Friday, 28 March 2014

Packing For a Spring Getaway

If you're planning a spring getaway in Britain this year you may be forgiven for thinking that you have to pack everything you own to meet the uncertainties of the British weather. We're all guilty of throwing the contents of our wardrobe in a suitcase at the eleventh hour, but a little bit of planning can go a long way to ensuring a stress free and stylish trip.

Jack Murphy's Tanya Jacket

Lets get the negative stuff out of the way first; waterproofs. Whilst you wont want big waterproof coats cramping your mini-break style, a light mac is always an essential in the UK. Our favourite summer waterproofs are the Bernard Jacket for men, and the Tanya Jacket for women, from Jack Murphy.
If you're off to the countryside, or planning on making the most of the beach whatever the weather, a pair of wellies will be your best friends. A little too bulky to pack, but make sure there's room in the boot (excuse the pun), you never know when they'll come in handy! Joules do a wonderful range of wellies in bright summery styles ideal for taking away. We love the Wellyprint in either Brown Floral or Red Stripe, and the Scary Fish and Pink Pony designs are a treat for little feet!

Joules Marcie Dress, Sara Skirt/ Dress and Remy Dress.

For women, a cool dress and skirts and vest tops are easy to carry and can be dressed up or down for maximum use. The Marcie Dress from Joules is an absolute favourite with the girls in the office, it has a flattering cut and a beautiful, delicate pattern that captures the essence of summer in the country. For a more casual everyday style Joules Remy Dress will have you dreaming of setting sail, it's cool, casual and perfect for a day by the sea! If you're blessed with warm weather, a light skirt and vest top are a comfortable and practical choice, pair Joules Sara Womens Skirt with their Mimi Vest for instant summer style. Accessorise with a classic 'mini-break' essential, a silk scarf. These dainty, glamorous embellishments add instant style and can be worn in numerous ways; experiment with knots, wrap up your hair or, if it gets too warm, tie around your handbag strap. Joules have a beautiful range this summer - the Bloomfield Scarf, available in cream and navy designs, and the Clarence, which features a beautiful, watercolour countryside print.

Joules Marcie, Picnic Bag, Clarence Scarf and Elna Loafers

Men will find a fantastic choice of Polo's this year, with options from Barbour and Joules to choose from. This versatile item is great for layering and can be dressed up or down as required. Check out the Barbour Laundered Polo - available in a selection of bright colours, or the Just Joules Men's Polo.
Chinos are a great item for smart/ casual dressing and will look great with  pair of deck shoes for a relaxed holiday look. We think Joules Stretton Chinos would go perfectly with a pair of deck shoes - check out the beautiful options from Barbour and Musto. Stylish chaps can accessorise with Joules Halstow trilby.

Barbour Laundered Polo and Flinders Boat Shoes with Joules Stretton Chinos and Halstow Trilby

For a finishing touch, Joules have a beautiful range of Picnic Bags and Picnic Blankets. If you are hoping to enjoy some homemade al-fresco dining on your break they are a lovely choice, make sure you remember to pop them in the car ready for a spot of good weather!

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mother's Day Chocolate Cake Recipe

This Mother's Day we have found a foolproof recipe for little hands to make as a special surprise for Mum! All the family are sure to love this delicious, gooey Chocolate Brownie Cake, just remember to leave some for Mum!

Chocolate Brownie Cake Recipe.


100g butter
175g caster sugar
75g light brown or muscovado sugar
125g chocolate (either plain or milk)
1tbsp golden syrup
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla essence
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder


• Heat  your oven to 180c/ fan 160c/ gas mark 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.

• Place the butter, caster and brown sugars, chocolate and golden syrup into a pan over a low heat and melt gently until smooth.

• Remove pan from the heat.

• Whisk the eggs in a bowl until light and frothy and then, along with the vanilla essence, flour, baking powder and cocoa powder, add to the pan of chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.

• Put the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

• Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes, then cut into wedges, serve and enjoy!

• Delicious with ice cream!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Get to know your Barbour SS14 Collections

This spring and summer are stocking three fantastic capsule collections from Barbour. If you love a little wardrobe variety then you're sure to be delighted with what we've got on offer! There's something here for men and women, embracing this years biggest trends - with a little Barbour twist on them, of course.

For Women.

The Barbour Hope Beadnell, with British Waterways lining.

This year Barbour offer us their British Waterways Collection, created with Artisan Craft Designer and Canal Boat Artist Julie Dodsworth. Inspired by the colours and traditions of our canals and rivers, the range features bright colours in a busy floral design - putting a unique twist on the floral trend of Spring 2014. Influenced by 18th century folk art Julie's designs adhere to the traditional rules of canal boat art which dictates that only specific flowers, roses, daisies to name a few, may be used. The range features Jackets, Knitwear and Tee Shirts embellished with the designs, and although Julie's work has previously featured on ceramics and homeware, Barbour is the first clothing line to feature her designs.

