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Cottages in The Heart of England

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014
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Centrally situated, with historic cities and quintessentially English towns and villages there is no surprise that The Heart of England is a popular holiday destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a Shakespeare fanatic or you just want to spend some quality time with the family you will be spoilt for choice of places to go in The Heart of England. We have over 350 self catering cottages in ideal locations for exploring this wonderful part of England. Whether you’re having a romantic weekend, a family holiday or a get together with friends at Sykes Cottages you’re bound to find the ideal self catering cottage for you.

Delightful Cottages in the Forest of Dean

Brookbank Folly. Reference 6733

This delightfully unique cottage in Gloucestershire is not only on the edge of the Royal Forest of Dean but was also hand built with timber from the forest itself. This cottage has a wealth of character features including stained glass windows and wooden beams, as well as all of the modern conveniences you would expect from a self catering holiday cottage. Not only is the inside of this property impressive, but the outside is too. Brookbank Folly’s location on the edge of The Forest of Dean means that there is a variety of walks and cycle routes right from the doorstep. It is also in the perfect location for a day trip to Gloucester.

Spend time with Shakespeare in Stratford

9 Bancroft Place. Reference 24856

This well furnished ground floor apartment is in the perfect location for visiting Stratford-upon-Avon, being just a two minute walk away from the centre of town. Sleeping four, this modern apartment would be perfect for a family getaway. Visit the house where the Bard was born and grew up, go on a Stratford town ghost walk or take an open air bus tour before taking the short stroll back to your apartment. In warm weather, you can head out onto the apartment’s rear patio that overlooks the canal and just watch the world go by!

Have a Holiday in Herefordshire

Durstone Cottage. Reference 12372

Durstone Cottage in Herefordshire sleeping 22 is one of our largest properties and perfect for a get together with extended family. The property used to be two cottages however they have now been connected, with a large dining room joining them both together. This cottage is in a perfect location for getting out and about in the countryside or for a day trip to Hereford. Although if being out and about isn’t your thing don’t worry as this property has loads to do inside, boasting a pool table and table tennis in its games room.

These are just a small example of some of the amazing cottages that we have available to rent in The Heart of England. Take a look at our Pinterest board for more cottages in this beautiful area of England, or head over to our Heart of England cottages page to book your holiday today!

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Easter Crafts and Activities

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
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The Easter holidays are here, and whilst we’re all hoping to get out in the glorious sunshine it’s always worth having a back-up plan of things to do indoors should the weather not go your way or for a change of scenery. Today we’re showing some of our favourite Easter related crafts and activities that are sure to keep the whole family entertained on any indoor days this Easter holiday.

Shredded Wheat Nests

Image via Flickr

One of the best parts about Easter is all of the yummy food that’s not only fun to eat but also fun to make and chocolate nests filled with mini eggs tick both of those boxes! Whilst young children may need some help when melting the chocolate, they can still get involved with stirring and placing the eggs in the nest.

Ingredients
Makes twelve nests

  • 170g Shredded wheat (or another breakfast cereal – cornflakes and rice krispies work quite well)
  • 250g Chocolate
  • 50g Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons of Golden Syrup
  • A bag of mini eggs
  • Cake cases

Method

  1. Crumble the wheat biscuits into a large bowl (no need to crumble if you’re using another type of cereal)
  2. Melt the chocolate by breaking it into a small bowl with the butter, then put the bowl over a small pan of simmering water making sure that the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the mixture until it is melted.
  3. Once the chocolate and butter have melted together, take the bowl off the heat, add the syrup then stir again.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl with your cereal and mix together until all of the cereal is covered.
  5. Once combined, spoon the mixture into bun cases and top each nest with 2-3 mini eggs.
  6. If you can resist the temptation, leave the nests to one side to set for thirty minutes before tucking in!

Easy Easter Crafts

Image via Flickr

One of those things that are always kept and treasured by family members are homemade cards, so what better craft activity to do this Easter than to create some? Get out all the kids’ craft materials; paper, glue, glitter and whatever else you have lying around and let their imaginations run wild creating Easter themed master pieces for friends and family. Why not try finger painting little chicks or rabbits onto the fronts of the card, drawing on stick legs and eyes? If you have any colourful pom poms and pipe cleaners around, why not make them into cute Easter finger puppets? Twist the pipe cleaner around your finger, attach a pom pom to the top and decorate with googly eyes and more pipe cleaners depending on what animal you are creating! 

