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March 2014 Newsletter

Susie Wrinch

Dare I say it, but ‘Hello Spring!’  What a welcome relief to see calmer days, warmer sunshine and daffodils.  The wind and rain we had at the beginning of the year just seemed to stop overnight in February and out came the sun.

With the sunshine came more guests.  Some on short break holidays taking advantage of the warmer days, some visiting relatives and others stopping over whilst working close by.

We are always especially delighted to see returning guests.  Guests who have stayed with us so often, they now feel like good friends.  Two such familes who were back with us a couple of weeks ago are the Mottershaws and Arnolds.  It was really good to see you all.  We look forward to seeing you back again soon.

The Arnolds

The Arnolds

 

The Mottershaws with new addition to the family baby Jacob.

The Mottershaws with new addition to the family baby Jacob.

I thought you might like an update on how things are progressing in the new greenhouse.  Well, we are thrilled with the results so far.  The greenhouse is brimming with new seedlings, cuttings and bulbs just waiting to emerge.  It has become the place to meet my husband, Stephen, in the evening (sad I know), but at 6pm or thereabouts there we are with glass of wine in hand debating whether the tomatoes need watering or the cornflowers need re-potting.  I have to say, we are completely smitten.  We are hoping the kitchens at Innocence Rooms will be filled with freshly picked Sungold tomatoes and the gardens brimming with cornflowers, cleomes and lupins.  Keep watching this space………..

New Greenhouse - March 2014 001

Why don’t you visit us over the Easter period.  We are delighted to be offering an ‘Easter Special’.  If you stay with us for two nights or more on either Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday (18th – 21st April, 2014) then you get the cheapest night free!  This is a telephone booking only by calling the Duty Manager on 07584 310710 and quoting ‘Easter Special’.  The seaside resorts of Aldeburgh and Southwold are not far away and with Woodbridge, nestled on the banks of the River Deben, just a short distance drive away, we feel we are superbly located to visit these attractive towns and other Suffolk delights.  So why not take advantage of the warmer weather and our special Easter offer.

We hope to see you soon.

Susie

February Newsletter

Susie Wrinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who follow my monthly Blog, I have to apologise.  The January Blog did not happen.  Unfortunately, I spent the whole of January ill, which was not a good start to the New Year.  I finally rallied round a week or two ago and have been trying to catch up ever since.  So a very belated Happy New Year to you all!

During my absence, both Innocence Rooms East and West continued at a steady pace.  Both houses have survived the storms so far and although the gardens look completely sodden, we are very thankful that we are not suffering the terrible flooding that many are in other parts of the country.  We had one guest stay with us last week who lives in Somerset who said her village was now virtually an island.  She had risked leaving it to come to Ipswich but feared she might not get home if she stayed away too long.  Let’s hope she did and the storms stop soon.

Of course, it is hard to imagine warmer months ahead, but try we must.   Whilst I have been nursing myself at home, Stephen in his spare time has been building a greenhouse.  This has resulted in a wonderful finished structure with a heated bed and watering system.  Ironically, the last greenhouse I had was built in the summer of 1987 and blew down in the hurricane the same year.  So you can imagine how nervous I am with the current storms we are experiencing.  I am constantly looking out of the window every time there is a gust of wind to see if the greenhouse is still standing!  It is our goal to grow fruit and flowers over the coming months and to fill the gardens at both East and West with colour and the Innocence Rooms kitchens with home grown tomatoes and fruit.  The first seedlings appeared this week and we were thrilled.  It is a sign of summer and warmer times to come and gives us something to look forward to during these turbulent times.

 

Greenhouse

 

We were delighted this week to receive a Booking.Com 2013 award of 9.4.  Our certificate is now proudly hanging in the kitchen of Innocence Rooms East.  A huge thank you to all guests who have taken the time to write such wonderful positive reviews.  Each one is valued and greatly appreciated.

Let’s hope my next Blog finds you in more Spring like conditions with daffodils and spring bulbs in abundance.  In the meantime, keep warm, safe and dry!

