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Brian Levison’s Cricket Grounds Then and Now offers a historic and nostalgic insight into the pasts of some of the most iconic cricket grounds around the world, paired with their modern-day equivalent in a Then & Now format, and this extract takes a look at the amazing Lord’s cricket ground.


Eton vs Harrow

The Eton vs Harrow match dates from 1805 and has been played annually at Lord’s since 1822 with a few exceptions. By the time this photograph was taken in 1932, the match was no longer quite as central in the social and cricketing calendar as it had been, perhaps peaking in 1914 when over 38,000 people attended over two days. Spectators strolled on the outfield during the intervals and picnicked in the traditional carriages parked at the boundary’s edge. Famous individuals who played in this match include Lord Byron, who took part in the 1805 match, Lord Hawke, future captain of Yorkshire and England, and Archie MacLaren, who scored a then-world-record 424 for Lancashire against Somerset.

During the war years, the fixture was played alternately at each school’s ground, but returned to Lord’s in 1946. The traditional carriages were still brought along for the game well into the 1950s, as the photo attests. Since 1999, the match has been played in a one-innings, limited-overs format, though the schools play each other in a longer form game away from Lord’s. Out of ten so-called Lord’s Schools who used to play at the ground, only the Eton vs Harrow game remains – though other schools can still have access to the Nursery pitch. Another tradition that has passed concerns access to the Pavilion’s famous Long Room. Cricketers must make their way from the dressing rooms to the pitch under the eyes of the members. Only men and the Queen were allowed in the Long Room, but in 1998 that rule was dropped. The photograph below shows the Eton vs Harrow match of 2021.

Extracted from Cricket Grounds then & Now by Brian Levison. Out now.

Both grounding and uplifting, From Coast & Cove, the new book from author and acclaimed illustrator Anna Koska, walks us through the four seasons on the English coast. Beautifully observed, contemplative and deeply personal, Anna combines emotive and evocative tales of life beside the sea with her exquisitely detailed and intricate illustrations of the plants and wildlife found in the water and along the coastline. Read an extract from the diary below.


12 April

Morning lit, sky clear. Warmth on my back! Standing near a patch of wood anemone, watching a buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) queen in search of the perfect nursery. So many of them now, thundering around, lazy looping among the laden arms of the cherry tree; dropping to knee height for a closer inspection, then finally settling to rootle among last year’s leaves and this year’s blossom. They’ve a particular fondness for an empty mouse nest. Once she’s found the ideal hole, she’ll get to work, taking wax secreted from her abdomen to create a nursery for her colony, where she’ll lay the first eggs to begin her family. Some of her firstborn will hatch and head out to gather nectar and pollen, while others will stay within the nursery to help nurture the young brood, maintain the hive and care for their queen.

Extract from From Coast & Cove by Anna Koska. Out now.


The Kent coastal strip of Dungeness is a unique environment. Harshly vulnerable to the elements yet protected from inland development. Explore this beautiful area with design writer Dominic Bradbury’s new book Dungeness.



Designers: Fiona Naylor and Michel Schranz


There is something deeply soothing about the experience of spending time in Radar. This modestly scaled but thoughtfully conceived building sits on the foreshore, making it one of the closest houses to the sea itself, lending it a uniquely escapist quality. This is enhanced by

the way it gently turns it back on the village and focuses instead on a panorama of the shingle and the Channel, framed by a large picture window. Sitting down, facing this open vista, with the ships and clouds sailing past, feels like looking at a shimmering painting or a light box. It is mesmerizing.

‘There is a sense of delight in it’, says designer Fiona Naylor, who collaborated on Radar with

architect Michel Schranz. ‘It’s about things that you experience and touch and I love it when

people stay at the house and discover these things for themselves. With the design, we just

wanted everything that you experience here to be a pleasure and it is very calming. For me, it has this very marked psychological effect when I walk into the house and I think it’s really become part of the landscape.’

Over recent years Naylor has given fresh life and relevance to a handful of buildings in Dungeness, including the Coastguard Station, which is one of the very few other buildings

directly visible from Radar. These earlier projects were all about converting and adapting existing buildings, with Radar marking Naylor’s first and only new-build project here, partly because the original radar station on the site – also known as the Decca building – was literally falling to pieces.

