We join forces with Thyme Hotel to celebrate our Great British Summer and coming together over a shared love of nature, conservation and good times. It was a few days of quintessentially English charm enjoyed with some great company.
With the sun shining, Oliver and Rose drove up the long estate drive (with the pop-up cart in tow) and met up with their guests, Paul Sculfor and his wife Federica Amati Sculfor, Alicia Rountree and her fiancé Arnaud Zannier and Eve Delf and her boyfriend Tom Greenlees for a sunny staycation in the Cotswolds. A place that gives you a ”moment to pause for thought, to notice the small things and bring you closer to the wonders of the wild.”
With a shared love of sustainability, we adore our partnership with Thyme Hotel. At their boutique, Thyme has carefully sourced brands and artisanal products and one-off antique treasures. Our pop up cart’s arrival was fitting, as the sun came out and stayed out for the whole time during the pop-up and our stay. Every moment was a picture with the men donning their LOVE BRAND & Co. linens and swim shorts and the girls top to toe in our edit ‘Love Brand Loves’.
Soon after settling into our rooms, it was time for poolside sundowners and swimming inside the beautiful walled garden. The pool is the epitome of relaxed charm. Cotswold stone walls and Lavender in abundance is a perfect match and a perfect backdrop for an evening with friends.
For drinks, we were joined by the owner of the hotel, Karen and her daughter Milly and we enjoyed a wonderful evening full of laughter before having dinner at their hot dining spot, The Ox Barn. Around the fire pits under a starry sky, we discussed more about the incredible conservation projects taking place at Thyme in the water meadows on the hotel grounds and the commitment the hotel makes to sustainability and preserving its surrounding natural heritage.
A WALK IN THE WATER MEADOWS
The next morning, after some more swimming and cycling we walked across the fields towards the hotel’s famous kitchen gardens and water meadows. Through a field with a rare breed of black highland sheep grazing and onwards through a gate, like something from The secret garden, lies the working grounds of Thyme Hotel and a kitchen garden for picking rows upon rows of glorious herbs, fruit and veg. There really isn’t a smell like it in the world!
Beyond the kitchen garden lie the water meadows. Submerged underwater through the winter months and a maze of long grasses and wildflowers in the summer, the place is home to an abundance of wildlife and plant species. Once farmed and cut for cattle grazing the hotel decided to rewild the land for the natural plants and birdlife to thrive. One animal in particular – The Reed Warbler. Migrating from Sub Saharan Africa, reed warblers form monogamous pairs building their nests like hammocks amongst the reeds on the banks of the river. They’re easy to miss being so small and sadly on the day we didn’t see any. We learnt of the incredibly long journey these beautiful birds make to these breeding grounds each year, right on the hotel our doorstep. There are others too in the meadows… the Hobby, Martins, Swallows, Swifts as well as Cuckoos all join them on this incredible flight from Africa each year.
Thyme describes this as a ‘Golden thread’ between us and Sub Saharan Africa, the wetlands of the Okovango or the grasslands of South Africa. It is astonishing and humbling to understand how imperative our wild areas are.
Rooted in a passion for the land, food and family, Thyme carefully put together their menus to tell a story of the farm with a focus on seasonal produce. We got the chance to put our own culinary skills to the test with a pasta cooking lesson under the guidance of the lovely Sam. A chef in the kitchen at The Ox Barn restaurant.
Before heading back, Sam met us to go foraging and picking in the kitchen garden, Sam telling us what was in season and setting us to work picking all of our ingredients to take back and make the perfect fresh Ravioli! We filled our baskets with lots of lovage and chard and ambled back to the hotel cooking school. (This experience and many cooking classes can be booked during your stay at the hotel and we highly recommend it).
Our couples then batted out what became a bit of a friendly cooking competition, making the pasta and the ricotta cheese from scratch. The best chefs were definitely Alicia & Arnaud and Paul & Federica who were masters at rolling out the thin pasta. Sadly the same can not quite be said for Eve & Tom and Oliver & Rose!
AN ALFRESCO SUMMER LUNCH
After a jam-packed morning, we finally sat down to an alfresco lunch. A vegetarian menu including all the home-grown produce we had explored at the kitchen garden. We raised up some cold rosé to the sun and toasted to Thyme, our favourite escape in the Cotswolds. The lunch was the perfect end to the perfect weekend.