 

Susie

 

December Newsletter

Susie Wrinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For many of us, as the end of one year and the start of another approaches, our thoughts are firmly focussed on Christmas.  The heating has been turned up (it is very cold) and the houses have been decorated to reflect the festive season.   Here we can see Shannon finishing the final touches to the Christmas tree at Innocence Rooms East.

tree

Whilst the majority of us are preparing for Christmas, we had one guest recently preparing for a quite different event.  Her wedding!  We were delighted to host Alex a couple of weeks ago along with her bridesmaids and family.  Alex and her bridesmaids took over the Sable suite of rooms and when she finally left on the Saturday morning for the Ceremony, she caused quite a stir on the Foxhall Road!  Alex looked beautiful.  Thank you for staying with us Alex, we wish you and your husband well.

bride

When I visited Snape Maltings recently with my family to do a little Christmas shopping, it happened to coincide with the Farmer’s market.  We couldn’t resist the wonderful local produce that was on offer; chutneys, breads, oils, meat, vegetables and smoked salmon to name but a few.  We are so lucky to have all this wonderful local produce here in on our doorstep.  If you are staying with us during December and need a few final presents then Snape Maltings is the answer.

We will be staying open this year throughout the festive season, so if you are visiting family or friends and need a room why not give us a call, we would be delighted to discuss your requirements.

Wherever you are going to be this Christmas, Stephen and I and the Innocence Rooms team, wish you Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

November Newsletter

 

Susie Wrinch

Welcome to our November Newsletter.  I am not sure where October has gone, but it has certainly gone very quickly! November is sure to go in the same way, especially as we start to think and prepare for Christmas.  Although the Christmas trees and decorations at East and West  haven’t been put up yet, we are starting to pull out and peep into the boxes to ensure their annual hibernation has brought them to no harm. Watch this space next month, when hopefully we can show you beautifully decorated Christmas trees at both houses.

We were delighted a couple of weeks ago to see the return of a group of Mozambique Doctors to Innocence Rooms East.  Involved in a project at Ipswich Hospital, they kept the house buzzing with their stories and day to day happenings.  After spending a week with us we were all very sad to to see them go.  Unfortunately, on the day of their departure, I dropped my Galaxy Note on the floor and broke the camera facility!  Hence, I have no picture of this very lovely group. Maybe next year.

We have been busy at Innocence Rooms East this week cleaning carpets.  With most rooms being closed last Friday to allow the cleaning process to take place and let the rooms dry and air overnight, we were very pleased with the results.  It will be the turn of Sable and Ebony next Friday, which will complete the exercise.  We hope you will agree they look as good as new.

I am sure we can all remember where we were and what we were doing last Monday when the storm hit the region.   As I sat in our office at Innocence Rooms East I had my fingers and toes firmly crossed as the winds got stronger and the storm approached.  As I watched the trees bend and twist from our office window, memories came flooding back to the great storm of 1987 and the devastation it caused.  At that time at home we lost half the roof tiles, the greenhouse and a magnificent 30 ft tree, which didn’t just blow down, but took off never to be seen again.  I can remember the chimney squeaking as we huddled together in the dining room in fear it might come down through the roof to our bedroom below.  Thankfully, it didn’t.  Fortunately for us the 2013 storm did us no harm.  Apart from the garden chairs blowing across the garden and the grounds looking as though a storm had hit, we had no damage.  Of course, for our head gardener Paul, he had a very busy time after the storm had passed, clearing away the debris and restoring the gardens to their former glory.  Thank you Paul.

Paul

If you are staying with us at the weekend during November and December, why not visit Framlingham.  Sally, our Duty Manager, visited the town and the castle last month and enthused.

‘The town is delightful and the castle located just off the High Street makes this an interesting place to visit.’

Framlingham Castle has a long and colourful past as home to some of the most powerful people in Tudor times.  It has fared well during its 800 year history and remains remarkably intact.  You can explore the chapel and kitchens, discover Roman jewels and ancient finds and see stunning views across Orford Ness.  The Castle is open on Saturday and Sunday from 4th November to 26th December.  Pick up a leaflet in the Conservatory.