The original, prefabricated double shed here was used by the Decca Radar Company as a research base, with a distinctive collection of equipment perched upon platforms mounted on the roof and the ancillary towers alongside. Some labelled it the ‘Marconi Wireless Shed’, based on the idea that Guglielmo Marconi might have used the very same site as a radio signal station during the late 1890s. What is certainly true is that by the late 1980s, when the shed could be glimpsed in some of Derek Jarman’s Dungeness Super 8 movies, it was starting to collapse, with pieces of equipment regularly tumbling onto the shingle, especially during a storm.

Celebrating the publication of Van Life Cookbook, authors Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura talk about how their van life came to be, and what inspired them to write a cookbook. They also share a recipe from the book for delicious and refreshing summer rolls.


“The idea of our book came about in the summer of 2020 when we both put the finishing touches on the van towards the end of the nationwide Coronavirus lockdown and needed a creative project to get stuck into. Danny finished the fit out inside the van, and I painted a mural on the bulkhead screen. Needless to say, the van came into its own that year when Danny’s events work suddenly stopped and I was placed on furlough. Our van provided an essential space for us to escape to nature and make sense of our changing circumstances. Since then, our trips together and to see friends have proven fundamental to our shared well-being, experiences and appreciation of our environment”


“Having lived and worked in London since 2011, I began looking for more meaningful ways to spend my evenings and weekends and became inspired by self-build campervan videos and people’s stories on Youtube. These offered up a new DIY challenge as well as an economical alternative to buying a purpose-built camper or RV. The appeal of having a spontaneous city escape vehicle grew quickly and in early 2018 after purchasing our van online, the van build commenced outside of our flat in London. What started out as a part-time project during evenings and weekends became a two year on and off programme, fitting around work commitments eventually getting it over the finish line in 2020

It was that summer when travel restrictions eased that really ignited our passion for exploring in the van and adopting the principles of van life:  eating well, having an appreciation of nature, living simply and frugally and enjoying more of the good life that led to the idea for the book ”


Summer rolls with cheat’s peanut satay sauce

I learned how to make summer rolls from my friend’s mother, Mai Lan, who created the most wonderful Vietnamese dishes from her kitchen on Orcas Island. You can buy the rice paper from any Asian supermarket or online, and once you get the knack of the water preparation, they are super simple and fun to make. They keep well for picnics with a damp piece of kitchen paper on top to keep the rice paper fresh.

Makes 6 summer rolls


For the summer rolls

100g/31/2 oz dried thin rice noodles

a splash of sesame or olive oil (optional)

6 round sheets of rice paper (each

18cm/7 inches wide)

1 carrot, washed and sliced into

finger-length thin strips like thick matchsticks

1/2 cucumber, sliced the same as the carrot

3 radishes, sliced (optional)

5 Little Gem lettuce leaves, finely chopped

6 sprigs of mint, leaves picked

6 sprigs of coriander, cut into thirds lengthways


For the cheat’s peanut satay sauce

3 tbsp peanut butter (preferably smooth)

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, or grated

zest and juice of 1/2 lime

1/2 tsp white sugar

2 tsp soy sauce


First prep all the ingredients for the summer rolls and put in separate piles on a plate or in small containers.

For the peanut satay sauce, in a small dish, simply stir together the peanut butter with the vinegar or lime zest and juice, sugar, soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of water until fully incorporated and smooth. If it’s a little thick, stir in a little more water. Set aside.

Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain, refresh with cold water, then drain again and leave in the pot. You can toss them with a little sesame or olive oil to prevent them from sticking together, if needed.

Take your first round of rice paper, then submerge it in a shallow dish of cold water for 11/2 minutes or until fully pliable. Carefully take it out and place on a dry wooden chopping board or clean tea towel. Add a few of the noodles and a few pieces of each vegetable, lettuce and herbs to the middle of the rice paper round, arranging them neatly.

Next, roll up like a burrito, folding in the ends first, then the rest, packing tightly as you move upwards. Add a little more water with your finger when you get to the end if it’s too dry and use it as glue to help it stick together, resting it seam-side down on the board. This takes some practice but even the messy ones are tasty, so keep going! Repeat for the remaining rolls.

