Crazy week in the hotel and the favourites in between

Many of you will relate to this as small business owners or if you work or have worked in hospitality - this week has been pretty demanding - but funnily enough, very enjoyable! Favourite no 1 0 a demanding but satisfying silly season work week. Many of our workforce have been ill, some have recently found other jobs and we are at our most busy - functions mostly. I have needed to get stuck in and get more practical instead of just personnel / business management and office work - so yesterday helped with a seated lunch for 22 and today, when our restaurant manager called in sick ran (with a brilliant team of staff) a seated lunch for 44. We hadn't been provided with a table plan for the separate 5 tables in advance, just a list of names and choices. I was in charge of making it all turn into something sensical for us to take food out and for the kitchen. It was 'interesting'. I very much enjoyed getting stuck in with taking food out, clearing, organising etc - rather than just being the Manager. The girls were fab and I have a real sense of job well done - all the food and service was perfect. Saying that I am super looking forward to the end to a long week - including my first 6am start at work in a while (which I also enjoyed).

After a first aid course on Monday (cue lots of awkward rolling round on the floor, touching strangers faces, tummies etc) I went shopping to Ulverston (above) - the sky was so beautiful at 4:30 pm and all of the shops lit up. This shopping experience (bar my bizarre treatment in one shop - see below) was favourite no 2. I would love to go into town more of a night after work (instead of whizzing home for the dog and Caspar) - I need to make that happen! Luckily my Dad has been picking Humph up for lunch and ball games in their garden on my long days at work - otherwise I wouldn't have been able to manage it!

Bought these new decorations at Brambles in Ulverston (favourite no 3):

I went upstairs to pick them up and there was a clearly marked sign above a basket of cloth bags, asking browsers to kindly use the bags they provided - which I duly did. As I wandered back downstairs with my three baubles and headed to browse more the shop assistant basically accused me of shoplifting ' aren't you going to pay for those?'. She actually thought I'd put them in my own bag  as she 'only worked there one afternoon a week' and hadn't been told, or obviously checked that this is what the owner was asking the shoppers to do. It took quite a lots of insisting there was a sign and bags there and I was made to feel utterly mortified. Nevertheless, I bought the baubles and they are lovely. Shop owners should really train their staff - and shop worker should know the shop, and the procedures, and the signage!

Fabourite no 4 - not just the contents of this Abeille Youth Watery Oil by Guerlain - but the packaging - swoon! And all glass.

Favourite no 5 -  the drawing sent to us by our sponsored boy in Rwanda - Egide - this is a pencil drawing of his president. It is pretty impressive! I am going to send him some more drawing materials.

Favourite no 6 - A is working late as a volunteer for a Hospice fundraiser Christmas Fayre tonight at work ( his employers told him they weren't going to give them any food - I hope they did!). But last night we managed to get into comfy jumpers early and have a wee hedgerow homebrew snifter each - A Blackberry Brandy and I Rosehip Brandy - excellent to help the immunity - full of Vit C - so warming too! Plus we had to taste test for Christmas haha!

Favourite no 7  - I've completed the Crown season 2 and am now re-watching it all. Caspar and I are also watching back to back episodes of Downton Abbey - it gets better each time I watch it. C loves it and I had to make sure this week (we are on season 4) to ask him several times how he was after Matthew's sudden death. The year that was the Christmas special was pretty traumatic!! I didn't need that on Christmas Day. I love everything about this series - it's wit, beauty and most of all what it tells us about Britain's history and social dynamics. We are of course still a highly class ridden society in which everything you do reflects your 'class' (which has become every more complex and fascinating). Saying that a   possible reason I've had so many fab European and American friends over the years is this lack of care in the same way about social class- it can be very refreshing. Whatever your take on our class 'system' or 'patchwork' - I love the certainty and rules and dignity of previous eras. This is why my favourite characters are both the Dowager Countess Violet and Carson - I would personally like them to adopt me as their Grand 'Child.' The beauty of Downton gets me every episode - I can't help but relish the era before the dawn of ugly plastic, fastness, cheapness and bad manners. This shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me - all close friends and families acknowledge that I am trapped in the wrong era and was overly influence by my Grandparents and Great Grandfather. I need escapism into this world on a regular basis.

At the opposite end of the spectrum - you can't help but lose yourself in the new series of Vikings - I was gobsmacked during the last episode. I love it for lots of reasons but it also brings Britain's history to life - we were raided and settled where I live, in my tiny village - a Viking sword was found in the village churchyard and hoards and coins are found all over this area. Most of the dialect is old Norse, along with many placenames. We are afterall a 'mutt Nation' (perhaps the most 'European' of all) - a mix of Celts, Vikings & Danes, Saxon Germans and Vikings again in the form of the Normans (Northmen). Thank goodness after 1066 we weren't invaded again - it would have been very confusing!

Oops sorry I just realised this pic includes a rather gory image in the corner :~#

Sorry ladies this is rather a short post - I hope to do more exciting or creative things at the weekend - need to get to work on this Christmas malarkey!