Whatever you are doing this month I hope it is a good one and if you’re visiting Ipswich, why not stay with us.  We look forward to welcoming you.

 

 

October Newsletter

Susie WrinchThe pleasure of Autumn is on all our minds this month as we anticipate the move from one season to another. As I write we are bathed in a wonderful warm autumnal sunshine. A perfect time to walk in the woods, top up our winter wardrobe and dare I say it, make plans for Christmas!

This year Innocence Rooms will be staying open during the Christmas period. The Duty Manager will be visiting daily to ensure fridges and cupboards are well stocked with fresh breakfast items and to make sure the houses continue to run smoothly during the festive season. So if you have family or friends to visit at Christmas and would like more information, please give us a call.

In the houses, we are being faced with the same old problem we face each Autumn and Spring, which is when to turn the heating on and off. Because we never seem able to get it right, we have introduced a small fan heater to each room; these offer guests a “fall-back” if they are chilly when the heating is off.

On the staff front, I would like to introduce you to Zoe, our featured member of staff this month. Zoe can normally be found at Innocence Rooms West where she works tremendously hard, having overall control of the servicing and supply of this particular property and where she ensures the whole house is maintained to a very high standard.

Zoe ironing

Zoe ironing

Whilst on the subject of Innocence Rooms West, we are responding to the comments of some guests who have observed it is not all that easy to locate. I’m pleased to be able to tell you an Innocence Rooms sign will be raised in the early part of next week.

plaque

This morning at breakfast, I met an English couple who stayed with us overnight before embarking on a Mediterranean cruise from Harwich to their home in Cyprus. Of course, we were all very envious as we visualised 15 days on board a luxury liner in the warm Mediterranean sunshine. We wish them a wonderful journey home.

If you are not fortunate enough to be cruising the Med this month, but anticipate spending some time in Ipswich, there is plenty to do and see. At Ipswich School there is a new literature festival with former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo. At the Regent, there are appearances by pop icon Bryan Ferry and Alison Moyet and comedians Russell Brand and Paul Merton. If you have more time to spare, you could head off to explore the nearby historic town of Bury St. Edmunds, the home of Greene King. The Visitor Centre is open daily and offers an interesting tour of the brewery with a spectacular view of the town from the brew house roof. The well-stocked shop gives you an opportunity to purchase souvenirs or early Christmas presents!

Whatever your reason for visiting Ipswich, why not come and stay with us.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Susie

August/September Newsletter!!!!

Susie WrinchMy apologies to all readers for a combined August and September blog. Life at Innocence Rooms has been so busy this month that a decision was made to combine the two months together. So, what has been happening that’s kept us all so busy? Well lots!

There have been many new guests staying with us during the summer period along with a significant number of returning guests. One such guest, Dharminda, decided to pay us a visit last month bringing with him his lovely wife Jaspreet, and their gorgeous baby daughter Nariko, of just a few months. Dharminda was one of our first guests when we opened the doors of Innocence Rooms East in June 2011.

jaspritThinking he would stay for just a few weeks he ended up staying with us for a year! So when we heard he would be returning to Ipswich to see old friends, we were all so excited, especially at the prospect of meeting his new baby daughter. Congratulations Dharminda and Jaspreet. Come back and see us soon.

We greatly admired Jerry from California who stayed with us this week.  Six years ago he decided to sell everything and buy a bike, a push bike, to explore the places he has always wanted to visit.  Having completed the USA and most of Europe he passed through Ipswich this week where he decided to rest at Innocence Rooms for a couple of days before moving on to Cambridge and beyond……  Safe journey Jerry!

biker

Whilst the warm summer days continue why not take an early evening river cruise on the Lady Florence. Built in 1944 as an Admiralty MFV supply boat, the Lady Florence is full of character. Starting from Orford Quay she heads up river within sight of Aldeburgh, Iken and Snape passing en-route the 10 mile length of the National Trust Orford Ness conservation area. Along with drinks, dinner is served on board, which makes this a great venue if you are celebrating a special event. Pick up a leaflet in the conservatory.

