Communitea Causes... Marie Curie chosen by Beatons Chester

Beatons Chester have decided to give support this year to the Marie Curie 
Marie Curie are well known for their care and support for people living with any terminal illness, and also the all important support for the families that are providing care for their loved ones, at this difficult time. 

The Marie Curie Charity have been carrying out work for over 65 years. Last year alone 
they provided care for over 40,000 people across the UK.

They offer free one-to-one nursing care and support usually overnight in your home, or during the day and evenings to allow some respite for the carers within the family. In times of crisis they will provide their services at very short notice. Indeed, a member of our family have been on the receiving end of their wonderful work.

To find out more about this amazing Charity visit their website here

We're sure that along with us you'll want to be able to support Marie Curie's amazing work over the next year. Look out for events happening at Beatons Chester. We know you will want to give some time and help to give a little (or a lot) in support! 

Remember every Chai Latte or Charlton Soda bought by you will result in donating 50p to Marie Curie altogether, this will soon add up over the year!

Franchisee, Beatons Chester

Christmas Beau-tea-ful treats at Beatons

Christmas is upon us...

Come in, relax and escape from this busy time of year and indulge in some of our treats...

If you're craving is for chocolate you will love our gorgeously indulgent Yule log...

Or perhaps our more traditional delicious Mince Pies, warmed with cream for an extra treat.

And perfectly accompanied by our beautiful Christmas Mulled spiced Tea of the Month.

We look forward to being able to spoil you and your senses so you can leave feeling restored, refreshed and ready for action!

Beatons Central (HQ)

Beatons Crowthorne want to help Alexander Devine build a Berkshire Children's Hospice

As a family man with three young children, it wasn't difficult for me to choose Alexander Devine Children's Hospice Service as Beatons Crowthorne 'Communitea Cause' for our first year. 

The charity was set up by Fiona and John Devine, from Windsor, after their extraordinary little boy aged 8, passed away early in 2006 from a rare brain tumour. It's hard to imagine how parents cope with such a situation.  This couple did their own extraordinary thing, they set up a charity and service to support children aged 0-19 with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions in their own homes across Berkshire and the bordering areas of surrounding counties, while maintaining the vision of building a children's hospice in Berkshire.

The charity is currently providing direct care for more than 50 local children in their own homes. They look like a very special team to us.

Founded in 2007, Alexander Devine is now 'only' £1 millon away from raising the £5 million required to meet its capital campaign which will see Berkshire having its own physical children's hospice. 

Building work on the six acre site near Maidenhead, which was donated by benefactor, started in September.

We're really pleased to help Alexander Devine reach its target however we can, and are delighted our Open House Launch Event on Saturday 30th January will support them, as well 50p from sales of each of our two 'communitea cause' drinks throughout the year as soon as we're open. To read more about why we've decided to create this initiative, just click here.

Right now, there's an amazing campaign going on using facebook and twitter called #HugsForHolly @1mhugsforholly and you can donate and read about it here

If you'd like to learn more about Alexander Devine's work just click here

Franchisee, Beatons Crowthorne

The Charlton and a Chai Solve a Charity Dilemma!

Ringing the bells for a special
local cause!
Here at Beatons we receive numerous requests from local charities to help them with their campaigns. We help as much as our budget can allow - often with vouchers for auction or raffle prizes. But which charities to choose? In the past we've often been caught on the spot with little time to consider what the charity is, what kind of support we can give, and how that support is aligned to our own ethos and values. 

We've come up with a solution which we've adopted from some rather larger enterprises. But it fits with our commitment to, 'involve ourselves with local community life and serve delicious food and drinks to keep tastebuds tingling...' 

So, across the group, each tearooms will choose a local charity or 'Communitea Cause' to support for the forthcoming year, starting December. It means we can be transparent, give more and focus on who we want to give to - doing so in our own unique elegant 'Beatons' way'. That means if you're a local charity, you'll need to let our local Beatons' tearooms know why they should make you their 'Communitea Cause' for 2017 by 1st September 2016. 

Communitea Chai Latte and CommuniteaCharlton Soda

We also know our customers are generous too - so our 'Community Cause' initiative means we'll both have the opportunity to give to one special local charity each year...

How will we raise funds? Well, we'll be look to support through charity events, but also every day! We've created two new 'Communitea Cause' beverages. One's hot, one's cold and we'll donate 25p and the customer will donate 25p (total 50p) to the 'Communitea Cause'  from each order.

Those 50 pences will surely add up over the space of a year! 

Why not make a commitment to have one of these drinks once a week - and you'll help us adding £26.00 to a local cause! 

