A special night out

A redheaded woman in teal pyjamas with tigers printed on them

Yes, it's a Me. I don't put many photos of myself up on the blog right now because I'm not happy with the way I look, but you might just like to see a face occasionally. And these are the tiger pyjamas Mr Robot bought me for a wedding anniversary gift, because yesterday was our 19th anniversary and we spent it at The Hand And Flowers in Marlow. 

Usually we're abroad for our wedding anniversary, and I booked a fortnight off work at the start of the year. We'd fully booked a week in Malaga in May, and that had to be cancelled, so we held off organising anything firm for this fortnight. In the end, with the British government seeming to spin a roulette wheel each week to choose which countries we'd have to isolate after visiting, we decided to just have one really luxurious night out in Britain.

Chef Tom Kerridge is well-known here in the UK but not as famous overseas. The Hand And Flowers is a bit of an oddity, as it's a pub with two Michelin stars. As well as the pub, Kerridge owns a few little cottages locally that are used as guest accommodation, and we spent the night in one of those. Given those two stars, it's not cheap, and that's putting it mildly. Our ageing Ford was surrounded by Porsches and Teslas in the little car park behind the pub.

Inside a marquee, with cast iron garden furniture and lots of plants

Because of covid restrictions, a marquee has been put outside the pub, making it possible for people not booked in for food (or arriving early for their meal) to have socially distanced drinks. That's where we checked in. It's been done really nicely, with carved wooden screens and terracotta planters and all sorts of heavy elements that ensured it felt more like a travelling tent than a temporary wedding reception venue, and without any of the barriers between tables being obtrusive. Here the space between us and other people felt like a luxury rather than a worrying necessity, though the staff were all kitted out in plastic visors and there was hand sanitiser at the entrance and more on each table.

A room in an old cottage, with exposed wooden beams across the ceiling. The bed has a white cover.

Our room was the ground floor of a very dinky cottage behind the pub – just a main room and bathroom. It had a lot of things in it that felt old, without feeling worn out. I liked that. Modern anonymous hotels really aren't my thing. The bathroom had an absolutely HUGE copper bathtub for two. 

A bathroom containing an absolutely enormous oval copper bath.

Mr Robot had ordered an afternoon tea hamper plus a half-bottle of champagne as a treat for when we got there. We'd been considering a walk around Marlow in the afternoon, but as we drove through it we realised it was way more built up than we'd expected (that's the Home Counties, eh?), and as we'd had a pint each in the marquee and then champoo, we decided just to relax in our room, and I treated myself to a dip in the giant tub instead. 

A round wicker hamper open to reveal glasses and brown paper bags of food, next to half a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket.

We were still pretty full when we went for our meal in the pub (again very well spaced from other guests, with lots of sanitiser around the place). We both enjoyed the food, but skipped pudding as we were so stuffed. To our horror we were presented with a basket containing a flask of malted milk and some home-made cookies to take back to our room; we ended up bringing the cookies home with us today. The meal didn't have the wow factor we'd anticipated – everything was top-notch, I just expected the food to surprise me more – but we went for the whole experience, not just to eat, and it was good to have a complete change of scenery, if only for one night. It was genuinely relaxing and cheering. 

And now we're home, to talk of people panic buying again, and possibly more closures ahead. I didn't go back into the office at the start of September, which turned out to be the right move. I just hope that when our 20th anniversary rolls around next year we're able to go back to Seville like we're planning. And I'll pack those tiger PJs for another outing.

Where will you head for when all this quarantining and isolating is behind us?


  1. Happy Anniversary to the both of you. Your face is absolutely perfect as it is, so keep showing it.
    My hip joints are screaming at the thought of getting in and out of that tub! You'd need a crane to get me out of it.
    I sort of envy your lockdown-it was made clear that it is off the table here no matter how bad it gets because of...well, you know. Anyway, stay safe and stockpile pet food, wine, and cheese-everything else is surely optional.

