Spruce up your holiday home for Spring!

Mon 27th March 2017

There’s no better feeling than having your guests walking into a holiday home that you know is spick and span from top to bottom and with the sun shining, the spring flowers blooming and our gardens finally bounding to life, it’s natural to crave a little updates around the house before your visitors arrive, here are our top tips to get ready and set for those Easter bookings.

Safety Audit

Make sure you have checked that all of your safety documents are in order and up to date! You will need to check you fire risk assessments, gas certificates, it is also a number one priority that you ensure your carbon monoxide detectors & smoke alarms are in good working order and the batteries are replaced throughout the season.

If you have a swimming pool or Jacuzzi it is worth putting together a risk assessment and have this visible for your guests to see and take note of.

So where to start?…

First impressions are just as important as the booking itself, you want your guests to know they have made the right choice in booking your accommodation from the exact moment they pull up to the front door!

We’d say start with the front, give the front door a new lease of life with a bit of paint, buff up those fittings and check all your outside lights are in working order and give them and your cottage sign a good clean.

Inside start by touching up and scuffs or marks on the paintwork or it you have the time and the property needs it a lick of paint all over wouldn’t go a miss, you could also try changing the colour slightly to give it a whole new and fresh vibe.

Steam clean all of the carpets and furniture, (especially if the property is dog-friendly) give the windows a good clean inside and out, dust bust every nook, skirting board and cranny and evict any extra guests (spiders) that have set up home over the winter.

Turn on all of your lights to make sure they are all working, and any bulbs are changed. Stock up your spare bulb supplies along with any spare batteries for touches etc.

Next up… Deep clean the kitchen

We love this article from Buzzfeed that gives you some great quick and easy ways to go from grime to shine. Don’t forget to check your inventory and replace and chipped or cracked china and glass. 

It is important to be ruthless and throw things out and replace them, and offer a generous amount of equipment. You can never have too many pots and pans.

Freshen up your quilts, pillows and mattress/pillow protectors too! We recommend replacing annually.

Step outside…

You want your guests to step outside and enjoy the gardens or courtyards you have on offer. Tidy, sweep and prune the area, clean out the gutters and weed and mow the grass. 

BBQ season isn’t far away so get that garden furniture up to scratch so it can be used.

If you offer the luxury of a games room make sure you have checked everything is in working order.

And finally…

Enjoy your guests!

You will know how much your hard work has paid off when you start reading lovely comments from reviews and/or comment books. Remember happy, content guests will make repeat bookings so it’s worth pulling out all the stops and going the extra mile.

5 Underrated UK Holiday Destinations For 2017

Mon 27th February 2017

If you were to try and tempt someone with a holiday to the UK, there are a few predictable places that you can imagine springing to mind. Central London, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Edinburgh and the Lake District would likely appear in the top 10. And most people who visit the UK only come to see the famous sites in the capital. But for those holidaying from home, or abroad, here are 5 underrated holiday destinations by our guest blogger Chris Smith that will take you off the beaten track and give you a slightly different insight into life in the UK.

Yorkshire

There are few places in Britain, or indeed the world that boast the dramatic scenery of the historic county of York. The breath-taking Yorkshire Dales are a must see for walkers and ramblers, and anyone visiting can see why the area is commonly known as “God’s Own Country”.

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In the nearby RSPB nature reserve on the Bempton Cliffs, nature lovers will find a diversity of wildlife in the form of gannets, razorbills and puffins. For those who are looking for a more urban getaway, the city of Leeds has become a popular destination in recent years. 

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History buffs will be fascinated with the Temple Newsam and the Royal Armouries Museum, as well as a lively restaurant scene that has put the city on the map.

Norwich

In the heart of East Anglia, the discerning tourist will find the historical city of Norwich, lying roughly 100 miles to the North East of London. The city held a key role in the Norman Conquest, and a number of notable buildings from the era are still there to this day including the stunning Norwich Cathedral and Norwich Castle. The latter of which dates to the 12th-century and has been well preserved by the local authorities.

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Tourists looking to test their boating abilities will be right at home in the Norfolk Broads; roughly 120 miles of navigable rivers that run through the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. 

Visitors looking upon the drainage windmills that punctuate the countryside would be forgiven for thinking they might be in Holland, as the area is of comparative beauty. 

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Whether you’re wanting to take an entire holiday on a river-faring barge or rent a rowing boat for the afternoon, there’s something for everyone.

Dundee

Mention popular Scottish holiday destinations and you’d be far into your list before Dundee comes up, which is a shame because the city has a surprising amount to offer. 

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Located on the mouth of the Tay estuary, where the river runs into the North Sea, Dundee once held a global reputation during the industrial revolution for its production of jute, a vegetable fibre that is traditionally used to produce burlap and gunny cloth. The city has a proud connection to its past, as the historical ship RSS Discovery is permanently docked at Discovery Quay.

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The Discovery was the research vessel that famously took Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton on their famous Antarctic expeditions in the early 20th century, and the ship remains as a museum to their memory and work. Dundee is a buzzing university town and for those looking for a more modernist trip will be fascinated with the Contemporary Arts Centre that celebrates the city’s relationship with art, not least its world famous comics from DC Thomson, the Beano and the Dandy.

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Oxford

Oxford is synonymous with its University; one of the most highly regarded institutions in the world. The entire town is built around its historical university, and walking around its historical streets it’s a treat for the intellectual traveller.

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You can easily spend hours browsing the many museums throughout the town including the Natural History Museum, the Pitt Rivers Museum, and the Ashmolean. For those visiting the during the summer months, a trip to Oxford wouldn’t be complete without punting on the Thames with fresh strawberries.

