When the weather is on form, there’s really nothing better than spending a summer’s day outdoors at one of the north of England’s agricultural shows.
It’s the all-the-time-in-the-world pace that I love. And the haze of mellow revelry in the warm air.
At over 150 years old, Great Eccleston Show is still going strong. It’s one of the most popular events in Lancashire and this year is no exception.
The animals all looking their best (cattle, goats, sheep, shire horses, pigs, ponies, poultry, ferrets, rabbits, budgerigars…) – prize winners’ rosettes proudly displayed – are delightful to see.
There are marquees showcasing and selling local food, crafts, horticulture and art; modern and classic agricultural vehicles and equipment; entertainment in the form of fairground, stunt riders and cooking demonstrations (TV chef Phil Vickery this year); sheep shearing, herding and beekeeping demonstrations; and the main event, the tractor pulling, is the most random but thrilling sport to watch!
You’ll find all the essentials on site – beer tent, food trucks and plenty of ice cream vans. Take a blanket and some sun cream and kick back. I saw more than one person napping on the grass in the sunshine!
Tickets are £12 for adults on the gate and £2 for kids but parking is free. You can take your dogs and they will be welcomed.
The showground is on Garstang Road (A586) in Great Eccleston, near Preston.
Today has been a perfect sunny spring day for the Crafty Vintage Fair at Brockholes Nature Reserve near Preston.
Crafty Vintage brings together purveyors of vintage, retro and handmade clothes, décor, gifts, art, food, entertainment and much more, all with character you just won’t find on the high street.
Brockholes near Preston is a floating village set in 250 acres of wildlife habitat that is home to everything from birds and insects to otters and fish.
You might not think the two likely partners but Brockholes provides a beautiful open air venue for a fabulous event with a wonderfully uplifting vibe – it’s in the sights, sounds and smells and guarantees a good day out.
There’s a lot going on but it’s well organised and the atmosphere is laid-back. The stalls are vibrant and the creative bods selling their wares are a friendly and welcoming bunch.
A cup of tea (although if it had been a couple of hours later in the day it might have been a cocktail) in the sunshine while looking out across the water and listening to the mellow tones of a live vintage-style singer was a perfect moment.
Refreshments on offer included an absolutely huge pan of sumptuous-looking paella bubbling away alongside spicy Mexican street food, wood fired pizza and some of the biggest and most spectacular cakes I’ve seen in my life!
One stall I have to mention is Millie and Ruby’s Dog Bakery, a Lancashire firm that makes dog treats such as chicken and cheddar chick biscuits, peanut butter and banana bones and apple and cinnamon paw lollipups. They don’t add anything artificial nor do they use preservatives and many of their ingredients are organic and locally sourced. A great idea for dog lovers and of course our beloved pooches.
Brockholes also has its own restaurant, art and craft gallery and souvenir shop plus an adventure play area for kids, three different walking trails and wildlife hide.
Entry to the fair is £2 (kids go free) and it’s on again tomorrow (Sunday 19 April), 10am until 5pm.
I will warn you though that parking at Brockholes isn’t cheap – £3 for the first hour, then 50p for every 20 minutes thereafter, to a maximum of £6. Income from car parking goes towards conservation though, so it is money well spent. If you make use of the walking trails and play area as well as the fair, you could spend the whole day there. And it couldn’t be easier to find either – just off junction 31 of the M6. The Guild Wheel runs through the site, so you could cycle there too!
Crafty Vintage runs regular events throughout the year. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.
Tinderbox gift shop and cafe in Poulton has something to warm the body and soothe the soul this winter.
The specials board has been tantalising me as I pass by on lunchtime walks along Breck Road for months. Having finally paid a visit with my two sisters and baby niece, and being welcomed in out of the cold by a friendly hostess, I can’t believe I waited so long.
The front half of the building is a gift shop selling a beautiful range of jewellery, cards, candles, notebooks, handbags, woolly hats and, at the moment, gorgeous Christmas decorations and stationary. Lovely presents you’ll want for yourself and your loved ones.
With lanterns and art (which is for sale) adorning the walls and exposed lighting cables and bulbs hanging from the ceiling, the cafe at the back has the feel of a cool underground bunker, with an abundance of fairy and tealights giving light and warmth.
A straightforward menu offers all the staples; breakfasts, sandwiches, toasties and a pledge to make whatever you fancy, so long as they have the basic ingredients! Daily specials include homemade soup and a couple of less ordinary options – on the day of my visit, bacon and cheese burger served in a brioche bun and coronation prawn vol-au-vents.
