Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category

Valentine’s Special: Couples’ Holiday Memories, Part Three

Saturday, February 15th, 2014
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The Valentine’s weekend is in full swing and all around us are happy couples celebrating their love, showering each other with gifts and lightening the mood on this otherwise dreary Saturday. We hope you have been enjoying our Valentine’s specials on existing couples and their happy memories, so far we have interviewed Mike and Michelle from Anglesey and Simon and Sue from East Yorkshire. Today is the final interview so keep reading to find out about this interesting couple from Wales.

Lisa and James 2013

Lisa and James 2013

Our final couple is Lisa and James from Anglesey in North Wales. James grew up in Holyhead before moving to Bangor for University where he met Lisa. Lisa spent her childhood exploring the coast and national trust properties around north Wales with her grandparents. They moved to Menai Bridge 3 years ago and now live in a wonderful community with their 2 year old son Adam, they plan on getting married in a small traditional Welsh church in 2017.


Thank you for agreeing to take part in our interview, if you could start by you telling us a little bit about yourselves…

James: Well we’ve been together 7 years.

Lisa: 7 long, long years. But there is nothing much to tell really, we are pretty boring

James:  Yes I’m pretty and you’re boring

Lisa: (laughing) To be honest I was the only girl drunk and foolish enough to throw myself at you

James: Good thing I can catch


How did you both meet?

Lisa, James and Adam at  Pili Palas

Lisa, James and Adam at Pili Palas

Lisa: My mum forced us together

James: Through a mutual friend, her mother, Michelle. We were on a night out and Michelle asked me for a favour, she said “James will you look after my 19 year old daughter” and I said “yes Michelle, I will!” because I’m a good guy like that.

Lisa: During the night I was getting a lot of unwanted attention so mum asked James to keep an eye on me and he’s been looking after me ever since.


Have you ever been on holiday together? Where was your most recent holiday?

Lisa: We’ve been on holiday a few times; our most recent holiday was going up to Scotland for a wedding in Kirkcaldy. It was beautiful there with a big castle and lots of open space with stunning county views.


Do you have any holiday disasters or funny moments you would like to share with us?

James: We once went on holiday with Lisa’s parents, when we got there we found out that they had booked two rooms with a conjoining door!

Lisa: Every five minutes my little brothers would barge through the door to show us pictures of transformers. Take our advice, if you ever want to go on a romantic holiday together don’t take your mum, dad and two brothers and definitely don’t have conjoining rooms!


Lisa on a walk in Penmaenmawr

Lisa on a walk in Penmaenmawr

If you could take a holiday anywhere in the UK where would you most like to go?

Lisa: I’d like to take Adam to Logo Land in Windsor or to the Lake District because he would really enjoy the nature and all of the activities there.

James: Yes the Lakes would be nice, not a city though, never a city.

Lisa: That’s right we don’t really enjoy city breaks, we much prefer the country

James: That would be a good holiday, me you and Adam at a country cottage.



If you could go on holiday with any celebrity couple, who would it be?

James: Well we love to read and like a lot of authors but there would be no point holidaying with them. We would either harass them about their books or lock them in their room until they finish the next book!

Lisa: Maybe a rich celebrity, someone who can spoil us.

James: I would go with Brewster from ‘Chuggington’.

Lisa: (laughing) James he is not a person he is a train, a fictional train!

James: But he is famous! Adam loves him.

Lisa: Oh what about Mick Foley and his wife?

James: Yes, he’s a wrestler and an author, we read his autobiography and he seems really funny.


Lisa and James just after baby Adam was born.

Lisa and James just after baby Adam was born.

What are your partner’s best and worst qualities?

James: Let me see the worst one, she takes about a week to put her cloths away! But then she puts up with my random obsession with things and she listen to me… occasionally.

Lisa: Worst quality, his random obsessions with things! But best quality is that he is incredibly sweet and he remembers things that I don’t even think he’s picked up on.

James: Yer I listen.

Lisa: There you go listening, that’s his best quality.


Is there anything that your partner does that you wouldn’t be able to do yourself?

