Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

 Thank you very much to the NHM secret Reviewer who wrote this post!

Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

I’m currently very excited about our upcoming family camping trip, but have been wondering how to keep small J warm as he wriggles free from sleeping bags and blankets quicker than I can replace them. I enlisted Grandma to knit some knee length woolly socks ready for our trip and found myself taking her to Pack Lane wool shop in Kempshott. Imagine our delight to not only discover a treasure trove of all things sparkly and crafty but a lovely little tea room out the back.

Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea room is a hidden delight, that I almost want to keep to myself. We treated ourselves to afternoon tea, hot chocolate and cake – which is all made by the team that run the tea room. Small J was delighted with his gingerbread man and hot chocolate and happily for the grownups they were served in child friendly plastic mugs and plates so we didn’t need to worry about accidental breakage of the beautiful crockery.

My cream egg cheesecake was moreishly smooth, even Grandma decided to taste and then had to be fended off so she didn’t finish it!  Dangerously they also provide a take away cake service, so Mr J was lucky enough to sample the Crunchie cheesecake cake after his dinner that night, which went down very very well with him. They also serve gluten free cake options. The service was quick and friendly and the tearoom had a lovely family vibe about it.

We’ve already planned a return trip when I shall be to trying out the lunch menu (and more cake of course!)

The tearoom also serves breakfast and makes cakes and cupcakes for birthdays and other occasions to order. Children can celebrate their birthday with an afternoon tea party, during which they also get to decorate a cupcake to take home.

On site there are toilet and baby changing facilities, a small car park, and beware – a tempting Pick and Mix selection that takes up most of a wall! (I’m thinking of putting blinkers on Mr J when I take him)

Booking is essential for busy times. Check out their Facebook page for more @ Kittystiltedteacuprearoom or call them on 01256 321166.

Unit 2, 171 Pack Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 5HN

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Review 2016: Nelson’s Diner: A Taste of the USA

Nelson’s Diner: A Taste of the USA

Nelson’s Diner is on the A339, on the road to Newbury. It’s next to the garage, just past Kingsclere village.

I’ve been driving past Nelson’s Diner for 20 years but we only went in when Miss NHM was born because a friend suggested it for breakfast, as they went regularly. I’d seen it from a distance but never actually got around to visiting!

Veggie breakfast
Veggie breakfast

Now we LOVE Nelson’s. They do fantastic American food and YUMMY milkshakes. We meet friends there for breakfast when we can justify the cost. However, you do need to leave your diet at the door, as the portion sizes are large.

We love the fifties paraphernalia that is throughout the restaurant and the music adds to the vibe. They frequently do music evenings, Elvis, Buddy Holly, but we’ve not been to any yet.

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Food

Is always excellent. Miss NHM loves the children’s pancakes with maple syrup.

She'd eaten them before I got a chance to take a picture!
She’d eaten them before I got a chance to take a picture!

Mr NHM is partial to the extra steak that you can buy with your breakfast!!!

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They have over 30 different types of milkshakes. The milkshakes often look like sundaes and they are yummy.

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Tips

It can get very busy on the weekends, especially if a biker group turns up. I highly recommend getting there early on a Sunday morning.

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They were one of the only restaurants that was open on Easter Sunday 2016.

They have colouring activities for little ones. We visited over Easter this year and they had a colouring competition on for little ones, which kept Miss NHM quiet for a while.

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Children’s Parties are also hosted on site.

Facilities

There are toilets on site and they also have the fifties paraphernalia throughout.

Baby Facilities

There are baby changing facilities in the ladies toilet.

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There are also several high chairs available.

Parking

Is free and there are about 30 spaces. You can also park behind the restaurant.

Prices

The meals are slightly more expensive than other places, but if you consider the portion sizes and it’s one of the only places you can get “proper” American food in the area, I think it’s worth the extra!

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Rating out of 5

We give Nelson’s Diner 5 out of 5 because we love going there for breakfast!

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Review 2015: Sundaes Gelato Basingstoke

If you are on a diet, you need to STOP reading now! 😉

Review: Sundaes Gelato

Sundaes Gelato Basingstoke (Be warned, the website isn’t very good)

We recently went to Sundaes Gelato which is at the top of town where Cafe Rouge used to be. (Cafe Rouge’s lease was up and they are now looking for a new location in town).

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I heard about Sundaes Gelato through some friends pictures on facebook. The ice creams looked like works of art so I knew once I told Mr NHM about it (he has quite a sweet tooth) it wouldn’t be long before we were visiting :-D.

