When I was 11 I went on a school trip to the Lake District. My dad, as then chairman of the governors came with us. I had the company of my friends and teachers, we had some great days out, we played games. This trip along with others like it lodged itself firmly in my “good childhood memory” bank.
It is such a fond memory, that when discussing potential holiday destinations with Mr Mess, the Lake District was always close to the top of my list. Our summer holidays have, so far, always been to Norfolk, with Mr Mess and I preferring to stick with what we know rather than gambling in unchartered territory. Sadly, this year the cottage we usually book was unavailable which left the door wide open to try something new. As chief holiday planner and booker I immediately started looking for cottages near the Lakes.
After very little internet browsing I came across Tyee Cottage in Burton In Kendal. From the description it ticked all of our requirements boxes. There were two bedrooms, bathroom with bath (not just a shower), cosy cottage decor, a location close to everywhere I hoped to visit and even an open fire, an essential ingredient when holidaying with Mr Mess (Wait, that sounds like I planned to burn Mr Mess. I meant he likes to build fires ok? Stop twisting my words!).
The journey to the Lake District wasn’t quite as smooth as I would have liked. We encountered awful M1 traffic jus 10 minutes from home and our sat nav took us through Bradford city centre, both of which added at least an our to our journey time.
It is traditional on our family holidays to stop in at a Little Chef for a burger, milkshake and possibly even pancakes. I have found a Little Chef in Skipton that didn’t take us too far of our route and although it took us a little longer to arrive than planned, we were all very happy to see the iconic sign up ahead.
I had planned to write all about how Little Chefs get a lot of bad press and how there are actually some great ones with delicious food. Sadly, this was one of the not-so-great ones. Over the years we have experienced the good and bad of Little Chefs and unfortunately the Skipton branch definitely fell into the second category, at least on our visit.
We were told on arrival that the card machine was broken (not a problem as we had cash) but what we weren’t told was that they had run out of hot dogs, the griddle was broken so they couldn’t make pancakes and Miss Mess’ cheeseburger had to be brought over from the adjoining Burger King. They’d also run out of apple juice so the girls had a fruit shoot instead.
We did consider giving up and getting back on the road, but as it had been such a long journey we decided to stay and take whatever we could get. Miss Mess enjoyed her BK cheeseburger and Mini Mess enjoyed helping her finish the chips. I had a tuna baguette, which Mr Mess had a bite or two of, and we both had a coffee to perk us up for the rest of the trip.
With full tummies and a shot of caffeine, the rest of the journey was much smoother and it seemed like no time before we were driving through the stunning Cumbria countryside. It wasn’t long before we pulled up outside our home for the week. Although the description online had advertised “onsite parking” it wasn’t immediately obvious where the parking was. Once inside the cottage, there were clear maps and instructions showing where we could park the car so that problem cleared itself up very quickly.
Inside the cottage, everything was as beautiful as I had hoped. As Mini Mess would delight in telling you if she were here, the cottage was “upside down” with the living room and kitchen upstairs and the bedrooms and bathrooms were downstairs.
The bedrooms were both beautifully decorated and comfy. I especially loved the master bedroom which was light and airy and exactly to my taste. (My photos were taken in a rush on the day we left and do not do the rooms justice.) As soon as we arrived we all started unpacking and making ourselves at home.
The bathroom was, well, a bathroom and had everything you could expect. The bath was a little short, but very deep and I had a lovely relaxing bath most nights. The shower was a bit on the weak side, but not many holiday cottages have a power shower. It did the job so what more did we need, really?
The upstairs was open plan with living room, dining area and kitchen separated by a small partition. Mr Mess especially loved this as it meant even when he was preparing a meal he could still feel a part of the family and join in with whatever we were doing.
The open plan set up meant we could spend lovely cosy evenings in front of an open fire (yes, even in August). Mini Mess could be on the sofa with her iPad, while Mr Mess read a book in a comfy chair and Miss Mess thrashed me at Uno or helped me with my Enchanted Forest colouring book. It was lovely for us to all spend some quality time together.
Tyee Cottage was fully equipped with everything we could ask for, including a dishwasher, much to my delight (we don’t have one at home) The owners even left an umbrella for you to borrow in case of bad weather. The only thing it didn’t have was a DVD player, but luckily I’d read this in one of the reviews so we’d taken one of ours from home. Not sure how we’d have survived the evenings without movies to keep the kids entertained (even if I did go a little insane from watching Wallace and Grommit: Curse of the Wererabbit for the thousandth time!)
On our second day in the cottage we received an envelope through the post addressed to me! It turned out to be a card from the owners, welcoming us to the cottage and wishing us a good holiday. I thought this just the nicest gesture and certainly helped to make Tyee Cottage feel even more like a home from home.
At £445 for 7 nights in the middle of August, I thought Tyee Cottage was incredibly good value and I feel like we’ve found a real hidden gem. It was a wrench on the morning we had to pack up and leave and I think we all found it a little emotional. We’re certainly hoping to go back for another visit soon.
And so ends the first chapter in our 2017 holiday diaries. The second part will be following soon, detailing our first day of adventures in the beautiful town of Keswick. It will hopefully also feature the premiere of the first ever Mess In A Dress vlog, which with either be the start of something bold and beautiful or a horrible disaster that we’ll never speak of again.
I guess you’ll have to pop back later to see for yourself!