We love making people feel special when they’re on a stay with us, romantic breaks are a favourite amongst our guests. We are happy to cater to any occasion, and our team of lovely girls do a really great job of dressing a room for a surprise.
For those wishing to make the most of a stay away, we can offer an early check in, so you can relax as soon as you arrive.
Pembrokeshire is getting fit! Visit Wales’ theme for this year is ‘Year of Adventure’, so I shall be highlighting some of the activity adventures, as well as the foodie adventures you can have over the coming blogs.
Well, here we are in 2016- and it’s still raining! Happy New Year, everyone from me, my fab team of girls and my lovely Aga, the home of our double award winning Aga Cooked Breakfasts!
We have been suffering from great winds too, to compliment the rain, every day, practically, for over 2 months now. We ‘re deceptively high here, so we catch the wind coming straight in off the sea at the heads (St Ann’s Head).
I am often asked how I came to be running a Bed and Breakfast. So I thought it an opportune time to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) to share my journey. I have recently read a book by Simon Sinek, whose main thread to having a successful business was to explain ‘Why’ you did the things you did, so that people would ‘get’ you…so here goes!
Gluten Free Crackers at Fields Lodge Bed and Breakfast, Pembrokeshire
As you may know I am attempting to follow (personally), a gluten free lifestyle-well, gluten, wheat, sugar and lactose really. I’m intolerant to these things and I can really tell when I fall off the wagon.
This Saturday brings us Milford Fish Festival, held at Milford Marina. It all looks like it’s going to be a great day out for everyone, and if past years events have anything to go by, it definately won’t be just about fish!
As you may know, I have been attempting to get to a ‘sugar’ free lifestyle for a while, falling off the wagon many times, I might add! Historically, I have had the stomach of a goat, could eat anything, but over recent years I have felt that there are various food stuffs my poor body was not enjoying, and sugar seemed to be a major contributor..
I was so fortunate to attend a morning at Steve Robinson, Glass Art in St Davids a few weeks ago. It was a trade day courtesy of Pembrokeshire Tourism and gave us an idea of what visitors to Steve’s studio might expect if they were to book onto one of his workshops.
The last weekend of September saw the Narberth Food Festival coming to town.
This is a festival with a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of seats!
There are delights galore if you like your food, there’s a beer tent and live music playing in the outside area and inside the marquee there are many, many independent food retailers from the local area and beyond. Infact, you can enhoy a 3 course meal from all the tasters that are on offer!
40,000 people recently descended on Pembrokeshire, Tenby, in particular to watch or take part in Ironman Wales.
This challenging competition is run over 1 day, with a sea swim, biked ride and then topped off with a full marathon! It’s not for the faint hearted and it is deserved of it’s name!
My friend Gills’ son, Neil was in the competition-the second time for him and I also had a guest staying who was here to cheer on her sister, who was also competing.
Over 2000 men and women entered, with over 190 being from Pembrokeshire.
The day started at 5 am for us(on my day off!!!!), getting up so that we could drive to Carew to pick up the Park & Ride that the council had put on, as all the roads around Tenby would be closed due to the race. The Park & Ride ran very well, getting us into Tenby for 6.15am, and already the town was filling up, with Ironmen in their wet suits being spotted getting ready for their swim!
The swim start time was 7am, and there were thousands of people standing all over looking the beach ready to cheer them on.
The sea got more choppy as time went on, so the slower swimmers did have the hardest job-they had to swim 2 laps within 1 hour 15 mins to be able to carry onto the next leg-the bike ride.
I was standing next to a family who were supporting the husband competing in the race-he had previously done a half Ironman in Bolton, and they were amazed by how many people had turned out to cheer on the competitors, they said the atmosphere was much better in Pembrokeshire! (Yaay!!)
After the swim, the competitors had to run to transition to get onto their bikes and cycle all over south Pembs, before coming back to transistion to change into running shoes to finish with a full marathon.
Neil was hoping to get within a 12 hours finishing time, and all the family was there to support him.
The day started at 7am, and the competitors had until midnight that night to get all 3 stages completed, with individual deadlines in place for each stage, complete it within the deadline or be disqualified and therefore unable to continue.