I promised Miss NHM that we would go on the first Friday after she started school, if she had been a good girl during the first week. I’m not sure if this was a good thing as she literally RAN back to the car afterwards. You could actually see the sugar coursing through her veins and she only had a “small” pot of ice cream!

They are open till 10pm most days so this would be an excellent place to go for date night with your beloved. We went in the day though so not sure what it would be like of an evening.

Thank you very much to Michelle, Lynne and their families. We bumped into them whilst here and they let me take pictures of their ice creams and waffles! This review would have been very boring without these pictures, so thank you!

On Offer

They offer Gelato (Ice cream), coffee’s, crepes, waffles, shakes and floats, deserts and cakes and sundaes. If you have a search on the website above you can find a copy of their menu and see what is available.

The whole place is very pink and black.

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There is a variety of seating including tables, booths and comfy sofa’s near the front of the building.

These are the pictures that I managed to take of the freezer ice cream that is available.

Ice Cream 1

Ice Cream 2

Ice Cream 3

These are the other freezers which show the other ingredients that are used:

Ice Cream 4

You can choose to have a pot or a waffle for your ice cream:

Ice Cream 5

There are video screens throughout but I wasn’t quite sure how these worked.

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One warning, when we went after school on a Friday evening, the music was very loud because of the high ceilings. Or maybe it’s because I’m just too old ;-).

Tips

I thought it was quite sweet that the staff asked Mr NHM is there was anything special we were celebrating when I sent him up to order his DISGUSTINGLY massive ice cream (see picture below).

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Mr NHM’s Knickerbocker Glory

There is no waiter service. You can go in, choose where to sit and then go up to the freezers and order from there.

Take your own wet wipes. The napkins are rubbish.

Don’t dress your child in a white t shirt and let her have a small bowl of chocolate ice cream. It WILL get messy, especially when the sugar kicks in!! :-D.

Only take your children when you don’t have anything that needs to be done for the next 4 hours because it will take them that long to wind down from the sugar. Miss NHM went to bed an hour and a half later the evening after we went here, because she couldn’t settle!!!

Food

These are the pictures that I took of the ice creams and waffles…

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Miss NHM’s chocolate ice cream. It’s smaller than it looks but LOADED with sugar. Opps! 
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My coconut ice cream one scoop. 

Facilities

Are the same facilities that were available for Cafe Rouge.

Baby Facilities

There are baby changing facilities with a changing table.

There are several highchairs available.

Parking

Is in town.

Prices

Is quite expensive considering this is just ice cream but when you actually see these “works of art” I can see why it costs what it does.

This is the perfect place to come if you aren’t watching your weight and would like a nice evening out as a family.

Rating out of 5

4.8 out of 5 because of the volume of the music and the rubbish napkins.

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Review 2015: The Parlour Tearoom

The Parlour Tearoom 

I LOVE the Parlour Tearoom. We’ve been visiting since Miss NHM was a couple of months old.

I’ve watched Carole and the team grow the tearoom into a hugely successful local business and it’s been great to see how they have developed over the past five years.

Last year they even won “Hampshire Life Tearoom of the year 2014”!

Plus, the food is YUMMY!!!!!!

About

The Parlour Tearoom is based in Viables Craft Centre.

They are a Traditional English Tearoom serving Homemade cakes and Lunches. They also offer a breakfast service too.

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It’s a really lovely place, very airy and the food is excellent and all home made.

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It’s open from 10am to 5pm from Tuesday to Saturday.

Food

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I chose the Viables Tea which you can see below
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The Viables tea
 The cake was as yummy as it looks!
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I completely forgot to ask for no marshmallows and Carole said she would take them out for me, but I felt that would ruin the picture so I had to drink them :-D.
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Hot Chocolate with marshmallows
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Children’s meal
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Cute water bottle

Picnic in the Paddock

The Parlour Tea room offer a “picnic in the paddock” service. As you can see in the picture below, you can choose a rug, pick what you want for your lunch and your sandwiches are made to order. There are also footballs and outdoor games like coits that you can borrow. If you know you are coming you could bring a picnic chair or your own toys. You can then take everything with you to sit in the lovely field which is right next to Viables.

It’s recommended that you call the tea rooms in advance to let them know that you would like to use the “picnic in the paddock” service so that they have the capacity to make your sandwiches when you get there.

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Tips

It’s so popular these days that you need to book a table in advance on 01256 325795.

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The chairs are a little bit wobbly for a pre-schooler. Miss NHM fell off her chair twice, despite me asking her to stop fidgeting on it. There is a lovely big leather sofa though if you want to relax.

They also sell local produce like home made jams.

