#Crowthorne: Scrabble and Sparkle at the Soirée

Patrick Duffy, Founder & MD of Beatons Tearooms,
Virginia Macgregor, Guest of Honour and
Paul Mitchell, Franchisee of Beatons Crowthorne
Wow! What a lovely group of Crowthorne traders, Berkshire authors and local interest and community groups...

... they joined Paul Mitchell, franchisee of Beatons Crowthorne, who hosted the sparkling Soirée. We think of it a bit like a christening, and try and fix it for the evening before our Open House Morning, the charity event which officially launches every new Beatons Tearooms.

Virginia Macgregor,
Tea Poet Liz Darcy Jones and Flowers!
Virginia Macgregor Crowthorne's best-selling novelist - was Guest of Honour and Liz Darcy Jones, Tea Poet (who also happens to be penning this post), gave the debut recital of her poem 'Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop Crowthorne' which celebrates the village. After that, Berkshire's top hatted sequinned Skin & Blister Sisters sang a wonderful selection including, 'Makin Whoopee' and 'We'll Meet Again'.

Avril & Rose
Skin & Blister
Lots of photos below (more have gone to the press). We also have thanks and a wee apology to make. First, I'm so sorry that somehow I failed to put Sally Ward and Suzy from A New Bloom on my invitation list (having promised them they'd be there). They nevertheless produced two amazing bouquets for Virginia and Paul's wife Chére... thank you for being so gracious! If there's anyone else in the same boat, please forgive me - I've never come across such a vibrant and active community and got slightly swamped in the Soirée invite process. 

Trish & Neville Barltrop
So many people contribute to making an event like this swing and sparkle - we can't mention everyone, in the same way we couldn't invite everyone (one reason we like to hold the free Open House the next day!) But we must thank Hogan Music Newbury for lending us a beautiful music stand to prop the speeches upon, and Lily Lane Beauty for lending us a mirror for our cloakroom (as the new one we'd ordered hadn't arrived in time!) and to Neville Barltrop for manning the door for us.

'Proper Job' at the evening's close ~
Paul, wife Chére and Louise
However, at the end of the day, it's the teams in the kitchen and front of house who really have to bear the responsibility of delivering at their best.  And they did! We rely on some extra help from 'Beatons Central' for our Soirées so thanks to Ben and Zoe. Louise from Beatons Crowthorne valiantly represented the whole Crowthorne team - the rest scheduled for coping with the Open House the next morning (post to follow soon)!  

Scrabble? We mention scrabble because Patrick - Founder and MD of Beatons - presented Paul (who's a bit of a wordsmith and loves a good pun) with an artwork using vintage scrabble pieces! Thanks Sam from Alboe in Bagshot for crafting it.

Sparkle? Well the dress code was 'a touch of sparkle' as you may spot if you look at some of the pictures which follow.... leading me to a final big thanks to my partner and tireless photographer for the evening, Chris Barltrop, who did a wonderful job in snapping away and matching names with images!

Rebecca Park from Wellington College, Cllr Gail Robertson
and Mr Martin Spooner, President Crowthorne Rotary

As the dramatic silhouette of Cecil Beaton stands in the background, glasses are raised...

Pete and Jenny Elmore from Art 233
Julia Phillipson, Alexander Devine; Lucy Atherton, Wellington
College Librarian, and Hugh Macgregor, Wellington College

Jeff Lawrence and
Lesley Lawrence (Crowthorne Library) 

The Berkshire literary contingent were - frankly - awesome. As well as Virginia, we were incredibly proud to welcome Miranda Lloyd , Julie Cohen and Claire Dyer. Discover more about them on our Berkshire authors' page.

And it was also great that our friendly local library was also represented.

Sharon Tarling and Anna Jones
from Refresh Dress Shop

Maureen Barlow from  Crowthorne Scrabble Club
and Chris Gadsby, Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra
Kelly-Ann Dickenson from Whimsical Gifts up the High Street brought along two friends from Refresh Dress Shop.

Maureen Barlow was one of the first to arrive and no doubt must have been amused to see Paul's presentation 'scrabble' picture!

Chris was not alone representing Crowthorne's Musical interests - members of  Crowthorne Choral Society and Big Band Society were also present.

We hope everyone enjoyed themselves. Thank you for making it a wonderful christening for Beatons Crowthorne.

Liz Darcy Jones
Press Officer 

#Blandford: Beatons supports local authors!

Blandford Tearooms book launches so far...

As some of you have already experienced, Beatons Tearooms in Blandford has been hosted some great book launches for some of our favorite local authors.

They've included the lovely Fay Weldon, Eve Bonham, Sarah Winman and local author Annika Milisic-Stanley last November.
the-disobedient-wife cover image

We love supporting our local talented writers and will continue these popular events.

