Stay at the William Cecil & Top Things to Do in Stamford, Lincolnshire

Top things to do in Stamford

Operated by the Hillbrooke Hotels, the William Cecil in Stamford has 27 stylish and quirky bedrooms that offer great beds with Egyptian linens, flatscreen TV offering more than 30 channels, tea and coffee facility, power shower with White Company bathroom products and complimentary WiFi for the guests. The hotel’s eccentric style and a relaxed and friendly service in quirky surroundings is sure to bring back the guests yet again either it is for a short stopover or for a relaxing long weekend. 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

We stayed at the impressive room called the Queen of Palmera at the William Cecil. The bedroom itself was very spacious with lots of corners for BabyN' to explore and to run around. The comfortable bedding was great for a good night's sleep, and the duvet tog was just right! Although our bedroom was facing the main street, our sleep wasn't disturbed by the traffic passing by and we all woke up fresh the next day, ready for the breakfast and to explore Stamford before heading to our next destination in the North East. 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The other amenities available at the hotel includes a hair dryer, iron and ironing board, travel cots (available on request) and ample complimentary parking for the hotel guests. 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The bathroom at the William Cecil was extremely massive, something very rarely seen at hotels. Also, the bathroom had a free standing bath as well as a shower and complimentary The White Company toiletries that includes a shampoo and shower gel, soap and a lotion. Its' absolutely relieving to know when a hotel provides complimentary toiletries because that can really help in keeping the weight of the luggage lower, and I've always been a fan of the The White Company products - so this was a great selection made by the hotel! 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

An A la carte and bar menu enables guests to enjoy plenty to choose from at the property. Also, the hotel’s sister inn, The Bull and Swan located just 150 yards away is also an option for informal dining. It is indeed a memorable experience dining at The William Cecil whether one chooses to eat at the hotel's award-winning restaurant or at the bar! The meal prepared by the Head Chef Craig McCready and his team using the fresh local and seasonal produce isn't just beautifully presented, but equally tempting to the tastebuds too! The hotel has received 2 AA Rosette awards mainly because of the passion the team puts into creating seasonal menus using the best ingredients. 

Beginning with the nibbles, I ordered Red Chilli and Mango King Prawns (£5.5) which were served with Dill Aioli - a delicious creamy and flavourful dip prepared with mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic and dill. It was absolutely fantastic - I really liked the taste of mango and it complimented with the prawns well! 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The starter for us was the Pearl Barley Risotto (£7.50) that was cooked with peas, mint and whipped goats cheese. The serving was quite generous and it was a filling bowl of risotto. 

The William Cecil at Stamford

Moving on the mains, as you can see in the photos below, they were beautifully presented and had a piquant taste. The first dish, the baked hake fillet (£19) was served with kohlrabi, a German turnip along with butternut squash, spring greens and nasturtium. 

The second main was loin of line caught cod (£19) that consisted of cod brandade, artichoke and asparagus. We requested the dish to be served without chicken reduction. 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

To end the meal, we opted for 3 scoops of the hotel's homemade ice cream (£1.50 per scoop) to share and the flavours were pistachio, cinnamon and caramel. This was the first time I was trying out cinnamon as an ice cream flavour and the consistency of the cinnamon was not at all overwhelming, it was just right - tells that the Chef knows his work well! 

The William Cecil at Stamford

Breakfast is served at the William Cecil from 7:00 am - 9:30 am between Monday to Friday and 8:00 am - 10:30 am on Saturday and Sunday. The buffet table had already been laid with fresh fruits, juices, milk and cereal, croissants and yogurt and for the hot breakfast, we selected ours from the menu card on our table. 

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

It was the Vegetarian Burghley Breakfast for me that was served hot and had two vegetarian sausages, grilled tomato, flat mushroom and scrambled eggs - my choice of eggs from a few options available. Husband breakfast was Scottish smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and a toasted bagel. BabyN' doesn't eat anything immediately after waking up, so we didn't order anything for him but we were all fuelled up to conquer the rest of the day!