There are children’s choices and a great selection of cakes too; chocolate, Victoria, tiffin, parkin and cherry bakewell to name just a few plus gluten-free varieties.
As a dedicated tea drinker, I was pleased to find a selection of Atkinsons black teas on offer including my favourite brew, Assam, along with lemon and vanilla plus green Chai tea and herbal varieties. There’s also a bring your own booze policy with a minimal corkage charge. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion, ’bring a bottle if you feel the need’!
I thoroughly enjoyed the hearty homemade leek and potato soup with doorstep bread and (soft) butter plus a pot of tea, served in a pot with teacup and saucer. My sisters enjoyed their choices; soup, cheese and tomato toastie (again on doorstep bed and served with salad), hot chocolates and a giant scone with obligatory jam and cream. The bill came to just under £20 and we all left feeling full and happy.
You can see the chef at work preparing your food in an open kitchen in the corner and the cakes calling you from a counter beside. There are around half a dozen tables, chairs and benches plus a comfy chair for coffee, attentive waiters and I’m reliably informed, good changing facilities. My sister was able to breastfeed at ease too.
For a perfect escape from the elements this winter, hole up in Tinderbox with tea and cake. Check out the Tinderbox Facebook page
Stirk House Hotel, located just off the A59 near Gisburn in the Ribble Valley, is a 16th century manor house hotel nestled within 20 acres of grounds giving generous views of Pendle Hill, the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales.
While it still has attractive period features and plenty of charm, the interior is modern and stylish. The venue caters for holidaymakers, weddings and conferences however the purpose of my visit was my favourite pastime, afternoon tea.
But before I get to that, my friends and I first worked up an appetite with a leisurely meander in the surrounding countryside on a circular walk from the hotel. The scenery around the hotel is stunning; we traversed open fields and woodland, walked alongside the River Ribble and picked up a little bit of the famous Ribble Way, a 70 mile footpath that follows the river from mouth to source. You can pick up walking routes from reception.
Afterwards, we were lucky enough to snatch a table on the hotel’s terrace overlooking the gardens. There’s also a conservatory if you would like the views without the elements. Stirk House takes its conservation responsibilities seriously; expect to see thousands of trees and wild flowers and, if you’re lucky, deer, kestrels, owls (the World Owl Trust has designated the grounds a Wildlife Conservation Area), rabbits and bees (thanks to a bee hotel designed to protect threatened species).
Afternoon tea started with hot buttered toast fingers plus homemade marmalade and honey, thick and sweet. Then followed finger sandwiches – smoked salmon, cream cheese and cucumber, honey roasted ham and free range egg mayonnaise – on a mixture of brown and white bread.
Cake came in the form of delicate mini éclairs, rich malt loaf, raspberry and mint fools and strawberry shortcakes, not forgetting of course, fruit scones with jam and clotted cream. It was all freshly baked and delicious, however the raspberry and mint fools deserve special mention for tasting so exquisite.
We took our time, enjoying a rare leisurely afternoon throughout which the staff were attentive, happily replenishing our tea pot numerous times and keen to make sure we didn’t leave anything uneaten!
The surroundings could not have been more idyllic; birds singing, rabbits hopping to and fro, bees humming in the nearby flower beds and the chef popping out to pick fresh lavender from the garden.
Dogs are welcome at Stirk House, which operates a ‘four legged policy’, and we saw one lucky mutt being lavished with attention from a member of staff.
Afternoon tea, normally £15 per person, was on offer at just £12 when I visited which I consider to be excellent value for money.
Salt of the Earth is a vibrant eatery, brimming with character and flavour, and my all-time favourite destination for lunch.
Situated, most unexpectedly, at the end of a row of terraced houses in Carleton (near Poulton), the enticing frontage catches your eye and hints at the delights to be found inside.
Described as a delicatessen, Salt of the Earth offers a whole lot more – extensive breakfast, brunch and lunch menus; takeaway food that can be phoned ahead or delivered; private functions and outside catering; and on Fridays, evening tapas.
It’s an independent, family-run business and it shows; the owners remember all their customers and seem genuinely pleased to see you! Step inside and you’re greeted with a colourful and upbeat venue that is clearly a labour of love.