As well as being able to enjoy the tearooms' elegant Cecil Beaton inspired decor, you get to sit and enjoy a truly restorative experience along with our gracious hospitality and of course generous value,

We've largely worked alongside The Corn exchange charity in Blandford, and for every ticket sold we help raise money for their current restoration project.
If you are a local author yourself and are looking for a beautiful venue to host an upcoming book launch, please contact us to see if we can make a book event for you a reality!

#Crowthorne: Afternoon High Tea for Reviewers!

Pictured left to right:
Juliette Forster, Liz Darcy Jones, Kelly-Ann Dickson
and Rachael Kinsella
Oh goodness, we were barely open - in fact we were only unofficially open!

But we'd already invited our guests, including Guest of Honour TV presenter and reporter Juliette Forster and we didn't want to start changing dates so we went for it... Hosting a reviewers' tea is one of my favourite 'chores' when a new tearooms opens, as you can imagine.

... and it was lovely, albeit the first time the new team at Beatons Crowthorne had even served an Afternoon High Tea. We also enjoyed the pleasure of the company of Rachael Kinsella an international tea blogger who writes under Tea with Rachael. Thanks for trekking out from London, Rachael. Sadly, three of our guests had last minute emergencies - although we managed to take a box of goodies round to Sandra at Body Image Crowthorne.

Talk circled around the joy of switching off devices and whether we were losing the art of conversation as a society. We even touched on sensitive and deep subjects like death and discussed local economics, international property investment and... of course... tea and cake! It was a strong brew with some strong and successful business women. It was good to find support for Beatons' ethos of providing a 'restorative experience' and teaching attentiveness as part of how to deliver gracious hospitality. No one looked at their mobiles, except for the taking of these couple of photos, which fortunately Zoe reminded me was one of my duties.

Kelly-Ann - our Crowthorne High Street neighbour from Whimsical Gifts - tried her first Jasmine Blossom green tea. Juliette relaxed, absorbed the surroundings and our Villeroy & Boch china, pronouncing Beatons to be 'a cake, a very iced cake'. Yes, we like being referred to as a cake! Thanks to all our guests and we hope to see you again at Beatons Crowthorne in the future.

Conversation without any mobile
interruptions or texting!
Afternoon High Tea at all our Beatons Tearooms comes served on a crisp white linen laid table, with your individual selection of cakes, scones, and finger sandwiches presented on a tiered cake stand. Discover more about our teas and menu here.

We look forward to welcoming you for Afternoon High Tea at all of our tearooms and for the best possible experience recommend prior booking.

Although we do not currently offer a gluten-free High Tea, we do always have Gluten Free options on the menu... and we are researching into how to make this a future delight.

Liz Darcy Jones
Press Officer

#Crowthorne: Open House to Support Alexander Devine!

Saturday 30th January marks our famous Charity Open House Launch event ~ this time for Beatons Crowthorne  ~ and in aid of Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service, and our 'communitea cause' for 2016. From 10 am to 12 noon.

We'll be notching up three firsts for Crowthorne: debut performances of a song and a poem celebrating the village's unusual history and Crowthorne getting its own bookshop (well, to be precise it's a combined tearooms and bookshop). Come along to the  official opening at 10 am by the Mayor of the Borough of Bracknell Forest, Councillor Mrs Dee Hamilton after which the song and poem will get their first public airing and let's raise lots of money for Alexander Devine!

The specially-written poem will be performed afterwards by author Liz Darcy Jones. 'Sing a Song of Crowthorne' by a group of children from The Dani Harmer Academy of Performing Arts. Can we give them a huge thanks in advance for pulling a rabbit (or should that be a crow?!) out of the box to learn and perform at very short notice. Crowthorne seems to have no end of music, dance and drama lovers! Free samples of Beatons' signature carrot cake and Nonsuch BV loose leaf tea will be served until noon (we hope in return for your donation to the charity). Please note! Our normal service may be briefly suspended during the Open House event.

Will your 'crow' be here
on our Crow Thorn Tree?!
What do we want you do to? Help create a unique 'crow thorn tree' artwork by signing your name and hanging a cut-out crow on the tree made by franchisee Paul Mitchell's creative young family when you donate.  It's an amazing and beautiful object d'art that your 'crow' will be part of!

The Beatons Crowthorne poem and adaptation of Sing A Song of Sixpence - re-titled 'Sing a Song of Crowthorne' - are by our Press Officer who just happens to be best-selling Tea Poet Liz Darcy Jones. She's been associated with the group for the past four years. Both pieces praise Crowthorne's unique characteristics including mentions of Wellington College, Broadmoor, and the now extinct 'broomdashers'!
Fiona Devine, co-founder of the Children’s Hospice, has given us a great thumbs up to our choice of charity, 'We are thrilled here at Alexander Devine to have been chosen by Beatons Tearoom Crowthorne, as their first ‘Communitea Cause’.  There is definitely something very special about a wonderful cosy and cheerful place, to enjoy a proper cup of tea and have an opportunity to pick up a good read too!' 

