My goodness, where has the time gone? I always promise myself to keep this blog up to date, but life takes over at times!
Where to begin! We have had an exceptional year at Roxbro House despite the recession. This is in part to lots of repeat business, recommendations and great reviews, and I thank everyone who has contributed to our ongoing success. Of course we ourselves contribute just a little bit at times in keeping Roxbro House standards as high as possible!
We have had a pretty busy year to date, never stopping to catch our breath. This Easter whilst looking after my lovely granddaughters we were joined by my longtime friend Sue for the weekend. We all had such a terrific time and a tear was shed when we waved her off on her return journey to London.
In April I took myself off to London for the day to meet up with some great friends and attend a " Masterclass" in a west end theatre given by our lovely Elaine Paige. We all had so much fun and after the class itself we went to the bar area to enjoy champagne and afternoon tea with Elaine. Sadly because she was attending Margaret Thatchers funeral the next day her time with us was cut short. Nevertheless she left us all with copious amounts of champagne to enjoy- and enjoy we did. So much so we were all having so much fun in the heart of London's theatre land that I missed my train home! Not to worry, I had my good pal Sue to fall back on and we both managed to get back to her lovely home for a great evening of girly chat!! Sadly I was also unable to attend a "Taster evening" at a local restaurant Zecca that day, but Stu and a very good friend of ours represented Roxbro House and reported back with very favourable reports of the new menu.
July saw Stu and myself taking a long overdue weekend break to Paris. We had the most wonderful time in Montmartre - our favourite part of the city and the weather was just perfect. I also had the opportunity to visit a restaurant on my " wish list" Le Grand Colbert Our afternoon there was just lovely, enjoying a chateaubriand that was to die for and of course all washed down with a bottle of delicious French wine. I was also privileged to visit a very small intimate bar where Edith Piaf herself used to sing before she became famous.
Our next greatly anticipated occasion is our annual " House party" when we close down Roxbro House and several of our closest longstanding friends stay with us for a long weekend. We always have such great fun, party for England and we all enjoy each others company so much.
As if our year couldn't get any better, in November Stu and I take a month off and go travelling. We fly to Singapore for a few days, then down to Sydney to stay for a while with all of my family. Stu and I then go up to Bedarra Island for sheer rest and relaxation for a few days, then back to Cairns for a night before catching a flight to Alice Springs. After a couple of days in Alice, we then fly to Perth for a week to stay with Stu's sister and husband, where we will be joined by Stu's parents to enjoy a special family celebration. After that we go to Dubai for a few nights before returning home. We are very lucky that we have a lovely Australian family looking after our house and pets while we travel, and they are looking forward to meeting all of the locals!
Then the madness of Christmas will descend, a season that I love, especially in Warkworth when everyone is happy and the shops are buzzing and the trees are lit with lovely twinkling lights. This year my lovely grandchildren are going to spend Christmas in Florida with Mickey Mouse, so we have decided to spend Christmas in Paris! I can't wait, because I am told the Parisians celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and do not care for the grotesque commercial offering that we now have to endure in this country. We only have 3 days there, then back home in time to cook a big belated family Christmas dinner for the whole family after we have all returned from our seasonal travels!!
My lovely family and granddaughters blossom beautifully every day, and in a few days time my daughter Hayley celebrates her 30th birthday- when did I become old enough to have a 30 year old daughter?? My son Dale is still living a lovely life working abroad and I am frequently envious of his life in the sun!
So thats all of my news to date!
Thank you so much to everyone who follows my blog and sincere apologies for not putting finger to keyboard more often!
I will write more very soon!
Love and best wishes to you all.
Happy New Year to everyone!
We enjoyed a wonderful festive season surrounded by family, friends and lovely guests. We probably ate and drank to much, but hey, you only live once.
January can be such a depressing month, but we have been busy with lots of guests and keeping on top of things at Roxbro House, I have also been working very hard on our new website that is now live. We are very pleased with the finished product and as ever a great big thanks to the team at www.widescope.net for having the patience to deal with my continual demands! Also I must mention and thank my nephew David, who gave up his time to come and take all the new photos for the site- a job well done!We decided to update our web site along with other aspects of the business as this February we will be celebrating 10 years of Roxbro House- where has the time gone?
