Sunday, 13 November 2011

Tis the Season.... (almost)

Have been wrapping homemade Christmas Puddings in gingham and vintage fabric ready to sell at 'The Loft' and the forthcoming Christmas evening (9th December).
Homemade Christmas chutney next.

Friday, 11 November 2011

tasty tweets!!

Just to let you all know you can now follow 'The Loft' on Twitter! Thank you for your support  and lovely comments so far.  It is very much appreciated.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Just a note..... say that 'The Loft' now has a facebook page - we will be adding photos etc. and information on our wall.  Find us here. 'THE LOFT'
We have also changed our opening hours for the winter months to:
TUESDAY - SATURDAY - 10.30am - 3pm.

See you soon.....

Friday, 28 October 2011

Homespun Style

A little while ago, interior stylist Selina Lake author of gorgeous interior books Bazaar Style, and Romantic Style, came to my home with photographer Debi Treloar to take some pics for Selina's new book 'Homespun Style'. Was lovely to see Selina again (she came to my home in 2008), and to meet Debi Treloar whos photography I have admired in books such as Flea Market Style, Modern Vintage Style, Recycled Home, and Contemporary Country to name just a few. Selina's  new book looks great and I'm really chuffed to report that my dining area is featured on the front cover, and a credit to 'The Loft' mentioned in the back!! The book launches in the spring and we will hopefully be selling some copies at 'The Loft'.  I'll keep you posted.  The book is also available for pre-order via amazon.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

w E a R E O p E N !!!

Phew - we have literally not had time to breath - so firstly let me apologise for the delay in updating the blog!!

We had whats known as a 'Soft Launch' on Sunday 25th September, basically family and friends came!  We cooked lots of mini treats and served cocktails made from tea (and vodka!) which were very popular, and the Champagne flowed.

Angel Adoree - The Vintage Tea Party
The cocktails were inspired by this book, which you must see/read if you haven't already!

The launch went really well, and a BIG BIG thank you to our family and friends whom without their support and enthusiasm, I may not be writing about our success so far today!

We officially opened on 28th September, a beautiful sunny day in Tollesbury, and since then the Sun has not stopped shining!!
The support and feedback from our first few weeks has been great.  We have opened with a relatively simple menu offering light lunch and homemade cakes!  Whilst talking cakes, I must mention that Emma has had nothing but compliments about her delicious treats!  Here's a list of just a few we have offered since opening:
Coconut and Lime,
Sticky Apple, Gingerbread and Pecan Loaf,
Lumberjack cake (apple and date with a coconut topping)
Mocha (made with our own freshly ground coffee)
and of course not forgetting her daily special of freshly baked scones! and plenty more...
Is your mouth watering yet?? Emma changes the cakes a few times a week so generally customers never know what to expect!!
The weather is now turning a little chilly so our menu will be changing to include homemade soups and stew etc. 

Our Tea and Coffee supplied by the lovely 'Butterworth and Son' have also been receiving their own fair share of compliments too.  It's a pleasure to serve such quality products!  This week we have started serving their new addition to loose leaf tea 'GLAMOUR' A half-fermented Oolong tea delicately blended with exotic fruit & rose petals. Pleasing to the eye and exciting to the taste. It tastes beautiful!

Ingredients: Oolong Tea, aronia berries, mango cubes, passion fruit flavouring, rose petals.

So if you live nearby, or can come and visit we would love to see you.  Thank you to all those that have been keeping an eye on the blog and have already visited, especially Jenny, a very talented local artist who has been following the blog and will be displaying some of her beautiful work at 'The Loft', I will share more in another post very soon.  I will leave you with some pics.  I'll add some more in another post, you can also see some more in my Flickr photostream, see link at the bottom of the page.

A customers bike parked outside!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

tEaPoT uPdAte...

A little while ago we were researching the possibility of using beautiful teapots made by zero japan.  A friend (thanks Jane), then alerted us to these beauties, made by Typhoon with Ching He Huang.
So we have ordered some and as you can see they are just as beautiful and come with their own fine mesh infuser, perfect for our delicious loose leaf teas. Can't wait to try them out!!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Follow the Sign...