As it happened, Neil did tremendously well, finishing faster than some of the professionals, with a final time of 11 hours, 30 mins and a position of 126-go Neil!! I must find out what he had for breakfast!!
I have been reading quite a bit lately on the benefit of ‘activating’ nuts before use. I hadn’t heard of it until recently, and then, of course, once you start delving you find out loads!
In a nutshell(no pun intended), nuts in their natural state contain toxins in their husks that are hard for our bodies to digest. Soaking and then drying them causes them to sprout, which activate enzymes that make them easier to digest. It produces a crunchier and a bit toastier version of the original nut, I must say I can’t really tell much difference in taste. Almonds (have you seen the price for a small tin??), walnuts, pistachios, pecans and pumpkin seeds work best, while the ‘oiler’ nuts such as macadamias or cashews can go a little soggy, so only soak these for 6 hours.
So, what do you do?
Soak the nuts overnight in water and a little salt in a covered bowl of water. Drain then spread out into a single layer and dry in the oven for 12-24 hours, depending on how low you can get your oven. On a gas oven, just the pilot light is sufficient. In my Aga, I found that 6 hours dried out the cashews ok in the bottom oven but the other nuts needed longer and I ended up burning them, hence I discovered the top of the cooler cooking plate does a fine job over nearly 24 hours!
Once they’re done, you can store them in an airtight container in the freezer and use them straight from there, as they don’t actually freeze!
I have learn’t this in the main from reading the I Quit Sugar book, which then led me onto further reading.
So, now I have my activated nuts, I need to do something with them!
I have tried a new Granola recipe, which is fructose free, which is great for anyone trying to follow the IQS eating plan, or just generally wanting to be healthier, as there is no sugar in this recipe. It’s very yummy, and I do believe is nicer than my previous recipe, which, although healthy, did have honey in it, which is 40% fructose. This recipe uses Rice Malt Syrup(if you want it a bit sweeter), which is a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose & glucose, which means it’s a relatively slow releasing sweetener, so doesn’t cause those sugar spikes, that eventually end up with the munchies..well they do with me!
I was recently fortunate enough to encounter Pembrokeshire Falconry at Picton Castle, as part of a trade day with Pembrokeshire Tourism. I had already bought an ‘Owl Walk’ as a gift for my parents as a Christmas present, but we had yet to use it, so this was a great way to see what might happen at Picton Castle.
The venue for our hawk adventure was Picton Castle, a fairytale castle just outside of Haverfordwest, which is open to the public giving guided tours and has 40 acres of ground to explore, plants to buy and a fabulous cafe serving the best Tapas! If you look back through my blog, you’ll see a piece written on my visit there last year.
The guys at Pembrokeshire Falconry are really caring about their birds and have great stories to tell you. Their latest aquisition is an American Eagle, which they are in the process of training-which is a slow process to ensure they have a happy bird for the length of its life. To find out more about Pembrokeshire Falconry and how they look after their birds, then please click: http://www.pembrokeshire-falconry.co.uk/
As you take the walk around the grounds of Picton Castle and through their woods, you are given a history lesson and will be amazed at the facts that you will encover…so many of our sayings and words are derived from Falconry over the ages. For instance, ‘mantle’ as in the mantle over the fire place- mantlepiece it went onto be, is derived from Falconry. When the hawks(and I saw this myself) go in for a kill, they spread their wings right out and around their prey to stop other birds pinching it, this is called mantling, and you can see how the form they make is similar to that of a mantlepiece over a fire-I’ve taken a picture of it, just as the hawk was landing. The hawks, when I watched this were following a dummy rabbit that the guys in Pembrokeshire Falconry had trailed on a piece of string to make it look like a real rabbit from above!
Other phrases such as ‘under the thumb’ , ‘wrapped round his little finger’ and ‘old codger’ all come from Falconry, but I will leave you find out how they came about when you take your own Hawk or Owl Walk!
Pembrokeshire Falconry can be found out and about around the county, offering displays at other venues as well as individual events-if you get a chance, then do take the opportunity to get involved.