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Facilities

Disabled access and toilet facilities although you may need to ask for a code to use the toilets so ask before you have to leave with a toddler or two in tow!

There is a corner with toys and books in for you to borrow whilst you are using the tea room.

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Baby Facilities

The majority of Viables is a breastfeeding friendly area.

There are baby changing facilities in the toilets.

Parking

Ample free parking, especially if the field is open for you to park in.
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Specials Board

Prices

Are very reasonable, especially as everything is home made.

You can even buy cakes to take away!!!

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Rating out of 5

I’m giving the Parlour Tea Room 5 out of 5 because we always have a fab time when visiting.

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Review 2015: The Cafe Project, Brighton Hill

I’ve been meaning to go to the Dome Cafe ever since it opened.

So when a friend invited Miss NHM and I to lunch there, I jumped at the chance!

I used to be a volunteer youth leader for Gateway Award Project (GAP) in the early 2000’s and haven’t been back to the Dome in at least 10 years.

It’s changed a lot and I was REALLY impressed at how they’ve smartened the place up! lol.

Review: The Cafe Project, The Dome, Brighton Hill

The Cafe Project Website

The Cafe Project Facebook Page

Food

Was excellent.

We had tuna and sweetcorn jacket potatoes and Miss NHM had a huge plate of pasta and sauce. It was yummy and the salad had clearly been prepared upon order.

We were thinking about having cakes as they looked sooooo scrummy, but in the end we were full up!

Tips

The Cafe is open from 9am to 3pm, Tuesday to Friday and food is served until 2pm.

They have easy access and lots of space for buggies and wheelchairs.

Facilities

Are what you would expect. It’s very light and airy and warm considering the high ceiling.

There is a book case with books you can borrow to read and a small selection of toys for children.

Oh and please take note of the menu holders. My Father in law made them, and BOY did he go on and on about them! haha.

Baby Facilities

There was a baby changing table in one of the toilets and it was in good working condition.

They’re also part of the breastfeeding welcome scheme.

Parking

Is Free.

The Dome is just behind Asda in Brighton Hill. There is limited parking, about 8 spaces, but you could always park in Asda car park and walk over.

However, best to check if there is a time limit on parking in the Asda car park though. (The team at the Cafe Project have confirmed that, to their knowledge, there is no time limit for parking in the Asda car park.)

Prices

Are incredibly reasonable. Very good value.

Rating out of 5

I’m giving them 5 out of 5 because it’s such a brilliant concept and clearly is a hub of the local community, given how busy it was!

I was so impressed at the quality of the food for the price we paid.

Totally recommend this cafe for catching up with your friends and it’s a great way to support the local community!

Review 2014: Wagamama’s Basingstoke

I’m a massive fan of Wagamama so I was REALLY pleased when Festival Place asked me to review the Basingstoke Wagamama restaurant.

You can keep up with the latest activities at Festival Place via Facebook, Twitter and their website.

Wagamama Basingstoke

Wagamama

We’ve been very lucky that we’ve eaten in Wagamama’s several times since it opened in Festival Place.

Miss NHM started using chopsticks when she was a year old at Wagamama’s. I have video footage of it because I was gob smacked that she could use the chopsticks at all, let alone to get food in her mouth when she was weaning! lol.

When we arrived we were greeted by Charlotte who looked after us so well and was really good with Miss NHM.

We were given an activity colouring mat for Miss NHM and some crayons which kept Miss NHM quiet whilst we looked through the menu:

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Food

As we eat in Wagamama’s quite a bit we decided that we would try something different this time.

For starters we had chilli squid which was YUMMY and not too spicy at all:

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Mr NHM chose grilled pork bulgogi wraps which were not what I expected but very tasty:

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I couldn’t not order my beloved peach iced tea. I’ve tried the fruit juices before and they are yummy too but I was in a peach iced tea mood! lol:

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For our main courses Mr NHM tried something new, Teriyaki chicken donburi with a side of kimchee:

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However, although I wanted to try something new I couldn’t stop my self from having my usual dish, prawn kare lomen.

This is only because it was off the menu for a couple of years so I’ve got to maximise it before they take it off the menu again! lol. It was YUMMY as always:

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Miss NHM had the mini chicken yaki soba which she loved and ate most of using chopsticks

(I didn’t get a chance to take a photo when the dish arrived because Miss NHM tucked in straight away! lol):

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For pudding Miss NHM chose the raspberry natural ice fruit lolly which she demolished in record time! lol

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For pudding I had coconut reika which was sooooo yummy:

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and Mr NHM had the chocolate fudge cake which I wasn’t allowed to try as I had tasted his starters and main 😀

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The food was so yummy as it always is and I was pleased to see that there was no difference between when we normally eat here and aren’t doing a review.

