Harry Hunter at NEO Restaurant

With a stunning location and a beautiful setting Neo Restaurant in Bournemouth is the perfect location for special occasions, light bites or even cocktails on the stylish terrace.

At the heart of the team here is Harry Hunter, a talented Chef with a passion for producing stunning dishes with local ingredients.


Harry, what is your best loved local ingredient?

Any fish caught off the South Coast

How would you use this at home?

At home I would do something simple and pan roast the fish to serve it with a bean cassoulet.


What is your first choice dish to create and also to eat?

My first choice dish to create and eat is a salmon pave, crushed new potatoes and some fresh green veg. Especially in the summer months!

Do you have a favourite spot on the South Coast?

The New Forest – it’s the perfect ‘staycation’

A huge thank you to Harry, I know I will definitely be attempting this at home when it looks this good!

Thanks for reading,


Heartled Wellbeing

A huge part of what makes the South Coast special is the lifestyle we are able to enjoy. But what happens if we neglect or don’t take the time to consider our wellbeing? 

This week I met with Annie Raven-Vause from Heartled Wellbeing. Based in Wimborne (she also has rooms in Bournemouth and Dorchester), Annie, a qualified psychotherapist, master practitioner of NLP, nurse and midwife, has spent three decades working in and around health and social care. She now runs her own wellbeing practice.

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Typically we spend 22-25% of our lives in the workplace where typically 1 in 6 UK workers will experience stress, anxiety or depression, indeed stress is the most important reason behind long-term sickness absence in the UK today and there is no doubt it costs our economy. Heartled Wellbeing are focusing on working with local businesses to improve this. 

Annie, how important is it that we consider all aspects of our health and lifestyle and not just what is visual to us?

It’s hugely important that we consider all aspects of our health, physical, emotional and social. We believe if your body is unhappy with what you are doing with it or what you are putting inside it, it will work to create symptoms of ‘dis-ease’ to tell you about it. So when we work with our clients we always take holistic approach to look at the whole person in the context of their life. Naturally this includes their family and support systems.

We help people create a wellness recovery plan that takes them towards improved physical and mental wellbeing.  We want them to get the joy back in their lives. This might include teaching them things like the importance of self-renewal, we call it ‘me time’, ‘thee time’ and ‘we time’ or working on a deeper level programme of personal change. In a nutshell if I take time for me, then you have the right to take time for you and that means that the time we spend together will be that much better. We believe everyone should ideally spend 15 to 30 minutes engaged in one or more activities that will recharge them mentally, physically and spiritually 3 to 5 times a week where possible. It can be anything from a walk outside to a relaxing bath.

senior couple outdoors

 You’ve started working with businesses in the area on their workplace wellbeing , what do you see is the biggest need at the moment?

The biggest need is the recognition around employee wellbeing. The economy is tight, people are trying to do more with less and employees are frightened to say no, so the hours over contract culture is becoming the norm. Staff often end up too tired to think straight and that leads to mistakes. You’ve only to look at national sickness figures to see there is a problem and often this is because we don’t teach people or companies about workplace wellbeing.

We work with organisations to introduce sustainable wellbeing programmes. We start by looking at their metrics; how much time they are losing from sickness away from the workplace? Are there any trends? Are people away from work due to stress? What is staff turn over saying? 

From this we create a bespoke programme to develop a culture of wellbeing that will work specifically for them. It could be assistance with leadership empowerment, fast track to physiotherapy or chiropractic treatment or on-site performance coaching, counselling and therapy appointments. We also have a huge variety of people we work with so we can bring together a team of specialists who can radically transform your workplace, from Physiotherapists, Chiropractors to Coaches and Reflexologists etc. When you have this in place your staff become engaged and they feel cared for which in turns brings a more motivated and proactive team, less time lost and improved profit.

What plans have you got coming up for the future?

