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Archive for the ‘Visit SWScotland’ Category

Today, Balkissock Lodge B&B was awarded a Certification Mark from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere “in recognition of high quality standards in delivering environmental and sustainable development benefits to the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere

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The award ceremony was held at Culzean Castle and speakers included Dr Beth Taylor (Chair, UK National Commission for UNESCO), John Thomson and Ed Forrest both of the GSA Biosphere and the awards were presented by Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop who fondly remembers childhood holidays in Ballantrae and splashing about in the river Stinchar.

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Two other micro businesses were also awarded a certification mark today: Adventure Centre for Education (ACE) based in Girvan and Salad Brew based in Borgue in Dumfries and Galloway.

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After speaking to Dr Taylor, I understand that this accolade makes Balkissock Lodge not only the only B&B with a biosphere certification mark in Scotland but possibly in the whole world!

Cordelia Galley 2018 (c)

If you wish to check availability and book securely online direct with the owners please click here.

If you wish to find out more about Balkissock Lodge B&B please click here.

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It’s a false assumption by some guests that B&B owners just rent out a room and that all money made is ‘profit’ therefore when looking for somewhere to stay, anything over £25 pppn is viewed as expensive … I mean, just how expensive are those sausages?!!

Sadly, this is fuelled by some new online travel booking sites that offer rooms in peoples’ homes at very low costs. But when you run a B&B as a bonafide business there are a number of additional expenses that some owners that advertise on such websites don’t have. Indirect costs such as holding food hygiene certificate, indemnity/business insurance, accountancy fees, credit card facility payments, advertising fees, laundry fees,  etc. can easily add up to £3000-£4000 per year and that’s before you add direct costs such as food and commission.

I’ve invested over £4000 in the past three years improving the environment and facilities here at Balkissock Lodge including redecoration, new larger TVs in both bedrooms, new single mattresses, all new bedding, new carpets, new soft furnishings and new ensuites (to be fitted some time this year) but have only raised prices approx. 10% in 10 years!

I aim to provide guests with a very warm welcome with home baked biscuits and cakes, good quality food from independent, local and regional producers, home baked bread, home made preserves, etc. all of which cost far more than supermarket equivalents and take more time to source, make and prepare.

Having made gains into improving the efficiency of the business last year (pre-ordering breakfast to avoid waste, for example) and having thoroughly analysed last year’s tax return I only have two choices: to remove many of the extras that make staying at Balkissock Lodge B&B so special for many people or raise prices to reflect the quality of service and facilities and to sustain on-going maintenance/improvements.

About half of my guests stay for just one night before or after getting the ferry from Cairnryan to Belfast/Larne. My B&B owner friends will agree with me when I say that one-nighters are the least financially viable which is why many B&Bs have a minimum two night policy. Sadly, a huge proportion of my guests say “I wish we’d booked for longer” (or words to that effect) so perhaps I should have a minimum two-night policy too!

I have therefore decided that I must raise prices to make profit on the one-night bookings but with substantial savings of up to 20% off for those guests who choose to stay longer.

This does not affect any existing bookings.

Cordelia 2018

If you’d like to check availability for accommodation and book securely online at the best prices available please click here.

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The National Sheep Association (NSA) held their biennial event, ScotSheep, on Wed 30th May 2018 at Kings Arms Farm, Ballantrae. The event was hosted by Robert Dalrymple and opened by John Scott MSP, owner of Balkissock Farm near Ballantrae.

The weather was fabulous and everyone I spoke to thoroughly enjoyed their visit. Whilst the majority of the attendance was no doubt farmers and their families there were a few, like me, not directly connected to farming. In addition to over 200 trades’ stands, sheep dog trials and sheep shearing there were hundreds of sheep from about 50 different breeds from Ireland and the North of England as well as from all over Scotland. It was great to see the Ayrshire Market stalls there too.

Whilst not exactly a ‘once in a lifetime’ event, as it’s held in a different location each year, it may be some time before it returns to Ayrshire & Arran.

More information about ScotSheep and the NSA can be found on their website.

We were also privileged to host two Presidents from different sheep clubs in England and Wales who attended the event and stayed with use here at Balkissock Lodge.

Cordelia Galley

Balkissock Lodge B&B

(C) 2018

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Have you ever though about combining a stay at a B&B with learning a new skill … or perhaps you and some friends are looking for a relaxing crafting weekend break?

Visit the Silver Daisy page for more crafting options or browse the Stay & Craft theme but here I’m going to highlight one option:

Cushion cover making

Chose from a variety of fabrics and make your own 40 cm x 40 cm cushion cover. The workshop is suitable for beginners and there are no fiddly zips to fit with the envelope style closure that you will use.

sewing a cushion

If you stay locally and wish to attend crafting sessions with friends, please email me to discuss your dates, numbers and requirements. I’m also happy to arrange crafting sessions with afternoon tea for groups of 2 – 8 people (depending upon the craft) when I don’t have any B&B guests booked in.

cushion cover workshop

You will be shown how to do a few basic sewing techniques such as strip quilting, piecing fabrics and appliqué plus other embellishment techniques.

