Tuesday, 23 May 2017

A sunday well spent...

...brings a week of content, so that's the moto we went by last Sunday. After a much needed lie in, we went for a long sunny dog walk with our pup Nelly and then got dressed up for a lunch at Lords of the Manor. We slept on the sofa in the afternoon to Pretty Women (my choice) and then had friends over for a pancake tea...heaven!

So Lords of the Manor was epic and I couldn't recommend it enough. It was the kind of place you could take the family for an afternoon tea treat or a slap up Sunday lunch, dressed up or dressed down (we dressed up...don't go out much!) and feel like every penny was worth it.

We went on a Sunday so took advantage of the Sunday lunch menu. On a rare sunny Sunday this may (seems to have rained for the last 2 weeks!) we started with a leisurely walk around their beautiful English gardens and sat and had a glass of champagne on the terrace whilst browsing over the menus and tucking into out truffle arancini balls and mackerel mille feuille.

Lords of the Manor is without doubt what you would describe as fine dining, so I wasn't expecting the Sunday lunch to be as hearty as it was (I'm talking Yorkshire puddings the size of your head, crispy roast potatoes, creamy cauliflower cheese and good lashings of gravy) however whilst not forgetting the finesse of its surrounds i.e. the gravy was poured for you and the horseradish was served with a silver spoon!

My absolute favorite course was my desert choice which swiftly reminded us we were in a Michelin starred restaurant. I had pineapple carpaccio, with pistachio genoise, pineapple icecream with gold leaf, white chocolate mouse and candied coffee beans. and all sorts of other lovely things. Then we topped off dinner with coffee out in the garden and chocolate truffles with a passion fruit center made in house. 

The whole dining experience was fabulous, kudos to the newly appointed head chef Charles Smith who without doubt will hold up the Michelin torch for Lords  the Manor. 

The staff were attentive and friendly and we enjoyed chatting to the waiter about the chef and overhearing him chatting to a family about his hometown, Paris. 

The only downside was that the decor of the dining rooms itself wasn't to my taste but it has a quintessential and traditional English fine dining feel to it which many would appreciate and really is down to personal taste. The grandeur of the lounges, gardens and entrance speaks for itself and you certainly know you are in a special place when you walk through those walled gardens to the reception.  

My Sunday well spent with my hubby was largely down to the fact that Megs cocked up her dates so couldn't come with me...sorry Meggie! We'll definitely be back...together next time. So after a couple of glasses of bubbly before and couple of glasses of red during (from their 1000 bin wine cellar by the way) , it was time to head home for that nap on the sofa. Perfect.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Cotswold Hare Trail

Last night, along with many many others we piled into beautiful Burford Garden Company to visit 50 5ft tall hares. No we haven't gone hopping mad! It was the launch of The Cotswold Hare Trail 2017. 

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Coach House Coffee

So as some of you may well know, I have joined Meg's in being a small business girl boss! After teaching for 5 years I decided to bite the bullet and open a coffee house in Stow-on-the- wold. With the help of my amazing family we opened Coach House Coffee on December the 19th 2016 and the rest, they say, is history. 

 So how did it all start? Back in March of 2016 I was sat in a coffee shop in Vietnam of all places, with my husband, people watching from their large open windows onto the bustling streets of Hoi An, sipping my Ca Phe Sua Da from a beautifully etched coffee cup and thought"I want to do this". Yes, part of me meant that I wanted to sit and people watch in Vietnam for the rest of my life, but I meant, I wanted to open a coffee house... just like the one we were sat in. A coffee house where the staff find time to chat with you and the coffee is roasted locally, the decor is cosy and homely whilst not forgetting its roots and the menu is big enough to give everybody a choice without being overwhelming. Primarily our focus is great coffee, however we also offer speciality loose leaf teas, a luxury hot chocolate menu, cold pressed juices (which are all named after local influences) and we have lots of gluten free and dairy free options available.

My ethos is to support and trumpet local suppliers where possible. Our coffee is hand roasted in Cirencester by Rave and topped off with organic Cotteswold dairy whole milk. Our bakes come from the wonderful Sugar and Salt Bakehouse is Upper Rissington and brownies from Fair and Square in Swell. Our soups and savories come from Cotswold Larder and Cotswold Farmer and we have a "love local" retail shelf where you can buy anything from Cacklebean Eggs to Little Pickle condiments. There is so much more "local stuff" to discover inside so please come and see for yourselves. 

An absolute must for me was a prime position where people could watch the world go by. 1 Talbot Court has 3 floors, with the ground floor dominated by 2 huge sash windows looking out onto the square (I can't wait to get those bad boys open in the summer) so when it came on the market I was sold immediately. We have the bottom and first floor open so if downstairs looks full please come on in and see if we can get you a seat upstairs. A lot of graft went into decorating the week before we opened by my husband, father in law, Dad and brother in law (I was out of action), to give the shop that cosy homely vibe I had envisioned.  My Mum and her friend reupholstered 28 chairs and 3 bench seats, picked up and shopped for furniture from antique and charity shops. You will find Mum behind the counter with me during the week being generally amazing and picking up on everything I have forgotten to do or not thought of...thank goodness for Mums!  

The logo was designed by the wonder Angie B who has designed everything from Meg's shop branding to my wedding invitations. She emphasized the "house" in coach house coffee as I had indicated that I wanted the space to feel homely. Hopefully you get the sense of this when you visit, in the decor, the flickering candles and the friendly service.

I am currently building a website which is going to have lots of exciting material, but for now we would love you to follow us Instagram (@coachhousecoffee) Facebook (@coachhousecoffeestow) and Twitter (@coachhousestow).

Hopefully see you soon!

Millie and The Coach House team x

P.s thank you to Ian Tonks for taking such brilliant photos of our little coffee house. Ian is a photographer in and around the Cotswolds and I couldn't recommend him enough... find him here.