We'll be keeping you up to date with all kinds of interesting snippets of news and happenings here. Why not also look at our various social media feeds like Twitter and Facebook, where we also try to post fun and interesting bits and pieces! We found a great way to display those items on our Social Wall!
We were delighted to be shortlisted again, amongst the top 3 finalists from around the whole country, when we went to the VisitEngland 'Awards for Excellence 2017' ceremony at the Waldorf Hotel last week.
But then we were absolutely thrilled to be awarded the top spot - the Gold Award, making us VisitEngland's 'Best B&B in England 2017' - as we were in 2014 too. To win this prestigious and highly-prized accolade a second time is very special indeed.
The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence are regarded as 'the Tourism Oscars', and measure us against the very best accommodation businesses in the whole country. To win is amazing for us - and good for you too!
As part of the proces we are 'secretly shopped' by an experienced judge and assessor, who wrote in his debrief:
"This was an extremely positive experience. Jeff and Jill are consummate hosts - my partner commented, unprompted, that “I feel as if I am visiting friends.” Service was relaxed yet attentive. Accommodation is very comfortable, and the communal areas, including honesty bar, really convivial..."
This is very affirming for us, for sure - but the real value in a comment like this is that you can be reassured, by someone who has evaluated and assessed the very best B&Bs in the whole country, that your time at SCH can provide you with everything you hope for. And that's priceless. Come and see...
We've been enjoying reading Clare Balding's new book recently. She stayed with us here at St Cuthbert's House a while ago, but we were really taken aback when folks began to call to tell us that she mentions her stay at St Cuthbert's House in the book! Here's what she says, on page 201:
'St Cuthbert's House went instantly to the top of my 'best ever B&Bs' list. I would describe it as a luxury small hotel with a family feel, but that might not fit on the signs.' Aw, thanks Clare!
Some time ago, we began work with our local Tourism Association to produce a video showing some of the things which make this area so very special. Now the video is complete, and we are deeply grateful to the remarkable young film-maker Cain Scrimgeour for working patiently with us across the seasons, to create something very, very beautiful. This is 7 minutes long, and we urge you to settle back and watch...
What a lovely surprise we received as Chris & Terry were ready to leave this morning, when they turned up in the kitchen doorway with a lovely bunch of flowers for Jill! They said they had so enjoyed their fabulous breakfasts - and I think they felt sorry for her, as if she is enslaved in the kitchen or something;-)
Sometimes an unexpected kindness brings such joy. Lovely!
(Please note this guest behaviour is not obligatory, or expected...)
A group of young people from around the world came together in Seahouses this week, to share together in a singing workshop. After just a few sessions, working on songs they'd never heard before they arrived, they asked if they could just turn up 'unexpectedly' at St Cuthbert's House, to sing for us us. So we invited our B&B guests and a few local friends to be in the Cuthbert Room at 6.30pm, but didn't tell them why. We poured them a glass of wine, and then the doorbell rang and 31 young people filed in with their workshop leaders, and without any introductions began to sing. It was a precious encounter. This is one of the three songs were were gifted... sorry for the shaky mobile phone footage, but it gives you a good flavour!
Whilst the scaffold is up for a roof job, it's too good an opportunity to miss - this inaccessible windowframe has waited too long for a lick of paint!
It's just as well that Jill has both a sense of adventure and a good head for heights. She's always been the gloss-painter, so this is rightfully 'her job'...!
Brothers Steve & Chris have been with us for a few days this week, taking a trip down memory lane... because they both lived here at St Cuthbert's House between 1950 and 1955, when their father was the Minister in the church, as it was then.
They brought some fascinating old b&w photos to show us, some of which were taken inside our home, and some others showing them raking about on a pony in the back field, as small boys! They had some good yarns to spin, and it was a delight to see and hear them reminiscing.
Last night we were privileged to have a visit from Elise Downing, who is running 5000 miles around the coast of Britain to raise money for charity, and stopped off in Seahouses with us.
Elise is running the equivalent of a marathon distance every day, 6 days a week - sometimes further - and then she 'has an easy day' when she doesn't run so far... Just imagine that, if you can.
She is a truly inspirational young woman, who just exudes positivity and kindness, and it was a real pleasure to have her touch our lives fleetingly.
If you want to contribute to her cause, the donate page is here.
You can read more about Elise and her big trip on her website here.
Over the quiet winter months we set out to redecorate and 'upgrade' a couple of rooms here at SCH. We like to do this kind of work ourselves, it's very creative and satisfying. So we got to work - Jill made all the soft furnishings, curtains and tie-backs, bed-ends etc, whilst Jeff did all the decorating.
Pretty soon we realised that the 'new' rooms now eclipsed the 'old' rooms - and it was pretty obvious that the idea of a rolling programme of upgrades wasn't what we fancied after all. So one night, after a glass of wine or two, we somehow decided to upgrade ALL the rooms, before the season got underway. It seemed like a good idea at the time - after all, said we, the paint kit is at hand, and the sewing station is set up and operational (we had to construct a table large enough to handle all that curtain material!) "Yeah, let's do it!"
So began a long period of early mornings and late nights, trying to achieve this ridiculous goal we'd set ourselves! But, we got there, and just in time. The lovely comments we've had from guests this season (especially returning guests, who know the rooms well) have been so encouraging and appreciative. We love to hear that 'wow!' as we show them in! It really was worth all the effort.
Take a look at our Gallery page to see pictures of each bedroom.
Lots of guests comment on our lovely slate placemats, which were supplied to us by Scottish Slate Gift. They worked hard to get our custom font into their engraving machine, and get teh design just right for us. It's now two whole years since we got them, and they are as good as the day they arrived - they've been a great investment! A wipe every morning sorts them out, and just occasionally we give them a rub with some vegetable oil to bring back the sparkly lustre.
We love it when something just does what it needs to do, and keeps on going!
Angela is staying in the Bede room just now. She decided to watch the DVD of 'Tales from Northumberland' this evening, and came running out to summon us, very excited - because she saw herself in it!
This is her in the foreground, wielding the camera... This episode is about the Lindisfarne Gospels in the NE, and she had no idea the crew were filming for the programme as she led a pilgrimage group to Holy Island. What a hoot!
There's a copy of the DVD of each of the three series of 'Tales from Northumberland' in every room here at St Cuthbert's House. They're great!