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Do you love chocolate?

Posted 16th April 2014 by Fiona

Do you love chocolate?

I do and with Easter only a hop away it is always a challenge to find a new way to appeal to a seasoned chocolate eater. This year however I have found the perfect gift for any such fan. Choconchoc a local (near Bath) and lovely chocolate company who like to do things a little bit differently. Chocolate on top of more chocolate, need I say more? Choconchoc was created by father and daughter team Kerr and Flo, an idea that started at the kitchen table is now stocked around the globe and everything is still handmade! Their chocolates are both pretty and delicious with their unique designs created from layer upon layer of Belgian chocolate. This Easter you can find everything from mini farmyards and ‘Happy Easter’ hampers to melt and make your own egg kits. Yum!

So it’s the ideal sweet treat for someone who loves chocolate, probably eats quite a lot of it and could do with something a little bit new and exciting this Easter! I know one such chocolate fan and in the name of research I asked him what he loves about it so much? I just loved his response.

“I am really not sure you are asking the right person but off the top of my head I would say I love chocolate, I love English chocolate, I love it at room temperature, I love it chilled, I love it slightly melting, I love it with orange, I love it with mint, I love it with bubbles, I love it with caramel, I love it as a mousse or a sauce, or a cake, its great on a biscuit or in ice-cream, it reminds me of my childhood, it tells me I’ve been good and always, always makes me smile.”

To be honest I have a feeling the response would have be longer except it was in text form so this was (in my book) pretty impressive and quite easy to relate to.

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Rowing and Royalty

Posted 11th April 2014 by Fiona

Rowing and Royalty

Has Oxford’s triumphant boat race win left you inspired to get in, on or near some boats?  Then we have just the brand for you…Sebago.

Sebago in the world of all things nautical, is without doubt the brand of choice. It can been seen looking the part in ports and harbours around the globe testament to its maritime authenticity.  Whether they are working hard on deck or relaxing dockside with a G&T these boat shoes certainly set the scene with style.  Founded in the forties, Sebago has developed and defined the boat shoe category in footwear and their expertise in this area is pretty much unrivalled.

So if you are looking for a sensational investment piece this season, the boat shoe has an awful lot to offer -  as well as the Royal seal of approval. Elegance (see The Duchess of Cambridge). Comfy – Sebago have the technical know how which is good news for all that sail trimming. Cute – updated ballerina influences have given the boat shoe a more feminine silhouette. Not forgetting, practical – white deck? White soles.

Rowing and Royalty

Style tips;

Socks or no socks? That is the question. Worn mostly without (around the boats) on a chilly day why not wind up the wow factor with some super bright socks.

Turn ups, roll ups and crops. There is nothing like a roll up to say hello summer!

Shorts. Not many styles can rock a look with short or long hemlines but boats shoes are one of those that can. In my book this makes them a holiday packing essential.

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Bristol

Posted 2nd April 2014 by Fiona

Bristol

From Brunel to Banksy and recently tipped as the best city to live in the UK, Bristol definitely gets our vote. What’s not to love about this vibrant place? With everything from world renowned engineering to an Oscar winning Gromit, Bristol is a city worth visiting if nothing else.

Things we love about Bristol.

The Mshed – A (free) museum all about Bristol, past and present. The original milk bottles are a personal favourite!

Wallace and Gromit – Thank you Nick Parks for bringing us such loveable characters, a good excuse for more cheese and an Oscar.

Banksy – Super cool, super secretive and free art.

Festival and Fiesta fever – there never seems to be a dull moment in this city’s social calendar from Grillstock to the Balloon bonanza (the Night glow being a highlight). Bristol likes to celebrate.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The name sounds almost as powerful as his achievements. The great engineer behind the SS Great Britain and The Clifton Suspension bridge, to name but a few.

Bristol Blue – such a cool colour to make glass things from.

Pirates – Real ones (Blackbeard) and Fictional ones (Treasure Island), Bristol has seen its fair share of skulduggery and scallywags m’hearties!

Café Culture – It’s one of those places with an arty vibe so good eateries are plentiful. Quirky cafes, cool bars and even Michelin stars.

We could go on and on and on but we wont, we’ll let you discover it for yourself. Let us know your favourite things about Bristol.

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Mum’s the word

Posted 26th March 2014 by Fiona

Mum’s the word.

