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Greetings from the New Forest November 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

Wow the forest is looking AMAZING! Orange, yellow and green literally we are seeing the colours changing daily and it is fantastic- despite the Halloween down pour- where did that come from???? We have had such a great month overall, it is so good to see our hotel one year on… and we have been loving our guests, weddings and of course the forest! We have had some fabulous weddings and the flowers have been amazing- burnt yellow and orange such a perfect complement to the changing autumn colours outside.

October has seen us try out a few new things too, which has been brilliant as this time last year we felt like we were treading water to stay on top so a fantastic feeling. Firstly we held our live music evening with Ella and Sonny, now Ella is our part time GA and Waitress and she was fantastic and blew us all away with her beautiful voice, we all had a great night, and I hope everyone else did too. We were busier than we expected and so frustratingly I feel we could have benefited from an extra waiter…. But next time we will be totally prepared and I guess that’s the catch when your waitress is an amazing songstress! xx

We also held a mums and kids pre-Christmas event, which was fun for me, Oscar and Eloise. Probably a little stressful for duty manager Tom who is not used to kids J but we had about 100 people turn up throughout the day. The experience included a pot painting stall, mini photo studio, Christmas stalls and jewellery stalls and to top it all off we were lucky enough to have a couple of Alpacas from Petlake Farm too and Kay Young from Sing time volunteered her services and did 2 great singing sessions for us. Lots of coffee, tea and cake as well as a kids menu too.

We have also had a surprisingly good month in hotel with room occupancy up and half term has seen us fully booked, which has been so exciting and we feel we are now so proud of our hotel and are creating a great atmosphere in the restaurant and the hotel.

Today we have just had delivered some lovely leather chairs for the bar- I love them , I love them! So comfortable!!!! We have also bought some lanterns for the window seal as with the nights drawing in it can look a little dark out there!!!

The garden is also looking good, and the last weedy patch has been dug up, all we need now is for the bulbs to be planted and wait to see how it looks in spring!

Lots to do before then though!!! We are now full over Christmas and have lots of great Christmas parties to host and not to mention 3 weddings in December as well. There is still a little bit of availability for NYE so do not delay come and celebrate with us! http://bit.ly/woodlandslodgeNYE

Sad news this month is that we say good bye to our General Manager Mark, who has given us the strength and skill to make the last year easy for us, although we wish him well in his new venture. And  we are taking on board the role of General Manager between myself and Robert and we welcome Lianna into the role of House Manager, and she will be responsible to assist in us the management of all the operational  aspects of the hotel.

Well, that’s about all for this month- I hope to update you on the refurb of room 15 next month – fingers crossed!

Come and see us soon!

Take care

Imogene

Greetings from the New Forest October 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

Wow, September was a fantastic month at Woodlands Lodge, our last marquee wedding of the summer- you can see some of the glorious photos on our Facebook page http://bit.ly/wmqee . Of this and some of our other lovely weddings too.

It has been a busy month with the Southampton Boat show week providing our busiest ever week in the restaurant! And there is always such a buzz from a busy hotel. This is the first month we are able to do year on year comparisons and sadly Robert and I are addicted to seeing what a difference a year makes! All looking good so far 😉

We have had continued support leading on from our open day from local residents dining with us in the evening and Sunday lunch, it has been great to see this side of the business pick up, as in June we were thinking that we should give up on the Sunday Lunches and are now so pleased that we have persevered!

Continuing on the restaurant theme we have launched our new Autumn menu and I have to say it is delicious. Take a sneak peak on our website http://bit.ly/Restbar

We have also had a really positive response to our Christmas Package and only have one room left for Christmas Day. I am already getting excited about Christmas and have started to work on the Festive Quiz….. Thinking caps at the ready!

