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October 15, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Pumpkins galore at Apley Farm Shop

2014-10-09, Pumpkin & ginger cupcakes recipeWith 1250 pumpkins at Apley Farm Shop for the rest of October, I thought I’d share 5 of our favourite pumpkin recipes, starting with these cup cakes ! The Spookley Pumpkin Festival at Apley Farm Shop starts this weekend 18-19 Oct & continues in half term week 25-31 October.

The Creamery Café windowsills & Pigg’s Playbarn are looking very orange, decorated with pumpkins & Turks Turban squash decorations.

We already have small pumpkins for soup ‘bowls’, then today we’re expecting some special eating pumpkins to be delivered, so no doubt the Creamery’s chef will very soon be cooking up some delicious recipes such as pumpkin muffins & pumpkin pie.

In the Farm Shop, we have Shropshire Pumpkins: 1 for £2.99, 2 for £4.99 & 3 for £5.99

The Spookley story is an anti bullying message for young children with the message that it is alright to be different – hence the square pumpkin. The Spookley book & DVD are on special offer at £9.99.

Also in the shop, you can pick up a pumpkin & carving set to carve at home for £3.99,  if you just want to get cooking or carving there !

Don’t forget to pick up your pumpkin sausages from Mark Lowe, the Apley Butcher & your pumpkin chocolate lollies on the way out !

During the Spookley Pumpkin Festival visitors can ride the Pumpkin Express which runs daily at 2pm, hear the Spookley story, select their own pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, carve it, enter the competition & taste pumpkin recipes in the Creamery Café.

Ticket prices are:

The Orange Deluxe ticket – £10: This includes a pumpkin & pumpkin carving set, Spookley the Square Pumpkin book, a ride on the Pumpkin Express & entry into Pigg’s Playbarn 

Pumpkin Carving & Pumpkin Express – £6.50: This includes a pumpkin, a pumpkin carving set & a ride on the Pumpkin Express

Pumpkin Carving – £4: This includes a pumpkin & pumpkin carving set

Read more about it here by clicking here for Virtual Shropshire & here for Shropshire Live.

October 15, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Pumpkin & Rosemary Muffins

Originally posted on Lady Harriet Hamilton:

Pumpkin and rosemary muffins

These are great for picnics & car journeys, but why not offer mini muffins as canapés or extra large ones for breakfast. They’re also perfect as a quick lunch or snack, for adults as well as children. Slow energy release & packed with vitamins to help survive the winter viruses.


  1. 180g Self raising flour
  2. 130g wholemeal flour
  3. 2-3 teaspoons baking powder
  4. ½ tsp baking soda
  5. Pinch of salt
  6. 3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  7. 2 beaten eggs
  8. 100ml plain yoghurt
  9. 275ml milk
  10. 2-3 dessertspoons honey
  11. 60ml vegetable oil
  12. 240g cooked pumpkin (about 1 small wedge)
  13. 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds


  1. Dice pumkin flesh into saucepan & cover with water. Boil for 5-10mins, then drain.
  2. Mix ingredients 1-6
  3. Mix ingredients 7-12
  4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry
  5. Spoon into muffin tray
  6. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds
  7. Cook at 200˚C for 2-25 mins



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October 14, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Help us win the Best Restaurant in Telford competition !

2014-10-09, Telford Journal, Best Restaurant in Telford competition - advert jpeg 2014-10-09, Telford Journal, Best Restaurant in Telford competition 2014 layout jpegHelp us win the Best Restaurant in Telford competition ! The Telford Journal is running a Best Restaurant in Telford competition which Apley Farm Shop’s Creamery Café Restaurant has entered.

We would love all our Creamery Café customers to vote for us please. Forms can be cut out of the newspaper itself or picked up in The Creamery Café. Customers can then hand in their entries to Apley Farm Shop or Creamery Café staff or post them into the responses box provided. Or they can be posted to Tom Langford, Shropshire Star, Waterloo Road, Ketley, Shropshire, TF1 5HU.

It’s running every Thursday (9, 16, 23, & 30 Oct) then on 31 October, the entry forms will be collected & counted.

Martin (chef) & Zoe (front of house) always work so hard with their teams to give all our customers the best possible experience when they visit the Creamery, offering fresh, local, seasonal meals at affordable prices.


October 13, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Lords a leaping – Hope House Hospice zip wire

2014-10-12, Aerial photo of Apley Farm Shop from zip wire crane2014-10-11, CPRE The Big Draw in Pigg's PlaybarnYesterday, Lord Gavin Hamilton descended the 700ft Hope House Hospice charity zip wire at Apley Farm Shop. The crane hoisted participants up into the air 120ft, from where they zipped their way to the photographer awaiting them at the end of the 700ft wire. The Apley team included Apley’s land agent Graeme Manton, Gavin (Lord Hamilton) & our new housekeeper Katy Atherden, who only admitted to having vertigo just before she got into the cage to go up !

