We are looking forward to welcoming guests back this summer to our Healthy Home. Health and safety is on everyone’s mind as a top priority now. Let us share with you what we have been doing to protect you, our very welcome guests, and ourselves so that everyone feels safe.
We have studied what everybody has been recommending for holiday cottages (from Airbnb to Holiday Lettings, insurance companies and PASC – the Professional Association of Self Caterers). We have identified the ‘hot spots’ around the house and in each bedroom and targeted them for extra cleaning and disinfection. Expendable items like decorative throws and cushions in bedrooms have been taken away, as have other materials like hot water bottles and teddy bears. The bedroom pillows have been given two pillow cases each. You are welcome to use your own pillows if you have chosen to. Magazines, leaflets and books have been removed from the bedrooms and around the house, except for the Library and map drawer. We are using a non-toxic disinfectant to wipe down all surfaces. All this takes much longer than normal to get then house ready for you.
In our effort not to bring toxins into the house and to be as ecologically minded as possible, in the kitchen we are using a disinfectant used by Butchers. This is strong enough to clean surfaces where there has been raw meat, and safe enough for raw meat to be introduced to that surface again.
What we are asking you to do
- Self-check-in is available: We really do love to meet guests and show you around the house and point out how everything works but you can now let yourself in with a key code. There is no need for us to meet for departure either.
- Hand-washing: There is a shower room with wash hand basin right next to the front door in the top hall and we would encourage you to wash your hands on arrival and when you return to the house during your stay. We will place hand sanitiser gel here and in the kitchen if you wish to use this.
- HEPA Air Filters: We have two air cleaning systems that you can use in the shared spaces or a bedroom. These have the same level of cleaning as those used in operating theatres, have approval for the British Allergy Foundation and also produced calming ionised air, as well as cleaner air. (These are stored in Bedrooms 1 and 6).
- Games: We have a cupboard full of games which we normally offer you full access to. These are now off limits (just at the moment). You can bring your own. We do however have a party game that does not require touching anything and that is the Treasure Hunt. We will leave instructions for you to play that and have fun.
- DVDs: These are in the Barn Lounge in the low cupboard (under the Buddha) near the window. If you need to watch a DVD please leave it out for us to clean before storing back in the Library.
- Bedroom Departure: We ask you to strip down each bed but this time, instead of leaving the bedding on the floor, now we would like you to put the bedding (sheets, pillow cases, duvet cover but not the mattress protector) in a special laundry bag provided. We will leave one of these in each room and they will be sent direct to the Laundry, unopened, without the need for us to handle.
- Bathrooms: Please place your used towels into the special cotton bag provided and leave in the bathroom.
- Toiletries: We stopped providing small bottles of bathroom amenities a long time ago to cut down on plastic waste. We now provide large bottles of Faith in Nature natural amenities in each bathroom including shampoo, conditioner and shower wash. There is also a hand soap dispenser. These get topped up from bulk supplies. We will continue to leave these in the bathrooms. We will wipe them after each departure. It’s up to you if you want to use them or bring your own.
- Windows: Air flow helps to freshen each room so when you leave, please open the window in each bedroom. Do not do this if it is raining.
- Refuse: Please take your refuse from the kitchen in the white bag provided and deposit it in the Green bin at the end of our track by the top road. This helps reduce points of contact between us.
- Recycling: As with the refuse bag, please take your bags of recycling (containing paper, card, tins, glass, appropriate plastic) up to the Blue Bin by the gate at the top road (We have two). Please do not leave more than one bin full of recycling with us. If you have had a lot of drinks during your stay we always ask that you take some of these home. Most important: Please do not put black refuse or kitchen sacks into the Recycling bin as the Council collectors will not take them away.
- Departure time: 10am is the departure time and we would ask you to be prompt here. Please liaise with the housekeepers by text on the day of departure for up to date instructions and please do remember to budget your time to allow for the additional tasks that need to be done (bedroom & bathroom linen bagged and rubbish/recycling removal to the top road) so we have the maximum time to air the house and start the thorough cleaning regime for the next guests.
- Later Arrival time: Our normal check-in time is 4pm. Whenever we can, we allow guests to arrive a bit earlier if the house is ready, and especially during the dark days of winter. However, with the additional cleaning protocols we are now asking guests to arrive a bit later at 5pm when we have a morning check-out. We thank you for your flexibility.
Today we reached the one hundred mark with our 100th five star review. Many of our guests leave glowing reviews in the Visitor Books at the house but we love it when people take the time to share their experience of the house online so others can see. You can do this in two places … firstly on Airbnb if a booking has been made via that website, and secondly on TripAdviser where it does not matter how the booking was made, anyone can access here and leave a review. TripAdviser just asks you to confirm that you are the lead person in a party that has definitely stayed in the house.
There’s quite a team of us making sure that week after week, the house is looking beautiful and feels welcoming. The size, nature and age of the property means that we have maintenance happening virtually every week and in the summer the garden needs lots of attention. With twenty rooms in the property, Housekeepers Deb and Jo have a lot to arrange to ensure that all the bedrooms are made up and bathrooms are shining. And a great deal of work goes in to communicating with our guests before they arrive, sending out welcome packs; Skipton and Dales tourist brochures; driving directions; lists of restaurants, caterers and supermarket delivery details to help people be fully prepared for their important gathering. We always do our best to go the extra mile!
Our listing shows 50 five-star reviews on Airbnb and 50 on Holiday Lettings/TripAdviser .. although an extra review slipped in while i was writing this post!! .. so we now have 101!
with the endlessly changing skies you could sit here all day and see a beautiful evolution of nature. To the left of the seats the sun comes up and often fills the sky with a rose and golden dawn, to the right the sun goes down and again streaks the sky with golden trails.