So what should you order? 

Communitea Chai Latte  A warming treat, it's Indian spiced blend of slightly frothed milk, tea, cinnamon and ginger.
Communitea Charlton Soda   Sweet strawberry, balanced with lemon, a perfectly refreshing combination! This is a real stunner created by one of our team.

Now of course you're itching to know which local charities we've chosen!  You can find out Blandford Beatons' choice here, Tisbury's choice here, Crowthorne's choice here, and Chester's choice  here...

We'd love you to help us to support our local charities and thank you in advance!

Managing Director & Founder of  the Beatons Tearooms Group

#beatonsbod: Paul, our Musical Cat from Crowthorne!

A snapshot on the first
day of getting the keys!
Who are you and - if you're part of the team - do you like/do you think you'll like best about your job? 
I'm Paul Mitchell and am greatly enjoy welcoming people to the best tearoom in Berkshire! 

What's your favourite edible or drinkable from our menu? 
I tend to pick from whatever the specials are on a particular day. Recently I’ve enjoyed the home made lasagne and chilli.  Drinks wise, I’m a big fan of the variety of teas we serve so I keep trying new ones when they are added to the tea menu.

And how about your favourite book from our shelves? 
My favourite book from the shelves changes all the time! I’m looking forward to browsing a copy of Cecil Beaton's biography - when time allows...

Which of the ways we like to go about things at Beatons means most to you and why?  
Providing gracious hospitality is my particular forte, as I believe that having a customer leave delighted is a sure way to get them to return.  We can buy a hot drink in any number of places so it's the experience they take away - Beatons know how to make it restorative.

If you were an animal, what would you be? 
A cat. It’s a sure fire way to be spoilt rotten by the right owner. The idea of having nine lives also holds a certain allure.

What do you like most about the most important person (or pet) in your life? 
What I appreciate most about my wife is that she's so creative, loving and loyal. I'm less creative!

Tisbury adopts Charlie's Angels as their Communitea Cause!

Here at Beatons Tisbury we're delighted to introduce to 'Communitea Cause' for 2015/6 - the local Charity Charlie's Angels.

We'll be supporting Charlie's Angels for the next year and encourage all of our lovely customers to join us in supporting them when they order either of our two Communitea Cause drinks: Communitea Cause Chai Latte and Charlton Soda. You can read more about why we've set up this initiative here.

The charity was set up by the Burns family in memory of their son, ten year old Charlie Burns who died suddenly at night - a victim of  SUDEP (Sudden Unexpeted Death in Epilepsy).  Charlies Angels are currently supporting SUDEP Action, a smaller charities which does great work but isn't so well known nationally. Charlies Angels have initiated all kinds of wonderful charitable events.

We've already donated Afternoon High Tea for Two as an auction prize for the Sunflower Ball and look forward to continuing to support the charity through the remainder of this and next year.

To find out more about Charlie's Angels visit their website here and follow them on twitter @Charliefarley

We now understand a bit more about SUDEP and SUDEP Action .... 
'Epilepsy is one of the top-ten causes of early death.  Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy or SUDEP can often be traumatic for families and distressing for professionals, all of whom have questions.  
SUDEP Action, focus their efforts on the priorities that are important to bereaved families: To prevent deaths, to be supported and to be involved.

SUDEP Action has won national and international honours for their achievements to date, but recognise there is much more work to do. There are five key strands to their work:
•    Providing information on SUDEP and risk in epilepsy
•    Offering support when someone has died
•    Involving people to help effect change
•    Sponsoring research and education to prevent future deaths
•    Capturing data across the UK through the Epilepsy Deaths Register"

We look forward to supporting SUDEP Action through our support of Charlie's Angels and hope you'll be ordering lots of Communitea Cause Chai Latte and Charlton Sodas!

Beatons Central

Dorset's Only Children's Hospice is Beatons Blandford's Communitea Cause

Julia's House is Beatons Blandford's 'Communitea Cause' for 2015/2016 We're sure our Blandford Forum customers will be delighted to join us in supporting its sensitive work both in the community and at Julia's House in Corfe Mullen itself.

You can read how we'll be supporting them here - it's a new initiative for us which will apply across the Beatons group, supporting one special local charity each year, throughout the year.

What do Julia's House Do? 'Julia’s House is Dorset’s only hospice dedicated to children with life-limiting conditions. The majority of the children we care for are unlikely to live beyond the age of 18.
Complementing the work of the Julia’s House Community Team, which consists of nurses and carers who travel the county, the children’s hospice provides life-changing support for families both in their own homes and in the hospice itself. 
Receiving just 6 per cent of the money we need from the Government, Julia’s House relies on the Dorset community to help raise the remainder of our required income.'
To read more about what they do or get involved, click here. And don't forget to follow them on twitter: @Julias_House and visit one of their many charity shops - there's one in Blandford and they have over £4 million pounds to raise each year

Help us to raise a meaningful contribution to a heart-warming cause.

