Mother’s Day – sorted!
Worried you've left it too late to sort out mum this Sunday? Relax, Muddy has everything you need to save the day.
Hop on board
Afternoon tea with posh china and an open fire? That’s soooo last Mother’s Day! How about scones served up at speed, on a first-class train carriage? Board the Dartmoor Railway at Okehampton for their Mother’s Day Daffy Delight complete with show tunes, countryside views whizzing by the window and a scrummy cream tea. They’ll even throw in a bunch of daffodils for mum. Sorted!
Pass the snips
A bunch of blooms is a given on Mother’s Day (kids take note!) but it never hurts to upgrade, does it? If your mum loves to prink and preen with the snips, a floristry course is the gift that keeps on giving. The British Academy of Floral Art run uber-flexi floristry courses in small classes which mum (and you?) can join for a morning taster or go the full Martha Stewart with a 10-weeker. Based in Dunchideock, flower academy owners Julie Collins and Tina Parkes have trug-loads of impressive qualifications and run classes in Exeter, Newton Abbot and Bristol. And they do a great line in nice, quick online vouchers from £35.
More wine, mother?
How about this for a fruity little number? A wine-tasting course for a vino-loving mum with the new South West Wine School. And no prior knowledge of wine drinking required, *hem hem*. After this one-day taster course your ma will be a pro on pairing wine with food, common varieties of grape and know all the proper terms, like your own walking-talking Oxford Wine Companion! Aptly, the next one is on what we call ‘thirsty Thursday’ in our house, Thurs 2nd May at Wakeham Farm, near Kingsbridge.
Go garden gazing
On a gorgeous spring day in a bucolic garden, there’s no better form of mother-daughter bonding than botanising over a few ferns and flowers. I mean, just you try saying Leucanthemum ‘Superbum’ without sniggering. The Garden House at Buckland Monachorum is luring you into their 10-acre idyll with a ‘mums-go-free’ offer, with the added carrot of lashings of cream teas and Sunday roasts in the cafe. For those with a Protestant work ethic, why not help Saltram House with their dirty work and get stuck into some snowdrop planting. If you hated being dragged around gardens when you were a kid, this is the perfect way to get your own back.
Muddy loves Gandy Street in Exeter with its cool cobbles, cafes and gift shops. There are so many delights you may have missed Lefroy Beauty perched on on the corner opposite Bill’s Restaurant – but soft, what light from yonder upstairs window breaks? Yes, it’s the massive beauty glow your mum can have if you send her here! Vouchers are available online for their most popular bio-tec facial (jowls begone!), a soul-lifting manicure or a soothing relax with a hot stones massage (good for relieving sore joints and back pain.) With Espa, Elemis, Jessica and St Tropez to choose from, whatever gorgeousness mama wants, she can have.
Tea and a castle tour
Make mum feel like she’s in a Jane Austen novel for the day by whisking her off to the Earl of Devon’s gaffe for afternoon tea and a tour of 13th century Powderham Castle near Exeter. Sup next to views of frolicking fallow deer and parkland with bobbing sailboats on the sparkling Exe estuary and village of Lympstone on the other side. If mum’s partial to a bit of local shopping, head up the daffodil-lined castle driveway to Urban & Rural Plant Centre for inspiration and the Powderham Farm Shop next door for West Country gins, Otter Vale chutneys, Owens Coffee and yet more char, courtesy of Devonshire Tea. Well, it is Mother’s Day.
Afternoon tea at Orestone Manor
Georgian Manor – tick. Sea views – tick. Tinkly china and ol’ Blue Eyes serenading mum over the speakers – ticketty tick! Afternoon tea at Orestone Manor, near Torquay, is pretty dam fancy and once you’ve scoffed the moist sandwich fingers, sticky sponges and sweet home-made scones (ask for a doggy bag if it defeats you) the red sands of practically private Maidencombe beach is just a ten-minute hoof down a hedgerow-lined hill (beware the walk back up though!). And as you’ve been such a fantastic daughter (pat pat), we might even let you spot a seal or dolphin out in Lyme Bay.
Nosh up at The White Hart
Mother’s Day a family affair this year? The White Hart at Dartington Hall near Totnes is relaxed and welcoming, perfect for a Sunday nosh-up or afternoon tea with mum, and worth a nose as new head chef Eammon Fullalove, formerly of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, is now at the helm. Head out into the gardens afterwards for a stomp among the daffies, majestic Irish yews, and Henry Moore’s reclining Memorial Figure though if you’ve got little Muddies in tow it’s a job to stop them rolling down those tempting grass banks in the Tiltyard. I always herd my lot downhill to the toy shop at The Dartington Shops; there mum can ponder in peace over the art, craft and largest collection of Dartington Crystal in the south-west.