Throw an Easter Themed Party

Image via Flickr

For a fun and festive afternoon why not have an Easter themed tea party? Spend the morning making Easter bunting out of scrap paper and decorating the house and the afternoon having loads of Easter fun! Have a buffet lunch of shredded wheat nests, hot cross buns, carrot sticks, egg sandwiches and any other Easter themed food you can think of. For a really special treat you could make a crème egg hot chocolate by melting a crème egg into hot milk. Once everyone has refuelled with Easter treats, why not play some Easter related games? Have an egg and spoon race or a mini Easter egg hunt before playing pin the tail on the rabbit using a printed picture of a bunny and some cotton wool with double sided sticky tape as the tail. Once the fun is over and everyone is tired out, put on the kids’ favourite film and have a relaxing evening.

We hope that some of our ideas here have given you some inspiration on things to do with your children indoors over the Easter holidays. Let us know on Twitter or Facebook what fun your family will be getting up to this Easter!

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

English Tourism Week 2014

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
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It will come as no surprise that here at Sykes Cottages, we think England is great. From rugged coastlines, beautiful countryside and fabulous cities, England is a fantastic holiday destination for everyone! This week is English Tourism Week, a week long celebration dedicated to all that makes England an excellent holiday destination. Businesses and attractions across the country will be showcasing what makes them great by putting on events and exclusive offers this week. So if you’re in England and you’re looking for something new to try, why not see if one of your local museums is hosting an English Tourism Week event? Read on to find out what we think you must do when on holiday in England.

Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Image via Flickr

We all know that England has a bit of a reputation about its food being bland and unexciting, but we think that couldn’t be further from the truth! England has a wealth of fishmongers, farmers and vegetable marketplaces selling local, fresh produce that are great for when you’re self catering and want to treat yourself to a lovely home cooked meal. Wherever you are in England there is bound to be a regional speciality that no holiday would be complete without trying! When in Cornwall it would be rude not to try an authentic Cornish pasty or a traditional cream tea, a trip to Norfolk wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Cromer to try some delicious crab and if you fancy something sweet whilst you’re in Derbyshire, nothing beats a homemade bakewell tart!

Enjoy England’s Natural Beauty

Image via Flickr

It may be true that England’s weather is not the best, but it’s the frequent downpours that keep our greenery so green and our landscapes so beautiful. When it isn’t raining, the often mild temperatures and cool breezes make heading outside so very tempting. Even in our busy city centres, wherever you are in England you won’t be far from green space. Whether you’re hoping for a few leisurely strolls in the great outdoors on your holiday, or if you’d prefer something a little more adventurous, you won’t be stuck for outdoor activities in England.

Immerse Yourself in English History

Image via Flickr

As it is believed that England has been inhabited by humans for over 800,000 years, it is a country with a wealth of history. Whether your interest is in history, science, nature or even British brands, there is bound to be a museum that will cater to your needs and provide a fantastic day out. From museums with a broad range of exhibitions such as Liverpool’s World Museum or more specific museums like The Pencil Museum in Keswick, England is rife with entertaining and educational days out!

Experience it yourself

The Boat in Tregony, Cornwall.
Property reference: 999

If we have inspired you this English Tourism Week to experience all that England has to offer as a tourist destination, why not book a self catering holiday cottage in England? At Sykes Cottages we have over 2700 holiday cottages across England that are perfect for exploring this wonderful country.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Ten Fun Facts for Mothering Sunday

Sunday, March 30th, 2014
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Happy Mother’s Day! If you’re a mum we hope that you’ve been truly spoilt and have spent the day being pampered with your feet up. We thought that we’d do something a little different on today’s blog by sharing with you all some of our favourite Mother’s Day related facts and trivia.

Mother’s Day is the biggest flower buying day of the year in Britain, where sales of flowers increase an average of 70% on a normal day.