Beatons Central

#beatonsbod: Sam - the Mouse every kitchen wants!

Who are you and - if you're part of the team - what do you like/do you think you'll like best about your job?

My name is Sam and I am a cook at Blandford Beatons. I like presenting food to a good standard for our customers and I love how the tearooms always puts good quality service first.

What's your favourite edible or drinkable from our menu?

I really like the 'Alex' Soda, and it's fun to make! I am not supposed to have it very often though as I am trying to cut out sugar, but I can't resist! I also love the toasted tea cake, simple and tasty, like all the best things.

And how about your favourite book from our shelves?

I don't really get a chance to look at the books, it's always busy in the kitchen! I have seen some really lovely looking cookery books, so it would have to be one of those! 

Which of the ways we like to go about things at Beatons means most to you and why?
I like the generous value that we offer our customers, I mean the slices of cake we serve are huge!

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I didn't really know but fortunately someone did one of those online analysis quiz's on me and I came out a mouse! Apparently they are perceptive, independent and sensitive creatures and I'd love to be thought of as having those qualities. They are survivalists who are good at finding solutions to life’s challenges. Like a mouse in a maze, they use both instinct and logic to move ahead despite obstacles in their path!

[We never usually allow mice in our kitchens, but  think I could agree with this description of you! Ed.]

What do you like most about the most important person (or pet) in your life?
I can't choose one important person, but I love my boyfriend, my family and my friends, they are all important to me in different ways. Loyalty is definitely the most important trait I value in all of those close to me.

#Blandford - Feeling disobedient? 13th Nov Book Launch

the-disobedient-wife cover image
Continuing the success of our series of book talks and launches, here's the next.
'The Disobedient Wife', is Annika Milisic-Stanley's debut novel. She's a local Dorset artist and writer. But you don't have to be a disobedient wife (or husband) to attend!

Come in at 4pm on Friday, 13th November 2015 and enjoy one of our delicious drinks and maybe a sneaky piece of one of our homemade cakes!

At 4.30pm you can relax and enjoy discovering more about this beautifully written book and the woman behind it. 

Tickets now on sale - £6.99 -  direct from Beatons Tearooms in Blandford. Get yours soon to avoid disappointment! [The last two events have been sell-outs].

Needless to say, you'll be able to buy signed (and dedicated) copies of Annika's novel - a great start to your Christmas shopping!

We look forward to seeing you there...

P.S. If you want to read a bit more about Annika you can find a link to her facebook page here.

A Grand Monsieur, Two Cream Teas and Two Stamps!

A funny trio? Perhaps but they seem to add up to what we're all about - and what you reward us with - 'loyaltea'! Time to hand out some extra rewards - double stamps and our Cream Tea lucky loyaltea draw (scroll to end to see details) during October! 

We take the #generousvalue side of our business very seriously. And it's a tough call to remain affordable but also provide gracious hospitality and a restorative experience at the same time.

We've waited two years, but you'll see from the menu a couple of items are going up. We're sorry we can't absorb these costs. If you'd like to know where we invest our time and money come and visit and talk to Ben or myself, or any of the team about their training and what we use in terms of produce - the finest coffees, chocolate and loose leaf teas, and local ingredients.

However, there IS a silver lining...  we've noticed from feedback that you'd really like to see a Cream Tea option on the menu and we've added it. Can't think why we haven't offered this formally before... and we're keen to this as affordable as possible - so you can keep it as a regular treat!

Our Cream Tea includes two generously sized scones, jam and cream with a pot of tea of your choice for a highly competitive £6.25

Why not take an afternoon stroll and pop in to replenish your energy, while the sun's still shining?

Oh yes - and for the Monsieur  or possible very hungry Madame in your life who needs to keep his or her energy up, try our Grand Monsieur for Brunch!

P.S. Just to sweeten things a tiny bit further we're giving double stamps on our loyalty cards right up until the end of October and for two lucky customers at Tisbury and Blandford who hand in fully stamped up cards there's the chance to will Cream Tea for Two! Winners announced beginning of November.

Posted by Patrick Duffy

#behindthescenes: social media tip - why use rhythm & rhyme?

