14 Apr 2018
Easy Campfire Breakfast Recipes | Drop Scones / Pancakes

Food and Fire: Drop Scones or Pancakes

Another easy and firm campfire breakfast (or afternoon snack) favourite is Drop Scones – serve with maple syrup. Surprisingly easy and often not on your radar with busy mornings but while glamping, enjoy the slower pace and rustle up some pancakes for brekkie!

INGREDIENTS

25g unsalted butter
140g self-raising flour
pinch of fine salt
1 tbsp white caster sugar (leave out for savoury version, and replace with a pinch of pepper if you fancy it)
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract. (leave out of the savoury version, and add a pinch of dried herbs if you fancy a herby flavour)
150ml semi-skimmed milk.

METHOD

  1. Make the mix in a ziplock bag and pour out to make drop scones.
  2. Heat a skillet or pan (or Dutch Oven lid turned upside down) on the campfire to a moderate heat. Pour out a measures of mix onto the pan and wait for bubbles to evenly form, flip and wait until golden brown.
  3. Serve with maple syrup, golden syrup, jam, chocolate spread, honey, or even marmite (if you leave out the sugar and vanilla extract!)

Image credit: www.getoutwiththekids.co.uk

16 Mar 2018
Yurt Heather | Glamping Yurts Scotland Perthshire

A Beginners Guide to Glamping in Scotland

So what exactly is Glamping?

Well it is often referred to as “Posh Camping” and it certainly doesn’t involve pitching a tent in the pouring rain or dark! The main difference is glamping typically provides a permanent or semi-permanent structure like a yurt, cabin, treehouse, pod, or shepherds hut. The beauty of this is that you don’t need to worry about setting up ‘camp’ and having a few arguments (!) when you arrive.

Yurt Heather | Glamping Yurts Scotland Perthshire

Why not try Glamping in Scotland?

Given the sometimes unpredictable climate in Scotland having a solid structure with heating is a real bonus. Somewhere to escape from the rain and cold and even the midges, as they certainly don’t like fire and smoke!

Staying in a glamping structure gives you a cosy and comfortable base from which to explore the beauty of the local countryside.

When you go glamping you have all the benefits of camping – that is, being close to the great outdoors and wildlife – hearing the owls hooting at night, campfire cooking, star gazing, the wind rustling in the trees, rain drops on canvas in a yurt or bell tent, but you’ll be super cosy inside!

How is Glamping different?

Glamping facilities are typically a good notch above camping, some practical essentials and a few little luxuries, like ensuite bathroom facilities and perhaps a roll top bath, a wood burner, and sometimes even wood-fired hot tubs, heated towel rails, and electric blankets. Now that certainly isn’t roughing it! 🙂

Yurt Heather | Glamping Yurts Scotland Perthshire

You’ll still have to be able to light a fire (don’t worry it’s not tricky and we make it super easy for you) and boil your kettle on the gas stove, campfire or wood burner. The chef can demonstrate their wilderness cooking prowess on the fire pit and provide a meal rustled up in the great outdoors!

Wood-Fired Hot Tub | Luxury Yurt Glamping in Scotland

Glamping places can sometimes be a little quirky too – converted tanks and horseboxes come to mind – but we think glamping should not just be a little different but also comfortable and even luxurious – that’s our AH style!

New to Glamping? Here’s our ‘What to Bring’ Checklist…

Clothing & Footwear

Bring your waterproofs – the best ones to have are the ones that fold up into wee bags, as it could be rain, shine, and hail all in the one walk. We recommend Muck Boots for your wellies, as they have an extra inner that’s more comfy for walking, but gives you full leg coverage for those bogs that definitely come and find you mid walk…., or a good pair of walking boots (fully waterproofed) and a pair of gaiters does just as well if you are going to be romping across the Scottish hills again sometime soon, but they are quite a bit more expensive.

Plenty of Clothes

If you are a newbie to glamping, remember to bring plenty of layers of clothes, as the temperature extremes are greater when you are glamping than in a house. And PJ’s & slipper socks – they are so comfy and warm, and just perfect for curling up in in front of the wood burner.

We also highly recommend a warm hat for when you are sitting in the hot tub, as the rest of you is toasty, but your head gets quite cold in the breeze! A pair of flip flops can also be handy when padding across a wooden deck or path to a hot tub.

