JUNE 2013

  • A STUNNING SUNTRAP IN SLEEPY SOMERSET

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Places I've been

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    I was lucky enough to be staying my mum in Somerset over the lovely sunny Sunday we had last weekend. Mum’s been meaning to show me The Walled Garden in Mells for quite some time, and we’ve never quite managed to squeeze it in over a weekend until now just because we always try and do too much when I come to stay! It was well worth the wait though when we did actually find the time to go as I think our visit couldn’t have been timed better.

    Located just outside my home town of Frome, Mells is a beautiful village in the heart of Somerset. Home to the annual Daffodil Festival, it houses beautiful stone cottages with pretty rose gardens, a manor house, a tithe barn, an old jail (!) and the best sort of coaching-inn style village pub (amazing looking menu, cobbled garden, fireplaces, a speciality gin collection. They even host Sunday night movies in the Sitting Room!)

    The Walled Garden at Mells is the perfect centrepiece to such a lovely little village. A 17th century working historic garden, it houses British grown flowers, garden plants, fragrant herbs, arty garden ornaments and great views across the surrounding fields and countryside. They have a delightful little courtyard cafe which serves home-made cakes (try the carrot cake!) and a good selection of teas, coffees and cold drinks.

    What’s really special is that they also have a wood-fired pizza oven serving the most amazing thin and crispy pizzas. Mum and I shared a Royale and it was simply delicious.  I’m a big fan of al fresco eating, and sitting within such beautiful and peaceful surroundings with lovely company definitely enhanced our dining experience. I had a pot of peppermint tea (definitely soothed my late pregnancy digestion problems!) which was served in a pretty floral teapot and cup and saucer (very Mrs Tea!)

    After chatting, eating, sipping tea and taking lots of photos, mum and I went for a wander around the gardens and the conservatory which was like a jumble sale / vintage crockery shop with cake stands and tea cups galore! I resisted the temptation to buy anything (I blame the heat!) but enjoyed looking around and having a rummage through the little treasures on display.

    So if you’re going to Glastonbury this year or you find yourself in Somerset looking for a place to escape and unwind, look up The Walled Garden at Mells.

     

  • TIME FOR TEA?

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Inspiration

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    Recently my husband and I went to a lovely wedding in Mayfair and I was really touched by the reading in the ceremony that was delivered by the bride’s mum. She read a poem from Carol Ann Duffy’s Love Poems collection directly from the book rather than from a piece of paper, which I thought was a lovely idea – especially because the cover is pink with beautiful black illustrations swirled across the front.

    When we sat down for dinner, I then that noticed that all the female guests were given their own copy of the book as a wedding favour. What a lovely idea! So I had my own Carol Ann Duffy collection to take home. I was especially chuffed as the first poem that the book opened out to was Tea (from Rapture  – a collection from 2005).

    I love the way it celebrates the ceremony of making tea and how it touches all the senses before you take the first sip. Drinking tea is a pleasurable experience that’s not just about the taste, but about the sounds the tea makes as it’s poured, the scent of the tea leaves as they’re brewing in the pot and the way in which it can take your mind to places when you finally get to drink it.

    I thought I’d share it with you as it makes a really delicious read and definitely makes you want to put the kettle on and enjoy a brew. Don’t you think?

    TEA

    I like pouring your tea, lifting
    the heavy pot, and tipping it up,
    so the fragrant liquid streams in your china cup.

    Or when you’re away, or at work,
    I like to think of your cupped hands as you sip,
    as you sip, of the faint half-smile of your lips.

    I like the questions – sugar? – milk? –
    and the answers I don’t know by heart, yet,
    for I see your soul in your eyes, and I forget.

    Jasmine, Gunpowder, Assam, Earl Grey, Ceylon,
    I love tea’s names. Which tea would you like? I say
    but it’s any tea for you, please, any time of day,

    as the women harvest the slopes
    for the sweetest leaves, on Mount Wu-Yi,
    and I am your lover, smitten, straining your tea.