We go around seeking out weird and wonderful places to stay. This blog is full of things we love, things we’ve found and some vague outdoorsy musings.

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A LITTLE WILD GARLIC RISOTTO

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The lovely Bella at Longlands sent us this photo yesterday of the beautiful bluebells and wild garlic in her Devon woodland over the weekend. And being the hungry beasts we are, it stirred up thoughts of this favourite from the Riverford recipe books. Bon appetit!

Ingredients

  • 30g butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 wet garlic, sliced thinly
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 250g risotto rice (arborio)
  • splash white wine or vermouth
  • 1 litre vegetable or chicken stock (hot)
  • large handful wild garlic leaves, roughly chopped
  • 50g parmesan, grated finely
  • wild garlic flowers to garnish

Method

  1. Cook garlic and onion slowly in some butter and oil for about 10 minutes without colouring. Add rice, turn up the heat and cook until the rice is coated with garlic mix, season and add alcohol. Stir until the wine has been absorbed.
  2. Next, add the stock until rice is just covered and turn down the heat. Maintain rice at a gentle simmer and keep adding stock once the last addition has been absorbed. After about 10 minutes add wild garlic leaves and stir into rice. Add more stock. After another 5 minutes, when rice is just cooked but has some bite, add the butter and cheese.*
  3. Season and serve with a sprinkling of cheese and some wild garlic flowers if the fancy takes you!

*NADA’S TOP TIP - Add a little lemon zest for an added zing.

LLAMAS READ THE CANOPY & STARS POST TOO!

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Check out this little guy perusing the latest issue of The Canopy & Stars Post at Gabriel & Bathsheba, one of our fab special places in Kent.

FOR ALL BUDDING TREEHOUSE DESIGNERS…

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We’ve teamed up with Fat Face to send one lucky family on a three night break to Treetops Treehouse in Devon.

Here are just a few of the amazing entries that we’ve been blown away by! So get your little ones to dig out their crayons as there is still time to create a masterpiece - the closing date is 5 May. Enter here.

AN ANNIVERSARY IN MENDIP MOLLY

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Jane B, one of our lovely guests sent us this snap of her recent trip to Mendip Molly, where she and her husband celebrated 24 years since meeting. Congratulations to you both, this is just the thing we love to hear about!

OUR ESSENTIAL CHECKLIST FOR SPRING/SUMMER 2014

Take a peek at our essential glamping checklist for all the answers to the quandries you may not even find yourself in until you’re knee deep in mud without your wellies or pac-a-mac.

Find out how to make use of a Kelly Kettle, when to check in to take optimum advantage of the sunny evenings and what to cook on the campfire.

And if you haven’t decided on your glamping destination for 2014 yet, why not put the checklist into practice at one of the special places in our collection?

WHIP UP YOUR OWN WAGON

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Ever fancied designing and creating your very own glamping getaway? Well, now’s your chance!

One of our fabulous owners, the lovely James Noble, has a distinct love of wagons and has decided to pass on his passion to other appreciative folk by running a course in October.

For three days from 3-5 October in Pewsey, Wiltshire, the course will explore the designing of wagons of different sizes as well as a look into the more technical aspects of how they are made. The cost of the three days will be £360, including accommodation and food. Visit James’ website for more details.

James is also the proud owner of The Wagon and craftsman of Gwennol, just a couple of wheeled wonders from the Canopy & Stars collection.

WE HEAR CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER…

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Lovely news has reached the office from some delighted guests who stayed at Lost Meadow Tree Tent in January 2014. After some secretive plotting between Steve and Lost Meadow’s owner Ian, Steve popped the question and Vicki said yes! A big congratulations to them both!

SHOOTING FILM BARWOOD STYLE

In 2014, a time when everyone has at least one digital camera glued to them at all times - some of them with more megapixels than you can shake a stick at, why would we still care about shooting film? Apart from the sheer look and the richer, more physical quality of film shots, there is its effect on you. Today we take more photos than ever but make less and less meaningful beautiful images. When you have sometimes as few as ten shots per roll, you really take a moment and think before you shoot, frame out that ugly thing in the background and wait for what Henri Cartier-Bresson called the decisive moment - that moment that you still manage to miss when you take 30 photos of the same thing with your phone.

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WIN 100 CANOPY & STARS GLAMPING TRIPS WITH YEO VALLEY

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We’re super excited to be part of Yeo Valley’s current on-pack promotion now in store until June 2014! Enter for your chance to win one of two VW campervans and 100 of our wonderful glamping trips! Plus, you get to enjoy the scrumptuous Yeo Valley goods you purchased too.

CANOPY & STARS AWAY DAY AND HORSEPLAY

Every so often, as the Canopy & Stars team, we need to take a day and get out on the field and enjoy our special places as you, our loyal guests would do (it’s a hard job but someone’s gotta do it!).

So last Tuesday, we did just that and jumped on the M5 to head down to Devon and spend one day and one night at two of the six safari tents at Longlands, nestled among the rolling hills of Exmoor. 

We arrived to be met by Longlands owner, the lovely Bella Given who introduced us to our tents, Lundy and Lee and showed us the ins and outs of the impressive wood burning range and jingly paraffin lamps hanging from the ceiling. After a quick cuppa and the important task of baggsie-ing beds, it was time for an away-day activity. We were going horse riding!

A short drive brought us to Dean Riding Stables and after being introduced to our ponies and fitted with riding hats, we went for a lovely long stroll with our horses and their trainers down some hair-raising hills. Despite a close shave with a horse and cart, we managed to progress onto trotting as we clung tightly onto the saddles of our steeds! It was a fantastic couple of hours and if you’re ever at Longlands, the stables are just five minutes drive away.

After such a fun-packed morning, it was time to knuckle down to a bit of strategy in the afternoon, which, when you’re surrounded by such beautiful views and scoffing locally-made award-winning pasties (and a few other cheeky bits and bobs) really didn’t feel like work. We even had prosecco and Bella’s homemade lasagna to look forward to afterwards which always softens the blow, right?!

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