Glamping Yurt with Hot Tub | Gleneagles Perthshire Scotland

Absolute Essentials

Definitely remember to bring a torch (not just your phone app one!), as you are going to be outside at some point for sure, and probably in the dark!

If you are a light sleeper – bring ear plugs. Glamping structures are all wind and waterproof, but they are definitely not sound proof – so do remember that you will be able to hear the wind, rain and animals around and about at night. We love the sound of the owls hooting and the wind rustling the trees but perhaps not if you are a light sleeper!

And not forgetting, your sense of adventure!

Food & Drink

Remember those marshmallows or chestnuts to roast on the fire… there’s just something so lovely about the smell of roasting chestnuts on a real fire.

If you want some camp fire cooking inspiration before your next glamping trip – take a look at our easy and fun camp fire recipes.

Toasting Marshmallows on a Campfire | Glamping in Scotland | Near Glenagles

What NOT to bring!

Embrace not having your hair straighteners and makeup, let your hair go frizzy! Enjoy what nature has given you, and just being you, the deer and squirrels really won’t notice if you’ve painted your face and fingernails and if you’ve got long hair, perfect that french plait before you come away, its a perfect morning standby hairdo. 🙂

Leave the iPad and Bluetooth speaker at home and just disconnect from your busy life and reconnect with a loved one and time spent in the beautiful great outdoors.

ENJOY…

Beginners Glamping Guide | Glamping Yurts Gleneagles Perthshire

 

04 Mar 2018
Easy Campfire Breeakfast Recipes | French Toast

Food and Fire: a campfire breakfast favourite – French Toast

Now strictly speaking, you don’t need to be camping or glamping to do this recipe but somehow it always tastes better when cooked over a campfire in my opinion.

French Toast is truly AMAZING on the campfire and a standard Scout breakfast in my Scout group. 🙂

INGREDIENTS

Any supermarket basic white bread or try cinnamon bread for a fruity twist
Eggs – beaten up – (feel free to give them a good hammering), in a shallow wide bowl
Dips;
Savoury – herbs, salt, pepper, beaten up eggs in a shallow flat bowl
Sweet – cinnamon, brown sugar, tiny bit of five spice if you like its flavour, you can also add fruit like blueberries or strawberries
Traditionally served with Maple Syrup if you like it or also Nutella can be a naughty treat

METHOD

Dip on one of the following mixes and fry in a big skillet with a glug of oil or butter, until golden brown on both sides.

 

Image credit: www.417mag.com

10 Feb 2018
Banana Boats | Camp Fire Cooking - Pudding Recipes

Food and Fire: Banana Boats

These have got to be one of the simplest camp fire pudding recipe ideas but they never fail to deliver and make everyone smile.

They are versatile in terms of fillings and no plates are required! Perfect 🙂

INGREDIENTS:

Bananas (1 per person or more if still hungry!)
Fruit – strawberries, raspberries
Chocolate or Nutella
Marshmallows, sprinkles, nuts

METHOD:

1. Take one banana

2. Slice through, but not all the way through, leaving the skin on, so that the banana can be ‘opened’ length ways.

3. Fill with delicious things – fruit, chocolate, marshmallows and nuts

4. Wrap in one layer of baking parchment and then finally wrap in foil

5. Pop in the fire to melt and make yummy

Open up and eat when it has cooled down a bit….. enjoy! 🙂

07 Jan 2018
Wedding Stationery - Freefall Design | Tartan

How to Wow your Guests with Unique Wedding Stationery

Your wedding day is like a story. Or more accurately (as the saying goes) one that’s about to begin. But with so much to tell, where do you start?

Should it be with the perfect ceremony or with a decadent drinks reception?

Some tales are best told from the beginning. Invite your guests to embark on your wedding day journey with subtle ‘save the dates’ to give them a taste of what’s to come, followed by beautiful invites before the big day, and finally delight them with heartfelt thank you cards to summon fond memories of your special day.

Just like your flowers and your finishing touches, there’s something special about beautiful wedding stationery that’s been designed especially for you.

Wedding Stationery - Freefall Design | Tartan

Kirsten combines beautiful fonts and unique illustrations to create bespoke stationery packages at Freefall Design, from save the dates to your thank you cards (and everything in between). Here are some of her top tips on how to design and deliver your own designs, for wedding stationery that’s uniquely yours.

Venue sketch

A sketch or illustration of your special venue will let guests see your location from a unique perspective.

