Sunday, 17 April 2016

Easter - Tick

The sky from my garden yesterday
So! 2016 continues to whizz by in the blink of an eye............ How was it as a child that the year seemed to be never ending. That the summer's were longer, the seasons so well defined?? We weren't dreaming about Easter Eggs the moment Christmas went were we?? 

Yet here we were at the end of March celebrating Easter and all the madness that normally goes with it in terms of our visitors having the first proper outing of the year en famile and us not having a summer team to deal with summer numbers.  But all credit to our great team - they did a great job looking after everyone and making them all feel welcome in our great pub. 

Hair Braider makes a welcome return to outside the pub




No sooner had the first few people arrived than some of the derogatory comments started coming on social media (and in the local paper) regarding Grockles and what a pain it was having so many cars and visitors littering our streets.............????  Oh my life!! REALLY!!! REALLY!!!! REALLY!!!! Argh..........

I really find it so hard at times understanding the mentality of some people in small towns. What on earth do they think that Salcombe and places like it in the West Country and other places would be like WITHOUT our visitors??? 

I personally like to try and make all visitors in the town and to our pub feel special - I look at it that I am so fortunate to live here for ever and they are only passing through - so lets make their experience a great one, with a warm welcome and a wish for great memories.  
Anyway, off your soapbox Liz that will do for now - on with the news of the month: 

The flowers at the front of the pub are just about on their last legs really thanks to the amazing cold winds we've endured this year, so it will be nice to see the new ones in place for May hols. 

We now stock all but 1 Gin that St Austell Brewery have on their list, we now have 22 in total! We are just waiting for some great Gin Menu's from Fever Tree with ideas of which of their tonics go best with the different Gins. That will give YOU the customer lots and lots to choose from. 

The 'Champagne Sunday' concept with our fabulous Joseph Perrier Champagne has now grown to 'Champagne Weekend' and continues to go from strength to strength. But lets be honest it's not a hard choice with such a great Champagne at £4.95 a glass. 

New wine menu's are expected this week and wow, there are some great new wines including a second flipping lovely dessert wine (will go great with Tims Sticky Toffee Pud) and the most incredible Red wine - Appassimento - a hugely full bodied wine.......... phwoar! 


Spring menu's are at the printers too with some new dishes I'm quite excited about as well. Then it will be full steam ahead to work on the summer menu's in readiness for end of June. 

Team meetings have been held with the aid of great big fat jammy doughnuts from The Bake House in Salcombe. 
As you can see the doughnuts seem to make the meetings less serious!! 

Right here, right now,I'd like to place on public record that I think we have probably the best team we've ever had and what's more we continue to grow the team with 1 more Front of House - Antonia (AJ), (doughnut in hand and cheeky smile) and potentially 2 more Chefs joining our kitchen team. None of them temporary staff, but permanent. 

And so the treadmill of life in a pub revs up and we continue to motor through the year at a great pace.................... I feel quite worn out just typing this!! 

On that note and just in case you've read this far, please, please, please don't forget to book with us if you want to be sure of getting a table for dinner! 01548842604

Till next time my lovely readers, 

Liz xx

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Hello, Bonjour, Hallo, Bongu

Now then - what makes you think I've been on a course or 2 this week..............???!!! Actually I've been on 2 but first of all a few words as to WHY I've been on them! 

Firstly - I like the slogan in this picture.  It's amazing how many various people say to me how great it is that we win awards and that it's a fantastic reward for all our hard work. 

It's also amazing when people say how 'lucky' we are and I'm reminded of that famous saying that: I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it or another variation: The harder I work, the luckier I get." That quote is from Thomas Jefferson but accredited to many including Golfer Gary Player. 

But actually being a Pub Landlady (that is after all the title of my Blog) is much more than pulling pints and asking how people are. Its about a whole host of stuff of which luckily SOH gets to do the boring but very important stuff - Finances/Prices/Suppliers/Budgets etc etc - you get my drift. 

