Friday, 16 February 2018

Shout from the Rooftops but You'd Better Be Quick

If you love the Tudor period, then you'll love The Vyne at Sherborne.
Not only has it the most amazing Tudor House but the most beautiful grounds.  

Snowdrop Mania

And the snowdrops are spectacular at the moment.

Even my granddaughters couldn't resist taking photos of these snowdrops in all their glory.  They really are quite a treat.

The light today was incredible.  It was cold but so worth a stroll around these grounds.  However, boots are definitely an advantage as the recent rain has caused quite a soggy walk!

If you have been following our blogs you will have seen the amazing rooftop walkway.  A £5.4m roof project which is nearing completion.

Tag a roof tile

Write a message or draw a picture and leave your mark on a tile to go on the roof!

As you can see my granddaughters loved it and made their mark along with many others.

February is last chance for this treat ... 

If you want to shout from the rooftops and tag a tile, you'd better be quick. 

The geese are always fascinating.

Oi this is my territory...

The swan below felt that the lake was his and was picking on any bird that dared to enter his domain!

 He seemed to be quite successful at chasing them off too!
 And obviously felt very proud of himself after the chase!
If you'd like to take a Winter ramble round the grounds you can download a Winter Woodland walk  Remember have your walking boots at the ready.

And be warned on a lovely sunny day the car park gets full to overflowing!  We had difficulty getting parked when we arrived at 12noon, so I guess you need to get there early.

Long queues and a bit of a squeeze

Also there is always a queue for the food at the cafe and it becomes quite cozy whilst you are waiting ... so I'm advising you to prepare yourself for the wait.  The food is good so it's worth it!

Go, enjoy, and take your time.  Make a day of it.  You won't regret it.

Monday, 5 February 2018

In the Spotlight ...... A Place to Embrace Life, Shop and Lunch

If you're planning a week, or to be totally honest, a long weekend would be easy enough, then this is the place to be. 

A warm welcome is guaranteed - this place is perfect for a relaxing escape.

Just three hours' flight from UK and you can find yourself embracing life, shopping and lunching in this city.

A European Capital of Culture 2018

Where are we?  The buzzing city of Valetta, the Capital of Malta.

Weather, what weather?

Our last visit was at the end of November and it was slightly chilly, well for me anyway and on the day of our visit to Valetta, it rained!
But when you're on holiday and there's so much to see the weather somehow seems less of an irritant and there's always somewhere to shelter.  ie a local cafe or bar! 

For us on this occasion Cafe Castille was very handy and served up a delicious lunch to go with our Cisk and wine!

300 Sunny Days a Year

In accordance with what they tell you about Valletta boasting more sunshine than any other European the time we'd finished eating and drinking, the sun had made itself known to us once more.

Shopping is definitely a way of life here in Valetta

If you like shopping there's everything here and more.  We travel light
and therefore no room for any extras in our bags :(  that's the downside .... but the upside of course is you save your shopping money to go back!
As you can see at the end of November the Christmas lights are already in place.  We always retire to our Hotel, in order that we can have an early evening drink and relax before dining, we don't get to see them lit up.   They look beautiful in the daytime so I'm sure in the evening they are stunning.

Here at Christmas they really do create an impressive display everywhere.
I love it here.  It has so much history but it also has beautiful gardens too.

Upper Barrakka Gardens for panoramic views over the Grand Harbour.  You won't miss it as everyone is soaking up these views with selfies and such like!

Hot, Hot, Hot :)

And I don't mean the weather (not at this time of the year anyway)!  This chilli plant extravaganza caught my eye whilst everyone was looking elsewhere.  Incredible.
If you haven't been yet.....this year is the time to go ..... 400 events 
make up the 2018 cultural programme culminating with a closing spectacle on 13th December.  
Visit the The Cultural Programme for more info.

Where to stay?  For us there is no other place to stay than Corinthia Palace Hotel in the centre of the island, central to everything but quiet too.  

However, if you want to be nearer to the coast.....and a little livelier...
On my recommendation a colleague visited Malta and wanted a seaview so she opted for Corinthia St Georges Bay - she and her family absolutely loved it.

So, what are you waiting for?  Go, go, go .............
Hopefully we'll see you there. :)

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Charmed by the Magic of Hillier

Whew just where did that time go?  End of January already and only one blog this year.

As the saying goes .....  

