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My weekly round up with My Little Loves 12/08/17

weekly round up bracelets

My weekly round up

Well I have to apologise… it’s more like my two weekly round up (possibly verging on three!). Since the school holidays hit I’ve literally been on auto pilot and my feet have barely touched the floor. I’m exhausted to say the least. I’ve been juggling days out, working, the gym, volunteering, parenting, party planning and the odd bit of housework! So with all that going on I have to confess. Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat for the last couple of weeks.

So it’s been jam packed so far. We’ve had my husbands family come to stay for the first week. They travelled down from Scotland hoping for some sunshine sadly, all they got was rain! We soldiered on and went on plenty of days out braving the truly rubbish British weather! We still had a fantastic time.

Week 1

During the first week we visited the Fairies and Elves festival at Audley End Miniature Railway… it was a truly magical day. A ride on the train through the woods followed by lots of fun with the fairies, you can read about it here.

weekly round up audley end fairy and elf festival

We also got some more use from our Merlin Annual Passes and visited Chessington World of Adventures. The rain meant few queues so was great news for us! Read our review on the Merlin Annual pass here.

weekly round up eden at chessington

We were lucky enough to be invited to the Barbican Centre to meet ‘Buttons’ the animatronic Cadbury Cow. We had a life drawing class with illustrator Rose Blake and stuffed our faces full of chocolate! My kind of day! It was part of Cadbury’s ‘Adopt a Cow’ campaign. You can read more about it here.

weekly round up cadbury adopt a cow Buttons

I’ve also recently been invited to try out our local David Lloyd club, so have been making the most of it. It’s been brilliant taking Eden along to the kids club classes and I’ve been able to train with my husband in the gym. It’s really taken the pressure off childcare during the school holidays. We even tried out the squash courts and I managed to hit myself with the racquet! The bruise is still going strong after a week. ha ha. Read more about it here.

weekly round up david lloyd gymweekly round up david lloyd squash courtweekly round up david lloyd selfie collage

Read

Well I’ve recently been enjoying reading a new blog ‘whinge whinge wine’. Fran has been making me laugh out loud this week and choke on my coffee. Not forgetting her amusing Facebook posts… the Ta Ta towels were quite an eyeful! I love looking out for Fran’s posts!

Watched

I am volunteer befriender for Age UK and regularly visit a wonderful elderly lady called Beryl. She is 90 years young, just celebrated her birthday this week. We have a lovely bond and natter away for hours each visit putting the world to rights. During the school holidays I’ve taken Eden with me to meet her. Initially I was nervous that Eden might get bored or play up but she has made me very proud. It was so warming to watch the two of them together. Reading books, laughing, joking, colouring in and having a cuddle on the sofa. It was simply magical. Eden told me as we left ‘she is a very nice lady isn’t she mummy’ and I tend to agree with her!

Heard

About million questions every day from my almost 5 year old. My brain needs a rest! Enough said!

Wore

Well I think this adorable outfit with matching headband from Next has to be my ‘wore’ choice this week. I just loved Eden in this outfit with lemon leggings and matching cardi. I think she look so adorable. Doug my husband passed comment that she looked like a little washer woman! What does he know?!

weekly round up eden in next dressweekly round up eden in next dress and headband

Made

Eden made me the prettiest little friendship bracelet. She also made herself a matching one too. She used up all the heart charms on my one so didn’t have enough for her own! I love it, Eden can be so thoughtful, I will treasure it forever.

We also went on a Scrapbook Safari at Hylands House, set in the Park. Unfortunately it was in the rain so wasn’t a great time to see the grounds! But after getting soaking wet outside we got to go into Hylands House. Eden got to make scrapbook pages about the trail, this weeks theme was ‘under the sea’ and we made a cardboard fish. The least waterproof type of fish!

weekly round up Our friendship bracelets
weekly round up eden at hylands house nature trailweekly round up cardboard fish and scrapbook

Ate

We returned to one of my favourite afternoon tea spots, Camelia Hotel in Southend. We were thoroughly spoilt with the warmest, freshest scones straight out of the oven! Served with a huge cup of clotted cream, just as they should be! Read more about my favourite afternoon tea spots here.

weekly round up camelia hotel afternoon tea

And lastly

We have partied hard over the last few weeks. Many of Eden’s friends are turning 5 so we’ve been busy attending all the parties. Best is yet to come though as Eden’s will be next week! I cannot believe that my little pickle will be 5! That went by in the blink of an eye!
So next week I will be busy making the cake, balloon towers, card and a Playdoh surprise egg (oh god help me!). The last one took me about 4 hours… you can see Eden open her last one here! What am I thinking doing it again, I must be mad?! I’ll blog about it and let you know!

weekly round up eden and balloons

weekly round up party table and cakes

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Eating Out, Farms, Outdoors, Unusual

Fruit Picking In Essex – Lathcoats Farm

fruit picking in esse lathcoats farm

Fruit Picking

Lathcoats Farm is a lovely fruit farm and a great day out with the kids fruit Picking in Essex. Situated in Galleywood just outside Chelmsford, not too far from the A12 so it’s very easy to get to.

They have Pick Your Own fruit, a farm shop, The Bee Shed Coffee House, a small natural play area for the kids and some animals to visit.

Pick Your Own Fruit

Lathcoats Farm have over 40 varieties of apples, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackcurrants and many other fruit available. Fruit picking runs from around June to August. There is a calendar giving dates of when fruit is ready to pick on their website, along with regular updates on fruit availability. You should also check their Facebook page before going. Sadly it’s coming to the end of the fruit picking season for this year but Lathcoats is still worth a visit, with or without the kids!

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Strawberry tent
The Bee Shed Coffee House

The Bee Shed Coffee House serves food where the ingredients are sourced from their local trusted farm shop suppliers.

Serving breakfast and lunch, there is a really good menu with a great selection of food to choose from. They serve sandwiches, panini’s, ploughmens and jacket potatoes. You can even treat yourself to a slice of homemade cake. I can personally recommend the Cream Tea, the scones served with Rodda’s clotted cream and Tiptree Jam were fresh and delicious.

From the vast menu, we opted for a deluxe toasted sandwich filled with Dan Hull Ham, Hanningfield smoked cheddar & sweet apple chutney. It was incredibly tasty and a definite step up from your bog standard cheese and ham toastie!

They have some good children’s options and serve a children’s platter which comes with a roll, cake, crisps, a piece of fruit and a drink for £3.75 which is great value. Eden ordered the children’s bacon roll and she loved it!

They also serve afternoon teas which is now on my list to try! You can read about some of my favourite afternoon tea venues here. There is plenty of seating available inside and outside is a small terrace. Although there may be a longer queue on busier days, the food was served very quickly.

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm The Bee Shed Coffee House
Outside Area

Behind the coffee house is a small natural play area, a track with ride on cars for the little ones and some farm animals to visit.

We met the goats, donkeys and pigs on our visit. The goats were super friendly and Eden enjoyed feeding them some grass, she thought it was hilarious in fact. She also enjoyed spending lots of time hopping across the tiled stepping stones in the natural play area. Kids love the simple things, it is so nice to get them outdoors.

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Natural Play area

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Eden in the play area

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Outside

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Donkeys

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Pigs

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Eden feeding the goats

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Eden and the goat

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Eden and the goat
The Farm Shop

The farm shop is well stocked with lots of lovely treats from local suppliers, fresh eggs, artisan breads, fruit and vegetables, speciality meringues, handmade chocolates, Tiptree Jams and savoury goods, there’s plenty to tempt you.

We didn’t pick our own strawberries on this occasion but bought some from the farm shop and they were some of the biggest strawberries I’ve ever seen! They were perfect topped with lots of cream.

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Farm shop entrance

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Inside the farm shop

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Meringues

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Apples in shop

Fruit picking in Essex Lathcoats Farm Apples
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Fruit picking in Essex at lathcoats Farm

Eating Out, Food

Celebrating National Cream Tea Day

National Cream Tea Day

So this year my mum shared a very special day with her birthday… ‘National Cream Tea Day’. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know there was a ‘National Cream Tea Day’! Now you’ve only got to read my ‘My Favourite Afternoon Tea’s in Essex‘ blogpost to know how much I love a scone. It is safe to say, this is going to be a day that I definitely celebrate every year!

The Cream Tea Society in association with Rodda’s and Tiptree announced that 30th June 2017 would be the 3rd year of ‘National Cream Tea Day’. They help support charitable causes, fundraising projects up and down the country.

National cream tea day Tiptree restaurant

National cream tea day Tiptree restaurant

National cream tea day Tiptree restaurant

National cream tea day Scones

National cream tea day Tiptree gin

Tiptree Restaurant

Our local Tiptree restaurant at Barleylands Village was supporting ‘Mind for better mental health’ charity. They had games to take part in, donating £1 to charity per go, guess the amount of jar lids, guess the unusual jam flavours and guess the weight of the super sized scone… sadly we couldn’t eat that one! I reckon given enough clotted cream, I could of given it a fair go! You’d probably have to roll me out of the restaurant though!

National cream tea day super sized scone

National cream tea day Charity games
So as it was ‘National Cream Tea Day’, the Tiptree restaurant had 4 scone ‘specials’ available, each one served with a drink to suit! There options were Lavender, Cherry, Chocolate or Cheese scones.