Tips

The food comes out when it’s ready although the children’s meal nearly always comes out first so sometimes your “starters” come out at the same time as your main meal.

There is a children’s menu:

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Wagamama also provide chop sticks for little ones but Miss NHM won’t use them because we don’t use them <sigh>.

There is a shelf under the table for your personal items and hooks on the walls for your coats.

You can also ask for adult “bibs” if you think your dinner is going to get messy as it can with some of the Ramen dishes.

Play/Ambience

Wagamama Basingstoke is always really busy and has a really good buzz.

There are always lots of families eating in there and they really do cater for everyone.

All of the children get their own activity mat and colouring pencils which helps to distract them whilst waiting for food.

It’s a great place to eat if you are on your own with a little one. On the odd occasion we had enough money I would take Miss NHM on my own when Mr NHM was working shift on the weekend.

Facilities

There are lots of condiments available if you would like them and the staff are very amenable to helping out

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The floor is wipeable! So not too much guilt when food ends up all over the floor.

Be careful with the benches. They can be very slippery for a wiggly toddler/ pre-schooler.

Also, the place mats can be a bit of a pain with a wriggly toddler as we discovered when Miss NHM knocked her milk over. It can’t be helped, just be aware of this.

Baby Facilities

There are special high chairs that fit on the side of the table. Miss NHM always used to sit in these when she was tiny.

There is also space for pushchairs at one end of the restaurant.

The baby changing facilities are in the disabled toilets:

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Parking

Is in Festival place and is the standard rate for parking.

Prices

Are very reasonable when you consider what you are getting for your money.

Rating out of 5

I’ve given Wagamama in Basingstoke 5 out of 5 and not just for the way we were treated on our visit this time.

Every time I’ve eaten in Wagamama in Basingstoke I have been impressed with the staff and the food.

Thank you very much to the team who made our visit so enjoyable!

Thank you also to Festival Place for arranging this opportunity for us.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Wagamama Basingstoke in conjunction with Festival Place.Our meal was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

Review 2014: Giraffe Restaurant in Basingstoke

It had been a while since we last ate in Giraffe but we recently had breakfast at the Giraffe in Heathrow Terminal 5 and had a fabulous time.

So I was delighted when I was offered the chance to review Giraffe in Festival Place, Basingstoke.

I’ve eaten in Giraffe in Festival Place several times over the years.

Mr NHM’s 32nd birthday party (it was his first birthday in the UK in 7 years!!!) was held in Giraffe and we had a fab time and were treated really well then.

Giraffe

Food

We were very lucky to be treated to appetisers (chicken potstickers and crunchy Shrimp): 035

036 a main course (steak with peppercorn sauce and sweet potato fries and Farmer’s market burrito): 042   047 and pudding (Baked White Chocolate, Marscapone & passion fruit cheese cake and Key Lime Pie) 055

056(the Key Lime Pie is not something I would normally go for and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!)

and we also sampled some of their lovely non-alcoholic cocktails: 032

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Miss NHM had a “kids meal” which included a main course (nachos): 041 and pudding (banana split): 054 and a glass of milk, which she loved because it came in a cup with a lid: 037

The food was YUMMY, as it always is.

Tips

Dasha, our server (who was lovely and looked after us so well!) told us that if you sign up to the free Giraffe App, every time you dine and spend over £20 you can get a stamp. Once you get 5 stamps you are entitled to 50% off your bill. Sounds good to me!

Giraffe is a great place to go if you can’t agree on a theme to eat, as they have lots of different kinds of meals that cater for most people’s tastes.

You can also get breakfast in Giraffe and they do a really good selection. We at breakfast ate at the Heathrow Giraffe and were really impressed. Maybe something to consider for half term next week?

Play/Ambience

The children’s meals include a colourful play mat (other side of the mat shown! lol) and crayons and Miss NHM was given a pink “giraffe” with her milk which she was very pleased with. 029 In fact, during our long weekend in Germany, she spent most of the time playing with the giraffe’s she was given in the Heathrow Giraffe, so we needn’t have bothered taking any toys with us for her!?!?! 060

Facilities

Were clean and in good condition when we visited.

I like the music that they play in Giraffe. The music really helps with creating a fun atmosphere.

Baby Facilities

Were excellent. There is a separate baby changing area which includes one of those cool little toddler chairs which are such a brilliant idea! 052

053 There are lots of high chairs as the photo demonstrates: 050

Parking

Is in Festival place and is the standard rate for parking.

Prices

Are reasonable when you consider what you are getting for your money.

