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Friday, 19 December 2014

Wye: Biscuits Tearoom

A recent trip out spurred on by having my brother staying for the weekend found us venturing towards Wye in the Stour Valley for a spot of lunch at Biscuits Tearoom. Located at Perry Court Farm just off the A28, the farm itself is well known for its great farm shop selling a variety of homegrown produce as well as meats, fish and cheese.


Rows of Christmas trees greeted us as we swung into the car park and came to a halt in front of the farm shop. Although having been here before to use the farm shop and for the annual Apple Fayre in October, I have never ventured into the fairly newly refurbished tearooms. From the outside it looks very inviting, similar to the feel of The Gardeners Cafe at Marks Cross being in a wooden shed. If the weather had been warmer there is plenty of seating outside, making this tearooms a great spot for all seasons.


Upon stepping through the door we were greeted by the friendly lass in the kitchen along with nose tingling wafts of enticing baking aromas. After debating over which of the delicious delights we would try out - scones, mince pie tart, biscuits, flapjack and more, we placed our order and took a pew on the seats at the window.  


Our large pot of tea arrived quickly along with chunky white cups and saucers and a nice big jug of milk. We chatted whilst watching all the comings and goings out of the window on this family run farm. A couple of donkey foals were having a wander around much to our amusement whilst people deliberated over which Christmas tree to buy. Although similar to the set up at the Macknades Cafe with its farm shop and cafe at the back, Perry Court and Biscuits Tearoom feels a lot more rustic and intimate. 


Although there were only two other customers when we arrived, the atmosphere was still cheerful and buoyant with music in the background and the sound of the bustling kitchen in action. Matching tables and chairs with squishy seat pad cushions give the tearooms a homely cosy feel. 


Our nibbles arrived shortly after the tea, all served on wooden chopping boards rather like at the No. 12 Tearooms in Canterbury. He had a chunky cheese sandwich which came with salted crisps whilst we both had a slice of the delicious looking coffee and walnut cake. 


The cake was very good, moist and tasty with just the right amount of icing with great portion sizes. The sandwich was reported to be great too with nice fresh bread. The food menu has a good variety of light lunch choices such as a soup of the day, ploughmans, afternoon tea and an array of sandwich fillings all at reasonable prices. 


The Verdict?
Having been very disappointed by the Bay Laurel Brasserie that resides in the lovely little village of Wye, we had everything crossed that this tearooms on a family run farm just out of Wye would maybe make up for the lack of good tearooms in this area and it does. Really good tasty food made with local ingredients where possible makes this a great spot to call in for a light bite and cuppa. Although the interior and food is not as cool and trendy as at our favourite cafe Loaf in Sandgate, Biscuit's is now on our radar for when passing through this area. 

Friday, 5 December 2014

Wells: The Little Cafe


A brief visit down West had us calling into the beautiful but tiny city of Wells in Somerset. After a wander around the Cathedral and the walls of the Bishops Palace, we headed down the highstreet to find somewhere for a bite to eat and drink. 


Seeing quite a few places that caught our eye, we plumped for this friendly looking place along Union Street called The Little Cafe. Painted in a gorgeous dark mauve and looking clean and fresh, we wandered in to take a peek at the menu.


Upon entering we were welcomed by the young lass at the counter. The menu choice was good, with sandwiches, paninis and plenty of homemade cake options. Order placed and seeing as it was a lovely day, we headed back outside and took up residence at one of the wooden chairs and tables.


Drinks arrived promptly, a Luscombe ginger beer for moi and an earl gray tea for him. My Ginger Beer was very fiery but refreshing, whilst the tea was a good too. 


We sat and people watched whilst waiting for our nibbles to arrive. It's a great spot to come to if you don't want to be on the busy high street with cars rushing past.


The overall atmosphere was friendly but quiet, with the tables cleared quickly. It's obviously a favorite with locals stopping in for a mid monring coffee and natter and the fact the everything is made to order and the baked goods are homemade makes it a cut above the average high street chain.



Goodies having arrived, my Spelt courgette and walnut cake was AMAZING! Moist, tasty and a great combination of flavour - almost as good as the courgette, lemon and lime cake we had at Macknade Cafe. It didn't last long!


His cheese and ham panini was also very good, served with a green salad and mountain of homemade coleslaw. I did get food envy and wished I'd gone for both a panini and cake but oh well!

The Verdict?
A great little spot for a pit stop when in Wells. Friendly staff, great tasting food and good value. 

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Somerset: Babington House

A family wedding bought me and my hubby to Babington House in the depths of Somerset in October. Easy to find, we meandered down the long drive towards the grand house and little church, parking up along with other wedding guests in the car park. The grand Grade II listed house sits within manicured grounds opposite its sweet little Grade I listed church. Part owned by actor Neil Morrissey, we were excited to be spending a night here.


Although rushed off her feet, the friendly lady on the front desk booked us into our room and took us over to our little cottage where we would be staying. 


