What makes you Spring into action on a lovely sunny day?

Spring is on it’s way! Yippeeeeee…

With the prospect of warmer, sunnier days ahead (hopefully!), we’ve been having a chat about about what the ideal outdoor activity is for a lovely Spring day?

What do you think?

We’ve added a few ideas below, but feel free to agree or add you own ideas too…

Equally, if you have any great walks, bike routes, places to visit, why not post a comment and let us all know where to find it, and what we’re all missing!

Red Nose day fun!

The national day of fun ‘Comic Relief’  or “Red Nose Day” is now a firm favourite in the calendar for us Brits. This year the fun made its way to cottages4you with a number of hilarious activities. One of the main events was the fun run. We’ve got a very steep hill at the back of our premises in Earby. “The Earby Alps” (as they’re now being referred to in some circles), took no prisoners as our fun runners took to its slopes to raise funds. Some people made it even hard for themselves by dressing up.

Here’s a bunch of photos from the jaunt..

I’m happy to report that that a fantastic £711.40 was raised on the day for Comic Relief.

Just how many pairs of shoes do you need for a cottage holiday?

A womans feed amongst lots of shoes

Shoe Crisis!

There’s no better way to feel instantly at home at your cosy holiday cottage than to pop on your slippers the moment you arrive so make sure you pack your favourites.

Depending on your plans during your stay will determine the type of footwear you need but whether you’re planning to climb Mount Snowdon or you’re simply content with taking a stroll along the beach each morning a pair of sturdy walking shoes or boots will always come in handy!

Wellies are also a great footwear option and a great opportunity for the children to splash through puddles or for adults to simply show off their Kate Moss inspired fashion wellies or hunters!

And for that afternoon in the local pub comfy cosy is the key and a pair of Timberlands or UGG boots will never be out of place!


Autumn is here. What are your holiday plans?

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face”

Autumn quote by John Donne

For some a reason to become melancholic, for others the ideal moment to get out and enjoy natures colours, smells and the rare but beautiful autumn sunny days. The kids are back to school, towns and resorts can breath again and good holiday deals can be made.

We’d like to know what are your plans for this Autumn? Staying at home? Grabbing some last minute to go abroad or spot some holiday cottage special offers and discounts and head for a cottage near the forest?

We’d like to hear from you so leave your comments !

Inter Site Football match a great success!

The Holiday Cottages Team still looking confident

By Nick Smith

On Saturday 27th the inaugural Kettering vs Earby football match took place in Skipton.
The newly formed Holiday Cottages team took to the field in a confident mood and, buoyed by a healthy home support, more than matched the more experienced Kettering side in the opening exchanges.
Kettering then took the lead which was cancelled out with a long range effort from A. Ahern, after which the experience of the Kettering showed as they stretched to a 5-2 lead at half time. (M. Aspinall with the Earby goal).

Eyes on the ball

All eyes on the ball

Inspired by some tactical substitution and a change of formation the 2nd half was much closer, especially as the pace slowed in some wonderful sunny weather. Another M. Aspinall goal meant the final score was 7-3 to Kettering, although the 2nd half was drawn one apiece.

After the match the newly commissioned trophy was presented to the victorious Kettering side as well as the man of the match awards. (M. Aspinall picking up the trophy for the Earby side).

The Kettering Team preparing for victory

The match was played in good spirit and all players involved thoroughly enjoyed the day, plans are already

underway for the return fixture in Kettering and a chance to re-capture the trophy and the glory for Holiday Cottages.

Self catering or self constructing ?

In a previous post we reported on some holidaymakers shooting and eating the ducks from the pond at their holiday cottage.
Less dramatic but at least as remarkable, we seem to have customers that are willing to invest their own time and money to change their holiday accommodation to their taste.

Not even if you don't like the colour...Customer Services reporting….

“A family was not happy with the colour of the kitchen in their hired cottage and decided to repaint it…”
We don’t know if the cottage owner was too happy about this.

“A woman who hired a cottage to give birth close to her family didn’t like the bathroom and she decided to spent thousands on refurbishing it.”
In this particular case the cottage owner was quite happy afterwards.