Life gets in the way of your plans!  Apologies to followers, but that's just what happened.

Time out for a little freedom

So to get away from it all, whilst Malcolm is busy working his little butt off, I decided to use the Annual Membership, bought by my son, to Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey and take time out for a little freedom away from computer, phone and other slightly stressful happenings! :)

Profusion of colour is an understatement

Bursting with Snowdrops, Winter Aconites, Syclamen, Hellebores, Dogwood, Witchhazel and miniature Iris to name but a few.  

Well to be honest these are the only ones I know or could find online! :)

Without further ado 

only images will suffice as you will see .....

I have many more images of pathways that you feel the need to explore and some of the wonderful sculptures around these gardens, but for today it is the most amazing colours that I wanted to show you.

Food glorious food

After the walk, which was a little on the cold side, I was in need of a little warming soup.

The cafe here is welcoming and the menu is very tempting, but I still opted for the soup, which was served with a generous helping of crusty bread.  Delicious.
And with a fabulous view over the gardens you can sit and eat, savour and drink in this amazing experience.

As you can see I was charmed by the magic of Hillier :)

There is always plenty to see and lots of events, art classes etc here at Hillier and a great place for kids to let off steam in the school holidays too.    

But don't take my word for it ......

Visit their website for more information, opening times etc.

See you next time ......

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Top Tips for Easy Packing and the Best Find Ever

Before we go any further .... a very Happy New Year to you all

As we enter 2018 I'm sure you are all looking forward once again to Summer holidays, or maybe even still looking at Winter holidays, especially with the weather we've been having lately. 😐

Always looking for easy options

We are definitely planning more travels this year.  As you know our stays away are usually short breaks, or at most a week, therefore, we like to travel light and carry our luggage on board with us so that we can make a quick get away and make the most of our holiday.😎

Consequently I am always looking for easy packing ideas.

Won't fit, will fit

If you're anything like me I can never find enough room for everything in a cabin size bag.  I end up packing, repacking and probably repacking again!

I thought I'd share a few ideas I have found helpful with making the best use of limited space in your bag and being able to fit everything in.

Packing Top Tips for Carry on bags

  • Make use of those free samples that are stuck to pages in women's magazines.  Ask your hairdresser for shampoo/conditioner samples.  They all slip in that little airport plastic bag really easy.  Use them up and you won't need to carry them home, leaving room for a little holiday gift maybe? :)

  • Pack pants/socks inside shoes or sandals.
  • Save the shower caps from hotels to wrap my shoes in so that the soles don't make clothes grubby.
  • Pick up spare plastic bags at the airports.  They are really handy.  Keep loose chargers together or home keys/car keys tidy and easy to find on return journey home.

The best find ever ...

  • And finally I found the most amazing piece of kit just prior to my last journey.  I have to tell you I will now never travel without it.  Packs so easily and gets so much in ....  for me 4 vests, 2 cardigans, 1 blouse, plus 1 jumpsuit.  All that in a quarter of the space of my bag.  This little bag deserves 3 images!

Eagle Creek Pack It Garment Folder  

Trust me, if you buy this you won't regret it.  When you get to your destination and unfold your clothes, hang them up and no creases.  Love, love it.  πŸ’–

Travel safe, travel light, relax and enjoy.

Useful Sky Scanner link on best luggage reviewed and 

Happy holidays :)

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Our Travels with a Christmas Tree .....

As Christmas approaches, it's time to put the blog on hold and spend some quiet time wrapping presents and getting ready for the Christmas festivities.

I've been everywhere man ...♬

The image below features our well travelled tiny Christmas tree and we thought it relevant to use it on our travel blog for this post. 

This Christmas we've yet to decide!  Hard to imagine, but when there's just the two of you and your children's turn to go to the in-laws we can leave it a last minute decision.

Quite a special little tree.πŸŽ„

Past Christmases this little tree has travelled with us near and far.  Actually it has been as far as the Caribbean!  

Christmas fizz, mince pies, crackers and starburst

May your Christmas be merry and bright wherever you are this holiday season.

We'd like to thank you for taking the time to visit and read our blog and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  

We look forward to seeing you back here in 2018.
We have lots more to share on our stays in Malta, Madeira, Antigua, Sardinia, not to mention local garden visits
just to name a few.

πŸ’* Merry Christmas from Jan and Malcolm *πŸ’

Be safe, be kind, be happy and make every moment count.
😎Wherever you go becomes part of you somehow.

