Essential oils – a natural alternative

This is our first guest blog by the wonderful Liz of Hampshire based Oriental Lillies…

Are you worried about all the pharmaceuticals you are taking, concerned about potentially harmful effects, not to mention the cost?  Me too.

I’d prefer to use a more natural solution to my family’s health issues, using instead pure doTERRA essential oils distilled from plants, fruits & roots.

It makes sense – essential oils are the immune system of the plants, that protect them from harm against their natural predators: bacteria, insects, wildlife, etc.

Now, we turn first to our essential oils medicine cabinet. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years, dating back to pre-Biblical times, when the therapeutic effects of essential oils were already well known.

In our essential oils medicine cabinet today, we have many oils, such as:


  • Cleanses, purifies and invigorates
  • Works well to brighten your mood


A must-have oil that:

  • Eases tensions
  • Promotes restful sleep


  • Soothes tummy upsets
  • Acts as a great pick-me-up when inhaled


“The King of Oils”, that:

  • Eases tense headaches
  • Promotes relaxation


  • Natural immune support
  • A powerful cleansing agent

Like to know more?

Then check out our website at, or come along to one of our free Winchester-based classes: “Essential oils – Nature’s medicine cabinet” (book online at


Or just come along to one of our twice-weekly Drop-Ins at Rawberry Juice or Café Winchester (see above) and have an informal chat. Details on our social media channels – Instagram; Facebook or Twitter.

We look forward to seeing you!



Oriental Lillies

Chocolate, chocolate & more chocolate!

Recently, I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon in a real-life chocolate factory, jealous? You should be!

Tucked away in picturesque Alresford sits Chocolate Craft, owned by former NHS worker Debbie Carter, who discovered a passion for making fantastic chocolate, and decided to take the plunge and make a business out of what she loves.

Specialising in bespoke chocolates and supplying high end shops such as Fortum & Mason, she has branched out in to the world of chocolate making workshops. Chocolate Craft also offer corporate team building days, hen parties or private parties for anyone who fancies their hand at making beautiful treats to take home.

Workshops take place in a working factory, led by a really knowledgable team, and every aspect is really hands-on. Their speciality is piping with chocolate to create beautifully decorated lollies and individual chocolates and everyone is taught how to do this during the session.

We began with a tray of chocolate moulds, layered with either white, dark or milk chocolates. The next part was my favourite, putting together my ganache filling with fruits, essential oils or alcohols, to make whatever flavour you fancy. After sealing and tucking the chocolates away in the fridge, we were given tools to practice some amazing chocolate piping, first on paper and then on some lollies.

When our tray of chocolates were sufficiently set, we spent time adding some decorations, and were sent away with them in lovely gold presentation boxes!

I felt really comfortable for the whole session, we all had more than enough attention and time to create something I never would have thought I could do. My final production was high quality, not something I could have done on my own at home, and thanks to the help of some incredibly patient teachers, they tasted great too!


Nestled in the beautiful Parchment street, Toscanaccio has established a reputation as Winchester’s go to for Italian wines, speciality foods and some stand out spirits. For 5 and half years the team, led by owner Cat, has curated a collection of produce, and each piece is tried and tested by the staff, and sometimes the customers too! Nothing makes it onto their shelves without approval by their distinguished palates.

Having been in the wine industry since 2005, Cat is the heart and sole of Toscanaccio, with a passion for providing expertise and advice to customers, she is happily embracing the sense of community brought to her by the Winchester locals. The best thing about meeting Cat was her genuine enthusiasm to connect with customers, and give them a personal service, getting know them, giving them new things to try and building a relationship with them.

As well as their regular refreshed stock selection, Toscanaccio also offer an array of events including wine tasting, gin tasting, a book club (for those who like a little treat along with their literature!), and a winter wine fair. Take a look here for further details and to book your tickets. You can browse and buy spirits and wines on their website too, bonus!

