The whole of Twitter seem to be anticipating the start of autumn.
And with that, comes the end of summer.
I don’t think we’ve had a bad run of this year – a few stints of really hot weather, and the bank holiday weekend just gone was the epitome of summer on the south coast for me. Think beach days, BBQs, kayaking and a lot of time outside in the sun. It was busy, but my perfect weekend. On the Sunday, we spent our second year in a row at Graze Festival – just a few miles down the road in Twyford, it’s ‘Hampshire’s finest food and music festival’. In it’s third year, it raises money for local groups and charities and is always a highlight of our summer. Spending the day with good friends, food and music – I can’t think of a better way to wind down the summer months! Graze seems to grow each year, with new activities, food options and even stages popping up, but still somehow maintains that really local atmosphere. Everyone’s there to have a good time, relax and enjoy the day – with friendly faces popping up, and food and drink options you might’ve heard of but never tried before. I love discovering local food outlets – be them caterers to remember for future events, or indie cafes I’ve not heard of. If it had been a slightly cooler day, I would’ve been delving into Flat Whites for a creamy coffee, but instead opted for a failsafe gelato. This year’s beautiful weather certainly aided the hazy atmosphere, and we spent our day lounging around on the hay bales, sipping Lilley’s mango cider (as served at The Bugle Bar) and sampling tastes of all the food on offer.
As you’ll see from this post, Graze is also one for those who appreciate the more aesthetically beautiful things in life – there’s little more that fills me with joy than a converted caravan, serving delicious treats and summer beverages. The whole set up is so perfectly planned, down to the happy-go-lucky colour scheme and non-unisex toilets (which please me no end) – you can see I was pretty camera happy, and these are only half of them!
For me, the food is the highlight of Graze – this year (brace yourselves), your girl here managed to try: Bark & Brisket Shredded Jerk Chicken, Jude’s Strawberry Ice Cream, Japanese spiced chicken dumplings, The Bugle Inn‘s famous scotch egg and a Nutella crepe. I was pretty full come 11pm, I have to admit. But when the options are that good – I couldn’t help myself. There’s also a range of coffee pop ups, a gin and fizz stall, vegetarian Indian grub which Sam dabbled in and more – local produce is the order of the day (with a live demo stand showcasing top local chefs), and it certainly does Hampshire proud!
Alongside all the food, there’s entertainment going on all day – from a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (hosted by actress Sarah Parish, to raise money for the Murray Parish Trust), a Kids Stage, live theatre and dance performances and of course, the main stage music (which this year included 90s throwbacks Stereo MC’s and Republica, as well as fellow blogger DJ Super Kat). It’s the perfect set up to sit, chat, relax (eat), even take a nap in the sun – all whilst enjoying a range of music, from folk to chart, to some pretty nostalgic tunes. There’s a lot to be said for supporting local events – you’re much more likely to find me at here, with travel within easy reach and plenty of friends attending, that farther flung happenings (Grandma’s days at Glastonbury are up!). Graze has become such a popular event locally, and each year it gets better and better. As I say, it’s definitely a day I always look forward to each summer and am so pleased with have something as well thought out and up my street as this nearby.
I couldn’t recommend Graze more if you’re local to Hampshire, and even if you’re not! That said, get out there and see what’s going on locally to you – there seems to be stuff popping up here, there and everywhere these days and the stress free set up (not the mention the perfect spot for that golden hour goodness) is definitely my kinda thing!