In the coming months we are hoping to launch two new services, retreats and a mens group called Boys, Braves & Bonfires.  The retreats will be based in Dorset because we have a ready access to a world heritage site and beautiful countryside. 

‘Boys, Braves and Bonfires’ is a new Dorset support network run ‘by men for men’ which aims to grow and become a national organisation. The aim is to help men develop and improve career, relationships, their friendships and reduce emotional isolation during times of transition, such as becoming a husband, a father, an elder, when facing divorce, or acting as a carer, during bereavement, and other pivotal times. That might mean children leaving home, redundancy or career re-organisation.”

‘Boys, Braves and Bonfires’ has been designed to be a safe and supportive space where men bond whilst undertaking fun activities for example playing the didgeridoo,foraging, hurdle making, wood and wilderness crafts, sporting events and walks. However, a group might choose to tackle a community interest project as members’ interests drive organic growth.

 What do you love about being on the South Coast?

I’m originally from Cheshire and I moved to the South Coast in 1985 after a round the world trip. We came back to Manchester and after 2 weeks decided to move to the opposite end of the country!  The beaches and the light are the biggest draw for me, I love being able to be out in the elements preferably by the sea (I used to be a windsurfing teacher!). Dorset does it differently!

Work life balance choices

 It has been a pleasure speaking with Annie and if you would like more information you can click here for the Heartled Wellbeing website. They can also be found on both Facebook and Twitter!

 You can also hear Annie on Radio Solent on the 12thJune on the Sasha Twining show speaking around building confidence!

 Thank you for reading,


Jan & Stacey from Restaurant Roots

Restaurant Roots is a contemporary fine dining restaurant in Southbourne run by husband and wife team Jan and Stacey, specialising in tasting menu experiences to excite the senses.


What is your best-loved local ingredient?

One of our best loved local ingredient is New Forest Strawberries.

Our New Forest strawberry desert with elderflower and white asparagus

How would you use this at home?

The best home use is marinated with some sugar, lemon and mint, fresh vanilla ice cream.

What is your first choice dish to create and also to eat?

Our signature dish in the restaurant is Celeriac with preserved winter truffle ice cream, grapes and hazelnuts.


Do you have a favourite spot on the South Coast?

We love South Deep Cafe in Parkstone Bay Marina!

Thank you so much to Jan and Stacey for their time, if you haven’t experienced the wonderous tasting menu at Roots then I would really recommend paying them a visit. You can find out more information here.

As always, thank you for reading!







Abbots Court

If you live on the South Coast then the chances are that you will have heard of the newly established Abbots Court, nestled on the outskirts of Winterborne Kingston. If you haven’t then you’re in for a treat given it’s the brain child of the husband and wife team behind The Tickled Pig!

The large rambling Victorian farmhouse is set in five acres of its own woodland, meadow and also boasts its own original walled kitchen garden. At Abbots Court guests are able to enjoy the simple pleasures in life – long lazy walks through the rolling Dorset countryside, food picked fresh from the garden, roaring fires and cosy evenings spent in the company of those you love.

I’ve sat down with Jez who along with his wife Niki have worked hard to create something very special indeed.


Abbots Court opened at the beginning of the year; not only as a beautiful hotel, but as somewhere guests can escape to for a nostalgic trip back to a time when things where simpler. Where did you find the inspiration for this? 

We lived in France for 7 years in a 400-year-old ruin which we lovingly converted and enjoyed the simpler life. We sat around the dinner table with friends, eating food from the garden and collecting eggs from the chickens. I was very taken aback by the tremendous reaction I was getting from my friends about the food I was serving from our garden. When our eldest daughter Lily was born we wanted to move back home to the UK and recreate what we had achieved in France.

We are all so busy and get so caught up in life that it’s easy to forget that having everyone sat down together and enjoying a meal is such an enriching thing to do.

Most people will already know you from your delicious food at The Tickled Pig; what can we look forward to when it comes to food at Abbots Court?