Wedding Stationery - Freefall Design | Buttons

Colours

Incorporating the colours from your wider theme (like your flowers and bridesmaids dresses) into your wedding invites will ensure that the pre-wedding experience is in keeping with the big day itself.

Tartans and fabrics

Transforming your favourite fabrics into a digital background is a fantastic way to add depth to your invitations. There are so many textured papers and cards to choose from now, that you really can make receiving your invites a tactile experience for your guests! Combining a fabric inspired background with a textured card will give your guests a lovely surprise when they pick your invite up to read it.

Wedding Stationery - Freefall Design | Tartan

Flowers

Having your flowers illustrated on the front of your invites is a lovely touch that’s both colourful and in keeping with the day. It’s a great way to add a personal touch, if you don’t want to give away too much about the venue or the overall theme before the big day arrives.

Seasonal scenes

Drawing on seasonal themes to inspire your design is a beautiful idea and one that works particularly well if you’ll be having seasonal flowers, colours schemes or table dressings.

Hand-finishing

Everything from cut-out flowers and laser cut designs to bows, glitter and diamantes, can be added to your invites by hand, to create something that’s uniquely yours.

Wedding Stationery - Freefall Design | Hand Finishing

Presentation

How will your invites arrive? Once your chosen design has been tailored and refined for you, it’s time to think about how your guests will receive it. Do you have a lot of information to send out to guests? If so, a pocket-fold style may be the answer.

Pocket-folds allow you to add more surface area to your cards without losing their neatness, and add in elements like RSVP cards, accommodation details or venue directions.

If you prefer to keep things short and sweet, a simple yet stylish postcard invite tucked away with an RSVP is the perfect way to deliver your invites. Have them loose in a simple envelope or fasten all your elements together with twine, tartan ribbon or a belly band – whatever goes with your theme!

TOP TIP: Whether you’re working with a bespoke designer or crafting your own invites, it will definitely help you to ‘idea gather’ along the way. Put together a moodboard (Pinterest is just perfect for this!) with all of your favourite designs, colour schemes you love and anything else you find inspiring. This will give both you and your designer an idea of what you like, making it easy for your designer to craft your perfect invites!

Bespoke or not, it’s a good idea to have a really good think about what you want from your invites. Do you want to give guests a sneaky taster of the big day? Or do you want to share something beautiful that appealed to you right away?

Creating your own design is an exciting and rewarding journey of beautiful fonts and unique illustrations, luxurious cards and pretty finishings. It’s a journey that you’ll love taking, but one whose results you’ll enjoy sharing even more.

Looking for more invitation inspiration?

Browse some of Kirsten’s unique wedding stationery at Freefall Design.

15 Dec 2017
Portable Camp Fire | Campfire Cooking Recipes

Food and Fire: Campfire Simple Flat Bread

You can just about cook anything on a campfire and one of our AH favourites is the simple flat bread! A staple meal accompaniment and tasty into the bargain…

INGREDIENTS

1 mug of plain flour if you only have self raising that will work fine, it’ll just puff up a little bit
A pinch of salt
1/2 – 1 tablespoon
Enough cold or warm water to turn the mix into a dough

METHOD

  1. Pop all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or large ziploc bag. Pour in the oil then add the water slowly, stirring the bowl or massaging the bag as you go.
  2. When you have something that looks approximately dough-like, tip out onto a lightly floured board or table and roll or press into as evenly thin as possible. If it looks too wet and is sticking to everything, add more flour. If it is dry and crumbly, pop back in the bowl or bag and add a bit more water at a time until it looks smooth.
  3. Squish the bread into flatbreads with your hands (who needs a rolling pin when you’ve got palms?!) 🙂 Any shape is fine, as long as it is thin and flat. If it looks like a flat pineapple that’s cool, if it just looks like a misshapen flat thing, that is also fine, it will taste great either way!
  4. Heat up a skillet or frying pan on the fire or gas stove and add a little dash of oil. You don’t really want a lot of oil in there, just enough to stop the bread from sticking.
  5. Cook each flatbread for a couple minutes, until the dough puffs up with fat bubbles and the bottom looks golden brown in places. Flip over and cook the other side.
  6. Spread with chocolate spread, jam, honey, maple syrup or just about anything that you want really…. or pop it back in the pan when you’ve half cooked the second side, and add some tomato puree with grated cheese, pop a lid on the pan, find a cooler spot on the fire, and make pan pizza as the cheese melts. OK, so it won’t be browned, but it will taste amazing!