Now, regular readers of my blog will be wondering where all my rants about Trip advisor have gone. It’s quite simple, as we are now into the new year with a fresh start I decided to remove them. For anyone who doesn’t understand what I am referring to, it is simply my opinion of Trip advisor and the way they deal with property owners. Why would I be upset by them? After all we receive excellent reviews and last year received no less than 2 traveller awards from their site.
It is simply because like many other owners I feel that their system is unfair and dangerous. They allow anonymous reviews,with the author never having to prove they had any sort of experience with the establishment they are reviewing. That coupled with the fact that the company itself is not regulated at all can and has been a recipe for disaster. We had a couple of unpleasant experiences with this site last year, which have left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Firstly we had an untrue, malicious review posted that was by definition libelous. Trip advisor were informed but refused to remove the review even with overwhelming evidence proving the review to be untrue. The author had reviewed her sleep quality as “terrible” yet by her own admission in her review had not stayed the night! As Trip advisor refused to deal with the situation our solicitor contacted the author, whereupon they were correctly advised that placing a review on Trip Advisor does NOT carry an inbuilt defense to a libel action and any such plea would be rebutted if there is evidence of "malice" - which there clearly was.The reviewer removed the review, and then complained to Trip advisor and we were then issued with a partial penalty and dropped a couple of places in their popularity rankings. So,as you can see owners simply do not have any rights on their site even we are behaving morally and within the law.
Then if that wasn’t bad enough it was discovered by several local hoteliers that a local B&B, (who along with ourselves belongs to a local tourist association who help and support each other) had been getting her friends and family to submit fictitious reviews for quite some time. ( One wonders now just how many of her reviews are genuine!) Several of our members were obviously very angry by these actions and it was brought to their attention of the chairman of the association as we viewed this behaviour to be unacceptable as it had the potential to damage our own hard working businesses. However after careful consideration and despite the chairmans request that I reconsider, I terminated my membership. I am a very strongly principled person and could not consider being a part of an organisation that knowingly allows such repeated devious underhand behaviour by a fellow member. This B&B has now been investigated by Trip advisor, the knowingly fictitious reviews removed, issued with a formal warning and has been severely dropped in their rankings.
So thats all our news for the first month of 2013. Lets hope everyone has a fantastic year and that we have the pleasure of welcoming past and new guests to stay with us in the near future !
Hi everyone, I do hope everyone reading this is well and happy and looking forward to a good festive season. I do know that this time of year is not everyone's favourite season, but I can't help but feel everyone is so much nicer and kinder to each other as the season approaches.
At Roxbro House it is looking to be busy again, so next week we will be decorating the house as usual with the lovely decorations we have collected through the years. I am afraid I now refuse to put decorations up before December, there is something obscene about starting this special time of year as early as October! Of course this year I have the added joy of decorating Arthurs Cabin, and what fun I have had purchasing lots of lovely decorations to show the log cabin off to its advantage at this wonderful time of year.
So what have we been doing since I last wrote on this blog?
Stu and I have just returned from a week of winter sun in the Canaries where we had lovely weather. We spent our days lying in the sun, swimming in the pool and then found lovely little restaurants in the evening for intimate dinners. Our 7 days went so very quickly but we had my brother in laws wedding to look forward to 2 days after we returned. The day was fabulous, a crisp bright November day, in a lovely little village church. A small but lively gathering at a country inn afterwards for a fabulous meal and copious amounts of champagne! Our own 5th wedding anniversary is only a couple of weeks away so this year we are breaking with our Edinburgh tradition and we are going to Prague for a few days to celebrate. I am so excited, I am sure the magical feeling with snow and the Christmas markets will get me well and truly into the Christmas spirit!
Stu and I are still kept busy with our darlings Samantha and Bella, and we enjoy every second, although it can be quite tiring at times. Of course the pleasure we are getting from seeing them getting excited about Santa is lovely and I especially enjoy Christmas shopping for their gifts!
So there we are, all of our news brought up to date.
I probably won't get time to post again this year, so I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our guests past and future a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year!
Well, here we are again- a bit longer in between postings than I would like but I just don't seem to have a spare moment!
Apologies to all our guests who keep asking why I have stopped posting, so I do hope that these latest ramblings will make amends for my absence from this blog.
Where to start? Arthur's Cabin has been a huge success and we are all so happy with the bookings and feedback, it is indeed a suiting memorial to my dear late father Arthur.
Last December Stu and I decided to break with tradition and went to London instead of Edinburgh to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We stayed in The Egerton House in Knightsbridge, which was small, quaint and demonstrated excellent customer service.
While we were there we met up with some very dear friends and 6 of us enjoyed a lovely meal at Rules, Londons oldest restaurant. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the atmosphere, food and company were excellent.
On the actual evening of our anniversary Stu and I enjoyed an 11 course meal at the exclusive Le Gavroche in Mayfair owned my Michele Roux, It was a sublime experience and he personally presented us with a wonderful anniversary cake. Whilst the evening was superb I am not all together sure about enjoying the set glass of wine with each course, it was very difficult to walk in high heels through the frosty streets of London afterwards!!
We spent a lovely Christmas at my daughters home with our grandchildren and son, it was so lovely to see the excitement and wonder on young children's faces again.
The winter season was surprisingly very busy for us at Roxbro House and most nights all 6 rooms were booked, so by the time Easter arrived we were shattered.
Summer has been slower this year which we believe is due to the recession and the terrible weather. Lets face it if people are going to spend their hard earned money during the summer months they rightly expect some decent weather. We tried to help the situation by introducing some very attractive offers which were very popular, so we have offered some equally attractive offers for the winter season.
We have however decided to take 2 holidays this winter. We decided we would like some winter sun, Stu wanted Barbados and I wanted Dubai- so we are going to Tenerife!! To be honest when it came down to it neither of us wanted to spend hours traveling, so we have booked a lovely villa in a quiet part of the island. Then in December to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary we are off to Prague for a few days to stay in a castle.
So, I am sorry for taking such a long time to write on my blog- but hopefully I will find the
time to keep on top of things!
Hello, wow what a mad few months I have had!!!
A lot of people have been asking for me to update my blog, but I have been so busy I just haven’t had the time!
Now I have time- so here goes!
The additional and new part of the B&B is now complete- and boy did it take some pulling together. I loved the challenge and all the planning and designing, but it became such a mammoth task, it nearly brought me and the bank account to our knees!
When I first planned, designed and opened Roxbro house over eight years ago, it was awarded a very credible 4 stars, and later gained a Gold Award for customer service and excellent facilities. A few years later as we continued to improve and expand we were delighted to receive 5 stars and maintain the Gold Award for the high standard of customer service and facilities that we provide. So when we acquired the property next door and began to renovate, and design the interior we had to get everything to a 5 star standard from the outset and sill be able to provide the facilities and customer service to maintain our Gold Award status. We managed it, but gosh was it hard work! I am pleased to say that Stu and I survived all the stress and moments of melt down. His calm and supportive approach have as ever been the constant in my life. He is quite simply my rock!
Through out all these months we continued to play a major role in my granddaughters lives and support my daughter and her husband whenever and wherever we could. The girls are amazing, and they grow more special and mischievous with every passing day! I now find myself standing at the school gates again in the afternoon waiting for Samantha and wondering where the years have gone, as it seems like only yesterday that I was waiting for her mum at a set of school gates!!
Earlier this year our happy group of friends made our annual trip to see Elaine Paige- this time at The Sage in Gateshead. As usual it was wonderful, we had a great time, sang clapped and drank a little to much wine, but a great time was had by all, and I met some wonderful people who had travelled from the USA to attend a few of her concerts and we still keep in touch. ( Hi Hope and Charlene)
This year to date has been crazy, but the highlight of the year was my 50th birthday in May. I had a lovely celebration one hot sunny afternoon in our garden with family and friends and received some lovely gifts. My daughter had planned a night away for me at my beloved Prestonfield in Edinburgh ( with Stu)- they were in on the secret together! I was literally thrown on a train and whisked away for the night, whilst Hayley and Samantha held the fort at Roxbro House.
The crème de la crème however was our trip to Venice on The Orient Express. It was an experience I will never forget. We started off the journey with a night at The Goring Hotel in London (we booked it months before the Middleton Family)!! There we met some dear old friends for the evening at the hotels newly opened Basil’s bar. The next day we joined the shining blue carriages of The Orient Express train in Calais after a lovely gourmet lunch through the Kent countryside on The British Pullman, The 24 overnight journey to Venice was everything you could wish for and more. The service, the food, the accommodation were simply the best in the world. Sitting in the bar carriage sipping a cocktail whilst a pianist played the baby grand piano whilst travelling through Europe is a memory that will stay with me forever.