I can highly recommend it!
This is me holding the male Harris Hawk!! I ended our adventure, not with a breakfast but with yummy Tapas coutesy of Maria at the cafe in Picton Castle. For more info on Picton Castle http://www.pictoncastle.co.uk/
I was very fortunate recently to attend a Vic North baking class at her home just outside Cardigan. I particularly wanted to learn more about making bread with sourdough. I had learned about this in more detail on a Ffres trip I made to Gozo towards the end of last year, to investigate locally produced food. Here, in a bakery, they were making bread in a wood fired oven from a starter that had begun it’s life over 50 years previously, and was something they called the ‘mother dough’. It sounded quite complicated and slightly confusing, so I just stuck with packet yeast for my own bread making for my Pembrokeshire Breakfasts!
Anyway, a course presented itself just recently via Pembrokeshire Tourism, so I snapped up a place. Vicky is a lovely lady, very patient(she would have to be with me!) and took us through a very busy day full of bread making of many different sorts-we started with a wholemeal, then soda bread, then bread sticks, then a tear and share pesto and garlic loaf and lastly we came away with a sourdough loaf in it’s own proving bowl made and ready to prove overnight in our own fridges, so we could take it out the next morning, bake it and offer it to my guests! The heat of the car coming home however, made it start to expand to such a degree that Sue(my B&B friend that also nabbed a place) & I were concerned we were going to be smothered in sourdough! I’m pleased to report that it survived and baked well the following day..guests most appreciative!
So, I have been ‘dabbling’ ever since, and have successfully made a few good loaves-all going down well with guests and family alike. I am still struggling a little with fitting the whole 24 hours, starter dough business correctly into my day…you need a window of about 24 hours to make this bread from start to finish…but practice will make perfect I’m sure!
If you’re interested in attending a Vic North Bakes class, you can find more information here: www.vicnorth.co.uk/
It’s April and it’s blue skies, so a very keen guest decided to get out on thePembrokeshire Coast Path, which we are situated on, and enjoy an early morning run before coming back to one of my Award Winning Breakfasts-‘Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast’, no less-as judged by Pembrokeshire County Council for the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards in April last year.
The route my guest took was across the circular walk at Dale, encompassing St Anns Head-just under 8 miles and takes in some great history.
History on our doorstep
For those of you that have enjoyed the BBC Drama The White Queen and then the books of Phillipa Gregory, this is a must do walk-personally, I wouldnt be running it! You may remember in The White Queen that the other ‘Margaret’-Margaret Stanley (not the Red Queen) had a son, Henry, in Pembroke Castle-husband died and she married Lord Stanley, while at the same time her son took refuge in France with Jasper Tudor (his Uncle). In the WQ eventually Richard takes the crown after his brother (the King) dies and the other brother being drowned in a vat of red wine. Well, HenryVII, once he has grown makes sail to land in Wales and has in mind to take the Crown.
The route taken today by my guest takes in Mill Bay, where Henry VII landed in 1485 and then made march through Wales and across England, gaining support as he went, to finally defeat Richard III at Bosworth.
I am sure the coastline hasn’t changed much from when Henry landed, and to imagine 55 Ships and 4000 men coming ashore at Mill Bay and making their way along the Coast Path up towards Aberystwyth, is astounding when you are actually there. It must’ve been such a difficult trek, especially with all that armour and the supplies they must’ve needed! If I had been open back then, perhaps Henry would’ve liked to have had one of my breakfasts to sustain him through the day!
Time for Refreshment?
If this inspires you to take the circular walk, I recommend parking in Dale Car park, as, when you return you can enjoy some well earned refreshment at The Griffin, the excellent local pub situated right on Dale front, overlooking the water. One of my favourite pastimes in the Summer evenings is to spend an hour or so with a little drink (gin & tonic or a nice cold cider) leaning on the beach wall watching the world go by and the sun go down! The Griffin has an excellent reputation for food, with many of the fresh fish dishes comprising of fish brough in directly off the pontoon at the front of the pub. Many guests return to Fields Lodge saying what a good meal they had! http://www.griffininndale.co.uk/