Winter Wonder Land drive through

Wonder Winter Wonderland drive through

Embracing the Winter elements with Land Rover, Simon Rogan and Julia Bradbury #Hibernot

On a crispy cold Saturday morning our #Hibernot weekend started.  As Karen, of Lavender and Lovage had been invited to attend a special #Hibernot event in Sussex, courtesy of Landrover UK, she was kindly loaned a top-of-the-range Range Rover Vogue for the weekend. #Hibernot being part of Land Rover’s concept that Winter does not have to stop us in our tracks, and that we should make the most of Winter time and see Winter differently. Even though its colder and darker, they are encouraging us to look beyond the comfort of our homes and look to exploring our beautiful countryside by going on long country walks, having Winter picnics and BBQs and maybe some off-road driving; so don’t Hibernate – Hibernot!

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Firstly, I must congratulate Range Rover on their Vogue. As I normally whizz around in an Mazda MX5, this was a very different driving experience. As you can imagine, I felt like I was in a penthouse on wheels; a very sumptuous one indeed, and further more it was easier than I had expected to drive. With having never experienced driving a Range Rover before, I found it very easy and soon picked up all the dials and controls. Much to our excitement, we found out that Karen could watch a film whilst I was concentrating on the driving! Everything was so smooth and the suspension was second to none. Given all this, we found our way to Sussex very easily, no trouble at all, by using the Range Rover’s easy to use Satellite Navigation system. It expertly navigated us to the entrance to the South Downs and to Bo-Peep Farmhouse, which then lead the way up a steady incline towards the gourmet event.

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We parked the Range Rover and made our way to the specially constructed building and sat down on the comfortable fur covered benches, and were immediately served a warm smoky mushroom broth alongside our ‘Winter is Served’ food box. It contained a selection of goodies such as: Berkswell Slider, Mushroom Ketchup, Fermented Sarsparilla Soda, Chicken Puff Stout Mayo, and Millet Puddinng, Crispy Potatoes and Onion Ashes. All this was devised and prepared lovingly by Simon Rogan who was providing us with our tasty dishes throughout the afternoon.

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Next was our starters. This was intriguing from the start.  Westcombe Dumplings, Beetroot Broth, Sloe Berries and Black Mustard. This was actually my favourite of all the meals, I have found it hard to describe the different textures and flavours that emanated from this dish. Needless to say it was absolutely divine.

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For the main course there was a choice of three, either Land, Sea or Earth. I chose Sea and was served with Turbot marinated in Rice Bran, Brussels Sprouts and Truffle. The flavours were so complex, with each food giving me a spectacular experience that was just amazing.

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Pudding was also a mixture of stunning flavours, Sweet Carrot, Sea Buckthorn, Parsley and Liquorice, the like of which I have never experienced before.

Simon Rogan’s dishes completely summed up what Winter is all about and they tied in beautifully with the #Hibernot theme, giving us all inspiration for the remaining part of Winter and for future Winters too.

After our wonderful food, Julia Bradbury, Landrover’s Outdoor’s Ambassador, and co-owner of ‘The Outdoor Guide’, spoke to us about her ‘Winter Walks’ and encouraged us to go off and ‘explore’ either on foot or by taking advantage of our lovely Range Rover’s that we had been kindly loaned. She gave us all a lovely printed napkin with some of her favourite walks in Sussex.

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However, we had to make tracks and literally jumped back into the Range Rover and made our way back up to North Yorkshire where we stayed overnight at The Star Inn, Weaverthorpe. With the next morning ear-marked for some serious off-roading!

After a much need rest, the next day started with a rather yummy breakfast at The Star Inn and then straight off to jump into the Range Rover to go off exploring the Yorkshire Wolds and its country lanes and find some off-roading experience.

It was an extremely icy and freezing cold morning, so all the gadgets came into play to warm the beast up. Once that was done we were off, weaving our way through the country lanes and eventually found one that had grass growing down the middle of it – you know you are definitely in the country when you come across that! Travelling a little way further we came across the perfect track that we could put the vehicle through its paces. Stopping for a moment to adjust the off-road settings, we surveyed the scene; as if going into battle. It was VERY exciting!

Off we went, steadily down the very muddy and icy track, then approaching a very uneven steep hill, we descended carefully, however, the Range Rover knew exactly what to do and simply felt its way down safely. It was at this point that I suddenly thought what it would have been like in my Mazda MX5 – literally I don’t think it would have stood a chance.

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At the bottom of the hill was a massive pool of water, and once again it glided through it effortlessly and then travelled up the other side of the hill, full of composure – it just made it all feel so easy; for the vehicle and the driver too.

We had such fun using the Range Rover for some off-roading, and it’s an experience that I would definitely like to repeat; maybe some more advanced instruction would be great – something for me to think about. The Range Rover coped admirably with everything we threw at it, but of course, it’s what you would expect of such prestigious vehicle.

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Overall, we had such an amazing time, we travelled much of the UK, from Worcester on the Saturday morning, down to Sussex, then up to Yorkshire and for me then driving it back to Worcester.  The food, the company and the total #Hibernot experience was amazing, so thank you Land Rover UK for a truly Wonderful Winter Wonderland drive through.

Start Ferry Memories

So – first day in Hong Kong….. the first thing you have to do is to head down to Tsim Sha Tsui TST on the Mass Transit Railway and jump onto the Star Ferry.  Everything was the same, apart from having to scan your Octopus card to pay your $2.50 fare (about 25p) to cross the harbour.  The view over to Hong Kong island (Hong Kong side) has changed vastly, but to me it was all very familiar and a whole wave of childhood memories came flooding back.

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The real ‘Star’ of Hong Kong Harbour

_DSC0378Would you believe it – Hong Kong’s Star Ferry has been going for over 140 years. Can you believe it.

It’s going to be the first thing I do when I arrive on the MTR (Mass Transit Railway, like the Tube really but air conditioned) is to wiz down to the harbour front and jump on one of these lovely old ladies.

Watch this space, and all will be revealed when I show you a glimpse of these green work-horses from another era.

 

Bringing back goodies

With only twochinese wedding basket weeks’ until I take off for Hong Kong, it’s funny to hear old friends’ requests to bring back certain goodies.  Uncle Robbie & Auntie Norma (not real aunties and uncles, just very old friends who we lived near in Hong Kong back in the 60s and 70s, and who we have stayed friends with ever since) are wanting some Pak Fah Yeow, an ancient herbal medicine that wards off germs.  This I have to find down the dodgy back streets of TST (Tsim Sha Tsui).

In the meantime, I’ve had a great long discussion with my mum about Chinese Wedding Baskets, (she’s not getting wed by the way) and how I must bring her one back so that she can use it to hold all her sewing things in.  My children Tom and Charlotte want clothes from Stanley Market; I get the feeling that most of my week will be looking out for gifts and not travelling to all my old haunts.

Still, it’s all good fun and no doubt I will enjoy the journey in finding these items.  If you have any requests – don’t call me….