Friday, 25 May 2012

Custard Favourite Places...The Bears Paw

Its been a while since I told you about one of our favourite places and you know we love it when Mr C and I find somewhere special! So today its the turn of The Bears Paw in Cheshire - a new find, but a very special one at that and I can't wait to tell you all about it so that you can all rush to the phone and book to go there - seriously, you will be blown away!

So heres the story of how we found this place....Mr C and I have now been married for 7 years and for our anniversary we were looking to go somewhere special to celebrate our lovely little love story once more! I have to admit though, we will find anything and everything to celebrate these days - we have been known previously to celebrate the fact that it was Monday with a bottle of bubbly (I know what you're thinking....Monday? But thats the worst day of the week - however, that particular week it just felt right to celebrate!).

Our good friends The Gom Squad had also said that they fancied a break away after a bit of a stressful time at work recently so we invited them along to celebrate and chill out with us!  We had originally decided to go to The Pheasant Inn in Cheshire - so far my favourite place we have ever been to (review to follow later in the blog) but alas we could not get in as it was fully booked!  The great staff at the Pheasant then suggested we try their sister pub - The Bears Paw and so we did.....and right from the point of booking the excitement just oozed out of us all - we were tweeting and emailing each other left right and centre!  We were like little children waiting for Christmas!

Even the build up of excitement was great as their website features an amazing trip around the pub and rooms where you just click on the door you want to walk through and go wherever you like - you can even go into the kitchen!  The Goms even tweeted at one point that they knew the way to their room already and we had not even set foot in Cheshire yet!  If you want to see why we got so excited about this place, check out the image we first saw below of one of the superior rooms when checking the place out!

Superior room - image from The Bears Paw
After having a look around the rooms on the website we decided to go for the standard room which was decorated equally as nice as the room above and let me tell you, absolutely every little detail has been thought of when designing them, right down to little things like soft closing doors and toilet seats and stoppers behind the bathroom doors so that they don't bang on the walls etc. These might sound like trivial little details but it makes so much difference to your stay when you're not being woken up every hour by someone in the next room banging and clattering about!  The quality of the decor and bedding were second to none and the colour schemes chosen make the rooms feel plush but cosy!

After checking in (and finding a bottle of Prosecco on ice from the Goms in our room - bless em!) we rushed down to the huge bar/restaurant to settle in for the afternoon after our early morning walk!  The layout of the The Bears Paw is really great as it flows right around the bar and has multiple areas to sit, whether its sitting at a nice rustic table to eat or relaxing in comfort with a drink on one of their sumptuous leather sofas that are surrounded by big fire places, old books, wooden bears and glowing candles (always a nice touch I think!).

The staff were super friendly right from our arrival and made us feel really welcome and special - another touch that is always good.  Theres nothing worse than going somewhere spending your hard earned money and the staff are unfriendly and can't be bothered to make an effort with you. The feeling at the Bears Paw was quite the opposite though - every single staff member we came into contact with was absolutely lovely and they couldn't do enough for us!

Its now time to talk food....our favourite subject!  Well, what else can I say but absolutely outstanding!  Just take a look at the deli boards below and make up your own mind...........

Cheese and charcuterie boards for lunch....
Dribbling yet?  Thought so! At lunchtime our table was filled with a mass of food displayed on rustic wooden boards that included door step, super fresh bread, superior meats and cheeses and all the gorgeous accompaniments you could imagine such as spiced apple and pear chutney, pickles and grapes etc.  It felt like we were having the feast of Kings - without a doubt it was heaven on a plate! 

After eating lunch and then relaxing on the sofas with a glass of red, it was time to have a little chill out in the rooms and get the bubbles drunk for the anniversary celebration!  A leisurely few hours later, we all got glammed up and went back downstairs to eat dinner which was just as amazing as our lunch!  Our choices did not disappoint and in particular my smoked mackeral risotto with parmesan shavings was absolutely divine!

The atmosphere in the restaurant in the evening was really buzzing - everyone seemed really happy and even though it was busy, the place is so big that it didn't feel at all cramped and there was always somewhere to sit.

To follow through with the 'outstanding food' theme above, breakfast was no exception with a vast array of choices to eat and drink that included everything from a top quality full english breakfast to smoked salmon and poached eggs alongside cereals, toast with jam, juices, yoghurts, tea and coffee - again with a lovely friendly buzz created by the staff.

We would highly recommend The Bears Paw should you fancy a night or two away - we loved it that much that there was even talk about moving in for good at one point!  All in all, this place is incredible and you just have to go - its a beautiful building finished to a very high standard set in a heavenly little village with staff and food that are superb - what more could you want?  We have also just seen that they have a new place opening this Autumn called The Fishpool....I wonder when they will open their bookings as I will definately be going to that one!  Watch this space for the review!

Image from The Bears Paw

Friday, 4 May 2012

Thank God For The Glass!

Oh my lord.....I watched a video clip this morning on the Yahoo news channel that made my chin drop to the ground!  The clip was filmed at Portland Zoo, Oregon at the lion enclosure. 

Looks cute?  Watch the clip below!
The thought of what would have happened had that safety glass not been there just doesn't bare thinking about!  Take a look for yourself...its horrifying!

The baby in the clip is just one year old and I think if the glass hadn't have been there he would have made a good old lunch for the lioness! It makes me cringe just thinking about it!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Time To Take A Big Gulp....

Now this is probably one of the hardest posts that I have ever may have noticed I have been away for a while - this is due to a family bereavement.  Unfortunately my Mum passed away a few weeks ago - Since then I just haven't felt like writing even though I was loving keeping up to the blog before that point!  Over the last couple of weeks though, the creativeness has started to come back a little and lovely comments from good friends saying they missed my blog posts and to keep going with it have spurred me on even more to get cracking again!

I have always loved to write and take photographs, and ever since being little my Mum always wanted me to pursue my creative side - she knew it was what makes me happy - when I was at school she would regularly take my paintings etc. from home into my teacher to show them as she was so proud of them!  Over the last 12 months, she had been pushing me to get back to my photography and writing and this was one of the reasons that I started the blog!  I also told her about a web design course at college that I was thinking about doing and she told me to go for it just before she died.

The day after my Mum passed away was the last enrollment day at the college for the course so I forced myself to go for her as well as myself - I'm so glad I did too as I'm absolutely loving it! I'm sure she will be smiling down at me now for doing it!

As the weeks are going by, more and more fabulous memories of my Mum are starting to pop into my head and just the other day I was slapped right in the face with one of them in the form of the Bolstermoor Farm magazine that arrived in the post.  Whilst flicking through this fantastic little magazine (well done Picture Smiths!), I got to the 'Favourite Tweets' page and saw that one of mine was right at the top - a very poignant one at that!

Bolstermoor Farm Magazine Volume 2
Whilst my Mum was in hospital last month, I took her a piece of her favourite Mille Feuille from Bolstermoor Farm to cheer her up.  Due to the wonderful staff in the coffee shop doing such a good job at boxing it up, it got there in one piece and my Mums face really lit up when I gave it to her - so much so that she instantly cancelled her pudding from that days meal!  I find it amazing that out of all my tweets to Bolstermoor Farm, this was the one that was chosen to go into the magazine and when I saw it the other day it made me really smile - like it was meant to be!

Above is a picture of the famous Mille Feuille from Bolstermoor Farm that my Mum enjoyed so much and now that its on my blog I'm sure it will make me smile every time I see it!  Memories are just amazing don't you think?!

So...time to dry my eyes, take a big gulp and get back to it I think - for my Mum as well as me!