10 Castle Street, our trip to the countryside

When last year my hubster whisked himself away on a skiing trip for Mother’s Day, then this year we were treated on a family trip away to the country side. The destination for the weekend was a complete surprise and I was ecstatic (in a very Estonian way)- to discover that he took us to a stunning Manor House in Cranbourne – 10 Castle Street.


We instantly felt very homely as we arrived. Not hard being in such a stunning place. As it was already quite late, a table was laid for us in what seemed like a sitting room. One fish and chips and chicken burger later, we had already had a little conversation with the locals, who were at the bar having a night cap.

I was very impressed by how child-friendly the place was, that said, it definitely wasn’t child-focused either. In the morning a beautiful antique baby chair had been brought out for my little lady and we could all choose breakfast from the menu. It turns out that it was the seat the owner Alex grew up with. 


I’m surprised to see that my little miss enjoyed her bit of Weetabix, whilst I also got her some scrambled eggs. After she had finished and made a sufficient mess, we had a run around the garden and visited Desmond the pig, who lives on the grounds with his Mrs.


 Desmond was saved a couple of years ago basically from being eaten and now munches on the numerous apples the guests seem to be bringing him.


The remainder of the afternoon was spent exploring the village, visiting the local flower nursery and popping by the Boutique on a Bus which had conveniently wheeled itself in the parking lot and I must say was incredibly popular with local ladies and tourists like myself alike. Everything was made in Italy and wouldn’t cost more than £50 and looked for great quality, only without a label as such.

We had the most wonderful dinner in the evening, whilst our little one was sleeping upstairs. The baby monitor worked very well, so we had the opportunity to have ‘date night.’ And the good way great.

I very much enjoyed ordering quite a bit from the breakfast menu the next day. The little Miss made the most of the antique baby seat and Desmond the pig received some apples from us. 


It was sad to leave, but then now we know where to ask papa to take us next time.

Port Eliot – truly a family festival

Going to festivals has been one of the top things to do over the summer for me and my hubster. However since the little baby A came along I thought things might get a bit more tricky.


That is until we heard about Port Eliot in Cornwall. As late night entertainment was practically ruled out for myself, I was very happy to discover that Port Eliot offers events, talks and activities from all kinds of spectrums. And to be honest, even around midnight I saw some other parents walk around with their children on the festival grounds.


My absolute favourite things to do were the workshops, and there were many, starting from golden calligraphy to sailor T-shirt making. Only downside – one had to queue to get your name down the list, which is not such an odd thing really at an English festival.


I managed to make myself a neckerchief and a paper flower, and even a tote bag for my husband.
What I found most inspring was the tent by Hush. Mandy Watkins, the founder gave a talk on how she set up the company, straight after being made redundant from her corporate role by starting to sell PJs. Have to say I am now absolutely in love for their PJs, wearing mine non stop, everywhere.

Stunner on a rock, Bonifacio

I’ve been coming to Corsica for the past few years and the city that immediately impressed me is Bonifacio – what a stunner. Old citadel high up on a rock is a beautiful little place where to spend an evening or even a day. This time we ended up staying at an airBnb whilst we went to see friends near Petit Sperone beach. Our little flat was right opposite a local dentist and the host even left us two bottles of wine and a little soft Corsican toy. Talk about hospitable people.

The city offers some stunning views like the one below.


And there are some lovely delicious dishes to be had. They seem very big on chestnut, so for my dessert I ended up having chestnut tiramisu in a jam jar, having had chestnut gelato only in the afternoon. 


Beautiful little restaurant to try out is L’Archivolto. It has been exceedingly difficult to take food photos with baby on my lap most of the time, however one can only imagine a beautiful dish with aubergine and local soft cheese and a huge knuckle of lamb.

For night life, head down the hill to the port and I hear of people talking about a local nightclub called B52.

A very French island to visit I must say, why don’t you have a read of my trip to Corsican eastern side last summer here.

Summer essential: Magic Organic Apothecary

I’m quite a fan of beauty products that have multiple uses. Mainly because I like being compact with my space and not carry unnecessarily large quantities of items with me. Hence its no wonder I’m quite keen on the MOA balm that was given to me at the recent Mothers Meeting. 


 It promises quite a few things on the package, so I was keen to try out it all in practice. And the truth is that it works. It works great for make up removal, got easily rid of the stubborn Urban Decay mascara. I have been unfortunate to have the 3xB – some burns, bruises and blisters and it has worked soothingly for all the three of them. It easily qualifies to the summer essentials list and works a treat for a summer festival, when one might get bitten by mosquitos and taking off make up is not on the priority list before crashing in the tent in the early hours. 

So what’s the secret ingredient of this green little balm? Yarrow. I didn’t put much thought into it initially, but yarrow is something my grandmother taught me to put on wounds when I was a child. Doh.


Turns out that Achilles, a mythical Greek character, used to carry it with him to treat his army’s battle wounds.

100% English product for 100% English summers can be bought on their website for £12.50.  Love it.

Making my own perfume in Grasse, France

Making my own perfume sounds like such a novelty, yet this is what I got to do on my visit to Grasse, the capital of perfume.There are three perfumeries, that offer a workshop – Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard. As we were visiting only for a couple of days and I hadn’t planned ahead, so even if there were quite a lot of appointments on offer for creating ones perfume, the timings didn’t suit us. However, I walked in to Molinard, and managed to get an appointment there on the spot.

