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Greetings from the New Forest February 2015

Greetings from the New Forest

Well, hello February! The days are definitely getting lighter and whereas much of the country has been flanked with snow we have been lucky and the weather is actually very pleasant. We have had a good month, taking advantage of this quieter time in the season and getting organised for the year ahead.

We have a new bathroom in room 5- looks lovely. We have also been taking courses, such as Food Hygiene level 3 was taken by all the kitchen and Robert and myself- pleased to say we all passed with flying colours.

We also had the pleasure of welcoming back many old friends to the hotel this month, as well as hosting a lovely ladies 21st birthday party too. So a great start to the year and looking forward to Valentines and half term too, as well as two weddings in February as well.

Take care

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Greetings from the New Forest January 2015

Greetings from the New Forest!!

Happy New Year everyone from the Woodlands Lodge team we wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year and lots of leisure time to spend in the New Forest with us!

As is often the way with January it is a month of reflection and contemplation of things to come, and this month’s blog is no different.

We had a lot of fun in December being lucky to host several festive lunches, and party nights. We also had an extremely busy Christmas Day lunch. Our 3 day Christmas package was great to meet our guests and really get to know them, as well as welcome back old friends. A new addition to the Christmas package was a trip to the Pantomime at the Southampton Mayflower to see Cinderella and it was absolutely fantastic. I have seen some pantos before but this one was totally jam packed with special effects, loads of humour and of course the obligatory celebs in Brian Connolly and Gok Wan – he was born to be the Fairy Gok Mother!!!! My personal highlight of the Christmas package was the quiz as it is a great way for everyone to be involved and get that Christmas competitive spirit going! New Winners this year in the McCann family- well done once again! New Years’ Eve was amazing, as usual our wonderful guests made the evening, but special mention needs to go to the Kitchen- each of the 7 courses in the taster menu looked stunning and were enjoyed by all. The latter part of the evening was filled with lots of dancing and our singer and Dj did a super job too.

Steve has added a new dimension to the bar, and cocktails have really become a regular feature- especially those scrummy Cosmopolitans…

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We had the most spectacular tree- a mere 12 foot- I am so making up for having to have a fake tree at home!!! here is a picture we took just before our party night. I just love Christmas, even after having to take down all the decorations and clear up the pine needles yesterday!

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With many highs for December we were able to finish 2014 on an up-beat note. We were however disappointed with ourselves that we overstretched ourselves slightly with the Christmas Day lunch, leaving us a bit stretched and not as happy as we should have been with what we had planned. It was a learning experience and as we are constantly pushing ourselves and trying new things I guess it is inevitable that not everything will always go precisely as planned. We have already had a team de brief and set out a plan for 2015 to make things better- enthusiasm still high after all the festivities and we will have flaming Christmas Puddings on the menu next year and fewer guests for the Christmas Day lunch ensuring we make it the most special meal of the whole year. Nothing like being prepared.

A new endeavour we tried throughout December that was really successful and I may add tasty is the Festive ‘Indulgence’ Afternoon tea! It was a new venture and looked stunning and tasted great- lots of imagination went in to it- especially getting the Christmas tree biscuits to stand up. Most definitely this will be on out agenda in December 2015.

It is important at this time to also say a huge thank you to all the staff at the hotel. Your hard work and dedication to the hotel has made it the great hotel that it is, and without all of your efforts, enthusiasm and ideas it would not only be a boring place to work but less vibrant and successful so thank you from the bottom of my heart you are all amazing 🙂

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Before the Mayhem of NYE…

All in all we have had a wonderful 2014, with the highlights including meeting so many wonderful people and working with such a great group of staff and getting super fast broad band. The funniest moments have to be pigs coming into reception and my husband chasing the horses out of the car park and garden (daily in the Summer- convinced they were toying with him) and the lows being that some of our best loved are no longer here to share our journey.

Looking forward into 2015; we wish to finally refurbish the bathrooms in room 5 & 6, get the final 3 bedrooms kitted out with new Hypnos beds. As well as get the garden ready for Summer! Also we will be revamping the website to ensure it is mobile compatible and simpler to use from tablets. The bar chairs have also reached the top of our list as well as re painting window frames to keep the outside looking fresh, so keep an eye out for the improvements on your next visit.