Design by Stuart Hammersley 'Give up Art'
Our lovely friend Tim, a local artist, has painted our sign! It will be going up on the front of the Loft over the next couple of days.
Tim is a brilliant artist and has studio in the village that he shares with his also very talented wife Julie.  Check out their blog 'Saunders & Co' to see some of their brilliant work. 

Tim and Julie will hopefully be displaying some of their work at 'The Loft'. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks Tim - Love the Sign x

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Getting there .....

Had a full day at the Loft today with the help of mine and Emma's husbands!! we have managed to put up all the lights, shelves, cupboards etc. we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, hurrah!!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Stitch up

Been doing some sewing for the Tearoom! 
This lampshade is planned for the standard lamp in the cosy corner. 
Originally a nice peach satin number!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Progress Report

So we have had the end of term madness!! followed by a week of camping and now ready to start really moving on 'The Loft'.  While we were away the kitchen was fitted, the flooring laid in the kitchen and bathroom, and now Bel is busy finishing the painting.  My fave second hand furniture man - Geoff, is busy sorting through his abundance of tables and wood etc. to hopefully find a suitable counter top.  As the pic shows, the counter has been made by recycling the wood from the wall that was removed, and is now being given a nice oil eggshell finish!
 The bathroom (previously the kitchen) is

nearly complete!! Just waiting for our dear friend Chaney to make the unit for the butler sink, and Bel to finish  some painting and it will be ready to go!! well with a bit of styling first of course!  Really want to try and open to catch at least some of the school holidays!!

 And finally......... HOOOORRAAAYYY - we also have some nice front steps!!!
W e L C o M e !!!!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

For the Love of Formica

This week we have been mostly...... driving round Essex picking up our Vintage Formica Ebay finds!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Consent at Last!!!

Hi - Yes we are still here!!
It's just that my enthusiasm had been taking a battering due to the slowness of the Local Council, but now we can moooove on at last!  We have been granted our Listed Building consent to remove the internal wall - hurrah!
So this week it has been removed and we can now plan our kitchen space properly.  I'll post a photo of our progress so far in the next post.  So apologies to anyone who reads this blog and has been waiting for the next instalment!! Posting now will be a bit more frequent!

We are also now sorting the china that I have been collecting for the last couple of years and there were some beauties that I had forgotten about!  It allowed us to see what we still need to get too -
t E a P o T s!!!
We haven't enough teapots!
We do have a couple of brown bettys' but I have been trawling the internet for some alternatives.  A friend of mine recently attended a course with Esther Coombs. She upcycles vintage china with her beautiful hand drawn illustrations, (although watch this space, my friend is hot on her heels with her own designs which are beautiful too!!, we shall be selling them at 'The Loft').  Ok, so the course she attended was held at High Tea of Highgate  a gorgeous tearoom and we are loving their teapots!

They are made by Zero Japan and as you can see come in a range of beautiful colours!!  There are a couple of suppliers in the UK, so these are on our shopping list, the hardest thing will be to decide which colour(s)!  They are perfect for loose leaf teas as they have an inbuilt infuser - so no need for a clumsy strainer. Nice eh!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Our Identi - Tea!

Sorry for the bad pun!! but great news as mentioned in the previous post our lovely friends at 'Give up Art' have been working on our identity.  They have been a couple of our closest friends (husband and wife, Emma and Scooby) for years (it's great having clever friends eh!) and we were really chuffed when Scooby (real name Stuart) was happy to design our logo!

 Like it?  We love it!! 
This is in fact our postcard which we managed to have in time for the recent Royal Wedding event.
Reverse of Postcard
As you can see we had some stickers too.  It is intended that the logo (used for stickers) can be put onto any background, pretty vintage patterns, gingham etc.  The colours used can be changed according to seasons, events etc. it's extremely versatile.  So you'll be seeing the logo popping up here and there now as we intend to look into getting some gingham aprons made, and maybe tea-towels? mugs?  We love the simple detail like the small wavy line under 'The Loft'.  Speaking of the 'wavy line' ~~~~  imagine our excitement when we saw a lovely vintage cabinet on Ebay with the same detail on the glass doors!!! We were determined that the cabinet would be ours and were delighted when in fact we were the only bidders!!!  I will take a better picture of it soon but here it is in action!
So Thanks Emma and Scoob were so chuffed and it really feels like 'Our Identity' a major step forward!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Here comes the B b b b... BUNTING!!!!

Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of posts on the blog lately!! Our first event and introduction to the village kinda took over my whole life for a bit!! Sorry about that I intend to rectify that as of NOW.
Well I needn't of had worries/sleepless nights etc. as it all worked out really well.  That's me on the left skipping to the money tin, and Emma my best friend and business partner on the right who actually threatened me not to put a picture of her on this blog but I feel its time to stop saying 'I' as most of the time it should be 'we'! So sorry about that Emma but now we have a face to the name!!  Emma is a whizzo baker of scrumptious cakes and we had some great feedback (even some orders). 
Here's our blackboard with our delectable list of cakes!!  The Royal Wedding celebration was a great village event with a street party for the kids, local bands etc. and it was great to promote the tearoom.  Everyone was so positive and supportive - well worth the pre- angst! 
It was so nice to see friends (new and old) enjoying a good ol' cup of tea or freshly brewed coffee from our lovely china (Thanks to Butterworths for the loan of their equipment).  We have a few pics of the event which I have uploaded on to Flickr. (link to the right of the blog).
So the events behind us - Kate and Wills are off enjoying their honeymoon! and 'WE' are now raring to go!!  So unfortunately our original timetable of opening around about NOW didnt go to plan.  Still waiting for the local council to give permission for a couple of things - but the plumber starts on Monday and hopefully the electrician to follow. Will post some progress pics soon.  I've left you with a photo of our cupcakes - as you can see we have stickers!! More about those in the next post as we now have 'Our Identity'!! Our lovely (and clever) friends have been working their magic (very exciting) check them out at 'give up art'.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Time to Party .....

Obviously here in the UK (well here in Tollesbury anyway!) we are using the excuse of the wedding of  'Kate and Wills' to have a good ol' Royal knees up!!
We (The Loft) have been invited to have a stall at the event, what better way to introduce us to the village ?
Our lovely tea suppliers (Butterworth and Sons) are even making a special 'Royal Wedding Blend'!
There will be bunting, china cups and floral pinnies a plenty.  We did originally plan to officially open 'The Loft' during the same weekend, but, due to Local Council planning rules and regulations!! that may be slightly delayed.  I wont go into detail as I dont wish to bore you but they are not my 'best friends' at the moment, (hope none of them read this blog, I will have even longer delays!).  So I'll just keep smiling and carry on making the bunting.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Local Tea - Part 2

As mentioned in a previous post, I had an appointment with Butterworth & Sons' of Suffolk with a view to using their products at 'The Loft', and, to sample their teas, coffee and hot choc.
Unfortunately technology wont allow you to smell the photo, and it really doesn't do justice to the beautiful colours of the teas (you can actually eat the fruit tea - pictured in the cup on the right)!
Myself and Emma (best friend and business partner - I will give you a full introduction in another post) were quite excited about our first business meeting with a supplier (sad eh), and a great meeting it was.  We were so impressed by not only their lovely range and superiority of the products, but by them too.  A real family business that are dedicated to supplying quality.  We are really looking forward to giving our customers the delicious loose leaf teas (that they can take home too),  as well as a lovely smooth coffee from freshly ground beans (it's gonna smell good), and divine creamy hot choc.  Its really driven us to source as many local producers and suppliers as possible, next up 'Crisps from Essex' and Ice Cream, we'll keep you posted.

Nifty Thrifty

This week I managed to do a little Charity Shop Shopping!!  One of my favourite pastimes, that I don't get nearly enough time to do.  I love trawling through the bric a brac. Found these lovely cups and plates for 'The Loft' this week, and the tins I will use for styling/decor.

My favourite secondhand shop also came up trumps!!
The frame will be used for a blackboard, and I will be covering the seat of the chair with some nice vintage fabric to pretty it up a little.
The lovely apron was a gift from my Mum.
Vintage tins and Sundae dishes, not sure its going to fit in my little ol' shed!! it's already bursting at the seams!!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Local Tea!!!

