Friday 20 March 2015


At 10.30am GMT on Friday 20th March 2015 we can finally reveal what is happening around the North York Moors ....... this news is hot off the press so I hope it reaches you all very quickly... Susan Briggs has come up with another great idea . First it was yellow sheep in the Dales, then we had pink sheep here in the Moors. Now there is a website you may like to take a look at .AND we are part of this .After you have read it through you will see that cakes and buns are been served all over the area. Melton Mowbray have the pies. Newmarket has sausages and we have cakes and baking Some people have a particular cake they serve up. Others like me serve up what came out of the Aga a few hours before. This varies on the time I have and as my icing skills are very moderate please dont expect sculptured iced creations here. Each to their own. Now when the idea of cakes came up I immediately piped up "Well we could have fish cakes too" .. I will leave that to the fishermans wives and those who live on the coast. If you read a previous blog of mine you will read about Castle Stores opposite the church in Helmsley. Two things are happening in the Ampleforth/Helmsley radius as businesses are joining together. FIRSTLY- anyone who stays as a guest with us are invited along to Maud and Christine's on a Tuesday night. I will drive so you can sit back and relax and on lighter nights enjoy the view and maybe see a deer or two on the way as we cross over Wass Moor on our way to Helmsley. You will then experience 2 happy hours making buns or even setting off to make a cake. There is only one thing, these are not edible but dont worry we are treated to tea and cakes half way through. You can either KNIT a bun or CROCHET a cake -. Below you will see some examples of what you can make. SECONDLY - As Tour de Yorkshire announced recently having the Sheffield Childrens Hospital as it's official charity we wanted to raise their coffers too .Only one of 4 hospitals in the country to have specialist care for children. I have passed the idea to their fundraising staff and we are being well supported with our second idea. We are hoping to make this an annual event. We are going to hold a WORLD KNITTED CAKE FESTIVAL. It is in its very early stages. Just send your knitted bun to CASTLE STORES WOOL SHOP, HELMSLEY ,YORK along with £3 entry money . On the 25th September 2015 the winners will be announced. All buns will be donated and later sold in the shop. So for every bun that you knit you will raising funds for 2 Yorkshire charities . We are delighted that we are going to be helping our local hospital at Malton .- From birth to death you couldnt wish for a friendly better place to get treated. Over the last year Christine has been treated there and her mum too .Anna's grandchildren have been there and her dad. So this hospital is very close to our hearts. towards the Sheffield Children's Hospital. They are currently looking to raise money to enable them to buy a fully digital intraoperative 3T MRI scanner. Currently ,this specialist piece of medical equipment cannot be found anywhere else in the UK and is only available in three countries worldwide. The first prize will be an afternoon tea for two at the famous Ampleforth Abbey Tea Rooms followed by an evening's knitting experience with Maud and Christine.Trust me this is something special. Also included -a night stay with us at Carr House Farm. A prize for the best dressed Alice In Wonderland character - take a family visit to the International Centre for the Birds of Prey in the magnificent grounds of Duncombe Park. So please spread the word and get your knitting needles out . There will also be a prize for the best dressed "Alice in Wonderland" character. The official Mad Hatter will be announcing the prize winners . The website to read more about the KNITTED CAKE FESTIVAL is

Friday 13 March 2015

Tuesday 10 March 2015

Mother's Day Ideas

Mother's day is on Sunday. Flowers,breakfast in bed ,lunches out and nights away. I have found some really useful presents today and keepsakes too. Now knitting and sewing is very much back in vogue with the word old fashioned has been renamed vintage. Thanks to Cath Kidston and Kristy Allport who are now "the in" household names. All the items below can be bought in Helmsley at Castle Stores -opposite the church for those not familiar with Maud and Christine's shop. There are knitting bags in trendy prints ,a rather plush work basket with a padded velevet top. What caught my eye first were two things . One- a very useful present of sewing kit with everything you need at only £10 and the material that covers the box reminds me so much Liberty. In the same material is a clutch purse containing a crochet set and this is a really bargain at £8.50. I would love to have the sewing kit as it stacks away as a lovely box with a lid you could put anywhere.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Monday 2 March 2015

Gala Dinner at Castle Howard

After the VisitBritain conference on Friday we were invited to a Gala dinner. This was at our grandest of grand stately homes in the county, Castle Howard. Only 10 miles from us. I have visited the house on many an occasion and really like going when it is dressed for Christmas. This time we were very honoured to go to this Gala Dinner. Simon Howard was always a generous host to the tourism sector over the years. There was a canape reception followed by walking tour through state rooms to reach the Long Hall. Jack was as much impressed by the chateaubriand as he was with the beautiful paintings and portraits that adorn the walls. You can imagine how thrilled the foreign buyers were seeing such a house in all its glory. I loved the flowers that had been arrange by Kim Queen and were very British as one would expect in red,white and blue. Rachael Underwood had been working until very late to create a super evening -see the red ,white and blue colours lit up the Castle. Along corridors in each window candles in hurriance glasses lit the way. Peter Dodd gave an opening speech. As each course of food ended we welcomed another set of buyers to the table.So throughout the evening dined with Polish,Chinese,French and Belguim. The evening was ended by a display by ribbon actresses. My evening was complete when I handed around my calendars as guests boarded buses for their departure. A Danish journalist said he was very touched that a small business like myself had thought to do this and thought it very enterprising of me. And that it was good to see both large and small businesses working side by side to create this Yorkshire brand. Gary Verity might have been missing on this occasion as he was busy lambing.I am sure he would have been pleased with how Yorkshire pulled out the stops to make this a truly memorable night for people from across the globe. Gary we presume was teaching Mrs Verity to pull out the lambs.

Sunday 1 March 2015

Il Divo - Amazing Grace

Visit Britain

On Friday I had an away day .First it was to the Visit Britain conference at Yorks racecourse where we heard the statistics from Visit Britain -trends and visitors. Here we were treated to a lovely lunch overlooking the York racecourse where I met up with Katrina Gray from the Wold Cottage and other representives from around Yorkshires businesses . The welcome was made by Sally Blacombe the CEO for Visit Britain. Following Sally's very interesting and up beat speech David Edwards the Head of Research and forecasting spoke of Globals trends,inbound UK trends along with a summary of markey conditions. I loved listening to Holger Lenz -hello Love- who is a very witty speaker who clearly love England .He is the manager for Central and Southern Europe for Visit Britain . I spoke to him after his presentation as he was then rushing back to Germany and when I handed him my card I was very touched that he had heard of me -little old me from Ampleforth.One of his collegues had stayed here last year and spoke highly of me . We then listened to Robin Johnson who for the last 3 years has been Director China for Visit Britain -he too was rushng off as he had to look after Prince William the following day in China. After this was a tea break -delicious cakes by the way -before listening to speakers Jimmy Greene,Nick Hall. Our own Welcome toYorkshire Marketing and Sales Director Peter Dodd. A discussion was then led by Michelle Brown of Visit York . Lastly it was lovely to meet Jo Leslie and see Helen Smith and Craig Nattress who do so much to bring tourists to the area locally . Lots of name dropping here but as you can read it was a very interesting day in the office.