Situated out the back of the main house, a quaint row of cottages make up some of the places that you stay here. Ours was the one on the very left. Stepping inside it was presented beautifully.

Babington-stableblock-livingroom


A huge sea blue velvet sofa sat in the front room along with a huge tv, espresso machine, home made cookies and many more welcoming touches. At the back downstairs was a tiny room housing bunk beds, but the show stopper awaited upstairs.

Babington-stableblock-bathroom

A huge bed with mounds of pillows, classical music wafting from out of nowhere and a bathroom the size of my downstairs at home! Double sinks and a shower head the size of a small country topped it off. It is one of the most amazing places we have ever stayed, and the most expensive.


Dressed in our glad rags, we all proceeded over to the church for the wedding and then later had drinks on the lawn followed by dinner in the orangery. Overall a great wedding in a fantastic location.


The next day, those of us who had had an early night made it to breakfast at a reasonable hour. The orangery had been transformed back into a breakfast room so taking a table by the window, we sunk into the comfy leather chairs and studied the menu. A huge selection was on offer from a full cooked breakfast to museli and eggs Benedict, and once decided a friendly waitress took our orders.


As well as the extensive menu, there was a large buffet where you could help yourself to a eye popping array of foods. A bowl of fruit and yogurt later, my main breakfast of Eggs Benedict Florentine arrived. As you would expect from such a glamorous and sophisticated establishment, the food is top class. I polished my scrummy breakfast off washed down with lemon and ginger tea.


The Verdict?
Amazing! A truly luxurious experience which we hardly ever get the opportunity to experience. Right from the start you are treated like VIPs by the staff, nothing is too much trouble. Our cottage was extremely comfortable and very quiet, unlike some of the guests who stayed in the main house who were kept up until the wee hours by the hardcore revelers! The open kitchen allows you to take a peek at the chefs busy at work on the scrumptious food and the breakfast was top notch. The house and grounds are very well kept, not a blade of grass out of place. If we had more time I would have loved to have made use of the outdoor heated pool and the Cowshed spa.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Biddenden: The Bakehouse


A jaunt out on a beautiful Sunday around the Weald of Kent brought us into Biddenden. On the hunt for a tearooms to stop off at for lunch, we spotted The Bakehouse and decided to give it a go. Parking in the free car park by the public loos, we wandered across to see if there were any free tables.


A 16th century heavily beamed house, it is a family run establishment and we were warmly greeted but the lass on the till who was busy serving someone a delicious smelling coffee. We pondered the chalk board menu which had a great variety of food choices such as all day breakfast, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, soup and pie. Making our minds up, the friendly waitress told us to take a seat and she would be over to take our order shortly.


Although really tempted by the delicious cakes and bakes, I went for a lasagne and salad whilst he went for a jacket potato with chilli con carne. Both were a reasonable £7 each and everything is homemade on site in the kitchen out the back. The tearooms was busy, with a friendly chatter filling the air.


The drinks selection was also vast, with plenty of beers as well as juices, teas and coffee along with free Wi-Fi. Also run as a bed and breakfast and it has such a quaint and cosy character and feels very welcoming and friendly. Lots of locals popped in for a leisurely breakfast whilst reading the Sunday papers, what a lovely way to spend a morning!


All the tables and chairs are wooden and lovingly worn with this gorgeous dresser housing jams and teapots along one wall. The low ceilings are beamed and the windows crooked, adding a charming olde world feel to it. 


We didn't wait long for our drinks to arrive, coke for him and lemonade for moi. We loved the glass jars with handles, really want one for myself! Whilst we waited for our lunch to arrive, customers came and went but the place was busy the whole time, always a good sign. 


Our lunch was very good. My lasagne was served in this cute little enamel dish along with a doorstep sized hunk of wholemeal bread and side salad on top of a chunky wooden board. His potato and chill was also good and both were a good serving size and tasted great.


After devouring our tasty lunch, we had tea and a slice of double decker Victoria sponge between us. The tea is from the Kent and Sussex Tea Co which supplies good quality leaf tea, same as what Miss Mollets Tearooms and Peggotys use. The milk for his Earl Grey was in a sweet little glass bottle and all china used is mis matched, adding to the character of the place.


A dog friendly place with a truly rustic feel and this lovely looking wood stove for when it gets chilly, this place is definitely somewhere we will come back to.

The Verdict? Thumbs Up!
Very friendly and welcoming tearooms with a good menu choice, good value and comfy cosy atmosphere. We will be back to try out the breakfast and am looking forward to visiting when the woodstove is going in the depths of winter.


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Bath: Jacob's Coffee House

On a recent trip to Somerset with friends, we called into one of my most favorite cities, Bath. A popular spa town during the Georgian era because of its hot springs, it has a heritage of Georgian architecture crafted from the gorgeous creamy yellow Bath stone. The city became a World Heritage Site in 1987 and is to this day a major centre for tourism. Jam packed with little tearooms and coffee houses, it was also jam packed with other tourists on our visit. Wandering through the Abbey courtyard trying to find somewhere to have lunch that also had spare tables, we came across a free table at the cute looking Jacob's Coffee house.