British Waterways detailing on the Alma Cardigan.

For Men.

Embracing the Safari Heritage trend set to be big in summer '14, Barbour bring us their Photographic Safari Collection. Combining rugged functionality with classic, smart styling this collection is inspired by the intrepid explorers of yesteryear who travelled to much warmer climes and the photographers who followed them to bring us iconic images of far-off lands. Jackets and midlayers feature in this collection; natural, muted shades with smart styling, multi pocketed jackets and cotton and linen midlayers make this range practical, cool and comfortable.

Stanley Jacket, part of the Photographic Safari Collection
Alber Shirt

Something a Little Different....

Challenging all of our expectations, Barbour this year teamed up with legendary colour chart company Pantone, to bring you the Pantone Collection  inspired by the colours of the countryside. Expect bright, quirky lightly quilted jackets, sure to inject a splash of colour into your summer wardrobe. Available in the Chip Lifestyle Quilts for men and Prism Quilts for women.

The Prism Quilt in Indigo/ Navy

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Womens Spring Clothing Essentials

With the first signs of spring in the air we have probably all felt tempted to cast off the coats, jumpers and winter boots in favour of pretty dresses and flip-flops...or at least we've started thinking about it!
But before we can fully embrace summer we need to first jump into spring - a fantastic transitional time where we can start to peel back the layers and add some light, fresh touches to our wardrobe. Here at Best in the Country HQ we've been having a good long think about our spring collection (since autumn actually) and we've managed to pick out five essential items from our SS14 range that will help ease you into summer...

1) A light piece of knitwear. Chunky knits are so last season, but lets not put the knitwear to bed entirely just yet. An elegant, fine knit cardigan is a great way to add layers to a spring outfit and on warmer days can take the place of a jacket. In summer they are essential for evenings out as the temperature starts to drop. We love the Alma Cardigan from Barbour in a beautiful pearl shade with subtle British Waterways floral trim.

2) A silk Neck Scarf. A beautiful way to add detailing into a light summer outfit to create a more formal style, a neck scarf is enough to keep out any chill and versatile enough to be worn in numerous ways. We love the Bloomfield Scarf from Joules - available in Nautical or Cream Bird designs - or push the boat out with the exquisite Claudia scarf from Laksen.

3) A light, quilted Jacket. On cooler spring days you'll be glad of having an a stylish light quilt to hand. These gorgeous, flattering jackets will keep out the chill without cramping your spring style. Barbour's Morris Utility Quilt, in Pearl is one very desirable option.

4) Pumps. It can be difficult to part ways with your comfy winter boots - they've seen us through so many cold, dark days. But with summer on the way it is time to invest in a pair of beautiful flats, the perfect footwear for putting a spring in your step on those long summer days. The Elna Loafer from Joules is a stylish summer shoe ideal for working into a range of outfits.

5) Light Trousers. Celebrate the arrival of spring by reintroducing your legs to sunlight. Begin gradually with a pretty pair of capri pants; Joules Hepburn Trousers are a lovely option to brighten up your wardrobe.  

We hope this has given you a little bit of inspiration for your own spring looks. Happy shopping!

*The lace top used in the above photographs is the Lissy Top from Joules. 

Monday, 3 March 2014

Pancake Perfection!

Incase you'd missed it, tomorrow (Tuesday, March 4th) is pancake day. How are you planning to mark the occasion? Are you a pancake purist - armed only with your batter mix, a lemon and a spoonful of sugar - or do you just love those sinful American style pancakes with bacon and lashings of maple syrup for a diet-destroying but totally worth it brunch? Perhaps you prefer the refined charm of French style crepes with citrus and liquor (Grand Marnier or Cointreau) or a child friendly nutella filling. We've searched around for delicious and inspiring recipes guaranteed to keep you flipping happy all day!

Keeping it simple we'll start with a basic pancake recipe 'Perfect Pancakes' from BBC Good Food.

If you're looking to treat yourself try this Crepes Suzette recipe, only for grown-ups!

Put a healthy spin on your day with these Apricot and Honey Butter Pancakes.

Banana Pancakes with Bacon

Or how about Banana Pancakes with Crispy Bacon and Syrup.

Pancakes also lend themselves perfectly to savoury dishes. Make a meal out of your pancakes with these ideas...

Cheesy Mushroom, Pancetta and Spinach Pancake

Cheesy Mushroom, Pancetta and Spinach Pancakes

For a lighter, veggie option try these Ricotta and Spinach Crepes in Tomato Sauce

Last but certainly not least, lets have some fun with our pancakes - this recipe for 'Pancake Pops' is great inspiration!
Pancake Pops