James: Well Lisa can wrap presents and she has handwriting that is legible and people understand so she writes my cards.

Lisa: James keeps me financially stable by giving me good advice on what’s needed and what isn’t

James: And by locking the door so she can’t get out and spend!

Lisa: He also does all the laundry, I’m awful at it.

James: Lisa cooks; she is a fantastic cook and always really impresses our friends and family when they come round.


Lisa and James celebrating Christmas 2013 in Chester

Lisa and James celebrating Christmas 2013 in Chester

What is that most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your partner?

James: I went all the way to Aberystwyth to surprise her on our first Valentine’s Day together.

Lisa:  That’s right he was stood outside my work with flowers and ice cream! I was so shocked it was such a sweet gesture and I had no idea he was coming. I don’t know what I’ve done thought, he likes it when I randomly come home with stake.

James: Yes she comes home with steak and she cooks it too!


How did you propose?

Lisa: I forced him into it! I found out my little sister was going to get engaged before me and I wasn’t happy. So one day we were in town at a jewellery shop when he said “do you want a ring then?”

James: We had just bought a house and I thought that showed a big enough commitment in wanting to be with her. But the ring makes her happy so I’m happy.


What would you say is the secret to a long lasting relationship?

James: You have to be happy doing simple things together not just an activity or a big event. To be happy just spending time together doing simple things like watching TV and eating a bag of crisps or playing a board game.

Lisa: If you’re happy just being in the same room together that’s going to last a lot longer than if you are only happy going out.


And finally do you have any plans for this Valentine’s Day?

Lisa: We have a favourite pizza place called Bella House, so we will be treating ourselves to a pizza.

James: And playing our new board game, just making the most of our time together when Adam has gone to bed.




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Nicole Jones-Gerrard

By Nicole Jones-Gerrard

As a food lover Nicole can often be found in the kitchen, covered in flour and experimenting with new tastes! When not making a mess she loves to explore her Celtic roots by roaming the Scottish countryside or exploring the bays along the Anglesey coast with her husband.

Valentine’s Special: Couples’ Holiday Memories, Part Two

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
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As Valentine’s Day speeds towards us in a whirlwind of roses, chocolate and overpriced greetings cards, we bring you the second instalment of our Valentine’s Specials. Last week, we spoke to Mike and Michelle from North Wales about their favourite holiday memories, the secrets of a long lasting relationship and how they’ll be spending this upcoming Valentine’s Day- you can read what they had to say by clicking here.

Mum & Dad 7

Simon & Sue, Manchester 2013

Today, we’ll be speaking to Simon and Sue (AKA, my parents) about everything from honeymoons and romance, to potential wife swapping and how they’ve survived their 30 year relationship. Both Simon and Sue were born and raised in East Yorkshire, where they still live today. They have two wonderful children, and can often be found taking walks on Sewerby Cliffs or scenic drives through the Yorkshire Moors.


Valentine's Day Special

Honeymoon in the Lake District, 1988

Thank you for agreeing to take part in our Valentine’s blog. Let’s start with how long you’ve been together…

Simon: We’ve been together 30 years, married for 25. 26 in June!

Susan: We met in 1984 when I was 27 and he was 23.

Simon: That’s right…you were a bit of a cougar!

Tell us the story of how you met…

Susan: I went to work with Simon on his potato harvester one season- that’s how we got to know each other.

Simon:  And she thought I was well fit!

Susan: No, you thought I was fit! Anyway, it was love at first sight!

Valentine's Day Special

Honeymoon in the Lake District, 1988

Where did you spend your first holiday? 

Susan: Our first proper holiday was in Scotland.

Simon: Yeah, on the West Coast. We stayed in a cottage in Craobh Haven but toured around a lot. We went as far North as Fort William and as far South as the Mull of Kintyre. It was fantastic holiday and one that we’ll never forget.

You spent your honeymoon in the UK- where did you go?

Simon: We went to the Lake District, to Ambleside actually.

Susan: And it was so hot! The locals kept saying it was the hottest week they’d ever had.

