How can it be May already?

How can it be May already?

Well it is May and I am thinking how can this be?  Where has January, February, March & April gone!

We were lucky enough to take a break in April and started off in Thailand then got a tall ship to Singapore.  We absolutely loved the tall ship and would say to anyone that it is a fabulous experience.

Tall ship

We had an amazing week and once it was finished went onto Brisbane in Australia to see family.  Well enough of what I have been doing now what has been happening at the cottages?  Well School House Cottage has been really doing well with bookings and we have had a number of repeat bookings which to us is great as people want to visit the Forest of Bowland and Lancashire.

Well the tulips are out in force at the moment on the Newton village green and once again brings so many photographers out and lots of people stop and take photos!

tulips

 

When we got back from our break the first thing I did was check the guest book to check out the reviews – well they were as fabulous as ever and shows that we have great people around us helping us out.  The Parkers Arms has been mentioned more than once in the reviews which is really nice for them also.

Our other cottage in Gisburn, Church View has also been doing really well with lots of bookings.  I am hoping that we start to get some repeat guests and will keep an eye on this.  We have installed a NEST for the heating.  Our guests love the easy way it works and we can also turn the heating up before guests arrive and turn the heat down when our guests have left.

The cottages are both doing really well with their bookings  which is really good and the reviews are fabulous so I think we must be doing a lot right!

The Parkers Arms has been winning more awards and has been rebranded.  They also now have Lunch and Dinner offers 3 courses from Wednesday to Friday and Saturday and Sunday £28 which is fabulous value.

Newton Village covered in Snow!

Newton in Bowland village covered in Snow!

So it is now March and the village and most of the country has been covered in snow.  We had guests Morag her 5 week old baby and her 80 year old mum staying in the cottage when the snow came down.  Snow

It was really pretty but we had to wait for the snow plough to come along to get out of the village.  We are so lucky that the snow plough comes along daily.  So what has been going on in the last month – well the Parkers Arms were given the award for being in the top 50 Gastropubs in the UK.  They moved up from 13th to 8th which is a fabulous accolade to their fantastic food – my favourite is the game pie, yum yum!  http://www.parkersarms.co.uk

We have had a lot of bookings for School House Cottage which is fabulous and Church View cottage in Gisburn we have been lucky to have a 28 day stay by a great couple Linda and Tony.  They needed to find somewhere to stay as the home was not quite ready for them to move into.

We have been updating School House Cottage especially in the main bedroom.  We had Jed a local joiner who is an amazing joiner build some cupboards behind the King Size Bed.  We asked ourselves why oh why did we not do this a long time ago as now I can keep all the bedding and towels down in the cottage instead of being in my back bedroom at home.

We also went to a show in Harrogate for bed & breakfast and small businesses like ours – I did get some great ideas and honestly got a bit of a kick up the backside by the Harrogate Girl on making sure I blog https://www.theharrogategirl.com  check out her website it is brilliant and so informative on the area around Harrogate and beyond.  I have also started using Instagram and just getting my hair around it.

So what is going on in the area you must be thinking!  Well the Forest of Bowland is in the final of the best holiday destination we are up against some real competition including the Isle of White so no competition there then!  When you look at our countryside even if we do not win I think we are lucky living and working here.

Ribble Valley

I asked the holiday direct facebook page about getting a hive or nest for Church View Cottage in Gisburn so I can ensure the heating is on for guests without needing to go up and put it on – you would not have given the number of holiday home owners who use them so that is a yes from me and we are arranging on to be fitted.

So what is going on in the month of March in the Forest of Bowland you must be asking well it is the Claylands Legstreacher which is a great walk along the river Wyre – so need to get my walking boots on.

Anyway must go now – hopefully you have founds this blog interesting and would love to have your feedback and thoughts on what you would like me to talk about next month so please email me at thecottage@bowlandcottage.co.uk

Just been to an event in Harrogate called #Bemyguest

By / 21st February, 2018 / Blogs, Uncategorized / No Comments

Just been to an event in Harrogate called #bemyguest

Well a day out in Harrogate is fabulous at anytime of the year but when you also plan to go to an event at the Harrogate Convention Centre on how to increase bookings its a win win situation.

I must admit some of the stands I would love to have had a word with were not there such as Out of Eden I was a little bit upset.

I did listen to http://WWW.THEHARROGATEGIRL.COM and she was really good and really made me realise that I should be blogging – which to be honest I have not blogged for a few months – so a slap on the wrist for me or what!