And how much I loved that experience! The guidance from the ‘nose’ was quite limited, however she did advise me on which scents to be more careful with and helped me choose the quantities of scents to put into the final perfume. I chose the individual scents I very much liked and hadn’t come across in perfumes as much. The idea was for the perfume to smell like a walk through a summer’s garden, with berries, fruit and vegetables becoming ripe, the flowers blooming in the sunshine and the bees buzzing around their hives. My top notes were green tomato, blackcurrant and petit grain. I love the green tomato scent, perhaps because my grandmother has some pretty awesome tomatoes in her greenhouse. The blackcurrants are my new favourite due to all the goodness and antioxidants in them and petit grain just smelled delicious and fresh. There was no doubt about the top notes.


The heart became a bit more tricky, I wanted to put in all the flowers in the world it seems, yet keep the perfume not too floral. The flowers that made the ‘cut’ were my absolute favourite ones of rose and gardenia, with a bit of lavender and lily of the valley. I wanted to keep the base quite dry and woody, with a hint of sweetness, so I decided to go for oak moss, modern chypre and honey, for the bees.

What came out is definitely something very unusual, yet immediately creates the vision of a summer’s morning at home. So why husband called it Jardin d’Alice for our daughter.

I definitely recommend taking part in one of those workshops and if you do, don’t be like me, leave plenty of time and plan ahead.

Going to Grasse was always one of my dream destinations and fact it’s not that far away from London at all, just one and a half hour flight to Nice from London and a 40 minute drive up to Grasse.

The choice for hotels seemed rather limited, so we stayed at an airBNB just little bit outside the old town, which was right next to a perfumery. It’s incredible to wake up to the sunshine, walk into the garden overlooking a swimming pool and breathing in the scent of perfume.Grasse is full of beautiful scents, but the same can be said about the flavours. La Fleur de Lys is a stunning little restaurant, with some brilliant desserts and an absentminded, yet friendly waiter.

 If you want to book your workshop to make your own perfume, visit either of the below:


Fragonard perfume making workshops at 1400hrs, 65 euros per person.

Galimard perfume making workshops at 1000hrs, 1400hrs and 1600hrs, 49 euros per person. However be careful as there are two locations of Galimard in Grasse. The one for the workshop is slightly outside the town. I know because I went to the wrong one.

Molinard perfume making workshops upon appointment. One hour appointment with 90 scents costs 69 euros per person, however there is also the option to make a very basic perfume in 20 minutes, with the cost of 30 euros.

And here she is, my happy perfume at her new home:

 

 

 

V for Vegan cake overdose

V is a beautiful little vegan restaurant in Tallinn Old Town.  I’m not sure if it’s surprising or not, but it is #2 for Tallinn restaurants on Tripadvisor.It’s also tiny, but perhaps the best places are. My sister and I went for afternoon tea and managed to get a table straight away, but probably best to book in advance for lunch/dinner. We got some pretty looking water with an orange in it whilst we contemplated on which cake to get.

My sister opted for the one with avocado and lime and I went for the berry one. I chose my coffee with almond milk. Mmm. Of course we got to try each other’s cakes and they were both indeed beautifully tasty.

After a bit of chit chat and cake enjoyment, it was time to go. Stepping outside into the sunshine and walking along the cobbled streets of the Old Town felt glorious. We were waved off by the friendly waitress, and genuinely felt like we were very welcome back.

Vegan restaurant V

Rataskaevu 12

+372 6269087

Bring me to the Moon, Tallinn and back… 

Tallinn has been incredibly well dotted with pretty fabulous restaurants. One of them, situated on the edge of trendy Kalamaja area, is Moon. It means Poppy, in English. The dogs are clearly more than welcome, which in itself is a good sign. For those who love dogs, obviously.

I had a leisurely lunch with my sister and father on a sunny afternoon and have to say, it is one of my favourite spots in Tallinn. Not for the decor, to be honest, but the service and food are amazing and worth coming back for.

Whenever I see a veggie burger on the menu, I tend to go for it. So guess what I had. The bun was amazingly fluffy and tasted homemade whilst the burger itself was juicy and full of flavour. Definitely one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. And look at those colours!

My sister went for something I would never have, Boeuf a la tartar. I still have memories of having raw liver and fat inside a mint leaf for breakfast in Lebanon, so it just doesn’t work for me. However, my sister loved it, so if that’s your thing, I’m sure it comes recommended.

My father on the other hand chose the Siberian dumplings, a very Eastern European dish. Simple, hearty and tasty.

I made a change from drinking water and had some kali, which is a very Baltic drink, made out of malt, yeast and bread (that’s what it says on the label). It tastes like bread, but is quite refreshing at the same time. It also tastes like there’s quite a bit of sugar in it, so I wouldn’t overdo it.One of us, and it wasn’t me, had a dessert, chocolate fondant. It looked as good and tasted as good as one that I’ve just recently had in South of France, which says quite a bit, right.So when in Tallinn, stop by.

Kohvik Moon
Võrgu 3, Tallinn 10415
+ 372 6 314 575