I’ve just attended my first annual staff picnic and in spite of concerns regarding the weather we were able to spend our lunchtime sitting on tartan blankets, surrounded by picnickers from all the other departments, munching on big, fat, juicy strawberries under blue skies beside the 18th century 4 star hotel on site. Even better, there was a chilled bottle of white wine involved.
Despite a rather persistent wasp, it was so nice to be out of the office and into the sunshine doing something so quintessentially British, although cramming fresh fruit down my neck like it’s going out of fashion during my dinner break might not have been such a good idea. It’s also quite hard to focus on work in the afternoon when you feel ever so slightly tipsy. Thank heavens for strong coffee…
With a hectic pre-Christmas schedule it was impossible to find a mutually suitable time to visit my mother before the big day this year, therefore a compromise had to be found. After much thought I suggested we indulged in ‘afternoon tea’ at a posh hotel fairly close to where mum lives, so that we can enjoy a good old natter whilst indulging in a bit of luxury. Thankfully she agreed to this idea and so today I set off early, in sub-zero temperatures, to catch the bus.
Her little face lit up as I was dropped off, and we immediately began putting the world to rights. After an hour of thawing out at her place we hopped into a taxi which took us to the hotel, where I’d reserved us a table overlooking a pretty pond. Despite having walked past there literally hundreds of times, my mother had never stepped foot inside, so to be able to finally treat her to a little bit of luxury was wonderful.
Afternoon tea was sublime; delicious food and drink and excellent service, I really couldn’t have asked for more from them. Of course, mum was chuffed to bits and even though we didn’t manage to see each other before Christmas Day for the first time in my life, today has more than made up for it. When life gets busy it’s sometimes a little too easy to sideline people in order to fit everything in. However, family is very precious, and it’s vital to make sure that you somehow MAKE the time to be with those you love…
It’s mid-December and yet I have a fabulous sun tan. Yes, I’ve just returned from a magnificent all-inclusive holiday to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote, staying at a 4-star hotel overlooking the islands of Fuerteventura and Los Lobos! I have to admit it’s going to be something of a challenge adjusting back into ‘normal’ life after half a month of being treated like a princess, but I need to go back to work so I can earn enough money to go away again.
I’ve been waited on hand and foot by maids and guest services staff, visited a stunning marina full of expensive yachts, seen amazing sunsets, eaten in the very best a la carte restaurants, watched entertaining evening shows, got drenched on a catamaran bouncing across waves en route to Fuerteventura and even been in a motorised dinghy with two very fit, but mad, Spaniards!
The icing on the cake is the fact that while I was lounging beneath palm trees, sipping white wine from chilled glasses, I was still getting paid a salary. Oh my word, this new job really has opened up a totally new world for me and it’s changed my life completely. It seems that good things really do come to those who wait…
When I was invited to a three-course meal with ‘entertainment‘ I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, especially as the theme was the popular TV show Absolutely Fabulous, however, I’d been working pretty much non stop for the last two months and so an opportunity to have an evening out with close friends was very much overdue.
We arrived at the hotel early so sat and chatted with a few drinks to start off before being shown into the small dining area. Service was slow, and the food had issues, but the three actresses taking on the roles of the main characters were quite funny as they dashed in and out during the evening. It was certainly ‘different’ that’s for sure!
It was great to spend time with my friends, and even though the meal could’ve been better it was really good to chill out and have a laugh with my mates for once. Even when things don’t go entirely according to plan, focus on the positives and just enjoy yourself – life’s too short to worry about walnuts.
I’m extremely lucky to have such lovely friends, especially when I get treated to a pre-birthday afternoon tea at a local 4-star hotel. I was advised against having any lunch as this particular venue provides five courses; amuse bouche, scones with clotted cream and jam, a selection of cakes, finger sandwiches and a fruit trifle!
The place was empty when we arrived so we practically had our own staff, who were kept busy fetching fresh pots of hot water which we used for sampling a range of 6 speciality teas (the amaretto cherry tea was my favourite). The amuse bouche was a delightful shot glass of tiny, mouthwatering melon and pineapple chunks. This was followed by freshly cut sandwiches with the crusts off, and then the massive freshly-baked scones followed by cream cakes and tarts. Already bursting, it was a culinary challenge to complete this marathon eating session, but the mini-trifles were simply asking to be eaten. Not only did we fill our faces, we had plenty of laughs too. As well as being treated to afternoon tea I was also given lovely birthday cards and a birthday cake to bring home.
Tomorrow I shall be another year older, another year wiser, and another year blessed with genuinely wonderful people around me…
My old school chum was kind enough to invite me to stay at her house over 200 miles away for a long weekend last year, so it was only a matter of time before I was in a position to be able to reciprocate. She arrived at Casa de Steampunk on Friday and we almost immediately decided to go back to visit our old school! Within the hour we’d turned up unannounced, but despite this the staff went out of their way to help and we were given a fabulous guided tour of the corridors and classrooms we last inhabited almost forty years ago. Back home much Pinot Grigio was polished off as we chatted into the wee small hours about PE lessons, lockers and, of course, boys.
The following morning the rain stopped long enough for us to take a leisurely stroll, ending up at a posh hotel when my mate was able to do some impromptu business. We then drove to a nearby village to sample the delights of all things boaty before filling up on pub grub, followed by a game of dodge-the-thunderstorm en route back to her Merc. Girly shopping was next on the list so it was off to an out-of-town complex where we spent several hours browsing amongst discounted curtains and duvet covers, frilly undies and home-wares. An encore of wine and gossip finished off our busy day perfectly.
I have no idea where the time went, as in the blink of an eye it was suddenly midday on Sunday and she was off back home again. It’s wonderful to be able to mull over happy memories but it’s even better when you can do so while creating brand new ones. This was my first attempt at hosting a guest at Chez Moi since becoming single, and judging by the success of this weekend it certainly won’t be the last, although I just need to give my liver a while to recover…
There’s something quintessentially British about indulging in Sunday afternoon tea at a fancy hotel restaurant, surrounded by traditional English meadows; which is exactly what my friends and I were doing this sunny, summer afternoon.
Pots of freshly brewed tea arrived as soon as we were seated, along with milk jugs and a bowl of sugar cubes (haven’t seen proper sugar cubes for years!) The sandwiches were sliced to perfection into identical sizes with crusts cut off (obviously), and carefully placed on the bottom of a 3-tiered cake stand. My eyes almost popped right out of my head when I saw the array of cakey treats and scones; thank heavens for elasticated waistbands! Everything from strawberry jam and cream to the moistest (yes, that’s a word) carrot cake I’ve ever eaten were all very much a joy to the taste-buds.
Wow, thank you to my fabulous friends for inviting me. Next stop, The Ritz!