April, 2014 Archive

Weekend Away in the Dales

This weekend we went away with family, kids and dogs to Garsdale which is half in the Yorkshire Dales and half in Cumbria. We arrived in Friday evening, unpacked and settled straight in to the amazing cottage that is IngHeads.

ingheads garsdale

When we decided to go away this weekend we spent some time researching available holiday cottages that would tick our boxes. With us having Cooper and Mand & KC having Polly it was important for the dogs to be OK in and around the house, so we needed an enclosed garden… tick. With the kids its good with something for them to do.. so this house had a cool games room….tick. Then for the adults its always great to have a dip in a hot tub late at night with a cocktail or two …. tick. And what we were all after was a place that oozes character… tick. This place was superb, and being an hour and a half from both Ripon and Manchester it worked out really well. It had been renovated to a really high standard but retained all its original features.

back of ingheads hot tub

This is the cool games room complete with pool table, football table and a juke box

games room ingheads

and here’s the kids when they had a dip in the tub

ingheads hot tub

We had a lovely relaxing weekend, with great home cooked dinners, and lots of laughs. On Saturday we challenged ourselves to walk to the pub which was about 2 miles away by road, but we went cross country using the O/S Map in the cottage.

Stunning scenery on the way.


Lots of sheep and Spring lambs

spring lambs

Babbling brooks and meandering rivers

river in garsdale

and the stunning Dandry Mire viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line just outside Garsdale station

dandry mire viaduct garsdale

“I can see the pub from here” … we had to go back into North Yorkshire to get a pint.

heading to yorkshire to the pub

and the sun was shining at the Moorcock Inn

pint in the sunshine moorcock inn

Another brilliant weekend … now what shall we do next weekend?

Easter Break Away

It was a bit of a last minute decision to go away for the Easter weekend, but with the weather looking good I got on with the search of where to go. With us now having Cooper there was an extra criteria to look for, normally we just need to find a hotel with a family room, but this time we needed a family room but also a dog friendly hotel.

As I had left it a bit late quite a few hotels in different areas were fully booked with it being the Easter weekend, but then I stumbled upon The Black Swan at Helmsley. We have been to Helmsley quite a few times, mainly to stop off on the way to the Coast and its in a great location to get around the area. We decided that we would take Bob, so got all packed up on Good Friday and headed off.

After a steady drive, stopping off at the top of Sutton Bank we arrived in Helmsley, and got parked up outside the hotel.

Miles and Ethan Helmsley

Here’s The Black Swan in the sunshine – can you spot Bob

The Black Swan, Helmsley

During the afternoon we went for a stroll around Helmsley, stopping at Thomas’s of Helmsley for lunch, and then heading to the Castle, wandering alongside the beck.

Helmsley beck

We didn’t go into Helmsley Castle, but headed to Helmsley Walled Garden which was stunning and had great views of the castle too.

Helmsley walled garden

It was lovely and warm, and everything was looking so good bathed in the sunshine. There was just blue, green and yellow everywhere. Dave and I popped to The Feathers in the afternoon for a few pints in the sunshine, where we soaked up the atmosphere.

At the Black Swan we enjoyed amazing food in The Gallery restaurant where the kitchen is headed up by chef Paul Peters. We failed to get any pictures of the unbelievable meals as we were so swept away with the impeccable service in the hotel and restaurant, but here’s Dave and Miles in the lounge before dinner.

the lounge

On Saturday we were well fed at breakfast and then headed to the Coast. We decided that we would keep away from the busy resorts and headed for Filey. I hadn’t been there before but it looked like it had a big beach when I was looking at the map.

This is a view out of Bob’s window on the journey… more blue, yellow and green.


Wow, so Filey was impressive …a huge expanse of beach.

Filey beach

Dogs aren’t allowed on the beach between May and September so we were lucky that we could take Cooper onto the sand. This was his second time on the beach and he absolutely loved it and ran and ran. The kids were loving playing a bit of rugby too.

cooper and the kids filey

Cooper wasn’t quite sure what to make of the waves 🙂

Cooper Filey

Once Cooper had dried off and we had filled up on fish and chips we headed down the Coast to Flamborough. Again another place I hadn’t been too, but a place that my Dad, when he was a kid, and his parents (The original “Cooper” family) regularly went to for holidays.

The lighthouse at Flamborough was gleaming in the sunshine and we got a good parking space for Bob.

flamborough lighthouse

And here is a shot over the cliffs at Flamborough. Its such a different coastline to that further up north, but more rugged and I loved the white cliffs.

flamborough shore

After a long day we were looking forward to getting back to the bar and relaxing before dinner. On the way back to Helmsley, Bob decided to let go and it turned out the alternator had broken. We had to pull off the road and wait to be recovered. When you have old vehicles you expect this sort of thing to happen so you just have to take it in your stride. It wasn’t long before we were back on the road again…well with Bob on a tow truck and all of us in the cab, being taken back to the Black Swan, just in time to get quickly changed for a pre-dinner drink 🙂

bob on a tow truck

We weren’t quite sure how we would get home on the Sunday, but that was something to work out after a lovely meal and a good nights sleep. In the morning after breakfast it was back onto Greenflag for a second recovery to get Bob to Dubtricks garage to be fixed and for us to get home. This time Bob travelled in style on a flat bed. It caused quite a stir in the hotel car park in the morning getting Bob loaded…with one person thinking thats how we transported him from place to place! Er, no… he’s properly broken down!


And that was Easter! Brilliant time had, and what was best was that it felt like such a long weekend.

Happy Birthday Ethan

Today my youngest son Ethan turns 12. Wow, time has flown since the day Ethan came into the world, and today we celebrate his birthday and thank him for all the smiles he has brought. I still call him my “little Ethan” but he’s nearly as big as me now and still growing fast, with a wicked sense of humour and a cheeky smile.

I’ve had to dig through the old photo albums and scan in some of the old pictures (pre-digital) but the old ones are always the best, and there is still something really special about flicking through old photo albums that I did get slightly distracted.

This is Ethan when he was just minutes old with Dave


and here he is just a few days old with Miles photobombing


I mentioned his cheeky smile previously well here it is


We also couldn’t miss out on the obligatory “in the bath” shot


Moments to cherish in Ethan’s life .. like the day that he climbed into the washing machine (or was he pushed in by Miles?)


or when he decided to hide in the drawer of the TV cabinet when we were moving house

ethan drawer

A proud day, and an exciting one for Ethan too by the big grin on his face, on his first day at school

ethan school

A determined look on a ride at Blackpool during one of our mini breaks

ethan blackpool

Here are a few recent pictures. I love this one with me and Ethan on the way to the village pub when we were staying in a yurt in the middle of the Yorkshire Dales

ethan 2013

Last year on one of our visits to see Cooper before we brought him home

ethan 2013 2

And then Ethan earlier on in the year when we had a few days in London before we went to see England at Twickenham.

ethan 2014

So all that’s left to say is Happy Birthday son … love you loads xx