I call The Tea Set a new kind of tea room in the Cotswolds.

I set out to create a Cotswold tea room that was different from the many tea rooms already out there in the area. One where produce is fresh and, (where possible) local, where items on the menu are freshly made on site and created with a great love of the British tradition that is tea and cakes. Plus one with a cosy atmosphere.

I opened my first tea room in Chipping Norton two years ago and it was quite the baptism of fire! I had been providing outside catering – afternoon teas, buffet lunches, canapés and cakes for local businesses – for around four years, so the tea room seemed like a natural progression.

Our fabulous landlord was incredibly accommodating so we could get the refurbishment done prior to incurring any expenses. Unfortunately we didn’t allow enough time and were still painting as guests were arriving for our launch party.

I was adamant that I didn’t want to run a typical cafe. I wanted it to have a proper tearoom feel, and although I have relented on a few points – full cooked breakfast and jacket potatoes to name but two – I have kept to my original vision of a relaxed atmosphere in a tranquil setting serving proper loose leaf tea and cakes made by us.

I got the initial staffing completely wrong and we struggled for the first month, but once this was sorted and we had structure in place we settled into the day-to-day very well.

Our team – most of whom have been with us since the beginning – are the backbone of the business, I still provide a lot of outside catering and, together with the advent of our second tearoom in Broadway, I am unable to be in one place full time and appreciate the incredible support they offer.

Although I love running the business it can be quite stressful as I do most of the baking, all of the marketing and accounting, all of the event organising and some front of house and kitchen work, so it’s pretty full on keeping all the balls in the air.

We have two fabulous teams in both of our tearooms who are 100 per cent committed to us so that is a real bonus and keeps me from going too mad. We also have a great young team who generally work at the weekends and I am very proud of how much they have progressed since starting with us.

Our best selling cake by far is the classic Victoria sponge closely followed by lemon drizzle and any sort of fruit cake, all of which are made in our commercial kitchen just outside of Chipping Norton, where we also make cakes for other local businesses.

All in all it has been an incredibly steep learning curve which I certainly wasn’t prepared for, but I wouldn’t change a thing (well, almost nothing!) and would love to see our brand spread further across Oxfordshire and The Cotswolds both in terms of tea rooms and our outside events. We even have a dedicated Twitter page for our dog customers.