North Star Club

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The North Star Club is THE name in ‘Boutique Woodland Breaks’.  If you’re not familiar  with the term,  don’t worry – neither was I till North Star popped up in my Instagram feed (yet another triumph for social media as if we needed proof it works!) and I was instantly curious.

The accommodation is luxury woodland cabins in an area of forest just outside York and is quite unlike anything else.  As fate would have it, North Star Club and I contacted each other on the same day and it wasn’t long before we were booking a pre-Christmas stay.

North Star Club 2North Star Club 48North Star has created a new genre of accommodation for those wanting a cosy get-away.  It invites you to be amongst the outdoors, whilst being several echelons up the glamping ladder (which they also invented – a la ‘Jolly Days Glamping‘).  We invited the whole family (as you do), who don’t live to far away and thus began Christmas week early.

The careful thought to detail, the decorative flourishes and the feeling of ‘fit’ are what makes this place.  Beautiful wreaths adorn the doors, there are furs everywhere and more fairy lights than leaves!  I’d done my homework before we left and knew the designers Mr & Mrs Van Outersterp were award multi-award winning designers ~ it shows.

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Our cabin had a large covered porch with table and chairs and a large gas BBQ.  The first day there was so mild (for December) we were able to sit out and appreciate this space.  The second day was much colder which forced us all indoors hence, Spring thru Autumn months you’d really be able to enjoy this ‘room’ outdoors.

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Breakfast; ham and brie croissants with red-currant and ruby port sauce.  Easiest to make and so tasty!  The BBQ had a lid so they cooked in minutes and I’d taken disposable trays too so zero cleaning!

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In through the front door was a small room with table, two chairs and a good-sized little fridge ↓, we hadn’t expected any crockery (as the website clearly states not self-catering) so had taken our own but on arrival found out there was no need.  They provide it all.  This room also had a sofa bed that slept two people.

The accommodation slept 6 in total.  The sofa bed, a twin room, and the heart of the cabin – the Master Bedroom.  This was GORGEOUS, had a wood-burning stove we kept lit all day and really was the room we all hung out in.  The cabin managed to swallow varying combinations of 11 of us (some family came to hang out during the days).  My point… quarters are not cramped!

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Off the master bedroom was a bathroom almost as big.  One of the facilities North Star offers is pre-bookable Spa treatments within the comfort of your bathroom… bliss!

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Away from the cabins are some great communal spaces.  The fire pit was lovely to take the kids to and simply sitting watching the flames whilst toasting marshmallows was magic.  The Woodshed is a stones-throw and has seating and tables outside around a pizza stove.  Our first night we ate pizzas here it was so mild and the additional space was perfect for the younger children.
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Inside the Woodshed … well the pictures can do the talking!

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The North Star Club is a definite recommend! We thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would love to return.

Visit the North Star Club website here, they have some fantastic images and more information about the various lodges guests can stay in.

∼♥∼

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POST NOTES:

What about the Food?  When you click on the ‘FOOD’ tab of the North Star Club website, you are directed towards local restaurants.  North Star state they are ‘not self-catering’ yet you are provided you with all the means to do so.  No pun intended but there is everything apart from the kitchen sink (you wash your pots in the bathroom).  As mentioned earlier, there was crockery and cutlery for six people, there was a washing up bowl with liquid, the BBQ was gas so cooking was good-to-go and trays and pans were available in the Woodshed… the ‘small fridge’ was a very decent size and we ate completely self-catered.

To us it was a ‘plus’ but couldn’t help thinking if it was better explained on the website, people might be encouraged to stay who otherwise wouldn’t if they felt they were going to have to eat out every meal.

UPDATE: 7th Jan 2.45pm Since posting this morning, I have heard from North Star who are firstly thrilled with the post and second, have said “the camp staff are meant to take away dirty pots as they have a washing area so that guests aren’t washing in their bathrooms – of which we are going to make this clearer going forward.”.  This is good news and now makes complete sense, self-cater and prosper folks!

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5 Things to Go-Do in The Lake District

We’ve been visiting the Lake District Cumbria since we were kids.  Apart from the STUNNING scenery, it has some great places to have fun, especially in the warmer months; here they are.

  1.  Visit Hawkshead.  Cute as you like, quaint streets, some good ole English cafe’s, pubs and visitor shops, it’s a good place to spend half a day.

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Poppy Red is a cafe/shop that has been there at least 10 maybe 15 years and is a must ⇓

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A car ferry runs from Hawskhead to Windermere and is a fun way to travel across the lake; we loved it when we were young and now our kids enjoy the same.

2.  Hire a wooden motor boat from Lake Windermere for an hour or two.  This is so much fun on a sunny day; take food and drink and just enjoy pootling along.  Blankets are a good idea as it can often be windy out on the open water.

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Photo credit: original by Simon Braithwaite

Photo credit: original by Simon Braithwaite

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3.  Explore the Treetops at Brockhole, (The Lake District Visitor Centre).  Positioned on the main road between Bowness and Ambleside there’s plenty of things to do for families looking for great activities.  We only recently discovered this place and really like it.  There’s a large shop, café, canoeing, bike hire, adventure playground, mini-golf and pony rides and all within stunning grounds.  Visit the Brockhole Website here for more info.

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4.  Spend the night or take afternoon tea at The Lakeside Hotel, Newby Bridge.  One of our most favourite places, it is five-star luxury for when you need it.  There’s a previous blog post all about it here.

