Derby Mums Meets… The Garden Room

We were lucky enough to meet up with Leeann Pickard who owns and runs The Garden Room – Afternoon Tea by Appointment; a fabulous hidden gem of Derby – offering a wonderful bespoke afternoon tea service in her beautiful back garden and sunroom, in Stanley Village.

The spread we were presented with was, quite simply, breathtaking and although our eyes were nearly bigger than our bellies, we were very proud to finish every morsel on the sumptuous sweet and savoury treat tower in front of us. With a selection of soft drinks, teas, coffee and a glass of prosecco if you fancy, The Garden Room truly offers a very special, luxurious-feeling treat of an afternoon. Whether it’s for a birthday or baby shower, anniversary or just an mummy-needs-a-treat day, The Garden Room is just the place to relax, be pampered, feel the sunshine on your face (if you’re lucky as we were – don’t worry, business carries on as usual in the gorgeous conservatory if the weather is not cooperating) and forget everything, just for a few, blissful hours.


Name: Leeann Pickard

Business: The Garden Room (Afternoon Tea in Stanley Village)

Family: Lovely hubby, 9-(going on 14)yr old daughter, 2 cats and 3 chickens.

Top tip for something to do with your family for free or nearly nothing: We like a good walk, especially with friends, or a (not too challenging) cycle as long as the route includes a café or pub.

Best way to relax once the kids are in bed: Glass of wine, bowl of popcorn and a good book or a bit of TV – as long as it’s a gripping drama, film or the Great British Bake Off!

Guilty pleasure: Popcorn (the sweet variety) and ‘quality’ chocolate – although I’m quite prepared to blatantly consume – no hiding in the cupboard!

Your mantra for life:No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”  – Voltaire


Firstly, tell us about The Garden Room – How, when and where did it all start?

The Garden Room was launched in June 2015 with early flyers being distributed at my daughters’s school in the village, and a facebook page. I now seriously need to get on with sorting a website, although The Garden Room is now featured on Trip Advisor.

Having left my management role at Rolls-Royce, due to stress and becoming disillusioned with senior management, I had a few months of quiet recovery before getting busy sorting out some of those jobs around the house that you never get around to….., including a good clear out and clean of the conservatory. As I was moving the furniture around, I realised that it’s a pretty big space which looks out onto my lovely mature garden and I thought how nice it would be to share this peaceful space somehow. This thought developed over the next few days and particularly as I was baking – I love to bake, but there’s only so much cake and treats the 3 of us can eat without doubling in size!


Did you have experience in running your own business?

Not me directly, but my husband has been self employed for a number of years albeit in quite a different capacity as an Engineering Consultant.

I started by stocking up on china, teapots and cake-stands and enlisting some very talented friends to help in developing the concept, designing the advertising and, of course, sample the first trials!


What’s your advice for fellow ‘mumpreneurs’ who are starting, or thinking about starting their on business? Top tips!

Engage advice, support and any available expertise from friends and family. Expect start-up to be slow and that getting known and targeting the right people may take time.


What makes a successful baker and what are the things that give you the most joy to bake?

Until you feel confident enough to know what you’re doing or to experiment, use reliable, tried and tested recipes that you follow carefully. Once you’ve had a few successes, you’ll feel ambitious about trying lots of new and challenging creations. Early failures are the ones that knock confidence.

Turning out good looking and tasty treats that you know will be appreciated is always good for the soul!

mreingue kisses

You’ve only just started with The Garden Room – how are you finding it and what have been the hardest things and most enjoyable aspects of starting your own business so far?

Love it – the first ‘wow!’ from a new customer as they catch sight of the 3 tiers of goodies never fails to delight me!

Believing that it was a viable idea that could work without being a laughing stock was pretty hard, particularly as my background is in science and engineering. Actually swallowing the nerves, getting on with it, attracting paying customers and getting great reviews has been fantastic!


Where and when do your afternoon teas take place?

The Garden Room is a bright and airy conservatory opening onto a mature private garden in Stanley Village, which only serves Afternoon Tea and a reservation is required. Weather permitting, there is also the opportunity to sit outside. There is the potential for Afternoon Tea to be booked on any midweek afternoon and the occasional Saturday, depending on availability. So, don’t be shy calling, e-mailing or facebook messaging to check.

A selection of homemade sandwiches, cakes and scones with jam and clotted cream are served with a glass of prosecco and unlimited tea or coffee for £15 per person. Gift vouchers are also available and there is a small gift corner with a selection of pretty gifts and cards to choose from.

a havenreadyshop

Who can come and enjoy your afternoon teas?

It’s a great way to spend some quality and relaxing time with friends and/or family, so anyone who likes a little indulgence from time-to-time or wants to treat a loved one. Alas, we are not a practical venue for entertaining small children. So, for all those harassed parents out there, it’s an afternoon treat venue that you can squeeze in while your little darlings are at school or nursery!

The Garden Room can also be reserved exclusively for groups of 6 to 10 to take Afternoon Tea for a birthday celebration, girlie get-together, family catch-up etc. with pamper packages and celebration extras, such as helium balloons, also available by arrangement.


What makes you different from other bakers / cafes / cake makers?

The Garden Room is a niche experience, which only offers Afternoon Tea by appointment in quiet and attractive surroundings. This provides a totally relaxed experience for those who choose to indulge, as there are only limited bookings at any one time with no one just dropping in, queuing or chasing you from the table. There is also the expectation that people will feel comfortable enough to relax for a good 2 hours, with unlimited hot drinks and the yummy variety of sandwiches and treats on offer!


What’s it like to work for yourself?Everything_stops_for_tea

A new experience…!

finally, can you sum up your business / life in 5 words:

Optimistically creative for maximum enjoyment…

** WATCH THIS SPACE for news of The Garden Room’s special discount for Derby Mums Membership Card holders! **



contact Leeann:

facebook: The Garden Room Afternoon Tea

phone: 07791 923053


Derby Mums’ review of The Garden Room on facebook

Such a lovely afternoon!
We were blessed with fabulous weather, which was just the icing on the cake (!) of the perfect time we spent at The Garden Room this week.
Beautiful garden, lovely peaceful surroundings and the most charming, attentive and warm host that you could wish for. As for the food….well, the testament to how fresh, delicious and just stunning the amazing array of sandwiches, treats and cakes were, was the fact that we all polished off everything that had been lovingly laden onto our tower of delights. (Plus a few extra!)If you need a rest, a treat, a retreat or want to spoil that special person in your life, whether it be friend, mum, bride-to-be (or yourself!), I can think of no better way to do so.Just perfect – thank you so much, Leeann!

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