WITH the summer holiday now a distant memory and the Christmas break still a couple of months away my partner and I decided a mini-break was in order writes Sheila Grandfield.
Not wanting to travel too far and on the lookout for something slightly different we plumped for a night in The Pudding Club!
Now those of us of a certain age may associate that particular club with something entirely different but I can assure you that this pudding club involves eating (amongst other things) the most delicious desserts imaginable.
Our destination was the Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton, a small village in the Cotswolds - a drive of 40 minutes or so.
It is most renowned as the home of 'The Pudding Club' which was established in 1985 and woe betide anyone who tries to use the name - according to co-owner Jill Coombe.
We arrived at around 6 o'clock on a Saturday evening to be welcomed by a glowing log fire in reception.
The hotel boasts some 48 bedrooms - but here's the fun part - some of them are decorated in the style of a pudding!
So, you have the Syrup Sponge Room, the Spotted Dick and Custard Room, the Sticky Toffee and Date Room and the Oriental Ginger Room to name a few.
We were shown to Room 24 - otherwise known as Lord Randall's Suite - decorated entirely in the style of a Victorian gentleman's bed chamber - complete with plush bed curtains and Ceylon tea!
Such was the comfort it was a shame to leave the room but dinner beckoned and there was just time for a drink in the relaxing bar beforehand.
The welcoming bar and brasserie was brimming with people by the time we came downstairs, many of them walkers, taking advantage of the mild October weather.
The hotel prides itself on using locally sourced produce in the restaurant and there was certainly plenty to choose from on the menu.
For starters we chose the Thai Fishcakes served with a tangy chilli sauce and Field Mushrooms with bacon - a delicious combination served in a filo pasty parcel.
Our main meals Chargrilled Scottish Rumpsteak and Blade of Beef can only be described as superb and came with a bowl of crunchy vegetables and creamy mash and dauphinoise potatoes respectively.
So then it was down to the serious business of choosing a pudding! My partner plumped for the white chocolate vanilla cheescake which he described as the 'best he'd ever had', while I thought it would be rude not to try Lord Randall's pudding as the gentleman himself was our host for the evening.
This turned out to be a delicious sticky dark sponge concoction of marmalade and apricots with (as the menu says) lashings of custard!
Pure naughtiness but incredibly nice -though they are obviously not known for skimping on portion sizes.
After such a feast we could barely manage the stairs but the comfort of Lord Randall's bed summoned.
On Sunday morning we took a leisurely stroll before tucking into breakfast - served buffet style with everything from local fruit and yoghurts to the full English complete with local sausage and black pudding.
We still had plenty of time to relax with the Sunday papers before checking out and bid-ding a fond farewell to his Lordship - back to reality!
Having discovered the Pudding Club I'm sure we'll return, it's ideal as a base for exploring the local countryside or just simply relaxing and indulging.
Check out their website at www.pudding-club.com