But my part of the ship that is The Victoria Inn is of equal importance - the people. You the guest, our team, the food, menus, social media, advertising - the fluffy bits really some would say. But even this part of the business is about hard work - fun, but work. This week it just so happens I've been to 2 great events with 2 different members of our team and goodness I'm inspired to even greater things (watch out world)!!
 
Yesterday Jonathan (one of our Asst Managers) and I went (exceedingly early!) to Exeter to a course
called The Art of Being Brilliant. Now I happen to think we at the Vic are already pretty brilliant and in fact I met a customer on the course who exclaimed 'Why' we were on the course as she really did think we were indeed already brilliant (blushes deeply)? 

But actually this particular course challenged our pre-conceived thoughts quite brilliantly and helped re-inforce ideologies I/we hold as a business in terms of excellence and yes, brilliance! Jon and I loved it and talked non stop about how we could work better/smarter/ more brilliantly all the way home!! How TO BE not just TO DO! Thanks Andy Cope - you gave us a Brill.... fantastic day!! 

Then today, the delightful Jessie (she of the great smile and even greater tattoos) came with me to the Eden Project in Cornwall (another even more ridiculously early start) for a South West Tourism Growth Fund International Tourism Conference (blimey thats a title and a half isn't it).  Lots and lots of like minded people in the same room to help learn to grow tourism in the SW. 

Another day of true inspiration and bloody amazing presentations from some truly inspirational speakers - 2 of whom have stuck in my brain all the way through to tonight (yes, some doing that - I know!). 

Firstly Simon Calder travel writer, guru, he has a strap line of  'The man who pays his way” because he won't accept free transport or accommodation from the travel trade. 

He says the people with the best stories to tell live life in the cheap seats - love that! 

But he was passionate about giving great facts and figures, advice on the travel industry and how we can help get more tourism from across the world to the SW. 

Second and so helpful to us in our business was an award winning speaker and the writer of great
books including OMG Marketing: - Geoff Ramm. Wearing a rather nifty suit he bounded on the stage and kept me enthralled for an hour as he gave us video clips, short stories and pause for thought moments! By the way OMG is not text talk for Oh My God its actually Observational Marketing Greats! See, Geoff I was listening. There were also many other speakers to numerous to relate each and everyone though.

My goodness were Jessie and I suitably inspired by the time we staggered out into the Cornish air........... I now have a list of to do/ to be/ ideas / to research / and on and on..............

So how does this tie into my opening line of Hello etc........ 

Well you find out the country where the last Hello word comes from in my title post - these are some of the countries talked about today. 

What does the last 2 days have to do with being succesful?? 

Well if I have to tell you I guess you'll never know..................  

Till next time my lovelies, 

Liz x

P.S Fantastic congratulations to The Samuel Jones pub in Exeter - one of St Austell's managed houses for winning the Best New Pub/Bar award at last nights Morning Advertiser Publican awards. Great job Reece and team!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Gold!!!!!

Its been a challenging few weeks in more than one way or two but we were delighted to receive three
fantastic awards in February!

Firstly the hugely prestigious Taste of the West South West England Gold award for the THIRD year running. Comments from the judges included: 
  • Meals were cooked and presented to perfection
  • The Veggie Burger was super tasty!
  • The Chocolate Tart was 'wow'
  • Service was superb
  • The whole team were working as a well oiled machine
  • The place was full of happy customers and the judges did not want to leave
A huge well done to every single member of our amazing team who worked so hard both in the cooking and presentation of the food and to the front of house team for their exceptional customer service skills!  Thank you also to our customers for being happy with us and loving what we do. 

Secondly and equally as important to us as a business we also won a Bronze award in the South West Tourism Excellence awards 15/16 in the Best Pub category. Two of our team went to this in our absence as SOH has been a bit poorly for a couple of weeks now - but I say, didn't they scrub up well! Jonathon one of our assistant Managers and Rob, one of our senior team members. Sadly, we didn't get through to the national finals, but I was really pleased with how well the Vic did.