Gavin took the rare opportunity to take this great aerial photo of the Farm Shop site, showing the courtyard & the 9 businesses on site.

I’m waiting to hear from Hope House fundraisers how much they have raised so far. Participants had to pay a £20 registration fee then pledge to raise a further £80 at least in sponsorship.

On Saturday 11 October, the CPRE organised The Big Draw in Pigg’s Playbarn – as seen here in this photo. I’ll find out later this week how many participated.

In the meantime, 2 of Apley’s holiday cottages were being emptied. The sale catalogue will soon be available. Do contact the Estate Office 01746 762 110 or the Farm Shop office 01952 730 345 (option 6) if you’d like a copy.

October 12, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley’s Christmas launch & lights is now less than a month away !

2014-11-08, Christmas Launch, A5 leaflet, final, jpeg

Christmas starts early in retail ! To be mentioning it before 1 Dec seems mad & I can’t believe Apley Farm Shop’s Christmas launch is now less than a month away. Time flies & we’re already now well into Autumn.

Saturday 8 November is our Christmas launch starting at 5.30pm when our Christmas lights will be switched on by some Hope House Hospice children. Come & enjoy the evening with festive turkey & cranberry rolls, mulled wine & minced pies. The shop will have some lovely Christmas present ideas, particularly our popular hampers. Coming in 3 sizes, hampers can be tailor made (you choose, we pack) or bought pre-prepared. Julie’s busy baking Christmas puddings, Christmas cakes & Apley minced pies, whilst Phil in the Walled Garden is tending your Christmas Day lunch vegetables.

Christmas orders will be open on the butcher & delicatessen counters. On the same evening, drop into Lottie’s charity fashion show (tickets £4.95pp) 6.30-7.30pm to get some inspiration for your winter wardrobe or Christmas present ideas.

Santa’s Grotto opens on Sunday 30 November, when we’ll be holding our Christmas Taste Off, another delicious food & drinks fair, 10-4pm.

In the meantime, I’m busy preparing the shop’s 2014 Christmas decorations which I love changing every year, using new & different ideas.

October 11, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Remarkable Apley photos

Apley Hall - Group of servants2014-09-01, Spider's web by Ian Edwards DCIM100MEDIAI’m incredibly grateful to 3 people this week for sending me magnificent Apley photos: Elwyn Jones has just sent me this very rare c1910 photo of a group of 22 Apley Hall [Park] servants, which I’ve never seen before.  The sad thing is that about 10 people who may have been able to name a few of the servants have now all died (since we arrived here in 2006).

Ian Edwards just sent me his latest photos, taken as he goes about his daily work on Apley’s farms. We’ve exhibited some of his in the past in the Apley Holiday Cottages (which we’ve been emptying & today the Creamery Café).

Hugh Dyas, one of the Apley farming tenants, took these aerial photos over Apley Walled Gardens. It’s the only aerial shot I have so it’s very special. I love the fact than aerial shots can tell us the history of the landscape in a way that can’t be seen from the ground. It is great evidence of the extraordinary progress of Phil & his volunteers, tasted by many Apley Farm Shop & Creamery Café customers, where his produce is cooked into delicious recipes by our chef Martin & his team.

October 10, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Apley Walled Garden Pear & beetroot salad

2014-10-09, Apley pear & beetroot salad recipeJust fresh in today are these lovely recipe cards created by Rebecca in Apley Farm Shop for Apley Walled Gardens fruit & veg, produced by Phil Allen & his team of volunteers.

Our fridge has pears & beetroot right now, so I’ll try this one tomorrow !

I’ve also just had this feedback from the private Walled Garden tour which Phil led on Tuesday:

This morning’s visit to The Walled Garden was so uplifting. You are very knowledgeable and we were greatly impressed. We learned a great deal and found the visit fascinating. Thank you so much for giving up your valuable time. Michael, my husband, wants to volunteer next spring, so he’ll be in touch I’m sure. Good luck with your future renovations. We’ll be visiting again !”

This weekend at Apley Farm Shop, the CPRE are holding their Big Draw in Pigg’s Playbarn 10-4pm Sat, then on Sunday 12 Oct, Hope House Hospice are holding their zip wire event, also 10-4pm, which should be thrilling to watch !

We’re closing the 3 Apley Holiday Cottages, so I’ll be busy there packing up this weekend. If you are interested in buying any of the contents, do contact the Estate Office 01746 762 110 or Farm Shop office 01952 730 345. I’ll make the catalogue available soon.

It’s been rather wet in Shropshire this week, so the Apley farming team have been doing fencing, maintenance & preparing the livestock buildings for when the cattle come in for the winter by the end of October. 200 cows are hopefully now in calf, due in Feb 2015.