YUM 🙂

11 Nov 2017
CHAS Fawkes-y Ladies Lunch Nov 2017

CHAS Fawkes-y Ladies Lunch – November 2017

Dear Jo & Alexander House

Our annual CHAS Fawkes-y Ladies Lunch took place at Prestonfield on Friday 3rd November 2017 and there was a buzz in the room from the outset when the 475 guests arrived for an afternoon filled full of fun, laughter, tears and dancing.

Michelle McManus was once again the perfect host for the day, bringing lots of laughs and the annual sing-a-long to ‘I know him so well’ which has already had 7.5k views on Facebook.  Movie Mania from F3 Entertainment had all the ladies singing and dancing along to all their favourite songs from Dirty Dancing to Mama Mia. Former Scotland Rugby legend Andy Nichol worked his magic during the live auction and expertly raised a phenomenal amount.

There were some fabulous prizes to be won during our fundraising games from a case of Tattinger courtesy of Tilney, to a Covet handbag, £500 voucher for Harvey Nichols courtesy of Mazars and a beautiful diamond pendant from Laings Edinburgh.

The guests heard all about our Keep The Joy Alive Campaign and were encouraged to complete their own name tag of support. But it was CHAS mum Anne Hollern who really brought home why we were all there when she shared her story of her beautiful children, Robbie and Rosie.  You can see her powerful story here.

I am delighted to tell you that Alexander House generated £5,250 in the live auction and the yurts together raised £1,030.  That is a tremendous amount, thank you so much!!!!

We couldn’t hold events like these without the tremendous support we receive people like yourself.  With your help, alongside the incredible generosity of the guests on the day, we raised a phenomenal £137,244 which after costs means £105,500 will go directly to our work with families like The Hollern’s.

Kind regards
Diane Alton

Senior Events Co-ordinator


Alexander House proudly supports Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

CHAS is the only charity in Scotland that provides vital hospice services for children and young people with life-shortening conditions.

 

10 Nov 2017

Make your Hen Do a Pool Party!

Pool parties are a great idea for Hen parties, which makes Alexander House the ideal venue!

Stay with us for the weekend and you have full use of our heated pool. Should the weather decide to be unkind you can still have plenty of fun under the retractable glass cover.

Hen Party Ideas | Pool Party | Inflatables

Float to your hearts content…

Don’t forget to plan your party theme and prepare ahead. We find that inflatables are a must for any discerning Hen pool party and ladies who love to lounge and float around with a cocktail in one hand. A trawl of the Internet is bound to throw up fun floats to suit your theme – from pineapples and donuts to swans and unicorns.

No party is complete without some tunes!

Put together a great playlist of girlie favourites – maybe ask each guest to choose songs that have relevance to her relationship with the Hen, you’ll end up with a fabulous and eclectic mix of music. Props for photo opportunities are also a good idea – now is not the time to wear your Prada sunglasses, go crazy with fun glasses and top off with flower crowns for everyone. You’ll be in and out of the pool, so personalised robes are a really nice touch. Tie them into your theme by choosing an appropriate colour or get personalised ones with your names or pool party ‘persona’?!

Planning to give everyone a keepsake from the Hen do? Forget paper bags, send them off with a child’s beach bucket full of goodies.:-)

Need ideas for your pool party theme?

How about one of these:

Go Moroccan
A great idea if your Hen loves to travel and makes for a very stylish look. Jazz up the pool area with rugs and scatter cushions and have metal lanterns ready for nightfall.

White Out
The celebs love white parties, so how can you possibly go wrong! Make all of your accessories white, get the girls to dress in white – it’ll be très sophistiqué!

Hot like Hawaii
Dress up in grass skirts and leis, put flowers in your hair, inflatable palm trees around the poolside and plan some cool cocktails.

Beach Club
Put up the sun umbrellas, fire up the barbie, fill the pool with beach balls, make sure you have the Beach Boys playing on a loop.

Bond Girls
Dress as glam as you can for in the pool and on the terrace, serve Martinis – shaken not stirred!

Why not check out our Hen Pool Party Pinterest Board for some accessories and theming ideas!

Ready to book your Hen pool party at Alexander House? Check out our availability or for more details give us a call on 01764 680205.

