Tuesday, 9 December 2014

What's Inside a Beatons?

Curious? All these you will find...

High Tea, scones and gorgeous cake,
Bowls of soup or stew
Fine coffee, lots of loose-leaf teas
Our house blend -
Beatons Brew
Come in for breakfast, lunch or tea
And lovely things on toast
Which of our daily specials
All home made will
You like most?

 Fresh restorative food and drink
And books to feed the mind
With titles chosen to delight
All these you will find...

                                                                                                           ... inside

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sparkles and a Full House at Beatons Blandford Launch!

MD Patrick welcomes & thanks everyone
The Dress Code said 'a touch of sparkle' and Blandford could have started a fourth great fire with the glints of diamonds and bling on Friday night!

We'll be creating some day-time sparkle on Saturday 13th December from 10 to 10.30 am and the chance to sample some of our signature Carrot Cake as well as hear the two winning poems from our 2nd Annual Poetry Competition... oh and a warning about what happens if you eat too much cake, Dorset's most famous vet signing copies of her book and a few tips about loose leaf tea!

In the meantime, here are a few pics from our Launch Soirée and Awards Ceremony. Thanks from Patrick and all the team here, to the guests who came and indulged, and gave us such a lovely welcome and to everyone who has been involved in the project. Especially the TNT man who delivered our new oven (with only hours before fresh miniature scones and hot canapés were due to be served!)...

Sparkling crowd at Beatons Blandford Launch Party

There's so much to tell, but you know, sometimes it's best to keep your own memories and just allow the pictures to convey what they will of the atmosphere.

We have stacks of photos of smiling faces holding glasses of sparkle, looking elegant and relaxed. Many of them have gone off to the local press and who knows, some may even grace the 'Society' pages of some of our local glossies...

The music from Sorrentino was beautiful and we managed to quieten the clinking of glasses and social chatter to nothing so we could all enjoy a medley of pieces from 'My Fair Lady' (Cecil Beaton designed the costumes for the 1964 film).

Regrets? Only that I didn't book a professional photographer to take better pictures (lesson for next ime)... And that I didn't take one of Beatons Blandford Manager Ben and his kitchen staff's amazing food - the talk of twitter - or our newly trained Front of House team navigating through the crowds with them! But here's a weary but proud Ben and our youngest investor in Beatons Blandford - Tisbury cook Harry Mcgookin - basking in the success of the evening as it drew to a close.

Winning Poems from Our 2014 Poetry Competition

David Bamber reads his winning poem
So here they are! The three winning entries on the theme of 'Restoration' - which we encouraged poets to interpret loosely (and they did!)  Sadly, we only had half the entries we did last year (limiting entries to the UK and running the competition later in the year may have been a contributory factor).

At a splendid Launch Soirée and Awards Ceremony on Friday 5th December at Beatons Blandford David Bamber had the thrill of receiving his award from internationally acclaimed poet, travel writer and Blandford Forum resident Paul Hyland.

Hear the poem on Saturday 13th Dec from 10 to 10.30 am
at Beatons Blandford  2 Market Place

David Bamber's winning entry (adults) tells the Blandford based story of its Great Fire - throbbing with rhythm and rhyme.

David spent many hours researching and crafting his entry.

Judges said, 'This is a great description of Blandford's fire. Relevant, well written with a natural flow. Good metre.' 'A strong narrative and a well handled 'arc', I like the personification of the fire and the water and felt the conflict very effective'.

The runner up in the competition was Russ Berry of Coventry for his poem 'To the Blackthorn' (scroll to end to read) and we added an extra 'Highly Commended' prize and certificate to London's Charles Evans whose poem 'Restoration' vividly described a 'restorative experience' at bath time... slightly too adult for our website unfortunately!

Anna Wilson is the seventeen year old who entered our 'Young Aspiring Wordsmiths Category'. We're not going to hide the fact that she was the only one who entered. That alone makes her a winner in our eyes, although our judges looked critically at her entry before deciding to award her the prize.

Anna's entry 'The Returned Timepiece' is clearly influenced by the focus on the war in this Centenary period of WW1 and has a rich sense of nostalgia about it.

You can hear Anna's poem being read at our Free Open House on Saturday morning, 13th December 10 - 10.30

Judges said, 'Very relevant in this year... very emotive and well thought out.' 'A promising reflective poem.'

Runner up, Russ Berry wrote 'To the Blackthorn', reminding us of the nature poetry of John Clare and shifts the sense of Restoration to the seasons. Russ couldn't get down from Coventry to the launch but can't wait to get down to Beatons to use up his voucher!

Paul Hyland read the poem on Russ's behalf.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

A Restorative Experience at Beatons Blandford Forum

As Manager of Beatons Tearoom and Bookshop Blandford Forum I'm delighted to welcome you to our online 'home'. We're open seven days a week at Greyhound House in the heart of the Market Place. In keeping with this restoration town, we most enjoy providing a 'restorative experience' to the local Dorset community.

