Yesterday was the judging day for the Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards. These awards are held approximately every 2 years, and over the last few years, we have been very successful in winning Pembrokeshire’s Finest Breakfast on 2 successive occasions. We have also won awards in the Best Serviced Accommodation category and for this year, both categories were being judged on the same day.
Pembrokeshire Tourism Awards:Breakfast Judging
We started our day normally, we had a full house of guests and were quite fortunate that most of them had chosen an early start to the day, as the judging was starting at 9.30am. We were just saying good bye to our last guest from the dinning room when the first of the judges arrived(there are normally 2)- a little earlier than 9.30am, as he was under the assumption that the judging started at 9am. Panic on, I hear you say! He was happy to sit with a cup of our Pembrokeshire Coffee, from Capital Roasters in Pembroke Dock whilst waiting for the other judge.
At 9.30 we get a phone call from the Awards office to say the second judge is running a bit late, but should be there within about 10 minutes….action stations!
So, with 2 judges arrived, they sit together in the lounge and discuss their strategy-they are judging 3 B&Bs this morning, I was surprised to find out that a third judge was coming and wsa going to be about another haf hour late-eeekkk, I had set a table for 2 judges, so now had to move tables around to accommodate 3, just what you want when you’re already stressed!. Luckily, the judges were still chatting in the lounge, so I was able to do this without them realising-phew.
So then, we started on the judging, and this is where it feels like a Masterchef Competition to me, as you cook, deliver and wait for a comment-very nerve wracking. I am quite comfortable that we offer a great breakfast, all our guests say so and the Trip Advisor reviews are covered with lovely comments about how fantastic they find our breakfasts, many guests take photos of the breakfasts, which I find lovely. But, when yu are delivering food to 3 judges(lovely as they all were), it’s stress!
We worked our way pretty much through the whole menu, and as it was a day we had a Gluten Free guest staying, I was also able to let them try all the GF breads I offer-3 in total. So, between those and the 3 ‘normal’ breads we had on offer that day, they were full to bursting when they left.
Luckily, we have the fabulous Aga, that can mass cater very well- I think it would have been difficult to cope had I been using a ‘normal’ oven and hob.
Breakfast judging survived, the judges left to go to their next stop and we set about cleaning the house, as we hadn’t done any of this whilst the judges were here. We were expecting the other set of judges mid afternoon to come and see the accommodation, so we were happy to get it all done.
I was busy on my hands & knees wiping skirting boards, when we get a phone call to say the next set of judges were 10 minutes away, they were just coming into Milford Haven!!! What!!!!! it was just coming up to mid-day!! Panic stations as the rooms hadn’t finished being cleaned from the morning guests….hey ho, we are a busy and full B&B, so I decided the judges would get to see a working B&B in action.
Best Serviced Accommodation Judging
The judges arrived and were very apologetic for their early arrival but times had most definitely got mixed up and they were arriving at the time they believed to be correct. A quick call was made to the other B&B to let them know, as they would have been sat there expecting them, at the time they were here!
So, we have a tour around the B&B. which wasn’t looking as ‘spot on’ as I would have liked, but, as I say, we are a working B&B and we were still in clear up mode after the days departures, not to mention the Breakfast judging!
The tour went well, as well as it could-I couldn’t show what I consider to be my ‘best’ room, as there was a guest still resident, but that’s a working B&B for you!
After all that, I was exhausted. As you might imagine, I was up way early that day and had adrenaline racing around my system all day-by the time I let my hair down and put my feet up at 2pm with a cup of tea, I was shattered! to be fair, I did get an apology email from the awards organiser regarding the time mix up, as they say, ‘all’s well that ends well’!
Awards Night is coming
So, we now have to wait until November 10th for the awards ceremony. We are also being judged for Best Customer Service Team, but that is being judged remotely from Trip Advisor reviews etc, so no visits for that. November 10th will be a black tie and posh frock do-I’m not sure where at the moment, I have to find out and I will try too get the whole team to come along this year, as running this B&B is a team effort. Although predominately I run it on my own, I have a lovely team of people around me who help ensure its’ success and without these people I wouldn’t get to have a holiday or a day off and they are as much a part of Fields Lodge as I am. They are what helps me make this a success, as you will see frm the glorious comments on Trip Advisor about how great the team here are.
So, watch this space for November 10th and judgement day!
The awards are organised by Pembrokeshire Tourism Click here for more information
The Breakfast Category is sponsored by Radio Pembrokeshire
and the main sponsor is Milford Waterfront, part of the Milford Haven Port Authority click here for more information