Easy Like Sunday … Afternoon!

I am blessed that my job takes me to some wonderful locations and the Black Swan in Ockham, Surrey is one of my favourites!

A pub that I frequented in my early 20s (back then it was affectionately known as “The Mucky Duck”) has changed beyond recognition since those dim and distant days.

Nestled in idyllic Surrey countryside, whilst being only minutes from the A3 and the M25, it is hugely popular with local walkers and cyclists but also attracts patrons from all over the country (and the world!).  When chatting with the parents of the children I’m painting I find that many use it as a central meeting point for family get-togethers and celebrations as it’s so easily accessible.

You can often find us set up just inside the entrance of the pub, especially on bank holiday weekends.  We have great fun keeping the children occupied whilst the parents enjoy the mouth-watering food on offer; and sometimes they brave my chair too and enjoy a good dousing of glitter themselves!

This Sunday we were invited to set up in the fabulous beer garden alongside several local food and wine producers at their popular Farmers’ Market.

Black Swan 22.9.13

It was great to see Mary again with her melt in the mouth cakes and biscuits and I had another opportunity to paint her beautiful daughter, Emma.


The Black Swan’s premium wine supplier, La Caves de Pyrene  was on hand offering wine tasting.  I avoided the temptation to partake but couldn’t resist purchasing a bottle to take away and enjoy later!


I did sneak a nibble of the cheese on offer from Turner’s Fine Food  followed by another purchase!   I can highly recommend the Baromar (similar to cheddar) and the Plumptondown Lynchetts Soft (similar to camembert).


Whilst overcast, the weather was kind and the Garden Menu was just as popular as the main Lunch Menu served in the restaurant.   My mouth was watering all afternoon as the pungent, aromatic smells wafted over to me from the delicious barbecue!  The two Rivitas that I had wolfed down whilst I set up my kit earlier just didn’t cut the mustard!

After a quiet start, the children came at me thick and fast!!  Dalmatians seemed to be the order of the day for many but of course there were your guaranteed array of tigers and butterflies wandering around the children’s play area by the end of the afternoon!


A couple of wolf requests sneaked in too … a little spooky … I am reliably informed that back in the early 80s the pub was used as the set for “The Slaughtered Lamb” bar scene in An American Werewolf in London!  Strangely I do get asked for more than the average amount of wolf paints when I’m working there!


You can find more information about the Black Swan here.

Liam and his fantastic team will be delighted to welcome you.  (Please do book if you want to eat in the restaurant – I have never known it not to be packed!)



I think our little “secret” is out! Relish restaurant was buzzing this afternoon with lots of new faces and several of our “Radisson Regulars”. Week by week it’s getting busier and busier so if you fancy coming to join us then it’s always safer to book in advance, but please don’t let that stop you popping in if you’re just passing; I’m sure everything will be done to squeeze you in!

I couldn’t resist taking a few snaps of the wonderful spread of food to share with you – so much choice; deliciously cooked; and frequently replaced during the afternoon to ensure everyone receives fresh, piping hot food.

Relish Restaurant

Relish Restaurant

Relish Restaurant

Succulent roast chicken was also on the menu and can you believe I forgot to photograph the dessert table! Will leave that for you to discover for yourselves!!!

Don’t forget – children under 12 eat free (one per accompanying adult) and we provide the complimentary facepainting!

Call Relish Restaurant on 01483 792305 to book and don’t forget Afternoon Tea is also available with donations from each tea during March going towards Shooting Star Chase charity.


Waking up to the beautiful snow covered scenes from my window this morning did cast some doubt as to whether I’d make it to Guildford today but thanks to hubby spending an hour clearing the driveway I was able to set off tentatively with my boot loaded with shovel, blanket, snow boots, jumpers and a flask of coffee!!!

45 minutes later I pulled up in the car park with some relief and skidded my way into the wonderfully warm hotel!

I knew it was to be a great afternoon when whilst setting up I was greeted by a school friend from many years ago who had brought her large extended family with her to celebrate her birthday. Whilst we have met up a couple of times in recent years, it was the first time I’d met her Mum and brother in over 30 years!!! So lovely to see them all again and to meet the rest of the family.

My favourite waitress, Sarah, has a new request each week as to what she’d like painted on her face. Last week was Avatar; this week was lillies!!!

The restaurant was full of many other lovely guests today including the very charming Donal MacIntyre who was lunching with his beautiful family. After transforming both of his adorable daughters into sparkling flower princesses I had the great pleasure of painting Mr MacIntyre himself as Spidey!!!! What a sport!!!!


We have been spending our Sundays this month at the new Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Guildford. Their fabulous Relish Restaurant offers a delicious carvery every Sunday between 12.30pm and 3pm and not only do kids under 12 eat free but they can get their faces painted by us too – also compliments of the hotel! (We’re there between 1pm and 3pm and our usual conditions apply!)

For any of you who have not yet discovered the delights of this stunning hotel, we encourage you to come down and join us one Sunday – you will not be disappointed! The spread of food is mouth wateringly immense and the staff are a wonderfully friendly team who greet you with open arms.

You can find us there every Sunday throughout January and February – advanced booking recommended either online or by phone.



Another fabulous Breakfast with Santa on Tuesday hosted by Claire Bloomfield and her team at the Arena Leisure Centre, Camberley.

Lots of reindeer requests mixed with Christmas butterflies and snowmen!!!

One of our lovely regular customers sent us this fantastic festive shot which sums up the morning!

Brilliant “Breakfast with Santa” this morning!

Just had a lovely morning!! The first Breakfast with Santa at Starbucks in Camberley. It was lovely to see some familiar faces – thanks for coming ladies.

Santa was absolutely brilliant – I highly recommend coming along.

McDonalds is now fully booked (as was this morning) but places are still currently available on the next three Tuesdays at various locations in Camberley.