    1. Heh, it's the neck down that's the problem... I've never been so heavy in my life! Hopefully the go-go dancing will start to sort that out.

      We wanted to avoid panic buying - that just hurts everyone else - so we've slowly built up a small stockpile over the summer, making sure we have an extra pack of loo roll kept in reserve, a fortnight's cat food, and a small stash of tins, plus precooked meals in the freezer in case we both get ill at once and can't cook. We're as ready as we can be, basically. Because we're quite introverted we do pretty well on lockdown, but it's really hard on people with kids.

  2. Sounds like your little one-night celebration was just the ticket for getting away from it all. Even if the food didn't have the expected wow factor, your room looks absolutely lovely and I'd love a good soak in that massive copper bath! Mr. Robot's afternoon tea hamper looks quite indulgent as well. Keeping my fingers crossed that panic buying and more closures are not going to happen. Belgium's not the best place to be either, but instead of strengthening measures, our government seems to be counting on the public's common sense ... I do hope to be able to come to the UK next year. xxx

    1. The bath was great! I had a good dip in that.

      I think large parts of the British public have far more sense than the government, and the government's failure to get a grip is allowing a small number of idiots to ruin things for everyone. The government can't even make its own members and their families follow the rules, so of course people are just going to point at them and say, "Why should we do what you say?" But most people I know are being extremely careful.

  3. You look fab, I think everyone feels this way at this moment. I am still glad you managed to go away. The place looks lovely.
    I am still waiting to come back to visit the family. My heart aches.
    I am back at work but we are super careful. Take care and keep safe.

    1. Good to know you're being really careful. We're back to being mostly housebound now. I hope you do get to visit your family - we already know we won't be visiting mine for Christmas.

  4. Happy Anniversary! I love the tiger pyjamas very randomly Himself bought me some too but mine were from Sainsbury's when we did the weakly shop lol.
    It looks like the possibly not back in the office until the new year is a definitely, not that I mind about that with all the student shenanigans going on in Oxford.

    1. Thank you!

      I did wonder if you'd be going back because you had students - glad to know you can avoid all that (especially in light of some entire unis going into lockdown).

  5. Happy Anniversary! I do like those PJs, that chap of yours has excellent taste.
    What a gorgeous room, a proper home away from home, none of that beige nonsense. That bath is fabulous, I'd love one of those. What a treat.
    We're quarantining so I've no idea what's going on in the shops (or in general!). Surely those lunatic panic buyers haven't eaten all that pasta or used all their stockpiled loo roll yet, have they? xxx

    1. I kind of feel sorry for the panic buyers - the government's advice isn't especially clear and changes often, and I guess they're doing what they can to try to protect their families. But when you hear of people buying enough to last till Christmas, that's just selfish.

      When the shops were more normal, we made sure we had an emergency stash of cat food, loo roll, cupboard staples set aside - but only enough to last us a locked-down fortnight if we get ill, not enough to see us through winter!

  6. What a good idea, to play tourist and properly celebrate your years together. You look beautiful in your tiger pajamas (I have pajama envy!), and Mim, [stern "mom" voice] I do not want to hear your talking down about your appearance, young lady! You are a beautiful woman! [/end mom voice]. :)

    What a fun place! I also like hotel rooms with character, especially if I'm spending time in the room (not just sleeping). That tub is magnificent!! Wow!

    I should have done something like this for L's 50th birthday, but it was just too close to things first opening up here (in June). When things finally are more open, we'll probably just go to Vancouver (a short hop on the seaplane). We're getting Wave 2 of COVID cases here, so I'm keeping my distance from everything as much as I can.

    1. Before we left I was paying close attention to the news because we were on the edge of a second wave here too - now in it, and the government keeps finding more test results it somehow 'overlooked'. I was relieved we could have out getaway; a curfew on evening dining came into effect two nights later. I hope you do get your trip to Vancouver.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts