellows, fudge, cakes, fruity curds and jams, ice-cream to organic meats and craft stands and not forgetting a mini bar serving another Dorset favourite - Piddle Beer
You can't beat a bit of live music in the sunshine & cider!
I had a lovely chat with Katie who set up her business Utta Nutta less than a year ago and produces her own unique peanut butter in Wiltshire. I was admiring her very funky branding and mentioned I thought I’d spotted it before today, and turns out she was on the Loose Women panel the other week for a mum’s and business discussion. Which I found very inspirational.
A few purchases were made for my parent’s (aren’t I a thoughtful daughter), Piddle Beer for my Dad, and blueberry and lime curd for my Mum and banana curd for myself from The Mixing Bowl
Trio of Piddle for Dad
Trio of Fruity Curd for Mum & I
It was also a good chance for me to try out my new toy… cue giddy geekness, a Canon EOS 1200D DLSR which is rather lovely and take’s some fab pictures. I’m trying to wean myself from Instagramming everything in sight. Although, I still think that will take a while to do. So, watch this blog space for some creative snaps coming up.
My new toy!
(ok, I did take this one on my iPhone & the purchases)

To make sure you don’t miss out on any Dorset Knob news for 2015, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter @DorsetKnobThrow today. It's definitely a fun festi for family and friends.
All the best
Becky x

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