Share your travels with us.  Be out guest blogger next year.
It's easy to get in touch.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Find Calm in The New Forest

Head south to the New Forest and find calm in the ultimate spa experience and then relax even more in one of the cosy hotel rooms.

Read on to find out how and where ......

Is it peace you're looking for ...

Here you'll find a moment of peace, a chance to slow down and unwind.

A warm welcome awaits you

Met and greeted by the concierge who smiles and warmly welcomes you.  He will happily take your luggage and park your car. 

Malcolm being a little independent refused this kind offer.  

As we were only on an overnight stay, we had very little luggage except for our photography equipment, of course, which we are a little protective of and always carried by us!

Check in 

Whilst Malcolm was parking the car I had been nominated to do the 'check in' bit.

I had to wait a while as the receptionist was already checking in another couple.

It was obviously the couple's first visit.  The young lady behind the desk was extremely informative and diligent. giving the couple all the necessary info to ensure they made the most of their stay. 

The couple walked away saying 'wow, she knew her stuff'.  She sure did!  A huge round of applause for this young lady and, in fact, if I hadn't stayed before I would have now been fully informed too.

But we had visited before and, in fact, this was where we got married, so we received a 'welcome back' check in, which kinda makes you feel a little special.

So where are we?

Corridor of leaves

We were told our room was ready and Colin offered to carry our bags.  Again we declined the offer and made our way along the corridor of leaves :) 
Ah explanation:  The carpet design has huge leaves and it actually works really well.  It is in The New Forest after all.

Have you guessed yet?

We weren't expecting this

So to our room.  

We got a surprise.  

Our stay on our wedding night was in the bridal suite which, of course, had a very grand four poster bed.

Pretty garden room  

Today as we opened the door to our garden room, the sun streamed in on to another very pretty four poster bed.  We were not expecting that at all. :)

Ooh goodies!

This Hotel not only wants you to feel at home but feel special too. 
The little extras like the magazines and books and delicious chocolate taster from Chocolate by Miss Witt, robes and slippers, not to mention the lovely bathroom goodies from The White Company are extra special finishing touches.

I digress for a moment

A word for The White Company .... the lids on your little bottles are on sooooo tight, it's a real challenge to open them!πŸ˜–

Did I mention spa?

Once we had taken a few images for the blog, we were off to find some well deserved and long awaited TLC in Senspa.  

If you haven't booked a room with this experience you can upgrade.  You'll be sorry if you don't! 

This is a hydrotherapy haven, including pools, tropical showers, ice room (not for me but Malcolm used it), sauna and crystal steam room.  And I particularly liked the warm stone beds which feel as if they shape to your body.  Just relax, blend in and the warmth goes right through you.  Bliss.

All this relaxes the mind and the body and leaves you with a pleasantly tired feeling.

A sneaky peek of the Spa on our Travel Instagram!

No time to doze 

Well if you don't know by now here's a little clue for you....

We go back to the room and find it hard not to doze off, so a cuppa and magazine to the rescue.

  Yep!  You've guessed Careys Manor Hotel & Senspa

Now off to Le Blaireaus

Not time to lounge in our room for too long as we are off to Le Blaireau Beaujolais Nouveau night.  Luckily it's right next door to the Hotel so no worries about travel and not far to stagger back either πŸ˜‰

Quite obvious from the name, Le Blaireau is everything French.  

Tonight waiters and waitresses, all looked very French in Breton stripes and little French berets.  The atmosphere was brilliant.  The food was good and the Beaujolais Nouveau was'nt bad either!  

Oops, apologies ... no images.  We were there with friends and a night off.  Nothing to stop you going along though.  Take a look at their website, they do have quite a few events on.

And so back to our room for a nightcap and sleep.
Of course, I can't possibly leave you without mentioning the most amazing breakfast in Cambium Restaurant

We never take our cameras into restaurants as we feel it's a little intrusive to other guests. 

Our food shots are always set up at a time when the restaurant isn't being used so no professional pics of the lovely breakfast. 

However, couldn't resist using my tried and tested phone for a shot of the most delicious poached egg I had ever had...........perfection.

Oh and I do hope we didn't leave our room ........
in a pigsty πŸ˜‰πŸ˜but I do love the alternative signs - great fun.

So will you find calm in The New Forest?  

If not now, when?   

Why not find out how to feature on our blog?