Wednesday, 5 June 2013

27 birthday surprises

it was Pete's birthday last month, and as a celebration i organised a surprise weekend for him. i planned it out to the finest detail, and filled 27 envelopes with 27 slips of paper with a different instruction on it...

he had no idea what we'd be doing that weekend, or where we'd be going, or who we'd be seeing. somehow (not sure how) i managed to keep it all a secret.

here is a little bit of a photo documentary of what happened...

 the first surprise is that we were going to Bath, where he'd never been and always wanted to, and i happen to know quite well from many visits to the spa and shops. we went on the train, and it was gorgeous weather.


i had prepared a picnic the night before, chicken and hummus salad, of course. which we devoured sat opposite pulteney bridge (the spoon is from a particular frozen yogurt store in London... apologies).


we spent the rest of the day looking round the shops, discovering harvest coop (you must go when you're there, it's the best wholefood store outside of london i've been to) and eating out at the most amazing italian called Sotto Sotto, which i booked two months in advance. we followed this with drinks out at Rev's and a little dance, before catching a 10pm train back to Bradford on Avon, where we were to stay.

our b&b was divine. gorgeous room, comfy bed, welcoming host and amazing breakfast. herb cottage was a good choice, thanks to tripadvisor. and the breakfast was perfection - hot homemade porridge with homemade jam, seed mix, apple puree and yogurt. followed by a cooked breakfast of your choice...


after breakfast we walked to a nearby farm shop called Hartley's, where we met up with my grandparents (who live nearby) and ate a very delicious lunch....


i had the spring platter, with hummus, coronation coleslaw, waldorf salad, green salad and feta salad. seriously yummy. the boys had the ploughmans, which was so big neither managed to finish completely, much to their dismay.


after that we went to the nearby Quoins Organic Vineyard, for a spot of wine tasting. there was about a dozen other people there to tour the vines and hear about how grapes are grown and wine is made in this country...


the wines were pretty tasty. and we've got one bottle of the white to drink on a special occasion in the future... perhaps our 10th wedding anniversary or my 30th or something like that.


we hiked back to the b&b. i picked wildflowers. Pete kicked around a stray ball.


the following day we went back into Bath, and Pete went on a filter coffee course at Colonna & Small's - the most amazing coffee place in Bath, and the best i've ever tasted. they serve speciality coffee, with freshly roasted beans, and it's fantastic.


Pete's course was with Max (the 6th best Barista in the world, 1st in the UK) and he had a blast learning how to choose beans, how to brew, what temperature, etc. Max was kind enough to let me sit in and learn too, and it was so interesting... afterwards we had to have a cup, with some dark chocolate truffles, sat outside in the sunshine.


the coffee training couldn't easily be topped. it was Pete's highlight. but afterwards we went to Paxton & Whitfield to get some delicious cheese, and then headed over to my brother's house for a scrumptious barbecue.

we ate until we couldn't eat any more. my brother had prepared roasted sweet potato, chicken, salad and baconaise (so wrong, but so good), washed down with peach bellinis or red wine.


there's no better way to end your weekend than by hearing your niece say in her 2 year old accent, 'baconaise is deee-licious' repeatedly. of all the phrases and words she has in her vocabulary, this is a brilliant one! (along with borscht of course - seriously cute)

so all in all, the 27 envelopes were very appreciated, and we had an awesome time in Bath! the city is amazing, and Bradford-on-Avon is so cute. if you get a chance to visit either, you should.

currently listening to: the nashville soundtrack - i quite cheesily enjoy the programme, and have a huge soft spot for country music...

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