A collection of mismatched wooden tables and chairs are dotted haphazardly across two dining floors with breakfast bar seating available at the core of activity on the ground floor. Upstairs you’ll find the Dining Hall with whitewashed walls and painted floorboards and the Common Room, furnished with books, board games and armchairs just begging to be curled up in. Chandeliers, fairy lights, mirrors and wall art adorn each room and it all combines to create a charming and welcoming environment to indulge in some leisurely dining. There are also some tables outside for al fresco eating, when weather permits.
The menu is, in my opinion, the most imaginative and varied in the area, with dishes inspired by many different cultures, from the traditional English bacon sandwich to an exotic Spanish salad.
Everything is cooked to order, the bread freshly baked and ingredients locally sourced, and the menu changes to reflect seasonal food. Honest, quality food cooked with passion and flair is guaranteed.
You’ll find breakfast dishes (served until 11.30am) such as banana split porridge, hot and cold sandwiches, soup of the day, crepes, salads and platters, all with food combinations that will excite you and leave you in turmoil over what to choose!
Take the Middle Eastern platter for instance – lemon and mint infused halloumi, sweet potato falafel, chickpea hummus, dolmades (stuffed vine leaves), guindilla peppers (Spanish chillies), Moroccan couscous and toasted breads. Or the Mexican crepe – refried beans, guacamole, feta cheese and salsa dressed with lime and coriander. The only way to solve such a dilemma is for everyone to order a different dish and share.
Then there are the specials, which are posted on Salt of the Earth’s Facebook page, and frequently cause me to salivate at my desk if I happen to catch the day’s offering while at work. At the time of writing, specials include a Beef and Blue Burger of hot beef, blue cheese, pancetta and crispy onions served on a toasted brioche bun with hand cut chips and a Belgian waffle with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce.
There’s a good range of hot and cold vegetarian options available and something for the traditional as well as the adventurous eater. Desserts are no less impressive; a variety of delicious home baked cakes served in huge wedges, cupcakes and slices. And the drinks menu is extensive, with a beverage for every day of the year – soft drinks such as shandy and ginger beer, fruit smoothies, milkshakes, speciality coffees, teas (served in a pot with china cup and saucer) and hot chocolate.
On my last visit, two of my party chose from the brunch menu (served until 2pm) – an omelette of chorizo, feta and manchego cheese, served with salad for me and an American breakfast of French toast, pancetta and maple syrup for my friend.
My sister opted for a hot sweet potato, falafel and halloumi sandwich, again served with salad, and we shared a portion of sweet potato fries with aioli (a tangy type of mayonnaise flavoured with garlic).
Our food, which was as pleasing to the eye as to the taste buds, was fresh, hot, bursting with flavour and filling, just as I’ve come to expect here. Who made the best selection? A difficult decision but we all agreed that the American breakfast was an inspired and indulgent choice for an early Saturday lunch.
The bill for three meals and four drinks came to £24 – excellent value for money for such wonderful food and friendly service.
Salt of the Earth can be found on Poulton Road opposite the Castle Gardens pub and opening times vary, so check first.
If you live locally and have never visited, I urge you to stop what you’re doing and make a booking immediately (you can book but don’t need to). And if you’re further afield, let me assure you, it is well worth making a special journey. Whether you’re catching up with friends, enjoying a family outing, treating yourself or even nursing a hangover, a visit to Salt of the Earth is an absolute joy in every respect.
Anyone who has ever tried meditating after hearing about all the wonderful benefits – increased happiness, reduced stress, peace of mind, improved sleep (the list is endless) – and imagining the zen-like yogi they will become, will know just how difficult it can be to calm your thoughts for more than a few seconds.
I’ve tried numerous times over the years, mainly to help with insomnia, but always gave up after becoming more frustrated by my lack of ability than before I started. I had an epiphany recently though; meditation takes practise. Just as you wouldn’t expect to pick up a violin and play like Vanessa Mae on first attempt, you can’t simply meditate like a Buddhist monk the first time you give it a go. After reading up on the subject, downloading some guided meditations and generally attempting to go it alone, I decided to change tack and go back to basics with a lesson.
Keajra Meditation Centre on Holmfield Road in Blackpool is a Buddhist Centre that offers Meditation and Mindfulness workshops aimed at beginners. I saw details of a workshop on Facebook and instantly enrolled, and so I found myself knocking on the centre’s front door with trepidation early on a Saturday morning.
I like to think I’m open-minded but I will admit to being a tad nervous about who and what to expect. I was relieved to discover 15 other like-minded ladies ranging in age from twenty to seventy, all in search of inner peace. I was equally relieved that our teacher Kelsang Wangchuk, an English Buddhist monk, was friendly and completely down to earth.