It was held in Exeter Cathedral and we were assured it was a great evening. 

As I write this blog, the Harbour Hotel in Salcombe is up for Large Hotel of the Year in the National Tourism Awards in Blackpool next week - so can I take this opportunity to wish them all the luck in the world. They're a fab hotel with a great team and I am sure they will do really well.

Thirdly, we  won Wine House of the Year at the St Austell Tribute Estate awards at the Eden Project in Cornwall.  Again, an amazing achievement and all credit both to SOH for writing an alluring wine list with fantastic wines from St Austell but also to our team for their selling skills!  We're also just a few reviews from 1,000 on Trip Advisor so if you've visited us and loved us, don't be shy, tell the world.

We've just extended our Champagne Sunday to Champagne weekend and ooooohhhh our customers do love a drop of bubbly - especial Joseph Perrier.............. The sign on the staircase is all painted on from our friend Mark who has great artistic skills. Even what looks like a poster has been painted on and the young lady is styled on our very own Philly.

The road works in Salcombe are at last finished and thank goodness for that too. It certainly affected business in the town for February (including ours) and there is no way I would ever be asking for a pedestrian only access - apart from maybe in the 6 weeks of summer.

There were very few business's I believe that didn't feel the effects of having the road closed and we were all pleased it was for no more than a month. The rest of Salcombe is a bit like a building site and a mystery road trip as different bits of road get blocked off and steel fencing put round so if you're coming down just be prepared to do a circle or 2 of the town to get to your destination.

Something for the ladies who read my blog is that we have a new business in town - and guess what!? Its a handbag shop!!! Bella Borsa (already in Kingsbridge) run by the lovely Shani is full of beautiful soft leather bags, gorgeous colours and local suppliers too as well as the most amazing Italian bags.
I HIGHLY recommend (sorry chaps) a visit when you next come down. No I'm not on commission (and my SOH is not overly pleased with Shani for opening up in town due to my love of handbags) I only ever recommend anywhere or anything or services I've used and have been exceptional, and trust me, her handbags are just beautiful!!

Easter is but a few weeks away and we are already fairly fully booked for Easter weekend, so if you want to come and dine with us over that holiday - don't delay - book today! 01548842604

On that note, I'm off - hope you enjoyed this blog, see you all soon I'm sure,

Love

Liz x




 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Good evening from a wet and windy Salcombe

Beautiful Barbados sunset

Good evening from a wet and windy Salcombe as there are just a few short hours left in January 2016, then it's on to my most hated month ever - FEBRUARY! There's something about February that I really dislike - it's still winter, we're still well away from Spring and I don't know quite why I don't like it - I just don't!! 

Anyway, that aside on the day that the legend Terry Wogan was taken from us (after a host of fantastic stars have also said goodbye this month) what can I write about to bring some joy and light relief to you my loyal readers.  I say that, because I've had so many guests say they read my blog I feel dreadfully guilty for not writing more often! 

Us watching the sunset!
Firstly SOH and I took ourselves off to Barbados with a couple of great friends for 2 weeks. A very nice time was had by all as well! Barbados was beautiful, full of hugely friendly people who showed the true meaning of hospitality and we came home refreshed and ready to face another year.  We've only just started having 'Big' holidays and it's certainly nice to see other beautiful parts of the world. It's also nice to take holidays together!

Home of course back to the wind and rain that seems to show no signs of abating and a pub that was shut for a week whilst our kitchen had a new drain cover and also new flooring laid. That bought back memories of the refurb 3 years ago, but the builders and floor fitters worked really hard and we were open again yesterday (blooming busy too!). 

Whilst we were closed we took some of our team to the Treby Arms in Plympton http://www.thetrebyarms.co.uk/
where we met the Chef Patron Anton Piotrowski who was a MasterChef winner in 2012 and is affectionately known as the ginger chef!  We've known Anton some time now and he agreed to give them a chat about his career, ethos of his food etc
etc and generally enthuse the team - which he did magnificently.  
We also had a chat from Ian the front of house manager about service etc. 