David Bamber reading his
winning poem Blandford 
Well, you can see how effective it is if you think back to all the advertisements you really love!  Our #rhymesnocrime week a few years' back increased our twitter followers three times more than a usual week, with more retweets too!  We also think - from the number of tweets that were favourited that they added some sparkle.


'A Mars a day helps you work rest and play...'
And how about Classic FM's use of it?

The psychology is really simple - we associate  rhyme with being children and that means PLAY.  We like play... it adds sparkle, the beat ignites heart, passion and inspiration.

Beatons uses rhyme, rhythm and poetry as part of its brand.  Pop in and pick up a free poem postcard and share it with your mum, your children or just read it out loud and see if it doesn't bring a smile to faces.

#tea: the one which kicks you healthy!

What is it?  Lemongrass and Mint Herbal Tea

Lemongrass tea is good for your weight
It's healing and research is showing it's great
For curing cancer - hip hip hooray!
What's more it's rich in Vitamin A...
And to give it a kick
It's blended with mint
Which gives a pale green to its lemony tint...

© Liz Darcy Jones

Pop in and try some this week...

Posted by Liz

It's in Black and White - we've Appointed a House Photographer!

It's now in black, white [and pink]! As well as being about to add another franchise to our porfolio, we're promoting members of our local Dorset and Wiltshire teams into management positions. And reinforcing our encouragement of the arts we're creating a new 'residency'.

Dorset photographer Jodie Whyte from Weymouth has been appointed 'House Photographer'! This both honours those taking up the role, and society photographer Cecil Beaton. Beaton, as you probably know, is the inspiration behind our name and elegant interiors.

Patrick Duffy, our Founder and MD, first met Jodie just before the launch of Beatons Blandford [just before I joined the team]. Both he and Liz were impressed by her natural flair and ability to capture 'character, mood and food'. 

During the course of her working with us on our latest promotions campaign, the idea of having a 'Beatons 'House Photographer' was conceived. It's a natural progression for us as a group. As some of you know, we've enjoyed having Liz Darcy Jones as our House Poet for the last year. Although Liz will carry on being commissioned to write a poem for every new Beatons which opens, she'll stand down from this role, making way for one which is probably a more obvious fit given the references to Cecil Beaton in our styling.

Part of the role will be adjudicating an Annual Beatons Black and White Photography Competition. More about that later in the year. Jodie who has a particular love of street photography (something Cecil Beaton is not always remembered for). She's also a film-maker and mentors local young people, encouraging them to connect with community through photography. She commented,
'Wow! It's such an honour. I love the Beatons brand and values. And highlighting its connection to Cecil Beaton, who loved portraiture and conveying the character that lives under the image, by having a House Photographer is brilliant! I'm really delighted. Good thing I love cake, too!'
Congratulations Jodie and we look forward to showcasing and supporting you and your projects.

You can follow Jodie Whyte on twitter on @JodieWhyteMedia

Posted by Zoe

Promoting within the localitea... rewarding our in-house talent

Ben Moxom - now Manager of Beatons
Blandford and Beatons Tisbury
In keeping with Beatons ethos of developing the skills of its in-house team, we've just made some promotions into management to retain and reward the core team as we expand [link to job vacancies here!]

Blandford's Ben Moxom, is now Manager of both Beatons Blandford and Beatons Tisbury so that's why you may not have seen so much of Ben at Blandford over the past few weeks.

Harry McGookin
Now Assistant Manager
Beatons Tisbury
Harry McGookin from Tisbury, has been with the group since the start. He's also an investor in Beatons Blandford, and has been promoted to Asssistant Manager at Beatons Tisbury. He's also a whiz at testing our new recipes and seeing what passes muster and what doesn't!

Liz Darcy Jones, is carving out some time to complete her next volume in the 'Distinguished Leaves' series so steps down as Director of Engagement so we're bringing more of the admin side of the 'marcoms' in-house. However, she's still involved - as our Creative Consultant - and loves being an objective sounding board when it comes to new marketing initiatives. Of course, Liz is also still 'the tweep behind the tweets' on Blandford and Tisbury's twitter accounts: #beatonsblandford and #beatonstisbury.

Both Ben and Harry have also expanded their responsibilities to support the franchising side of the business, ensuring franchisees have access to expert advice from people with practical 'on the ground' experience.

Patrick is delighted to promote from within - and use the pool of talent in Dorset and Wiltshire. He commented to the press: 
'The Beatons' ethos of recognising, appreciating and cultivating individual skills brings benefits to all concerned - maintaining motivation, growing esprit de corps within the group and making financial sense too. We are always keen to hear from people who aspire to carving out a career in what we believe is a great and highly skilled profession - delivering 'gracious hospitality' and a restorative experience over books, tea and cake!' 
We're always keen to hear from anyone thinking of making a career within the service profession and offer outstanding training and self-development opportunities within the Beatons group... [I know - I've had the joy of being on the receiving end!] Here's a link which will take you to our current vacancies

Posted by Zoe

Shhh... there's a Beatons brewing in Berkshire!