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The other options for hot breakfast included in the menu were hot porridge with a choice of honey or sugar, warm Belgian waffles with maple syrup and cured back bacon, Egg Benedict, Eggs Royale, grilled flat mushrooms on a choice of toast, grilled kipper with fresh lemon wedge, smoked haddock with poached eggs and continental breakfast to name a few! 

The William Cecil at Stamford

Just after finishing the hearty breakfast at the hotel, I was intrigued to visit The Bull & Swan, the sister property of the William Cecil in order to check out their kitchen garden. That's because the hotel uses the same ingredients grown at the kitchen garden in the food which is served at the restaurant. It was lovely seeing the fresh plants and the garden also has an area with benches and sofas where the guests can enjoy an outdoor cinema twice every week (Thursday at 7:30 pm & Sunday at 12:00 pm) between April and October along with their favourite drinks and freshly baked pizza from the pizza potting shed. 

The Bull & Swan kitchen garden in Stamford

The Bull & Swan kitchen garden in Stamford

The Bull & Swan kitchen garden in Stamford

The Bull & Swan kitchen garden in Stamford

Important Information - The William Cecil at Stamford

Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Parking: Complimentary car park spaces available
Breakfast: Complimentary hot breakfast is served 
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, ironing facility, complimentary toiletries
Location:  St Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 2LJ
Telephone: 01780 750070

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

The William Cecil at Stamford

Top Things to Do in Stamford


There's plenty to see and do in the historic and beautiful town of Stamford, which has also been voted by The Sunday Times as the best place to live in 2013. You could either ask any of the team members at the hotel for recommendations or check out the brochure and magazines in the bedroom for all the details. 

All Saints Church - Dating back to the 13th Century, the church was rebuilt by the Brownes due to the damage caused during the Wars of the Roses. Located in the Red Lion Square, this church is opened daily and has Browne family memorial brasses, a carved angel roof, stained glass windows and a reredos of the Last Supper. 

Barn Hill - The well-preserved cobbled stoned street behind All Saints' Church has been used as a setting for locations for the BBC TV series Middlemarch and the Merchant Ivory movie (2000) as well as The Golden Bowl.
Stamford Meadows

Stamford Meadows - Just 0.5 miles from the William Cecil and known as the Water Meadows originally, the Stamford Meadows are quite popular for enjoying a picnic, walking or feeding the birds. The level walking along the River Welland while coming across the picturesque view especially early in the morning are fantastic. 

Stamford Meadows

Stamford Museum - The museum displays exhibitions and galleries and also organised a series of lectures annually - these are quite popular and its archives are available for the researchers and students to view.

Stamford Priory - Founded by the Benedictines of Durham Abbey in the early 12th Century, St. Leonard's Priory's purpose was to manage he order's southern estates and prepare students for entry into Oxford University. However, it fell into despair and today only the ruins remain of which nave, arcade and the west front are a feature.

Stamford Meadows

Stamford Shakespeare Festival - This auditorium has been been purpose built in the landscaped grounds of the Elizabetharn Tolethorpe Hall near Bourne for hosting  outdoor Shakespeare plays that attract 30,000 visitors annually and prior to performances, theatregoers can dine in the Hall or picnic on the lawns. Tickets can be purchased from the Stamford Arts Centre. 
Burghley House Stamford

Burghley House - Located just within walking distance form the William Cecil, the Burghley House is under the possession of the hotel’s owners. Known to be the finest Elizabethan house in England, and and the most famous family estates in Europe. Built over a period of 32 years, the Burghley House offers fun and history and the recent addition known as Historical Garden of Surprises is a fantastic addition. Features of the garden include a moss house, the swivelling Caesar busts, water basins, jets and mirrored maze - enjoyed by everyone! Although the grounds are open throughout the year, the Garden of Surprises opens from mid-March until the end of October. Please note that the Burghley House is closed on Fridays' but the Garden of Surprises remains open. Direct access to the grounds of Burghley House is available through the William Cecil, and a stroll around the beautiful grounds is absolutely fantastic! 

Belvoir Castle - Located in a rural countryside, the castle has been the home to the Manners family for 500 years, and has been the seat of the Duke of Rutland since three centuries. The stately rooms open to the public, contain many works of art.