Lunch followed with 3 Amusee Bouches starting us off followed by a four course taster lunch with some of the team having the wine flight to go with it. 

Oh my word it was fabulous and the taste of his food (as well as phenomenal presentation) was amazing. Every single one of the team enjoyed the day and were amazed we had managed to keep it a secret from them.

This was then followed up by a curry and much drinking in the evening (them - not us!) where as usual there were many sore heads in the morning! 

2 days later we were at the Eden Project https://www.edenproject.com/  for the St Austell Estate Awards where we were absolutely thrilled to win the Wine House of the Year - we last won that particular award in 2010.  We certainly didn't expect to win this award and it was a great start to the New Year for all of us. I also highly recommend a visit to the Eden Project when you're next in our neck of the woods - it's an absolutely amazing place! 
 
Next week we're off to Exeter for the South West Tourism awards.  You may remember we won Silver in the Devon Tourism Awards but we have no idea if we'll win anything at all next week. But to be honest, I'm not pursuing so many awards this year. 

Last but not least, Champagne Sunday continues only we're extending it to be Champagne weekend - from Friday evening to Sunday evening - you can enjoy a glass of top class Joseph Perrier Champagne at just £4.95 a glass!! No better reason than the weekend to enjoy a glass of Champers! 

Then very, very lastly (promise) I've had a number of our guests ask about our dogs Rosie and Archie, so here they are. Both now 6 and every bit as mad and bad as they ever were. 

So, my promise is to try not to leave my blog writing for a month at a time but you can always keep up with activities at the Vic on our Face Book page https://www.facebook.com/The-Victoria-Inn-Salcombe-136141733123940/

Till next time my lovely readers, 

Liz XXX

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Three sleeps!!

How has it happened that we are just three sleeps away from Christmas Day??? In fact how is it that this year is on it's way out as well?? Is it really true that as you get older the time runs away from you or is it that we're just soooooo busy or is it someone has stolen some days??? 

I have no idea why, but my brain seems to be as active during the night as it is in the day - I've been having some blooming weird dreams lately!!! My latest being a conversation with KENNY DALGLEISH and saying hello to Sir Alex Ferguson!!! I mean really??? Great conversation with Tom Jones the other night and traipsing round some big warehouse before that!?!!! No wonder I'm so tired at the moment is all I can say! 

So I suppose you want to know what's going on at the Vic then.............. well, the Hobbit House rooms (2) are opened and even though I say it myself they look flipping gorgeous!!! Shades of greys, (not that Shades of Grey!)  flashes of Scarlet and gorgeous wood floors. Topped off with fabulous one-off chairs and really beautiful rugs. 

Choosing these colours has really brightened up the Hobbit and now it really reflects the beauty of the Vic and we are VERY happy with the new look. 

Our prices start from £45 a night per room rising to £70 a night in the height of the season. There may well be a special deal coming up soon for February - so watch our website or our facebook/twitter page for details.


There is no breakfast included in this price, but there are some great places in Salcombe if you can't start the day without a Bacon sarnie or a Croissant. 

Coming to Salcombe out of season is just as lovely (if not lovelier in many respects) than coming in the height of summer. So why not have a look at our website and treat yourself to a short break - or even a long one at those prices.............???
 www.victoriainn-salcombe.co.uk

What else?  We've had a few Christmas parties and all credit to Jonathon and Robin who worked hard to get the upstairs looking especially great for our local Health Centre team.  They are a fabulous group of people and it was really important to me that we them as they look after US so very, very well.  When I spoke to them at the end of the evening I said I hoped not to see them again for quite a while!! At least, not in the surgery. 