Image via Flickr

The roots of Mother’s Day go back as far as ancient Greece, where Greeks had an annual spring festival dedicated to the maternal Goddess; Rhea, mother of the Gods.

Image via Flickr

In the UK and Ireland, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, meaning that it is on a different date every year.

Image via Flickr

Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days in the year for eating out, with restaurants booking up far in advance.

Image via Flickr

In America Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis, who first celebrated the holiday in 1907. Anna Jarvis later went on to protest against how commercialised it had become.

Image via Flickr

Carnations are the flowers typically associated with Mother’s Day. In Japan it is traditional to give your mother a red carnation.

In the UK around thirty million cards are sent on Mother’s Day.

Image via Flickr

Traditionally, the food most associated with Mothering Sunday is Simnel Cake; a fruit cake with a layer of almond paste on the top and in the middle. The cake is decorated with eleven balls of marzipan to represent the eleven disciples, minus Judas.

Image via Flickr

The oldest mother in the world was 70 year old Rajo Devi, who gave birth to her first child in 2008.

Image via Flickr

Mother’s Day is celebrated in 46 countries around the world, but most are at different times of the year.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

The Perfect Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
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Mums are, for most of us, the most important people in our lives. They’ve looked after us when we’re sick, let us wake them up in the middle of the night after a nightmare and always put us first, often acting as our personal bank along the way. Whilst as we grow up the need to be tucked in and consoled after a nightmare may subside one thing remains; our mums are always there for us. Whilst we can show our gratitude to our mums throughout the year, the perfect day to give her a real treat is Mothering Sunday. We think that allowing mum a lie in whilst you prepare her breakfast is one of the best ways to pamper your mum this Sunday, so take a look at our guide to preparing and making the perfect breakfast in bed.

Creating The Perfect Breakfast in Bed

Image via Flickr

Plan your menu in advance; making sure that it involves all of your mum’s favourite breakfast foods. Is your mum a lover of a fry up, or does she prefer to munch on muesli? Once you’ve decided on your mum’s perfect menu, head out and buy the ingredients then make life easy for yourself on Sunday morning by doing any preparation the night before. Once you’ve rustled up your mum’s delicious breakfast, pop it on a tray with a glass of her favourite fruit juice, tea or coffee along with a small vase of flowers before taking it to her to enjoy from the comfort of her duvet. If you want to cook your mum something special but you’re a little stuck for ideas, why not take a look at a couple of our favourite breakfast recipes below?

Vanilla and Cinnamon French Toast

Image via Flickr

To make three slices of French Toast

Ingredients
1 Egg
60ml of Milk
10g of Sugar
A dash of Vanilla Extract
Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon
A knob of butter
3 Slices of Bread (French bread that is thickly cut and a day old will work best)

  1. Whisk the milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl.
  2. Melt the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat.
  3. Dip the slices of bread in the egg mixture, then add to frying pan.
  4. Cook each side until they begin to brown.
  5. Serve with maple syrup, bananas and fresh strawberries.

Tomato and Bacon Breakfast Bruschetta

Image via Flickr

To make four Bruschettas

Ingredients
750g Cherry Tomatoes
3 Tablespoons of Oil
1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
4 Slices of nice thick bread
4 Rashers of Bacon

  1. Toss the cherry tomatoes in one tablespoon of the oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper then bake them in a preheated oven at Gas mark 6, 200C for about twenty minutes.
  2. Whilst the tomatoes are baking, brush the bread with the other two tablespoons of oil and place on a baking tray. Put them in the oven during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
  3. Cook the bacon to your liking then either cut into pieces to mix with the tomatoes, or leave whole and place on top.
  4. Top the bruschetta with a poached egg to make it a little more filling.

We hope that this post has given you some ideas on how you can treat your mum to the perfect breakfast in bed this Sunday. If you’re a pro at creating a good breakfast, then tweet us and let us know your tips! If you’d like to completely spoil your mum this mother’s day with breakfast in bed in a lovely holiday cottage, it might not be too late! Take a look at our last minute cottages or give us a call on 01244 356666 and we’ll be happy to help.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.