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Aloo Ghosht/Lamb & Potato Curry Recipe

Aloo Ghosht Lamb & Potato Curry Recipe

I'm really excited for the National Curry Week that begins from the 22nd of October till the 28th of the month because I'm a huge fan of curry, and I myself cook it at home quite often. The first National Curry Week, founded by Peter Grove took place in October 1998 and the idea was to appreciate the Indian restaurant industry and also to raise funds for charity. Curry is one of the favourite takeaways in the UK, and people's love for curry is growing stronger which is increasing the importance of the curry week each year. 

Why not get involved in the National Curry Week this year - there are quite a few ways in which you can participate in this - host a curry night at home, eat out at any of the participating restaurants or simply vote for your favourite curry! 

To participate in the National Curry Week, I'm sharing a Pakistani classic curry recipe which is extremely popular among the adults and children alike. Aloo ghosht or Lamb and potato curry is a delightful main course, generally eaten with Chapati (Indian flatbread) or Naan bread but people also enjoy eating it with boiled or zeera rice. This simple curry recipe is sure to bring smiles on the faces of the children which means they would definitely eat without creating a fuss. The addition of cubed lamb pieces and potatoes including a blend of herbs and spices makes it a complete meal, as it includes all the healthy ingredients yet it's finger licking good!

The Major Ingredient - The Lamb! 

It has been revealed that the individuals under 35 do not seem much keen on purchasing or cooking lamb nowadays, especially those living in the North Western European countries including the UK. Due to the change in the lifestyle the people have adopted, a decline in the appetite of lamb is quite apparent but lamb is really something these people are missing out!

Lamb Try it, Love it

The idea behind the EU funded Lamb Try it, Love it campaign is to encourage people to identify the unique flavours of lamb and to add more of it to their diet. Aloo Ghosht or Lamb and potato curry can definitely be one of the best midweek meals for the entire family especially because the premium lamb produced by the European farms using sustainable practices ensures a protein-rich diet.  There is absolutely nothing like fresh lamb, and we should definitely appreciate the contribution the farmers make to the local economies with all the hard work they do on their farms. 

Aloo Ghosht Lamb & Potato Curry Recipe

Variety of Cuts of Lamb

Being quite a versatile ingredient, lamb can be used in various recipes but curry is definitely one of the most popular ones. The lamb itself can be cooked to create a curry and it's even safe for the mothers to add vegetables such as potatoes and peas, ladyfinger or even bottle gourd as the kids definitely seem to enjoy it. Although lamb has various cuts which are used for different recipes, it is not necessary to use the premium cuts all the time, but even the economical cuts do justice to the curries and boneless lamb pieces are perfect especially if one's cooking for a family meal. Moreover, there are several other curry recipes as well, that can be conveniently cooked just within 30 minutes, and one can enjoy an affordable dish that is full of flavour!


Health Benefits of Lamb

High quality lamb produced by the European farmers is healthy due to the richness of proteins and the other essential nutrients and the 7 vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12 and niacin. If you haven't currently made lamb a vital ingredient of your everyday diet, then you should definitely add this essential ingredient to your everyday meals to ensure a healthy lifestyle and well being. Once you try it, you're definitely going to love it! For more information on lamb and the lamb try it, love it campaign, click here.

Aloo Ghosht Lamb & Potato Curry Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

500 grams boneless lamb cubes, cleaned & washed well
4-5 medium sizes potatoes
2 medium sized, finely sliced onions
2 large, sliced tomatoes
5 tbsp oil
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
2 slit green chillies
Salt, as required 
1 tsp red chilli powder (levelled)
½ tsp turmeric powder 
½ coriander powder
4 cloves
2-3 cardamom pods
A pinch of garam masala
Coriander & chopped green chilies for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

Use either a pressure cooker or a normal pot, turn on the stove and add 5 tbsp oil. 
Add sliced onions and saute them until they turn brown.  
Once done, add the sliced tomatoes and saute well. 
The next step is to add ginger and garlic paste.
Add cubed lamb pieces in the pot and and cook until they turn from red to light brown 
Once the colour of the meat changes, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, cloves, cardamom pods and stir well.
Add 1½-2  glasses of water.
After the lamb is half cooked, add the pealed and cubed potatoes in the pot.
Cover the lid and leave to cook on low heat until the lamb and potato cubes become tender and are fully cooked. 
Once both the lamb and potatoes are tender, sprinkle a pinch of garam masala.
Turn off the stove and garnish with coriander and green chillies.
Serve hot with roti (Indian flatbread/naan bread) or boiled or either zeera rice.