Since my last blog I am now using instagram and it is not as bad as I thought so now I am using twitter, instagram and facebook.  I am looking to make these work together so they do not take up alot of my time going into each of the apps – anyone have any advice on this for me?

So what is going on in the cottages.  The Parkers Arms have now been voted 8th in the top 50 Gastropubs which is fabulous as last year they were 13th – well done the parkers http://www.parkersarms.co.uk we love eating there and their pies especially the game pie is my favourite – yum yum!

La Locanda which is an authentic Italian restaurant have given us £15 off vouchers so we are giving them to all our guests http://lalocanda.co.uk  La Locanda is only a minute walk from Church View Cottage so is ideal for our guests who stay there.

In School House Cottage we had a food blogger and his friend stay called Chris Pople he loved the Parkers and hopefully has been blogging about staying with us as well as the food.  I am looking forward to the tulips coming out in Newton

Tulips and the cottage

 

December is here again and it’s Christmas

By / 6th December, 2017 / Blogs, holiday, Uncategorized / No Comments

December is here again and it’s nearly Christmas

December is here again and it’s nearly Christmas – where has the year gone?  It has been quite a busy November at the cottages and also for me getting advertising in the Ribble Valley magazine and the Forest of Bowland Magazine for 2018.

We attended a meeting at Tithe Barn at Browsholme Hall for the Forest of Bowland members.  It was great to network with other local businesses and also the meeting was really informative about certain EU grants you can apply for.  However, as we are such a small business, these are  not available to us.  I still think grants from the EU to help sustainable tourism are fantastic – I suppose anyone who is thinking of applying for a grant should do so pretty dam quick as they will not be there once Brexit is enacted!!

I have been busy decorating the cottage in Church View Cottage in Gisburn so it is all Christmassy for our next guests.   I have not done School House Cottage yet as the guests who were staying until 1st December did not want the Christmas decorations up for their stay – of course, you have to respect your guests’ wishes.  Anyway, we decided to take a few days away before the Christmas rush and popped off to Amsterdam for the Christmas Markets – now here lies a story, we arrive and then find out that the Christmas Markets do not start until after we leave!!!!!  No issue as to be honest Amsterdam is such a pretty place to stroll around and take in the sights.

As you know, I like to have a walk of the month and December’s is the Downham Circular – if you decide to do this walk do not forget to take some duck food as the ducks love being there and swimming in the river http://forestofbowland.com/files/uploads/pdfs/walks/DownhamCirc2.pdf

We have been stocking up with logs and coal again so our guests can have a roaring fire when they stay in one of our cottages.

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Snuggle up to a lovely fire after a nice walk in the open countryside

Halloween is now over so its soon Christmas

By / 2nd November, 2017 / Blogs, holiday, Uncategorized / No Comments

Halloween is now over so its soon Christmas time

Well Halloween is now over so its soon Christmas time.  Where has this year gone I am asking myself?  We are still receiving bookings for both the cottages and both are now booked over the Christmas period – but I still have availability in November and the first part of December so thinking what marketing campaign I can run.

I have decided that I am going to run a walk of the month which for November is the Downham Circular walk.  The walk is 4 miles and should take around 2 – 3 hours.  The walk terrain is over tracks, fields and roads and is a lovely walk.Downham Circular Walk

If you wanted to download the walk here is a link for you  http://www.forestofbowland.com/files/uploads/pdfs/walks/DownhamCirc2.pdf

I have been to a social media class run by Bowland Experience who are part of the Forest of Bowland tourist group.  It appears I should be using instagram as well as twitter – so trying to get my head around this now.

Soon I will be getting all the Christmas decorations down from the cottages lofts and get them ready to put in the cottages.  Guests who are staying in School House on the 1st December has requested that I do not put them up – thank goodness I asked if they would like the decorations up.  I really try to make an effort to ensure our guests stay is a fabulous relaxing experience.  Well the weather today as I am writing this blog is amazing – what views!

So if you would like to have a stay before the Christmas rush in a lovely cottage with a pub within a couple of minutes walk then both my cottages would meet your requirements.  School House Cottage is near The Parkers Arms and Church View Cottage is near the White Bull – happy days!!!!

Forest of Bowland even look like this at Christmas

 

 

Autumn is the time to take a break in Lancashire

By / 17th September, 2017 / Blogs, Uncategorized / No Comments

Autumn is the time to take a break in Lancashire.  Well what has happened in the last few months with the cottages.  All has being going well and we have had a number of guests returning which is fantastic.

The Hodder Valley show has just been and gone for another year and it seems went really well.  Unfortunately, we did not make it this year due to having a break in Scotland.