Two fantastic nights in Venice staying at a hotel on The Grand Canal, then on to Paris for a romantic two nights in this wonderful city. We stayed at a lovely small hotel where Oscar Wilde spent the last few months of is life. My favourite time there was sat in a bar in the hustle and bustle of Monmartre listening to the songs of Edith Piaf!
Back to London for our final night in Hotel 41, and a concert at The Royal Albert Hall.
So that’s it- all up to date. Looking forward to a great summer season and the opening of our log cabin at Felmoor Park.
That’s all folks!
Well here we are and its November already!
I have to begin this blog by telling anyone who doesn't yet know my father sadly passed away last week. Whilst it is very sad for all his family and friends it was his wish to leave this world, and I am pleased I was with him at the end. There is of course humour in every situation and this situation was no different. Ever since his stroke back in May he had made it known that he had, had enough. So after being in several hospitals and a nursing home the doctors decided that given he was refusing any help he would be made comfortable with pain relief and all other intervention would cease. I was told on a Wednesday to expect his not to last past the coming weekend. So three and a half weeks later the medical staff and family were wondering if he was going for some sort of record, as a human should normally only live 48 hours to 3 days without fluid!!!!! He was however very peaceful for the last few weeks of his life and I had the opportunity to say a few things to him without his interrupting!!!!!! We had a humanist funeral service for him last Friday which was very appropriate and more of a celebration of his life rather than a sad occasion. I met many of his friends whom I hadn't seen for years and we all spent time afterwards laughing and remembering my father and his life. Many have asked for a copy of the Eulogy I wrote for the service, so I have attached a link here. Download Arthur's Eulogy.doc.
On to happier things, we are closing for a while in order to get major building work done to join the two houses together and to also catch up with all the little jobs etc that need doing here after a very busy summer, so I am taking my family and the girls to Centre Parcs for a short break which I am so looking forward to.As ever my great friends will move in to Roxbro House take care of the dogs and watch over the building work. I hope to return rested and rejuvenated ready for the busy festive season.
That's all for now folks, and thank you to everyone including guests who have contacted me and after my fathers passing.
Oh My Goodness!
What a month not only have I discovered my families heritage, but we have also acquired Elmire House, the next door adjoining property!
First things first, my family history:
Anyone who knows me will know that my dad is an Aussie by birth and it was always believed that his family originally came from Newcastle and its suburbs. Recently however, one of my cousins in Australia has been tracing the family tree and what a revelation!!!
I have always been drawn to the Alnwick, Alnmouth, and the Warkworth area, thinking it was as a result of family holidays and teenage ventures,now however I discover that my family on my fathers side have been residents and have owned longstanding business in the area since the 1700's!!!!
According to my cousins investigations my family have owned antique, watch/clock making, shoe making and various antique furniture businesses in Bondgate Within and Fenkle Street since the 1700's. Maybe not all in the name of Gibson, but nevertheless all my relatives! The precise history and information that my cousin has uncovered is quite amazing and I hope Lorraine, my cousin will visit soon and continue her investigations and visit all the past family residences in Alnwick. The last time I saw Lorraine was in 1965-- I was 4 years old and she had just sailed from Australia on the HMS Canberra!
I have the fondest memories of this glamorous lady and can't wait to welcome her to my home, and take her to the places she has researched so passionately.
This lovely old house has been vacant for some time but after much consideration we now have acquired the house and work begins very soon to transform it into new guest accommodation, a designated reception area and an additional large guest lounge area .I am really so excited, as everything that I could have done has been completed in Roxbro House, and now I have a new project to concentrate on. My planning has already started and the magazines and design books are everywhere, Stu has run for cover and panics when he sees me disappearing with a tape measure! However I just love this initial stage of designing the rooms and bringing everything together!
I am on babysitting duty for the whole of the Bank Holiday weekend while Hayley and Kev take a short break, so poor Stu will be left holding the fort again, assisted by Sophie and Grace.
I hope everyone enjoys this final Bank Holiday of the year!
