Alice Tate is a blogger, travel writer and head of PR at hotel group, The Hoxton. Learn all about her recent adventures big and small, and why she’s such a fan of her Falcon enamelware collection.
ADVENTURES BIG AND SMALL
Can you tell us a bit about you and your renovations?
Where do I start!? We bought a 1930s house in Forest Hill that hasn’t been touched since the ‘70s. We’re lucky in that it feels solid and homely — you can tell it’s been well looked after and there are no major issues…so far! It’s mainly in need of a major refresh. We moved in in October and have hit the ground running. We’ve taken up the carpets (instant transformation), stripped a lot of layers of wallpaper, and done a lot of cleaning! We’ve had the bedrooms and the lounge freshly plastered (money well spent), my husband has rewired the whole house (he’s an electrician — very handy) and we’ve put new radiators in some of the rooms. There’s a long way to go! We’ve put in for planning for an extension so fingers crossed, we’ll one day have an open-plan kitchen-dining space which would be a dream come true. The garden too is on the list! There’s a 100-year-old apple tree in our garden which I’ve been assured makes great apple pies. And an old greenhouse needs a bit of love but I’m so excited to try my hand at growing veg. I’ve just planted my tomato and chili seeds!
What can’t you do without at home?
At the moment, my slippers! The house is liveable but it does feel a bit like a building site — there’s always crap on the wooden floorboards that are yet to be sanded, and there are screws and tools all over the place. Also, Tupperware. I’m a sucker for leftovers and there’s never not a stash of various savoury leftovers in our fridge.
You're a fan of Falcon Enamelware. What’s your favourite product and what do you use it for?
I really am! I love the tray for interactive dinners like tacos where everyone can tuck in and help themselves. Also, the deep plates are a staple — I love serving salads in them. My go-to lunch when I’ve got friends round is a little Italian spread, with ravioli and salads — radicchio, gorgonzola and peach is a summer favourite, a rocket and parmesan salad goes with everything. The 3-pint jug doubles up as a great vase for flowers — I love the new burgundy colour. We take our mugs camping too — they’re perfect for morning coffees and pretty much indestructible so great for throwing in the back of the car.
Are there any local eateries/small businesses you'd like to shout about?
Loads! There are so many good spots in south-east we barely ever have to leave. Favourites here in Forest Hill are Fat Cheeks Thai and The Pantry for stocking up on nice wines and Torres crisps. 161 in Sydenham is a new discovery that’s amazing for special occasion dinners. It’s such a cool and intimate spot. Elsewhere in south-east London, I love Peckham Cellars (where we got married), Larry’s, Ganapati and Forza Wine in Peckham, Kudu Grill in Nunhead, Chatsworth Bakehouse in Anerley, and Theo’s in Camberwell.
Through your beautiful Instagram account you're a big advocate for shooting on film. What are your top tips for capturing something truly special?
I love to shoot on film. I like the more candid nature of it, and the surprise element. It helps me practice patience and one of the few things in my life that is analogue. For me, it’s all about embracing the light and the timing, and being very selective. You need to be in a different mindset with film — it’s a moment in time, and a less edited version of reality. I love that film photos aren’t always perfect and feel more real in a way, because you’re not editing out favourites like you would with digital. I think it’s also practice — you get to know your camera, and what works well in a frame. I like to shoot moments that feel ‘lived’ — maybe that’s mid-cooking while camping, bath time, or a really great picnic.
What are your top tips for adventuring big and small this year?
A weekend away in nature can do the world of good. I love camping, because it feels like a totally different lifestyle to how we function at home and in the city, and forces me to relax. I love cooking outside, and the manual nature of it all. Cabins too are some of my favourite escapes — I’m itching to check out The Bide and Aller Dorset. Also, Inverlonan, one of my favourite escapes in Scotland is adding a new bothy this year which I’m hoping to check out.
Cornwall and Dorset make for such great summer breaks. The South West Coast Path is my favourite walking route in the UK. I’m slowly ticking off the 630 miles of it with each trip! The stretch in Cornwall around Kynance Cove and into Lizard makes for a great day hike, and if you like to swim, the National Trust South Purbecks Cliff walk in Dorset is one of my favourites with old flooded quarries to swim in.