Our guests have been from all over the world with some guests coming all the way from America.  On a personal note I have been really busy with Samaritans arranging the Manchester Pride where we were lucky to be given a place in the parade and also the Morecambe Bay Walk to raise funds for our branches.  Well Manchester pride went without a hitch which could not be said about the Morecambe Bay Walk which was cancelled twice at the last minute as the sands were unsafe.

At the Visit Lancashire stand in the Country File Live weekend at Blenhiem Palace we offered a prize of 1 nights accommodation in either School House Cottage or Church View Cottage.  Well Yvonne won the prize and has decided that she is going to take the offer of Church View Cottage – so we are looking forward to hosting her real soon.

Well it Blackpool Illuminations again and they are as spectacular as before and I always recommend our guests if they have not been there that it is a must at least once in your lifetime.

It is getting to that time again when all guests are wanting to light the fires in the cottages.  As some guests have never lit a fire I make sure that they know exactly what to do and also to be able to appreciate it.

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Open Fire in a lovely cottage in Lancashire

Its July wow where is the year going?

Its July in the holiday cottage business

Its July, wow where is the year going?  Both holiday cottages are doing ok but to be honest we are quite a few days down on holiday rental bookings at School House Cottage compared with last year.  One of the reasons for this might well be that none of our guests are getting any younger – we had a few guests who used to stay down the road at another holiday cottage which was closed down due to ill health and Jean passed our details on to her guests – thank you Jean.  Some of the guests who stayed at Jean’s are now quite old and some unfortunately have passed away.  I am thinking how to increase our presence in the holiday cottage market and any helpful hints and tips would be welcome.

Well the weather here in the Ribble Valley for June has been mixed from hot sunshine to raining but today as I am writing this blog it is sunshine!!

Driving through the beautiful countryside in newton

 

 

We have had guests over from Canada and they absolutely loved School House Cottage and had a fabulous meal at The Parkers Arms.  We also love the food in the Parkers Arms and love AJ and Ben who are front of house – we always recommend our guests who stay at School House Cottage to eat there.

We are also so lucky that our cottage in Gisburn, Church View, has La Locanda the authentic Italian restaurant a few doors down from the cottage – guests who stay at Church View Holiday Cottage love it.

We also had a lovely couple from Padiham stay at Church View which is only a few miles from Gisburn – so I was really perplexed with this until I found out that they were emigrating from the UK to Spain and needed somewhere to stay so they could say good bye to the friends and family for a few days before they flew off to new adventures.

So what is going on in July?  Its the Beat Herder festival which returns again to the Ribble Valley. It is now into its 12th year and still seems to be getting the big names playing such as Trentemøller, Sleaford Mods, Toots and the Maytals, The Sugar Hill Gang, David Rodigan, Adrian Sherwood, Faithless, High Contrast and many more…

http://www.visitlancashire.com/whats-on/beat-herder-festival-p799060

So what has been going on with me then.  I am still busy, busy, busy with the Samaritans and July is a big month for us with the “Big Listen” campaign which highlights on the 24/7 with most branches having a presence at Railway Stations.  Also now I have my little grandson Archie once a week which I can tell you is really fab but oh so tiring, ha ha

Anyway must check out now as more washing and ironing to do – I must admit I feel like a laundry service at the moment and am trying to find someone to wash, dry & iron bedding so if you know anyone local to Clitheroe or Gisburn, please pass me their contact details.

 

 

 

May has gone, it’s the holiday cottage season

By / 11th June, 2017 / Blogs / No Comments

May has gone and now it’s the holiday cottage season.

Well we had a month long booking for our holiday cottage in Gisburn, Church View, which was amazing. The booking was made through Airbnb which is a good source of our bookings for both our holiday cottages.

I am late blogging this month due to the horror that happened in Manchester on 22nd May at the Manchester Arena after the Ariana Grande concert.  In my personal life I am a Samaritan at our local branch in Blackburn.  I am also the North West Regional Marketing Officer for Samaritans. It has been a really hectic time for me ensuring that as many people directly and indirectly affected are aware that Samaritans provide a 24/7 service for anyone in emotional distress.  This included handling the media and ensuring that only appropriate materials etc are used.  I have done a number of extra shifts with other volunteers at Victoria Station and in St Anne’s Square in Manchester.  The latter is where the memorial flowers were laid by so many people who have been affected by the event and I have to say the atmosphere there has been the most eerie I have ever experienced.  It is only now in the middle of June that I can take stock of what has gone on and to be honest it has started to hit home with me.  Here is a photo of the amazing sight at St Anne’s Square.

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Anyway that is enough of what has been going on for me personally.

The holiday cottages news

The holiday cottages are doing really well, especially School House Cottage which is almost fully rented out for holiday makers in July and August.  The cottage in Gisburn is slowly but surely picking up, including having one couple stay who had previously stayed at School House Holiday Cottage.  They loved both the cottages, with Gisburn ‘scoring highly’ for its central location.  The cottage in Gisburn is called Church View Holiday Cottage, due to guess what its view overlooking the medieval church which is a lovely sight.

We have had some more photos taken of School House Holiday Cottage by a professional photographer and they look really good.  What are your thoughts?

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Wow its May at School House Holiday Rental

Wow its May and so much has been happening in the Ribble Valley and especially with my holiday cottages.

Church View Cottage in Gisburn is now ready for guests and would you believe it I have had a month booking from a fabulous lady from Shropshire who just wants to chill out in a lovely setting and a lovely cottage with all the home comforts.  Well in my opinion I think she chose well!!  The booking came through Airbnb which shows it helps to spread your holiday rental marketing around.

The lounge with everything you could need for a luxury break

We have also obtained a couple of bookings for the cottage in Gisburn through our website which is really good – looking forward to getting some more as we increase our marketing strategy and try to promote Gisburn and the Ribble Valley which is part of amazing Lancashire.  It is such a shame that lots of people pass through our fabulous county to get to the Lake District – little do they know that they could stay in the Ribble Valley and have a short drive to the South Lakes.

Well Newton in Bowland was on the BBC Travel Show with Stosie the chef and AJ the front of house at the Parkers having staring roles from the Parkers Arms.  Stosie showing how to make a authentic Lancashire hot pot check out the show .  Newton was sandwiched between Thailand, New York and Venice http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08mn6xx/the-travel-show-167-canals

We are in the process of getting professional photos for our website for Church View holiday cottage rental but would you know it had to cancel the photographer as we had the lady from Shropshire in – not a bad situation to be in me things, ha ha

School House Cottage is going from strength to strength with guests and we are still achieving really brilliant reviews and also guests coming from all over.  Just recently we had a lovely lady and her son Raf over from Belgium.  They traveled on the Eurostar, then caught the train to Manchester and then onto Clitheroe train station.  We arranged with them to pick them up from Clitheroe and bring them to the cottage.  They absolutely fell in love with the picturesque village of Newton and the amazing walks that I gave them.  They both said they loved the rural villages and they felt that they had immersed themselves into the local life.  They did share a few pints with the locals in the Parkers Arms – mind you the Parkers Arms is coming a bit like a gin palace with all locals drinking the local gin from Burnley called “Batch Gin”!

We have just had new photos of School House Cottage and going to send the link to my son Chris to update our website with.  However, here are a few – what are your thoughts?

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Its April already in School House Holiday Cottage

It is April already and we now have holiday cottage in Gisburn is ready for guests so now I need to start marketing really hard on the holiday cottage rental market as it is such a fabulous cottage.  It has been real hard work getting the garden up to the standard we would like – so we are really pleased with this so it looks like we are utilising lessons learned from School House Cottage.

A week ago we were at Gibbon Bridge Hotel at the Ribble Valley AGM and Tourism Awards and guess what we were awarded a Ribble Valley Tourism Award for being “Tourism Heroes” which is such a fabulous award and such a shock for us both.  Can you see us on the back row at the front?

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In the fields the lambs are now being born and it is lovely watching them play in the fields and really makes us appreciate the countryside we live in.  This is one of the main things our guests say about the area that the cottage is in a picturesque spot and ideal for holidays and they love coming for a staycation.

The daffodils are all out and now the tulips are making a stand – what an amazing sight for everyone.  The cottage at School House looks amazing!

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It has been all go over the last few days and would you believe it the Parkers Arms were on BBC Travel Show.  So it was Bangkok Thailand, Turin Italy, New York USA  and yes you guessed it Newton in Bowland.  AJ and Stosie are now taking autographs – why not watch the clip http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08mn6xx/the-travel-show-167-canals

So onto Church View in Gisburn we have now got the rug and it really looks amazing.  We are getting a professional photographer in so we can really showcase the cottage and also to look at the photos on the website.  We have kept to our high standard of furniture and furnishing but also to make sure we keep personal touches which we know from School House Cottage this is what our guests like.

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I am getting so many brilliant comments about the light fitting in the main bedroom – which is brilliant as it took me ages to source something that I thought would be different but also a statement and it looks as though this has been achieved – what are you thoughts?

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