We removed our shoes as is customary but didn’t have to sit cross legged unlike Wangchuk, who sat aloft a throne of cushions as he talked to us about how to bring meditation into our lives.
Wangchuk told his story and talked about Buddha, the creator of Buddhism (and a human being, not a god as you might mistakenly believe) however the focus was not on the religion but entirely on putting meditation into practice and the positive impact it can have in daily life. People from all faiths (or those who don’t subscribe to any faith) are welcome, you don’t have to be a Buddhist. Having said that, in my view, it’s hard to have adverse opinions about a religion that extols love and happiness above all else.
It was a half day session and time flew; we stopped midway for tea (herbal or builders’!), biscuits and a good old chat (Wangchuk included).
Some points that struck a chord with me and have helped me become more mindful; negative emotions – anger, hate, greed etc – only harm the person feeling them; on the flip side a compassionate approach will enhance your life and the lives of others. And the never ending quest for material things is a sure-fire journey to discontent.
Wangchuk did most of the talking but you could ask questions and he gave two guided meditations which I found very effective, particularly one that involved visualising inhaling love in the form of white light whilst breathing in and breathing out dark smoke to signify negative thoughts. I’ve continued using this at home in my own meditations.
The workshop reinforced all the things I’d read about meditation but put them into real life context for me and the guided meditations were useful as an example of how to focus your practise when alone. Combined with a few ten minute sessions every week, I’m seeing an improvement. It’s a joyous feeling to complete a meditation and realise your mind only wandered a couple of times! I’ve also learned a couple of techniques that help me get back to sleep when I wake up too early.
I think you also have to accept that, as with everything in life, you have good days and bad days, and while I’m a long way from becoming that zen-like yogi, precious moments of clarity and calm are priceless. I took up yoga in the new year, which also requires practise, but I think it goes hand in hand with meditation. They complement each other, meaning progress in both is swifter.
The half day workshop cost £10 which I thought was wonderful value for money and there’s plenty of free street parking nearby. To get the most from embarking on an experience like this, do so without scepticism – you have to believe. If you’re struggling, take confidence from the fact that the positive effects of meditation on physical and mental health are proven by masses of medical research – do your own research if you want to be sure!
Keajra Meditation Centre also runs regular classes, which are suitable for beginners and more experienced meditators, in Blackpool, Poulton and St Anne’s, although I haven’t tried any yet.
I recommend Keajra’s workshop as a great starting place to set you on the right path. Wangchuk is a welcoming and open teacher and I believe everyone will find something in his words that rings true and helps to make meditation work for them.
On one of the hottest day of the year so far, I ran alongside around 40,000 people from all over the country; all ages, sizes, speeds and abilities, from wheelchairs users to blind people, yet all united in one aim – running to remember and hope for loved ones and at the same time raise money and awareness for their chosen charities.
I take part in a charity race every year for a charity close to my heart, the Alzheimer’s Society, and have tried a variety of events from 10km trail runs to the Great North Run half marathon. The Great Manchester Run was one of my favourites; very well organised and a joy from start to finish.
Created back in 2003 as a legacy after the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the event has grown rapidly in popularity and is now the biggest 10km run in Europe, favoured by celebrities including a host of Corrie stars and BBC news readers. There’s an elite race for the world’s top athletes and junior events – a 2km mini run for 3-8 year olds and 2 miles for 9-15 year olds.
The atmosphere at the start was electric as I lined up next to fairies, superheroes and the occasional banana. Many people display the reasons for their participation on their t-shirts, which is both moving and motivating. If you’ve ever considered doing a charity run but worry that you’ll fail, fear not. The back of the pack with your fellow charity runners is where the fun is at. There’s no talk of personal bests just an outpouring of love and unspoken sense of all being in it together.
The race starts and ends smack bang in the city centre and the route allows for some sight-seeing, including Manchester United Old Trafford football stadium and the iconic Imperial War Museum building. There were bands roadside and a wall of sound from Key 103 radio station to help you along the final stretch.
It’s a road race and, with the exception of a couple of stretches on A roads, supporters lined the route cheering and clapping putting a spring in my step (even at the 9km mark in the searing midday sun) and a smile on my face.
However my favourite bits are the points where charities pitch up to cheer their runners on. The Alzheimer’s Society not only send you training and fundraising tips but also a t-shirt with your name on (as do many other charities) and nothing beats running past your charity points and hearing your name shouted out by a team of supporters. It’s a wonderful boost and a reminder of why you’re there.