We hope that 2015 will be as successful as 2014 has been, and we would also like to thank our guests for staying and dining with us throughout the year, your custom and loyalty is most certainly appreciated.

Other news, we have had a happy start to the New Year with our Son’s 3rd Birthday on New Year’s Day. Also total subject change but big news at the moment we have a grounded cargo ship in the Solent, which is making a rather bizarre tourist attraction, but let’s hope they can re-float it soon. In the meantime I have heard there is a queue for car parking from people going to see it…

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The weather is a lot kinder this year (so far) than this time last year with a lot of lovely mild days rather than stormy rainy ones, so, although it is January, it is still a lovely time to come and explore the Forest. We have had some delightful off road family walks out the back of the hotel and around Lyndhurst, which has been fabulous at this time of year- and not too mucky- though wellies still required in places :). I may need a few more of those walks to totally walk off the Christmas Mince pies and chocolates…..

We hope to see you all soon, and welcome old friends and new. Our motto for the coming year is to try new things, keep learning and pushing ourselves to make the best hotel that we can.

Take care & best wishes

Imogene Anglaret (Owner)

Greetings from the New Forest December 2014

Greetings from the New Forest!

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas… getting very excited today, as the trees in the hotel are going up. Again we have a real 12ft tree to go in the Restaurant and several smaller trees and lights to go elsewhere in the hotel, we are also getting our big fire place display (complete with fairy lights) thanks to Kay at Pomp and Petals. Our big White Company Candle has also been lit giving a gorgeous Christmassy smell, so come down and join us J

November has flown by, with two lovely weddings and the fabulous wedding showcase we have survived the start of winter with a sparkle overload- no better way to do it!

We are also learning from our newest General Assistant Steve, who is a bit of an expert at making coffee and has been teaching us all to make it a bit better!!!! There is a lot to know to get the perfect coffee…. He is also teaching us about Cocktails, although I may have sampled more than I have made so far… but great to hone this new skill in time for Christmas, as what’s the Christmas party without a Christmas Cocktail.

We have been busy renovating too this month, with the new bathroom put into room 16 and due to an issue in room 18 there is also a new shower in there too. Both look super and thank you Gary for putting up with me keep popping in and saying ‘just another little thing…’ the man has some patience!

This month is set to be busy, with some party nights to come, as well as Christmas lunches before we get to the main event and the New Year. We are going into this period hopeful that it will be less eventful than last year!!!! Let’s hope for no more Christmas Day BBQs.

Please look at our Christmas section on the website if you would like to join us for any of our festive activities.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and wonderful start to the New Year and we look forward to welcoming you soon

Take Care, I am off for a restorative walk in the Forest!

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest November 2014

Greetings from the New Forest

That was an amazing October, the weather has been so great it is impossible to think how close we are to Christmas, yet the leaves have just started to turn! I like this type of start to Winter, hoping it makes it go faster!!

We have had our busiest October since we started 3 years ago and so are really pleased to be so busy. We have been trying to get the carpets cleaned in the rooms and had to put this off because the rooms have been so full 🙂 a good problem to have!

We have a new head housekeeper Brian who is shaking things up and making everything smell lovely and lots of lists- especially for Gary our maintenance man and so all the niggly bits are now fixed really quickly.

October also saw us host 3 gorgeous weddings and so we pass our congratulations on to all our couples and hope to see you all soon.

Room 8 now totally refurbed is looking lovely- in fact I think it is my favourite room!

Room 16 is now getting a new bathroom and work starts Monday. We are putting in a large double shower instead of the crazy bath- those who have stayed in the room know what I mean!!

Now November has begun we need to start with our Christmas plans, Christmas party bookings and the big day itself. We are full on our party nights, which is amazing but still have space to hold a festive party lunch and also for our Christmas package and NYE gala dinner and so if you are undecided there is still time to visit us at Woodlands Lodge.

We have some unbelievable deals on at the moment too, so if you fancy a winter a break check out our website.

