During my research for my Christmas book, Coming Home for Christmas, I was looking for the perfect place for my characters to buy a Christmas tree. It was suggested to me, I look at Bluebells Dairy, in Derby, when I did I just knew it was what I was looking for.
Contacting Rosemary she was more than happy to be featured in the book, however it came as a great surprise while writing, this chapter, I came up with the idea of having Geoff as Thomas’s best friend. Of course, Geoff was bursting with pride to think he would be part of a steamy romance story, what man wouldn’t grow three inches… in height!
Heartfelt thanks to Geoff and Rosemary Brown, for the use of Bluebell Dairy and for inspiring me to create Geoff and Rosemary as characters in this book.
Introducing the Brown Family!
The Brown family have been farming at Bluebells for nearly 60 years and are totally committed to supporting other local business. To this end they try and source as much as possible from within 30 miles.
Locally produced seasonal fruit and vegetables
Locally produced jams, pickles and honey
Locally produced fruit drinks
Free range local eggs
And not to forget their very own, luxurious Ice Cream made from their own fresh milk on the farm!!
At Bluebells they have 12 different flavours of ice cream to try
Runners up in the BBC Food and Farming Awards 2009
Winners of a Great Taste Gold Award for our Amaretto and Black Cherry Ice Cream
Featured in the Sunday Telegraph's article on the best Vanilla Ice Creams
Runners up in Good Food Magazines Local Food Hero Competition
Winners of 5 different awards in the National Ice Cream Competition 2011
The ice cream parlor, shop and tea rooms is based in a wonderfully converted old farm building and everyone that enters can expect a warm welcome from Rosemary Brown and the Bluebells team.
Eating & Relaxing
A team of chefs, have a passion for cooking great food using fresh seasonal ingredients sourced locally. The specials menu changes weekly to accommodate the freshest fruits and vegetables that are in season and being harvested, from local farms, that week.
Bluebells Animal Patch and Play Area
Come and Play in the Play Area with climbing frames, swings and a sandpit
Meet and feed all the animals including: Peppa the Pot Bellied Pig, Twinkle the donkey and Merlin the Shetland Pony, Sarah the Sheep and her lambs. Their Playful Goats, chickens, ducks and their chicks and Guinea Pigs. And not to forget their latest addition the Gobbledey Gook Turkeys!
Prince of Wales Visits
An afternoon the Brown family and their team at Bluebells will never forget.
The Prince of Wales joined the Brown family in their kitchen at Burnswood farm, Spondon, Derbyshire for tea and homemade Derbyshire fruit loaf.
Freshly Cut red Locko Park Christmas Trees
The only ones selling Locko Park trees which are grown less than half a mile up the road! They are also unetted so you are able to see the Christmas Tree as it would look in your home. Once you have chosen your perfect tree it will then be netted for you free of charge so that it will fit into most cars (and make less mess!).
Cutting Christmas Trees does not start until the last few days in November and continue to cut them throughout December so your tree will be amongst the freshest available anywhere. Most Garden centres, Farms and DIY shops sell trees that were cut in early November or perhaps even earlier and begin shedding their needles at the start of December. A freshly cut Tree will look better and last longer.
Three varieties of Christmas Tree:
- Norway Spruce - The favourite Christmas tree in England. It has the shape, smell and tradition of Christmas past.
- Blue Spruce - A low-drop tree that often has a distinctive silver-blue colour and a smell that is reminiscent of Christmas
- Nordmann Fir - The original non-drop tree with good needle retaining properties, soft, wide, flat, dark green needles. The tree presents a wide conical shape, and the branches are not too dense.
Delivery is available for a small fee. There is also a range of Tree stands and Festive Wreaths. Credit and debit cards accepted.
How to find Bluebells Dairy
If you are using a sat nav the postcode is DE21 7BU. But this will take you to the next farm along. So watch out for the bluebells sign at the bottom of the drive!
Off the A52, left on to the slip road and A6096 for Ilkeston. After 400 yards go left at the right angled bend (heading for Morley and Heanor), up past the church (on church street). This then runs into Locko Road. Follow this out of Spondon past the cricket club and then turn right at the bottom when you see our bluebells signs.
Off the A38, bear on to the A61 on the slip road just before you reach the roundabout. At the next roundabout bear left into Breadsall. In Breadsall turn right at the left hand bend and keep going until you reach the A608. Turn right then immediately left. Turn right when you reach the Kings Corner pub and then the first left for Spondon. Keeping heading along here for just over a mile then turn left into our drive when you see our Bluebells signs.
Excerpt from Coming Home for Christmas
“How on earth did you know about this place?” With his arm wrapped around my shoulder, we stood watching the children feed a host of farm yard animals.
“I went to school with Geoff, the owner. Back then, it was just Brunswood Farm. A few years ago, they converted an old farm building into Bluebells Dairy that included a farm shop and tearoom. They make their own luxury ice cream, which is to die for.”
“Thomas, great to see you.”
“Talk of the devil. Sophie, this is Geoff.”
Geoff had a friendly smile and a healthy-looking face that came from working outdoors. “Whatever he said, I swear it was Thomas that made me do it. So this is the infamous Sophie we have heard so much about. Pleased to meet you.” He gave me a friendly hug. “It’s an honour to finally meet one of Thomas’s lady friends,” he said, leaving me to wonder how many there had been in the past. “Rosemary is in the tea room, and I’ll warn you, she’s on the war-path. You ditched us for two Friday night suppers, but I’m sure when she sees Sophie you’ll be forgiven,” he added with a wink.
“You have a great set up here, Geoff; it will be difficult to get my daughter away from the animals.” She pointed to Lily, stroking a donkey. “Thomas tells me you have a farm shop and tea rooms, as well as the farm. How do you cope?”
“Well it’s hard work, as any business. The farm shop sells within 30 miles wherever possible We have a dedicated staff who help us give the best service and quality we can.” Geoff seemed to be the most unpretentious, successful businessman I had met. Working in a bank, I had met a fair few. “So are you here to try our ice cream or pick a tree?”
“Both,” said Thomas. “First, I need a coffee and some of your delicious homemade cake. Did you know Sophie, Prince Charles had tea here?”
“Is that true?” Once again Geoff modestly agreed His Royal Highness had indeed joined them for tea and cake at their house.
“Go to the tea room, and I’ll join you later to pick your tree.”
“Nice man.” I watched Geoff stop by and say hello to Thomas’s children.
“Salt of the earth.