Hello everyone, and many thanks for all the recent messages and kind wishes.
I have had a great deal of interest in the sale of Roxbro House, but as stated earlier, because of a change in family circumstances and my dads care requirements we are staying put as my dad is now being wonderfully cared for in a local nursing home although his condition is deteriorating after his stroke. For anyone who has made an enquiry that I haven't been able to respond to I do apologise , but Roxbro House is no longer for sale.
Another apology I have to make is to anyone who has called by or tried to book a table at The Tea Room. We have had to close it to non residents until further notice, as I am quite restricted now after breaking my right arm in June. While the bone is fine, the damage to the nerves is very debilitating in certain situations. Of course that means I simply can't possibly iron. Shame!! In addition to my injury, a friend of mine who helped out at The Tea Room has also suffered an accident, so all things considered, until we can offer a standard of service that I am happy with, the decision to close was made.
On a more positive note, my granddaughters are thriving and now Samantha the eldest takes great delight in welcoming guests with me and trying to help serve breakfasts in the morning!!
I am living in trepidation again as our episode of Three In A Bed is to be shown again on Sunday 15th August at 2pm. This time with 30 mins extra footage that we haven't seen yet!!!!!!!
Quite an interesting month. Lots of interest in the sale of Roxbro House, but not really sure if the sale will proceed. Sadly the reason we were upsizing isn't at present relevant as my father now needs 24hour nursing care after his stroke, so a larger house to accommodate him is no longer a priority. He is however in a great local nursing home so i can visit him daily and take my beloved dogs to see him, which he looks forward to and enjoys.
I myself have just returned from a short break in Greece, where I joined my daughter and family while they were enjoying a lovely villa holiday in the mountains. I had such fun with my girls Samantha and Gabriella in the pool all day, then enjoyed leisurely evenings with the locals in the village square, while the girls played with local children. As ever my darling Stu held the whole show together single handidly while I was gone.x
What I didn't enjoy were the flights! After years as cabin crew myself, I was shocked to see that if you pay for a meal, then you get a paper bag with something that resembles food thrown at you!!! Call me old fashioned, but I served and indeed expect a tray with crockery, cutlery and edible food -- not plastic cups, rubbery food and picnic cutlery!!
Well, the summer season is upon us and we are so busy and happy we don't have time to catch our breath, so all is good!
Roxbro House is For Sale!
Well I never thought I would see the day, but I am selling Roxbro House!
Due to a change in our family circumstances we now require larger accomodation. Whilst I will be very sad to leave Roxbro House, as I have lovingly restored every inch of the house and been very happy here, life changes and I am looking forward to the challenge and project of restoring another house and making it into another successful B&B and a family home. Poor Stu is now having to deal with me constantly looking at design books and going around with a tape measure permenantly in my pocket!!
I am trying not to get too excited as property sales do not always run to plan, but we must have dreams, ambition and goals in life if we want to progress !!
If anyone is interested please do not hesitate to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE NOTE: - PRESENT AND FUTURE BOOKINGS WILL NOT BE AFFECTED IN ANY WAY.
MANY THANKS- ONCE AGAIN!
Yes, its true, for everyone who has either seen me or heard through the grapevine- YES I am yet again incapacitated!
A broken arm this time, courtesy of slipping on a wet floor whilst out shopping in a well known supermarket.
The saddest thing is that I was actually shopping for treats for my elderly father currently recovering in the Alnwick Infirmary after suffering an acute stroke and being in the Wansbeck Hospital for weeks.
So last Sunday, I ended up downstairs in A&E whilst Stu was upstairs explaining to my father why I couldn't visit him!!!
Can't drive, can't cook breakfast, can't do anything as its my right arm -- can't even go on my planned holiday next week with my family and granddaughters!
How frustrated am I?
As my good friend Renee, in the States has said "Just stay still, and don't move-ever again!" A nice thought-but not practical while running a B&B.
Once again, I must voice my undying love, thanks and respect for my husband Stu. He simply deals with everything calmly, practically and emotionally. After this accident I asked him if he regretted marrying an older woman? His response----- 'No, but I bet you're pleased you married a younger man"!! OH YES--I AM!!!
