My sister and I, plus sausages, are currently in the Cotswolds for a long weekend. It’s a little summer holiday with picnicking thrown in – of course I travel almost continuously for work, but this is a proper mini break, with no meetings and no commitments.
Although…drum roll…I have been lent the most wonderful car for our trip: the Aston Martin Vanquish, a motor vehicle so glorious that I purr on contact. (You may remember that I test drove the latest Astons at Milbrook recently.)
On Saturday morning we packed the boot with our overnight bags and picnic hamper filled with Good Things from my kitchen – the boot is a little smaller because we have the convertible iteration of the Vanquish, and set off to the Cotswolds.
Our first destination was the The National Trust’s Sherborne Estate in Gloucestershire which at Ewe Barn has a car park and several walks leading from it.
Holly wasn’t feeling up to a long walk so we plunked ourselves down under a tree on the avenue instead, and lazed about, reading, and eating the picnic that I had made.
We had the Shake It Up Salads from my cookbook Friends, Food, Family: they are excellent for trips as the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. In the bottom of this version goes an emulsifed basil, Dijon mustard and olive oil dressing, then a packed layer of chopped Little Gem lettuce, followed by chopped tomatoes, then ripped up mozzarella, and then a basil leaf, so it all looks pretty when you open up the Kilner or Mason jar.
The important thing is to pack the jar so that nothing moves about. Then when you come to serve, you simply tip the salad out onto your plate and mix it up.
These beautiful very lightweight enamel tin plates are perfect for picnics, and wipe down easily after you’ve finished eating. I bought mine at Mapperton last summer, but you can find them on Amazon from £5 each. The glass jars are IKEA.
(I’m wearing this season’s navy blue CHANEL sunglasses (gift) and a cotton Sfera top I picked up in Barcelona last weekend.)
It’s important to be comfy on a picnic and I am very very pleased with these sweet Wesley the Walrus waterproof outdoor cushions that I picked up from West Elm for a bargain £4.95 each. They squash down too so are easy to transport.
Holly’s sundress is by People Tree. (Sold out, sadly.) Her sandals are Kurt Geiger, and the sunglasses from Accessorize.
I’m sitting on the Striped Nine Space Turkish cotton beach towel from J Crew. I love these: they are very lightweight for travelling but big in size. I picked mine up in New York, but they are available on line in the UK too. My insanely comfy gladiator sandals are in the sale at from M&S. £36 – also in black.
We finished our picnic with an oozy Brie, English cherries and water biscuits. I pack the cheese and the cherries in firm plastic boxes so they don’t get bruised or squished on the journey.
Then we headed to our Saturday night hotel just down the road – The Wheatsheaf in Northleach, where I had snagged a last minute cancellation on a huge dog-friendly room – that’s the door in the photo below.
We ate supper in the lovely garden. We weren’t hugely hungry so ordered delicious bits to share: an excellent twice baked cheese soufflé with mustard sauce, 1/2 a pint of prawns, Cornish crab on toast, buttered spring greens with pearl onions, French fries & French beans. And a glass of Tempranillo for me. Can you spot the tiny dog nose?
Breakfast was served in the charming dining room; I ate perfect poached eggs and read OFM.
On Sunday morning we headed off to Soho Farmhouse, our destination for the next two days.
En route, we stopped off to check out Daylesford Farm. I’ve been many times, but Holly hadn’t been before. It’s no more a farm shop than Harrods is a greengrocer, but it’s always interesting to check out their cheese room, the beautiful flower shop, and the clientele.The Vanquish, of course, looked right at home.
I adore this Chateau Leloube Rose from Daylesford’s sister venture in Provence.
Of course, they don’t sell plain old boring soup. They sell bone broth.
And wonderful peonies in the flower shop.
Then it was off to the Soho Farmhouse for lunch
Daylesford Farm, Daylesford near Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG.
Telephone: 01608 731 700. Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lodge Park & Sherborne Estate.
Ewe Pen Barn is the starting point for Lodge Park’s three main walking routes: Short Woodland Stroll; Family Fun Walk and Historic Farmland Hike. Don’t miss the sculpture trail around the pleasure grounds.
The Wheatsheaf Inn, Northleach, Gloucestershire.
Soho Farmhouse The Farmhouse is still in soft opening for all members to stay only until 06 August 2015. After that it’s open for founder members only for day use and Every House members to stay. The Farmhouse opens to the public to stay, and for Every House members for day use, from September 2015.
With many thanks to Aston Martin for the loan of the Vanquish for the weekend. We paid for all our food, petrol, and accommodations for this trip.