Friday, 14 May 2010

Juggling new business start-up & full-time job!

I wouldn't recommend to anyone what I've been doing for the past 3 years unless you are fully motivated with an ultimate goal to aim for. Setting up a new business isn't easy, but doing it whilst working full-time and renovating a property from 70 miles away has given me many headaches as well as a lot of sleepless nights but it's all been worth it.

I'm very fortunate to have been given my inheritance by my father during his lifetime. As a result, I am now the proud owner of a beautiful farmhouse which originally belonged to my grandparents. It is situated on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, approx. 6 miles from the Malvern Hills. It is where I grew up as a child and where my father and brother still farm.

This all may sound very idyllic, but in the early 80's the property suffered a horrendous fire which nearly resulted in the family losing the whole house and the nearby farm buildings. Although a fantastic property to be given, it was derelict and in need of a great amount of love and money to make it habitable once again. Birds were able to fly freely through the house and nest on the wallpaper hanging off the walls! Last year when the plastering had finished in the bedrooms, we left the windows open so the plaster could dry more easily only to find that a swallow had made its nest in the rafters of a bedroom! We had to leave the bedroom window open through rain and wind to allow the swallows access to their nest. Luckily, they have all returned this year and found new nesting places in the farm buildings.

In 2007 renovations commenced in earnest but I soon realised that my partner and I couldn't live in such a large property with no extra income to help run it. Many ideas went through my head and I thought that holiday lets would be the answer. But as the renovations progressed, I became more and more attached to the property and the idea of living in it and enjoying the place where I remember fondly playing as a child. Holiday lets no longer seemed such a good idea. And so the idea of developing the property as a Bed and Breakfast was decided as a great compromise - we could continue to live in and enjoy the property but also by sharing it with others we could pay for the renovations and running of the house.

So plans began to transform the beautiful farmhouse into a home for ourselves and a relaxing place for Bed and Breakfast guests to visit. This has opened up a whole new world to me of not only finding out how to set up my own business, but also the Bed and Breakfast community of landladies and landlords. I have met some great people both on- and offline since starting my research and have thoroughly enjoyed the adventure because that is how I am approaching this new business. It is an adventure which I wish to enjoy and learn from.

The website landing page has recently gone live and the real website will be live once we can take some photographs of the interior - the kitchen is being fitted this month, bathrooms next month and then the carpenter can move in to finish off whilst we decorate and furnish. We still have a lot of hard work to do inside and outside, but furnishings and gardening are what I consider fun, rather than plaster dust and builders mess!

If you would like to follow our progress, please do visit the website

Monday, 10 May 2010

Lemon and Honey Cough Mixture

Two juicy lemons
150ml (5floz) clear honey
50ml(2floz) glycerine

Squeeze the juice from the two lemons and strain the juice to get it as clear as possible. Put the lemon juice, honey and glycerine into a jug and mix very thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a small medicine bottle and cork tightly

This mixture will sooth a ticklish or sore throat and is suitable for children and adults. It is ideal for singers and actors and actresses to prevent throat infections and is also delicious

Monday, 3 May 2010

Cranberry and Honey Oat Bread

This recipe is in the 2010 North Cotswold Honey Show at the end of August where many of the beekeepers turn their hands to cake bakng - some more successful than others!

2 tablespoons local honey, 1 egg, 2 tblspns milk, 1 tspn melted butter, 350g(12oz)plain flour, 175g(6oz)rolled oats, 1 dssrtspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon, 110g(4oz) fresh/frozen cranberries
50g (2oz)chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 180c(350F,gas mark 4) and grease a loaf tin. Put the flour,oats,baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Beat together the egg, honey and milk and add to the flour and oats, stirring well.
Fold in the cranberries and nuts.
Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about 75 mins, or until crusty and hollow when knocked.
Pour the melted butter over the hot loaf and turn out onto a cooling rack