On a positive note, I am still receiving a great response from the programme on channel 4 and my new found darling friends from the programme------John and Kristian from "Hamilton Hall" in Bournemouth, have sent me the most fabulous TEDDY BEAR , in the Roxbro House colours! They promise to visit Warkworth, and take it by storm. GOD HELP THE VILLAGE!!
Again, I send my thanks to everyone who have taken the time to send me presents cards and good wishes when these things happen.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
Phew! The dreaded T.V. programme was shown on Wednesday 28th and I feel I can now breath a sigh of relief. I was actually pleased with the way it was edited. We watched it for the first time like everyone else with a few good friends and a few bottles of wine. We shrieked, laughed, gasped and cried at seeing ourselves on T.V. and some of our expressions caught on camera !
On a positive note, once it had been shown the phone rang constantly for the next 2 hours( and call waiting constantly beeping in my ear) with viewers wanting to make bookings. Our online booking system went into meltdown with 400 people trying to check availability and book at the same time. I received 72 e-mail's in the first 10 mins of the programme going out- I awoke to over 300 e-mails and there were 7,540 hits on my website the night the show went out, which rose to over 12,000 the next day and still counting. So as you can imagine I have been a very busy person answering everybody.
The e-mails we have received have been amazing. Apart from the tons of complimentary ones from total strangers and B&B owners far and wide, I have been asked about everything from wallpaper to jam pot stands, bath robes and bed linen. I have also had many e-mail's from couples in relationships with a large age difference, saying how good it was to see us so happy and wanting advice on how to deal with friends, relatives and gossip ! This has certainly been a fantastic experience, with feedback way above and beyond anything I had ever imagined. I have also had several local residents and B&B proprietors congratulating us and thanking us for showing the North East and Warkworth in such a good light and helping promote the tourist industry in the area !
I do however stand by my need to go on a diet regardless of the T.V. automatically putting pounds on you. Being house bound for so many months last year I just piled the pounds on and I still can't walk for any distance at present! I have however joined a slimming group with my daughter and have great fun each week seeing who has lost the most weight. I fear however she maybe winning, as my life is just so busy to commit myself to anything additional at present !
On a serious note I would like to thank EVERYONE who have sent me so many lovely e-mails, flowers and cards. When such overwhelming recognition is received you feel that regardless of the nerves and concerns beforehand-we may have actually GOT IT RIGHT!
Click here if you would you like to take part in the next series of Three In A Bed, and showcase your B&B
I hope you all had a Happy Easter, and managed to enjoy the holiday weekend. We naturally worked all weekend within the B&B and with the opening of The Tea Room on Good Friday. I am glad to say it was a successful weekend despite the terrible weather. Like all new businesses it will take time to become established, but it is looking promising and already a few local "Ladies who Lunch" have enjoyed our menu washed down with a glass of wine!
I must also say a big Thank You to all the local business people who attended our preview afternoon, and for all their kind gifts and good wishes for our future.
My granddaughters are just great and are growing up so quickly. As anyone who knows me will know I am a great fan of Elaine Paige and have recently acquired her latest DVD. I hadn't had time to sit down and enjoy it, so took it to my daughters to watch whilst I was baby-sitting. The result---Samantha our 2 year old is now hooked, and does a vary good dance to "I get a kick out of you" much to my daughters frustration! I had great pleasure in relaying this story to Elaine, as I am lucky enough to be in contact with her after attending a Champagne reception with her earlier last year after one of her concerts.
On the subject of show business (I joke!) we finally have the date for the airing of our programme. 28th April, 8pm, Channel 4. The programme makers in their wisdom have decided to rename the show and it will now be called "Three in a Bed" It is evidently a play on word with 3 different B&B's taking part in each episode. I can't tell you how nervous I feel, not knowing how we will appear of the screen and how they have edited it. The producer tells me we have nothing to worry about and that our episode is very entertaining, she also showed me a review in last weeks Sunday Telegraph, where I am described as a "Jolly Woman" with a Toy Boy husband!!
Not sure about the "Jolly Woman", to me this conjures up pictures of a large, apron clad older woman!! Well, I did say I should have gone on a diet!!
Well, take care everyone and I hope you enjoy the programme, if you get the chance to watch it.
Bye for now
Hello everyone and a very belated Happy New Year to you all!
I have just been so busy running Roxbro House, baby sitting and getting everything ready to open our Tea Room in April, this is the first opportunity I have had to update the blog!
