Sunday 31 December 2017

Tuesday 21 November 2017

The Razzle and Dazzle of The White Rose Awards 2017

The White Rose Awards 2017 was this year held at the Leeds Arena. We were lucky to hitch a lift with fellow finalists The White Swan of Ampleforth ,who were up for the Best Pub Award.  We were finalists for the Best Bed and Breakfast Award. We were chauffeur driven by Dave, who works for Robert Fawcett who owns Studford Lodges along with the White Swan . Last time we went we nearly took the top off Jack's pickup when coming out of the multi storey car park -so no such worries this year.

Always with glamour and show stoppers ,we were welcomed by some very colourful and very very  tall ladies.

Everyone looked like bobby dazzlers and Robert's wife Sophie looked very stunning and glamourous.

We had cocktails thanks to Slingsby Gin and the event got underway to the swirl of Bagpipes and a marching Pipe Band, all dressed in their kilts . There is something about this music that immediately makes you want to get up and disgrace yourself trying to dance a Highland jig. Just to let you know I didn't.

The meal started with smoked salmon , which was delicious from Bleikers. Unfortunately the food went down hill from there. But the company was good and the wine flowed and all was good with the world.

It was nice to see such a lot of people we knew, as we were sat in an ideal place to see people coming and going.And the lighting was far better this year.

We did not win, but  very happy to be a finalist and even prouder when 'we" flashed up on the scene. The photo I had chosen was that of one of the grandchildren walking across the garden in front of the house.

We finally got home at 1.45am and Jack had to be up by 4.30am as he had to get ready with his dogs to go picking up on a shoot. I surfaced a lot,lot later.

Thursday 19 October 2017

Adam Jackson - what can I say ...

I have always been a fan of Adam Jackson since he first won a Michelin Star ,when he worked at the Black Swan in Oldstead .

There are not many chefs around who are as friendly and approachable as Adam. He is one of the 'Good Guys'. He works 6 days a week ,is totally in love with the world and despite the knock backs he has faced along the way, is still creating plates of moreish-ness that would send the most critical of critics drooling into their food.

This was the ideal place to take a wine connoisseur, who had just returned from France and rubs shoulders with the likes of Heston Blumenthal. I want a place to impress and I know I made the right choice.

The Park Restaurant is tucked away down a leafy street near St Peter's School in York. Just off Bootham, but within a stones throw of the hub of the City. Add the beauty of free and safe parking .
We were looked after by the lovely Mary -who was so proud of her job and took great pride in explaining not only 8 courses of delicious eye catching, mouth watering ---drool even more, food but of the wine flight too. A grand Yorkshire lass who is a credit to her boss, Adam Jackson. I have a feeling they work together which is are these days as chefs who hold the golden ladle often get above their station.

I can only show you the menu ,take photographs of the food ,rave about the flavours the little hidden hits of wagyu beef fat , the perfectly paired Jerusalem Artichoke with the Chardonnay - Adam and Mary had got this all so right. The intensity of the blackberries was truly scrumptious. ...
And how I love bread, you all know how much I love bread -give me my Daily bread and butter and I am happy .This bread was not just for mere mortals it was fit for a King - and the 14 ingredient butter it just an explosion that you could just class as an early Christmas present to your taste buds. Tonka bean dessert... - I must go back to telling you about the Bass - perfectly cooked, perfectly dressed, a sauce I could swim in.  Sorry no photo of the fish I had nearly demolished before I thought to take a photo -that is how good it was.Carried away by the whole excitement of perfectly cooked ,enhanced with the accomplishments to bring it all alive.
The hours and hours Adam must spend prepping the food, making the sauce, the veloutes ,the eye catching bits and bobs. You can only thank the Heavens for stars - Adam , Little Mary and the beautiful experience they create.

Why tell me why, Mr Michelin Star, have you not found Adam Jackson and his Park Restaurant and blesses him with the stars he deserved.

Friday 13 October 2017

On our doorstep -the Black Swan at Oldstead

Brilliant - amazing news, can't believe it has happened so near to us. The Black Swan in Oldstead is only 3 miles from us here at Carr House Farm. So what the Banks family must be making of it all I can't start to imagine.
I have known the Banks lads since they were young as their mum was in the same farm bed and breakfast group that I was in many years ago. They went to the White Swan in Ampleforth to earn pocket money when they were at school and lived on a farm but one, next to Jacks family farm home. Then their parents bought a pub ...and the rest is history. There has been TV for Tommy, retaining a Michelin star and now the biggest explosion ever.