Our house blend of loose-leaf tea is the reviving 'Beatons Brew'. Why not pop in and have a pot, with a large slice of our signature carrot cake?

Yes, we also have free wi-fi and the morning paper, along with 'browsing books' to dip into. We're very proud to have become part of the 'busy Blandford' community and are incredibly grateful to the support of local businesses, the fantastic local press and our still growing body of regular customers (they know who they are!)

Grand Monsieur - for those who serve
Blandford Forum has some real treasures up its sleeves.  Of particular interest is Blandford Fashion Museum - a tardis-like building packed full of costumes and designer clothes and accessories. There's a thriving Public Library which hosts three writing groups and two 'Chatterbox' groups - all of which use poetry. We've also delighted to welcome our new neighbours 4ever Vintage next door.

Dorset is a very literary county too, as you'll see from our Dorset Authors page. And of course, Blandford has very strong links with the army - it's home to The Signals Regiment. We extend a special welcome to the residents - permanent and temporary - of Blandford Camp and even created our hearty Grand Monsieur in their honour!
Ben  Moxham,  Manager
at Beatons Blandford Welcomes You

As a 'Blandford Boy' I'm really proud to represent Beatons in the town. Sharing what we're about is fine, but I'd much rather you book in or come in for one of our amazingly restorative Afternoon High Teas and experienced us 'for real'! 

P.S. Want to hear about events via social media? Follow @BeatonsDorset! Our central team @beatonstearooms largely tweet on our behalf while we're busy engaging live! They'd love to add you to our #dorsetengagingtweeps or #dorsetliterary lists too!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Beatons Bod: Tea-Loving Liz Darcy Jones 'Beatons Central'

Liz Darcy Jones - 1st Annual Poetry Competition 2013
Since Liz has just taken on the role of Director of Engagement here at what we call ‘Beatons Central’ (our name for HQ) I thought I’d turn the tables and ask her to be our Beatons Bod for December.

So here goes…
Patrick Duffy

1. Who are you and what do you like best about your job?
Well, if you’re reading this you probably know that I’m already House Poet, and look after the twitter and blogging side of things as well. However, my expanded role of ‘Director of Engagement’ involves forging and developing relationships outside Beatons itself (where Patrick, the franchisees and their teams do a grand job).

What I love is that I’m encouraged to do this in the unique ‘Beatons’ way – mirroring what we do inside the tearooms but online, or offline. I'm getting quite good at serving up virtual loose leaf tea on twitter - we're @beatonstearooms! I love almost everything about my job because it uses my creative, strategic and communications skills to the full (and often extends them!) It also means I get to travel as part of my job is getting to know the people and unique characteristics of each place wherever we open a new franchise…

2.  And how about your favourite book from our shelves?
This is terribly difficult because I eat books for breakfast! However, I’m going to mention the book I’m currently reading to review – ‘In Praise of Bees’ by Elizabeth Birchall (£30 hardback – Quiller). It’s impossible to categorise – enlightening, practical, poetic, culturally rich and best of all incredibly readable. Beautifully illustrated too. A book to delight every nature, art, literature or history lover. Perfect for the gentleman or lady ‘who has everything’.

      3. What's your favourite edible or drinkable from our menu? It shouldn’t be, but it has to be the cream tea. The scones are so huge and light, they’re irresistible any time of year! As for drinkable? Has to be tea, given that I’m still in the process of relinquishing my role as ‘Britain’s Tea Poet’ and since we’re so busy with launching Beatons Blandford Forum currently it's the new robust ‘Beatons Brew’ - very restorative. 

      4. Which of the ways we like to go about things at Beatons means most to you and why? Its perhaps unsurprising that almost every Beatons Bod I've interviewed so far has said ‘gracious hospitality’. But for me it has to be elegance (not that I’m that elegant myself!) However, it slows me down to be in elegant surroundings – and that definitely makes me work better. I only wish there was a Beatons nearer me (I work out of my Poet's Retreat in Herefordshire or in Surrey most of the time). However, I don't think I'll have to wait too long...

5. Over the next year what's the most exciting project in your life - at work or personally? Outside of Beatons I’m enjoying having a break from writing as I’ve just started training as a Biodanza Facilitator with The London School of Biodanza. Biodanza is a form of dance and music that is restorative, liberating and puts you back in touch with yourself and others in a way that's tender, honest... and joy-full. Recommend it unreservedly.

      6. Can you share a practical tip for our online audience? Never let your water boil fully when you make green tea, otherwise it will taste bitter because you will have scalded it! Pour it when the water’s making tiny bubbles – ‘shrimp eyes’ – and your green (or white) tea will be sweet.

      7, Lastly, what are you most looking forward to in terms of Beatons' events or future plans? Our first launch in a City – Chester – next year will be a real milestone, but I think the Blandford launch is quite exciting enough right now!