The mass of supporters at the end of the race is almost overwhelming and the closest I’ll ever get to a moment of sheer adoration!
You’re rewarded with a medal and goodie bag and as you’re in the city centre, you can take your finish line feeling to any one of numerous places to eat, drink and be merry. Never will you have earned cake more than in these circumstances!
I firmly believe that everyone of reasonable health can run 10km with a little dedication, and the pain of pounding the streets on those first few training runs is rewarded ten times over by the sense of achievement that finishing a race and reaching your goal brings. Some believe that the runner’s high is an urban myth but even if your body doesn’t feel euphoric at the finish line, your soul will be elated.
My place was subsided by my charity – it costs around £40 to enter individually. It’s expensive but it’s a huge event to organise and marshal not to mention providing water for all those runners. Lots of charities offer reduced price places so if you’re feeling inspired, why not see if you can sign up with your charity of choice?
Ego Mediterranean Restaurant and Bar on Pleasant Street in Lytham is a laid back establishment that really embodies the unapologetic pleasure-seeking way of life that part of the world is famous for.
It looks the part – exposed brickwork, olive green and brown walls and seating, wooden panelling and flooring warmed up with fairy and tea lights throughout the restaurant. The kitchen is open dispelling tantalising smells across the restaurant and jazz music plays subtly in the background. The waiters are smart and efficient and the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Oh yes, this is the right place for a siesta.
When the sun is shining, glass doors and windows along the length of the building allow the light to fill it. And on the precious days we are blessed with sunshine and warmth, an outdoor terrace lets you take full advantage of al fresco dining.
My family visited on the afternoon of Mother’s Day when the restaurant was full with like-minded parties of numerous generations, from toddlers to pensioners, all seemingly enjoying themselves.
Choosing from a special menu for the event, I opted for chargrilled rump steak served with peppercorn sauce, potatoes and vegetables followed by warm chocolate brownie with fudge sauce and ice cream. My meal was cooked to perfection and flavoursome, the steak tender, and the brownie was one of the best I’ve ever tasted (and there have been many) – rich and gooey.
The rest of my party, comprising meat, fish-only, fussy and pregnant eaters, sampled just about everything else on the menu and were all very impressed, and most importantly, satisfied. This is not always easy to achieve for a family whose biggest love in life is food!
Singled out for special mention were the paprika flavoured calamari, honey glazed Iberian belly pork, salmon fillet with leek, pancetta and white wine sauce and sticky toffee pudding.
Most of these dishes are available on the main menu, which also offers pastas, pizzas and risottos in addition to a wide variety of Mediterranean inspired dishes. They hold regular themed nights and there’s a fixed price menu on offer throughout the week.
The menu offered two and three course options, £17.95 and £20.95 respectively, which represented good value for money on a special occasion, and at the end of the meal the mothers in our party were presented with gifts of primulas, which was a nice touch. All the menus are available to view on the website and you can book a table online too. They’re also on Facebook and Twitter
Ego Lytham is currently one of eight restaurants nationwide but there is a distinct local feel to it. The venue is stylish yet unpretentious, modern but welcoming. There’s a family feel and a sense of taking time to enjoy your meal at a leisurely pace.
I’ve visited previously on a Friday night when the restaurant adopts a mellow evening vibe. There’s also a separate bar with seating which is open late – perfect for a pre or post-dinner cocktail. Conveniently located in the town centre, there’s also a public car park (paid) right next to the venue.
Ego is a particularly lovely destination to treat or impress someone.
Halo is a coffee house-tea room in Poulton and a frequent haunt of mine for lunch or afternoon tea and cake. Situated above Gabriel’s House on Ball Street, opposite St Chad’s church, it’s conveniently located in the town centre and guarantees great quality homemade food at every visit.
Gabriel’s House sells darling gifts and items for the home – a treasure trove of Sia products, chic interior gems plus unique jewellery and scarves. If you’re in need of a gift for a woman, you’ll find it here, along with a little something for yourself I often find. You have to go through the shop and up the stairs at the back to reach Halo, so the chances of a purchase are high!
The café is petite and snug with a handful of tables in a room decorated very much in the vein of the shop below – quaint and inviting. It’s nearly always busy (testament to the popularity of the establishment) so I find the best chance of getting a table is mid-afternoon, which just happens to be perfect for tea and cake.
The menu is varied and reasonably priced. Choose from a long list of hot and cold drinks, including a good range of teas – I always opt for my favourite Assam brew. Food-wise breakfast, brunch and lunch are catered for with hot and cold sandwiches, toasties and salads, all served with salad and coleslaw; jacket potatoes with infinite fillings and tasty soup; plus favourites such as toasted rarebit and Halo club sandwich.
The specials board always delights with tasty dishes like potato cakes with smoked salmon and cream cheese and cauliflower mornay with crispy bacon.
When it comes to cake, there’s always a hot pudding and a selection of slices and scones. The egg custard is perfect and a personal favourite.
Halo is the perfect venue for a lunch break, shopping stop off or catch up with friends whether you’re dashing or have time on your hands. It feels a little like being in your mum’s kitchen; familiar and comforting with food served up as it comes out of the oven. Expect to pay around £7 for a sandwich and tea. There are a number of public car parks nearby (paid) and a bus stop almost opposite.
Good luck resisting the urge to buy something you don’t need but desperately must have from Gabriel’s House on the way out!
Teacup Kitchen is a tea lovers’ dream and a jewel of an eatery in Manchester city centre, perfect for a leisurely lunch or mid-shopping brew and cake.
I began following Teacup Kitchen on Facebook after reading about it in a magazine and the vivid photos of delicious looking food and drinks appearing on my timeline implored me to pay a visit.
Located on Thomas Street, in the Northern Quarter and just a few minutes’ walk from the main high street, you can expect originality and attention to detail from the moment you step inside.
The venue has the feel of a retro warehouse diner with a red, brown and stainless steel interior, wooden table and chairs, tiled floors and an open kitchen, with an old fashioned bell used by the chefs to signal that food is ready to serve. It’s a spacious and attractive venue that was half full when we visited early afternoon on a Tuesday. 50s style music playing (non intrusively) in the background helped to give it a social and relaxed atmosphere. My fellow diners ranged widely in age and it is definitely not just a venue for ladies who like to lunch.
A vast menu, with specials intriguingly presented in the form of a letter within, made deciding what to have a lengthy affair. Let’s start with the drinks. Despite a choice of smoothies, milkshakes, fresh juices, coffees, hot chocolate and even wine, beers and ciders, this was easy for me – I’m a dedicated tea drinker. I just had to choose from around 25 different types ranging from a selection of Earl Greys to the delectably named Performing Flower Tea which promises a display of dancing blossoms and Energise Your Eyes, a reviving tonic. There’s even one to help you recover from a hangover! I opted for Assam Gold – black tea, good and strong.
My tea was served in a pot with strainer (no tea bags here) and a quirky tea timer which I loved – three little egg timers designed to tell you when your tea has reached the desired level of strength. You can also buy a range of loose leaf teas to take home with you.
Making a food choice was tricky – there was much on the menu to tempt me (I should say that I like fresh, seasonal, unprocessed food and if these criteria are met, I’m open to all suggestions). Sandwiches, soup, pies, pastries and eggs of every variety – Benedict, Florentine, scrambled and poached; afternoon tea, cream tea, scones, flapjack and cake by the slice; something for breakfast, lunch and tea; and each item thoughtfully put together with scrumptious sounding flavours and textures.
I opted for an oldie but a goodie – beans on toast! But not just any beans on toast, Heritage Tomato Beans, a mix of tomatoes, red kidney beans and green lentils in tomato sauce served on rye toast. My choice did not disappoint. The combination of ingredients was luscious, the tomatoes ripe and busting with flavour, and it was a healthy portion.
The rest of my party sampled a cream tea (with the jam and cream served together in a glass jar, which went down extremely well with my scone connoisseur mum); a ham hock, cheddar and piccalilli sandwich; a Love Ewe sandwich of sheep’s cheese and sweet onion marmalade; and a shared portion of sweet potato fries, all of which impressed. We all spent around £10 each on our lunch and a drink, which I thought was great value for money.
The cake counter was drool-inducing. Colourful is not the word – pale green pistachio cake, pink red velvet cake and multi-coloured rainbow cake just some of the treats on offer. If we hadn’t had a pressing shopping agenda, we’d have each sampled a different one. Still, gives me an excuse to go back…
The waiters were pleasant and attentive and the food was served quickly but without any implication that is should be eaten quickly. I could have happily ordered another pot of tea and whiled away a lazy afternoon there.
Teacup Kitchen is an absolute gem and a welcome alternative to the masses of national chain eateries that dominate the city centre.
A blog: uplifting things to do and places to go in Lancashire and beyond