Sometimes an opportunity presents itself and your initial reaction is either:-
a) this is someone having a joke with me
b) too scary, too ridiculous and if it goes wrong…
c) that would be a great experience and I’ll go for it
d) what should I wear?
I went though all of the above within 5 minutes of taking a phone call from Erin, a researcher working for ITV. She was working on Country House Sunday, a series shown over several weeks, showcasing Britain’s most beautiful stately homes and showing off some stunning properties across the regions. The main presenter was Lynda Bellingham and her and her team of presenters explored local countryside, small businesses thriving within each region with an emphasis on antiques and food.
They were looking to film in Derbyshire and wanted to showcase a business who offered a vintage pop up tearoom and was a dab hand at afternoon tea. Which is why they got in touch with Darby & Joan. I was so so flattered that they asked us, but so so worried!
After recovering from the a), b), c) and planning d) what followed was five weeks of constant emails, phone calls and planning. Erin and I hit it off and she felt confident to leave the venue search and planning the day to me. We are the preferred suppler to several venues across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire and have a great relationship with the owners and managers of the properties. I wanted to choose somewhere that I loved to work at, had something to offer, fit with the brief from ITV and was a beautiful building set in an area with history and interest.
I chose Portland House which was built in 1870, situated in Matlock Bath and had been restored to it’s former glory (and then some) by the owners, Juliet and Martin. Juliet’s response was yes before I had even finished explaining what was going on! It really is a gem of a property and is perfect for a special weekend away in Derbyshire.
We invited 25 ladies who lunch along with a couple of male guests who were more than happy to spend the day eating cakes and chatting with ladies.
Emma Cleveley was our photographer for the day and Kerry from Tineke provided the beautiful flowers. Claire Richards was hosting the show and we really had a giggle during the day. I got in touch with Richard from The Bespoke Bartender and invited him along because the house has the most amazing bar which was crying out for some handsome bartenders to make some cocktails. A couple of my closest girlfriends and my mum came for moral support and to help with the running of the day.
We set up the dining room as we usually would for a hen party or birthday celebration and prepared a lovely afternoon tea. The film crew were given a tour of the property and whilst this was happening I was interviewed by Claire about our business and what we do.
Lets just say it was a crazy crazy couple of days, ridiculously good fun and I am really happy and proud that we did it.
The programme was shown in the summer and there were some of my priceless quotes and stories that were shown that I will never live down (!) but I would do it again tomorrow.
Perhaps most importantly, my dress was a from the 1950’s and was made to fit me like a glove by the girls at Timeless Couture and was just perfect for the occasion.
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