Buy Local & Love it!

 

One thing that has been really important to me for a while is seeing local, small, artisan businessesΒ triumph. When we lived in Kent in a seaside town it was a struggle for smaller businesses to keep going when the larger brands were muscling in.

Moving to Keswick, a bustling little Lakes town with tourists bringing the trade most of the year it is great to see many small business owners doing well. However this is contributed to by everyone working together in the area to boost each other.

In opening our B&B I looked at many suppliers for many things, but one stood out from the early planning days as someone I wanted to work with. Their products stand for themselves, being ethically sound, paraben free, UK made, never ever ever animal tested, not only do you feel good buying them but when you use them their fragrances send you to heaven they smell so delicious!

As if this wasn’t enough to get you looking them up in droves they support people with disabilities and disadvantages. Over 70% of their workforce are locally based disabled or disadvantaged people, with The Soap Co. as their springboard to success.

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That my friend is why at Underhill Guest House is stocking The Soap Co. toiletries and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Vanessa

 

Taking bookings, Scary stuff!!

Underhill Guest House is now on Tripadvisor, scary stuff!

People can now book dates after mid June, we’ll be open before then but we can change the availability closer to the time.  We are putting the finishing touches on some of the rooms this weekend.IMG_20170415_193957

Hopefully by offering clean, comfortable accommodation, excellent breakfasts and low rates we can find a market amongst the walkers, cyclists, bikers and sightseers that come to Keswick every weekend.

We’ve thought long and hard about what people want and appreciate, and we’ve been lucky enough to have lots of suggestions via facebook and instagram.  Including:

  • Longer then usual breakfast timings
  • Self service tea, coffee and cake in the dining room during the day
  • A guest lounge with guide books, local authors and maps
  • Proper hair dryers with long leads
  • Full length mirrors and smaller ones at dressing tables
  • Lots of choice at breakfast
  • Locally produced and supplied food, ingredients and toiletries
  • Use of a guest fridge in the dining room
  • Cycle storage, washdown and maintenance facilities
  • Flexible check in and out

All of which we have adopted/purchased.  Vanessa and I both finish work full time this month and we’re as excited as we are panic stricken, but above all we are looking forward to welcoming people to our new home in our favourite place in the world.

Maybe see you soon,

Neil πŸ™‚

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Opening soon

Its been tough, taken longer and cost more than we planned but we are almost there and I can’t wait.

Its the 11th of April 2017 and we may open for business before the end of May.Β  The property needed fully rewired and we took the opportunity to replace the fire system for an upgrade.Β  The electricians from Lewis Contracting have been great and the work is flying along.

Vanessa and I are heading up this weekend to crack on with some redecorating and gardening.Β  In favor of a fresh start we have changed the name to Underhill Guest House (let me know what you think) and I am currently busy drawing logos for business cards and signs.

Perhaps stubbornlyΒ we have opted to have a go at the websiteΒ ourselves instead of paying a professional.Β  YesΒ we may have already regretted this several times but Vanessa and I really want to maintain an informal, personal approach to the business, so hopefully it’ll be worth it.

Right, back off to B&Q for more supplies, hopefully see you here soon.

Neil πŸ™‚

 

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Our 10 year plan

Shortly after I left the army and began teaching, Vanessa and I spent a night in a bed and breakfast in the Lake District. 

We often stopped there on the way to Glasgow to break up the 450 mile trip from Kent.   The owners were lovely, really friendly and they were younger than we’d expected, maybe only 5-10 years older than us.

Well it turned out that he was ex-military and while we were chatting I couldn’t stop thinking this guys lifestyle sounds perfect and he’s no different to me a few years from now.

The plan was hatched.

I researched the business model for guest houses and how profit efficient they were, what turnover could be achieved in various parts of the UK, Canada and Australia and what lifestyle they might afford.

We quickly decided the plan that would suit us best was a 6-8 guest room Bed and Breakfast in Keswick in the Lake District.  We began a 10 year plan in 2009 of saving to get the deposit and capital required.

Keswick is my favorite town in the Lakes, its pedestrian center is relaxed even when busy.  There’s markets, shops, tourist information, pubs, cafes and restaurants and its perfectly located for some of the best walking and cycling.

Describing the Lake District as ‘beautiful’ knots my stomach, frustrated that my lack of vocabulary or creativity can’t do it justice, I love it!  It is beautiful (sorry) and close enough that Vanessa and I can visit friends and family in the south of England.

A few calculated risks and some good luck later we are just about there.  We are deep into the process of buying a 7 bed guest house in Keswick. We hope to be doing business early 2017, it is going to need some work and it will be a steep learning curve but we are both determined to make it one of the most welcoming, fun places in the lakes.

Wish us luck x

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