IN a sleepy cul-de-sac on the outskirts of York, a busy mum is brewing up a café experience with a difference.
Ursula Warrington has turned her Strensall house into a vintage-style cafe, selling home-made cakes and freshly brewed coffees and teas to locals.
It makes a change from her "real" job as a theatre nurse at York Hospital.
Ursula, 46, said she decided to launch her pop-up venture because of the lack of cafés in the local area. She didn't want to run the financial risk of taking on a premises, so began by running a tea shop from home.
Opening hours fit in around her hospital shifts. The next dates are today and Saturday, from 11am to 4pm, although she will be hosting a café also at St Wilfred's Garrison Church on Friday, again from 11am to 4pm.
Setting up shop is a family affair, with daughter Anneka, 12, son Thomas, 14 and husband Kevin helping out with the café.
Their home is transformed into a quaint meeting point with tables covered in hand-embroidered linens and sofas and chairs plumped with cosy cushions. Cakes and drinks are served in mix-and-match cups, saucers and teapots, picked up from charity shops and car boot sales. On sunny days, customers can sit outside in the family garden.
"It's in a Cath Kidston style and I like to call it vintage elegance," said Ursula.
It is not unusual for Ursula to come home from a ten-hour shift at the hospital, switch on the oven, and bake until the wee, small hours.
"Sleep is over rated," chuckles Ursula, who is from Germany, and has been a theatre nurse for 20 years, working three or four ten-hour shifts a week.
Her love of baking began when she was a child, when she was taught by her mum, Aganetha. "We were a family of six children. On Saturday, the German tradition is to bake for Sunday, which is a day of rest, and we would sit and have coffee and cakes."
Ursula says she was spurred on to open the pop-up cafe after meeting Mary Berry at the Good Food show in Harrogate in April.
She said: " She is 80 and still going." Ursula swears by Mary's recipes too.
When we visit her café, the choice of home-bakes is mouthwatering. There are scones the size of Yorkshire, served with home-made strawberry jam and clotted cream; a Victoria sponge so overladen with whipped cream and fresh strawberries that is resembles the leaning tower of Pisa, and a giant lemon cake with a Vesuvius-like topping, overflowing with white fondant icing and lemon shavings.
Carrot cake, a chocolate cake flavoured with Baileys and, in honour of the home country, Black Forest cupcakes are also on the menu. Another German speciality is available too: Donauwellen, which translates as Danube waves cake, and is a chocolate cake layered with sour cherries and vanilla butter cream.
Prices are competitively set, assures Ursula, with treats from £1.60 to £2.40, and tea and coffee at £1.80 and £2.20. Cordials and soft drinks are available too.
Twenty per cent of profits will be going to charity, says Ursula. Good causes include the local St Mary's Church and two charities overseas that are supported by her family. Ursula's sister Elsa lives in Brazil and runs a creche for nearly 100 street children; her other sister Maria is heading to Port-au-Prince in Haiti to set up a children's village for orphans with a school and medical centre.
Ursula offers a take-away service and is happy to cater privately for parties. Her long-term aim is to continue nursing and running the cafe. She said: "I don't want to give up nursing. It's an absolute privilege. I really enjoy nursing."
Customers are full of praise. Helen Hall and Sharmani Thomas, both of Strensall, were tucking into some Victoria sponge and Bailey's chocolate cake during the visit by The Press. "It's a lovely idea, " said Sharmani. "It's lovely and friendly and the cakes are delicious. We will be coming back - regularly."
Ursula runs her Vintage Pop-up Café from 1 Pulleyn Close, Strensall. For more information and future dates and opening times, visit her Facebook page: Vintage Pop Up Café- Strensall- York @ our House