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Fans of the television series Inspector Morse will recognise the town’s main roads as filming locations from the popular detective series, and can even take a drink in Endeavour’s favourite pub, known locally as the Morse Bar

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Foodies will be right at home in Oxford as the town has a thriving culinary scene with highly regarded restaurants offering everything from Caribbean, Thai, Nepalese as well as traditional English food.  

Swansea

Wales is arguably more famous for its countryside scenery than its urban centres, but both meet happily in the city of Swansea. During the summer months, the bays and beaches along the coast of the Bristol Channel are transformed into a mini paradise for those looking to soak up a bit of sun. The likes of Llangennith Beach, Three Cliffs Bay and Caswell Bay are the perfect location to take the kids with a bucket and spade to wind away a summer afternoon.

In the city itself, literary fans will want to visit the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, the world famous poet whose life was tragically cut short at the age of just 39. His former home is maintained as a monument to his memory and is a must-see place for any visitors of Swansea. Taking in his wonderful poetry whilst watching the sun set over the Welsh coast is a near perfect way to spend any holiday.

As you can see there are a great many places in the UK to visit beyond the most famous towns and cities. Next time you’re taking a trip, why not take a chance by coming off the beaten track? You never know what you might find.

Find your perfect last minute getaway to one of these fantastic destinations today.

Fantastic February Half Term Fun!

Fri 3rd February 2017

With warmer weather and spring on the horizon, February half term is a great time to get out and about with the family. Whether you’re staying at home or visiting somewhere new in a self-catering cottage for the half term break, there’s plenty of activities which will see your kids smile and enjoy themselves while parents can relax knowing there is plenty to do to for every taste and budget. 

Watch a film

For a lazy start to the day, Vue cinemas host Mini Mornings every morning during the holidays. Both adult and child tickets are £2.49 for selected movies so you could release your inner child for very little expense.

Odeon offers something very similar with Odeon Kids. Kids and adults can go every morning during the school holidays at a slightly higher ticket price of £2.50 Films showing this season include Moana, Kubo and the two strings, Storks, The secret life of pets and Trolls. 

Cineworld also does Movie for Juniors where you and the kids can get in for a tiny £2 each (3D £3.50). Choose from a selection of lively kid’s movies, from animated features to live action features. There is simply only one rule… Adults must be accompanied by children!!

Go bowling

Head over to a local Tenpin from Monday to Friday and get a cracking half term offer. If you go before 5 pm, kids can get two games of bowling and a burger meal all for only £8.70!! Don’t worry adults! You can get the same for £11.20.

Hollywood Bowl is also located across the country and have some great winter offers running, so be sure to check them out for some bowl-tastic fun, fun, fun

Please note, deals do vary between bowling alleys so we advise checking both the Tenpin & Hollywood Bowl websites before you go.

Soak up a little culture

There are free museums and art galleries up and down the country just waiting to be explored, and many of them host special events for children during the half term break.

Eat out on the cheap

You can guarantee that there is sure to be some great offers available for families and food over the half term week.

You will find a lot of them on websites like VoucherCodes and Voucher Cloud. Keep your eyes peeled for such offers as 40% off mains at Prezzo or 30% off any pizza at Pizza Express along with a whole host of others. They both also have a handy app that you can download for free onto your smart phones in the Apple app store or Google Play Store

Take a family trip to a historic castle for under £20

The English Heritage has a number of family tickets to historic castles across the country available for under £20.

So, fire up your family’s imagination by delving into England’s history, whatever the weather.

Whether you want to scale the ramparts of vast castles, discover woodland trails or explore underground wartime tunnels, there are plenty of activities to inspire children and keep them entertained.

Get a National Trust family membership

Exploring the great outdoors with your family has a number of benefits, especially if you are planning on a last minute holiday somewhere new and exciting.  

 A National Trust family membership can be a really cost-effective way to take a large family - the membership is valid for one or two adults and up to 10 children under 17 - to explore many picturesque locations across the UK, well worth it we say!

Will You Marry Me?

Thu 26th January 2017

Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year to get engaged, (yes corny we know, but on the other hand but very romantic!) here is our simple guide that will hopefully give you a little… or a lot of inspiration to make your popping the question truly memorable for you both.

You want to take some time to sit and think about your relationship thus far, what are some of your best memories together? Do you have a favourite beach you love to go to every year? 

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Where the salty air and spectacular views alone make for an unforgettable proposal. Or maybe you love going for walks or bike rides together?

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What we are saying is you want to ensure that you make it the most perfect and meaningful proposal for your partner, something that they will remember forever.

You may have ‘the perfect idea’ in your head of whisking them away on a holiday abroad and making everything so planned and precise that you over think it and get nervous, what you really just want to do is relax and let the mood take you to the perfect place where the timing feels exactly right. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous!

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Next up creativity!

You want to show exactly how much you’ve been thinking about it. Starting with the ring of course. This is something that needs a lot of thought. You could make your own designer or bespoke engagement ring, (just like our friend Jon has done for his funny and quirky fiancé Gemma, who most definitely needed something completely out of the ordinary and different! and we love it!!!) 

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Gemma’s bespoke daisy ring by Carole Allen Jewellery

Maybe your soon to be fiancé loves the idea of a classic vintage engagement ring, that family heirloom they always seem to talk about, or if they are anything like me the go to place to make a girls dream come true would be wrapped in a little blue box all tied with a white ribbon!

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Got a way with words? write a poem, or if that beach you return to year after year is the perfect place to get down on one knee, get someone to head out and write ‘Will You Marry Me?’ in the sand (and while they are there, have them take pictures.)

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The proposal!!

The first and only rule that you need to get into your mind is Do not overdo your proposal! Keep it simple yet special and sweet. Be who you are, and in your own special way say those three golden words.

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