How a luxury boutique guest house owner from Colwyn Bay became an accidental social media star with her morning rambles
Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Tracey from Bryn Woodlands House a luxury boutique guest house in the picturesque town of Colwyn Bay, where you’ll find that no request is too much trouble.
Tracey chats to us about coping with the impact of COVID 19 and how resilience has been the key to keeping a positive mindset.
I'm Tracey Toulmin I've been running our guest house with my husband Joel and 15-year-old daughter for 6 years in February 2021.
We moved to Colwyn Bay North Wales from Bedfordshire where we lived in an old railway cottage for about 13 years, we moved there when we came out of working in 4 and 5-star hotels where Joel and I met.
When leaving the hotel trade we both went into the corporate/ office world but to be honest I think both our hearts were always in the hospitality trade, we had always talked about running our own place but thought it was a pipe dream until an opportunity came along in 2014 and we grabbed it with both hands selling our house in 2015 and moving lock stock and barrel to North Wales.
I am from Yorkshire and Joel is from Lancashire and it makes for a lot of banter in the breakfast rooms some mornings, well at least it was.
2020 was going to be our big positive year where we would be in a position to start the wheels in motion to buy the property that we run our business from, plans were starting to be made to have small events taking place and we had spoken to local companies that might need meeting space or afternoon buffets etc. For the first time since taking over the business we were making new plans and not simply going with the flow.
Then March came along and the pandemic hit, at first, it was like a domino effect, cancellation after cancellation and the bottom felt like it was falling from our business.
The news was bleak we didn’t understand where to go for help or guidance, it was looking for a needle in a haystack.
I inherited a fur baby from my Mums passing a couple of years ago and he has been a lifeline for me since lockdown began, I was getting up at about 5.30 and walking around our local area finding new walks and places I didn’t know were there because we were always in our business.
Social media became my thing and whilst on one night there was a reach out for help in making scrubs for our local community health services, so I said I’d help, I soon became admin of the group and then our breakfast room became the hub of donations and things being made, we met some wonderful volunteers who did a fantastic job producing scrubs, masks hats and scrub bags.
This gave Joel and I, a purpose, we didn’t have money coming in but we were helping and making a difference we were so happy to help and be part of the community.
Luckily for us, the council contacted us to ask if we would stay open for keyworkers and essential workers and we agreed. It hasn’t been the business we should have had for 2020 but it has been a lifeline and we are grateful for that.
Everyone is given a warm homely welcome when they cross our threshold to stay in one of our 9 individually styled rooms, unfortunately, we are not able to take guests to there rooms now but the welcome is still the same.
Our breakfast room is bright and spacious ready for any king or queens breakfast, we decorated at the end of the first lockdown and re-positioned everything to suit the new guidelines we even had to get rid of our piano.
Some days I want to sit in a corner and cry as I feel there is no end and others I crack on put my big girl pants on and tell the world we are going to be ok. I’ve gone live every morning on my walks since March and as well as it helping me it seems to help others and we chat as if we were sat round the kitchen table, everyone knows when I’m not myself and they pick me up the same that I do with them.
Oh and I shaved my head on 29th June 2020 to raise awareness of the plight of our local zoo and raised £1800 to help them.
You can find us on most social platforms but the best place to start is our website www.brynwoodlandshouse.co.uk
14 Woodland Road East, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL29 7DT
Tel: 01492 532320