So Fresh, So Green

Montpellier Train Station In the Rain

I’m one of those annoying people that genuinely quite likes a rainy day. During the inevitable downpours which followed the recent glorious weather everyone seemed to be lamenting the change in weather like that was it for summer; whereas I was feeling pretty chirpy and especially marvelling at how the word suddenly seemed so green. And of course documenting the fact through my iPhone…

St Michael's Hill St Michael on the Mount Without, Bristol St Michael's on the Mount Without Front

Over the last few years I feel that I have been much more aware of the changing of the seasons than I used to be. I knew it was all going on of course but I’m sure I didn’t notice in the same way the signs of spring as they appeared… the bright daffodil blooms being followed by beautiful blossoms which in turn give way to all this luscious green.

Maybe it’s getting older or a stronger desire to seek out nature amongst city life, but in truth I think the shift in awareness is actually an interesting by-product of my ever increasing love of iPhonography and the desire to share snippets of my life in pretty little squares on Instagram. Like being more aware of the seasonal change in surroundings, I look at everything in a slightly different way these days – noticing the colours, the light and moments happening around me as I go about my daily life. If something catches my eye I may well get my phone out and snap away but also often I don’t. I understand where the argument that our constant craving to document can take one out of the moment is coming from but for me I disagree; I believe the potential for a perfect shot actually makes me more present.

Rainy Day King Square Bristol

What do you think my fellow insta-obssessed? I’d love to know if the #JustGoShoot mentality has had an effect on your world view.

Follow me on Insta at @_charlieswift or for more off-the-cuff snaps I’m on Snapchat as charlieswift.

Food Photographer of the Year

Food Photographer of the Year Octopus On IceFood Photographer of the Year Pink CressFood Photographer of the Year Grilled CheeseFood Photographer of the Year CrawfishFood Photographer of the Year Wild Garlic

The Food Photographer of the Year finalists were announced last week and they are so stunning I had to share a few of my favourites. Check out the full gallery of finalists at

I love the variation in the categories and the different food stories the images tell. My food styling and photography is something I’m always working to improve on so I find these shots immensely inspiring! I will be pinning lots to my Food Photography Inspiration Pinterest board.

Speaking of foodie inspiration, I just had the most wonderful food filled weekend at Bristol Food Connections. More than your average food festival, there were events taking place across the city all bank holiday. We took in some brilliant talks and demos, discovered some great artisan producers and drank our way round the East Bristol Brewery trail. My highlight was a Gather, Ferment, Flame demo with Gill Meller from River Cottage and Matthew Pennington from The Ethicurean. The Ethicurean is my very favourite restaurant so it was great to see chef Pennington in action and pick up some tips for fermenting veg at home.

(All images sourced via

Our Honeymoon in The Lake District


Since our wedding day in September last year, seven months have flown quickly by. I don’t think I really experienced post wedding blues as such; however I often find myself daydreaming of our honeymoon in the Lake District where we spent our days outdoors amongst the most spectacular scenery as we took time to unwind and just be together, basking in the afterglow of a beautiful wedding weekend.

A south-west girl through and though, I’d never been to the Lake District before and I was completely blown away by the beautiful landscape. Having just tied-the-knot on the rugged South Devon coast I feel like, during that wonderful late summer week, we really got to experience some of the very best of our country’s wilderness! Whether by the sea, in the woods or amongst the mountains, my mind and soul are just more content when spending time outdoors. Better still is getting the chance to stay, cook and eat in the open air and sleep under the stars.

The Lodge Cumbria Canopy and Stars

I knew the moment I discovered The Lodge on Canopy & Stars it was the place for us to honeymoon, some people may dream of posh 5* hotels – give me a secluded cabin in the woods! That’s certainly not to say our stay at the beautiful log cabin, set on Edenhall Estate near Penrith, wasn’t completely luxurious. Walking down through the woodland path and discovering The Lodge sat in its clearing by a river bend was nothing short of magical!

It’s hard to imagine a place more peaceful and tranquil; sat on the porch of the cabin watching for signs of wildlife, listening to the sound of the river, surrounded by tall pine trees with the glimpse of mountains in the distance – it was the perfect romantic hideaway.

Supper on the porchSupper at The Lodge Canopy & Stars Cumbrischarlie at the lodge

Although reluctant to step in from the outdoors, once the chill of the evening brought us in we spent the cosiest of nights playing backgammon in front of the wood burner before retreating up the wrought-iron staircase to bed. The large tent shaped window that features in the cabin’s master bedroom means that you can enjoy the river side view in the morning with a cup of tea whilst remaining snug in bed!