Of course, we are today starting to get our Christmas visitors down so I've been and bought more toys to replenish the toy boxes - I can tell you that going to a toy shop (CAVE) is my personal idea of hell!!! Also renewed the Baby box. Hopefully no-one will think it will be fun to throw the Baby talc all over the toilet this time!



So then, I think that's about it for now, I've got to be really honest and say I'm not sure that I will be have the time between now and after the New Year to sit and write another blog, but I'll do my best.

In the meantime Tim and I and all of our amazing team would like to wish YOU my dear loyal blog readers a fantastic and delightful Happy Christmas 

Much Love

Liz xxx

Monday, 30 November 2015

Tomorrow isn't really the 1st December - Is it????

Tomorrow isn't really the 1st December is it??? Oh my word, it really is a sign you're getting on a bit when the years hurtle on as they seem to be doing right now! But what an amazing year we have had - not just us (SOH and I) but our amazing team as well. 

It got even better last week when we went to Plymouth to attend the South West Tourism Awards 2015.  This was a new award for us and although we knew we were finalists we truly had no expectations at all of getting anything more than a Bronze (which in itself would have been fab!) But we actually got SILVER!!!

It has to be said that South Hams had a great showing with the Salcombe Harbour Hotel up for Large Hotel, (they got Gold)  Soar Mill Cove - Best Restaurant (Bronze), South Sands - Small Hotel (Bronze) Buckland Two Saints - Small Hotel (Bronze).  

We met up with our old friend and consultant Master Chef Peter Gorton and it has to be said that Judy Spiers who compered the event was truly delightful. What a job she had controlling the proceedings as guests became more (drunk) 'excitable'  as the evening went on! 

It was really nice to be part of this particular event where we knew so many people and there was much whooping and cheering for each other..............We of course were all sober! (coughs gently)

Jane Adkins - Don't know what you said, but it made ME laugh!
We shared our table with Silver Winners of the International Visit Experience who ran an International Language school in Torquay.  

Jane Adkins a PR and Publicity guru who you can see made me laugh very loudly and animatedly (not sure I can remember why though!) and the 2 ladies stood up talking are from Purple Cloud a training consultancy, as well as a partner of one of the guests and a sponsor from Accounting & General (our award) all of them absolutely lovely and great company! 

The drink flowed quite substantially (thank you Plymouth Gin for great cocktails at the beginning of the evening and also for the premium strength freebie bottles we received. 

As for the award itself? Well it was absolutely STUNNING!! Created by Dartington Glass and depicting Smeatons Tower on the Hoe. We're now on the look out for an antique style wall cabinet to display our awards in! 

It must always be remembered - these awards are not just about Tim & I, they are very much about the fact we have a great strong team, who are as focused on out business succeeding as we are! Cleaners who work hard to keep us as clean as possible - not always easy given the footfall we have.  Kitchen team who source the best products and then cook to perfection.  Bar staff and waiting team who endeavour to make EVERY guest feel special, and finally, all our younger 'runners' - our team of tomorrow maybe?? But nights like last Thursday are indeed OUR opportunity as well to give each other a little pat on the back and to remember that as a business we are now reaping the rewards of OUR hard work and headaches too. 

What else has been going on in the Vics world?? Well we've been marketing a fantastic new Cornish Stout from St Austell - Mena Dhu.  Based on an original Cornish recipe Mena Dhu means Black Hill and is named after the farm that was owned by Walter Hicks, the founder of St Austell Brewery. It has a really nice subtle oak smoked aroma and a hint of dark chocolate taste, with a delicate touch of liquorice on the finish. It's been selling quite well and I think many customers have been pleasantly surprised. 

The Hobbit House is undergoing a much needed re-furbishment and I can't wait for you to see the finished result.  One of my Asst Managers Jess and I are going shopping tomorrow (SOH's) credit card in hand for all the 'pretty things' tomorrow - shades of grey, cream and flashes of red and silver.  Stylish, classy and far better representative of the pub itself. 