No the gas cooker hasn't blown up - something far more exciting than that ... Trip Advisor has named the Black Swan in Oldstead as the Best Restaurant in the WORLD. Everyone in the area are so pleased for the family.
It will be interesting to see how this all evolves . We hope Tommy will not be wooed away to the bright lights of London too often.  It is a family business and they look to growing their own produce or indeed source from local suppliers to supply meat, game and cheese.
The lamb which has become so famous comes from Cams Head Farm which joins on to Oldstead Grange . It features on the cover of Tommy's Book which comes out next year.
When my son was bathing his little girls last night a phone message from Tommy - he would be wanting more venison- they must be getting busy ! I wonder how long it will be before my back garden beauties will be ending up on the plates in the Best Restaurant in the World .

Sunday 1 October 2017

The NEW Hotel Inspectors....

Dont need hotel inspectors when you have 3 glorious grandchildren.
For 90 minutes they made sure everything was up to scratch. Blinds went up and down at rapid speeds,curtains were pulled back and forth. Lights were switched on and off. Beds were not too hard -the jumping technique was used . Beds were crawled under - no dust there. Pillows didn't lose their feathers in pillow fights Every cupboard and drawer was opened. The teapot was tested with cold tea and sugar sachets then were poured in to cups and served to onlookers. The toilet rolls ran smoothly, the soap smell fine, the hand cream was even better. There was enough room in the showers to dance. Mirrors worked well as they admired themselves.
They charge a mini chocolate roll per inspection for Grannies and recommended that this should be a fortnightly event .
Can thoroughly recommend.

Monday 28 August 2017

Market trader for the day...

Not that I shouted "Roll up ,Roll up".... there was no need  as I stood there with my stall at the first Ampleforth Village Market.

I now have such a lot of respect for these market traders who do it day in and day out. This was a one and only for me . I came up with the idea of having a village market at the White Swan in Ampleforth. After they had won Yorkshire's Favourite Pub out of 700 entries as a friendly family pub I needed to come up with an idea to help other small businesses in Ryedale. I am on the board for the North York Moors Leader project and so very in tune to how a little bit of help is worth a lot of sympathy syndrome . The White Swan was the ideal venue....with a large car park and enthusiastic owners.

The markets are to be held monthly on the last Saturday in the month. The Christmas one being scheduled for the 23rd December.

Annabelle Robinson is taking over the day to day running of the market. Annabelle has had a lot previous first hand experience, coming well recommended. To be honest I just dont have the time .
Annabelle's parents were involved with setting up local farmers markets within the county.  Annabelle became involved and worked alongside her from parents. She therefore had first hand knowledge of the pitfalls and obstacles that can come with running a market. There is a Facebook page, twitter account ,lots of posters to put up, accounts to keep. Also behind the scene things to organise. Insurance policies to check along traders licences too.
I had 4 hours sleep the night before and I am now getting too old to survive on this .

The weather was perfect and I was on site by 7am to set up. I then dashed back to cook breakfasts for my guests .By the time I got back at 9.30am it was a hive of activity ready for the 10am start.

It was supported well and nice to see a lot of locals,

around who stopped for a chat. Many thanked me for coming up with the idea. A great way to spend a Saturday morning. Thanks  to Josh Finn who came along with his guitar and "busked" for us.

There were so many lovely stalls ,stallholders and tempting things to buy. We have a waiting list of stallholders wanting to come next month -30th September.

Thank you to everyone who made this event go so well. I hope it will continue to grow and flourish.

Wednesday 9 August 2017

Ampleforth and its history..

