Whilst visiting the midlands this weekend Alice suggested that we went to a small town called Bakewell as they had a baking festival on. I got insanely giddy, I didn't even know Bakewell was a place, all I knew was that it's a tart that we sell in the cafe at work!
Cake, cake and more cake, I was very excited.
Bakewell is a gorgeous little town, bubbling with English stereotypes... the jolly ones out of Enid Blyton books that you forget exist. Seemingly care-free people strolled around, their pink, sun-ripened faces scoffing Mr Softy ice creams, parading their lovely dogs of all shapes and sizes.
This was the first year the town has done one of these baking festivals but it certainly seemed to be a success! Little stalls crowded the streets selling all things sugary and fatty with ditsy little patterns and union jack flags everywhere. There was even a massive stall by the Co-op, this was less cute and ditsy, but was handing out free wine and cheese so I'll let them off!
As is the tradition in England, out comes the sun, out comes the beer tents! Add a few picnic benches to a market square and voila you have a pub!
But much more exciting than the Pimms and Bulmers... the cakes!
Whatever your sweet-tooth takes a fancy to, it was here! My weakness was a gooey chocolate brownie. I would have taken a photo but it was too tasty to delay shoving the whole thing down my greedy gob! Now, I make a mean chocolate brownie. It is mouth-wateringly amazing if I do say so myself! So it gives me great pain to admit... this brownie was better than mine!? I was gutted, but then the brownie was so delicious I couldn't even stay disappointed! Will have to work on mine...
Next, once we'd eaten far too much, we wandered down through an adorable little public park to a craft fair shamelessly latching on to the baking event. It was full of those cute, crafty things which look adorable, but, as you have learnt from experience, will have no place in your life as soon as you're home again. Sure, if you live in a little town called Bakewell then by all means have a teddy bear door stopper! Have as many lavender scented cushions as you wish! Indulge yourself in the homemade jewelry and I bet no house is complete without a painting of a border collie. But these things have no place in the real world.
The event is free to wander around, but you have to pay £15 for a ticket to attend all the events taking place during the day. Unfortunately, we arrived quite late in the afternoon so missed out on these, but I definitely plan on returning next year as I am determined to enter (and win) the cake competition!
The little town itself is adorable though. My best find was a little secondhand book shop full of wonderful and obscure old books, reeking of history and mystery. And right outside was a gorgeous, tiny public garden consisting of one beautifully tranquil tree and a lone bench, a perfect retreat from the crowds.
Cake, wine, trees, ice cream, dogs, ducks, and books. Happiest Saturday in a long time. Reminded me how important it is to get out and see all the amazing things England has to offer. Very often people moan about England and dream of emigrating, envisaging the grass being greener on the other side, but as you can see... we do have pretty green grass!
To finish this darling afternoon we sat by the river and watched the birds duck and dive for the chunks of bread being thrown their way. Sat in the sun, dipping your toes in the water and listening to the refreshing sound of flowing water is truly an ideal way to catch up with someone, especially lovely people called Alice.