We can imagine that a holiday property may not be 100% to your liking but we recommend to discuss with us and the owner first before you consider using your paintbrush or sledge hammer….


All roads lead to Rome?

All roads lead to Rome?

Cartography (map-making) dates back to the dawn of civilisation. Some Aboriginal rock paintings dating back 50,000 show a pictorial representation of the world around at the time. In Stone age times, the first record of portable maps, depicting natural features and roads were created on earthenware or animal hide. Roads and routes were a lot simpler in those days but the age old need to convey directions from A to B remains the same.

Some parts of the UK present a vipers nest of roads and we as a nation increasingly find the routes we take harder and more complicated to navigate. The phrase “all roads do lead to Rome” may well be true, but this isn’t very encouraging when faced with the practicalities of getting to Trafford Centre when the Clockwise M60 is blocked, for instance.

In this digital age, the art of paper map reading is slowly becoming a thing of the past (for motor users at least) due to the affordability, ease of use and general handy brilliance of “SatNav”. SatNav is now fitted as standard to many new cars, or available as a cheap portable Satellite Navigation unit such a the ‘TomTom‘ and ‘Co Pilot‘ (available on many mobile phones such as the Nokia N95). These units take all the hard work and stress out of finding the elusive destination – you simply tell it your destination (e.g. post code) and the Sat Nav will chirp handy directions and show an accurate view of where you are and which route you should take.

In most cases we’ve considered the fact you may be aiming to navigate to your cottages4you holiday property with SatNav – but don’t worry if you’re not, we also provide good old fashioned “turn left at the White Lion pub..” type directions once you’re booked your property.

As well as the on board verity of maps there’s a plethora of free maps available to help you pre plan your route and get the low down on the area you’re heading to before you set off.

So if like our Stone Age ancestors your still haven’t seen the way ahead of digital vector based mapping, why not re route your next 5 minutes to navigating the destinations below… Continue reading

I don’t like cricket.. oh no… ?

Cricket is the real winner.Love it or hate it, cricket forms as much a part of the English Summer as strawberries and cream. As Wimbledon draws to its conclusion, the anti sports fans (and wombles, no doubt) will be breathing a collective sigh of relief as their televisions and newspapers resume normal ‘silly season’ service.

Next week however, brings with it the start of the Summer Test Match Series. (England v South Africa for those of you still following)

The test match, which can be comprised of anything up to 5 tests, each up to five days is perhaps one of the longest single games there is. As an ongoing sub plot to the ‘love it or hate it’ power struggle, the tradition long form of the game has come under fire from a few bouncers and curved balls of its own of of late. Firstly, it was axed from BBC2, moved to Channel 4, (with pay to view via Film4), followed by all live image transmission to be taken by Sky Sports, thus making free live cricket on TV a thing of the past.

More recently the shorter forms of the game have gained massive momentum – the ‘One Day’ games and the even shorter t20 (“Twenty 20″ where each side gets 20 overs (just 120 bowls) meaning the game lasts for around 3 and a half hours). Whilst the some of the traditionalists scoff at this shorter, accusing ‘pyjama cricket’ of being nothing more than a spectacle, the format itself if making huge headway.

Nowhere more so is this new cricket spectacle more hyped than In India, where the undisputed number one sport is cricket. Over a billion people – the vast majority of which will play, be a fan of or have a family member who is one of the above has recently created the IPL – the India Premier League. The problem being for the poor old test match, is that it’s looking more and more likely that the huge financial gains on the table for start players, may eventually draw them away from the months long format – the IPL, following the t20 format will potentially pay players far more in one match than they can earn in a whole test series. Some of the worlds greatest living cricketers have already felt the pull – people like Shane Warne, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting.

Some would argue that the t20 phenomenon can only do good things for the overall profile of cricket. It’s attracting a young, fresh fan base who can choose from a whole new range of role models to compliment the readily available grubby, spitting footballing counterparts.