A friend recently alerted me to some Tea that she found at our local Tesco!!! supplied by a local firm "Butterworth & Sons" in Suffolk. Not only was the packaging beautiful, but the tea was fantastic too.  I investigated further and found that its a family run business in Bury St.Edmunds.  I'm really interested in using local food and suppliers at 'The Loft', so this was a real find! I emailed them for some more info and the very next day was contacted by Rob Butterworth.  Very professional, and helpful.  So have arranged to go and see them this week to find out about using their Tea @ 'The Loft'. Cant wait!!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Seeking Straws

One of the main objectives for the loft is to reuse and recycle or upcycle as much as possible.  This not only applies to the furnishing and decor etc. but to the things we will use day to day too.  So for the last couple of days I have been trying to locate a supplier for paper straws, not as easy as you would think. Ive tried a few places online and it seems that Fred Aldous is the best value so far at £5.76 for 144.  Still not ideal! I can get an abundance of paper straws from the U.S but obviously flying straws thousands of miles!! hardly doing my bit for the planet eh!  So if anyone knows of any U.K suppliers - please let me know.

Gathering Inspiration

So - I have lined up the workmen etc. and just basically waiting to reach my place on their list!! So frustrating! Although, Bel (a friends Dad, restores old furniture, paints etc.- lovely chap) is currently painting the windows inside and its already starting to look quite transformed!  So while I await the other workmen (plumber, electrician etc) I'm still gathering old fabrics (for bunting and cushions) as well as lovely images from mags and flickr. etc to keep me going (oh such a hard life!!).  This image is taken from this months 'Homes and Antiques' magazine and kinda sums up the look (hopefully).  Will be back over the next couple of days with some more lovely images etc.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Out with the Old..

So last weekend was spent clearing out all the old bits and bobs and unwanted fixtures and fittings!  It was great just being down there by the water, and although rather blustery and grey, there were lots of families etc. taking a walk and I couldnt help getting rather excited by the prospect of  them maybe in future stopping by the tearoom for a nice cup of tea and cake!! 
The two large shutters open up and behind the left hand one is the entrance, and behind the right is a large picture window.  I am in the process of sorting out the front steps.
This is the existing kitchen that will eventually be the new toilet.
This is the office which will be the new sparkly kitchen!!


The main cafe area where all the table and chairs will be.  You can see the entrance and picture window as previously mentioned.
As you can see by the pics it's a great space.  It will be painted white to not only make the most of light and space but to show off all the colourful vintage china.  It is also intended to display work by local artists and crafters and I will be featuring some of them on the blog too.
I'm signing off for now but have got more posts lined up.  Before I go I would like to say a BIG BIG THANK YOU for all the lovely comments and emails I've had in support of 'The Loft' your encouragement and support means so much. xxx

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Introducing....... "The Loft"

Photo taken by Annikka
Lovely aren't they?  Yes the nearest Sail Loft on this picture will be the venue for my tearoom.  I'm now officially the tenant and currently gathering workmen etc. to make it all happen.  The intended opening date will (hopefully) be the Royal Wedding weekend (29th/30th April 2011 (imagine the bunting!!!!)).  I have been collecting vintage and retro china for a good few years now (photos to follow soon), which is currently piled high in my shed, (I'm sure that there are a few gems in there that I've forgotten about).  It's going to be called.... 'The Loft'. It is after all a 'Sail Loft' and it's a name which I feel will be easy for people to remember and quote.  I am so excited about this new venture but at the same time nervous, as obviously I need to consider and still be there for my family, add to the house purse, and although a little embarrased to say, do something for me again.  It's been a dream for a while now, and how could I turn down the opportunity of one of the lovely sail lofts being made available for rent??  I've bitten the bullet and taking the risk with support of great family and friends.  So I'm gonna be blogging my way through the process, please feel free to leave comments and feedback, I welcome it all!  I think that's it for my first post.  Ive got lots more to tell you already and will be posting again soon. x
By the way thanks very much to Annikka for letting me use her beautiful photograph, good luck with your projects too!