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Undressed for Dinner: The Story of a Family Trying to Lead an Ordinary Life in an Extraordinary Place Paperback – 28 Nov 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 230 pages
  • Publisher: Hayloft Publishing (28 Nov. 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1904524982
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904524984
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,420,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

I love this book. Augill Castle is my favourite weekend retreat in the UK. This book makes fascinating reading about the backdrop to this magical haven in the Cumbrian countryside, and next time I visit I'll feel even richer for sharing their story. (Janey Lee Grace, BBC Radio 2) A wonderfully honest account of life behind the kitchen door showing the real blood sweat and tears that go into making a successful family run hotel. I laughed, cried and cheered in equal measure. Simon and Wendy's story is a real clarion call for celebrating independent hoteliers up and down the country. (Fiona Duncan, Sunday Telegraph)

About the Author

Simon was born in North London and moved with his family to Somerset aged three. He attended Taunton School where he did enough to get by and Bournemouth University where the beach was always more tempting than the library. After graduating with a BSc in Food and Catering Management he worked in various capacities in hotels in the Channel Islands, London, Sydney and Perth, Western Australia. On his return to England he took a post-graduate diploma in journalism and worked as a reporter on evening newspapers in the East Midlands for two years before marrying Wendy, buying a share of a restaurant in London's Mayfair and moving to West London, all in the space of a month. Simon now lives at Augill Castle in Cumbria' Eden Valley with Wendy, their two children, Oliver and Emily, a cocker spaniel called Maisie, a cat called Luther, several chickens, a turkey and six goats. He is a director of Cumbria Tourism, a governor of two schools and a dedicated supporter of Penrith RUFC under 16s.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This book is such a good read it had me laughing out loud on many occasions and brought a tear to my eyes on many.
It is very cleverly written with Simon`s conversations with his dead father interspaced throughout the book. This brings a thought provoking thread that runs throughout.
From the beginning it has you hooked. Wanting to know & understand how a family owning a restaurant in London end up not just owning a run down castle in Cumbria, but developing it into a fantastic venue & hotel,
The trials & tribulations they have gone through are to be commended, some would have lesser mortals "running for their lives" This is all going on while raising a young family.
I have worked in the hospitality industry all my working life, and I have to say Simon`s observations of people (guests public & staff included) are so true to life and so funny in many cases, I literally had tears of laughter falling down my cheeks.
His tales from behind the scenes will ring true to many people involved in hospitality..... all calm & serene on the surface..... but paddling like crazy underneath .. just like a swan on water!!!
This book is a thoroughly good read. I love the honesty and the totally human story of The Bennett family, and I loved the hidden tales from behind the scenes.
How many people have thought "I could write a book about that" .. well Simon has, and he has managed to write one I would recommend to anyone.
I am looking forward to hear more Tales from the Castle!!!!
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I bought Undressed For Dinner because I was interested in this insider's guide to the trials and tribulations of setting up and running a hotel in an unusual property in a scenic location. I expected it to be mainly factual with the odd entertaining anecdote thrown in. It certainly lived up to expectations but was much more besides. Simon gives a very frank insight into the impact such a huge project can have on family life, the stresses and strains of creating something new on a budget that was never going to be big enough.

I admired Simon's honesty, laughed out loud at some of his stories and felt the stress of trying to build a new business in a remote location. The book is really well written and entertaining, and the author's experience as a journalist shines through.

One warning though - the book made me want to book a stay at Augill Castle to experience it first hand...
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This is a most revealing and wonderfully honest true story. I know Augill Castle well and Simon captures his and Wendy's journey to where they are now, owning and running one of the most special and certainly unique boutique properties in the UK, to an absolute tee.
I have had the privilege to experience the Castle first hand. My suggestion is to read this most unputdownable and highly amusing book; if you like the sound of the Castle - go and stay, if you don't, just remain in your dull ordinary world and miss out on something extraordinary!!!
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What an amazing in site into an amazing castle I read this book after staying at Augill Castle and didn't put it down until I had finished it a few hours later.
I would defiantly recommend this book, Simon has wrote a lovely honest story which made me laugh out loud and cry seconds later, but left me feeling part of an amazing story of such a brave family.
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By Steve D on 27 Feb. 2015
Verified Purchase
Great read.
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