Not sure where to start with wine buying? Pop in and have a chat with them! FYI when I asked Cat what her favourite wine was, it was a difficult decision, but she settled on the Montresor Soave, fresh and lightly fruity with delicate floral aromas of honeysuckle, elderflower and a hint of spice.

Exciting Escapes!

Granted, at first thought, spending an hour locked in a room with your colleagues may not sound like a good time, and wouldn’t normally be our idea of fun. Exciting Escapes has changed our minds!

You may have heard about, or visited, escape rooms in the past, the general concept is to solve puzzles within a given time period to ‘escape’ the room. Exciting Escapes is so much more than this. From the moment we stepped through the door, we were immersed in the 1950’s, recruited as civilian spies to help save the country! Their unique ability to set the scene, engage you in the experience, and inject a good dose of excitement will make sure even your most sceptical team member will crack a smile.

We won’t give away any plot points, but we can say that the story is totally absorbing. We split into two teams and went head to head in the two identical rooms in a bid to beat each other to the finish line. It was a fantastic way to refocus a team of work colleagues on what our individual strengths are, and think about how we could function in the business setting. From stat to finish, the whole experience was well put together, full of humour, and most importantly fun!BAS Sarah Vear 0709.JPG

Exciting Escapes was started in 2016 by brothers David and Peter, who are the heart and soul of the business. Every interaction with them with them is packed with passion, which gives important personality to the session. Nearly 9,000 people have now played a mission at Exciting Escapes. From corporate team building to school outings, Date nights to Hen and Stag Parties, and ages from 8 to 80. With venues in Southampton and Basingstoke, we can thoroughly recommend you give Exciting Escapes a try, you won’t regret it!

Competition time…

We’ve got a six person game at Exciting Escapes worth £120 to give away to a lucky winner, all you have to do is answer the following question (hint: their website holds the answer):

During which war might you be solving a murder in one of the Exciting Escape rooms?

Design your own Christmas card!

Do you have a talented artist in the family?  Now’s the chance for Hampshire children aged 4-11 to showcase their design skills!

Help Winchester Discovery Centre celebrate its 10th birthday this autumn by taking part in its children’s Christmas card competition.  The closing date is Sunday 5 November, so now is the time to sharpen your pencils and dust off your paint brushes.

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Download your entry form here, and read through the rules carefully to make sure your entry is eligible. Once you’re happy with your card design, you need to take it into Winchester Discovery Centre or post it to arrive by the closing date.  You’ll need to include your name, age, telephone number and email address.  Entries can be posted to: Christmas Card Competition, Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB.

Card designs can be any theme you want: maybe you’ll go for a traditional Christmas scene with snowmen and reindeer, perhaps a snowy scene in Hampshire, or you might prefer to use the lovely architecture of Winchester Discovery Centre itself as your inspiration. It’s up to you!

Winners will have their card printed and sold in Winchester Discovery Centre this Christmas, all proceeds will be donated to SSAFA.

“Life’s too short to drink bad wine.”

From the consumer to the connoisseur,  Berry Bros. and Rudd’s (BBR) wine warehouse facility at Basingstoke has something to teach each and every one of us about the delicious world of wine.

I can’t resist the opportunity to see behind the scenes at places, and as my friends will tell you, I can’t resist a glass or two of decent wine. Recently I was invited into the chilly surroundings of their principal wine storage facility at Hamilton Close in Basingstoke. First stop was a large wine shop which is attached to their premises, and is open to the public six days a week. There’s no minimum purchase and individual bottles of wine start from around £7.50.  The shop stocks a hang-over inducing range of wines, spirits, champagnes and sparkling wines from around the world, including BBR’s own brands. There are bin end offers with discounted bottles from the end of certain vintages and they even offer 15% discount if you buy any six bottles. On top of this you get the added advantage of the knowledge and advice of the experienced team in the shop, who can help you choose the right wine for every occasion, and also help to match the wine to the food. There’s also the opportunity to taste a number of wines which are open to try – a chance to spread your wings a bit and try grape varieties that might be new to you. Treat yourself to a wine between £10 and £12 a bottle and discover the difference it makes – you deserve it.

