Being whisked away mid-week to Burley in Berkshire by Ted Baker is no bad thing, particularly when you are on holiday from the regularities of day to day life. So, I headed First Class from London Paddington via train to the commuter town of Maidenhead from where we caught a car to the stunning village of Burley. In fairness, there is not much there but on the banks of the River Thames, between the royal town of Windsor and the infamous boating resort of Henley, the village is a haven from the city - and home to the stunning The Olde Bell. Finished in 1135, the main building of the hotel, restaurant and pub is low, creaky and just the wrong side of really spooky. Finished to a high specification without loosing any charm, even by a small amount, it was the Scandi inspired rooms in the accommodation over the road that wowed me.
After checking in, refreshing and reviving, we walked along the Thames a short way - encountering a menage of animals and wildlife - before we returned for a delectable picnic lunch in the kitchen garden of the hotel. Separated by a walled garden and heritage orchard, the garden is kept by Mandy, a lady who was Head Gardener to the Royal Family for 16 years. She guided us around the lawns that nestle an abundance of wild herbs, salads and what I would call 'flavours' - not so much vegetables that are often found in peoples allotments or gardens but items that make up dishes to give them an added edge in terms of taste and presentation. I got a great shot of the boys from Individualism in the garden, enjoying a bottle of juice each as we walked around. Of course, the heritage apples, Jerusalem Artichokes and other larger fruits and morsels - as well as the fore mentioned herbs and salads - are indeed used by the kitchen. Those we picked were used in the Pimms that we enjoyed between playing Giant Jenga and croquet on the lawn in the building next to the main hotel, which used to belong to a famous film director many years ago.
This was not just a lovely two days away, but an introduction to the Ted Baker AW13 footwear range, which we were gifted three pairs that day. Below, I am wearing Rissh, a black semi-patent pair with purple detailing on the heel and lace. Wearing my own Acne chinos, I teamed it with a white Ted Baker shirt that features a t-bar collar that is simply quite stunning on. Very Downton Abbey really...which I felt a part of coming down the stairs in the old house. From here we sat down to a great three course dinner in the old library, a mystifying yet enduring setting that was romantically set for a stunning and dinner. With great fun, laughs and chat about every topic imaginable, we headed to our Scandi inspired bedrooms - however still being jet-lagged from New York and Boston, stayed up a while later in the bar. Naturally.
Before packing up my gifts from Ted Baker, including a great crafted umbrella and grooming set - and wearing my Ted Baker socks - I headed for a light breakfast before heading back to London. If this is the life the Ted Man leads, then I am in...