Ampleforth Village
Ampleforth is an attractive village situated along the southern slopes of the Hambleton Hills, along the spring line which has assured a good source of water. The slopes run down to the Coxwold-Gilling Gap, a valley about six mile long and one an a quarter miles wide, which separates the Hambleton and Howardian Hills. The river Holbeck runs through the valley. The underlying soil is Kimmeridge clay and gravel. Historically, the village has existed since Saxon times and you can still see remains of the Saxon three field strip system, to the enclosures and high farming of the 1800‘s on the hill to the north of the  village. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
The village is in the Ryedale district of North Yorkshire, about 23 miles north of York and 4 miles south of Helmsley. The main street of the village forms the southern boundary of the North York Moors National Park, with the northern area in the park, and the south outside. Ampleforth Parish covers an area of 2,420 acres. 
The population of Ampleforth Parish, according to the 2011 Census is 1,345, with 760 in 342 households and 585 in Ampleforth College. The only major local employer is Ampleforth College, with farming, tourism and support services, the main occupations. 
For electoral and administrative purposes, the parish of  Ampleforth is part of Ampleforth Ward, along with other parishes: Coulton, Oldstead, Byland with Wass,  Gilling East,  Scackleton, Cawton and Grimstone. Ampleforth Ward is part of Ryedale District Council, a district of North Yorkshire County Council.
Historically Ampleforth was divided into three parishes or “wapentakes”, which meant that there was no overall squire and a community of freeholders began. This encourage a diversity of religions from the catholic community at Ampleforth Abbey to a quaker settlement in Shallowdale. The West End has been referred to as the “Protestant End” and the East End the “Catholic End”.
Until immediately after the Second World War, Ampleforth mainly consisted of houses built along the main street which serves as the principal thoroughfare, and St Hilda’s Walk. Most of the buildings date back to the 19th century and are built in local stone. After the war the village began to spread southwards and further east. Most of the construction took place in the 1960s, including a small council estate. In spite of their current age, these properties and those around Mill Lane and Fairfax Close are still referred to as  “The New Estate”.  Construction still continues today including the development of Abbey Gardens around 2015.  

Monday 7 August 2017

Hovingham Village Market -roll on Ampleforth Village Market too

It has been quite a time since I first visited Hovingham Market. Last Saturday I just had time to nip out and catch up with a few old friends who ran had stalls there, the Honey Man Adrian Wilford,who comes to see me every year with his official bee inspectors' hat on  and ,Justin Staal who sells the most amazing smoked fish- no wonder he wins prizes for it and was almost sold out when I got there. Cathy and Nigel -Ryedale Cheeses had their caravan there and Haxby bread man - well who could resist that bread.
The were new faces to see to a very pleasant girl selling chocolate and supporting the butterflies. Martyn the butcher who always was at Helmsley on a Friday on the butcher's cart selling amazing pies and a lovely hand painted board caught my eye to Annabelle's Farm Gate who was selling delicious puddings, fruit crumbs and chocolate tiffin. Also she was also selling was children's baking kits.
So I came away with bread, chocolate ,a pudding,cheese and 5 pork pies. I was very tempted by the pottery buttons too, Maybe next time.

 And a macaroon man .....

So I came away with bread, chocolate ,a pudding,cheese and 5 pork pies. I was very tempted by the pottery buttons too, Maybe next time.

On the last Saturday in the month the 26th August which is the bank holiday weekend Ampleforth will hold its village market at Yorkshire's Favourite Pub -the White Swan in Ampleforth right in the middle of the village. So I hope to see you there. I for one will be taking a very large basket .

Thursday 3 August 2017

An invite to York Art Gallery last night so I took along my friend Rachael....

Picasso: Ceramics from the Attenborough Collection

28 July – 5 November 2017

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. His work in clay is original and exciting, taking the form of plates, tiles, jugs and jars, all featuring his vibrant decoration.
Picasso was born in Malaga, Spain, where there is a long tradition of painted earthenware pottery. He became interested in pottery as a child, but was aged 65 when he began his own exploration of clay. Picasso set aside his work in other mediums and concentrated almost exclusively on pottery during that period, seeing it as his return to the origins of art. He produced over 2,800 ceramic works.
Lord and Lady Attenborough began collecting ceramics by Picasso in 1954 and continued collecting for over 50 years, building one of the most significant private collections in the UK.
Highlights from the Attenborough Collection have been generously loaned to York Art Gallery by the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, by kind permission of the Estate of Lord and Lady Attenborough.

'In a previous life Rachael lived at Castle Howard and was surrounded by works of art and as we toured from one room to another she was disappointed that there were not price tag values on the work. Each to their own and we were privileged to see the collection but I do think is her oldest William who is 7 had been let loose with a lump of clay he would have probably being able to make something similar but then his name isn't PP. 

Wednesday 19 July 2017

Yorkshire Show 2017 and Lottie Shaw

I have gone to the Yorkshire Show since I was a child. Skipping a day from school was even better. I still love to go and this year had 2 part days there. The weather could not have been any more extreme .Wellingtons and oil skin coat the first day, dressed more like I was going out in the middle of winter. On the second day with short sleeves and summer clothes.