With Love - Joanne xx

Linking up with Erika and Narci:

A Cup of Tea Blog, and TBB:


That is a hilarious picture of you and your husband. Such a married-couple moment captured on film. (Or rather, in pixels, or whatever it is that digital photography actually is . . .)
Amanda Bullard said…
I coudn't agree more with you regarding how everything now is cheap, plastic, and crap. Hands raised in agreeance over here on this side of the blue. And that shop attendant what an ass. Wishing you a merry weekend! xo
I love that picture of you and your hubby. I also would have felt mortified if a sales associate did that with the baubles and the bag. And yes, I agree with your thoughts about workers needing to know the signage and store. Also, I loved hearing about your work week. I hope you have a great weekend!
LMW said…
You know I Love this photo of you and the hubby. It so darn cute. I loved Downtown Abbey and also wondered how truly it reflected life over there during the period and how much of it is still present. I think us american only see the royal family and have no clue about every day England, its history and people and the many different types of villages and borroughs. Hope you get in some relaxation this weekend friend.
It sounds like you liked The Crown?! I need a good new show - would you recommend? You and Andy are adorable, btw. :) And that drawing is so special. <3 That first photo reminds me, I have to tell you: have you seen the movie The Holiday? I had a dream the other night that we swapped houses! Haha!
Shannon said…
I need to get back to watching Downton. I love everything about that era. The Crown is an amazing show! Such a sweet drawing from your boy! Have a lovely weekend Joanne! :)
I love your tales of small business, I think it sounds so cool... hard, but rewarding! I would have been shocked if someone accused me of shoplifting... that's so bad that the shop woman had no training on the cloth bags! I'm not sure if I would have bought the items after that, but then again, no sense in not buying beautiful things you want... I guess you will always remember that when you look at your items haha!
Girl Meets Bow said…
I love hearing about your challenges and triumphs of running a hotel! Have you ever done a post on how you got started? I’d love to hear your story! Hope you have a fun weekend!
Rita C. said…
You & A look so cute in that picture together, and the brandies sound delish! Love your new ornaments. I have decked my home, and have an all-time high of 38 family members confirmed for our Christmas Eve buffet dinner (I have 8 siblings I invite, along with any of their immediate family members)! Instead of counting sheep when my head hits the pillow, I'm counting chairs and rearranging my home's furniture to see how I'll accommodate everyone!
Europafox said…
We did have to have a few attempts at keeping straight faces! It must be that English awkwardness at staring at each other and being photographed. J x
Europafox said…
I am glad you agree - I sometimes feel like a lone Luddite. Yes that 'experience' in the shop certainly put me off shopping there again! Joanne x
Europafox said…
I could write so much a about work - I have very much tried to keep this blog private from people I know but I still very much have to edit the content regarding the hotel, in case anyone reads it. It is a shame really, as if I could write freely the content could be quite entertaining! J xx
Europafox said…
Thank you re the photo - it was a fun one to take. The aristocracy took a real beating here after both wars, they really turned society on it's head after hundreds of years. In the late Victorian era a lot of people had servants, it was a great source of employment, but everything changed after the wars. Now most of the old families have to turn their homes into tourist attractions or hotels of course. English society is quite complex these days - there are always articles in abundance about 'U and non U' - with everything from your TV choice, choice of words, clothing, holidays, how you decorate and so on being 'social indicators' - you should read online the Jan Tatler article about it - quite funny, in a sad way! I don't think they'd get away with something like that in the States - but here, it will resonate with enough people and others will find humour it in. I make no comment, it is what is is! J xx
Europafox said…
I thought the Crown was very good - quality actors. There is nothing worse than a fake or over egged English accent for an international audience.. Beautiful to watch of course don't you think? I still haven't seen the holiday - it is free on Prime, so next time the boys are busy I am going to watch it. That sounds like a great dream! I would definitely swap houses with you for a holiday - J xx
Europafox said…
The wit of Downton is what draws me in, and when you watch it back to back you get fully immersed in the lives of the characters. Who are your favourites? J xx
Europafox said…
It has been such a self-taught learning curve Lauren - you have to be able to turn your hand to everything - from creating a business model and doing the accounts, to personnel management, event management, marketing, customer service... I think you would be ideal for it - with your design eye, you could style the perfect boutique hotel!
Europafox said…
I would love to - if you would be interested. I hope you had a lovely weekend - J xx
Europafox said…
Oh the brandies are yummo! 38 on Christmas Eve - wow! I think I'd be constantly running through everything in my mind too - are you doing a traditional Christmas Dinner or something more informal? Joanne x
I would love to read a 'day in the life' style post of you at work! It sounds so interesting and fast pace. But, rewarding! I don't think people realize how much work goes into the hospitality industry.
And gosh, I would have been so embarrassed if someone accused me of shoplifting!
I want to rewatch Downton Abbey now! It was such a good show. I agree, it is nice to see a time without plastic and when manners were important. However, it does show that there was still drama and bad things going on even under all that charm.