Simon: Yeah, we had to buy summer clothes whilst we were there because we’d packed expecting rain- we got pretty badly sunburnt. We both put on a full stone in a week, something we’re quite proud of!

Susan: We had a Full English every morning!


The Scottish Landscape, 1986

Do you have any funny holiday memories or disasters that you can share with us?

Susan: We broke down on the motorway on the way to Tenby one year, which was a bit of a disaster.  And there was the white garden chair incident…

Please, go on…

Susan: It just gave way! One of the legs just went! I rolled on to the floor and couldn’t get up for laughing.

Mum 1

Susan in Scotland, 1986

If you could go on holiday with any celebrity couple, who would it be?

Simon: Well, I don’t know about Sue, but I think Brad & Angelina would be quite nice…

Susan: I knew you’d say that.

Simon: A bit of wife swapping perhaps…

Susan: I’d swap you for Brad Pitt any day.

Do you prefer holidays with or without your children?

Susan: I loved holidays with my kids, but it’s different now.

Simon: They’re two very different experiences. We’d definitely love to go with them again someday.

Susan: Yeah, we’d have a good laugh now that they’re grown up and can have a drink.

Simon: And they’d be able to treat us…

Dad 1

Simon in Cumbria, 1988

Keep Dreaming! Where in the UK would you really like to visit?

Simon: We’d like to visit Devon and Cornwall. We’ve never been to the South West Coast so that would definitely be somewhere we’d like to visit.

Susan: I think Ireland would also be a really nice place to go. We’ve never been, but have heard how beautiful it is.

What are the secrets of a long lasting relationship?

Simon: Doing what I’m told.

Susan: A bit of give and take. And love too, mustn’t forget love.

What are your partner’s best and worst qualities?

Simon: Well, she’s very stubborn and will never back down even if she knows I’m right. But aside from that, she’s a very loving, warm person, who puts everyone at ease. Your turn…

Mum & Dad

Simon and Sue,  2014

Susan: He’s a grumpy, bad tempered git! Tight too! But then, I suppose he is really kind and caring. He’s my best friend.

How did you propose?

Simon: It was nothing elaborate. We were in the car, driving to Bridlington for a walk, and I just asked her. There was no grand romantic gesture!

Susan: Yeah, I didn’t even get a bag of chips! But he did buy me a nice ring, so I’ll let him off.

What’s your idea of a perfect evening together?

Simon: Going out to a nice restaurant for a slap up and a few drinks.

What’s the most romantic thing they’ve ever done?

Susan: We aren’t really romantic types. He did bring me a bouquet of roses to work once, but only after I’d told him off for never buying me flowers!

How will you be spending this Valentine’s Day?

Simon: Together on the sofa!

Susan: We don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day- we already know how much we love one another.

Thirty years on… Simon and Sue at South Beach, Bridlington

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this addition of our Valentine’s series. The final instalment will be posted on Saturday 15th, so tune in to the Sykes blog then for more romantic revelations!

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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.

Valentine’s Special: Couples’ Holiday Memories, Part One

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we’re feeling a little bit soppy here at Sykes Cottages; so in celebration of the month of love, we’ve decided to conduct a series of interviews on the Sykes Blog with real-life couples. We want to know about their holidays, how they will be spending Valentine’s Day, the secrets behind a long-lasting relationship, and to generally be just a little bit nosey!

Michelle and Mike

Michelle and Mike, Christmas 2011

The first couple we spoke to were Mike and Michelle from North Wales. Michelle is originally from Central Scotland whilst Mike’s family moved around a lot when he was younger, before eventually settling in Wales. Mike and Michelle now live together on Anglesey and enjoy walking along the Menai Straits with their two dogs, Dennis and George. They have four children and one grandson, who they spoil rotten.


Party in Scotland

Mike and Michelle at a party in Scotland, 2013

Thank you so much for agreeing to take part! Tell us a little bit about yourselves…

Michelle : I’m 46 and he is 56, old man! We have been together…

Mike : 24 years?

Michelle : No, we’ve been married 16 years and were together for seven years before we got married; so yes, 24 years next month. Oh my God, I could have killed you and been out of jail by now!


How did you both meet?