Here’s a thought for you – Billionaire Sir Allen Stanford believes Twenty20 cricket can replace football as the biggest game in world sport. Quite a claim. He’s pushing this thought in the right direction by offering the what’s believed to be the biggest single prize kitty any sport has ever seen in his £10m winner takes all series between an England side and his own West Indies All Stars due to take place towards the back end of the year.


Fancy a look at the real thing?

Npower Test series:
England v South Africa second Test – 18 Jul 2008 to 22 Jul 2008

Venue: Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Leeds
The test series continues, as part of South Africa’s tour of England (July 10 – August 31 2008).

For more information visit cricinfo | www.bbc.co.uk/cricket | www.ecb.co.uk

Don’t forget – a cottage can provide the perfect base from which to enjoy many sporting events throughout Europe – search today at cottages4you

Whatever the weather will be!

Nowhere else in the world is the weather talked about as much as it is in the British Isles. We’ve got a reputation of being the ones that ‘don’t half talk about the weather a lot’. Commenting on the weather is a quintessentially British pastime and the classic opening gambit for any human encounter. The ice breaker for any uncomfortable silence. Where would we be I wonder, if we (like so many of our foreign cousins) had ‘same old, same old’ weather patterns, day in, day out.

Some would even say our love of the weather is an obsession. Perhaps it’s more to do with the fact we’ve got one of the most changeable and unpredictable climates on the planet, perhaps it’s more to do with the essence of British culture.

Perhaps borne from this obsession, Britain has paved the way with weather forecasting. Pioneering many technologies and methodologies, often as a result of war time and aviation needs, the modern day weather forecast is the crowning glory of years of research and expertise and believe it or not, today it’s more accurate than it’s ever been.

Online weather forecasts and resources

If you’re planning a holiday in the UK, the weather is bound to be an important factor in your thoughts. At cottages4you, we’ve found the following links really helpful to us for getting the low down on our holiday destinations..

Something for the weekend?bbc radar

The BBC Weather Centre website gives you a radar image of Britain, overlaid with predicted cloud, wind and rain (or hopefully, lack of!) patterns on an hour-by-hour basis. This is ideal if it’s Friday and you’re planning a weekend away and don’t know if you should pack your sou’wester or your flip flops.

2 weeks away
offer a day-by-day forecast on the upcoming 2 weeks. Other features on this site include the BBQ Weather Forecast, for if you are planning the illusive fair weathered British Barbecue.

It’s better than this time last year..
WeatherOnline holds records of more than 4700 stations worldwide, so even if you don’t trust the weather forecasts you can use this site to see how the weather was this time in years gone by.

As a footnote, who can repute the enduring appeal of The Shipping Forecast. Four times a day BBC Radio 4 Longwave broadcasts this baffling roundup of the forecast from our coastal waters. This programme is deemed so important that it even gets away with interrupting another of Britain’s irrefutable conversational pastimes – the cricket.


Oh, for another holiday…

\Thursday afternoon, staring out of my office window, thinking about where I’ll spend a week this Summer… it’s got to be the seaside!

The last three trips have been fantastic, just right for the family. If you’ve got children, you’ll know what I mean here – if they’re happy, then so am I!!

What I really want is:

  • Somewhere that I can do a bit of beach fishing with my eldest son (who’s now 3 and discovering everything),
  • Maybe somewhere that I could ride my bike (I’ll get a couple of chances at most whilst I’m away so it needs to be close to the cottage and interesting)
  • Plenty of places to take the little ones (which means indoor and outdoor options)

My recent favorite has to be Instow (I stayed at the Anchorage ref 17468), a lovely seaside village. A nice beach & friendly pubs. I’m an holiday fisherman and went fishing for bass from the shore of Zulu Bank (what a name!!) which is just down the road – up to my waist in the sea and throwing the line across the tide, it’s great fun.

Last year I managed the marathon drive up to Skye . It’s worth it. Portree’s a cute little town and if you’re into the outdoors it’s hot. If you’d like to arrive calm and settled after a long drive with the children, I’d definitely recommend a portable DVD.

So, back to this year… I think I’ll try either Anglessey or somewhere close to Abersoch. I’ll let you know what it’s like.