 It is always nice to see Lottie Shaw and I found her in the Food Hall. She makes the most amazing biscuits and gingerbread . I have watched her business grow over the years. She told me they are moving to bigger premises. The growth of her business I am sure is due to the taste, quality and fair pricing but you cant forget the friendly disposition that Lottie eludes. She has thought everything through so well even down to the packaging . I always remember the first time I met her at a large Welcome to Yorkshire event ,she had just started and was handing out biscuits to everyone. For a very small business at the time this was truly very generous.

This is what Lottie has to say ...

Lottie Shaw’s products are based on a one hundred year old family passion for baking which has seen her take up the reins as the fourth generation of her family to run the Yorkshire-based bakery which started with her great aunts and her grandfather and has passed down the generations, through her father, to herself and her husband. About
Based on traditional family recipes handed down by Great Grandma, Lottie Shaw’s goodies are to be found in the best farm shops, stately homes and traditional delicatessens throughout the country and have already been recognised with a host of awards and by tv chefs including Brian Turner and Paul Hollywood who have featured them on their television programmes. 
 Beautifully baked and hand packaged with love and style, at the heart of the Lottie Shaw’s brand is a passion for quality and authentic baking with Lottie Shaw’s traditional and wonderfully sticky Seriously Good Yorkshire Parkin the star of the range. 
  ” Like many busy Mums it’s always a challenge juggling work and home, but I am passionate about bringing my family traditions to the table and we have grown beyond my wildest dreams. I hope you can taste the love and pride of past generations with every mouthful!”.

and what is more you can go on line and buy her delicious fare on

Tuesday 18 July 2017

Monday 3 July 2017

Breakfast at Tiffany's -Give me Betty's any day

Well Audrey Hepburn might have brought Breakfast At Tiffany's to mind, but it was Breakfast at Betty's of Harrogate for me and on my birthday too.

  A kind invitation for Betty's took me to Harrogate as they were holding a network breakfast meeting and afterwards a cookery demonstration. Food has always featured highly in my 61 years after at a week old I wasn't pacified with a regular quota of Oster bottle milk. So my Dad took the situation in hand- doubled the strength and the volume to shut me up. 
It was a lovely drive over to Harrogate , I parked up and walked through the beautiful Valley Gardens in time to get to Betty's for 8am. 

Warmly greeted and ushered to the Imperial Room in Betty's. We were treated to a delicious breakfast of skewers of fresh fruit ,toasted bacon buns and finished off with pain de chocolat. 

One of the first people I spied was Olivia Brabbs ,complete with camera. Knowing Olivia now for many years

I guess Betty's will have ended up with some very good shots of the occasion. 

All too soon we were been asked to join one of Betty's chefs who gave a demonstration on how to cook the perfect Betty's Rosti. All I can say is next time I have chance to go to eat there this will be top of my order.

As always the staff ,the surrounds and the dateless elegance make Betty's. No wonder it is world renown. A couple of days later my Australian guests were heading to the York branch as someone had given them a wedding voucher and needless to say they loved it 

Thank you to All the Team at Betty's for making my birthday special.

Monday 26 June 2017

Finalists for the White Rose Awards 2017

We feel very proud and honoured that our little bed and breakfast here at Carr House Farm has been named as one of the 6 finalists for the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards 2017 in the bed and Breakfast section for the whole of Yorkshire.

Ampleforth has done very well as not only ourselves have been short listed but the White Swan in Ampleforth has also got through to the finals, not only for Yorkshire's Best Pub 2017 but also for the WRA 2017 in the Pub category. Both awards are run by Welcome to Yorkshire and are known to be the country's biggest award ceremony in the country .This will also allow both of us to go through to the national award which are urn by Visit England.

I hope the judge will come soon as the roses are at their best at the moment and everything around here is green and lush and the countryside is looking its nicest.

Jack tirelessly keeps the grass cut and the roadside and drive sides strimmed. As we have had a new hedge planted this year he has had to keep off the wire a distance as the strimmer has no mercy and chops everything down in its way .