They also have a special dinner menu with a starter and main course for £10.75 and a “Lunch for less” main course which is £6.75.

Rating out of 5

I’ve given Giraffe in Basingstoke 5 out of 5 and not just for the way we were treated on our visit this time.

Every time I’ve eaten in Giraffe in Basingstoke I have been impressed with the staff and the food.

Thank you very much to the staff who made our visit so enjoyable!

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Thank you very much also to Festival Place who organised this opportunity for my family!

If you do visit Giraffe after reading this review, don’t forget to tell them (like any reviews you read on NHM) that you are visiting because you read the review.

Disclaimer: This post is a review of Giraffe Basingstoke in conjunction with Festival Place. Our meal was supplied free of charge for the purposes of the review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

My list of places to visit in 2014

In the interest of doing more Reviews for NHM (honest!) I’ve put together a list of places that I’ve never been to before that I plan to check out during this year.

Several of the places I will visit just with Miss NHM as Mr NHM will be working. This will hopefully keep costs down!!

I’ve indicated where the place should be free or reasonably cheap because only parking cost will need to be paid.

I plan to write Reviews about all of these places that are on this list, so look out for them during this year!

Visited in 2014

Moors Valley Country Park – Done! parking costs only

St Harold Hillier Gardens – Done! (Review still to be written up!) I visited here when Miss NHM was tiny, but it was a blur of sleep deprivation, so am looking forward to going back after more sleep

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway – Done! See my review on Exbury HERE.

Miller’s Ark – Done! See my review on Miller’s Ark HERE.

Manydown Family Fun – Done!

The Tea Bar

Curiositea room

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium – (Review still to be written up. Opps! Although ‘After Dark’ Review is HERE

Still to visit

Basing House

Bucklebury Farm Park – Reviewed 2015 HERE.

Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort – Parking cost only. Reviewed 2016 HERE.

Watercress Line

Dinton Pastures – Parking cost only. You can see the secret review Jo did HERE.

Manor Farm Country Park –  I haven’t been here for 8 years, so am looking forward to going back

Milestones Living History Museum – I haven’t been here since it opened, so looking forward to going to see this too!

Ice Skating

Visit a Lido

Visit a Pick Your Own Place 

Frimley Lodge Park

Longleat Safari Park

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Review 2013: NorthDown Orchard Deliveries

Northdown Orchard

I found out about Northdown Orchard when I was doing my research on the Pick Your Own post which was published in April (gosh, I thought it was published in June! How time flies, lol)

I’ve mentioned before on NHM that I have had an organic delivery box (Weaning Ideas) since my little one started weaning. The box deliveries take the pressure off me to provide nutritional, organic produce as I knew we would be getting a box each week, which had a variety of organic fruit and veg in, for a very reasonable price.

However, when I found out that the local NorthDown Orchard delivered boxes to most areas in Basingstoke, I thought I would try it out. It helped that Fumbilina (a long time NHM reader and supporter) got her box organised before me and had good things to say about it!

So, I started my deliveries in June and I’ve been really impressed. As there are only three of us, we have the bag which is:

  • Bag – £7.70 (usually 6-7 items, typically 1kg potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage or broccoli or cauliflower, salad leaves or lettuce, other items e.g. tomatoes and cucumber in summer; leeks, swede or parsnips in winter)

This is more than enough for the week for us. With anything that is left over, it goes straight into a vegetable soup which I make in the slow cooker. Just throw it all in with some water and herbs and hey presto!

I’ve requested not to have potatoes because I’m trying to stick to a mainly paleo diet and Mike was very happy to accommodate this.

The deliveries are on Tuesday afternoon and evening, so Tuesday evening is now my “vegetable preparing” evening. I’ve asked Mike, the delivery man (who is also the main man! lol) to knock when he drops the delivery off, so I can get the vegetables straight into the fridge to preserve their life.

I also like that Mike will pick up the plastic bags and paper bags that the vegetables are delivered in, so they can be recycled.

It’s really nice to get some proper local food and I love the variety of what we get. Some weeks we have herbs in our parcel and this week we had some hot peppers! Yes, it can be a challenge to cook seasonally, but I find, once you get into it, it becomes second nature. Plus, I like knowing where my vegetables come from!

NorthDown Orchard also organise many events at the orchard which are suitable for little people. We haven’t gone along to any yet, but they are on my list of things to do for October.

For more details check the Facebook page HERE or click on the website at the top of this post.

One of the key concepts behind NHM is supporting local small businesses, so I’m delighted to recommend Northdown Orchard!

Let me know if you decide to get a box from the Orchard.