Top tips on spending your leisure time in Cheshire in 2014

Janet Reeder with chef Jason Palin

Janet Reeder with chef Jason Palin - Credit: Archant

Don’t just sit are some delights for you to enjoy in the forthcoming year

LVE Jan14 Things to do

LVE Jan14 Things to do - Credit: Archant

For foodies - Cooking and wine at Le Vin La Table

Capesthorne Hall

Capesthorne Hall - Credit: Archant

Le Vin La Table in Hale is perhaps one of our most unique businesses. On the one hand a fabulous wine shop and on the other a cookery school.

What makes it especially different is that the owner Muriel Lismonde is an award-winning winemaker with a vineyard in South West France.

Le Vin La Table is the starting point for a journey into the pleasures of cooking and wine.

This is much more than a cookery school - although if expert tuition is what you want you will get it. Serious students can book in for classes and those who plan a sommelier career for example, can study WSET courses which put them on the first rung of a qualification.

But as I discovered when I went along for a masterclass from resident chef, the colourful Jason Palin you can also pop along, do a spot of cooking and a little wine tasting with Muriel. It’s as relaxed a cookery school experience as you can get!

Most Read

I had chosen puff pastry as a subject. the last time I had made it a million years ago it had the consistency of cardboard so I wanted to be shown just how to get it right. Jason demonstrated how to mix the dough, fold it to create buttery layers and finally, when it had been folded and chilled, folded and chilled at least six times he added roasted vegetables to one lot of pastry then created a kind of tomato tarte tatin with the other.

While these delicious creations were in the oven , Muriel chose three wines and talked me through the reasons why a specific wine went with savoury or with salty food.

She certainly has the credentials . Ten years ago, her family sold their successful business, bought a rundown bramble-covered chateau and vineyard in the Lot Valley and ploughed their energies and resources into fulfilling their dream of producing high quality, natural wines.

However, Muriel’s plans for a life amongst the vines changed dramatically when she fell in love with an Englishman and decided to move lock, stock and (wine) barrel to Cheshire.

It’s definitely our gain.

At Le Vin La Table you can book a class for a whole day of cooking tailored to your needs for four to six people, or join an class cooking tapas, or teatime treats. They also run wine tastings and other events.

For more information visit

For fashionistas - Hit the sales

Yes it’s time to snap up all those bargains that you can now find in the shops.

The sales are a great opportunity to buy investment pieces. A beautiful bag, warm winter coat and a pair of boots and many shops offer savings of up to 50% or more.

But a bargain is not a bargain when you buy it merely because it is discounted.

You know you should buy it if...

You wanted it at full price

You tried it on before the sales and then waited with fingers crossed...

You know it’s a designer classic

Do not buy it if...

You only want it because it’s cheap

You weren’t quite sure about it when it was full price but seems much more acceptable now

You can’t really afford it


Returns policies (many places will only exchange or maybe not allow you to return at all unless faulty)

Check out tHe sales at these faVourites...

She Devil:

Vicki Allen:

Wall Street:

For business and pleasure - The Cheshire Cookery School

The Cheshire Cookery School has discovered that while it’s a haven for people wanting to develop their skills in the kitchen, the School is also highly attractive to local, and national, businesses too Lisa Warnes, who runs the School with her husband Andrew, says: ‘The Cheshire Cookery School is a popular venue for variety

of uses and has been hired out by many businesses and groups, including Roberts Bakery, the BBC, Astra Zeneca, The Great Northern Cook Off and The Compass Group.

‘We facilitate chef training, tastings of products in development (some of which are not good and some which are yummy!), team building sessions, film and TV location work... whatever people want!

‘The facilities here are excellent; eight x two person work stations, plus a two person chef station, complete with De Dietrich induction hobs and state of the art ovens and plenty of fridges and freezers. We have a full range of Kitchen Aid processors mixers and blenders, I O Shen knives, Quooker instant boiling water taps and everything one would expect to find in a cookery school.

‘The separate dining area, which comfortably sits 20, plus sofa seating in a meet and greet area is very useful too.”

There is also a Cookery Demonstration Room with seating for 20 plus people. This room is furnished with Sub Zero cooking appliances and features a large overhead mirror that ensures the demonstrations are easily viewed by the whole audience.

Lisa adds: ‘We can provide chefs, prep chefs, home economists, porters, waitresses and ingredients if required for all types of events. It really is a one-stop-shop, as it were! From one day to the next it’s used by such a wide range of people, for so many different

things…it’s always exciting!’

For heritage buffs - Capesthorne Hall

Capesthorne is one of Cheshire’s loveliest estates. It has been the home of the Bromley Davenports since 1726 and is a photogenic location for weddings and events.

You will have to wait until the spring to visit this idyllic location, the impressive hall and grounds are open from April and October each year, Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays.

Look out too for the hall’s events programme that includes concerts, events, shows and Fairs throughout the year.

And a highlight of any visit is taking tea in the Butler’s Pantry!

Here are some events to look forward to at Capesthorne in 2014

January 16th: Wedding Open Evening

February 20th: Wedding Open Evening

March 2nd: Capesthorne Hall Wedding Fayre

May 3rd-5th: Craft and Gift Fayre

May 25th - 39th: Cheshire Classic Car & Motorcycle show, including Cheshire Jaguar Day

For a treat - Gilpin Lodge

The Jetty (Lake House Spa) is set on a stunningly beautiful four-acre private lake. Designed with couples in mind, the Swedish style spa treatment room has been built to blend with the environment, raised three metres into the tree canopy, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the lake. The Jetty Spa Trail is a bespoke Couples’ Spa Journey designed to gently stimulate and revive the senses; enjoy the experience together.

Your sensory experience begins with a private aroma consultation to create personalised products just for you. Then to the spa for a private swim followed a relaxing salt snug with a refreshing slush puppy and a reviving salt scrub shower.

Through the woods to an aroma massage and an amazing view, followed by green tea and appetisers on the end of the jetty. To top it off? Champagne in the hot tub, booked for you, and bespoke spa goodies to take home. The trail will guide you as you discover sights, sounds, smells, tastes and sensations which will lead you to your ultimate goal – a deep relaxation that will stay with you for a long time.

Gilpin Hotel and Lake House

Crook Road, Windermere, The Lake District LA23 3NE

015394 88818

To relax - The Lowry

Ever since Rocco Forte opened his hot hotel The Lowry on the banks of the Irwell just over 10 years ago, it has been a magnet for the rich and famous and call us shallow but this really adds to

the feeling of glamour.

And a major reason to visit is the top notch spa. Combine session with afternoon tea or a dinner in the gorgeous River Restaurant and you’re sure to feel pretty relaxed.

Try a bespoke facial. My skin was cleansed then analysed and then my therapist Sylvia tailored a firming facial using gorgeous smelling Elemis products to suit my “needs”. There’s a holistic element to the treatment so feet, head, neck and shoulders get a massage too. It was superb.

50 Dearmans Place, Chapel Wharf, Manchester M3 5LH

0161 827 4000