Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Get running with Sykes Cottages

Sunday, April 13th, 2014
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By now I’m sure that many of you are well aware that this morning saw the 2014 edition of the London Marathon. The event has been going since 1981 with countless runners taking part, right the way from the professional who complete the 26 miles in just over 2 hours to the fancy dress wearing fundraisers who can sometimes take several days to finish. Maybe watching the runners race their way around London has inspired you to try out a little bit of running yourself; if so you’re in the right place because we’ve tried to think of some little hints and tips for aspiring runners.

Get the gear

Running Shoes

Via. Flickr

One of the most important things when you start running is making sure that you have the right shoes. Although you might be tempted just to dig out that pair of vaguely sporty looking shoes that have been gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe and lace them on, you’d do well to remember that the wrong shoes are one of the biggest causes of injury to runners. A good pair of running shoes might seem a bit pricey but they will help avoid the classic runner’s blister as well as other unpleasant things!

Find a Route

Running Route

via. Flickr

One of the best things about running is that you can pretty much do it anywhere. Roads, parks, canal towpaths… they all make perfect running routes. All you have to do is decide on a sensible distance and get out there! However, there’s nothing better than a bit of scenery when it comes to going out for a run and luckily that’s one thing that we aren’t short of in this country! One option is to head out to one of our national parks and if you’re feeling adventurous you could even try out one of these fantastic routes, although some of them are rather daunting.

Get Racing

finish line

via. Flickr

No matter what distance you are comfortable with I can guarantee that you’ll find a race or event for you, from short and casual fun-runs to gruelling ultra marathons and everything in between. Races are the perfect way to challenge yourself and you’ll be surprised at the feeling of satisfaction you get when you cross that finish line.

Hopefully you’ll enjoy getting out and about running, and if you really get in to it you might even think about going on a little running holiday. If so we’ve got cottages with all sorts of features that might be perfect for you, whether it’s our cottages in the countryside for a scenic run or even our hot tub cottages which are perfect for soothing those aching legs.

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Jamie Tomkins

By Jamie Tomkins

Jamie is a big fan of long weekend walks with the dog, especially when there is the chance to refuel with lunch in a country pub. Living in Lancaster for three years gave him the perfect opportunity to spend a lot of time in the Lake District.

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.

Britain or Abroad? Take the quiz!

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
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Think you know your Cornwall from your Corfu?  Prove you’re genned up on all things British by trying your hand at our latest quiz, Britain or Abroad. We wanted to find out how good us Brits are at identifying home from abroad, so we created this fun test to see just how well you know the landscapes and vistas of dear old blighty.

Britain or Abroad

Featuring a series of images that’ll get your cogs turning, the quiz is designed to show off bits of Britain that you won’t believe can be found right on your door step. With coastlines that are confused with the Caribbean and mountains that mirror Mont Blanc, there’s really no reason to go to foreign parts on your next holiday- not convinced? Then take the quiz and discover some of the stunning sights that you might have missed- we think you’ll be surprised by the results!

To take the quiz, click the giant logo above and let us know how you got on via Facebook or Twitter.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Sykes Cottages- Where it all began

Sunday, March 9th, 2014
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For over 25 years, Sykes Cottages have been providing some of the UK’s finest cottage holidays. Here in the marketing department of Sykes HQ, statements like this have become something of a mantra, a quick way to grab the reader’s attention and show them we mean business. But the beauty of the matter is, we really have been supplying holiday cottages for 25 years, or should I say, some of us have…

The original Sykes Cottages brochures, featuring Clive's hand drawn illustrations.

The original Sykes Cottages brochures, featuring Clive’s hand drawn illustrations.

Back in the late 80s/ early 90s, Clive Sykes and his mum were busy beavering away on their then small holiday lettings agency, the aptly named ‘Cottage Holidays’. They took their own holiday cottages, as well as those of friends, and rented them out to holidaymakers across the UK who were looking for affordable, convenient and comfortable self-catering accommodation in and around the Yorkshire Dales.

Brochure

A holiday cottage sketch

Their devotion and commitment to their trade was apparent from the word go. Single-handedly, Clive sketched line drawings of every one of the properties, as well as illustrations for the company’s debut brochure, which was released in 1992- just think of the patience! It was this dedication and staunch will to succeed that saw the swift expansion of the company, and with the much better suited title of Sykes Cottages, this kitchen table enterprise soon began to gain ground.

And when I say ground, that’s just what I mean. Originally geared towards properties in Northern England, Sykes Cottages began to expand to other parts of the UK and by 1994, had accumulated a handful of cottages in the Peak District, Northumbria and Southern Scotland. By word of mouth and a rising prestige, Sykes Cottages recruited more and more holiday cottage owners who had heard about the agency’s commitment and hard work in delivering great bookings for their loyal cottage owners.