To all mums, daughters, grandmothers, great (great) grandmothers, here it comes …. Mothers Day. The one day of the year that you have full permission to laze (in a bath full of bubbles), relax (at full stretch on the sofa) and enjoy (all your favourite indulgences) for a whole day. Yes, it’s the day that we celebrate, love and nurture our mums for being utterly fabulous. For seeing us through the good, the bad and the best times and for being there all the time.  Surely that in itself is worthy of a day off!

 

So why not start the day as you mean to go on, with the most important meal of the day, breakfast. Give it some style, a smile and turn an everyday event into something a little more special.

Here are our top three favourites for a perfect Mothers Day breakfast - or brunch, if you were planning on a lie in!

Small fingers make light work

If you have little helpers a small amount of creative chaos only ever adds to the authenticity and excitement. A bowl of cornflakes overflowing with milk, a big, very welcome and happy cup of tea and perhaps a Daffodil plucked from the garden toppling out of it’s egg cup vase?

Petit Dejeuner

A selection of European treats worthy of holidays in Provence and reminiscent of eating breakfast al fresco. Chequered tablecloths, piles of croissants, brioches and pastries, granola and sweet, creamy muesli, yogurts, ham and cheese, fresh filter coffee and some just- squeezed juice.  Bon appetite.

The Elegant English

Who can resist a truly awesome English breakfast? Greasy spoons are somewhat of an institution and the full English has by now reached iconic status. Done simply and delicately this is a breakfast fit for the Queen. Softly poached eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, a slice of bacon, black pudding and bubble and squeak. Served with a pot of English breakfast tea and some homemade marmalade on toast, how marvellous.

So enjoy your day mums, you deserve it!

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Great Explorations

Posted 19th March 2014 by Fiona

Adventure Kit

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, ‘the world’s greatest living explorer’ has turned 70 this month but far from putting up his well-worn feet and lighting his pipe he is planning his next great adventure. This time he is avoiding the frozen wastes of the Polar Regions and heading somewhere hot (as yet to be confirmed) during which he will raise money for one of his chosen charities and no doubt avoid any frostbitten fingers. Sir Ranulph has spent his whole life on some sort of expedition but it doesn’t have to be on such a grand scale as this to count as exploration. Gerald Durrell, in his book ‘My Family and other Animals’ talks about every wildlife encounter in his small childhood garden in Corfu as exploration, even sitting watching a nest of ants for the day with his dog Roger. Durrell was fascinated with the tiny lives of the tiny creatures that lived alongside and around him as he grew up. And these early explorations and the study of these little creatures toils and triumphs, as a child, shaped the man that grew up to become one of the world’s most famous naturalists.

 

To go and explore is such a lovely notion and, as we’ve suggested, it can entail the big or the small with the common thread that is it is always about finding something new. So, why not grab some provisions and head out.

 

Here’s a few of our fav’s from the team at Shoon…

 

 

Eve

One of my favourite places while I was in NZ was the Karanger Hakey Gorge (which I always called the Karanger Happy George) it was the site of an old water pumping station set in the mountains of the north island. You could walk and ride for miles and miles within the old tracks and tunnels of the mountains that the workers used to use. They were so dark and you could only really navigate by the light of the openings along the outer sides of the tunnels and at end points of the mountain. The whole inside of the mountain was tunnelled out from the inside and it had so many levels all through it like in a department store, but inside a mountain! The first time I went there I didn’t take a torch and had to see only by the light of the flash of my camera until I tagged onto a group of people who had a torch and walked with them, it was like something out a scary movie!!

Outside and along the gorge, you could follow the old train tracks through the gorge where they used to transport materials all along the river. The old building remains are still there to climb over and read all about too, which is great fun! The gorge and river itself are so gorgeous! On a sunny day, it’s always packed with people there for picnics, riding their bikes, walking along the trails and in the mountains and swimming and playing in the river. And as everything there is, it was covered in the most amazing greenery, just such a beautiful place!!

 

Emily

My favourite adventure has to be one from this weekend, which was taking my two lovely little people on a bear hunt in the woods. After much hunting we didn’t get to see any but we could definitely hear them! Maybe next time …

 

Angela

Taking the kids and the dogs up to Priddy Woods

 

Fiona

Mine would be fields and hedgerows (with provisions)

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