I don’t know if you were lucky enough to have a lovely Saturday yesterday, but I hope you were. My OH & I had a very lovely day. We went for a walk around Harcourt Arboretum. The sun was shining, there was a slight chill in the air. Perfect. We walked around a bit, took a few pictures that you can see over on my Flickr page. We saw some gorgeous red leaves & some Red Admiral butterflies drying their (damaged) wings on the path. We were so quiet & still taking these pictures that a bird wasn’t bothered by us. I tried to take it’s picture but to no avail. We kept pretty quiet & continued along our way. As we rounded a bend, I suddenly saw a beautiful female deer appear on the path in front of us. We stayed still & quiet & I managed to get a few shots of it. I felt like I was part of Autumnwatch! I couldn’t have taken such great pictures if my OH hadn’t patiently taught me how to use the lens well. I think we make a good team.
After our walk we headed into Oxford. We’ve both been wanting to try out the new Oxfork cafe as well as visit the awesome Comma shop.
I love Comma shop. It’s full of paper, stationary & pretty things. I knew we’d be buying something from there as soon as we walked in. I picked up a set of hair grips (growing my fringe out!) which were so pretty. I also got a roll of wrapping paper for some card ideas that are floating round in my head. Then, while we were waiting, we started looking through the pictures. Now I have to admit that there’s a pug obsession going on in our house. This naturally lends itself to a Gemma Correll obsession too. I’ve blogged before about her ‘Pugs not Drugs’ tote which I use almost every day. We spotted the print in the picture. It’s perfect! I knew we had to have it (just don’t tell the bank manager!) All I need to do is get a frame for it & it’ll be up. I love it so much!
As if this wasn’t enough enjoyment for one day, we then headed to Oxfork. We grabbed a great table & perused the menu. The weekend menu seems to be a brunch menu – perfect for those lazy autumn days. I ordered a fried egg sandwich & a pot of Oxford Brew tea, made by local tea company Jeeves & Jericho. Both were delicious. The tea stayed hot but didn’t stew & the egg sarnie was just what I needed after my morning expedition. My OH had a flat white & a sausage sandwich. The sandwiches were the perfect size for lunch. I could’ve happily sat there all day. There was so a great atmosphere and lovely happy staff. I really liked the look and feel of the place and am pretty much thinking about when I can get back there. The veggie cooked breakfast looks amazing! Plus I totally support their ethos – local produce feeding local people. The eggs I ate were from Witney. They stock the flour that I use from Wessex mill. You can’t get much more local than that. East Oxford is truly coming alive with great independent businesses!
We then headed home, lit the fire & started on the gin. I love these kind of days – I wish they could happen every day! x
Back in September, reading my Cath Kidston magazine, I noticed the offer of a free craft night to celebrate the launch of Cath’s new book: Patch. Now I love Cath, I love craft but more importantly, I love free stuff. Thinking that it’d be booked up already, I gave them a ring. Lo & behold…I was in! I couldn’t wait.
The aim of the evening was to make a Suffolk Puff cushion cover & all the materials & equipment were going to be provided. Awesome! Having never made a Suffolk Puff in my life, I was hoping it was going to be easy.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by friendly staff, free drinks & snacks. We were all given time to look around the shop and take advantage of the 15% discount. We were also told to pick some free raffle tickets. Job done. Lets get our sew on!
On one of the tables were cute little red & white stripey bags. Inside these were all the things we needed to make our suffolk puff cushion covers, including instructions so that we could finish them off at home.
As it turns out, suffolk puffs aren’t tricky to make. You simply cut out circles from your chosen fabric, sew a running stitch around the edge, pull & secure. Job done. Then repeat about 40+ times until you have enough for your cover. I’ve yet to finish mine, despite the offer of £10 gift voucher for the first person to go back to the store with a completed one! I’m also deciding whether to keep the completed cover to myself or give away as a Christmas present so won’t be posting a pic of it until I’ve decided!
The time, as always with craft things, went really quickly. And I think I’m right in saying that the Oxford shop will be holding regular craft meet-ups for people to get together with their own crafty bits & pieces. This is a great idea. I love going to my Needles & Natter group so think that the craft group will be very popular.
As time started to go, the shop manager asked us to get our raffle tickets out. I opened mine up, got them in numerical order & waited. ‘Number 56!’. OMG. I only went & had number 56 and won the bloomin’ raffle! I couldn’t believe it. I never win things. And the prize was big. Very big. I opened it & discovered a sewing box filled with all things sewing. I was & am still am so overwhelmed by this. The only sewing box I have is the one I inherited from my Nana so this will come in very handy. Thank you so much Cath Kidston! You made my month!
As I was in Oxford Tuesday night & my OH was going to pick me up, we thought that we could have a bit of dinner in Oxford. It’s something that we used to do quite a bit when we lived there so I was looking forward to it. We couldn’t decide where to go – Wagamama or Turl Street Kitchen. We both love Wagamama & find that their food is filling & reasonable. But Turl Street Kitchen is new & has been all over Twitter. All we had to do was wait for their menu.
TS Kitchen uses local produce as much as possible & therefore only decide what they’re cooking on that day. I completely support this because then you know that you’re getting fresh produce that’s supporting local producers. The downside is, if, like me, you like to know what’s available in advance, you have to stick to Twitter like glue for the release of the menu. In my case, this isn’t a huge problem. I’m a Twitter addict!
We went in after 8.30pm & it was still quite busy. The restaurant has been decorated amazingly well. It has a lovely feel about the place. There is a nice small bar area, a little ‘snug’ with big comfy chairs & a larger space with tables. We were met by a pleasant waiter, asked to wait for a bit while they cleared a table so we got some drinks. I had a Dandelion & Burdock – Love this! – while my OH had a pint of local lager. We didn’t have to wait too long & soon we were sitting at our table. There were a few veggie options & I went for the red onion, tomato & red pepper tart. My OH opted for the lamb hotpot. We also asked for two portions of the bread & butter to start.
We didn’t have to wait long for the mains, but the bread (& only one portion of it) came with the main course. The portions were quite small. I’ve seen that size of portion served as a starter. But this didn’t bother me as it was enough & it came with a side salad. What did bother me was the price. My small slice of tart was £8. The lamb hotpot was £9.50. Now I know that good quality meat is expensive so I wasn’t surprised by that. But £8 for a small slice of tart & a salad?! That did surprise me! And, as I’m watching my pennies, it’ll put me off going back for an evening meal.
After my disgusting visit to the loos at The Rose, I knew I had to visit them at TS Kitchen. Well, they were amazing. Freshly decorated, clean & with the original parts of the buildings exposed, they were impressive. The Rose could learn a thing or two from here!
Yesterday afternoon I had some time to kill between a meeting & my Cath Kidston Craft event (more on that later!). Oxford City Guide had tweeted that The Rose had been listed as one of the top ten tea rooms in Britain. So I thought I’d give it a go. I like tea & cake so it seemed like a win-win. I read through the menu beforehand, obviously, and saw a few things that I could eat. Off I went.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by a very nice waitress. The tea room wasn’t too full but it wasn’t empty either. I was given a tea menu but was torn between a sandwich & a cake. I had to ask for the sandwich menu but went for a delicious flour-less chocolate & almond cake. It came with a decent sized dollop of cream on the side. I opted for the Assam tea. It was lush. And the pot seemed to go on for ever & it didn’t stew. I stayed for a while, reading my book. The only thing it could’ve done with was a little bit more atmosphere – maybe a bit of music. When I was ready to go, I paid my bill & popped to the loo. The stairs were, um, small but this wasn’t the worst thing. When I got downstairs there was a hideous smell. It made me feel sick. If I’d gone down there first, I wouldn’t have been able to stay. I needed fresh air. The loos are tiny & the hand drier isn’t positioned well. A bit of a let down & it spoilt my time there. I’ve been in way better tea rooms & The Rose doesn’t fit into my top 10. Maybe top 15, but that’s as far as it’d go.