To serve, cut the rolls (on the diagonal, if you like) in half or quarters and enjoy with the peanut satay dipping sauce.

Extract from Van Life Cookbook: Resourceful recipes for life on the road: from small spaces to the great outdoors by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura. Photography by Holly Farrier.

With sunnier days and summer slowly approaching, it’s once again time to be kinder to your skin. Silvana de Soissons is here to help with a recipe for a flower-based oil, from her new book Natural Skincare For All Seasons, perfect for moisturisation and pain relief. 


Calendula, borage and St John’s Wort are filled with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties. During the summer months, my garden overflows with their flowers and I make huge jars of their oil macerations, which last the rest of the year. The oil can be applied all over the face, body and hair, to help keep skin moisturized as well as providing relief for any bruises, aches and pains. Gentle, effective and not greasy, it can be used during the day and at night.



200g (7oz) mixed dried calendula,

borage and St John’s Wort flower heads

200ml (7fl oz) borage seed oil

Sterilize a 500ml (18fl oz) jar and lid in hot water and dry.

Place the flower heads in the jar and top with the oil. Close the lid tightly and shake the jar a few times. Leave on a sunny window sill for 4 weeks or in a cupboard for 6 weeks.

Shake the jar regularly. When you want to use it, strain the oil through a sieve into a clean jug and discard the herbs. Pour into a sterilized bottle, seal, label and date. Oil macerations keep for up to 12 months in a sealed jar in a cool, dark cupboard or bathroom cabinet.

Extracted from: Natural Skincare for all Seasons: A Modern Guide to Growing & Making Plant-Based Products by Silvana De Soissons. Image credit to Jason Ingram. 

Happy Earth Day! With our world and the environment in focus today, we wanted to share an extract from the upcoming The Green Traveller: Conscious adventure that doesn’t cost the earth by Richard Hammond, highlighting 10 green places to stay in Europe. 

Many northern European cities are within reach of the UK within a day by train, but if you’re looking to go further afield – and there isn’t a connecting overnight sleeper service – you might need to stay the night in one of the gateway cities and catch the onward train or ferry the following morning. Or you could plan to stay in these cities anyway and make the detour part of the journey. Railway stations are usually in the city centre and are surrounded by any number of hotels, but it’s not always easy to find green options, so here are ten eco-friendly suggestions to rest your head on a green getaway.

1. Paris

Mob Hotel is in the heart of St Ouen, just a few miles north of Gare du Nord and close to the Garibaldi metro station. The hotel is all about being socially engaged within its neighbourhood (the artistic creations of local craftspeople are everywhere), but it also has strong eco credentials, such as water jugs rather than plastic bottles, refillable toiletries and organic cosmetics in the rooms. The restaurant is fully organic with a seasonal menu that draws on produce from farming cooperatives or direct from local producers (they also make their own honey and beer). There is another Mob Hotel planned for the up-and-coming Confluence area of Lyon (

2. Lille

Hotel du Croise is a quiet, comfy little three-star hotel near the famous racecourse of Marcq en Baroeul and a short trip by tram from Lille Europe – the gateway to long-distance SNCF trains to Lyon, Valence, Marseille and other cities in the south of France. The 11 rooms here are simply and neatly furnished, and each offers its own small terrace. It has been awarded Clef Verte accreditation for its environmental policies (

3. Munich

Both a hostel and a hotel, the 4You is just 5 minutes’ walk from Munich railway station. For the budget traveller, there are beds in dorms or for those who want more privacy there are individual single, double and triple rooms with bathrooms. There’s a small bar and restaurant serving local Bavarian food in a quiet courtyard. Bike hire available (

4. Nice

Conveniently located along a short walk between the city’s main railway station and the port, Hotel Florence Nice is a great option if you’re looking to travel the next day on the ferry out to Corsica or for bus or rail connections along the Cote d’Azur. The hotel has the EU Ecolabel for its efforts to reduce its waste, energy and water consumption – and don’t miss tasting the honey that’s produced from its rooftop beehives (

