Yesterday I received two NodeMCU dev boards in the post. Having previously struggled for hours to try and get the ESP-201 breakout to work I thought I would spend a little more and get a development board which came with an on board usb to serial converter meaning all the correct pins were pulled high or low to put the chip into flash mode when attempting to load new code!
And the news is all good for any others out there who have been struggling with these chips which promise so much. I connected it up via micro usb and uploaded a simple test script which just printed hello world to serial. And as if by magic it worked first time! Connecting to WiFi and sending data was also a pleasant experience and I will shortly be posting a tutorial for sending data from a processing script to the Arduino-esc board over WiFi using UDP.