Finally, thank you to TripAdvisor for granting us an Excellence Award. Based on guest reviews, it is only given to the top 10% worldwide. We see this as a huge achievement and would like to thank all guests who have very kindly registered their wonderful reviews with TripAdvisor.

If you need to stay in Ipswich, why not come and stay with us. We look forward to welcoming you.

Susie

July Newsletter

Susie WrinchNow that the weather is definitely warming up, this month’s blog takes its inspiration from that holiday spirit of days where we can soak up the sunshine and eat ‘Al Fresco’. We are fortunate at both Innocence Rooms East and West to have lovely gardens and it is always good to see our guests taking the opportunity of eating outside. With Sally’s garden tubs now taking on form and colour, the gardens are a welcome oasis from the busy streets beyond

wine

Whilst enjoying the summer sunshine and eating breakfast, you are likely to meet Sarah. Sharing breakfast duties with Shannon (our featured staff member last month), Sarah prepares the breakfast buffet at Innocence Rooms East and ensures the busy morning period runs smoothly. Sarah has been with us for nearly two years and has become a reliable and valued member of staff.

sarah

Whilst staying with us in Ipswich, why not dine at Milsoms at Kesgrave Hall, or if celebrating a special occasion, the Maison Talbooth in Dedham. Both give the ultimate in ‘Al Fresco’ dining. We are fortunate to have Kesgrave Hall only 10 minutes away. A beautiful Georgian venue with gas heated ‘Al Fresco’ dining. The Maison Talbooth at Dedham has a beautiful river location, giving the restaurant a very special fine dining experience.
We were very sad recently to say ‘goodbye’ to Mary, a long standing guest who had been with us since September last year. After finishing her contract here in Ipswich, Mary is now taking a well earned break. Good luck Mary, we will all miss you.

Finally, ‘thank you’ to Ipswich Borough Council for granting us this week a top score rating of 5 for Food Hygiene. We were delighted to be recognised for our cleanliness and food hygiene standards. This goes to support our commitment to ensuring your stay with us is not only an enjoyable one, but one that can give you confidence that our facilities are prepared to the highest possible standard.

We hope to welcome you.

Susie

June Newsletter

Susie Wrinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is hard to believe I am writing the June Blog when we still have the heating on.  I cannot remember a time when the heating remained on until the beginning of June.  We had some American guests staying with us last week who said they visit England every May and this was the coldest weather they had ever encountered. We concur!!  At this point, I do need to emphasise it is not cold in either property.  The temperatures are monitored daily.
Julia

Julia

We were extremely sad this week to say goodbye to Julia, a long standing guest who has been with us since last September.  Julia is moving on to new ventures in Manchester and we wish her all the very best.

Shannon

  Shannon preparing the buffet breakfast

We are extremely lucky to have good reliable staff and Shannon is no exception.  Located at Innocence Rooms East, we see her as instrumental to the smooth running of the day-to-day domestic activities, which she tackles with ease and efficiency.  Shannon has been with us since we first opened our doors two years ago and has proved to be a most valuable member of staff.  You are likely to meet her at breakfast, where she is on-duty three to four days each week.

We were delighted this week to receive news from Booking.com that we have been granted a Review Score Award for 2012 of 9.5.  We have proudly displayed their Plaque in the Conservatory, alongside our Number 1 position Certificate for 2012, from TripAdvisor.  Your reviews are very important to us and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all our guests who have taken the time and trouble to write such wonderful positive reviews.

If you are planning on staying with us in June and are lucky enough to get a warm sunny day then why not visit Flatford.  Flatford sits in Dedham Vale, in unspoilt countryside.  Here you can see the views that inspired the artist John Constable nearly 200 years ago, including his most famous painting ‘The Hay Wain.’  Stop for tea or take a boat trip down the River Stour around Flatford Lock and Flatford Mill.  Pick up a leaflet in the Conservatory.

Stephen and I hope to welcome you soon.