5. Milan

Hotel Milano Scala is an eco-boutique hotel in the historical district of Brera,
a 10-minute walk from Milan Central railway station – the gateway to Bologna, Rome, Naples, Florence, Turin, Lake Como and Venice. It has a range of clever energy-saving devices and a farm-to-table restaurant with fruits, flowers, vegetables and herbs from the sixth floor’s garden terrace. Sip on organic wine while enjoying the fabulous views of the Dome of Milan and the city’s skyline from the Sky Terrace (

6. Hamburg

The three Superbude hotels dotted around Hamburg are all easily reachable from on foot, on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn trains from the city’s main railway station – the gateway to the Nordic countries as well as to the Rostock ferry port for travelling up the Baltic Sea to Stockholm and Helsinki. All the hotels have installed a range of eco-friendly initiatives from energy-efficient lighting and reduction of water consumption to drawing on renewable energy suppliers and plastic-free cups, straws and bags (

7. Amsterdam

There are four Conscious Hotels in Amsterdam that are elegant but unfussy, and all the materials they use in their hotels are certified cradle-to-cradle, recycled or second-hand, plus they serve an excellent organic breakfast. Hotel Westerpark is a 20-minute bus ride (or 30-minute walk) from Centraal station, while the other three are a short ride by tram: the 112-room Hotel The Tire Station and 81-room Hotel Vondelpark are both near to the leafy Vondelpark, while the boutique 36-room Hotel Museum Square is in the heart of the museum district (

8. Berlin

The 75-room Almodóvar Hotel is a smart, modern hotel with an organic, vegetarian-vegan deli restaurant ( in the trendy Friedrichshain district: take a short train ride from Berlin’s main railway station to Berlin Ostbahnhof, then it’s a few minutes’ ride on Bus 240 towards Storkower Straße, where you get off at Boxhagener Straße/Holteistraße

9. Marseille

Hotel Bellevue is in the Old Port of Marseille overlooking the busy harbour and Notre Dame de la Garde, just a few minutes’ walk from the city’s main railway station and a stone’s throw from the ferry departure point for services to several ports on Corsica and Algeria. It was the first hotel in the city to be certified by Green Key and has a magnificent, listed iron staircase (

10. Copenhagen

Hotel Ottilia is a boutique hotel on the site of a former Carlsberg brewery, two stops on the intercity B line train from Denmark’s Copenhagen Central station – the overland gateway to Sweden and Norway. It’s part of the Brøchner group of hotels that are leading the way in green hospitality in Denmark; they’re certified by Green Key and give excess products such as soap and shampoo (as well as donations of furniture and inventory) to the homeless. There’s a terrific organic breakfast and if you’ve time, don’t miss the ancient thermal baths next door (

The Green Traveller is out 5th May. You can preorder it here.

With the Easter Bank Holiday fast approaching, lots of people are leaving the cities in favour of the fresh country air. Extracted from Clare Gogerty’s new book 50 Things to Do in the Urban Wild, below a list of 5 budget- and child-friendly things you can get up to this long weekend if you’re staying in the city (or even if you’ve ventured elsewhere!).


Create a leaf journal

Have you ever wandered along a tree-lined street or strolled through a leafy city square and wondered what the trees around you are called? If so, a leaf journal could be the answer. Collect a few good leaf specimens on your travels and place them between the pages of a book so they remain undamaged on your way home. Then save and identify them by either (or both) of the methods below. The more leaves you gather and save, the greater your arboreal knowledge will be.

Leaf rubbing

1. Place a leaf beneath a piece of paper (copier paper is fine).

2. Take a crayon and rub over the leaf evenly, making sure to include the outline so the shape is clearly defined. This works really well with large or distinctively shaped leaves such as maple, oak and ginkgo.

3. Stick the result in your journal.

4. Research the tree. Write your findings beneath the leaf, so you can refer to it later. Questions to ask could include: Is it deciduous? Does it have berries? What colour are its leaves in autumn? What does the bark look like? How high does it grow? How long does it live? You could also research folklore, poetry and songs associated with that particular tree.

Make a leaf press

Preserve leaves by pressing them between pieces of paper. This absorbs moisture, leaving a dried specimen. This process is used by botanists, who catalogue plant specimens in this way, then arrange them systematically in herbaria, so you will be in good company.

1. Cut an A4 piece of cardboard into two equal halves. Take a similar-sized sheet of paper and fold that in half.

2. Place the leaf or leaves in the fold of the paper.

3. Place the paper between the sheets of cardboard. Secure horizontally and vertically with rubber bands.

4. Leave under a stack of heavy books. When all the moisture is removed and the leaf is dry, add it to your journal with accompanying notes for future reference. This press can also be used for cut flowers.


Cloud spotting

Always above and always changing, no matter where you live – even in the heart of the city – clouds are a constant, fascinating presence. Get a glimpse of them between houses and shops or climb to the top of a tall building for a panoramic view.

Simply staring at the sky and its shifting cloud patterns can be a calming and meditative activity. It can also give you a fair idea of what weather is on the horizon. White clouds reflect light from the sun and indicate good weather, whereas grey clouds are full of water and mean rain is on its way.

Basically, clouds are masses of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. They form when water vapour, which is always present in the sky in some amount, condenses. The temperature, wind and other conditions where a cloud forms determine what type of cloud it will be.

Look up and see which objects you can find in the sky.


Fossick in the mud

You might think that the mucky foreshore of a city river is an unlikely place to find treasure, but mudlarkers know different. These urban fossickers scour the mud at low tide looking for all manner of forgotten everyday objects. Some are hundreds of years old, left behind as the tide goes out and preserved by the anaerobic nature of the mud.

The original mudlarkers were poor children who scavenged the foreshore of the River Thames in eighteenth- and nineteenth century London looking for things like firewood, nails, bones of drowned animals and rope to sell. These days it’s all about searching for artefacts that reveal snatches of the city’s past.

It is an absorbing and rewarding activity that is a hotline to the city’s social history. It also gives you the opportunity to spend time beside the river on the foreshore, listening to the lapping waves and the screech and squawk of waterfowl. Limit yourself to a mile or so and time your search for when the tide is out.

You may find something that has been untouched since it was lost or discarded hundreds of years ago.

Mudlarking is mainly restricted to London as most other British cities have channelled their rivers into paved canals and scooped out all the debris in the process. Most finds are not valuable, but all are fascinating relics of social history with a story to tell.

Need to know: All mudlarkers on the Thames need a permit, provided by the Port of London Authority. It makes sense to go with a guide who has one and knows where to look. Remember to wear stout shoes and rubber gloves (there is a slim danger of catching rat-borne illnesses).

Keep an eye on the tide: currents can be strong and it’s easy to get stranded. Don’t dig or poke in the mud, use only your eyes to find treasures (children are natural mudlarkers as their eyes are closer to the ground). You can keep what you find, unless it looks valuable – if it’s made of gold or silver, take it to the Museum of London.


Create land art

The next time you go for a walk in a nearby wood, beach, park or lake, think about what you find – twigs, leaves, stones or pebbles – as materials for a work of art. This is how land artists see the natural world. Items found on the trail are regarded as their material, the earth as their canvas. By taking natural things and using them to create structures directly in the landscape, they collaborate with nature to make something new and beautiful.

The art they create is ephemeral and does not damage its surroundings in any way. Remember to photograph what you create.

Some ideas for land art:

  • Collect pebbles or stones of a similar size and arrange in a spiral. Leave it where you found them.
  • Find variously coloured leaves and flowers and arrange in a mandala on the forest floor.
  • Pick up twigs as you walk, then create a sculptural form in the landscape from what you’ve found.
  • Rake sand on a beach or foreshore into interesting patterns, then watch as the tide washes it away.
  • Collect small pieces of plastic litter. Wash carefully, then arrange in a flat composition. (See the work of Steve McPherson, who works with marine litter, for inspiration.)


Feed the birds

Putting food out for the birds is a simple way of reconnecting with nature that’s available to all of us. A bird feeder placed outside a window (or stuck on the actual pane if you have no outside space) is a joyful, positive thing that satisfies our yearning for a meaningful connection with nature and the wild. It provokes an intimate and profound moment of trust with a wild creature that can be hard to find in the city. We think we’re feeding the birds for their sake, but more often than not, it’s for our own good.

Different birds have different preferences, both for food and how they find it. Some like to feed on the ground, while others prefer to search in trees. Provide a range of feeders in different sites to attract a wide variety. Remember to clean the feeders regularly so the birds don’t pick up infections.

