Archive for June, 2012

Sykes Cottages Staff Face The Three Peaks Challenge!

Friday, June 29th, 2012
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This morning ten members of staff from Sykes Cottages set off on a big challenge: to walk the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales, all in just twenty four hours, to raise money for Claire House and Children Today. The Three Peaks Challenge means climbing against the clock to the top of Ben Nevis in Scotland, followed by Scafell Pike in the Lake District and finally Snowdon in Wales. That means approximately thirteen hours of walking and eleven hours of driving!

The walkers include Simon Taylor, Peter Weir, Clive Sykes, Michelle Lawton, Tom Lowes, Anthony Challinor-Cole, Richard Bond, Simon Pospisil and Adam Ratcliffe. Some of the team have been keen walkers for some time, like Tom Lowes who has attempted the challenge twice before. He is hoping that this time he will be able to complete it within the twenty four hour deadline. Michelle Lawton, the only female in the group, has been taking training seriously. She has been working hard in the gym and walking in Snowdonia at the weekends to get ready for the gruelling three peaks. Company founder, Clive Sykes is also part of the team who hope to raise £5000 for children’s charities by completing the challenge.

The team left the Sykes Cottages office in Chester on Thursday morning to head to Scotland where they stayed overnight near to Ben Nevis in Scotland. They started walking at 8am this morning and hope to be finished before 8am on Saturday. So far, they have completed the climb and descent of Ben Nevis. They are currently on route to Scafell Pike for the second climb of the challenge an hour ahead of schedule!

This week, Sykes Cottages staff have raised over £220 for the charity total by holding a three day long bake sale, wearing slippers to work and taking part in a sweepstake to guess how long the challenge will take the ten strong team.

The Sykes Cottages colleagues are raising money for two charities, Claire House, a children’s hospice on the Wirral and Children Today who support disabled children by providing them with the specialised equipment that they need. So far, the total raised stands at £3263 with generous donations from family, friends and colleagues still flooding in. To sponsor the team please visit our fundraising page.

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Evolution of the Family Holiday

Monday, June 25th, 2012
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There isn’t much we look forward to more than our family holiday. That week or two away from it all is for most of us the highlight of our year.

But with changes to the population, global warming and evolving family structures all having an impact on the way the much loved family holiday is changing, will the way we enjoy a family holiday in years to come change?

Will the possible change to school holidays mean we take more short breaks? Will global warming mean we shy away from the Med and holiday in climates that are now thought of as cooler?

Here is an infographic from showing how the family holiday may evolve in years to come:


Evolution of the Family Holiday Infographic
View a larger version of the infographic here – just click the image to zoom in


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Everyone Loves Cake!

Friday, June 22nd, 2012
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One of the best things about going on holiday in the UK is the chance to try new local foods. Here are some of the best cakes from around the UK.

Grasmere Gingerbread

The warm sticky taste of Grasmere Gingerbread has been attracting people to the tiny shop in the corner of the churchyard in Grasmere for well over one hundred years. Still made today from the same secret recipe that it always has been, it is well worth making the trip to the Lake District for!

Yorkshire Curd Tart

Yorkshire Curd Tart

Delicious Yorkshire Curd Tart's

Yorkshire curd tart is unsurprisingly a speciality of the Yorkshire Dales and has been a firm family teatime favourite for many generations. It takes its name from the fresh curds that were used to make it that were left over from cheese making. The curds are added to currents and baked inside a pastry case until the top of baked and golden. If you fancy making your own, fresh curd can be hard to get hold of so you are best off making your own.

Bakewell Pudding

Forget the overly sweet and artificial fondant covered, glace cherry topped Bakewell tarts available in the supermarket, the real thing, the traditional Bakewell pudding is in a league of its own! If in or around the Peak District it’s well worth popping by to sample a slice, but make sure your hungry, there are at least three shops in Bakewell that claim to have the original recipe. There’s only one thing to do, you will have to try all of them!