Since we moved the chairs here they seem to be a magnet for people to aim for … when the Solar Panels were installed, the scaffolding team took an impromptu break and one by one, laid down their tools and went over to sit on the chairs to take in the vista.
Even when the sun is not shining there is beauty in the morning mists and grey dawn light as spider’s webs are revealed with their moisture-laden lace pattern.
So many people are booking the Healthy Home for celebration weekends … it seems to be the perfect choice for them. When we greet the new arrivals we see how many groceries they bring with them and know how much work has gone into the pre-weekend planning… and that’s just the start of course. Cooking for 12 for a weekend is no small task! During that time there will usually be one really special meal where the group will celebrate the reason they have come together. So far we seem to have hosted virtually every milestone birthday: 18th, 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th, 60th, 70th, 75th, 90th … Weddings, Golden Weddings…. what else is left ?
Apart from dining out at one of many great local eateries, there’s always the option of bringing in a caterer. That way you can still enjoy the atmosphere of the house and the beautiful views but you have not had to do all the hard work in the kitchen.
Have a word with one of these local companies.
Rural Recipes 01765 620567 (Based between Skipton & Harrogate)
White Rose Caterers Office: 01274 772 676 & Mob: 07740 862 613 (Based in Silsden)
Delicious Buffets Office: 01535 632717 & Mob: 07974 501398 (Based in Silsden)
Fine Catering Mob: 07940 935128 (Based in Keighley)
Amaali Kashmiri Catering 07906294476 (Celebrated Kasmiri spice champion in Skipton)
Solar Panels are now fully operational at the Healthy Home. We have already supplied 350 units to the national grid in the first couple of weeks so when you make your cup of tea just imagine that your kettle is being powered by the Yorkshire sunshine (yes we do have it) from our roof! So exciting ….. on sunny days the excess power generated will be piped through heaters to keep the fabric of the building warm (our 2-foot thick walls filled with rubble when built several hundred years ago in the oldest part of the cottage are not easy to heat!). When you stay here, you will be showering in water powered by Yorkshire sunshine 🙂
When I was a child I can remember sitting at the top of the stairs, peaking through the banisters when I should have been asleep, watching my parent’s friends enjoy themselves at one of my parents many parties. They always seemed to be celebrating something!
My Dad is a great Party Game organiser and he has a cupboard full of games, quizzes and even magic tricks for both adult parties and kids’ birthdays. One such game that has endured over the years is the “Treasure Hunt”. He is a master at this. He places everyday objects in plain sight and you have to peer into every corner to see if you can spot them. Sometimes you can be looking straight at something for ages and never see it !
Once he gave a clue which was “Hand grenade” … no more information than that. The mind boggles. This was one of his most fiendishly difficult challenges. When we found it it was a small grenade belonging to the Action Man doll and was attached to the silver tinsel hanging around a mirror. Wowzer!
If you’d like to have fun for 1-2 hours hunting for Treasure (one of your party has the list of clues with instructions for finding the location of the actual item) then let us know and we’ll set you up. All you need to bring is a prize suitable for your group and event to give to the winner (and maybe the runner up too).
If you are looking for a bit of crazy fun that you can enjoy inside or out, then how about Pass the Parcel – adult version, or should I say grown-up style!
Start off in a circle, your choice of music, and pass a bag around. One person needs to be in charge of the music stopping and starting. When the music stops, the person with the bag has to open it and choose a brown-paper wrapped parcel. They open it and then must wear whatever has been unwrapped. The laughs come according to who has to wear what … our group above had some fun squeezing Grandad into a blue halter neck evening top! We can set this game up for you … for just £20.
If you are looking for ideas to really entertain your gathering then a Murder Mystery dinner is a GREAT idea.
I had my own birthday House party at the Healthy Home over the summer and chose the Mayan Murder Mystery from Red Herring Games. I was impressed that the company founder was a member of the International Crime Writers’ Association. I paid extra to have the scripts adapted because the group was not an even number and there were more men than women so some of the characters had to be changed. The game can be downloaded or you can pay extra like I did to have all the invites and script booklets printed out in colour which adds impact (but is not necessary to the success of the game).
What made it fun was the pre-event excitement as guests were invited as their alter ego character with a brief for how they might dress and bring any props. Preparing the character costumes was all part of the fun. We even had a group on WhatsApp to share teasers before the weekend.. guesing who had been assigned what character! Then on the night it was wonderful to see the effort everyone had gone to to be in character and dress for the part. Highly recommended. I think this photo conveys some of the atmosphere of the night. We are all still talking about the evening and intend to meet up bringing our alter ego characters to life again.
If you hunt around the web there are all sorts of ideas for fun and games …. this is a link to 50, Cheap Creative ways to have Fun. Make the most of your party event in the Healthy Home.
One of our guest parties in September decided to follow suit with a Murder Mystery dinner for a 40th birthday … looks great fun:
Jonathan & Karen’s 40th Murder Mystery party
April is such a wonderful time of year in the Yorkshire Dales for it doesn’t matter how warm or cool the temperature (and that can differ dramatically), there is always the most beautiful glow of yellow across the hills and along the roadsides. There is no other time when there is such an abundance of one colour and one type of flower. The glorious daffodil does a splendid job of helping us all shake off the long winter and herald in the longer days with the promise of warmth and sunshine.
Here is a slideshow of the some of the magnificent daffodils around the Healthy Home in the spring.
The daffodil album on Flickr