Affordable Afternoon High Tea
coming to Berkshire soon!
It's far too soon to give any details away, but a little bird told me that you can begin chirping with our next Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop to be!

Paul Mitchell is the voice behind the tweets.  He'd love to hear from Berkshire tweeps about good Berkshire causes, local groups and great engagers both on the web and those who prefer - as we do really - talking live.

Don't know what a Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop is all about? Well, in a few sentences, we delight in delivering a restorative experience with gracious hospitality which we hope you'll agree represents generous value. This is the reason every Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop exists.  Our franchisees love our ethos and are passionate about sharing it with you!

Attentiveness with a
fine coffee - addictive!
How do we do this?

With sparkle, elegance and attentiveness we hope, in Cecil Beaton inspired tearooms offering a 'tealicious' range of loose-leaf teas, luxury Italian-style hot chocolate, the finest coffees and of course home made cake and light meals.... and table service.

Not forgetting a nourishing and sparkling selection of books to nourish the mind!

We believe integrity comes from transparency so here are two posts about our ethos and how we engage...

... and if you'd like to know when and where we'll be opening in the Autumn keep an eye out on twitter - we're @BeatonsBerks  - and at some point you'll be able to read about us in the 'ho hum not allowed to say yet' local press too!

Posted by Liz

Win Free Afternoon Tea for Two at Beatons Offer for Tweeps

Friends Matter! Afternoon Tea at Beatons Blandford
Hello Everyone, and in particular those who engage with us on Twitter where you'll find us chatting as #beatonstisbury #beatonsblandford and #beatonschester.

Follow any Beatons and retweet any #generousvalue tweet to be in with a chance of winning Free Afternoon Tea for Two. Offer applies to each Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop, and your chance runs out at mid-night on Sunday 9th August. Good luck and see you soon!

This is what it's all about... sharing friendship, scrummy cake in elegant surroundings while enjoying gracious hospitality that's also #generousvalue!

Oh yes, and book Afternoon Tea during Afternoon Tea Week (10th - 16th August) and you and your friends will each receive a FREE signed copy of 'Distinguished Leaves: Poems for Tea Lovers' to take home with you!  [more]

Celebrate our #generousvalue Afternoon Tea Week and feel Distinguished!

We love Afternoon Tea Week (10th - 16th August) - a chance to feel elegant and gracious while feasting on three tiers of scrummy cakes and scones! This year, everyone taking Afternoon High Tea at any Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop during Afternoon Tea Week will receive a FREE First Edition signed copy of  Liz Darcy Jones's best-seller, 'Distinguished Leaves' (worth £7.99).

This sweet little hardback tells you all about tea in the most delightful way and includes a charming foreword by Nigel Havers. We thought it would add a splash of #generousvalue to your Afternoon Tea. It would make a lovely way to say thank you to a family member or friend, prompt you to have a long overdue 'girls together' tea-party and have a keepsake to take home too!

Reserve your table to be sure of a place:

Blandford   01258 269515

Chester       01244 950761

Tisbury       01747 871 819

P.S. Win Afternoon Tea for Two! If you're on Twitter, follow us at @beatonschester @beatonsblandford or @beatonstearooms for Tisbury and retweet our #generousvalue tweet to be in with a chance of winning Free Afternoon Tea for Two. Offer applies to each Beatons Tearooms and Bookshop, and your chance runs out at mid-night on Sunday 9th August. Good luck and see you soon!

#beatonsbod: Shellie - Tisbury Tearoom Tiger!

Shellie is an important part of our Beatons Team, however she is not seen in the Tearooms that often. 

Shellie looks after all of our lovely customers bright and early at Tisbury Train station, providing a little warmth to cheer up their early morning journeys!

Shellie loves 'being around fab people and enjoys making customers happy and exceeding their expectations.'

What's your favourite edible or drinkable from our menu?
The scones and cream with jam, followed closely by strawberry milkshake....nom-nom!

Which of the ways we like to go about things at Beatons means most to you and why? At Beatons we like to make sure that we provide a speedy yet elegant service always with a smile. The service is great value for money and the food is just out of this world, it always looks stunning. I love how everyone is very passionate about the way we do things.

If you were an animal, what would you be? 
TIGER roarrrrrrrr!!
What do you like most about the most important person (or pet) in your life? 
The fact that they understand me and never ever judge anyone, everybody gets a chance. Perfect.