Bara Brith

Bara Brith

Traditional Welsh Bara Brith

Although there are many recipes for this traditional welsh teatime treat, the premise stays the same, dried fruits including raisins, currants and candied peel, soaked overnight in tea and then added to a cake mixture and baked in the oven. What could be better than enjoying a slice bara brith topped with a smearing of butter and a lovely cup of tea?

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A Trip to the Great British Seaside

Friday, June 15th, 2012
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The UK has so many stunning beaches and coastlines, from the island of Anglesey in North Wales to the beautiful beaches of Dorset on the south coast and Northumberland in the north east of England. The good old British seaside is for many, a place of countless childhood memories, usually involving sitting on deckchairs on the beach with their parents, grandparents and siblings, eating sandwiches and paddling in the sea. Nowadays, a trip to the seaside still retains so much of the original charm and tradition that it has always had, so why not book a seaside break today?
A trip to a cottage on the coast is a wonderful way to make the most of the stunning seaside scenery that the UK has to offer. What could be better than enjoying a sea view from your accommodation, followed by a brisk walk along the sea? On a hot summer’s day be at one with nature and take a walk barefoot along sand. Whatever the weather, watching the wave’s crash and break is so relaxing and a tray of fish and chips eaten with a wooden fork is a lovely seaside treat. A quiet costal retreat is an especially lovely location for walking and bird watching and makes the most fantastic place for walking the dog.
Many of the traditional Victorian seaside resorts have beautiful buildings and architecture dating back to the heyday of the seaside holiday. Enjoy a walk along a traditional pier, stopping along the way at the kiosks selling classic seaside souvenirs and popping into the amusement arcades for a play on the two pence machines. The seafront is a great place to catch a Punch and Judy show or watch small children experiencing the classic seaside treat of a donkey ride.

For thrill seekers, how about heading to the surfing capital of the UK, Newquay to ride the waves? If you fancy some upmarket seaside charm, Llandudno in North Wales could be just the thing. If you like wild rides Blackpool could be more your thing, and a trip to the Blackpool Pleasure Beach right up your street. The possibilities are endless – just pack your bucket and spade and off you go!

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Fancy an escape to the country?

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
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Over 80% of people in the UK live in cities. Although the everyday convenience of living in a town is unquestionable, every now and then we all want to get away from the busy day to day routine. Away from the daily grind of work, the noise of traffic, people and the pollution that city life poses, an escape to the country can be just the thing to make you feel relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to face the world again. After all, that’s what holidays are about isn’t it?
With lots of UK holiday cottages still available in the next couple of months, a rural retreat in the countryside could be the perfect place to soak up a bit of summer sunshine. Retreating to the country means that you can make the most of the simple things in life. Take pleasure in the great outdoors and go for a walk in the fresh air or enjoy a saunter along a canal tow path. Take in the rolling landscape and the beauty of the British lakes and mountains.
With so much intriguing history to learn about, why not make the most of the attractiveness and history of the country by visiting a National Trust property on your country break? Learn about the history and heritage of the beautiful country that we live in. Maybe visit a stately home, traditional gardens or a historic home that takes your fancy.

The British Countryside is a beautiful natural habitat to so many animals, of all shapes and sizes. The hedgerows that line the side of so many of the narrow country lanes that characterise the countryside are brimming with birds and home to lots of small animals. Bird watchers will be in their element and there are countless opportunities for a spot of fishing.
For those who love our four legged animal friends, a farm stay could be the perfect choice. Get up close to nature and enjoy the fresh air and naturalness of a farm. Enjoy the peacefully sound of animals grazing in the fields and if you are lucky, cook up a freshly laid egg for breakfast in the convenience and comfort of your country cottage.
Stay in a country cottage allows you to make the most of something a little different. How about a chocolate box cottage in the Lake District complete with a thatched roof or a Peak District lodge with spectacular views of the surrounding scenery? Whatever you choose, you are sure to have a fantastic holiday in the countryside.

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