New Year is also available to book now – Robert and I are hosting a 5 course gala dinner and live music evening- It’s going to be great, although a lot less eventful than last year (for those who were not with us I went into labour!) so a double celebration- what are you waiting for!!!! If you need a smidge more information then the menu can be accessed through this link http://bit.ly/NYEWLmenu

But for now back to reality, and those niggles that do not go away!!! We are working through our to do list and are getting all the maintenance issues sorted that have arisen whilst we were dealing with the Summer madness, so once those areas are all taken care of I hope that we can get back to refurbing!!!!!! I have lots of ideas about what we can achieve with some new furniture for the public rooms- so just have to wait and take my time now- always the frustrating part!!!

Robert and I have been on a few courses this month too, with a course on Social Media and how to use it better and be more efficient, I think that I have really benefited from the course and hope that we can really give more info and value to our Facebook and twitter followers now! Also we went onto a business coaching course, which has also been great at focussing our minds into what we want to achieve and giving us a plan on how we can achieve it- much needed getting all our ideas onto a spread sheet rather than a jumble in our minds!!!

I have to say (apart from today when it has rained all day!) I think Autumn is my favourite season in the forest, as the leaves changing from green to orange is just beautiful!

We look forward to welcoming you all to the hotel soon,

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

PS-I thought I would include a picture of our AA Rosette Hunters Restaurant for you this month, as I seem to have spent most of this months’ post talking about it!!

Greetings from the New Forest September 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

The season is changing, already the forest is feeling more autumnal! The kids are all going back to school and Lyndhurst is going to be passable again so it’s the perfect time to visit us!

Our month has been good with lots of lovely weddings and as always we wish the best to all our fabulous couples. We have also been nice and busy as well with lots of holiday makers!

We have received a great double page spread in the Hampshire society with Chef Johns recipes on show for all to try out and  a great overview of the hotel. It has really pleased us that we have had some more non-residents into the hotel off the back of this article. I would love to try them myself but not quite sure I have the cooking prowess!

27th August we held our open day and we could not have imagined how successful it would turn out! We had about 250 of our old and new friends turn up and we provided a BBQ, bouncy castle face painting and lots more! It was great fun, although we were all running around like headless chickens during the busiest part of the day. The feedback has been really positive and it has been great that we have already welcomed back so many people who came.

The month has seen the promotion of our waitress Ella to part time General Assistant and we also welcome Raynar to join our team as a full time General Assistant.

We have  been re doing our to do list, I have to say it’s not got any smaller over the summer and already we have ‘mastic’ Mark back on the case. I am looking forward to completing some more of our projects!

Our New Year’s Eve and Christmas packages are already up on the website and already sparking a lot of interest, really makes you feel that Autumn is on its way! Have a look on line and give us a call if you would like to book!

Let’s hope for some good weather this September so we can get out in the forest and do lots of great walks.

Hope to see you all soon

Best wishes & take care

Imogene Anglaret

Greetings from the New Forest August 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

Apologies for the late post this month, we have been in a whirl of weddings, with 4 already this month. Lots of lovely, lovely bride and grooms- but more of that next month 🙂 July saw our first marquee wedding with lots of planning and fair weather on our side it was a success. Transporting all the food outside and remaining hot and perfectly cooked went well and I think Robert, Mark & Vaida are a bit stronger too, after lugging those function tables about.

July also saw us celebrate our 1 year anniversary owning the Woodlands Lodge. We celebrated in style with a staff family BBQ and a few drinks! It has been a good year lots of lessons learnt but we are pleased that we are still in good spirits and raring to go- and in possession of a lot more knowledge. We have achieved so much and are very proud of ourselves and the staff who have helped us achieve significant improvements in the hotel. Although no time to rest on our laurels September will see a return to the refurbishment schedule….

Overall, July was a mixed month highs being the beautiful weddings but the lows being the incessant rain and so the hotel was not as full as it could have been, although the start of August has seen  more bookings and better weather so fingers crossed it continues.

The New Forest Show was in July and we had a place in the Best of British cookery demo and despite a shaky start- our chefs were late as they were caught up in show traffic at the entrance and I was standing at the demo station practically having a heart attack! But It all went well and John Oyaro head chef was as cool as a cucumber as usual. Under such pressure I would barely been able to boil a kettle, so top effort chaps.