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27 Oct 2017
Campfire Cooking Pudding Recipes - Chocolate Orange Brownies

Food and Fire: Campfire Pudding Recipes – Chocolate Orange Brownies

These are delicious!

I am a firm believer that you can cook almost anything on a campfire and I will challenge anyone that says you can’t! And you can’t beat puddings done on a campfire and this one would be perfect for Bonfire Night too! 🙂

Campfire Cooking Pudding Recipes - Chocolate Orange Brownies

MAKES 6 CHOCOLATE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

180g Self Raising Flour
135g Muscavado sugar
135g Hot Chocolate Drink Mix (I use Sainsbury’s Basics Hot Chocolate drink)
3 small pinches of sea salt
45ml sunflower oil
A handful of chocolate drops
45ml orange juice
3 eggs
6 large oranges
Squirty Cream to decorate

Campfire Cooking Pudding Recipes - Chocolate Orange Brownies

METHOD

  1. Carefully scoop out all the orange from your oranges, taking out 45ml of juice but making sure that you eat the rest of the orange pulp (its yummy).
  2. Put the juice in your bowl.
  3. Set aside your scooped out oranges and their lids (you will need these to cook with).
  4. Mix all your ingredients together in a bowl.
  5. Stir in a handful of chocolate drops.
  6. Take your oranges and 2/3 fill with the mixture (it will rise) and put the tops back on.
  7. Wrap your oranges in foil, making sure that you keep them upright at all times! (otherwise the mixture will fall out!) It helps to put your own style of twist with the foil at the top so that you know whose oranges are whose.
  8. Put your wrapped oranges in the embers of the fire, not the flames, so that the cake slowly cooks,for about 25-30 minutes. Carefully peak inside – you should see cake mix peeping out of the lid.
  9. Take out of the fire, and leave to cool for 15 mins (it finishes up the cooking time).

EAT with a dash of squirty cream… ENJOY!

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12 Oct 2017
Wedding Wooden Bench Hire | Festival Wedding Venue Perthshire

Relaxed Wedding Styling for Festival Yurt, Tipi and Outdoor Weddings

Are you fed up with the coloured bows and chair covers? Are you looking for a more rustic relaxed wedding experience?

Choosing Wedding Furniture

If so where better to start than some unique rustic furniture. Wooden tables, benches and chairs provide the perfect backdrop and are a great way of bringing your guests together and encouraging them to mingle.

When set up in rows they are also space saving and this set up enables all guests to have a great view of the happy couple if the top table is set across the top of the rows.

If concerned about elderly guests sitting on benches perhaps go for a mix of chairs and benches.

For more comfort on your benches: bench pads, sheepskins, or blankets offer a great festival feel.

Wedding Wooden Bench Hire | Festival Wedding Venue Perthshire

Dressing Tables

This may seem daunting but its so simple to achieve beautiful table dressing without the need of a florist.

If you wish a larger area in the centre of your tables to dress or display food platters its a good idea to double up on the tables.

If doubling up tables – a runner of hessian, linen or coffee sacks provide a great base to your dressing whilst covering the join giving the appearance of one solid table.

Moss and greenery also provide a great camouflage centrepiece. Lace doilies, tilly lamps, antlers and candles also compliment wooden tables.

Wedding Wooden Bench Hire | Festival Wedding Venue Perthshire

Flower Styling

Trawl Pinterest for unique and simple flower styling ideas. Arrange your flowers, twigs, cones, herbs, plants or dried flowers in jam jars, glass vases, clay pots, tins, old bottles, milk bottles, metal goblets, teapots, or urns. The list is endless!

Use oasis in your containers if looking for structure i.e. with tall stems. Small logs can be used as stands for your containers to
give a variety of height.

Bear in mind when styling to keep arrangements out of eye level, either below or above so your guests can still chat freely.

Single long stems are great for this, they give height without obstruction.

Finish off with rustic handmade favours for that personal touch. Great ideas teamed with hessian ribbon, raffia, brown package labels, fruit, home made produce, plants, or vintage pegs. 🙂

Thanks for these wedding styling tips from our friends at www.woodenbenchhirecompany.co.uk who supply wedding tables, benches, chairs, tableware, props and vintage accessories to style your event. They have depots in Essex, Taunton, Sheffield and now Glasgow (All stock tables and benches).

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