 Liz Darcy Jones
Press Officer

Beatons Crowthorne: Attentiveness in the Heart of Berkshire

Thank you for wanting to know more about Beatons Crowthorne.

We're Berkshire's Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop and delighted to have set up 'home' in the friendly village of Crowthorne. Like every Beatons, we're open 7 days a week. I'm Paul, and as Tearooms Owner it's a pleasure to invite you to experience what I particularly love about the 'Beatons Way': attentiveness.  Enjoy a pot of our house blend 'Nonsuch BOP' loose leaf tea and slice of our signature carrot cake brought to your table by members of our dedicated team.

'Nonsuch' originally meant 'beyond compare' - something we definitely aspire to being here in Crowthorne! You can find us just opposite Barclays Bank at the bottom end of the High Street.There's plenty of free parking if you turn left around the corner at the mini-roundabout and you can cut through, so we're nice and close to the car.

Table Service with a focus
on Gracious Hospitality and Attentiveness
What can you expect? What makes us different is the kind of experience we aspire to delivering - it's table service, we want you to relax, restore and take your time. We've got books you can browse, and pick up one of our free poem postcards to tell your friends about where you've been!
The tea's loose leaf and served in a nice big Villeroy & Boch teapot, and there's long list of luxury coffees to choose from too - not to mention very thick and rich hot chocolate.
Paul, Beatons Crowthorne
Franchise serving up

We've hot and cold home made light meals, including breakfast served and brunch.

Afternoon High Tea - 'English & Elegant' - in stately home style, is one of our specialities and served from 3 pm presented on a stunning three tiered stand with your selection of Cakes, delicate finger Sandwiches, Scones, Jam and Clotted Cream - and we'll box up what you can't quite manage to take home with you! Booking recommended, just call us on 01344 771700.

Come in and sample Beatons Crowthorne for real, very soon.

Full contact and location details here.

Paul Mitchell, Franchise Business Owner

#beatonstearooms: winter weight loss suggestions!

The Christmas treats and News Year's drinks have come and oh how so quickly they've gone...now we are all thinking of the healthy 'new me!'

This doesn't mean that you can't still come in and let us indulge you - we have quite a number of healthy, delicious and guilt free options on our menu. And remember, at the heart of Beatons' ethos is delivering a 'restorative experience' so treat everything around you as 'eye candy' and eat slowly, sip little by little, enjoying every mouthful - you'll find you will feel more satisfied. And here are some ideas to whet your appetite in a healthy way.

Our stews, wholesome and healthy, served with freshly cooked vegetables, like green beans and new potatoes.

Our Jackets, with a huge choice of fillings served with a lovely fresh side salad. (don't forget if you are being very self disciplined you can ask us to omit the butter for you!

Our soups, freshly made, full of healthy vegetables and packed with flavour, sure to fill you up and keep you going!

But what for a sweet treat? Here's the clever bit... take a careful look at our loose leaf tea menu (remember you get a lovely large pot so you can have at least a second cup) and pick one of our fruit or light teas. Not only do they have almost zero calories, but most are filled with anti-oxidants AND some of them are said to increase and enhance weight loss! In particular, any of our green teas - which taste sweet because we don't boil the water too hot so it keeps its sweetness - are a good weight loss option.

#beatonsbod: Amy - Blandford's Tearoom Panda

Who are you and - if you're part of the team - what do you like/ best about your job? 
Hi, I am Amy I work FOH (front of house) in Blandford and also supervise the Blandford team. I have been working for Beatons for three months now and am really enjoying the social aspect of the job, getting to know our lovely regular customers and of course our amazing members of staff!

What's your favourite edible or drinkable from our menu? 
The Malibu dream tea was a total revelation as I am not usually fond of fruit tea, buts it is incredibly refreshing and sweet! [Its smells just like Pina Coladas, just healthier ofcourse! ed.]

And how about your favourite book from our shelves? 
If I'm being intellectual, I would have to say The English in Love, a history of love and relationships in post war Britain written by a former lecturer of mine from university, Claire Langhamer. But if I'm being totally honest I absolutely love the book, Zombies have Issues, it has hilarious illustrations of the everyday trials of being a zombie!

Which of the ways we like to go about things at Beatons means most to you and why?  
I would have to say that the hospitality we always try to keep top of the list at Beatons. Trying to make each and every customer feel very welcome as they arrive and of course providing a great service whilst here. 