Seed feeder

A plastic tube with metal perches that can be hung from a tree or pole. Fill with sunflower hearts and wild-bird-food mix to attract many different types of birds, including house sparrows, tits and goldfinches. Put a seed tray beneath to catch falling seed debris that can get messy.

Ground feeder

Either sprinkle food directly on to the lawn or patio (keeping an eye out for any lurking cats) or use a ground feeding table (a raised piece of wood). It will be used by blackbirds, thrushes, wrens and robins who prefer to feed at ground level.

Nut feeder

A wire-mesh tube or metal tube punctured with holes that can be filled with peanuts or suet nibbles and will attract tits, woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Suet feeder

A square metal cage to contain blocks of suet enriched with insects. Popular with members of the tit family and starlings (who also love mealworms).

Feeding birds in public places: a warning.  It can be tempting to feed bread to the ducks and other waterbirds in parks, or to scatter seed for pigeons and other birds in public spaces. Be wary of this, however: it can do more harm than good. ‘Human’ food, which often contains high levels of salt and sugar, can be harmful to birds. Scattered around, it will attract large numbers of crows and magpies, which bully and prey on smaller birds. It can also affect water quality. Best to leave it for the parks to manage.


Extract from 50 Things to Do in the Urban Wild by Clare Gogerty, illustrated by Maria Nilsson. OUT NOW. 


75g/2½oz unsalted butter

5 tablespoons plain flour

1½ teaspoons English mustard powder

775ml/27¼fl oz full-fat milk

175g/6oz extra-mature Cheddar cheese, grated

1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

Several good gratings of nutmeg

300g/10½oz frozen spinach, defrosted and liquid squeezed out

400g/14oz small pasta, like macaroni

5 tablespoons stale breadcrumbs

40g/1½oz Parmesan cheese, grated

Sea salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C fan/220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

Fill a large pan with water, add a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil – you’re going to cook the pasta in this shortly.

In a medium pan, melt the butter, stir in the flour and mustard powder and season with salt and pepper. Stir over a medium heat for a few minutes, then add a good glug of the milk and whisk to combine. Gradually add the rest of the milk, whisking in-between additions to get a smooth, creamy sauce. Stir in the Cheddar cheese, paprika and nutmeg and remove from the heat. Taste and add a little more salt and pepper, if you like. Add the spinach into the sauce and, using a stick blender, blitz until smooth.

Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the instructions on the packet, then drain well. Tip into the green sauce and stir well until everything is combined.

Arrange the coated pasta in an ovenproof dish and scatter with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Bake in the top of the oven for 20–25 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.


This sauce also makes an excellent cauliflower cheese. Chop your cauliflower into florets and blanch in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes, then drain and sit in a colander to allow the water to steam off (letting it dry ensures you won’t end up with a watery dish). Tip the cauliflower into the baking dish, cover generously with the sauce and sprinkle with grated Cheddar, then bake as per the macaroni and cheese instructions.


Extracted from Feed Your Family!: Exciting Recipes from Chefs in Schools by Nicole Pisani & Joanna Weinberg, published by Pavilion Books.

Photo credit: Issy Croker

To call a plant a weed is doing it a real injustice. It’s simply a wild plant that is not deliberately cultivated, growing where it is not wanted. By this definition, virtually any plant outside a carefully tended garden is a weed.

The intolerance of weeds is a mark of how we have turned our backs on nature and urbanised our land and lives. In The Joy of Weeds, illustrator Paul Farrell uncovers the wild beauty in weeds and explains the benefits of rewilding ourselves a little. Weeds can be medicine, food, and an important aid for wildlife. One person’s weed is another’s wild beauty.

To celebrate the publication of The Joy of Weeds, we asked our team what their favourite weed is, and without further ado, this is what they said.

Big Bold Burdock

Common name: Burdock

Many of us have encountered burdock while walking through fields or forest edges, but don’t even realize it until we’re pulling the Velcro-like, prickly seedheads or burrs from our clothing and footwear.

This was chosen by our Marketing Director, Jo R, who picked it because: ‘It reminds me of pulling those little prickly seedheads from a school jumper, and of Dandelion and Burdock delivered in glass bottle by the milkman to my auntie in Yorkshire.’