Aloo Ghosht Lamb & Potato Curry Recipe

IMPORTANT COOKING TIPS:

It is advised to cook a batch of lamb cubes, and store it in small boxes in the freezer as this would greatly help in reducing the total cooking time. Perfect idea for quick weekly meals. 
The lamb will cook quicker if a pressure cooker is used instead of a normal pot.
Add freshly cut green chilies for extra heat.
If you don't have fresh coriander at home, get a bottle of dried coriander leaves for your pantry. They're available at all big stores. 

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 - 40 mins
Serves: 4 individuals

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4th birthday Gift Ideas for Boys

4th birthday Gift Ideas for Boys

Beano Collection by Debenhams

Debenhams has launched a mischievous matchup between Baker by Ted Baker and the iconic Beano brand and have introduced bright t-shirts, iconic printed polo shirts and coordinating tracksuits for boys and are available both in store and online. There is a choice of different clothing from their range and some of which like the Baker by Ted Baker Beano Set (£38) are even perfect for winter! The short sleeved Beano t-shirt (£20) has a crew neck. BabyN' loves the colour and the material - it's super comfortable and he love wearing it to the nursery! Check out the Baker by Ted Baker - Boys' multicoloured 'Beano' print sweatshirt, top and bottoms set and Baker by Ted Baker kids clothing

Baker by Ted Baker kids clothing

Baker by Ted Baker kids clothing

Baker by Ted Baker kids clothing

This set from the Baker by Ted Baker range is rich in soft cotton and comprises a quilted sweatshirt with long sleeves and a zip, while the bottoms have an elasticated drawstring waist and is machine washable.

Baker by Ted Baker kids clothing

Vtech PJMasks Super Catboy Learning Watch 

Nowadays the PJMasks characters are quite popular everywhere and they can be seen on clothing, water bottles and lunch boxes, toy, watches and on other accessories. BabyN' really likes Catboy and although Funky Pigeon had the Vtech PJMasks Super Learning Watch in different colours and characters, he choose the one with  Catboy Learning Watch.

This watch is perfect for ages 3-6 and it teaches numbers, counting, addition and shapes. Also, it has 4 games, 9 clock faces, timer, alarm clock and cuckoo clock. Available in 3 colours - owlette, gekko and catboy, just like Vtech’s interactive toys promote fun learning, this is also a great wearable gadget with a durable design and its good to know that it shuts off automatically to save battery. The watch requires a lithium coin battery which is already included in the watch. 

Vtech PJMasks Super Catboy Learning Watch

The other features in the Vtech PJMasks Super Catboy Learning Watch include games such as - Chase Romeo in the Gekko-mobile and learn shapes, help Owlette chase down Luna Girl  and solve addition problems. Moreover, the children can also practise counting with the Ninjalinos, find the largest or smallest numbers with Catboy and choose from nine PJ Masks clock faces. They can learn to time events with friends using the stopwatch or set an alarm with a choice of alarm tones available. You can also check for more ideas on gifts for boys on Funky Pigeon's website.

Vtech PJMasks Super Catboy Learning Watch

Vtech PJMasks Super Catboy Learning Watch

Dressing Up Catboy Costume

Children love to dress up and really enjoy pretend play, so I believe its a fantastic idea to gift them the costume of their favourite character. Although there are many costumes being sold in the stores, the most popular among the boys nowadays are the PJMasks, Avengers and Paw Patrol characters. These can either be ordered online or can be purchased from stores. I purchased the PJ Masks Catboy Fancy Dress Costume from Tesco for (£12) and although I can still see it in stores, they not available to order online anymore. However, Argos is selling almost the same PJ Masks Catboy Fancy Dress Costume for 4 year old boys for £14. It's an all in one full printed suit in cobalt blue with all over scale print and contrast flash stripes to legs, arms and body. Also, there is an embossed shiny badge to upper front body and detachable 3D cat tail at the back.The costume also includes a half face mask with elastic strap. The jumpsuit is made of 100% polyester and can be cleaned with sponge only.