Susie

May Newsletter

Susie Wrinch

I am sure we are all delighted and relieved to see the weather improving. Can we dare to get out any lighter clothing and put our boots at the back of the wardrobe? Maybe a little premature yet, but I am more hopeful that this month we will be replacing the Winter duvets with the Summer ones and sending the Winter ones off for cleaning and putting away until the colder weather returns at the end of the year. Hopefully!

 

The warmer weather has inspired Stephen to think about a few jobs outside and with the aid of a colleague, Tony Spencer, who produces beautifully carved signs in oak, has produced an impressive new ‘Innocence Rooms’ sign, which has just gone up outside Innocence Rooms East. The existing smaller one, also made by Tony, will be re-conditioned and transferred to Innocence Rooms West. Here you can see Stephen putting on the final touches of varnish before it was placed in situ this week.

Steve

plaque

We are delighted with the end result and due to the larger size, our returning guests have commented this week that the sign is a vast improvement. Thank you Tony! If you have any interest in a similar bespoke sign, please call us with your ideas; more or less anything can be prepared and quoted for. In some future blog, we may get ambitious and load a video of the computer-controlled router going about it’s carving business – completely fascinating!

If you are staying with us this month, why not visit the Suffolk Food Hall and Bourne Garden Centre. Situated on the Shotley Peninsular, it is a 15 minute drive from Innocence Rooms East. It is a great place to visit at this time of year when the weather can be unpredictable. Whilst the children play on the huge rubber trampoline (and I mean huge!), the parents can wander around this lovely food hall and garden centre. It is a multi-award winning venue for great quality regional food and drink and has a comprehensive range of produce provided through a network of local farmers and producers. It is a place I love to visit and is ideal to meet a friend for coffee or lunch. Pick up a leaflet in the Conservatory.

If you are staying with us this month, quote ‘Wine’ upon arrival or at time of booking and we will give you a complimentary bottle of wine to consume either in your room or, if warm enough, outside in our lovely courtyard garden. Cheers!

We look forward to meeting you.

Susie

April Newsletter

Susie Wrinch
Welcome to Innocence Rooms’ first Blog.  I have to admit I was filled with trepidation when the ‘Blog’ tab suddenly appeared on our new website. Matt Porter, our web site consultant, has been quietly nagging Stephen and I for months to do more. So, after much thought and deliberation we have a Facebook page and to coincide with the launch of our newly merged website of Innocence Rooms East and West, we have a monthly Blog also.

Our aim is to keep you in touch with what is going on at Innocence Rooms and the surrounding area on a monthly basis.  Also, over the coming months, I will be introducing you to our hard working team, who put every effort into ensuring your stay with us is a pleasant one.

When I started to write this Blog a week ago (middle of March), Spring and the anticipation of warmer days was definitely in the air.  However, right at this moment as I look out of the office window, a blizzard is blowing and as you can see from this snap shot taken this morning at Innocence Rooms East, Spring is most definitely not in the air!

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However, despite the cold our Duty Manager, Sally, who maintains the overall look of the gardens, has started to think about what to plant up in the pots.

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It means, says Sally, ‘Daffodils and the Spring bulbs, planted last Autumn, are starting to come through, even though it is snowing!  We have to prepare the pots for Summer planting once the frosts have passed and it is time to visit the Garden Centre to choose from the many plug plants that have just come in.  It is a lovely time of year, a sense that Summer is approaching.’  We look forward to watching Sally’s pots in the garden develop over the coming months.

Of course, April can still be a little chilly and if you are visiting us for a few days then Snape Maltings can be the perfect day out, with lots to offer both inside and out. It was the home of Benjamin Britten, our famous composer; it is his centenary year and the beautiful Aldeburgh Concert Hall at Snape, which the composer started all those years ago, has lots going on to celebrate his anniversary.  Pick up a leaflet in the Conservatory or check out their website for more information.  www.snapemaltings.co.uk.

We were thrilled last month to receive notification from TripAdvisor that guests had voted us No. 1 out of 32 Guest Houses in Ipswich during 2012.  As Innocence Rooms is only 18 months old, we thought this a great achievement.  Why don’t you come and visit us and see for yourself.

We look forward to welcoming you.

Susie