We have two Head Chefs; Alex Naik and Mike Parry. They are amazing at what they do and really are the genius behind the food. Alex is aiming to achieve a Michelin star in the next 4 years but I’m confident he will achieve this before then!

Guests can look forward to beautiful food that is not overly complicated, full of great flavours and textures and celebrating the produce we use. Lots of which has gone from garden to plate within hours

Pork belly, scallops, crispy sage & burnt apple puree

What can guests expect from a stay at Abbots Court?

An escape from reality, enjoying the simpler things in life with good food, good wine and great company.

We want guests to enjoy the garden and the space outside as well as the house, it will feel like a complete break from the outside world!


What exciting plans do you have for the rest of the year?

 The thing I am most excited about is the garden – we’re going to get some teepees that you can cook in and have fires in too. We want to be the one destination for people to come and learn about food. We’re going to be running some courses that will be wholesome, laidback and will inspire people to get involved with food.

At the heart of everything we do is our food and the produce along with the experience we can give our guests.

Afternoon Tea outdoors anyone?

If you want to know more about Abbots Court can click HERE for their website, you can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

As always, thank you for reading!



This week I was lucky enough to catch up with Dorset based PR Guru Jackie Phillipson, Founder of ROUTEpr. 


I’ve seen some of your activities and I’ve been lucky enough to attend some events, so I’ve seen you’ve been busy this year – tell us what you have been up so far in 2018?

 We are delighted that the first half of the year has kept us busy and out of trouble, that being said we can always find time for customers! We kick started the year with BAPTAs – the local tourism awards across the BH postcodes, following a rebrand of the awards, it was a great success and brilliant to see so many entrants and great winners gain recognition for their hard work. The ROUTEpr and events put in a lot of hard work to make the awards such a success, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. We had over 550 guests at the BAPTA gala awards ball at the Lighthouse back in March, jam packed with tourism, leisure and business professionals, it’s THE place to be and the best place to network within the industry.

We’ve also been running smaller events and launches as well – we thrive on the variety.

We’ve also been organising and curating the Taste of the South festival which returns for 2018 following the inaugural success of the first event last May. The event takes places at Chapel Gate which is located by Bournemouth Airport, on 21st and 22nd July and is set to be bigger and better than last year! TOTS is a celebration of the South and showcases local food, drink, artisan producers, award-winning chefs, with lot’s going on for all the family to enjoy such as live music, children’s activities and entertainment.

As well as this we are working closely with some great PR clients, raising their profile and gaining press coverage. It’s all going on here!

I can’t resist asking you about your appearance with Richard on Couples Come Dine With Me. How did you rate your chances of winning going into it?

In all honesty we really didn’t expect to win, most especially based on our culinary skills – we did it for the fun and to show our customers first-hand how TV can work to advantage! It was one of my best experiences! The programme is often repeated and we regularly get asked about our appearance.  Would we do it again – YES 100% if the timing was right.

 Why did you take part?

We’ve often been asked to appear on TV but this was a first for us as a couple. I’m often invited to appear as a specialist on a variety of documentaries and programmes, interviewed about PR and branding. I enjoy the challenge and it’s good for the profile but CCDWM was something unique, we work together, and have different strengths we are like Ying and Yang – so it was good to show that on a lifestyle programme, one we both adore, it showed Richard is the analytical one who measures and follows a recipe and I’m the ‘creative – let’s try it this way’ or oh dear that’s a mistake, but we can sort that out!’.

Do you have any advice for couples wanting to apply for the show?

Really think about how you might come across and how you take yourself – are you too serious or are you highly competitive for example, as that is how you will probably be portrayed on TV. If you are adventurous and want to do something new then go for it. Unlike in other situations you don’t get to control the edit or how you are portrayed so bear that in mind!

You’ve worked with many celebrities, who do you remember fondly?