If you were an animal, what would you be? 
A panda, everyone loves them and they just get to chill and eat all day. I am convinced that they are not real, just people in costumes, so maybe one day....! [We need you at Beatons right now Amy, not yet please! ed.]

What do you like most about the most important person (or pet) in your life? 
My friends are all amazing, even though we are scattered all over the country, we always make the effort to fill each other in on the latest in our lives. I especially love getting updates about our old Uni house Gerbils, namesd Gary and Beyoncé!

#Crowthorne: Work is cracking on in Crowthorne!

The work is underway in Crowthorne Beatons Tearooms and here's a sneak peak at what's going on inside...

We're delighted to be in the middle of this new project which we guaran-tea will please all tea fanatics and book lovers in the local area.

We look forward to building new relationships with the lovely local people in Crowthorne and beyond. Our aspiration is always to deliver gracious hospitality, generous value and give you a restorative experience. 
This will be our fourth Beatons to open and we're confident that it will provide the same delightful haven for people to relax (enjoy delicious treats!) and be as popular as our Beatons in Tisbury, Blandford and Chester.

A massive thank you for all the hard work from franchisee, Paul Mitchell and his team so far.

There's still a fair bit of painting to finish off and of course make sure that the kitchen is all fitted, up and running, and ready for service. There are shelves to stock with our fantastic range of over 25 teas, coffee machines to position and get hooked up, tables and chairs to assemble and the all important cake boards to fill!

Here at 'Beatons Central' (our HQ) we're eagerly anticipating the opening of what we believe will be Berkshire's best tearoom and bookshop. From comments already received via twitter, we know you're as eager as we are!

When are you opening? is the question on everybody's lips. We want to ensure everything's 'just so' and this is never an exact science, but within the next ten days we promise!
Beatons Central 

#tea : for writer's block and staying awake!

What is it?  Gunpowder Green

Gunpowder, a delicious, cleansing loose leaf organic Chinese green tea with a hint of bitterness is a powerful beast!

Gunpowder Tea is a classic green tea from China - one of the first styles of tea that floated back from China way back in the 1600s. Rolled into dark green balls it was reminiscent of explosives, hence the name.

A tea naturally high in antioxidants, it cleanses and is said to increase your metabolism so those looking to lose weight may feel inclined to try...

And according to House Poet and Tea Poet, Liz Darcy Jones
 'this tea stalks sleep in snakeskin shoes
  busts writer's block and online blues.'
Perhaps it will get a few pens scratching!

#Crowthorne: What we like about Crowthorne!

So what's great about our new neighbourhood?

Crowthorne is famed for its superior educational establishments, including Crowthorne Church of England Primary School, Hatch Ride Primary School and Oaklands Junior School. Of course, the village also boasts the well-regarded and highly-rated Wellington College which also sponsors Wellington Academy - a state secondary school in Wiltshire, the home of our Head Office and Beatons' Tisbury tearooms.

Crowthorne loves sports, boasting a fine array of sports clubs and activities. There's the Crowthorne and Crown Wood Cricket Club, Crowthorne Rugby Club and AFC Crowthorne football club. Golf, angling, hockey, boxing, bowls and martial arts are also in the vicinity.

Crowthorne residents are an active bunch, taking part in the many groups and associations that the community has. The Crowthorne Village Action Group meets regularly to discuss local environmental issues, while the Crowthorne Amateur Theatrical Society allows budding actors to tread the boards. There's even a local symphony orchestra, which performs concerts and workshops throughout the year. For a small place, there's an awful lot going on! 

And of course, a few hundred feet from our new Beatons home, is St John's - a statuesque red-brick Church surrounded by magnificent Wellingtonias and other specimen trees. 

Elegance round the corner
Healy Menswear 
The village high street offers many treats outside of the usual shopping centre fare. There’s Healy Menswear offering elegance just round the corner, Whimsical with their eclectic and crafty gifts, Dopsons Butchers who specialise in raw meats and locally sourced cheeses and preserves, Body Image Beauty for when you feel like being pampered and a remarkably well stocked and busy library. All that and free parking!  We believe our Cecil Beaton inspired elegance, all day home made light meals, afternoon high tea and sparkling book selection will add even more to Crowthorne's uniqueness. 

Oh yes, and we're looking forward to the wonderful bi-annual Crowthorne Carnival which does a fantastic job in harmonising the community spirit, appearing again in the new year!

If you are new to Crowthorne then you can check out TripAdvisor for more information.

Follow @BeatonsBerks on twitter - where we serve 'virtual' tea on a regular basis... 

P.S.  We're also on the look out for any Berkshire authors so we can have a really fabulous selection from local writers and poets - just let us know who we should your books from by emailing crowthorne@beatonstearooms.co.uk

Paul Mitchell,
Beatons Crowthorne Franchisee