Tag: oxfordshire

Cogges Farm

Dream Kitchen

DamsonsA while ago I started following The Real Food Cafe on Twitter. They were opening up at Cogges Farm & celebrating with a food festival. I didn’t manage to get to that so on Bank Holiday my OH & I decided to take a trip to see the manor house at Cogges.

Cogges is trying to obtain charity status so we couldn’t pay by card, which meant a detour into the lovely town of Witney. I think the admission price is reasonable for adults (£5) but cannot understand why they feel they have to charge £1 for dogs! It’s not like a pooch is going to be bringing its pocket money! Weird! (Not that I have a dog…yet!)

I was expecting to see loads of animals but they only had guinea pigs, ducklings (super cute), chickens & turkeys. The guinea pigs were a bit shy so stayed in their cage. It was amazing to see that the chickens had previously been at a battery farm. They looked a bit worse for wear but it was good to see them out & about.

Dream Kitchen The best bit by far was the manor house. It had an amazing garden – full of veg & bee-loving flowers. Exactly what I want my garden to be like. Parts of the manor house are really old, like 1200’s kind of old, although the kitchens are currently dressed in the Victorian era. Just my cup of tea. In the kitchens were volunteers baking bread & welsh cakes and they had free samples for people to try. Bingo! They even had homemade butter & jam for people to try. They were all so delicious. The welsh cakes were cheese & chive flavour which I’ve never had before.

River at Cogges FarmThe upstairs wasn’t open to visitors so we headed out through the orchard & onto the river walk. There were bugs & flowers aplenty on the walk & we definitely saw evidence of otter activity! Something was making paths from the river, under fencing & across grass.

Pretty Flower at Cogges FarmHairy Plant at Cogges FarmThere were also loads of different flowers & plants that I’d not seen before but the bees were really enjoying.  My favourite plant was this hairy looking  one. I’ve never seen anything like it & would love to know what it is.

After all that it was time for lunch. We finally got a table & I had a lovely roasted veg & pesto sandwich on toasted bread. It came with a lovely side salad & coleslaw. The disappointing bit was the water. It tasted awful & was so bad you couldn’t taste the tea. There was also very little to see in the cafe or the shop. I’d hoped for some local produce/crafty bits. Maybe this will come later.

It’s well worth the trip, especially if you’ve got little ones as there’s loads for them to do. If you don’t have little ones (like us) then it won’t take long to get round Cogges & back in the comfort of the cafe! x

The Swan, Sutton Courtenay

The Swan at Sutton Courtenay

After spending Sunday morning getting things organised, my OH & I thought we’d treat ourselves to lunch out. With it being Father’s Day we assumed lots of places would be busy so headed out of Oxford to Sutton Courtenay where there are three gastropubs. We decided on The Swan as it looked nice but didn’t look really crowded.

The Swan at Sutton CourtenayAs it was Sunday they didn’t do light bites or sandwiches, which I can understand but was disappointed with. There were no veggie options for the starter or on the specials board & there was only one veggie option for the main meal – Mac and cheese. I couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere else so had that but word to the wise: It’s 2011! Vegetarians generally require more than pasta and cheese. There were no side salad options so I had no green on my plate either. My OH chose the burger & chips.

Both were nice. The macaroni had goats cheese and sun dried tomatoes in with it. It also had black olives which tasted funny so I left those. I’d give it about 7 out of 10 but I won’t go back until I know that there’s more veggie choice. It’s interesting that on their website The Swan claims to have many vegetarian options. They might on their daily menu but not on their Sunday menu.

It did have a nice feel to it and the service was fine, though I could’ve lived without the waitresses spraying cleaning product onto empty tables as it smelt like toilet cleaner! Gross!

 

For the Love of Jewellery

Crafty Chai Jewellery

About two Christmases ago I felt that I needed to have a hobby & learn a new skill. I wanted to do something that was completely different to my day job. So I signed up to silver jewellery making for beginners through Oxfordshire Adult Learning. I’d previously attended classes for watercolours & Indian cookery, which I enjoyed but haven’t been back to those since. Jewellery making, however, is a different story. I’m attending my third term & will definitely be signing up when the new classes are released in the summer. I’ve not only learnt new skills but I’ve made some pretty nice jewellery in the process! So far I’ve made two pairs of earrings, a green amber ring & a bracelet.

Crafty Chai Jewellery

I am in the process of making two different necklaces – one for me & one for a present. I have about five ideas of what to do once they are finished & I’ve only got about five classes left until the summer break! But I love it. It’s something that I want to continue doing. It’s great seeing my skills develop over time. The more I solder my silver together the better I get at it. One day I hope to be good enough at it so that I can have my own Folksy or Etsy page and be able to sell some of my pieces. I’m a long way off that yet but a girl can dream…

A Lovely Saturday

Molly Moo Cards

After a busy week I needed nothing more this morning than I lie in. Once I’d had that, and a cup of tea in bed, it was time to open the morning post. May is a busy birthday month & I knew I needed some Molly Moo Cards special cards for some special people. I also wanted to support someone rather than a massive company. So I headed over to Folksy, popped a few things into the search box & hey presto I landed upon Molly Moo Designs. I picked the ones I liked the most, ordered them & paid for them Thursday evening. They arrived this morning & I couldn’t be happier. I know that no one else is going to give these cards to the people I’m going to give them to & I was really chuffed that they arrived so quickly. I also love the personal touches that you so often get with sites such as Folksy. I received emails thanking me for my order & telling me when they’d been posted. I also loved the thank you business card that came in with them. Beat that Moon Pig! 

After opening a few other things, my OH & I headed out on a bike ride aiming for lunch in a pub at a village near our town.  I love going out on my bike, Rusty as I like to call it, especially when there’s going to be food! We headed out towards Sunningwell & stopped at The Flowing Well. The reason we picked this place is because they had a good selection of veggie food. This can be quite rare in some country pubs so it was a nice to see. My OH went for a crayfish baguette while I had the goats cheese & sweet pepper cheesecake. It came with a lush salad & was perfect for what I wanted. It wasn’t too much cheese either, which can be tricky with goats cheese. It also meant that I had room for a cupcake on the way home too!

Now it’s time for a curry, some knitting and TV. Perfect!