Fine wines from and investment perspective are often regarded as a ‘safe haven’ during turbulent economic times. A huge part of BBR’s business is buying, trading and storing wine for clients who want to purchase particular vintages, or buy wines for the future – be that as an investment or just to open on a special day in the future. Maybe buy a case of something special when a baby is born and drink it at their wedding? Berry Bros. & Rudd’s reputation has been gained over the 320 years of its existence. Fine wines are held ‘in bond’ in its warehouses in Basingstoke for private customers, hedge funds, aristocracy, celebrities and of course the Queen, in temperature controlled conditions at a constant 12 degrees centigrade – plus or minus one degree. These fine wines – many worth thousands of pounds a bottle – are also traded using their own version of eBay called BBX. All the wine is insured and confidentiality is guaranteed.

Wine experts from Berry Bros. & Rudd travel the world tasting new vintages as they become available, before they are bottled. These are then offered to buyers or investors  ’en primeur’ (a bit like buying a house off plan)and then delivered to go into storage at Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Basingstoke facility until the customer requests them. Seven of the world’s 370 Masters of Wine are employed by Berry Bros. & Rudd.

A fascinating tour or a huge facility that still manages to provide a very personal service to every customer – whether that’s popping in for a few bottles for yourself or investing in some of the most sought after wines in the world.

Look out for Berry Bros. and Rudd’s premises at 3 St James Street, London, in the new film ‘Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ which features a number of iconic English brands, in cinemas from mid-September.

Winchester Jazz Festival

Something’s afoot in Winchester! The sound of the trumpet is echoing down the high street, drum beats vibrate the windows of the Cathedral, and we could have sworn we heard a saxophone solo coming from the Buttercross…

There’s only one explanation for this musical invasion, Winchester Jazz Festival is back for 2017, just in time to help us through the end of the summer!

The festival is Directed by Hampshire’s own queens of vintage soul, Anna Harding, Hannah Castleman and Louisa Revolta. They have spent six years together as The Spitfire Sisters, and their love of music, particularly jazz, inspired them to start Winchester Jazz Festival. This year’s WJF starts on Thursday 21st September with events across the city.

With have an amazing array of acts performing throughout Winchester, audiences will enjoy four days of top quality entertainment from the jazz world.

We asked them what it was all about, and they told us that “by bringing the jazz festival to this beautiful and historic city, we create a platform to nurture local talent, expose a wider local audience to world-class jazz music and show the rest of the UK what Winchester has to offer as a destination for the arts. We are working in partnership with the city’s key arts venues as well as alongside our valued independent pubs, bars and cafés in order to offer a diverse program of ticketed and free events, balancing maximum engagement with high quality performances.”

Take a look at the full programme of events on the website here!

Competition Time

Fancy winning yourself 2 tickets to Edana Minghella at The Railway? Of course you do! Recently described as “flawless, stylish and captivating” (The Critic, Brighton Argus), Edana Minghella is a highly successful jazz vocalist, regularly playing at festivals and to full houses at home and abroad. Just fill in the form below by midnight on Thursday 21 September to be in with a chance of winning.

Enjoy Hampshire complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. Your personal details will only be used to supply requested information. The details will be shared with Enjoy Hampshire staff for processing purposes only and will not be shared with any other organisation.

Open sesame!

September is a great month for discovering and learning – and not just for the children heading back to school. Why? Because it’s the time of Heritage Open Days which, for the uninitiated, is when lots of fascinating places in the UK – theatres, museums, gardens – open their doors to the public for FREE! You don’t have to be a culture vulture or travel far to appreciate this extraordinary festival. In fact, Heritage Open Days is a chance to see what’s on your doorstep in a new light. Perhaps you’ll uncover something about a place you thought you knew really well…

You can search for events happening on the Heritage Open Days website.

Hampshire has a strong military history so, for my HOD highlights, I’ve selected three venues that offer a rich source of information on this topic. All three are on the south coast and can be easily reached over one weekend.

