Sunrise slowly shimmered through the dawn fog and the soft twitter of birdsong spread across the valley. We were snugly nestled under our duvet, enjoying our weekend staycation at Tewkesbury Park Hotel, with a glorious view unfolding right at the foot of our bed. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend a weekend at Tewkesbury Park but all thoughts, images and curtain twitchings are very much my own.
I always love staycationing (or taking a ‘minigap’ which seems to be the newest phrase) and exploring new corners of England that I haven’t yet traipsed to.
“For me, the food I like to make is the food I can enjoy all the time anytime. It’s not too calculated or technical.” Daniel Boulud. But, what this quote doesn’t mention is the clever skill – and at Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental hotel demonstrates just that. Disclaimer: We were invited for lunch at Bar Boulud – not long after enjoying lunch there as paying guests (read that review here.)
We met for lunch on a snow-filled day, one of those winter ones where your cheeks are rosy and you nestle as far into your scarf as you can.
To chase away the impending January blues, Sima (The Curious Pixie), Binny (Food and Travel Diarist), Shikha (always asking Why People Waste Annual Leave) and I plotted a cheeky respite from the winter blues, a ladies staycation in our favourite city, London. Disclaimer: We were invited to spend our London staycation in the Chronicle Aparthotel by Supercity but all views, PJs and meal choices are very much our own.
Did you ever read The Babysitters Club books by Ann M. Martin as a teenager? In one of them (Baby-Sitters’ European Vacation – The Baby-sitters Club Super Special #15 to be exact) some of the group take a trip to London & Paris from their American home of Stoneybrook. They have adventures, dance in professional performances, explore London, meet the Queen – you know, the usual things that teenagers get up to on holiday.
“Brunch you say? Well, there are several places on my (neverending) list that I fancy, can I tempt you to Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental? It looks lovely for a weekend lunch? Ok, cool, all booked. Yep, already! See you there!”
If only all life decisions were that easy. It was a grey old January Saturday, so with our scarves snugged tightly in around our earlobes, we met at our corner table in Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. At the edge of Hyde Park and Knightsbridge, Bar Boulud is a delectable, cosy bistro by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud and sister restaurant to Bar Boulud in New York. Perfect for a leisurely lunch catch up.
Afternoon tea is a confection straight out of a Roman myth; conversation and delicate treats wrapping around the spindle of an afternoon tea stand, essential ingredients threaded into the warp and weft of Ariadne’s loom. Or some may say enjoying a few hours of afternoon tea somewhere like Cranley Hotel is just a lovely way to while away an afternoon with a good friend – one who you’ve explored some remarkable ancient places with.
I prefer to take the former and latter approach to life, so yeah. Call me extra if you will.