LAURA’S FAVOURITE HANGOUTS
The Chinnor-based mum of one and owner of vintage-inspired Laura's Travelling Teapot on her favourite hotspots in Bucks & Oxon
It was a mundane garage clear-out last year that provided Laura Redrup with her lightbulb moment. She had a stack of mismatched bone china pretty tea cups that she’d bought for her wedding reception a few years back but that were now gathering dust. Use them or lose them? She plumped for the former, setting up Laura’s Travelling Teapot, a vintage-inspired afternoon tea catering business. A year on, the Chinnor-based mother-of-two provides delicious home-made cakes, scones and sandwiches for antiques fairs, weddings, hen parties and baby showers. Those teapots do indeed do a lot travelling around our region, so we asked Laura to give us the lowdown on her favourite spots. Great picks, great Victoria sponge and great hair (we love the pink tips, done by her own fair hand)…
Sue Ryder Hospice, Nettlebed vintage sales
These sales are brilliant and not many people know about them. It’s basically a huge vintage fair in the grounds of Sue Ryder that takes place every third Saturday (the next one is 8 April). I bought loads of my crockery from here – I once needed 24 teapots for an event and got them all, very cheaply, in one fell swoop. You can pick up beautiful Royal Albert china, lovely silverware and gorgeous bright Le Creuset pans that last forever. There’s also clothes, jewellery and books. Get there early though – it opens at 10.30am – and make a beeline for what you want, because the people who buy there mean business!
Chilterns Vintage Cinema
My weekends are so jam-packed with children’s parties and work events that on the rare occasion I have an evening out with my husband or friends, I want to do something a bit different. Chilterns Vintage Cinema totally fits the bill. They show classic films such as The Shining, Batman and Four Weddings and A Funeral in unusual settings, like the Natural History Museum in Tring, Bucks Railway Centre and the Hellfire Caves. Such an imaginative idea and much more fun than a multiplex.
Nick Cope’s children’s concerts
Nick is a local musician who does concerts for children – he has lots of events coming up all over the region and beyond. I took my three-year-old daughter to see him at Millets Farm and she absolutely loved it. He plays the acoustic guitar and sings really sweet songs – think a cooler Mr Tumble. There are beanbags to sit on and the show has a surprisingly relaxed feel, with the children mesmerized by his performance – it’s not the hyper carnage you might expect from a children’s show.
This is a bit further afield but if you love fashion, it’s worth travelling to. It’s basically a really posh car boot sale – I discovered it went I ran a pop-up tea room there last year. There are various venues in the south-east – the next one is 21 April in Tunbridge Wells, then there’s one in 5 May in Dedham, Essex. It’s far more civilized than your average car boot, it’s run by two fashion journalists and bloggers, Erica Davies and Ciara Elliott, and people sell amazing, tempting second-hand clothes – vintage bits, high end high street and designer pieces.
The Wee Bookshop, Chinnor
This opened last year in my village and it’s lovely. It’s a cafe which sells second-hand books to raise money for bladder cancer research (hence the name!) . They do excellent homemade soups, quiches and cakes, good coffee and it feels more like a stylish independent bookshop than a charity shop. It’s great for children – mine love the train track that runs along the skirting boards, with a little engine chugging around the shop – but it’s also a good spot to meet a friend for a chat.
The Crazy Bear, Stadhampton
I like to try out other people’s afternoon teas for research purposes and this one is quite special. I sometimes come with girlfriends for the champagne one – my top tip is to look for a Groupon deal. The Crazy Bear is a small hotel with Thai and British restaurants and it has a decadent feel – it’s a world way from your usual village country pub. When you pull into the car park and see the old red London Routemaster bus that serves as the reception, you know it’ll be a bit quirky.
This is like notonthehighstreet.com but in shop form. The stock is all made by artists, designers and producers who live locally and it’s a great place for birthday gifts when you’ve left it too late to order anything online. They do paintings, prints, jewellery, kitchenware, candles, crockery, beauty products and lovely handmade greetings cards, and there’s something for every budget. I recently bought my sister-in-law a coffee cup with a flamingo design, which she loved.
Wild Strawberry Café, Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden
With its fairy lights and wild flowers displayed in jam jars, this yurt is lovely, quintessentially English place to visit – and you can hire it out for events. I love their homemade cakes and tea, and the children can play outside on the grass and hay bales while you enjoy a cuppa. It’s just opened for spring and later on the PYO will re-open, so you can put the children to work picking strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries.