22 Jun 2014

Catering for self-catering

All our cottages are set up for being self-sufficient - just add ingredients. When we were taking our small children to Wales on holiday we found being responsible for three meals a day was quite demanding yet eating out was either difficult with lively children or else expensive. We found a lovely man selling beautiful, simple food he prepared that day and life took on a new dimension. Not least due to his delicious apple pie with local cream. I had a wish some years ago to have a community kitchen in Pickering with training, producing wholesome, affordable food and if there were an excess, to freeze it and sell to the many self-catering cottages in the locality. We now are in a different situation and we now have found a source of delicious meals, freshly prepared and delivered to your cottage. Our assistants Adam and Kim have had extensive experience in the catering and hotel business and have designed meals require minimal input and huge satisfaction. One couple were so impressed with their meal on first arriving that they ate his food every day of the week! Noelle and family have enjoyed one of his meals and are ever hopeful to try the 'leftovers' but it is not going to happen. Each meal seems to delight our guests and they like to order for subsequent evenings. The food is individually prepared and delivered with instructions for heating. It is designed so that everything requires one temperature and one time to reduce error and need to follow complex instructions. Portions seem generous and the overall price makes it a reasonable option to eating out or driving around looking for the missing ingredients for your own dish. The best thing to do is to have a look at his website where you can also order and pay online. Zakshomemade.com and if you like to see a sneak preview of your meal Adam is happy to answer queries and help you to enjoy your holiday. Meanwhile it has been an age since we last posted. Could do better. We are currently enjoying a beautiful spell of summer weather with foxgloves, lupins and a huge flush of rose blooms combining to make the gardens look magical. Our friends at the top of the garden have been in evidence and have been spotted several times by guests. The paddock is ever more child friendly and the willow bendyhouse has been woven up for the summer. Eddie is living with us for a while and has brought order to the vegetable patch, flowers to our green roof and ducks to eat our slugs. Nathaniel is now nearly two and Anabelle nearly eight weeks old. Pure delight.

18 Nov 2013

Your cottage as the centre of excellent eating in Ryedale

It is always a pleasure to point our guests towards the wide variety of excellent eating that is on offer in the locality. One of the rising stars is the Black Swan at Oldstead. Despite its relative youth since extensively renovated by the local farmer it has collected just about every award on offer including a Michelin star. Waiting for its star is the Fox and Hounds at Goldsborough which is small but perfectly formed. The owners learned their craft at the Ivy in London. We have always been delighted by the experiences at both At the other end of the spectrum are the take-away opportunities in Pickering - Fish and Chips from Cappleman, Indian food from Spice4U or the delicate Cantonese flavours from the Fortune Inn. We have aways been happy with the meals and produce from the Cedar Barn and we can arrange for their frozen meals to be in your cottage to await your arrival. We now have two further opportunities - a good friend has started Hello Hampers with a range of produce in wicker baskets that would be a pleasure on a picnic or in your cottage garden. Finally we can report on the experiences of the first three evenings when Michael Pern has cooked for guests to eat in their cottages. He has a bakery and catering company and enjoys producing 'high-end' experiences for shooting parties, weddings and now our guests. He can bring a buffet to the cottage or prepare a variety of meals in our kitchen which he then serves in your cottage as you relax in comfort and privacy. Eating great food and drinking your own wine you can spend as long as you like on the experience and not worry about choosing a driver or being governed by the taxi times. No baby-sitter either! The Barn can seat 10 so for a large family gathering you may wish to book the adjacent Applestore also. All three groups have thoroughly enjoyed their evenings, the food and the service - it could catch on.

15 Jul 2013

Good News. Prices on hold.

There's a lot to be thankful for. The sun is shining, our Grandson Nathaniel flourishes, the roses are more vigorous than ever. Murray won Wimbledon, The Lions triumphed and we are nudging ahead in the Ashes. The Economy looks as if it might have turned a corner but I am sure many are feeling the strain and concern over uncertainty. Noelle has usually increased prices year on year to reflect fuel bills and the hit we absorbed when we were VAT registered. We enjoy providing high quality accommodation and love it when visitors are happy at the end of their stay. We don't want to price ourselves out of reach for our guests or deter them from re-booking. It's always good to see returning guests as well as new faces. We will revise the 2014 prices so that they remain the same as 2013. Nothing changes, there will still be cream on your scones, logs in the wood-burners and chocolates to greet you. We may try to encourage thoughtful use of heating which most will be doing at home anyway. We look forward to meeting some of you again and hope you enjoy the sunny weather. Here are some of the good things we enjoy. Noelle and Tim Newbridge Park, young people enjoying the biking facilities Nathaniel, King of his Castle - made by Uncle Ollie. Nothing quite as much fun as a cardboard box

1 Jan 2013

New Year's Day walk from Robin Hood's Bay

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013. Noelle and Tim wanted a walk avoiding the mud and set off in the sunshine with blue sky to Robin Hood's Bay for a walk along the beach to Ravenscar. The hope had been to climb the steep path up to the hotel at the top and return along the cliff top. As it turned out the main path had been washed out in the rain and the narrow alternative was thought to be potentially unsafe by a local woman we met on the beach. The walk started in the carpark at RHB and we were soon descending the steep Bay Bank, through the village and down to the sea. We met the fishman who delivers weekly to Middleton who advised crab sandwich to be unwise - they are too chilly to feed so the flesh is not good to taste until about April. Deflected from our first intention we forgot to find anything in the many shops until we arrived in the square at the bottom. Fish and Chips it just had to be. I remembered my childhood holidays in a tiny tall cottage half way up the Bank with sounds of horses hooves echoing around the narrow streets on their way to the beach and the ginger beer from the grocers opposite. All shops seemed to be owned by Browns and there was a man by the pub who seemed to make a living from cleaning sea-urchins and selling them to tourists. The village is very pretty but I have yet to capture it well. We joined quite a few dog walkers and families enjoying the sun and brisk wind, heads down peering into rock pools, searching for fossils or grandfathers carrying small well-wrapped bundles. Plenty of dogs for Millie to enjoy and large flocks of unidentified white birds flying over the breaking waves at the very low tide. A good day to look for jet perhaps? We wandered along the beach for about an hour and then slithered over greasy rocks at the foot of the cliff while above was the Ravenscar hotel. An enthusiast imagined Ravenscar would be the new tourist destination and built a substantial hotel on the cliff top, the only part of the grandiose scheme to be built. Perhaps visitors would be put off by the path down the cliff - one of the highest of the Yorkshire Coast. We arrived where the path should be only to be told it had been washed out by the rains. The skinny path a few yards away was deemed risky by the local lady who was happy to share her local knowledge. The circular walk would have to be adjusted but we stumbled over the treat for the week - three seal pups pretending to be rocks just around the point. There were said to be a further 25 or so out at sea and the woman said she saw them often on her walks. I think we will be back. It was possible to get quite close before they showed any concern. They are very beautiful and very childlike with their huge eyes. Our trio seemed to have an unreasonable number of scrapes on their skin and rather gummy eyes. Maybe normal for scrapping pups or maybe the reason they had been left behind. Someone will know! We headed back along the beach past spouts of water shooting off the cliff face which punctuated the muddy somewhat crumbly mud and rock cliffs which could have been an opportunity to check for recently fallen fossils. The tide was on its way in and it was chilly, delay would result in the last part of the walk happening in the gloom and darkness so we pressed on. There are two ways up the cliff, we went up at Stoop Beck and came across many runners nearly at the end of their 30 mile run. Mmmm. Not for me. The path along the cliff top was somewhere between soup and soap that has sat in a pool of water overnight. The views from the path were great - a wide panorama of the Bay and the village in the late evening light. Noelle has a seventh sense when it comes to walks, she announces her need for a cup of tea and within minutes, in the middle of nowhere, up looms a delightful cafe. This time it was the Boggle Hole Youth Hostel. Delicious tea and very tempting cakes but maybe a bit too soon after the fish and chips. Pity. It was also a pity to lose height and drop down to cross the stream but it gave us the opportunity to try out our quads as we hauled ourselves up the sloppy steps and headed for RHB under a mile away. It would have been wonderful had the path taken us to the carpark but we had a further chance to walk up through the village and burn off more festive calories. I feel sure we will be back to check out the seals again. If you are to follow this walk it would be well to check the tides and arrive in Robin Hood's Bay just before low tide which gives plenty of time to enjoy the walk and have plenty left over for an adjusted return as we had. Not good to spend 6 hours clinging to the cliffs. Try the App - Tides UK. Invaluable.

26 Nov 2012

Coach House Comments

Here are the latest comments – October 2012 Wow! What an amazing cottage! We all had a truly fantastic stay. You really have thought of everything, from tea lights to luxurious bedding to logs for the fire….I have been looking at your cottages online for about 3 years and have finally saved up to come for our 21st wedding anniversary and it fulfilled all my dreams. …The children loved using the trampoline and the full use of your beautiful gardens as they used the torches here to search for hedgehogs and moles. Thank you so much for everything. We will definitely be back. September 2012 Our third visit and as good as ever cottage. A real home from home. In fact better than home…. Hope to see you next year. September 2012 Gorgeous cottage with a lovely welcome of yummy treats. Had a great holiday…so much to do. Kids really enjoyed the trampoline and the garden. Thanks so much. September 2012 Delighted with the Coach House and the marvellous facilities plus Noelle’s little extras especially ‘high tea’ and home made bread. A wonderful reception on our arrival plus ‘extra’ conversations during the week…. September 2012 Our fourth visit. Yet again everything was perfect….We’ve had a lovely holiday thank you very much. August 2012 What a wonderful place, both the cottage and the area. The cottage is perfection. Everything we wanted and more. Thank you Tim and Noelle to all your extra effort in making this such a special place to be… We visited lots of places and it was lovely to return here every evening. We would love to join the crowd of repeat visitors to the Coach House and hope to return as soon as we can… We expect you to enjoy the Coach House and will work to orientate you in this lovely area if you wish. In the summer we found out about quoits matches that would be good to visit – the locals hurl huge iron rings 25 yards onto an iron peg set deep into a square of clay. It's an unusual sight which is to be seen in the north east but especially on the Moors and Dales. We directed other guests to fishing trips from Whitby and yet others to drives round the Moors and villages taking into account the poor mobility of one of their party. Horseriding opportunities, photographic locations and entertainment for younger people have been the foundation of print outs and later items for the itineraries on the website. We enjoy pointing guests towards some of the excellent eating places in the area and also high quality food shopping. While parents relax in the cottage garden the younger people can work off excess energy on the trampoline. During the late spring and summer the grasses and wildflowers grow up and we mow paths around the paddock to explore and hide. The ‘bendy house’ of woven willow is a private place to hide away and watch the sky through a ceiling of leaves for both large and small people. The trees at the top of the garden are a more natural habitat for a variety of wildlife, we had a hare’s ‘form’ a young owl in the trees getting used to flying and plenty of pheasant and a few rabbits. We encourage you to sit quietly in the hide to watch the larger residents but we need to be a little discrete. The cottage has its own drive and parking area as well as a hut for safe bike storage. The Coach House has all the usual characteritics of one of Noelle’s Cottages. Old bits and modern facilities. High quality beds and bedding on the double and two singles - which can be made into a double if you let Noelle know in time. The comfortable sitting room has a woodburning stove, original artwork and photographs, some books and DVD’s and underfloor heating. There are antiques in most rooms particularly in the dining room. Noelle sat at the dining table exchanging secrets with her ever more ancient Dutch granny. The kitchen is modern and equipped to a high standard. “You have thought of everything’ There is fast and free Wi-fi and a landline until we can fix a VOIP phone. We have fitted it out to a standard we would like to find on our holidays but sometimes don’t. It’s likely you will enjoy your stay and want to return. Your welcome will be even warmer!

25 Nov 2012

Autumn gardening

There is plenty to do at this time of the year despite the weather. Our friend at Trailblazers says there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Mmmm. The soil is more welcoming though for the bulbs that Noelle planted under the watchful eye of her garden advisor Stephen Bean. He has been responsible for the overall feel and appearance of the cottage gardens and the modifications to the main garden. Tulips from Roger's Nursery have been sneaked into gaps throughout the garden and introduced into the areas of long grass around the lawns. Tim is making metal frames for some of the roses and clematis plants. We have an artistic nephew staying at the moment who is wrapping Sandsend rocks in copper wire donated by our local scrap metal man. The effect will be a mix of rusting iron, verdigris and the roses bursting through the support. The wood store next to the garage now has its flat roof complete and awaits aggregate and soil onto which we will plant a wild flower 'meadow'. All we need to do then is throw a sheep up there once or twice a year to mow it...The garden is covered in a richly coloured mat of fallen leaves which will soon turn to a slushy mess so they will be blown into various corners and left to rot in bins we have yet to make out of chicken netting. We have planted plenty of buddleias in the paddock in the hope we can encourage the dwindling population of butterflies and the almost absent bees and bumble bees. Something is happening to our garden visitors. The bendy house put on a lot of wood and leaf over the summer thanks to the damp conditions. For the first time it was occupied by bloody aphids. Red ones that is. This attracted a huge number of wasps to drink the honeydew so both play and maintenance had to wait until they had finished their feast. The result is that it now looks more like Amy Whitehouse's hair than the neat igloo we strive for. Tim enjoys his orange mower that turns on a sixpence and drops the grass back where it came from so that the fertility of the lawn is maintained. It encourages regrowth of the wildflowers in the grass - as we like to call the daisies and speedwell that others may consider weeds! The yew hedging is growing well and is now ready for the shaping that was intended three or four years ago when it was planted. We strung two Vietnamese hammocks in the garden in anticipation of rewards for retirement but they got precious little use beyond incarcerating our very pregnant daughter in law early in the year. Maybe next year we will sit in the garden, or perhaps the year after...

13 Sep 2012

Photography expedition.

Tim recently enjoyed a weekend course in landscape photography - with time to spare and fresh eyes it is amazing to see what a beautiful part of the world this is. Liz Shepherd is a local photographer who was running a weekend course and 'supervised' our visits to various sites on the Coast and on the Moors. There are more pictures on Flickr but here are a few. We now have a few recommended places to visit, if you dont know the area, where you are sure to find inspiration for photos. Port Mulgrave is a favourite but does involve a slippery slope down and a steady climb back up from the beach. Well worth it. Next time the mine shaft needs checking out....

9 Jul 2012

Alice's Cottage

Many of you will have met Alice who has helped Noelle with the cottages from the start. She has supervised the cleaning and welcomed guests in our absence as well as handling the linen and much more. Hospitality, excellent baking and thorough cleaning have been her hallmarks. Alice has just launched her cottage - Holly Cottage - which is just past Middleton Church. Built perhaps in the 1800's it was probably a farm workers cottage which she fully renovated to provide a twin and a double bedroom, bathroom, toilet, utility room as well as a well presented and comfortable sitting room. The kitchen is well equipped and there is a garden to the rear. You can see from the photos that it is presented to a high standard and there are welcoming treats on arrival. Small, but perfectly formed, it offers the possibility to explore Ryedale and all it has to offer. Great for walkers and bikers. Ideal for weekend breaks or for longer stays. Four people staying for a week works out at around £18 a night each. Noelle and Tim are happy to support Alice in this venture and hope that you might have a look at the agents web posting or ring her on 01751 473651