July has also been about a lot of behind the scenes planning, I have been working on our Christmas packages and leaflets – it seems so early- but unlike last year this year I am super prepared!!!!

We have our Open day coming up in August, it is to celebrate our 1 year at the helm and show everybody what we have been doing. I wish I had taken some before and after pics!!!!!

Apart from all this Robert and I had a great break away in France, our first proper holiday of the year and we are now home, rested and looking forward to the year ahead of us.

We hope to see you at our open day or to stay very soon

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Greetings from the New Forest July 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

So, I thought that this month was pretty uneventful until I thought about it. It all started with the Jubilee weekend, which despite the weather was a great success. We had a special Jubilee inspired menu on the Sunday and a fantastic BBQ on the Monday- amazingly the skies cleared in the evening and it was a bit chilly but a lovely evening! We were fully booked for the weekend and the hotel had a great atmosphere.

We also received a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor, this is given to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding reviews on trip advisor, apparently about 10% of accommodations listed on trip advisor receive this award, so we were very proud and it’s been put on our wall of achievement in reception- along with our rosette and food reviews J

We finished room 2 and are so pleased with the results, especially the double shower. I have posted some pictures on facebook so please take a look!

We have also changed the bed and toilet in room 16. I was worried we were not going to get this finished, although we managed to do it with a few days to spare. The reason for the rush, was we had a wedding at the end of the month and the groom needed the new bed and loo as he is disabled and would not have been able to use the previous one, so I am very happy that it’s all sorted.

I am on the sub committee for the New Forest Tourism Association Wedding Showcase and we started planning this event this month, it’s scheduled to take place on the 24th February 2013. It is a great event to see a lot of wedding venues in the area all on one day. We took part last year and had a lot of lovely couples come to see us and even got some bookings too.

The New Forest Tourism Association is also hosting a Conference Showcase in October and we will be taking part in this event and so this month I started to prepare our literature- I have not seen the final printed leaflets yet but I hope they will be back from the printers soon.

We have also started making preparations for our open day on 27th August. We hope to host a day to show everybody what we have achieved in the last 12 months and so please come and see us. I will put more details on the website soon!

You will also see that our website photos have changed. So happy that everybody can see the newly painted hotel and also how beautiful the garden is looking. It’s been our first June here and I can’t believe how wonderful the rhododendrons looked- and also how short their season is, quite disappointing that the flowers are already disappearing!

We also celebrated 2 fabulous weddings this month and we send all our best wishes to our gorgeous couples and we hope you will come back soon. I am missing our e mail chats.

Well, that’s about all, not bad for what I thought was a slow news month! Let’s hope that the Sun shines for July and look forward to welcoming you soon to the hotel.

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Greetings from the New Forest June!

Greetings from the New Forest!

May has been our best month since we took over the hotel! We have had a brilliant month and everyone at Woodlands Lodge is looking forward to the rest of the summer!

First cause for celebration was that the monsoonesque weather of April subsided and we were able to finish painting the hotel exterior- after 6 weeks we are absolutely delighted with the results! The whole hotel looks wonderfully crisp and clean! Our photographer is coming next week to take some photos to update our website.

Secondly we received an absolutely fantastic food review in Solent life magazine.

Next, came our surprise AA inspection, the hotel and restaurant fared very well. Best news first- we received an AA rosette for our restaurant for its outstanding food. A huge boost in confidence to the kitchen and we really feel that our drive towards local and seasonally produce is being recognised. It also confirms our belief that the food in the restaurant is delicious!!!

The rest of the hotel did well in the inspection too! With a respectable 78% overall merit score(country average is 77%). We excelled in hospitality and service with a special mention to Mark our General Manager who the inspector was very impressed! There is still much to do to restore the full va va voom to this country house hotel but it was so
pleasing that all our efforts and commitment to the hotel have been recognised!
The report has given us all a boost but it was great to hear staff saying that
we must not rest on our laurels as we need to keep going!!!