You can opt to do cushion cover making as a single session or you could choose it as one of your options on the Mix ‘n’ Match weekend course.

sewing a cushion

Details about prices and how to book can be found on the Silver Daisy page.

If you’d prefer to bring your own fabric so that you make a cushion cover that better matches your decor then you are welcome to do so. You will need to bring a piece of fabric larger than the following minimum size: 50 cm x 120 cm.

 

Most fabrics can be used but be warned that very fine fabrics are difficult to work with and not particularly suitable for cushion cover manufacture.

If you’d like to visit the Silver Daisy page, please click here.

If you’d like to check availability for accommodation and book securely online at the best prices available, please click here.

Cordelia 2018

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Have you ever though about combining a stay at a B&B with learning a new skill … or perhaps you and some friends are looking for a relaxing crafting weekend break?

Visit the Silver Daisy page for more crafting options or browse the Stay & Craft theme but here I’m going to highlight one option:

Lampshade making

Lampshade workshop

Chose from a variety of fabrics* and make your own 20cm or 30cm diameter lampshade. The 20cm size is ideal for a bedside or table lamp and the 30 cm would be ideal for a larger table lamp or for the ceiling fitting.

lampshade workshop

If you stay locally and wish to attend crafting sessions with friends, please email me to discuss your dates, numbers and requirements. I’m also happy to arrange crafting sessions with afternoon tea for groups of 4 – 8 people (depending upon the craft) when I don’t have any B&B guests booked in.

crafting workshop

You can opt to do lampshade making as a single session or you could choose lampshade making as one of your options on the Mix ‘n’ Match weekend course.

Details about prices and how to book can be found on the Silver Daisy page.

*If you’d prefer to bring your own fabric so that you make a shade that better matches your decor then you are welcome to do so. You will need to bring a piece of fabric larger than the following minimum size:

20cm diameter lampshade: 645 mm x 220 mm

30cm diameter lampshade: 970 mm x 255 mm

lampshade workshop

Most fabrics can be used but be warned that heavy fabrics and those that fray easily are extremely difficult to work with, I use cotton and polycotton quilting fabrics in the workshops.

You may also be interested in sessions run by other crafters in the area who also make lampshades:

If you’d like to return to the Silver Daisy page, please click here.

If you’d like to check availability for accommodation and book securely online at the best prices available, please click here.

Cordelia 2018

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Today sees our biggest prize of the year to launch our brand new THREE-COURSE TASTE OF SCOTLAND EVENING MEALS here at Balkissock Lodge B&B .

Win

Two free nights B&B with a three-course TASTE of SCOTLAND meal for two worth £215.00!

To enter, all you need to do is sign up to our new monthly e-newletter so that you never miss out on a competition or a great deal ever again! Each e-newsletter will be packed with information about days out, local events, crafting holidays (new for 2018), new menus etc and each month there will be a great B&B offer exclusive to e-newsletter subscribers. Entries close at 6pm on New Year’s Eve 2017…good luck!

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free B&B

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T&Cs:

Entries are strictly via subscription to our new monthly e-newsletter only.

People already subscribed to the e-newsletter will be automatically entered.

The prize is two consecutive nights B&B for two people (sharing a double room) OR two consecutive nights for one person only with a Taste of Scotland three-course evening meal for two people on one of the nights.

No cash alternative.

This prize cannot be gifted and the winner (only) MUST book the accommodation.

Closing date for entries: 6pm on Sunday 31st December 2017.

The Winner will be drawn randomly from the email subscription list: 9pm on Sunday 31st December 2017.

Prize winner must book before the 31st January 2018 and stay before 30th September 2018 (subject to availability).

Once booked, dates cannot be changed.

Additional nights can be added to the stay at the specified nightly rate (subject to availability).

This competition is not endorsed by WordPress, Facebook, Twitter nor anywhere else you may see this competition advertised.

Your email details will not be passed on to anyone else.

Cordelia @ BalkissockLodgeB&B

Click here to book direct

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Balkissock Lodge B&B is currently going through the verification process to become the very first B&B with accredited status in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.

The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere has been recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature.

The UNESCO Biosphere designation is recognition of the fantastic array of landscapes wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities that SW Scotland offers for communities, businesses and visitors to experience and celebrate in a sustainable way.

From the wilderness of the open hills to the Dark Skies of the Galloway Forest or windswept coastline, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has many places to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Biospheres [sic] geography of remote open moorland, serene lochs, quiet ancient oak woodlands, waterfalls and deep gorges and picturesque villages all contribute to its peaceful character, providing opportunities for contemplation and awe.

GSA Biosphere literature

There’s more detailed information on their website.

Balkissock Lodge B&B has been a proud supporter of the Biosphere charter for some time now and we are thrilled and delighted to be considered for certification.

Cordelia @BalkissockLodge

If you’d like to visit us why not find out more by clicking here or to book your 2018 holiday book online here.

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