 There’s so many and in most cases they are all lovely people with a job to do and they are respectful! Beverly Knight is such a beautiful person, inside and out, Robin Gibb and his lovely wife Dwina; they were so kind to us both and always so welcoming, we often shared a cuppa and long chat in their homes. Mike Tyson couldn’t have been further away from his boxing image. We also worked with Take That on their event when they were reforming and they were all lovely and it was great to work with them again as I’d met and worked with the boys earlier on in their career and I’d had a curry with Gary when he was performing solo.

If you could sit down with anyone for a cuppa, who would it be?

The legendary Sir Elton John would be my absolute dream! He is an awesome performer, I love the way he engages with his audience and always delivers. I want get to know the real Elton as these days he is such a family man and is so happy, he must have some great stories to tell too.

Or if not, to have a cuppa with my dad or with a special friend of mine called Belinda –  I miss them both but I am lucky to have their love in my life.

What do you enjoy the most about being based on the South Coast?

 It’s one of the best places to be and in today’s world we can be sitting in our beautiful country setting and still be very connected and communicating with anywhere in the world!

People connect with people and if you are innovative and communicate clearly and concisely you can do this either face to face or over skype or facetime.

I love being able to hop out on a boat and enjoy the coastline whilst sipping on a gin and tonic or enjoying a glass of good wine!

What exciting plans do you have coming up for ROUTEpr and events?

 Every day is exciting and rarely is a day the same! We’re working on launches, growth, re-brands and relocations, as well as award entries and events amongst other things.

 Change is happening all around us and we’re here to help people manage that change, in fact we’re helping them to embrace it!  I am always here to speak to anyone who needs advice, I book 121 appointments on the phone to help businesses and new businesses. It’s important for anyone opening a business, starting out, or wanting to increase and grow their business that they think of PR as an important part of their business, we can often save them a lot of time, trouble and money.

Jackie thank you so much for your time, if anyone would like to know more about Taste of the South or ROUTEpr you can follow these links here; www.tastesouth.events and our social media: www.facebook.com/tastesouth.events, www.twitter.com/taste_South, www.instagram.com/taste_south

Mark Bennett; by Royal Appointment

With the country enjoying wedding fever this week and this years most anticipated wedding happening this weekend we were lucky enough to catch up with Mark Bennett.

Mark has experience himself of a Royal Wedding so was the perfect person to speak with this week!

Mark has patisseries open in Penn Hill, Lilliput and Ashley Cross, Poole. He makes and sells the most incredible range of breads and pastries, as endorsed by the baking industry who named him National Baker of the Year!


As a prestigious baker with experience of royal wedding cakes can you share with us what it’s like to be part of such a significant event?

When I was involved with making the royal wedding cake for the Duke and Duchess of York it was just an amazing feeling, the Country had a real buzz about it and to be linked to it more than most was a very special feeling.

We delivered the cake in person to the Palace the day before and set it up, we travelled back the next day to watch the ceremony on the Mall, it was a very proud moment indeed.

Where do you find your inspiration for your  delicious cakes and breads?

My inspiration is natural, I grew up living next door to my family’s bakery so I was involved at a very early age, baking is in my blood, I know no different, you must have passion, it is a hard job often done at unsociable hours.


If someone wanted to have a go at baking where would you recommend they start? 

If you fancy coming into baking I would look at going on a course, there are many Artisan Bakers offering courses around the Country, including myself, but this will only give you a small insight into our amazing industry.


When Prince Harry marries Meghan Markle on the 19th May it’s reported they will celebrate by cutting a lemon and elderflower cake. Is there any other flavour you would choose?

I personally think the Royal cake should be a Rich Fruit cake soaked in Rum, but when it comes to Royal baking I am a traditionalist, but that’s only my opinion.

Mark thank you so much for your time, if anyone is yet to experience the mouthwatering delights on offer at one of the patisseries then what are you waiting for? Mark’s website can be found here for all details, opening times and workshop details.

Thank you for reading,



Blue Orange Juice Bar

This week I’m talking to Jacqui from Blue Orange Juice Bar located in Ashley Cross. If you haven’t swung by yet for a fresh juice or delicious fresh lunch then what are you waiting for?