Look forward to seeing you soon

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Not ready to go…..

Let us know at the time of your booking or during your stay and we will try and arrange a late check out for you til midday for only £20 per room!

*subject to availability.

Greetings from the New Forest September 2014

Greetings from the New Forest!

The last 2 months have gone in a blur and I apologise for not updating sooner.

August saw us busy, busy, busy. We had a great month with lots of lovely guests and 5 gorgeous weddings too. We wish all our couples a wonderful future together. All the staff did amazingly well, as we were under pressure when we said goodbye to Gina and Sammi in the Kitchen, but happily welcomed Charlotte, who has blended superbly into the Woodlands Lodge team and is keen to keep up our values of a friendly and personable hotel. Congratulations also to Chrissie on becoming Duty Manager, you have done an excellent job since you started full time.

We had a slightly tense few weeks (slight underestimation) in the kitchen where we had to rely on the incredibly unreliable Agency chefs- Martin you are not included in that and a big thank you to you!! and so Head Chef John really showed dedication with long, long days making sure all the weddings went well and the kitchen kept running at full steam, it was appreciated.  I am pleased to say that things are now easier and we have the pleasure to now have a breakfast chef James join us and also a new Sous Chef in Sam. Welcome to you both and we are delighted with the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen – James those poached eggs are amazing and Sam the Caramel Fondant to die for… you need to try this!!!

The AA also did their mystery inspection, and I am so pleased that we received a 79% merit score and retained our AA Rosette in the Restaurant. Good work everyone!

We have had a lot of laughs too this Summer, and especially at Robert who still feels that the ponies and now the pigs are toying with him and trying to get into his garden!! In fact we even had pigs come into the reception this week…. Room for 2 little ones!

September, has been gorgeous and hot. A pleasant return as August was a little disappointing weather wise. This has had a positive effect in bringing more guests to the hotel as it is amazing to go walking at the moment- no mud!!! The boat show also took place in September and this also benefited from the great weather. We have also been lucky to host some special birthday and anniversary parties- Congratulations from the Woodlands Lodge team.

We have been forward planning too, and preparing lots of fab offers for Winter and taking bookings for Christmas parties, lunches and our 3 day package. I can’t believe we only have 1 room left for the Christmas package and 4 for NYE- so get on the phone today if you wish to join us for Woodlands Lodge Festive Fun!!!

It seems like it has been all change…. We have a new maintenance man- Gary! And so far he has been nothing short of sensational. Getting all those little jobs in hand- painting door frames, re flooring the garage and sanding down and painting some window frames- I think it is safe to say ‘ Gary we love you’. We are pleased to be getting back on the refurbishment trail now that the high season is finishing. Today we are getting a new carpet for room 1. This has always been a signature room for us, but a stain that has been too stubborn has brought this room down, so I look forward to it being back to its top form again. Also, we discovered there had been no underlay… so that can be rectified too and guests in room 12 should benefit too 🙂

We also are re doing room 16 bathroom in November and scheduling room 5 bathroom for January, another 2 great jobs to complete.

Robert has the week of this week to tidy the over flow car park and has already been busy with a bon fire and filling his skip- a great job. Gutter clearing and other fun jobs await him.

Eloise our daughter, has also started at Infant school this month, feeling like it is a really big mile stone- I can’t believe she celebrated her first birthday with a BBQ in the hotel garden and now is getting all grown up. Time does fly!

I am still loving the reception floor and stair carpets that we had done in July, it really has lifted the whole hotel. Our new restaurant tables have also added a new dimension to the restaurant offering the flexibility to create different sized tables more easily. And also mixes traditional and modern styles really well.

Next… hopefully we can start getting the bar chairs recovered.

Also, we have had a bumper crop of tomatoes, courgettes and the hugest pumpkin come out of our veggie garden so this is a great benefit to the kitchen, as well as being donated Quinces from one of our local neighbours, this is providing the basis for some gorgeous jus and chutney- thank you so much for the donation.

Well, I think that this is all from us at the moment, we hope to welcome you to the New Forest soon.

Take care,

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

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