Winterbourne Gardens, Edgbaston

1-01102016-042 Last weekend we visited Winterbourne Gardens in Edgbaston.  Winterbourne is owned by the University of Birmingham and is situated close to the main campus, which isn’t all that far from the centre of Birmingham.  The house is a beautiful  Edwardian Arts and Crafts place and it’s set within seven acres of beautiful botanic gardens. Inside the house there are some lovely antiques and there are displays about the history of the house and the way of life for its inhabitants.

winterbourne house and gardens The house is charming, but for me it’s the gardens that take centre stage.  There are over 6,000 plant species from all around the world. You can wander along the woodland walk, stroll through the hazelnut tunnel and cross the 1930’s Japanese Bridge.

dahlias in the rainThe flowers are beautiful and there are lots of interesting plants to discover as you walk round.  For me one of the highlights is access to the lake that belongs to Edgbaston golf course.  You certainly feel miles away from the city as you sit and muse over the water watching the water birds.

GunneraThere’s a tropical feel to parts of the garden with the enormous patches Giant rhubarb, or Gunnera manicata, which comes from Brasil. You could easily believe you are somewhere more exotic because they add a jungle feel.

fall colour Autumn colour is a strong point with the many varieties of trees within the grounds.  There are some lovely patches of intense and contrasting hues.

berries in AutumnIn fact, I think autumn is one of the best times to visit this garden as not only is there the lovely foliage, but there are lots of dahlias and other late summer plants that bloom well into autumn.

visiting winterbourne gardensI love the Nut Walk which brings some shade to the garden, but also hides some views and vistas from the house, leaving you with places to explore as you wander round the grounds.

September Degustabox

degustabox septemberAnother box of foodie goodies has arrived through the post from Degustabox and we have been enjoying trying out some new things.  Cirio Borlotti Beans are great in casserole dishes with sausages or pork.  We regularly use them in a spicy chorizo dish and in my cowboy stew. A bowl of Miso Tasty Miso Soup is perfect for lunchtimes when I am on my own.  They are full of goodness and are really low-calorie.  Mrs Crimble’s Fusilli is a gluten free corn fusilli pasta with a mushroom and cream sauce, it’s the perfect size for a lunch for one or a side dish for two.  I’ve been enlivening a rather dull muesli with some of these Chia Bia Whole & Milled Chia Seed Sachets.  They are a really handy size and are good for you being packed with Omega 3 as well as lots of vitamins and minerals.

degustabox snacksLunch boxes this week have been pepped up a little by some new treats.  The Metcalfe’s Popcorn Thins have provided a delicious chocolatey crunch. Get Fruity Bars are a fruit and oat bar that are heavy on the fruit.  Yummy!  Hartley’s No Added Sugar Jelly Pots add some fun to a packed lunch. More of a crunch and a little savoury flavour has come from Say Yes to No Bread Chips, surprisingly tasty and something different.

On the drinks front Cape Drinks have provided some welcome refreshment on the sunny days we have been enjoying.  I particularly enjoyed the Peach & Passionfruit flavour.  They are a sparkling blend of anti-oxidant packed Rooibos Tea and delicious fruit juices. We’ve added a little interest to drinks of water with Teisseire Sirop.  It’s a lovely soft and fruity raspberry taste with a fresh cranberry flavour.

August Degustabox

August Degustabox selectionsLots of lovely treats in this month’s Degustabox. I have been enjoying the latest Nutripots for my lunches while everyone else is out at work or school.  They are the perfect size for me and are very tasty.  I like the fact that they are nutritionally balanced and contain plenty of protein to keep me full for longer.  this time we have been trying the Moroccan Couscous flavour and the Aromatic Thai Noodles variety.  Cooking for the family has taken on an Indian flavour this month with Geeta’s Curry Pastes: packed full of exotic flavours. Mexican food has been up there too as we have been trying Tabasco Sweet & Sticky Barbecue Sauce & Marinade, as well as Capsicana’s Chilli & Honey Mexican Cook Sauce.

snacks and drinks

For breakfast I have been indulging in a trip down memory lane remembering my time in Switzerland working in a hotel.  I had Bircher Muesli every day for breakfast and it’s been nice to try out Dorset Cereals Bircher Muesli, which has been super easy to prepare and very tasty indeed. Snackwise we have had Rakusen’s Snackers which are great served with dips or cream cheese.  Also for those who like olives, Oloves are a good way to eat them on the go as they have no stones and come in a handbag friendly snack pack.There was also Willy Chase’s Fit Corn to try which went down very well with the troops here.

To drink we’ve had Clipper Tea which is a favourite brand of mine, but we have been trying the Lime & Ginger Green Tea which adds a bit of zest to the usual green tea flavours. On the alcoholic front there has been Mahou Cinco Estrellas, which is an international premium lager from Madrid.  I’ve drunk Get More Multivitamins quite a lot over the last few years, so  was pleased to get sent one of their bottles and the chance to try out a new flavour (to me).

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