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to in terms of Beatons' events or future plans?
It is very exciting to know that Beatons is expanding and doing amazingly. It feels brilliant to just to be a part of the journey.

#Chester: Dong Ding, Chester and the Magna Carta

David Adams
First, this is a big thank you to David Adams, pictured, and all our neighbours who frequent The Addleshaw Tower next door at Beatons Chester.

On 30th May they achieved something special - and gave us a lovely mention.  They officially range the whole peal of Dong Ding Delight Major - a method in praise of tea. From St Laurence Church Frodsham it rang out - as far as we know it's the first ever method on the subject of tea itself.  It looks like it took nearly 3 hrs to ring too! Here's a link to the details, which confirm the method should be now be officially registered.

Why all this talk of bells. Well, as you know, we're holding a great event at Beatons Chester on Sunday 14th June 

Think free carrot cake, Dong Ding tea, bells and talking about freedoms - of the individual and speech.

For the historians or loyal 'Cestrians' here's some more fascinating information gleaned by David Adams, Press Officer for the Chester Cathedral Bellringers - they're the brains and bells behind the event! Over to you David...

'In 1215 Chester had a powerful Earl: Ranulf de Blondville.  Some months after the sealing of the more famous document at Runnymede in 1215, the Earl of Chester issued his own charter.  He did not do it under pressure from his barons, but perhaps it showed how powerful he was; virtually a King of Chester.  The Chester Magna Carta was shorter than the more famous one but had similar clauses.  The final one is of particular significance: it urged the barons to grant the same concessions the Earl granted them to their tenants.  It was hardly likely to have had much effect on the lives of serfs and all unfree people; and it was soon superseded by the Magna Carta and its later versions. Nevertheless, it is interesting to know that Chester had its own Great Charter.'

David Adams

Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers

#Chester: LiberTeas, Magna Carta and Individualitea!

On Sunday 14th June  a nationwide initiative by The National Trust and the Houses of Parliament will see hundreds of events being held under the umbrella of 'LiberTeas' celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta. They are all about 'communiteas' getting together to talk about democracy and freedom... offline. Join us and join in!

Making it all the more delicious is the invitation to take tea at the same time and reflect on the freedoms that started with this remarkable document. Beatons Chester is co-hosting LiberTeas Chester with Chester Cathedral bellringers  - free carrot cake and Dong Ding oolong tea and bell-ringing activities and screens with live streaming so you can watch the bellringers ringing...

... and at all three Beatons venues, you can enjoy a 'LiberTeas Afternoon High Tea' for two on the day  with £5 off all pre-booking! That rings a bell for affordabilitea too!

Why did we want to be involved?

Well, Salisbury holds the finest copy of the four original remaining exemplars of  the Magna Carta (Salisbury's quite close to Tisbury, home of our flagship tearooms). Chester had something quite unique, its own take on Magna Carta which included some fascinating differences - more here from Cheshire Local History Association. An exhibition about Magna Carta and Chester opens in Chester Cathedral Library on June 16th.

I can't find any links between Blandford Forum and Magna Carta but Dorset certainly has a connection - Bearwood near Poole has many roads named after people involved in the signing of Magna Carta and indeed the oldest road in the area is called Magna Road! And both Dorset and Wiltshire are celebrating in style with 800 children being involved in four concerts at Salisbury Cathedral this year.

Bringing Beatons into the equation, two of our group's key values are about honouring the individual, you can read them and our challenge to you at the end. In 1215 when Magna Carta was sealed the rights of the individual - barely acknowledged, and arguably only faintly at best - were first entertained as an idea.

Is it relevant to you and me, today?  Yes. There's a great article by Justin Fisher on the British Library site (brilliant - link here) which explains it all. But if it's all new to you and - like me - you don't really know what's even in the 'Great Charter', Julian Fisher helps,

'The continuing importance of Magna Carta as a source of liberty is well established. One of the key provisions in the 1215 Charter was that imprisonment should not occur without due legal process. This also established the idea of trial by jury. Clause 39 of the 1215 Charter states that: ‘No free man shall be arrested or imprisoned … or exiled or in any way ruined … except by lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land.’ 

Then there's bells...  The day has been nominated a Grand Ringing Day - I'm guessing with reference to the famous 'Liberty Bell' - so there will be bells sounding out across the country too. If you're a Cestrian, or one of Beatons Chester's regulars, you'll know the Addleshaw Bell Tower, which houses Chester Cathedral's bells is next door to Beatons Chester.