What else?? Oh yes, we offered a Cream Tea to 4 ladies on Saturday for a Birthday - and I think we may work on making this something for2016.  

What do you think?? 

It looked phenomenal - we gave a glass of Champagne, Crab & Salmon sandwiches, Veg sandwich, home-made cup cakes (Chef Tania - you're a fab Baker!!)  home made scone, tea or coffee and all for £20 a head..................

We're working on Winter menu's so much meetings of creative minds (Chefs) versus the reality check (me) but together we always come up with something special!  

The Christmas decorations are up as it's switch on in Salcombe tomorrow and we also had our first Christmas lunch today at the Vic. 

So all told, it's been another busy month for us here at the Victoria Inn in Salcombe and December is tomorrow - and only 24 days till Christmas Day.............. now where's that wrapping paper gone that I saved last year!?!?! 

Till next time my lovelies - go and help your local economies! 

Much love

Liz xxx




Saturday, 31 October 2015

Halloween!

If it's Halloween today - how many weeks to Christmas??? No! Stop Elizabeth - you know you really don't want to know!!!! But for those of you reading this blog today there is Halloween Story telling in the pub garden at 6.30 for those of you not easily scared! This is our 3 rd year of doing this and it gets progressively better attended every year! 

Well folks for the umpteenth time this year, where on earth is the time going - in all seriousness we have 1 table of 2 free for New Years Eve and I haven't done one scrap of advertising.  So a huge thank you to all of you who have booked to come and join us on this fantastic night. if oyu want to book that table of 2 you'd better get a jiggle on!

It's been a challenging year for me & my family this year so far, I've suffered bereavements of friends and family, lots of shocks and upheavals and as far as I can tell it's been the same for very many of you as well, so lets plough on for another few weeks and hope and pray that 2016 is kinder to us all!! 

Since I last blogged (I know it's been an age again hasn't it!!) we have been shortlisted for 2 more awards; Devon Life Family Friendly and Devon Tourism Awards - Best Pub. Both gigs happening in November - so posh frocks at the cleaners and back on the diet! 

We had a short trip to France a couple of weeks ago where we were hosted to a 2 day break by Joseph Perrier Champagne. Our hosts Jean-Claude (owner of the Champagne house) and Martin Gammen were impeccable in manners and hospitality - the Champagne tasting was amazing and it made me even prouder to sell this fabulous product.

We were incredibly lucky with the weather and my love affair with France has deepened again. We went with James Fineman from St Austell (He is GREAT company) along with Ryhs from the Samuel Jones in Exeter. We went because our Champagne sails of Joseph Perrier had rocketed and were the best in both the tenanted and managed estate of the brewery.

There's something so amazing about Champagne and in seeing the process from vine to bottle and when you see the vines you see the names of all the Champagne houses - Tattinger, Moet etc. All you can see for miles & miles are grapevines.


But my favourite of the Joseph Perrier was the 2005 Rose Champagne - just delicious! 

Half term and beautiful sunshine has seen Salcombe packed again this week, and a facebook message from a guest has prompted me to tell you about one of the pitfalls of trying to be that bit better than most run of the mill pubs. I had this FB message from a lovely guest saying how disappointed he was to see there weren't a lot of children's toys in the box at the moment.  

Do you know what my answer was?? 

Well mostly they've been stolen or destroyed.  £150 worth of toys and books etc at Easter topped up with ANOTHER £50 worth before the summer and very little is left - save a few books and jenga blocks. 

What else has been stolen?? Blankets for the garden, dog blankets, baby change items, reading glasses off the bar and a dog bowl!! Yes - all that from a pub in a supposedly posh area....................... Sad isn't it as well as a bit disgusting?  

Yes, we build these sorts of costs into our budget but I wonder why people feel the need to steal children's toys and books oh, and let their children rip them up or destroy them??   Don't even get me started on drinking glasses and cutlery.....................!

I wonder what YOUR thoughts on that subject are???

Till next time my friends, 

Liz x