WoodburnerCast Iron stair case Master bedroomAlthough I could have easily spent all day sat on that porch The Lodge was also the ideal base to get out and explore the Lakes. We were delighted to discover the gorgeous walk up Gummer’s How situated just south of Lake Windermere. Although Gummer’s How is a relatively small peak by Lake District standard it is the highest point in the immediate area and therefore boasts the most spectacular panoramic views. Passing beautiful fell cows that graze along the route, the ramble up is gentle but rugged enough in places to make you feel like you’ve earned the sights that greet you at the summit.

View from Gummer's How WindermereView from Gummer's How Windermererings at gummers how

Aside from having the most dreamy honeymoon lodgings and being immersed in awe-inspiring landscapes our trip was topped off with the fact that Cumbria is a foodie’s paradise, not surprising considering the wealth of wonderful local produce.

Our beautiful stay was so special; relaxing and enjoying time outdoors was exactly what we needed after the crazy run up to the wedding but there’s so much more I’d love to explore in the Lake District – It’s definitely somewhere I can see us returning to again and again.

A Glimpse Into… 280 Bakes – Bristol Home Bakery & Cake Delivery

Vegan Ginger Cake on marble with Pink Blossom
280 Bakes is a home bakery and cake delivery service in Bristol. Along with a monthly home bakery on the third Sunday of every month from their base in Lawrence Weston, 280 Bakes delivers traditional home bakes such as banana loaf and carrot cake to homes and businesses in and around Bristol. As well as the comforting classics 280 Bakes creates show stopping occasion cakes for weddings and birthdays and specialises in vegan bakes such as the delicious vegan ginger bread which was delivered to me.

When 280 Bakes founder Louise reached out on Twitter I was intrigued to find out how she has turned her passion for baking into a business.

// How did 280 Bakes come to be?

I have always baked, mainly for home and friends, but in December last year I baked what I thought I wasn’t able; I discovered new skills in my reindeer cake! Being fairly new to Bristol, I decided to try a home bakery where I could meet the neighbours over some cakes, and business has grown since then. We now deliver #CakeOD (cake on demand) on daily specials across Bristol, and bake cakes to order for homes, businesses and special occasions. we’re proud to specialise in vegan cakes, and we’re proud to have some wonderful reviews.

// What cakes are most popular with the different 280 bake customers?

The customer favourite of the cakes we bake regularly is our banana loaf. It’s low fat, and apple sauce is in the list of ingredients. It’s always been a favourite in my family, and it’s great to be able to share it with our customers. Our main customer base are vegans, as we specialise in vegan bakes, but we also bake to order for ‘normal’ cake eaters and people who are egg or gluten free.

Vegan Gingerbread on Marble with Pink Blossom Closeup

// In a culture obsessed with the “latest thing” how much do you pay attention to foodie trends for your baking?

We do pay attention to ‘cake news and trends’, reading blogs and industry news, but a lot of them are a little outside of our average customer’s comfort zone. We love that coconut is ‘fashionable’ at the moment… a special on #cakeOD will be coconut next week – and we call it ‘coconut dream cake’, so it’ll be good! [ I have ] a thing against popping candy. I don’t ever want to hear things popping in my mouth – the idea to put popping candy into a cake makes me shiver!

// With plenty of options for customers looking for gluten free, dairy free or vegan options; is it important to you to cater for a range of dietary requirements?

Yes, our bakery is aimed mainly at vegans and provides a wide range of vegan cake options, but we do also bake for other dietary requirements – including for people who have no restrictions or preferences! [ I ] went through a period of time where [ I ] couldn’t eat bread, and know how challenging it can be to find what you need and want, so 280 Bakes is proud to be able to help people who may not necessarily think they can still enjoy cake.

Aside from vegan cakes (carrot cake is the favourite here!), we also have found recent taste tests of our gluten-free chocolate brownies by people who eat gluten-free have gone well.

// As I myself discovered 280 Bakes though Twitter I’m curious to know what role you feel social media plays in the running of your business?

Social media has had a big impact on 280 Bakes’s business. The majority of our orders come from Facebook, followed by Twitter and then word-of-mouth. We are lucky enough to have social media experts in our team who know a few tricks which help a business along, but we’re also glad of the support that ‘friends of 280 Bakes’ give us through retweets and sharing our content. We couldn’t do it without amazing local organisations like Social Enterprise Works and Ambition Lawrence Weston.

Vegan Gingerbread On Marble With Pink Blossom Sliced

// What do like most about living and working in Bristol? Any recommendations foodie or otherwise?