Scones

I let my sister Donna choose our scones to share, she choose the Voluptuous Violet Cream Tea. The Lavender scones arrived with clotted cream, wild blueberry preserve and a Lavender tea. I do tend to stick to strawberry jam with my scones usually but the blueberry preserve was delicious. The Lavender scones tasted lightly floral but not too over powering. The Lavender tea however tasted like something I should wear as perfume rather than drink! It smelt amazing though such a relaxing scent, reminded me of my dear nanny Dolly.

National cream tea day Lavender scones
The chocoholic cream tea arrived with two chocolate chip scones, clotted cream and Tiptree Chocolate Spread. They were served with a hot chocolate cream and flake! They were lovely, although maybe a tad sickly for my palate, perfect for my Mummy with her sweet tooth! It was really nice to try some new scones with different toppings. Definitely encouraged me to try something new next time!

National cream tea day chocolate chip scones
So my mum’s birthday turned out to be an extra special celebration! We look forward to celebrating ‘National Cream Tea Day’ again next year!

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Celebrating National Cream Tea Day Tiptree restaurant in Essex

Days Out, Eating Out, Farms, Food, Outdoors, Parks, Unusual

Strawberry Picking in Essex

Strawberry Picking In Essex

What a glorious sunny day spent strawberry picking in Essex. We visited Cammas Hall Farm. Set in the Essex countryside, just outside Bishops Stortford.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm
I haven’t been strawberry picking since I were a young girl. I can remember spending sunny days picking strawberries with my family. Crouched  in a field filling my basket with just as many strawberries as I ate! I’ve been meaning to take Eden for some time now and thought Cammas Hall Farm looked like fun.

The venue

There was plenty of parking, a well stocked farm shop, fruit picking, tea barn, play area and a nature trail onsite. It was free entry too which was brilliant and makes this a cheap day out!

We visited on a Saturday lunch time and although it was busy, it was big enough that it wasn’t a problem.

We enjoyed a ploughmans in the tea barn before setting off to pick our strawberries.

There were plenty of ripe strawberries for picking. A huge field full of rows and rows of raised planters full of strawberry plants. No back breaking bending over here, the plants are brought to you! They also have gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc throughout the year.  Just check their website first.

Strawberry picking in Essex rows strawberry plants

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberries

Strawberry picking in Essex Eden picking

Strawberry picking in Essex Eden picking
Eden loved searching through all the strawberries to find the bright red shiny ripe ones. We filled a punnet quite quickly and were very surprised it only cost around £3.50! We thought this was a bargain. The strawberries were delicious and so sweet.

Play Area

We popped to the play area afterwards so Eden could blow off some steam. There were plenty of picnic benches outside over looking the play area. They also had a separate gated play area for the little ones under 3.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm play area
Nature Trail

After Eden had made herself dizzy spinning on the tyre swing, we took a walk along the nature trail. It was a short walk that went through a small forest and along the edge of their crop fields. A nice walk that wasn’t too long. It was even fairly buggy friendly.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm

Strawberry picking in Essex nature trail

Strawberry picking in Essex field crops
The Tea Barn & Shop

After the nature trail, we treated ourselves to strawberries and cream in the Tea Barn. Eden had an ice cream! Perfect! The tea barn is quite small inside but has plenty of extra seating outside and in a covered marquee.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm shop

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberry latte

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberries and cream
Eden had one last play in the park and we bought some goodies in the farm shop before returning home. They had a really good selection of pickles and sauces, unusual flavour crisps, jams and other treats. The most important purchase was the ‘Extra Thick Jersey Double Cream’ for our strawberries.

We were there for about 4 hours and Eden had a fabulous time. From picking the strawberries to playing in the park and exploring the nature trail. Lots of fun was had.

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberry fields forever
I would definitely recommend a visit there. It’s best to check their website or Facebook page first before going to find out whether they have strawberries ready for picking.’

We will be trying other ‘pick your own’ venues for Strawberry Picking in Essex and will reporting our findings soon!

Strawberry picking in Essex Eden picking strawberries

Thank you for reading ‘Strawberry Picking in Essex’. Please enjoy our short film of our trip!

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Strawberry picking in Essex

Real Mum Reviews
Eating Out, Food, Lifestyle

My Favourite Afternoon Teas in Essex

My favourite Afternoon Teas in Essex

Anyone that knows me, knows I adore a good afternoon tea! Whether it’s celebrating a birthday, Mother’s Day or baby shower, it seems to always fit the bill. It’s the combination of delicious neat little sandwiches, freshly baked scones smothered in clotted cream and dollops of jam, the dainty patterned china and all served in gorgeously pretty surroundings! I am always looking for new Afternoon Teas in Essex to try and am often asked to recommend one. So here are just a few of my favs!