5.  Explore Low Wray Castle.

This one I’m hesitant to add but based on my 8-year old enjoying it so much, it makes the cut!  Having being aware of it for years, this year we decided to go see what it was like.  The castle is a National Trust property and is stunning from the exterior – the views equally so, however, once in side we thought it a bit of a mixed bag.

Some rooms were mostly empty except a few artefacts, others were clearly sponsored and some were what you might expect to find – a more complete picture of castle life many years ago.  The best summation is perhaps that it comes across as being a work in progress.  There was clearly an attempt to engage kids with a room dedicated to colouring in crowns, a dressing up room and a whole wing fitted out as a Peter Rabbit experience.  Miss P loved dressing up and as we walked round thinking ‘what is this?!’ she said again and again how much fun it was.  Would recommend for a rainy day – it’d be interesting to see what others have found.

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Have fun whatever you get up to, till next week ~ OX.

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CLA Game Fair 2015: an English Country Weekend

Last weekend Yorkshire hosted the CLA Game Fair at Harewood House.  The CLA is the membership organisation for owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales… in short, the CLA Game Fair is a country show for country folk!

Around 131,250 people attended the three-day event which returned to Yorkshire this year after 12 years!  We visited Friday and Sunday and loved every minute… here’s just a tiny smorgasbord (who still says that?!) of our experience.

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Horse and hounds display in the main ring

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The Grounds from the top of the helter skelter (which I enjoyed going down!)

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Possibly one of my favourite captures of the weekend

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The Game Fair was vast but not overcrowded.  We were able to wander and roam without feeling come the end of Friday, that we’d seen it all.  It was a combination of exhibitors and demonstrations… a kind of ‘for the people, by the people’, event.
There were all manner of exhibitors, from people who make clever ‘machinery devices for ramming poles into the ground’ and tractors, to gazebos’ and sculptures. Clothing, shooting, plants, finance, taxidermy… you name it, if it crosses the world of COUNTRY-FOLK it was there.
I discovered brands I did not know of, such as Em and Lu; gorgeous clothes and accessories for lazy days made with their self-designed fabric – I LOVED their prints!…

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Em and Lu PJ’s

CLA Game Fair 2015 32…and NGUNI Boots… if ever there was a (dare I say it) UGG rival, I’d like it to be this!

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The food we sampled was excellent… there was food EVERYWHERE which could be enjoyed quietly on the hill in front of Harewood House overlooking the Game Fair…
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…or besides one of the two rings which showcased various aspects of country life throughout the three days.

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Having attended a Press Day earlier in the year (see the fun I got up to here), I was aware that a keen emphasis for the organisers was for people to have-a-go and to try their hand at what may be a new sport for them.  I took Miss P kayaking which she loved… it was only afterwards I realised it had been her first time – thanks to Channel Kayaks for making it so easy!

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At the end of the day, we wanted a fun day out… and that’s exactly what we got – twice over!

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   ∼♥∼ 


POST NOTES:

Naturally, the day will cost you, before any take-home any purchases, food and drinks and rides for one day, for two of us, was just under £50.  I didn’t mind as it was a planned couple of days out, but a family of four or five…would have quickly added up.  Of course, you can take your own food (and many did) but the price of everything just seemed a little higher than normal.
The organisation that had clearly gone into this show impressed me. Having run events on a much smaller scale of 2000+ people myself, I suppose it’s a natural part of what I notice when I go places.
Stand outs:
  • The fair had its own radio wavelength meaning that we were tuned in as we snaked our way along the roads to Harewood and listened as the overhead helicopter gave updates on traffic movement interspersed with throwback tunes such as S-Club 7.  Small thing but it gave a sense of inclusion, that you were being looked out for even before you’d arrived… and yes – we grooved along!
  • There was a shop and drop stand.  For those buying big, you could leave your purchases here till the end of the day – GREAT idea as the car park was quite a walk away.
  • VIP service in every way for those who desired.  Heli-pad, places to eat (Champers & Hampers), buggies… if you were looking to treat someone to a VIP experience, it was all there.
  • There was even a mini convenience store for basic supplies that people away for the day (or 4 if you were camping on-site) may need that you couldn’t get from the many exhibitors.

The CLA Staff in my humble opinion, did an EXCELLENT job!

 

The DEEP calls to Deep

Recently we took a family trip to The Deep, Hull, East Yorkshire.  As the only submarium in the world, it is home to rare species and thousands of water creatures!  Regardless of the reason for going – it WILL call to something in you.

People of all ages marvelled at the world we know so little of.  There was an overwhelming sense of how huge the underwater world is and how important it is we do our part to look after it.  The DEEP is interactive – not just the man-made/deliberate points of contact but the sea creatures themselves interacted… they show-boated!  The sting-rae’s and sawfish in particular seemed to deliberately come close where they swam by the huge glass-fronted area in their aquarium where strange creatures on two feet were stood.  In the lagoon, one particular fish came right up to the glass and mimicked my 10-year old nephew as he slowly walked up and down the glass opening and closing his mouth…it was no coincidence – this creature was connecting as if to say ‘hi!’.

Well worth a visit and ranked 10/10 by the small people in our party.

Tip for visiting –

Definitely pre-book online; save yourself 10%, skip the queues  & your ticket gives you a 12 month pass too!

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