Weed the facts: In 1948 George de Mestral, a Swiss inventor, developed Velcro after burrs from burdock stuck to his dog’s fur after a walk.


Defending the Dandelion

Common name: Dandelion

The dandelion is a British native perennial common to roadside verges. Its bright yellow flowerheads are like little bursts of sunshine above a rosette of jagged leaves.

This was chosen by our trainee, Jabin, who said: ‘I’ve chosen dandelion as my favourite because no weed embodies my childhood more than this one. I have so many happy, care-free memories of picking them in the park as a kid and blowing their seeds away. I’ve since learnt that its name derives from the French dents de lion, meaning ‘lion’s tooth’, after the shape of its leaves, and that dandelions are the only flower to represent three celestial bodies (the yellow flower as the sun, the puff ball as the moon, and the dispersing seeds as stars) – which is so romantic!’

Weed the facts: During the Second World War, when coffee was almost impossible to find, people made an alternative from the roasted and ground roots of dandelions.


Respect the Elder

Common name: Elder

Much favoured by foragers, elder is the very essence of summer with its shower of fragrant, creamy white flowers and clusters of dark fruits. It is abundant throughout the UK, in woodland and roadside hedgerows.

This was chosen by our Senior Marketing Manager, Jo K, who picked it because: ‘My favourite weed is the Elder because I love the folklore about it being guarded by the Elder Mother and that she should be asked before taking a branch! Also, Elderflower cordial and wine are delicious.’

Weed the facts: Elderflowers contain both the male and female reproductive parts, which means that they can self-fertilize. (Who knew?)


Unforgettable Poppy

Common name: Poppy

The poppy is the symbol of remembrance, and at the height of summer its striking flowers stand out from afar, painting fields with a vivid scarlet haze. It is found mainly on farmland, waste ground, field edges and roadsides.

The Poppy was chosen by HQ’s Head of Marketing, Claire: ‘Poppies are so delicate and bright and I love the papery translucence of their petals.’

Weed the facts: Ancient Egyptian doctors used to administer to poppy seeds to relieve pain.



A Bluebell Spectacle

Common name: Bluebell

Bluebell’s emergence is a sure sign that spring is in full swing. These sweet-smelling flowers nod to one side of the stem and have creamy white-coloured pollen inside. They occur in woodland, fields and along hedgerows.

Chosen by our Pavilion Head of Marketing, Colette, who said: ‘The flowers may be small on their own, but the sight of many bluebells carpeting the woodland floor is such a joy and one that I seek out every spring. The ethereal purple glow that seems to hover just above the ground, bathed in shafts of soft sunlight, makes them seem magical and so it’s not hard to see how so much folklore exists around them.’

Weed the facts: The sticky sap from bluebells was once used for bookbinding and arrowmaking. In Elizabethan times, starch for the ruffs of collars was made from the crushed bulbs.


Foxglove Love 

Common name: Foxglove

This biennial is a personal favourite of mine and is often grown as an ornamental plant due to its structural form and vivid flowers; it also thrives in open woodland and moorland. Like towering sentinels it hugs hedgerows, greeting walkers as they pass.

The foxglove was chosen by our Senior Marketing Executive, Becca, who picked it because: ‘I think they’re absolutely beautiful, and I absolutely LOVE the audacity of a beautiful flower (weed!) being that’s poisonous; so cheeky. I’m also a big fan of anything that helps the bees!’

Weed the facts: Foxgloves are also known as witches’ glove and dead man’s bells, due to their toxic nature.


Be In Clover

Common name: Clover

A busy summer meadow buzzing with bees and other insects hovering above a carpet of clover is a wonderful sight. Clover is common in all types of grassy areas in the UK, from lawns to pastures, roadsides to meadows, and as both a wild and a sown flower.

This was chosen by our Marketing Assistant, Caroline, who picked it because: ‘Clovers remind me of sunny summers back in Denmark. I love that they’re considered lucky, and I’d scour our lawn for ages as a kid just to make sure there definitely weren’t any four-leaf ones. One can never have too much good luck!’

Weed the facts: In 2009, a farmer in Japan set the record for the most leaflets on a clover stem – fifty-six.