Well, we have not stopped yet! This month we embarked on the overflow car park, which 40 tonnes of scalping later was finished! And looks great, although after this weekend we may have to define the spaces!

We have also started to refurbish room 2. This is one of our eves bedrooms and we are going for a modern country house feel, in keeping with the other rooms on the top floor. This room is also going to be another dog friendly bedroom, due to the large space under the eves only best used by our four legged friends! We aim to finish this room in the next 2 weeks.

I think we will be ready for the summer and wedding season as soon as this bedroom is finished!

We also wish to introduce Alane our new vegetable gardener, who has just started but already introducing us to seasonal meat as well as vegetables so we look forward to embracing this more in the coming months.

The weather over the past few weeks has been absolutely brilliant and I can’t imagine anywhere better to be!

Take care and look forward to welcoming you soon!

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Greetings from the New Forest May

Greetings from the New Forest!

So, how much rain could April give us??? Not the ideal weather to paint the outside of the hotel, so after 3 weeks we have almost done the back! VERY frustrating!! I have to say though what has been done looks absolutely fantastic. The green and cream combination looks good together- I knew it would- but it’s still a huge relief.

We have had a good month, with Easter seeing a fully booked hotel , a great conference from Natural England- even though the rain put pay to their bat catching they were a great group and we also had the pleasure of hosting  a lovely wedding too so we have not let the rain dampen our spirits!

We also welcomed a new member of staff- Emma Osborne is our newest General Assistant. This is her first hotel job and so I am sure that she feels very overwhelmed at the moment but the rest of the team are excellent teachers and so I am sure that she will be a seasoned pro in no time! On the other hand she should be able to provide us an insight into horses and tell us how we can convert our stables, as she has previously always worked with horses. What a wonderful addition it would be to be able to bring our horse with you to Woodlands Lodge?

We have also had some REALLY REALLY fantastic news- the AA inspected the hotel and we have been awarded an AA rosette for our restaurant. The whole Woodlands team has worked so hard to improve the menu, the choice and quality of food produced so we are all incredibly proud of this award. We hope that it is the start of great things
for the restaurant! I think our kitchen garden and being able to produce and serve our own home grown food has also helped to achieve this fantastic award.

We have some more vegetable and poultry courses coming up in June and July and so why not combine a course with your weekend away? See the website for more dates and details.

We have also received a glowing restaurant review in the Magazine Solent Life, which has also given us a real boost and hopefully it shows everyone that we are open to residents and non-residents.

We are awaiting the rest of the AA inspectors report so our fingers are crossed! I will update you next month…

We look forward to welcoming you to the hotel soon

Take care

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

Greetings from the New Forest – April

Greetings from the New Forest!

The beginning of April seems to have started where March left off, with absolutely clear blue sky and sunshine. Absolutely fantastic!

March started slowly with us unfortunately having to lose one of our General Assistants, so this put extra pressure on everyone as well as putting our refurbishment plans back a bit, as it has been all hands on deck. Our advert for a new General Assistant went out in last Fridays Lymington Times and so far we have had a great response, so fingers crossed we will find someone who is a perfect fit soon- I’ll keep you posted!

Also, we have had to get some of our drains replaced this month, not very fun and not in the schedule, nevertheless essential!!! And the lovely chaps from drain line have done a great job. One silver lining to come out of this is that our new overflow car park got the jump start it needed in being transformed from desolate bramble waste land to levelled bramble free earth, so we should be able to get this finished very soon and It will stop being the eye saw of the Woodlands Lodge 🙂

The middle to end of the month saw a change in our fortunes, with a wonderful mothering Sunday lunch- the restaurant was full and we had a lot of happy mothers leave us! We hope to welcome you all back soon.

We also hosted our first wedding of 2012, weddings are always a pleasure and we send our best wishes to the happy couple. It was also a month in which we welcomed back a previous bride and groom, although this time to celebrate some special birthdays! We have also held a 60th Wedding Anniversary party – wow & congratulations are the only words that seem appropriate and what a lovely event to be a part of.

