Stop For Breakfast continues the story from Simon Temple-Bennett's award winning first book Undressed for Dinner, of a family trying to lead an ordinary life in an extraordinary place. With the loss of Simon's mum, two teenaged children vying for ever more attention, a financial climate gradually suffocating them and their dream French home back on the market the couple feel the draw of the southern sun strengthening by the day.
In desperation, they start a smallholding with near disastrous consequences, expand beyond their already exhausted means while their efforts to remain sane are thwarted by ridiculous bureaucracy and government jobsworths. It’s a gentle, humourous and self- deprecating take on mid-life, parenting of teenagers and self-employment and the ups and downs of having to deal with all of them at once.
Written with stylish verve – the joys and the miseries of a hotelier’s life.
Adam Raphael, editor and publisher of the Good Hotel Guide.
Indiscreet, Hilarious, Bloody-Minded, Wonderful. Why are the hotels I stay in nowhere near as much fun? But then maybe they are behind the door marked ‘private’ that Simon has so entertainingly left ajar for us.
Eric Robson, writer and broadcaster
Great fun, as always, and open-hearted too
It was at the age of eleven Simon learnt the power of words having written a piece at school which made his English teacher cry.
Words have been his companion ever since.
He was born in London and his family relocated to the West Country three years later – it was all, he says, his fault, a story for another time – but he has always considered himself a Londoner at heart.
He went to a very fine public school and then chose a university based on the quality of the nearby beach. An exciting spell in international hotel management took him around the world from Jersey to Jakarta via Sydney, Perth, Singapore and eventually back to London.
After completing a post-graduate diploma in journalism he spent several carefree years reporting on everything from dog shows to murder trials on a series of evening newspapers and then, quite inexplicable, bought a share of a West End restaurant with his new wife, Wendy. Eighteen months later, even more inexplicably, they bought an empty, near derelict castle at the foot of the Pennine fells in Northern England; a decision yet more puzzling for the fact that their dream was to move to southern France.
The rest is history and the inspiration of his first novel Undressed For Dinner, Lakeland Book of the Year in 2014.
Today, alongside running the castle, he maintains a writing career which has morphed from print journalism in the 1990s to blogging and content writing in the 21st century. He contributes regularly to travel sites including The Good Hotel Guide, Sawday’s Special Places and Best Loved Hotels.
He works as a small business advisor, a hotel reviewer and often entertains as an after dinner speaker. He has been a school governor for fifteen years, most of those in the chair that nobody else seemed keen to claim and for four years was a director of Cumbria Tourism, one of the UK’s leading destination marketing organisations.
In January 2016, after a second trip to the Middle East as part of a diplomatic mission, he set up a non-profit organisation, Bridges Not Barriers to empower young people to become international ambassadors for peace.
Simon continues to live and work at Augill Castle with Wendy, their two children Oliver, 17 and Emily, 15, the ashes of his brother, mother and grandmother with which he confesses he doesn’t know what to do, and a shrinking menagerie which at press consists of a dog, a cat and one hen called Cindy.
You can find out more about Simon’s writing at: www.SimonTemple-Bennett.com and his work with international young people at: www.BridgesNotBarriers.com. He was a speaker at the 2017 Words by the Water Festival of Words and Ideas at the Theatre by the Lake, Keswick.
Cumbrian hotelier releases sequel to Lakeland Book of the Year
Stop for Breakfast, the sequel to Undressed for Dinner by Simon Temple Bennett - the winner of Lakeland Book of the Year 2014 - was published in 2016. The follow up, which has a foreword by publisher and independent hotel guru Alastair Sawday, will be officially released on the 1st of October and will continue the entertaining, endearing and often emotional story of Simon and his young family’s life at Augill Castle in Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.
The story begins soon after Simon and his wife Wendy discover their original dream home in the south of France is back on the market. With the loss of Simon's mum, two teenaged children vying for ever-more attention and a financial climate gradually suffocating them, the couple feels the draw of the southern sun strengthening by the day.
In desperation, they start a smallholding with near disastrous consequences and expand beyond their means, which were already exhausted, while their efforts to remain sane are thwarted by ridiculous bureaucracy and government jobs-worths.
The book is a gentle, humorous and self-deprecating take on mid-life, parenting of teenagers and self employment - and the ups and downs of having to deal with all of them at once.
Simon and his wife Wendy turned their back on London for a new country life and bought Augill Castle as a wreck in 1997. 137 burst pipes, several thousand pounds of dry rot treatment, hundreds of metres of new wiring and plumbing later, their first three bedrooms opened for business in June 1998.
Since then Augill has been a labour of love for the couple and their two children Oliver and Emily and the castle has evolved beautifully over the years, going from strength to strength and winning many awards including The Good Hotel Guide Cesar Award for Family Hotel of the Year 2016.
Today, as well as being the Bennett family home, the castle provides an exceptional place to escape to for thousands of guests over the course of each year. Neither a hotel, nor a B&B, it offers opulent accommodation without formality. It is a decadent retreat for adults, but is genuinely and wholeheartedly child-friendly and offers authentic hospitality along with a little of the Bennett family’s English eccentricity, honest food, fabulous rooms and a magnificent location.
Stop for Breakfast published by Cumbrian publishing house Hayloft, will be available in all good book shops. Undressed For Dinner is also re-released with a foreword by Hunter Davies, renowned Cumbrian journalist and author. Simon is also planning a series of book signings this Winter. Report by Maurice Chesworth, for Cumbria24