PJ Masks Catboy Fancy Dress Costume

Chad Valley Sand & Water Table

Children love playing with both sand and water so this can be one of the best of the best presents for letting them with a friend or with a sibling or even on their own. The sand and water table comes with accessories such the sand and water play toys such as a spade, rake and boats - and it's great to keep the little ones busy. Also, the table has a divide down the middle so the kids can fill one half with water and the other with sand. The lid of the table is also very handy, as it can be left in the garden without the sand getting wet so it serves not just a as protective cover but with the lid on, the table can also be used as a desk. Although the sand and water table I purchased for BabyN' already had the toys, he still adds some of his owns toys such as his favourite cars and animals to enjoy some pretend play. The sand does not come with this product, and have to be purchased separately.

Chad Valley Sand & Water Table

Chad Valley Sand & Water Table

Extreme 360 RC Stunt Double & Side Roll Car 

Cars of any sort can never be a bad ideas when it comes to giving gifts to boys. This stunt car with a double side roll enables children to experience extreme tumbling and enjoy the spinning action. It has an R/C control, 27 mhz power, stop function, 360 spins, and the speed of 7km/hour. The car requires 4x1.5V "AAA" batteries while the joystick requires 2x1.5V "AA"batteries - they're not included in the box and have to be purchased separately. The car is available in three colours - orange, green and blue. This is definitely one of the coolest remote-control car for kids to master flips and stunts and the awesome chunky tires allow the car to bounce off of obstacles and drive upside down. Originally this RC Stunt Car was selling for £25, but has now been reduced to £12.50 and can be purchased from The Entertainer Toy Shop

Extreme 360 RC Stunt Double & Side Roll Car

Match and Spell Game

Orchard Toys has launched a fun reading and spelling game - Suitable for ages 4+ this game is teacher tested and can be played in two ways i.e. in a guided and an independent way. The box contains 12 double sided 3 letter words and 8 double sided 4 letter words along with 68 letter cards and an intrusion leaflet. The double sided word boards are meant to extend knowledge by making the entire learning process fun and enjoyable. The idea is to develop early reading and spelling skills in children and enable children to enjoy the fun word building game. The match and spell game promotes language and literacy skills, encourages letter recognition as well as phonetic word building and reinforces matching skills and develops memory skills. 

Matching letters and recognising letters is the first stage and the core idea of the game, however once the children learn to match the alphabets with the ones written on the simple 3 letter or more complex 4 letter word boards, they can also tell the word by looking at the picture even on the black side of the word board. At the later stage, this game can greatly assist the children learn spellings - they can do this by first matching alphabets written on one side of the word board while on the other blank side, they have to think about the spelling of the word by making out the word by seeing the picture and place all alphabets in the correct order. The Match and Spell game by Orchard Toys (£8) would work really well when introducing spellings to preschoolers, as this would enable them to excel in the later stages. 

Match and Spell game by Orchard Toys

Match and Spell game by Orchard Toys

Football Game

BabyN' was really excited when he opened the Football Game by Orchard Toys (£10). It's a unique football themed game developed on the classic idea of snakes and ladders and can be played by 2-4 players. The box contains 4 game boards, one for each player. Also, it contains 4 football counters, 4 character stands, a whistle spinner, goal spinner, dice and an instruction leaflet. The idea of this game is to reinforce numbers and counting skills, encourage children to play in groups as this enables them to develop their personal and social skills and the game also promote observational skills. 

Children at this age love imaginative play, so this fun game is perfect for them while they watch the ball pass backwards and forwards while all the players race to score the winning goal. The whistle and the goal spinner further make this game exciting and the best part is that each player has their own board. 

Football Game by Orchard Toys

Football Game by Orchard Toys

Orchard Toys have focused on the idea of learning through play and have developed games and jigsaws creating a perfect balance between fun and education. You can also check out more products from their range on their website. 

Games by Orchard Toys

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