We have  just introduced our Spring menu into the restaurant and can’t wait for you to all come down and let us know what you think. Do take a walk around our vegetable
garden when you next visit- no doubt you will see someone working in there (feel free to ask how it’s going) and then when you are in the restaurant you can see the produce served, we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far.

See you soon!

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

PS only 10 days until our hotel starts to be painted- colours chosen, classic cream with a beautiful forest green for the window frames, adios yellow

Greetings From the New Forest – March 2012

Well, I have spent the first few days of this month walking in the forest absolutely fantastic! Bring on the Spring and Summer…. Good bye cold winter!

February has disappeared in a flash, but has been full of progress on getting the hotel up to speed for Summer. The hall way has been finished and looks great we were even able to stop the floor boards creaking, so we can keep the charm without the niggles! We have also upgraded some of the bathrooms and taken to each room with a check list to make sure they are all as good as they can be- a long task but a worthy one and all the little things like cushions on the conservatory chairs and suitable bathroom bins have been added. Clearly, we still have a way to go until we can sit back and relax although I have a feeling that it will be a project like the Severn Bridge!! However, it’s not daunting us and we have got the painters coming in later this month to start on
the outside of the hotel!

The garden has not escaped our touches either and all the trees have had a haircut, some of them more so than others, but it all looks a lot neater and well maintained! We also have firewood for the next year all sorted.

The vegetable garden is also taking shape and we will now be reaping the rewards of hat we have sown- it’s leeks all round!!!  It’s the first of many vegetables and lots
more to come in the next 8 weeks assures John Trim! Chickens are also going strong.

We have enjoyed a successful Valentine’s Day at the hotel and we dined in the restaurant ourselves and can confirm that the food was absolutely sublime, well done John, Simon and Nick! Now we are looking forward to Mother’s day and already have quite a few bookings for lunch, so don’t delay and come and join us too.

Well, that’s about all to bring everyone up to date on February from Woodlands Lodge. We hope to see you soon.

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

 

 

Greetings from the New Forest – February 2012

Greetings from the New Forest!

I hope that the New Year is going well and the New Year’s resolutions are holding up! Our New Year has started well with January being nice and busy, our 3 for 2 dinner, bed and breakfast has been a real success. We have continued it into February and also March, so we hope to see you soon.

Our New Year resolution of refurb and regeneration has got off to a good start with the first floor hall undergoing a transformation. Hopefully our guests will excuse the slight disruption and I can’t wait to see the final result I am hoping it will be much lighter and brighter. A few more bathrooms and the outside paint job are on our hit list before high
season!

We have also hosted our first vegetable gardening course which went really well, good work John and we look forward to hosting the poultry course next time!

We have also been lucky enough to have a great write up in the dining section of the New Forest Society magazine. It’s so nice to get a good review on our food as we think it is fantastic and hopefully we can entice more local people into giving our restaurant a go 🙂 – it will be in next month’s magazine so please keep an eye out for it.

We have also had positive feedback from the reviewers at you and Your Dog magazine, which is also great as we pride ourselves in being pet friendly and this shows we are doing alright! The article will appear in April’s issue.

It’s not all been plain sailing though, as we had a nightmare with our fire alarm shorting (despite it being serviced that same week!) and going off very very early one morning- made worse by the fact the hotel was full and everyone had to evacuate into the car park! We are so sorry for the inconvenience caused by this, and I can assure you we
have had the engineer out to ensure this never happens again…. But it is so
disappointing, as it has taken the edge off what I hope was a lovely weekend.

Have a fantastic February everybody and I hope you can take advantage of our DBB deals or come and whisk your loved one off their feet this Valentines and treat them to a meal or stay with us this month.

The weather is crisp and the forest is still looking beautiful even in the depths of winter so we hope to see you soon.

Take care

Best wishes

Imogene Anglaret

Owner

 PS. Our little boy is doing really well after a shaky start and we are all adjusting nicely to life as a family of 4! xx

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