October 9, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Make long term lifestyle changes with STARTfit & Apley Farm Shop

me5 SFlogoNatasha Minnikin (photographed here) lives very locally to the Farm Shop & called me this week to tell me about her health & fitness company Startfit. Apley Farm Shop is pleased to be offering discount vouchers to her clients. Here are some extracts from the summary she sent me of Startfit’s work:

“STARTfit is a programme specialising in weight loss, body transformation & long term lifestyle change.  “We are working locally to help reduce the significant increase in type II diabetes, obesity and coronary heart disease that is causing so many Shropshire men & women pain & discomfort, & preventing them from leading a happy, healthy vibrant lives”.

The founder of STARTfit, Natasha Minnikin, is a practitioner in NLP and CBT as well as being a Master Personal Trainer, and it is the amalgamation of these skill sets that makes STARTfit truly unique.  Her 12 week body transformation package focuses on changing mind-sets through workshops, not just fitness programming, to make real long-term, lifestyle change. Local men & women have already seen incredible results:

I definitely feel more energetic and motivated and the measured improvement in my physical condition at the end of 12 weeks was astounding. There is also a real “feel good” factor that stays with me through every day and helps keep me motivated to continue with the programme. Rob Hill, Newport.

For more details, visit

October 8, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Filming at Apley

2014-09-27, Apley Taste Off, film crew & Harrison familyRecently, you may have spotted Agata Wasiewska & her team (I love the fact that 1 is called Euripides*) has been filming at Apley Farm Shop & Apley Walled Gardens.

We’re creating publicity films & very short clips to go on vertical animated adverts on websites (called skyscrapers). For a test period, these are replacing our adverts in magazines & newspapers, as increasingly it seems customers & visitors are using websites & social media platforms for the information they need. Here they are relaxing in Apley Farm Shop’s courtyard outside the Creamery Café, after a busy day filming the Apley Taste Off.

*Euripides (c. 480 – 406 BCE) was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. – – 07895 431 968

October 7, 2014 / Apley Estate - Hamiltons

Biz Mums meeting in Pigg’s Playbarn, Wed 15 Oct

BizmumsLogoNext week, Biz Mums, a local group of business women, are meeting in for the first time in Pigg’s Playbarn at Apley Farm Shop on Wednesday 15 October, 10-11.30am. Here’s the rest of the press release about the event:

“Founder Michelle Childs explained, “It’s the first time we’ve met at Pigg’s Playbarn which we chose for its easy location & great facilities. Our members come from all over Shropshire, some with their children, so Apley Farm Shop is ideal.”

BizMums was founded in November 2012 by Michelle Childs to offer support & inspiration to mums in business. They currently host events where mums can come along, meet, share what they do & learn valuable skills which they can then take back & apply to their business.

Lady Harriet Hamilton added “We’re very pleased to provide a venue for entrepreneurial groups, encouraging mothers to get back to work & into business. They are setting their children good examples & helping the local economy too.”

At each location BizMums host one event per month in a child-friendly location so mums can bring their children along too. They currently run 25 groups each month from across from the West Midlands up to East Yorkshire & have 100 members. Full Networking memberships are £15 a month which gives you unlimited access to all of their online resources, one-to-one member match ups & unlimited networking at all of our 25 events.  The first meetup is always FREE so mums can see whether or not it suits their needs.

BizMums understand how important it is for mums who can feel isolated in their businesses, to be able to meet other mums & have the opportunity to learn & grow their businesses in a comfortable environment.

Each month they have a theme for all their meetings. We invite a guest speaker to come & share their expertise in their field with us. The themes are always useful to building your business such as PR, Marketing, social media, goal setting & blogging.  This is furthered by free learning webinars, guest blog posts & training materials on our website & ‘BizClub’.  If you aren’t able to attend meetings regularly, we also have an online members group on Facebook where you are able to network online with the other members.

Kelly Byrne of Kelly’s Cake Creations explained why she loves Bizmums:  “I joined Bizmums in January this year. So far I’ve learnt how to use Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook for business & also some accounting. But most of all I’ve become good friends with other like minded mums in business. It’s great having a support network of understanding people who are experiencing similar business issues in their daily work. I recommend Bizmums to every mum in business. Having somewhere I can network & take my children with me too has made being a Mumpreneur working from home a lot less isolating & lonely.”

Rachael Dobson, Founder of P&AS, a charity supporting families with Pre & Post Natal Depression explained why she values her BizMums membership:  By going to BizMums & listening to guest speakers, I have built up my business knowledge, which I have implemented into our charity, P&AS. I have gained support & help with our fundraising work & met local business people including Kirsty & Rhea from J&PR, a local PR agency & Rebekkah Harriman, a social media trainer. The charity has also gained two trustees through BizMums, who are now invaluable to the running of the charity.”

For more details, please see:

Twitter @Bizmums


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