Leisurely lunch and a little shop at the Garden Room, Riverside Nursery

You know you’re a home owner/mum/getting old (delete as appropriate) when you have an obsession with garden centres. As we are currently renovating our garden, we’ve frequented many a centre over the last few weeks and I imagine we will do so, until the garden is complete. During Ashley’s week away, I was back in Essex, so visited Riverside Nursery – somewhere my mum and Nan had been before, singing its praises... in particular the Garden Room cafe.

The cafe is very cute, with plenty of natural light and an array of gorgeous prints and frames on the walls – many of which you can actually purchase in the shop. There’s plenty of space between tables and the staff are so helpful and friendly. We sat inside, but there are tables outside and there’s even an indoor terrace, complete with artificial turf and garden furniture – which was incredibly popular. Alfie even sat in a highchair, very similar to the one we have at home. He was kept amused with some of his favourite toys (including Sophie la Girafe).

The lunch menu is extensive for such a small place, with sandwiches, paninis, jacket potatoes and more substantial cooked meals – as well as a selection of specials. Of course, I perused the menu beforehand, so knew what I was going to order – a coronation chicken sandwich; in my opinion, a much-underrated filling. The mayo was well-spiced; the granary bread thick-cut; and the chicken pieces plentiful. Although it was served with a side salad and creamy coleslaw, we still ordered a portion of chips. To drink, I had an ice-cold still pink lemonade. The selection of drinks was impressive – including many brands and products you don’t often see everywhere.

Despite being incredibly full, part of me wishes we had stayed for cake (and maybe a coffee) – because the cake counter was immense! There was a beautiful pineapple and passion fruit cheesecake, which definitely had my name on! Instead, I went for a little walk around the shop. Truth be told, I could have bought loads – the homeware was lovely and I could have easily bought Alfie all The Gruffalo bits, as well as the kids gardening set. I couldn’t resist and bought him a lovely board book. I also bought myself a bag of prosecco bon bons (which are lush) and a Bomb Cosmetics bath bomb (which was in the wrong place so wasn’t the one I originally wanted)... all for under a tenner! But most importantly, I got some inspo for the garden, particularly for our hanging baskets.

Love, Lucy xx

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