8 & 9 September

Calshot Castle, Fawley

Take a drive through the New Forest and stop at Calshot Castle, at the end of Calshot Spit, for historical military stories and stunning views across the Solent. Henry VIII built the castle as one of his coastal defences and many years later it became one of the first seaplane bases of the Royal Navy. There’s a beach nearby too, which is well worth a visit while enjoying an ice cream. 


9 September

Lepe Country Park, New Forest

Lepe played an important role in the run up to D-Day and during the Cold War and this is the main focus of the day’s events. There will be exhibitions, talks, children’s trails and guided walks. It’s worth noting that there is a charge for the guided walk but all other activities are free.


9 & 10 September

Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley, Nr Southampton

This park is popular with dog walkers and families with young kids, but there’s so much more to it. For a start, it used to be home to a massive military hospital serving soldiers of the Empire. During HOD you can explore its history with tours and exhibitions and then take a walk to find the war graves. It will make for a moving experience.


Anvil Coffee Roasters

The smell of freshly roasted coffee, there’s nothing quite like it! Lucky for us, we spent a morning at local coffee roasters, Basingstoke based Anvil Coffee, discovering what makes this Hampshire produced coffee different to the rest.


With a small but incredibly qualified team of 12, nestled in West Ham Industrial Estate,  Anvil have quickly established themselves as a premium brand with a passion for freshness, and we were greeted with a steaming mug of Kenyan blend, rich and fruity, just the thing to kick start the morning!

Having just been awarded 2 Great Taste Awards, one 3 star for their Espresso Blend, and a 1 star for their Brazilian Blend, Anvil are true advocates for the quality produce we have in Hampshire.

From choosing the best green beans, to blending and roasting, the whole process is carefully managed to maintain quality and freshness. We were given the chance to watch the roasting in process, which is carried out on site.


As well as a well stocked online shop where you can get your favourite blends, Anvil offer courses for both the rookie and the professional Baristas among us. If you fancy dipping your toes in the art of coffee, we recommend the half day introduction, you’ll be wowing your friends with your brewing prowess after this!

As a member of our Enjoy Hampshire community, we’ve got a special discount code just for our readers, enter ENJOYHAMPSHIRE at the checkout to receive a 10% discount off your first order of coffee beans.

Move over Countryfile – it’s time for The Alresford Show

The Alresford Show has been around for over 100 years and gets bigger and better every year. This year’s show is on Saturday, 2 September from 10.00am to 6pm at its usual venue, Tichborne Park, a mile or so south of Alresford and well signposted.


You might be thinking “Isn’t it just for farmers?”, well we went behind the scenes today with one of the volunteer organisers, Becca (pictured with the lovely Tinker), to find out what al the fuss and the big yellow AA signs everywhere were all about.

Whether you like vintage tractors, horses, sheep or a chance to enjoy the best local produce and some pig racing Alresford Show has got the lot. It attracts over 20,000 visitors every year. For children there’s a climbing tree, a play area with tractors and slides, Punch and Judy and ferret racing. For adults there’s a chance to learn a lot about (and even talk to!) sheep, visit the WI tent, sample some local gin, see local sausages being made, and of course there’s plenty of food to choose from and several beer tents. All this is topped off by the Grand Parade, with all types of livestock beautifully turned out for the occasion and some vintage cars and tractors. The entire show is put together by volunteers and it raises a huge amount for the charities the show supports.

I’ve only touched on a few of the highlights but the website has much more information and ticket prices.

So is it just for farmers? Absolutely not! This is a real all rounder, and you’ll easily spend a whole day here no matter who you are.


Enjoy Hampshire has been given a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) worth £40.00 to the show, a winner will be picked at random on Friday, 1 September. Just fill in the form* below to enter.

This competition closes at 12pm on Friday 1 September, entries after this time will not count, and the ticket can not be transferred or exchanged.

*Enjoy Hampshire complies with the Data Protection Act 1998. Your personal details will only be used to supply requested information. The details will be shared with Enjoy Hampshire staff for processing purposes only and will not be shared with any other organisation.