An independent coffee house nestled alongside the Bath Abbey and Bath Pump Rooms in the abbey courtyard it looks inviting and friendly with its chunky wood and scaffold outside seating. Throwing myself at the spare table, the others went in to order our feast whilst I peered through the window pointing out what I fancied!


The style of this place is great, huge gilded frames with chalked up menus, grey chalky painted walls and an overall relaxed and cool vibe.


They are into both their tea and coffee, with 24 different types of tea leaves both greeen and white varieties as well as fruit infusions.The coffee is sourced through Easy Jose Coffee, which provides the shop with beans that are roasted weekly. As in most great coffee shops like The Micro Roastery and The Black Dog, all coffee beans are ground specifically for each order.


The cold drink menu was equally as impressive on its huge gilded blackboard, 7 types of smoothies made with natural yoghurt, fruit and pineapple juice all for £4. 


The interior is very tastefully furnished with little touches such as the enamel jug housing the teaspoons and enamel pendant light shade all making this space feel cosy and well put together. 


The impressive selection of cakes are displayed in the window on chunky wooden boards. It took a while to decide on which of the amazing looking slices we would go for and I finally settled on a red velvet with homemade honeycombe chunks. The deal is you help yourself and scoop up your chosen slice into a cute wooden box. The slices are very generous and good value and I love it that you can choose which ever slice you want!


Our order taken, the others came out to join me on our table. Whilst waiting for our lunch to arrive we soaked in the buzzing atmosphere and people watched the many tourists and locals milling about. The view from outside sums up Bath, with the Abbey in the background flanked by the grand yellow stone buildings each side with tasteful shop frontages.


Drinks arrived swiftly by a very friendly young lass. These two strawberry delight smoothies made with strawberries, peach and papaya were ice cold, thick and yummy. Almost a meal in themselves!


Our tea arrived too, loose leaf tea in these sweet little blue teapots. I went for lemon and ginger which was very refreshing and not overpowering whilst he went for an English breakfast.


As well as serving great hot drinks, they also serve a good selection of hot food. He went for a Moo Pie - steak and ale, with mash and rich thick gravy served in a rustic enamel bowl. 


Tester 3 went for an Italian Panini with ham, mozzarella, and tomatoes served on a chunky wooden board. Both this and the pie were reported to be extremely good and for the serving size were goodish value. 


Myself and Tester 4 skipped the main course and went straight in for an afternoon tea. The scones were huge, served warm along with plenty of clotted cream and jam on little enamel plates. They were FANTASTIC, the best scones I have had by far, even better than the ginger scones at Sandhurst Tearooms and the White Chocolate scones at Edith's House.

The Verdict? Thumbs Up!
A great spot for a light lunch for just a pit stop for a coffee. The staff are super friendly and helpful, even on a jam packed Saturday lunch time when they were frantically busy. The baked goods selection was impressive with plenty of cake options and the scones were delicious. The drinks selection and light lunch menu has something to suit most tastes. Overall a fantastic place to come when in Bath. 
  

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Our Pick: Best 5 Vintage Vans For Sale September

With summer still hanging on in there for some of us in the UK, we thought we'd round up our favourite vintage vans out there for sale.


1. Morris Austin J2

This is Annie, a vintage camper which has been refurbished inside to a 1960's diner style with red leather swivel seats. A gorgeous head turner, this would be fantastic for nipping off for a weekends camping. On eBay for £9750, she starts first time and has 78k on the clock.





A 1970 Citroen H van on eBay for £10500. It has been restored in France to a catering spec and comes with a full MOT and paperwork to register it with the DVLA. 





Our favourite type of van, this is a Peugeot J7 like our Albert, that used to be a camper but it now stripped inside ready for refitting by its new owner. A 1978 model, so one of the latest as they stopped making this model in 1980 to start making the J9, she has no papers for the UK so would need some work doing. On eBay with a starting bid of £1500, these vintage vans are a great buy for people on a small budget. 






On Car and Classic for £4800, this 1965 Bedford van is a good runner with a diesel Perkins engine. Located in Malta, it has its logbook but no papers for the UK. I love the colour of the dash inside the cab!

Bedford CA panel van For Sale (1965)

Bedford CA panel van For Sale (1965)

Bedford CA panel van For Sale (1965)

5. Peugeot J7 Diesel Long Wheel Base

Another lovely J7 but this one is in a rather beaten up condition. A long wheel base 1977 version which has been extended into a monster of a van. Imagine parking this in town! On Car and Classic located in the Netherlands for £4900. 

Peugeot J7 very long model Durisotti For Sale (1977)

Peugeot J7 very long model Durisotti For Sale (1977)

Peugeot J7 very long model Durisotti For Sale (1977)