With winter behind us and the weather turning ever warmer, so do our thoughts of places to visit and sights to see with our dogs in tow.
This month we bring you a review from celebrity dog owner, Layla Flaherty. We first met Layla as she was setting her pet agency, Urban Paws up two years ago. Since then the agency has grown and her clients can be seen in many well-known TV, online and print ad campaigns.
But as the days fly by, especially while growing a business, you can often find your spare time is in short supply, so you make sure to make the most of the time you do have free and that it's spent with loved ones.
And so when we were given the chance to explore Yorkshire reviewing a luxury pet friendly cottage for Gorgeous Cottages, we knew exactly who to ask.
A few weeks back I was invited to stay at The Stables cottage nestled in the North York Moors. Alongside a friend and 'Prince B' AKA Buttons, my Yorkshire Terrier, we agreed this was the perfect time out we all needed and Yorkshire seemed the perfect destination to explore and get out of the city for a while. I was so excited to be going, especially as I had never been before but had heard so many amazing things about the area.
The Stables is a small family run cottage consisting of a beautiful barn conversion situated just outside a pretty village in the North York Moors. As soon as we arrived I could see the charm of the old buildings had been retained as I'd been expecting, based on the description I'd read online.
As we entered the cottage I found myself thinking it was difficult not to completely fall in love with it. I could see the preserved style on the outside had been brought up to date with a classic contemporary finish and a clean, fresh look combined with exposed wooden beams and brickwork. It managed to feel spacious yet cosy all at the same time.
Before we arrived I'd spoken with the owner, Stuart, who was absolutely lovely. He really went above and beyond to make us feel at home and the cottage, as we would soon discover, had little personal touches throughout - such as the luxury toiletries we found waiting for us in the bathrooms.
Stuart and his wife had even baked homemade bread and jam for our arrival. We also discovered wine waiting for us in the fridge alongside a selection of produce including fresh eggs and bacon for our first breakfast in the cottage.
The couple also left us details of recommended places to visit and eat locally in a comprehensive guide with all family and dog friendly activities noted down – such a nice touch, especially if you're new to the area and might not know where to go and don't want to waste a second of your visit.
The cottage has two good sized double bedrooms with their own en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area, which is where we spent most of our time making full use of the wifi (ideal for workaholics or for catching up on social media).
The living room also has a flat-screen HD TV with a selection of DVDs and family movies to choose from for a cosy night in. It also has a log burner which I love, as does Buttons. We don’t have one or an open fire at home so when we get the chance to get cosy in front of the fire we always make the most of it.
It is rare to find accommodation that feels just like home and even though our visit took place in winter, the cottage was so homely and warm that it just made it a really relaxing experience.
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The bedrooms were absolutely beautifully decorated and it's clear that attention had been paid to every little detail with added bed throws and cushions, it was just dreamy.
I loved the wood finish everywhere. Everything tied together so well. The large king size beds were so comfortable also; a hotel standard with luxurious bedding and the softest of pillows to ensure a great night’s sleep. Both rooms had flat screen TV’s also.
As our tour continued we discovered The Stables also has access to some fantastic leisure facilities, including its own private hot-tub, which was one of the main reasons I choose The Stables - it’s not every day you get treated to a glass of bubbly in a hot tub and it felt magical relaxing in the warmth under the stars at night.
There's also a mini-gym, treatment room, sauna and relaxation area, which you have access to 24/7.
You'll also find a fully stocked games room with table tennis, pool and table football, ideal for entertaining kids (or grown up kids) or for days when you just want to stay in or around the cottage.
The garden was absolutely beautiful and well maintained with lots of space. The water feature in the garden was just utterly tranquil, so relaxing to sit by. I found myself closing my eyes just listening to the trickle of water. Sitting there I could just imagine spending a summer evening outside with friends and family enjoying the fine weather.
From the garden, if you follow the path downwards, you'll find the entertainment room I've already described. We took full advantage of this and I must admit, my competitive streak came out more than once over the course of the weekend.
The local pubs didn't disappoint either. We loved the gorgeous dog friendly The Grapes Inn at Slingsby. The pub is a very pleasant stroll along a bridleway and we were welcomed warmly by the locals. The food was simply delicious and there was a great selection to choose from.
So many people still think that taking a pet friendly break means that you have to sacrifice staying somewhere that's stylish and luxurious so you can holiday with your best friend. I've long disagreed with this. In my opinion, you don't have to sacrifice anything - you just need to find one that's right for you.
In all, we'd give a huge 'paws up' for The Stables. There really was everything you could ever need to have a great holiday. We had so much fun that our weekend flew by and we definitely came back to reality well rested and de-stressed.
Thanks again to Stuart for allowing us to spend a weekend at the cottage we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. It is safe to say I have completely fallen in love with the North York Moors' unspoilt Howardian Hills countryside and nearby picturesque villages of Hovingham and Helmsley. I am hoping to return for some more adventures very soon.
Layla and Buttons x
Thanks to The Stables and Gorgeous Cottages for their hospitality for this review!