I’m a huge fan of their juices and delicious vegan cakes that taste so delicious and indulgent and I was very excited to share more on this little gem in Ashley Cross…..


What inspired you to open Blue Orange in Ashley Cross?

My husband and I lived in Australia for a number of years where the juice and healthy heating market is booming. We moved back to the UK few years ago and London aside, we found there were very few options to buy a healthy juice or lunch, especially when you need to grab something on the run. It seemed such an obvious thing for us so thought we’d try it out. 

The shop in Ashley Cross had been empty for a number of years and we always used to comment what a great spot it was and as we live just around the corner from it, it was a no brainer to try the concept out there. We love Ashley Cross as a place to live and work and hopefully Blue Orange has positively added to the eclectic mix of independent shops on the Green and made it that little bit cooler!  

What is your most popular juice? 

Very difficult to say but during the week our Ginger Ninja (Apple, carrot, ginger & orange) or One Eye Opener (apple, cucumber, fennel, ginger, lemon & orange) juices are probably most popular. However over the weekends smoothies are definitely our best sellers with probably Sweet Greens (avocado, banana, kiwi, lime, spinach, coconut water & yoghurt) being the favourite. We designed them all though over the course of quite a few months, so very difficult to have a favourite. 

BlueOrange-0007Do you feel that eating and drinking healthier is becoming more than a fad?

Absolutely! We try our hardest not to be preachy about the health benefits as we’d rather you come in and have a juice because you love the taste and range. But we do like to highlight some of the benefits on the labels so our customers are aware of the benefits of drinking fresh juice.

Healthy eating is definitely becoming more mainstream, especially with the younger generations which is great to see and we expect to see more places popping up in the short term to make it easier for people with a hectic lifestyle to be able to grab something fresh and healthy rather than the often, more convenient sausage roll and can of pop.

 Our juice cleanse programs have also been extremely popular as a way to kickstart a new healthier lifestyle or exercise regime which I think is testament to the increasing awareness of living a healthy lifestyle. 

In addition to your juices you also have a delicious array of lunch options available. Where do you find your inspiration for these?

We love to work with local producers and suppliers and really encourage anyone that has a unique and suitable product to come in and say hi. We try and keep our food ranges fresh and unique and hopefully this keeps things interesting for our customers. Working with companies such as Tansy’s Kitchen, Dark Matters, Rod & Bens amongst others as well as our awesome team trying out new recipes in the shop has been the inspiration for our foods. 

What’s next for Blue Orange?

Very exciting times for Blue Orange! We’re currently doing a fit out in a shop on Station Road in Swanage, which we hope will be open by the end of May. We are also on the look out for other suitable premises and hope to have 5 or 6 shops by the end of 2019, all of which will be in Dorset and follow the same model and ethos of what we have created in Ashley Cross. We will be very busy certainly over the next year or so but we’re excited to see where it goes.


Thank you so much to Jacqui, I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit more about Blue Orange Juice Bar. Do let us know what your favourites from the scrumptious menu are!



Hey there!

Hey there and thank you for visiting my blog page!

Essex born but Dorset bred I constantly feel very lucky to live in an area I love so much, there’s something I find very grounding about living right on the coast. Regardless of the season I believe the South Coast always has something to offer whether it’s a beautiful walk, a picnic with the family or drinks with friends overlooking the water.


We are fortunate enough to be surrounded by an abundance of local talent and warming venues when it comes to food and drinks, as well as being the home of such fine locally produced products.

Scrumptious South Coast is a celebration of all of these things, we’ll be talking to some talented Chefs, trying out some recipes at home with locally produced ingredients and drooling over some of the most beautiful South Coast views captured by the incredible photographers we have in the area.

So pour yourself a drink, pull up a pew and lets chat all things ‘Scrumptious’!

I’d love to hear from you,