A little while ago I posted about a picnic in the woods which my friend Claire and I have enjoyed very much, and from the looks of how many of you read and interacted with the post, you guys did too! It's the perfect way to spend time outdoors and enjoy some delicious food - trust me, for some reason it tastes better outdoors! This time, Liam and I stepped up our game and took a portable cooker with us to enjoy some steak sandwiches and freshly cooked chestnuts.
We have a lot of woodland areas near us, last time I snacked in Harewood Forest and this time we went to a smaller woodland near us on the way to a gorgeous little village called St Mary Bourne - if you're ever in need for a country weekend break and fancy exploring Hampshire, I would highly recommend stopping at Bourne Valley Inn which has rooms and a restaurant serving delicious locally sourced grub. Then just walk around the forests and the fields - perfect place to take doggies and kids!
The key to being comfortable outdoors is warm and cosy clothing - I took my new feather down jacket which is super warm and cosy! It's my new adventure jacket :) I also always wear my Hunter wellies with HeatHolder socks - they are just incredible at keeping your toes warm and snug! Ensure your thermoses are filled up with hot chocolate / tea to keep you going - hot drinks are so important to keep you warm. We take a couple of throws with us - one to sit on, and one to snuggle up in if we get a bit chilly! As you can see, Harvey also joined us this time which was lovely - he's usually such an energetic boy outside that it's hard to keep him still. However, we had some extra steak to bribe him with!
Our steaks cooked to perfection whilst we sipped hot chocolate, snuggled Harvey and chatted about plans for the new year. I took some freshly baked ciabatta, sea salt, fresh thyme and blue cheese to dress our sandwiches with. Once the steaks were done, we charred the ciabatta on the pan for some crunch and flavour, and piled on the sliced pieces of steak onto the bread. Harvey had his own little plate with some plain steak slices which he scoffed down, and then had a little chill and lie down. Food tastes so good outdoors - everything is so fresh and because the food is hot it keeps you warm too.
I feel really lucky to live where we do - we are an hour away from the hustle and bustle of London, an hour away from beaches like Bournemouth and Portsmouth, and less than an hour away from National Parks like the New Forest or South Downs! I think Hampshire has a little bit of everything, but my favourite places are the hidden gems right on our doorstep like undiscovered woodlands, fields and lakes. I don't crave to go out on Friday or Saturday nights, I crave putting on some warm and cosy clothes and taking the dog out for a three hour long walk somewhere beautiful, with my boyfriend or my friends which gives us some quality time to catch up and chat too. Walking is a big part of my 2016 lifestyle change and I'm so excited to explore more places!
We finished our lunch with some freshly roasted chestnuts which were delicious and super sweet! I love the smell of roasting chestnuts, they are so festive and always remind me of Christmas markets and ski trips away. Yum yum yum!
Have you guys ventured out for an alfresco lunch this Winter? Also if you're from around Hampshire/Wiltshire area and know of great walks with doggies - comment below and I'll be sure to check them out!