Review: The Bush Inn

We were excited to go to The Bush Inn, a place that always has a picnic bench afternoon tea; such a fun concept must be a really fun place. And the fact that it’s so popular must mean that they are doing something well right? Well… in my opinion, not really. I mean. It looks the part, and the concept is fun and they change the table to match the season. But, for me, that’s where it ends.

I was wary after the phone call to book to be honest. I called and asked if they had availability for the date I was interested in, I was asked if I wanted afternoon or evening, I said afternoon would be preferable and was met with “well we only have availability at 5:45pm, so you have to come in the evening” I was a bit taken aback, and didn’t instantly respond. And was met with an exacerbated, “hello!”, but I swallowed what I felt was a complete lack of customer service and told them that we were coming for someone’s 30th birthday and continued with the booking none the less.

Upon arrival it was clear that the whole restaurant was booked out for these benches all night. And it all felt very crammed and very rushed. No sooner had we sat down, someone was out to check if we had any dietary needs and then bam! It was on the table. The atmosphere didn’t feel relaxed, it felt packed and crammed and like the night was all about cramming as many in for as maximum profit as possible.

This also came across in the food. We had the valentines bench which consisted of:
Fries – slightly on the dry side
Chicken Lollipop with sweet chilli sauce – again, slightly on the dry side as if it had been sat out under a heat lamp
Aberdeen Angus slider burger – the best thing on the picnic bench. Succulent and juicy, very tasty.
Mini Lasagne – it seemed as if they had been mass prepared and frozen (I could be wrong) but the moment I put my fork in it, it collapsed and it was very watery. I have only experienced this with frozen lasagne hence my conclusion but yes. It wasn’t very good.
Valentines Cheesecake in a shot glass – was quite bland. Not a great deal of flavour. Was a nice texture though.
Banoffee Pie in a shot glass – much like the cheesecake, very little flavour
Rolo Rocky Road – to be honest – I didn’t get around to eating this so I can’t comment
Belgian Brownie cake pop – fairly dry, but had a good flavour
Jammy Dodger Blondie – very bland, exceedingly stodgy (in a dry kind of way).
Mini bottle of pink lemonade – tasted very yummy.
Mini raspberry mojito – had a nice flavour, but I don’t think it could be classed as a mojito; it did have a sprig of mint in, but I couldn’t taste mint in the drink, only raspberry, and considering mint is an essential part of a mojito…

They didn’t skimp on quantity but in short, it felt like it was very much about the gimmick of the bench, that it was catered rather than freshly prepared, with mass production and low cost playing a higher priority that maximum quality and taste on the output and like we had to rush rather than relax and enjoy.

Also, given that, at the time of booking I made it clear that it was a 30th birthday, it was a little upsetting to see everyone around us have candles in their cakes, and none arrive to the birthday girl on our table. At £18 per person, I would say it’s over-priced. That you are paying purely for the gimmick. Definitely not great value for money. I would be hesitant to return.

What about my birthday? What about me?

As mentioned in a previous post (A birthday treasure hunt) my birthday is sandwiched in between Logan and Caitlin’s birthday. Last year was a “big” birthday for me, and I had been clinging on to that being a spectacular occassion where I could be selfish and let my hair down and just do “me” for a change.

I won’t hash out old information, but to summarise, 2016 was stressful. For the children, for me, for Bruce. There were some good points, but they were drowned amongst exhaustion, self harm, meltdowns, tantrums, professional services, judgement and other people’s misguided, but well meaning intentions.

This came to a head in the pre-Christmas birthday run, not just the three of us, but around 15 friends/family members – yes New Year vigour + Valentines Day has a lot to answer for. But none the less, it added further stress to an already stressful time for us. Which meant that as the bells rang to signal that I had not only become “old” but a milestone “old”, I was sat trying to mop up the blood off a self harming child and comfort them, whilst the other was in full swing meltdown destroying things and shouting.

“Happy Birthday Mumma” right?

I knew it was not personal, it was anxiety, and pressure and emotion being released, because emotional processing just isn’t a skill they have even begun to acquire – lets face it, those of us who haven’t been traumatised prior to gaining world understanding can struggle with this one.

So, what could I do differently this year. Well, even though it seems like my answer to everything – run away! Quite literally. If we go on holiday, there is no social pressure from anyone. The children understand that (to a degree – Logan has his need to please other people and show them he has a good life now, but if we don’t interact with others often, it’s fine). Staying in a hotel, having a focused set of flexible goals and some family time. No need to meet up with people, no requirements to hold it together. Just time and space and experience.

So whether crazy-mad, or not, we booked a weekend in Kent as a precursor to a few nights away at Disneyland Paris.