Greenwood Grange Cottages, Dorset

Dorset is a part of England I have not explored much, so when I was invited to stay at Greenwood Grange cottages on the edge of Dorchester I was excited at the prospect of exploring this county more.

Greenwood Grange has a collection of luxury cottages to suit every holiday, whether you are a large family looking for a summer break or a couple hoping for a romantic getaway. We used the Marlott cottage as a base for an early July wedding and it was the perfect weekend home away from home.

Greenwood Grange

There are a range of cottages which sleep between 2 and 12 guests, the smallest are Abbotsea and Wellbridge, and Henchard is the largest with 4 double bedrooms. Our Marlott cottage had 2 bedrooms decorated in a pleasant and simple way… muted hues with accents of colour on the wall art and cushions on the beds. The cottages all seem to have been designed in a chic farmhouse style with comfort in mind.

Greenwood Grange

The Greenwood Grange team kindly stocked our fridge with a few essentials (milk and bread) as well as my requested marmite! The kitchen was fully equipped with everything you could need to make a full dinner, or just a light morning meal and cup of coffee. The layout was very logical which made everything very easy and stress-free to use.

Greenwood Grange

The living room was a sanctuary for us after a fun and tiring wedding. We enjoyed breakfast at the dining table, and on the second morning opened out the back door to reveal a sunny terrace area.

Greenwood Grange

Upstairs, the two bedrooms had everything you could need for a short break. The bathroom was a little dated in design with a bath-shower complex and toilet; it was cramped, but functional.

Greenwood Grange was a very convenient summer stopover and I can imagine it would also be lovely in the winter when you could curl up in the cosy living room with a great film and a cup of hot chocolate.

More information and book a stay at Greenwood Grange here.

A Rutte Distillery Experience in Dordrecht

I knew little about genever was when I was invited to visit Rutte Distillery in Dordrecht. All I did know was that this mysterious spirit was the predecessor to gin, a very familiar spirit to me! I later found out that genever, and more specifically Rutte Genever, is a specialist malted grain-based spirit which originates from particular areas of Holland and Belgium. The spirit is clear and botanically rich, and is a blend of two of more distillates: a juniper-infused distillate and malt wine. Many consider it to be a cross between whiskey and gin. It can be served straight up or within a more complex cocktail.

Rutte

And so a group of us embarked on a journey to Holland to discover more about the Rutte range of genevers and gins. The Rutte company was founded in 1872 by Simon Rutte in Dordrecht near Rotterdam and is famously the smallest distillery in the Netherlands.

It was fascinating to visit the historic house where Rutte Genever started and still today is produced. We toured the tiny distillery (which is found below the little old-fashioned shop) with the knowledgeable Master Distiller Myriam Hendrickx… here the genever and gin is made using the traditional method; blending exotic botanicals and ingredients to produce a spirit which is completely unique and distinctive in quality and taste.

Rutte

The Rutte team organised a wonderful 24-hour itinerary in Rotterdam and Dordrecht, the perfect Holland mini-break, where we got to experience a few of the fine food and drink experiences which use the Rutte brand with such innovation and flare.

In Rotterdam we enjoyed a special meal at FG Food Labs, a creative Michelin-starred restaurant that presented a meal of food and cocktail pairings. Tuna ceviche with Yuzu vinaigrette (Japanese mayonaise, spicy tomato, hoisin, sweet-and-sour celery, tapioca krupuk & squid ink) was paired with the Luscombe Lime Crush cocktail (a mix of Luscombe St. Clements, Rutte Celery Gin, and Pink Peppers) and Poussin de Loire (with merquez de Turqui sausages, seasonal vegetables, rosemary, lemongrass, ginger & garlic) was matched with a spicy Loopuyt Ginger Beer concoction (Luscombe Lime Crush, Old Simon’s Genever, Juniper berries and Rosemary). The food dishes were thoughtfully and creatively prepared but I found the cocktails a little sweet and overpowering.

Rutte

After dinner we were treated to an extra special round of drinks at the city’s award-winning prohibition bar, Dr. Rotterdam. This immaculate little bar has strict rules, first and foremost: no phones and no photos, to ensure the mood is maintained and the secrets kept within the walls of the bar. It was a great relief to enjoy the drinks without the usual pressure of ‘getting the perfect instagram shot’. Here we sampled a range of seasonal cocktails as well as the 2017 Official Cocktail Competition winning drink, a recipe which includes Rutte Genever created by Zachary Faden of Mirabelle in Washington D.C.

Rutte

On the second day in Holland we had the opportunity to try some of Dordrecht’s speciality foods: cheese from Gert Jan De Kaasboer, raw Herring from the street stalls and chocolate from ‘Njoy Chocolate shop. My favourite thing we tried was at Vissers Poffertjes, a much-loved cafe serving traditional tiny Dutch pancakes coated in icing sugar and Rutte Genever!

After just 24 (sunny) hours in Holland it was clear to see just how many uses the unique and delicious Rutte Genever can have. I know some of London’s best restaurants (Hoppers, for example) and bars are already beginning to introduce this incredible spirit into their cocktail and spirit repertoire and I can’t wait to see more Rutte on menus soon.

More information on Rutte Genever and gin here.

We stayed at the characterful Hotel New York in Rotterdam, which has spacious rooms, plenty of personality and a lovely location on the waterfront.

Fermain Valley Hotel, Guernsey

It is never easy to find a hotel to stay at before or after a wedding. Something convenient and comfortable, with nice facilities and a tasty rejuvenating breakfast! Fermain Valley Hotel ticked all those boxes for me when I stayed for a bank holiday wedding in May.

Fermain Valley Hotel

This luxurious 4-star hotel is located nearby to St Peter Port, the capital of Guernsey, and the main hub of restaurants and attractions on the island. Fermain Valley Hotel, with two restaurants, a cinema, swimming pool and business centre on site, has everything you could need for your stay, whether you are visiting for business or pleasure. Nearby you can enjoy stunning walks along the coast or in the picture-perfect Bluebell Woods.

Fermain Valley Hotel

We were staying in Room 17 on the first floor, a light and contemporary bedroom with views of the sea in the distance. The decor was a grown-up style with muted pastel colours and simple printed fabrics. Everything felt designed with comfort in mind, plump pillows, indulgent bed and soft carpeted flooring.

Fermain Valley Hotel

There were plenty of pleasant little touches I noticed in the room… a complimentary decanter of sherry, and a selection of fruit, water and chocolates.

The bathroom was basic and a little cramped, but the lovely White Company toiletries made up for the lack of space!

Fermain Valley Hotel

Breakfast was a feast for all the senses… you can enjoy your morning meal downstairs in the restaurant, but I recommend ordering room service and having a leisurely morning waking up with the local newspaper and a decadent full English.

On the morning after the wedding we relished the opportunity to refresh and relax in the boutique spa at the hotel. Everyone else must have still been asleep as we had private use of the pool and sauna.

Affordable and perfectly located, Fermain Valley Hotel is a great place to stay for a mini break in Guernsey.

More information and book a stay at Fermain Valley Hotel here.