And so it continued, and Clive’s harrying for unbeatable service for both customers and owners saw the company expand to all four corners of the UK. As it stands today, Sykes has 4,581 self-catering cottages to rent across the UK and Ireland, with this figure set to rise. And yet, even after this massive growth, Clive himself is still central to the daily running of this family business.

 Sykes Cottages- The Future

Now based in the historic city of Chester, Sykes Cottages has developed into a nationally renowned business employing over one hundred people, all of whom share Clive’s original passion for providing the very best cottage holidays. We combine the latest technology with three decades of UK holiday know-how to provide our customers and our owners with an unrivalled level of service, something which saw us win the British Travel Award for Best Large UK Cottage/ Self Catering Booking Company in 2013.

The latest Sykes Cottages brochures, which are available by region.

The latest Sykes Cottages brochures, which are available by region.

With our newly-designed website and an updated mobile app on the way, it’s never been easier to rent one of our holiday cottages. But for all our technical advancements, we still believe that nothing beats talking to our customers direct. That’s why we have a dedicated call centre open seven days a week where you can call us for help and advice whenever you need it.  Our company may have seen significant growth, but we’ll never forget where our journey began.

To find out more about the history of Sykes Cottages, or for more information about our latest developments, click here.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.

Show your support for Fairtrade Fortnight

Friday, February 28th, 2014
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It’s Fairtrade Fortnight, an annual event raising awareness for the challenges and hardships farmers face in the developing world. For the next two weeks, events will be taking place across the country to highlight the need for sustainable prices and decent working conditions for the overseas farmers who provide some of the nation’s favourite produce.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

This year’s campaign focuses on the humble banana, undoubtedly the UK’s favourite fruit. On average, we eat over 5 billion bananas a year- 13 million a day to be precise. Yet, thanks to supermarket price wars, the price we pay for a banana has almost halved in the past decade, whilst the cost of production has virtually doubled- does that sound fair to you? Well, it certainly didn’t to us, and that’s why we’re backing the Fairtrade Foundation in their bid to raise awareness of the importance of buying Fairtrade.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Since the early nineties, the Fairtrade Foundation has been confronting unethical trade practices to help empower underprivileged producers in developing countries. Their logo has been creeping on to packaging and labels in supermarkets extensively over the past few years, with some of the most popular Fairtrade products being coffee, chocolate and wine. Now, the charity has turned its attention towards our favourite cylindrical fruit, and we want to let you know about some of the great events happening in your area over the next Fortnight where you can find out more about Fairtrade and do your bit for the banana growers who work long hours to deliver our favourite yellow fruit.

If you’re in Scotland this weekend, come along to the Bake a Difference Coffee Morning which is taking place in Fairlie, Scotland’s first Fairtrade village. Here, visitors can tuck into an array of top Fairtrade coffee and cakes, whilst little ones can get busy decorating bananas. The coffee morning will also feature a talk with a Juan Santelices of Fair Business Alliance, who will be giving his thoughts on the importance of Fairtrade and why everyone should get behind the campaign to oust overly-cheap bananas.

Gloucestershire will also be playing its part in Fairtrade Fortnight thanks to the organisers of the Thornbury Fairtrade fair. Sample a wealth of Fairtrade foods, join in the quiz or talk to real Fairtrade coffee producers to hear how the charity’s affected themselves and their business. The event is open from 10am to 12pm tomorrow, so come down and show your support if you’re in the area.

Via Flickr

Via Flickr

Fairtrade fanatics in the town of Edenbridge, Kent, have taken things a step further with their inspired event, Come Dine With Us, an evening of foodie fun presented by six local celebrity chefs. Watch as these culinary maestros cook up some delicious fodder using only Fairtrade ingredients, before choosing a winning dish. The event also features a six course, fully Fairtrade meal, so we hope you’re hungry!

If you’d like more information on the Fairtrade Fortnight events taking place in your area, click here to access the Fairtrade Foundation’s events calendar.

We hope this blog has shone some light on the impact that buying Fairtrade has on the farmers and producers who provide our favourite foods. If you aren’t convinced, head to your nearest Fairtrade Fortnight event and speak to those who have been directly affected by the efforts of this great charity.

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Jonathan Tuplin

By Jonathan Tuplin

Jonathan is a lover of books, music and good food. Originally from Yorkshire, there's nothing he likes more than a cycle in the country. One of his favourite spots in the UK is Tenby, where he spent many a happy holiday as a child.