Sunday 25 June 2017

Meet our new tree pruners

Well there is Daisy, Poppy and Rosie .Why would you name tree pruners you must be thinking. They are in fact goats. So the three grandchildren now have a goat a piece. I do remember that we had some when I was young and they were a nightmare climbing on the farm building roofs and then pretending they were frightening and us having to get a ladder to get them down. I just wish they didn't have horns

And Nicholas had hatched some ducklings off, so they are in the guinea pig house as it was vacant at this moment in time and they are too young yet to turn out on the about animal farm . The grandchildren love all these different things and they nearly came home from Malton market yesterday with some pink hares. Trouble is I really think they would like a pony but it is a definite no from their dad so I need to work on that one .

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Flying Over Ampleforth

just 5 minutes by car from us 

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Sunday 9 April 2017

In the spotlight again...

They say things come in 3s.

Firstly it was very nice to be mentioned in an article in the Times by top travel writer Jill Starley-Grainger about Great British Breaks and features the Howardian Hills. Here Jill mentioned us in the Where to stay along with the Feversham Arms in Helmsley . The article read ...Or head over to Carr House Farm in Ampleforth ,a 16th century farmhouse with four-poster beds and flower filled gardens.

Secondly On Friday the Visit York Tourism Awards finalists were announced. We are lucky to have been selected as one of 4 finalists for the Best Bed and Breakfast.The other 3 businesses are in York itself so it will be head to head city versus Countryside.

Thirdly on Saturday Michelle Hurst from Lincolnshire who is the digital editor of the The Journal and the Grimsby Telegraph Saturday Guide mentioned me. With my other hat on as Anna Lupton PR and marketing I had arranged for Michelle to stay at the Fax. I also organised them to eat there and also at the White Swan in Ampleforth, one of our favourite local eating places, to which Michelle wrote" We were told by blogger Anna Lupton who runs award winning Carr House farm bed and breakfast at Ampleforth [ another on the to do list] that the food was very good and it absolutely was".

This week in the run up to Easter life will be no quieter here as the bees really do need to be attended to , we have a litter of Labrador pups due and I am going to be helping with 3 little granddaughters in their school holidays while daddy is busy on the farm. I have to go on a reeky to find the best primroses as the youngest one is 3. I think she will have more energy to walk over the fields than me she can certainly climb over a 5 bar gate quicker.

and maybe make some chocolate nest with little eggs in .

Tuesday 21 March 2017

Welcome to Yorkshire

Monday 6 March 2017

Sunday Morning Breakfast

A half eaten breakfast you say from the photo, as the fried bread had already  had a nibble out of it. I had just cooked breakfast for my French guests on Sunday morning -or should I say un petit dejeuner when the whole family were in raptures about it taking photos. You must take one too they said as all too often as I carry the breakfasts through to the dining room do I think I should have taken a  photo .I am more bothered about getting it to the table hot and havent time to take a photo. My camera was to hand so I snapped one and then another after the breakfast had been tackled.  I think the empty plate says it all Papa had an extra slice of black pudding too .

Wednesday 15 February 2017

Valentine's Day

Jack always says you shouldn't have to do anything special on Valentine's Day to prove you love someone .Is that a very true statement or is it because he doesn't want to buy a card. Well I always join the multitudes and find a card which I think suits us.

We had planned to go out with a couple of friends who we hadnt seen for a while and Tuesday was the only night we could all fit it in so a night out on Valentine's Day it was.

It is 11 years since we went to New Zealand on the 14th Feb and only after I was looking through the photographs later that I realised I had worn the same jacket as I did when we did that long long flight to the other side of the world.

We went to Manchega in Ripon which is run by the lovely Magdalena who also owns Pampas just outside Sutton On Forest ,where we have had many a good meal.  They serve delicious steaks and Magdalena promised to take one over Ripon for Jack. Talk about being spoilt.  He did very well as it was cooked rare to perfection and although I enjoyed the tapas, the squid was very good but prefer the food they serve at Pampas.

We walked across the market place at ten past nine and if I had realised what time it was we could have rushed a bit to let our friends listen to the Hornblower .Of course it wasn't George Pickles Mr Ripon Hornblower Extraodanaire but the Hornblower saw us and bid us goodnight.

Saturday 4 February 2017

Someone Like You - Van Morrison.wmv

Someone Like You - Van Morrison.wmv

Cant believe this was 9 years ago ... and yes I would do it all again ..... and asked Jack and he said yes too xx

Does that sounds mysterious ! After knowing Jack for over 30 years we finally made it official in Columbette in the West Indies .At the top of a mountain overlooking the Pitons Mountains .