Bristol has so much to offer, we are very lucky to have such a wide variety of places to eat and to try something new. As foodies, that’s great for us, but we also love the green spaces. Blaise Castle isn’t far from 280 Bakes HQ, and we’re often found stretching our leg up there. Bristol is by far and away the best place I have lived and worked. There’s a real buzz about business, being environmentally friendly (which is important to 280 Bakes), and the people have been so welcoming. I wouldn’t move away now!

// Is there anything 280 Bakes is especially proud of?

We are proud to support Fairtrade with our fairtrade banana loaf (customer favourite), and we are very proud to be chosen as a local cake and bread supplier for the Avonmouth Real Food Group. At home and work, we try to source local ingredients whenever possible, to reduce our environmental impact, and local buying groups like this one are key to this success when you have a small or no garden!

// And finally when you’re not baking what’s you favourite thing to cook or eat?

Curry is a favourite within 280 Bakes, as is lasagne, anything barbecued, sea bass… We’ll try anything, really!

Vegan Gingerbread on marble with Pink Blossom Closeup

Many thanks to Louise for giving a glimpse into her business 280 Bakes. If you’re Bristol based and fancy delicious cake delivered for you next meeting or special occasion (or just because!) order online from 280 Bakes at, Twitter & Facebook, or visit their home bakery the third Sunday of each month at 280 Broadlands DriveBristol, BS11 0PW.


Blue painted potting shed

Sunday Best is a monthly series where I share the best links, bits & pieces I’ve found on my travels around social media and the web.

Kicking off with my 30th and a surprise trip to Bruges March has been pretty hectic – trips away to visit family, house hunting. All good fun of course but I’m welcoming April and hoping it brings a chance to slow down and recharge before summer time begins.

Here’s a few things which caught my eye in March…

// One of my favourite jewellery brands Wolf & Moon have released a lovely new collection.

// I love Wild Garlic season!

// Now That’s What I Call Music compilations ranked from best to worst.

// Emmy The Great’s new album Second Love is beautiful. It was a joy to see her live again in Bristol this month.

// I think this letter exchange is a wonderful idea.

// Not sure about this year’s Glasto line up.

// I want to make this Smoky Chipotle Hummus

// Powerpuff yourself!

Cook It: Hasselback Potatoes

Hassleback Potatoes Cooked Close Up

I’m not really a potato person, how ever they come I tend to find them the least interesting part of a meal –  even the most perfect roasties get left on my plate after a roast dinner (shock horror I know!), but I think these Hasselbacks may have me converted.

After seeing them pop up in my Instagram feed regularly this year I think you can file this one under #FoodTrend, but a trend for a good reason as aside from being the prettiest potatoes you ever did see they may well be the tastiest too! A perfect combo, somewhere between baked, sautéed, chips and roast potatoes, they are versatile and work well as a side dish to all sorts of dishes.

Hassleback potatos prepHassleback potatos uncooked tray


Scrub and dry your potatoes if needed. Working along the length of the potato make multiple cuts stopping at around a 1/4 inch from the bottom. Take care at each end but don’t worry if you chop the ends off entirely as I often do!

Placing the potatoes on a baking tray, drizzle throughly in olive oil, add herbs or spices and season with salt & pepper. Bake in the oven for at least an hour until crispy on the outside and cooked through.

For the fresh herb dressing topping as pictured, blend a handful of coriander and parsley with a clove of garlic; mix with olive oil, season to taste and spoon over the cooked hasselbacks.


– Bake with herbs of your choice – bay, rosemary, thyme or fennel seeds would work well.
– Try spices instead. Think paprika or dried chipotle flakes for a spiced smokey vibe,
– Smother with your favourite cheese for the last 5-10 minutes of baking and serve with mayo and dips for a tasty take on ‘loaded potato skins’.

Hassleback Potatoes

Hassleback Potatoes Cooked

This is without doubt my new favourite way with potatoes. Let me know what you think if you give them a try.

Playlist: Signs Of Spring

Cherry Blossom Against Blue Sky

Here’s one I made early… I created this playlist last year but have been falling for it all over again now that spring in the air. For me this sweet collection of tracks captures the joyous but changeable nature of the season; with plenty of weather references thrown in for good measure.

Check it out and save to your Spotify playlists via the player below.

Track List

Alex Turner – It’s Hard To Get Around The Wind
José González – Leaf Off / The Cave
Alt-J – Taro
Laura Marling – False Hope
Graham Coxon – Perfect Love
Got A Girl – There’s A Revolution
Sylvan Esso – Dress
SOAK – Sea Creatures
Ibeyi – Weatherman

My last playlist: Women On Womanhood

Wish List: Anthropologie

Anthropologie Montage Of Items, Denim Skirt, iPhone Case, Trainers,

I received lots of lovely presents for my 30th earlier this month, including a bit of cash and a rather generous gift card from the parents in-law for Anthropologie. Plus when you’re a signed-up Anthro obsessed subscriber like me the store sends you a voucher for 15% off in your birthday month. So as it’s seems like an ideal time to treat myself a little here’s a few things I’ve been eyeing up. Decisions, decisions.

