After the shock and realization that it was 1 January 2018 was over, on the 2nd January, I bundled on a train from Paddington Station with three people who I met online to travel to The Cotswolds, to meet a fourth person, who I also met online. You must be thinking, what on earth? But yes these four are some of my closest blogging pals, to the point that we have a daily catch up in a Whatsapp group about life in general, and we met through either Twitter or Instagram.
We are quite an International selection too, with Polly, originally from the UK being based out in Doha, Emma originally from New Zealand being London based, myself from Kenya also being London based, and Angie and Aftab both being from the UK. We are all wildly different in our personalities, characters, blogging styles, but together, we are like a completed jigsaw puzzle.
We arrived at Stroud station, and immediately recognised Polly’s dad from her Insta Stories, who had kindly offered to transport us from the station to Calcot Manor, roughly a 20 minute drive. Polly’s daughter Sophia was a honorary blogger for the day.
Our lunch was in the super cute and cosy Gumstool Inn.
We started off with a round of cheers with some white wine, whilst we decided on what we wanted to eat.
Having spotted Camembert on the menu I have Aftab a glance and said shall we? We ended up ordering two to share on the table. Who can resist Camembert? It was served with apple, pear and raisin chutney, and absolutely moreish.
Angie chose to go for the butternut soup served with crispy onion bhajis, a lovely warming option for a freezing winter day.
Her mains choice was as we all predicted – Cornish hake with aubergine caponata, cavolo nero, anchovy and fennel butter.
Aftab and I almost always order the same dishes and so we both chose the Truffled (YES) Chicken Kiev with mushrooms, parsley mash and green beans. Aftab had his without mushrooms, and we both loved our choice. I especially loved how fluffy and soft the mash was.
Emma and Polly went for the duck ragu, cep and truffle lasagne, served in a beautiful rustic pan. They loved their dish too, and it smelt incredible.
Dessert was an incredible Sticky Toffee Pudding, which was just divine!
After our lunch we headed inside the hotel for some coffees, and to continue our catch up, as we had so much to talk about!
It was an absolutely wonderful day, and a relatively short train journey to The Cotswolds, and so if you are looking for somewhere different to have a little bit of a day out and a lovely meal, Calcot Manor is a great venue, and the food was really lovely, as well as really reasonably priced.
I am glad we made it happen, and managed to see Polly whilst she was visiting the UK and hopefully there will be more opportunities to catch up in gorgeous destinations in the future.
For more information on Calcot Manor you can visit their website here.