The Chichester Hotel

The Chichester Hotel one gets my vote for the food itself, absolutely tonnes of it. It’s such good value for money. We paid £14.95 per head.

The Chichester Hotel ‘a charming and historic boutique venue’ is a renovated 13th century farmhouse in Wickford, Essex. The afternoon tea is served in their restaurant.

Afternoon Teas in Essex The Chichester
The Afternoon Tea

We were pleasantly surprised by the sandwiches, we received a huge tray (for 4 persons) which was followed by a second tray shortly after. That’s often my complaint at afternoon teas, never enough sandwiches, but not in this case. Sandwiches were plentiful, fresh and a good varied selection of fillings.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Sandwiches at The ChichesterAfternoon Teas in Essex The Chichester SconesAfternoon Teas in Essex The Chichester cakes
We were really impressed with all the cakes and scones, there were so many we had to take some home with us. We found the staff really polite and very helpful.
I honestly couldn’t fault our afternoon tea at The Chichester. It’s up there with the best of them and I always recommend it to friends and family. We are looking forward to trying one of their Sunday Roasts very soon.

Orsett Hall Hotel

The Orsett Hall Hotel gets my vote for its beautiful surroundings and decor. The Garden Brasserie is a gorgeously decorated restaurant with floral wallpaper, matching curtains and multicoloured chandeliers to die for!

Afternoon Teas in Essex Orsett Hall Garden BrasserieAfternoon Teas in Essex Orsett Hall Garden Brasserie

The Afternoon Tea

The Afternoon Tea was £19.95 per head at the time and was very nice. The menu does vary but you often get a sausage roll or another savoury treat along with the sandwiches which is a nice touch. I would say I do need extra sandwiches when I attend Orsett Hall. I think an extra round should be offered as standard. It comes beautifully presented on a traditional 3 tier cake stand. The cakes often have a quirky edge to them, whether it’s a pipette of caramel sauce to squeeze into your cake or a cake on a stick, it’s something to look forward to.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Orsett Hall Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Teas in Essex Afternoon Tea Orsett hall

Rowhill Grange Hotel

Ok so just over the border from Essex in Kent is Rowhill Grange Hotel. A silver star luxury boutique hotel that gets my vote as they treat you like royalty. The 19th century Manor House is set in impressive grounds, nice to wander through and burn off some of that cake afterwards.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Rowhill Grange
The Afternoon Tea

This was actually booked as a gift, but on checking their website, the afternoon tea is £21.95 to £23.95. We were able to add on a children’s Afternoon Tea for Eden for just £10.

The service at the Rowhill Grange Hotel was impeccable. We were made to feel like royalty and it made it feel like a really special occasion.

The Afternoon Tea itself was delicious and Eden had her own cake stand all to herself. We were really impressed and would definitely go back.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Rowhill Grange afternoon tea
Afternoon Teas in Essex Close up of cakes Rowhill cakes
Camelia Hotel

The Camelia Hotel is a Boutique Hotel situated on the seafront just outside of Southend. If you can get the window table in their restaurant, it is a real treat. It gets my vote for their relaxed and welcoming environment. It is £16.95 per head.

The Afternoon Tea

Their afternoon tea comes with a delicious selection of sandwiches and wraps. The cake stand is filled with cakes, scones, sweets and chocolate dipped strawberries. A real treat, especially for the little ones.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Camelia Hotel SandwichesAfternoon Teas in Essex Scones camelia hotelAfternoon Teas in Essex camelia hotel cakes
Temperleys

Temperleys gets my vote for its historic charm. It is an ‘oasis of calm’ in the bustling town of Colchester. Set in a courtyard within a large walled garden, the historic building is very quaint.  You would just walk right by if you didn’t know it was there. The afternoon tea is £20 per person.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Temperleys colchesterAfternoon Teas in Essex Eden standing in front of wooden door at TemperleysAfternoon Teas in Essex Temperleys walled garden
The Afternoon Tea

The Afternoon Tea was served on a traditional 3 tier cake stand with the addition of blue macaroons. They matched them to our blue baby shower theme. They were very accommodating.

Afternoon Teas in Essex Temperleys afternoon tea
These are just a few of my favourite afternoon teas in Essex (and surrounding areas). There are so many more I have on my bucket list to try very soon. I will be shortly blogging about my favourite little tearooms in Essex where I love to pop in for a cake and coffee!

Thank you for reading ‘My Favourite Afternoon Teas in Essex’.

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Afternoon teas in essex