So what's our offering on Sunday 14th June?
  • At Beatons Chester (phone 01244 950761 to pre-book High Tea) Plus there's a whole afternoon of activities with free carrot cake and Dong Ding oolong tea served from 2.15 to 3.15 - pop into the Bell Tower next door to collect your token. Full details on the LiberTeas website here.
  • At Beatons Blandford (phone 01258 26951) and Tisbury (phone 01747 871819)  pre-Book a LiberTeas High Tea for two to enjoy a £5 discount, or pop in on the day and honour the freedoms that the 'Great Charter' embody in Britain as you chat!  Our challenge to you? Is there something you value about the individual you're with, or yourself? Why not take a few minutes and find the courage to share it with your fellow guests while you enjoy your tea and cake?  
Finally, I promised sharing our values that relate to the individual - and appreciating them. They are:
... valuing the individual - whether supplier, franchisee, customer or any other stakeholder - is necessary for people to feel heard and nourished - it gives Beatons its integrity
 ... developing the attributes and skills of franchisees and staff alike is the single most important factor in creating personal and business success for each person, and therefore the group as a whole

 If that tempts you to come and work for us, check out our vacancies!

#Chester: Cathedral Bells Make a Dong Ding!

This is a story about bells, although our 'Make a Dong Ding for Chester and Charity' started off at Beatons Chester with Town Crier, David Mitchell, popping in for some post-crying Dong Ding tea to lubricate his vocal cords... 
Beatons House Poet Liz, Chester's Town Crier
and Beatons' Founder Patrick Duffy - eagerly anticipating the event!
And it's really about our jolly good neighbours not us!

It was David Adams, Press Officer of the Chester Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers (to give them their proper name) who made the event come to life in a way that could literally be heard for miles around...

And here's the video so you can even hear a little bit if you didn't manage to get to Chester on the day!

Dong Ding Tea Brewing...
How was the idea born? When preparing the event, I contacted David and mused somewhat cheekily that it would be great to have the Cathedral Bells ringing as we had a bell theme. Somehow in the conversation with David an idea grew - had there ever been a sequence of bells (called a 'method') in praise of tea?  David went away and - with a bit of help from some tea from Jenier Teas (who kindly donated all the Dong Ding tea for the event) promptly started creating one! I did some research and came up with a blank. David dug a little deeper and found a method about 'Percy's Tea Strainer' but nothing specifically about tea!
From left: Stefan Zientek, Carrie Hyde, Andy Jobson, David Jones
Brian Heys, Patrick Deakin, Duncan Hyde, Andrew Rawlinson

Hooray! Ding Dong! Dong Ding! Suddenly we had a world first on our hands (albeit that it needs a fair bit of complicated ratifying to register I have since learned) and a collaboration between two neighbours with enough enthusiasm to keep the project afloat in the frenetic lead up.

By the time of our Launch Soiree the night before all was in place - 'all' meaning eight bell ringers ready to ring 'Dong Ding Delight Major', (pictured) not at all a simple undertaking, after partaking of Dong Ding tea!

What on earth is a 'method'? I'd call it the code or ringing recipe!  And I now know that 'methods' range from being simple in structure - 'Plain Bob', through to being 'Treble Bob', to 'Surprise' and 'Delight' which are more complex. To be precise - and bell ringing is a very precise business - a 'Delight' is more difficult to ring but easier in structure than a 'Surprise' which is easier to ring but more difficult in structure.  Got it? Fortunately we don't need to! Just look at the scan of 'Dong Ding Delight Major' to get an idea...

Now, I want to make a special mention of an amazingly talented - and extremely helpful - family.

Four out of seven of the Deakin family ring - from eleven year old Isaac (who offered to collect with one of our collecting buckets - thank you Isaac) to lovely mum, Linda. Niamh and Patrick (in their teens I think) show how bell ringing is an activity for all ages. Bellringing - what a way to hone your co-ordination, mental agility and exercise with friends!  

When the Dong Ding Delight Major method began to ring I got tingles going up and down my body - something that hasn't happened to me since I watched Alexi Gruss's Circus in Paris a few years' back! [Which leads me beautifully into a public thank you for my 'Mr Darcy' aka Chris Barltrop @circuspr who took both the photos and the video, a very generous contributor to the day.]

Next opportunity when we join our neighbours? Pencil in Sunday 14th June for LiberTeas I Commemorating the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta. 

Carrot cake, Dong Ding tea... could be the start of a tradition at Beatons Chester!

P.S. The second our YouTube video of the event goes up, we'll let you know here - and of course on twitter @BeatonsCheshire

Beatons Chester Moments to Treasure and were you there?