The Joy of Weeds by Paul Farrell is out now!




To celebrate the publication of The Gut-Loving Cookbook, by Lisa and Alana Macfarlane, we’ve compiled an ultimate Gut Stuff bundle, full of tasty snacks and fabulous copies of their books for you to win!

The bundle contains copies of The Gut Stuff and The Gut-Loving Cookbook, as well as a selection of delicious Good Fibrations snack bars, also from the Gut Stuff

Filled with practical advice from gut experts, The Gut Stuff is a fact-packed, achievable guide for better health, while The Gut-Loving Cookbook is the perfect companion volume, being an accessible, easy-to-follow cookbook that offers simple how-tos to help you add fermented food seamlessly into your daily diet. Together they form the perfect resource to help everyone to achieve a healthy, happy gut.

The Gut-Loving Cookbook  is out now and available to order from, Amazon and all good retailers.

Simply enter the competition HERE for a chance to win. The competition closes 23rd April.





In celebration of the publication of Gut-Loving Cookbook by Lisa & Alana McFarlane of The Gut Stuff, here is a lovely desert recipe from the book, bound to please every sweet-toothed person in the family.

From Gut-Loving Cookbook by Lisa & Alana Macfarlane:

The perfect end to a Sunday roast! Alana x





4 apples (skin on), roughly chopped

1 pear (skin on), roughly chopped

100ml (3½ fl oz) water

100g (3½ oz) rolled oats

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

milk kefir yogurt (homemade, or shopbought) or dairy-free alternative, to serve



  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.


  1. Place the apple, pears and water in a deep, heavy-based pan over a lowmedium heat. Cook gently for 15 minutes until softened.


  1. Add the oats, cinnamon, maple syrup and coconut oil to a mixing bowl and stir to combine.


  1. Spread the fruit mixture over the base of a baking dish. Top with the oat mix and bake for 15–20 minutes until the oats are golden. To serve, top the crumble with a spoonful of milk kefir yogurt.


Leftover crumble can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated before serving.


+ Fibre and Variety

Add a handful of frozen cranberries when you’re cooking the apples and pears.


This berry crumble recipe features in Lisa and Alana Macfarlane’s new book The Gut-Loving Cookbook

We’ve shared lots of vegan and veggie recipes, so here is something for the carnivores. This comforting and indulgent, slow-cooking Lancashire Hot Pot from James May’s Oh Cook! is full of flavour and texture, and might just become your new favourite dinner. Make sure you start it early though.


From Oh Cook! by James May:

This is a much posher hotpot than any I ever ate as a student in Lancaster. For a more low-rent version, use chopped up lamb’s kidney instead of the lamb, or Spam. I wouldn’t, though.



PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOKING TIME: 2 hours, at least



4 tbsp olive oil
12 lamb cutlets
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
2–3 tsp flour (optional)
750ml/11/4 pints/3 cups hot lamb or vegetable stock
Leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
450g/1lb floury potatoes, such as King Edward or Maris Piper, sliced
2 tbsp butter
Salt ’n’ pepper



Preheat the oven to 180ºC/375ºF. Put a large lidded casserole in the oven to heat up.

Meanwhile, add the oil to a large frying pan and fry the cutlets on both sides to brown them off a bit. You might need to do this in stages depending on the size of your pan. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Now soften the onions in the same pan, but not too much – 4–5 minutes should be enough. Don’t let them brown.

Take the hot casserole from the oven and chuck the lamb and onions into it. Stir in a couple of teaspoons of flour if
you want a thicker sauce, and add the stock. Add the thyme leaves and a bit o’ seasoning.

Put the lid on this lot and shove it back in the oven for around 30 minutes.

Remove the casserole from the oven. Stir in the sliced carrots. Now layer the sliced potatoes over the top, so that they overlap attractively and cover the whole area.

Put the lid back on and stick it back in the oven for an hour. Take it back out of the oven. Turn the oven up to 230ºC/450ºF. Dot the butter over the top of the potato layer, then put it back in the oven, without the lid on, for another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are crisp and golden.

Serve and talk about trouble at t’ mill.

This Lancashire Hot Pot recipe features in James May’s book Oh Cook!