My granddaughter's continue to be an absolute delight and I can't believe it but Samantha is 2 this weekend, so my daughter Hayley and I are flat out organising a party for her-the theme being PINK!!!
I am delighted to report that Roxbro House has had its most successful winter to date, being kept pretty busy all over this normally quieter season, and we were delightfully surprised and pleased to receive an award for our breakfasts from Enjoy England / Visit Britain- who carry out our inspections annually
As you may have read we are opening our Tea Room to non-residents this year. We made this decision because our traditional afternoon teas were so popular last year with guests, and I really enjoy offering the whole experience. Ever since I was a little girl (and before you start doing the maths-yes we had electricity)! I have loved the whole Afternoon Tea tradition. White table linen, bone china crockery and silver tableware are such a joy at tea time and when I lived in London, every opportunity I had, i would go to places like Claridges, The Ritz and The Goring to enjoy the whole experience- and pinch ideas-although not the prices!!
I really am looking forward to offering this wonderful tradition here in Warkworth, although it has been pretty hard work setting up. Menu's, new tables, more cutlery, crockery, cake stands, etc., etc. The list is endless, but great fun.
Stu will initially partner and support me with this new venture, mostly behind the scenes. A man of very few words, he is and continues to be my rock who constantly supports and helps me in everything I do and who kept Roxbro House going last year while I was out of action for months.
The T.V. show? Well, lots of you ask when it is to be aired! The production team constantly keep in touch and advise us as we still get lots of requests to give interviews, but as it stands it will be shown the week beginning 21st April on Channel 4 at 8pm-however this is subject to change. As the time approaches I do panic and wonder why on earth I didn't go on a diet!!!!! Oh dear, its to late now and the deed is done!
Well, I must close now and get back to the kitchen and keep experimenting with cake recipes!!!
Take care and best wishes to everyone.
My goodness what a year!
Whilst I have had some wonderful times during 2009, on the other hand to borrow a quote from HRH Queen Elizabeth 2nd it was an "Annus Horribilis "
My highlights were my darling daughter Hayley marrying her beloved Kev and the birth of my second granddaughter Gabriella. She along with my first granddaughter Samantha are absolute dreams and complete our family perfectly.
My accident in August leaving me in plaster after surgery and unable to do anything for months was a low, but my wonderful husband Stu took over the whole show and held it all together, and for that alone he has my undying love and respect. I am happy to say I am back on my feet and after weeks of physiotherapy I have at last been able to drive! I also want to mention the support of friends, family and local villagers who have offered support and friendship in abundance-thank you, this has meant so much to me. My mother and Father in law have been simply fantastic, walking my boys (3 dogs) on the beach most days.
We gave up our pub The Masons Arms in Warkworth village in June.It was simply impossible to trade at a profit due to the overheads and rent, despite it being a busy, local and popular pub. I am now informed by the brewery concerned that the rent has now been significantly reduced for the new tenants! What a shame that they didn't listen to all the previous tenants who have suffered significantly as a result of the overheads associated with running this pub!
Another high of my year was an invitation from Channel 4 to feature in a new programme for 2010 about B&B's in Britain. Stu and I had the most amazing and interesting 2 weeks filming both here in Warkworth and on location. We have made some super friends, both in front of and behind the camera. The programme is due to be aired in March or April 2010 and I live in fear of seeing myself on TV. Having not being able to exercise for months, coupled with the fact that the camera puts pounds on you, I think I will look like a member of the "Rolly Polly's"
On a serious note, whilst we were obviously highlighting Roxbro House, we also highlighted Northumberland, and hope we did a good job!
I did ask the camera crew to cut all the shots of Stu and I with a glass of wine in our hands not wanting to look too much like alcohol dependant people-but they said that if they did that, they wouldn't have much to work with!!!! How very dare they -- I will get you back Will and John!! Watch this space!!
We are off to Edinburgh this week to stay in our beloved Prestonfield for our 2nd wedding anniversary, where we will be joined later in the week to celebrate with our great friends. Whilst Roxbro House will be closed to guests durig this time, my family will be in residence getting the place ready for Christmas.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all guests, past, present and future for your support and good wishes through what has been a rather difficult year. I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous and Healthy New Year.