Michelle : In Kent. We were at a birthday party.

Mike : No, in Scotland, at your house!

Michelle : Alright, we met in Scotland at my house! Mike was taking us to a party in Kent and was driving the mini bus.

Wales Coast

Mike’s childhood along the Welsh Coast

What has been your favourite holiday to date?

Michelle : My favourite UK holiday of all time was in Babbacombe in Devon. That’s where I spent all my childhood holidays.

Mike :  When I was a child, I used to love coming to Wales. With Michelle, my favourite holiday was when we went to the Isle of Wight.

Michelle : Oh yes, when we’ve holidayed together, the Isle of Wight was my favourite place!


Do you have any funny holiday memories that you can share with us?

Mike : When I was young, we swapped houses with my Aunt so that we could holiday in Wales. Half way through the journey, we stopped at the traffic lights and there, sitting on the other side of the road, was my Aunt and her children!


Cockington, Devon

Mike and the children in Cockington, Devon

Where in the UK would you really like to visit? Do any places just make you say ‘wow!’?

Michelle : Wales, I love living here. Scotland also makes me think wow, especially when I go right up to the Highlands.

Mike : Bailiffscourt in Climping is absolutely gorgeous.

Michelle : I’ve never been to York but I know with all its history that I would love it there.


If you could go on holiday with any celebrity couple, who would it be?

Michelle : I would like to go with David and Samantha Cameron, so they could see how normal people holiday and how much Britain has to offer.

Mike : I would go with Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas because they seem really funny.


Michelle and the dogs at Llanberis Lake

Michelle and the dogs at Llanberis Lake

Do you prefer holidays with or without your children?

Michelle : With my children! It’s nice having holidays on your own but it’s also lovely holidaying with the children.

Mike : It was great when the children were young but now that they’re older, it’s much nicer just the two of us.


What are your partner’s best and worst qualities?

Michelle : He is so forgetful and it really annoys me but he has a wonderful cheeky smile. To be honest, his best quality is him just being him.

Mike : Her worst quality is her cleaning, she is always cleaning! Then again, her best quality is her cleaning, the house always looks amazing!


Mike and Michelle

Mike and Michelle with grandson, Adam.

Is there anything that your partner does for you that you wouldn’t be able to do yourself?

Michelle :  Loads. I’m in a wheelchair so he helps me get ready, takes me out, makes sure I’m safe when I have a fit, just about everything really.

Mike : She protects me. Michelle just looks after me in her own way.


What’s the most romantic thing they’ve ever done?

Michelle : I’m not really a romantic person. Mike does romantic things all the time.

Mike : (singing) I used to buy you flowers!

Michelle : As a couple, the most romantic thing that we do is still hold hands, which the kids hate! The most romantic thing that Mike does is never leave the house without giving me a kiss.

Mike : Michelle always lets me know that she loves me before I fall asleep.


Mike and Michelle on their wedding day

Mike and Michelle on their wedding day

Who proposed and how did you propose?

Mike : The first or the fifth time? I kept asking if she would marry me and she kept saying no!

Michelle : In the end, I asked him what he would like for his fortieth birthday and he said he wouldn’t mind getting married, so we did! I thought it was about time.


What do you think the secret of a long lasting relationship is?

 Michelle : Him doing what I tell him!

Mike : Her thinking that I do what she tells me.

Michelle : Whatever! The secret of a long lasting relationship is never going to sleep on an argument.

Mike and Michelle in Torquay, 2009

Mike and Michelle in Torquay, 2009


And finally, how will you be spending Valentine’s Day?

Michelle : A nice bit of steak, watching something good on the TV and a nice pudding.


The next instalment in our series of interviews will be appearing on the blog next week. In the meantime, if you don’t have any plans for Valentine’s Day yet, may we suggest booking a last minute getaway in a romantic holiday cottage! You can thank us later!

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Louise O'Toole

By Louise O'Toole

Louise loves reading, shopping, baking and cosy country pubs with log fires. A nice cup of tea will never be turned down. She has spent many childhood summers on the beach in Cornwall and walking the hills of the Lake District.