Roger Atkinson OBE - the charming octogenarian who marched to Beatons Chester a fortnight before it opened (a serendipitous mistake on my part which found us an aspiring Cheshire author and friend) - rang a school handbell to open our 'Make a Dong Ding for Chester and Charity' event on Saturday. 

Roger's faculties are in better order than mine - as you'll read below! On returning to my writer's retreat in Herefordshire I discover this story is slightly bare of pictures and names...

But the event wasn't about names or pictures, it was about taste, smell and sound.  The taste of carrot cake, the smell of grassy spring Dong Ding oolong tea and the sound of bells reverberating round Beatons Chester in the most delightful way, as if it was itself invisible Dong Ding tea!

Because we did make a Dong Ding... or rather the Cathedral bells did - they made history, and that's the story for the next blog post to go up, which will be dedicated entirely for them. But here's the video we've just uploaded to YouTube about what happened while the bells were ringing.

Our Open House launch events are always about us being part of the community and - thanks to some incredibly generous visitors (mainly Cestrians but a few tourists too) - we managed to raise £123.93 in the space of two hours which will be split between RASA (Rape And Sexual Abuse) Centre and The Cheshire Community Foundation.

About to stick her name up on our 'Bell Tower Artwork'
Lovely Mummy and two beaming daughters..
We'll be putting a video of the event up on our YouTube channel over the next day or two, but here are a couple of pictures which did manage to appear on my camera. I was so busy helping people ring a bell for someone special and then write their name on a piece of paper that became our 'Bell Tower Artwork' that the camera appeared to go off in a sulk and didn't register about half the pictures I took. So, I'm sorry Honorary Alderman Simon Cussons, wife Gill and daughter Lindsey - you were the first to arrive and contribute and I only have your names to ring out here!

Who is she?
Mystery lady who enjoyed
her Dong Ding!
Then, with the cruel irony that technology seems to enjoy serving me, the pictures that have been taken are missing the slip of paper on which I carefully wrote the names... If you recognise yourself please let us know and we'll credit your lovely smiles.

Still, it happened, I've always said I'm an offline lady and fortunately Beatons ethos is always 'live first, online second'...

... and you can enjoy the taste of carrot cake and smell and taste of Dong Ding oolong tea every day of the week.

Psst... and a little bird told me that if it's not tooooo busy and you missed ringing a bell for charity on Saturday, Beatons' Chester owner, Steve Roberts might just let you have a little ring of the bell we gave him to celebrate opening our first franchise...

Share some sparkle with our Launch Soiree Story

Poet Gill McEvoy, Author Allie Holland with Patrick Duffy
MD and Founder of Beatons Tearooms Ltd
Pictures tell the story best... it was sparkle, jazz and the most lovely way of getting to know those who make things happen in Chester - especially those in the arts, media and from Chester University.

But how about you? Well, at least you can enjoy the first airing of Beatons Chester Poem, which Chris Barltrop (aka 'Mr Darcy' in the Tea world) and I - as House Poet - recited, thanks to the technology of the video.

It was an evening of thank yous, too - but can we also add a few extras here? Thanks to everyone who attended, everyone who contributed to making the event happen - especially Jazz Alchemy Duo, Wild Floral Design Chester and of course the very hard working (and new) team just installed at Beatons Chester.

We were also delighted to see so many Cheshire authors and poets present, including Gill McEvoy, Allie Holland, Simon McBride, Jake Campbell, Roger Price and Roger Atkinson OBE whose book will grace our shelves as soon as the publishers let him have it!

From left: Nick Brown, Marketing Cheshire, wife Keriy Taylor-Brown
and Colin Potts, Lecturer in Tourism, Chester Business School
Steve Roberts, Beatons Chester with fiancee Elaine centre
surrounded by very proud family and friends including mum,foreground!
Presentations were made to David Adams from Chester Cathedral Bell Ringers for coming on board so enthusiastically for our charity Open House event - and even going so far as creating a piece of 'bell music' (a method) in honour of tea. He couldn't have done it without permission from Christopher Roberts, Master of the Cathedral Bells so we also gave him a little thank you present too.

But of course, the most important presentation was to Steve, taking ownership and celebrating the opening of his new business, Beatons Chester. We decided to give this understated and quiet man who has dared to make a long held dream to run a tearooms a reality - something to remind him that he is 'Master of Beatons Chester'... and an inscribed brass bell now takes pride of place on top of the shelves behind the counter!

We hope you'll see plenty more pictures in the Press and we'll be uploading some more videos of the launch activities on our YouTube Channel over the next few days.