Time for a change

June 2, 2015

The Lappins have come home! Gone are the pinstripe suits and its on with the apron and marigolds: from banking in Bombay we have decided to set up a bed and breakfast in Cumbria.  We have bought a small farmstead at the foot of the Howgill Fells on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales and are […]


‘Oh, what a lovely farmyard!’

May 1, 2016

The last few months have taken their toll on our ‘charming 17th century farmhouse’. Dust, dogs, and too much furniture that doesn’t really have a place have left everything in a bit of a state. None of that matters, of course, the important thing being The Malabar in all its luxurious perfection. But when one […]


Red and yellow and pink, no grey!

April 13, 2016

We’ve been showing a lot of people around: friends, family, food/fire/hotel inspectors, telecom engineers, Times journalists. They all want to have a good look at what we’ve done and they all seem to have a bit of an opinion on colour. Who knew that a yellow bath would cause so much excitement! And that our shower […]


Don’t look back!

April 1, 2016

My parents were horrified when I took them to view Garths on a nasty January day early in 2014; silence from my mother (very rare) and quiet gasps from my father. They didn’t see a charming farmhouse dating back to the 15th century, various outbuildings with masses of potential, 8 acres of land in the […]


Would you like breakfast with that bed?

March 25, 2016

Remember Bill Bryson’s Mrs Smegma in Dover with her counterpane and her rules? There was, ‘I’m going out shortly so may I ask that you vacate your room?’ Bill was confused. ‘I’ve just got here.’ Its different now. B&Bs don’t make you sit at a tiny breakfast table staring at chipped crockery and trying not to […]


Weather obsessed

January 21, 2016

That reputation that we Brits have for talking constantly about the weather is justified, we now know. Up here (I sometimes talk about England as another place somewhere far south) in farming country there’s good reason to be weather obsessed; life revolves around it. But the last few months of heavy rain have taken their […]


The Malabar

December 13, 2015

We didn’t quite manage it on our own, but somebody who knows a lot about these things pointed out that India kept coming up in conversation, and that it needed to form a part of the identity of our brand. We’ve been looking for a tea supplier for months because we want to serve the […]


A rare sighting: a brand is born

December 9, 2015

Well not in these parts exactly, but this rare Malabar squirrel was spotted in the trees of the bungalow where Graham grew up in the High Range tea estates in Kerala, India when we visited last year. When we stumbled on this photograph the other day it reminded us how big a part India has […]



December 3, 2015

Its been ten months since the builders arrived, and almost two years since that wet January viewing when Erica (architect) and I squelched our way around Garths quietly buzzing with the vision we all had for it.     To the untrained eye it probably doesn’t look that different today.Actually, it looks a little worse for wear […]


How do you like your eggs in the morning?

October 11, 2015

We’ve been thinking a lot about breakfast lately. It sets the tone for the day and we know how important it will be to get it all right, for all our guests. Some people might not enjoy the ideal of a communal experience first thing, but is there anything worse than small tables for two scattered around a […]


Knobs and knockers

September 29, 2015

Who knew there was such a thing as window furniture, and that choosing the right window furniture would be so significant? I hadn’t given casement stays and fasteners much thought but when you start looking into it, could have far reaching impact. What if they are too brassy, too contemporary, too classic, too twee? What if […]