I’m really not one to buy clothes that often so I try and buy pieces that are versatile and I know I’ll wear again and again. The Joline Denim Skirt seems like a great item for transitioning between the seasons (does it sound like I know what I’m talking about?) and I think it’ll look great dressed up or down… or with these Azteca Trainers – which I’m kind of obsessed with. I just got a new iPhone 6s so a practical but pretty case is a must.

The clothes are great but it’s the Anthropologie Homewares section that really sets my hear a-flutter. I have a lot of time for their quirky, colourful ceramics and just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that Dreambirds Casserole Dish. I mean, it’s probably too pretty to put in the oven… but that’s not really the point is it? Finally, I have no space for, nor can I afford one at the moment but one day a bar cart like this Delaney will enter my life and make all my Madmen themed cocktail hour dreams come true!

6 Months

Swift Wedding 2015 313

Marmite jars as flower vases at weddingSwift Wedding 2015 089Swift Wedding 2015 080Swift Wedding 2015 251Swift Wedding 2015 418Swift Wedding 2015 300

As today marks half of year of being married I thought I share a few wedding photos. We got married on a beautiful, but rather windy, September day at East Soar Farm in South Devon. It was such a lovely day filled with all our favourite things – especially our favourite people & food!

I wore a vintage 50’s dress I found on Etsy along with my Great Grandma’s fur cape; Will wore a Reiss suit, a shirt from Joy and Grenson brogues; the bridesmaid dresses were made by my lovely talented friend Isabel Knowles.

We wrote our own vows and our wonderful friend led the ceremony for us. During the ceremony we had readings from our favourite books and films and my cousin sang Sunday by Bloc Party for us. My brother played guitar as I walked down the aisle and we danced back down it to David Bowie!

We filled old bottles and jars with ferns and pretty yellow billy ball flowers. My Muma made the beautiful bouquets including lots of foraged foliage. We ate Marmite canapés, Moules Frites and such a pretty wedding cake made by a friend.

The speeches, which included one from two of my bridesmaids, made us laugh, cry and cringe. Will’s speech included a surprise serenade for me as he sung ‘You Always Hurt the One You Love’ on the ukulele – the song Ryan Gosling sings in one of my favourite films Blue Valentine.

After night fell we toasted S’mores on the fire pits and danced the night away as a collection of awesome friends DJ’d.

Reminiscing on the day makes me feel so happy and full of love and gratitude that we have so many wonderful people in our lives who helped make the day so special. Also proud because quite frankly organise a wedding was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!

Side point – looking at these photos has made me long for the summer and left me wondering when the next occasion I can wear a petticoat will be…

Photos by the lovely Lucy Holding.

Home Inspiration: Open Plan Kitchen-Diner

Open plan flat, north london

Open plan kitchen dinner, wooden farm house table

open plan kitchen diner, mousehole cornwall

If you’d have asked me a few months ago what things I’d be looking for when it came to buying a home I would have reeled off a standard response – two bedrooms, a house not a flat (we’re fed up of noisy neighbours), outside space, period features would be nice… basically the typical requests you get on every episode of Location, Location, Location.

It a funny thing house hunting. It’s only really since we’ve been actively looking and viewing house regularly that I’ve really gained a proper idea of what features matter to me when it comes to buying a space I could make a home. What I thought I would / wouldn’t care about has shifted and things I hadn’t even thought about suddenly matter… I’m not a fan of downstairs bathrooms!

Something that has emerged at the top of our wish list seems to be a kitchen-dinner. I always knew I’d want a good sized kitchen and a nice dinning room but the more we see the more we fall for gorgeous open-plan spaces and day dream of cooking brunch in a room that looks something like the ones I’ve been pinning recently…

Follow Charlie Swift’s board // Home | Kitchen on Pinterest.

Now, I’m not silly. I know Pinterest kitchens aren’t real kitchens, but they are great to look at for inspiration. That said some of the properties we’ve put bids on have had pretty Pin-worthy open-plan kitchen areas – ah the ones that got away!

Of course we’re still being open minded about the houses we view and after all this longing we may well end up with an entirely different setup, but open plan or separate kitchen and dinning room we’re certain that the space where we cook and eat is very important to us. Recently we were deliberating putting a bid on a house with a tiny kitchen and my step Dad said “You don’t live in the kitchen”… But the thing is we really do!

What would be your deal breaker when it comes to your dream home?

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