Monday, 16 October 2017

How to Pack Less for a Winter Break in the Sun

Winter is coming .......
    And now's the time when some of us are thinking of taking a Winter holiday to somewhere a little warmer. I know I am!

    How do we keep the packing sensible

    If you're anything like me that's a very difficult task!

    In fact, the first time we went to Antigua my bag was overweight and we ended up at the airport moving things out of one bag to another! There were a few huffs and puffs in the queue behind us!

    But, and a big but, not entirely my fault. We were carrying 7 crew shirts which did not belong to me!

    So, after my experience I thought I may be able to give you a little help with packing for somewhere hot. Well at least for you ladies out there, men never seem to have the same problem do they?

    How to pack less for a Winter Break in the sun

  • Loose fitting dresses. You only need a couple because they wash and dry quickly in the sunshine.
  • a couple of pairs of shorts 
  • Strappy Vests 
  • Cotton or breathable underwear 
  • Swimwear
  • Sarongs - these are great cover ups and in actual fact there are lots to buy when you get there. So forget to take yours if you feel in need of a new one :)
  • Scarves - I always take scarves as they are great for sun protection and when you visit churches.
  • Flip flops a pair for the beach and maybe a pretty pair for evening. Again you can easily find these whilst you are on holiday or at the airport.
  • Suncream (my advice is to buy it in the UK as it is much cheaper) And be safe in the sun with Factor 50 for the first few days and then switch to Factor 30
  • Hair shampoo, condition and hair protection.  Your hair will dry very quickly in the sun.

Other than the above you won't need much more than your normal toothpaste, facial wash, deoderents etc because you will find that in the daytime you will be wearing your swimwear and sarong.  

If you do venture out, as we do, a pair of shorts and T shirt is adequate with maybe grab a scarf to put round your shoulders.

And if it rains  .......
The less you wear, the less there is to dry and believe me you dry very, very quickly.  The rain starts and stops suddenly and the sun once again is very hot.

Hope this helps a little, but if you can think of anything I have missed or may help others please feel free to comment.

Happy holidays!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Elections - Well You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

A bit of a throw back as I suddenly realised that we hadn't let you all in on the fun in Malta back there in June!

If you have been following us you will remember A Blooming Slice several blogs ago.

Elections here, elections there

On arrival at The Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa - by the way did we tell you this is one of our favourite Hotels in the whole wide world?  We haven't actually been all over the whole wide world, but to date this is a firm favourite and we'll be hard pushed to beat it.
Oops sorry I digress .... so on arrival the staff asked about our elections and we said we had managed to get our vote in before leaving home.  We were then told well be prepared because .....

You ain't seen nothing yet ....

Maltese elections are something to behold and probably best to stay off the road on Sunday as the post election celebrations can be a little hairy?  Really, we thought, surely it can't be that bad?

We had booked Terrone in Marsaxlokk for Sunday lunch, which is becoming the norm for us when we visit Malta, and nothing was going to stop me going for my favourite cheeseboard.

Well, to be honest, nothing will stop us eating and drinking when we're on holiday. 😎  After all it'd be rude not to taste and savour the food of another country and culture.

Sunday came and we were determined

After our normal amazing breakfast at Corinthia we ventured out on to the road.  This, to be honest, can be a little scary any day, which is why I leave Malcolm to the driving!
After a stroll around the market and a wander beside the fishing boats we settled at Terrone - nothing unusual here, with us or with the people of Malta for that matter.

Yep ... all looks familiar, drink, camera, view of busy Marsaxlokk just as we remember.

Hooting, tooting convoys

Our peaceful lunch was about to end .....
 and we were about to find out just what all the fuss was about!
And no-one can prepare you for this!  

We were sat with a couple who were on holiday from Belgium and were staying in a Hotel in St Pauls.  They had arrived by Taxi to see the Marsaxlokk fish market and for a bite of lunch.  

There is no exaggeration at all when you are told about the hooting, tooting road-blocking convoys.

As a car came bursting round the corner, flags flying, people hanging out, shouts of glee, hooting and tooting.  Suddenly the Belgian couple felt that a hasty retreat may be beneficial.  And we thought we may be well advised to do the same as we had to drive through it.

I will let the pictures tell the story .......all further pictures taken through the car window :)
Convoys of cars and trucks packed with Labour party (Partit Laburista) supporters.  Music pouring out of vehicles, plastic horns (vuvuzelas) being blown and colour bursts of bright red everywhere.

They sure know how to celebrate here and the police seem to turn a blind eye on this day too.

We didn't find it hairy or scary.  Actually we found it fun and refreshing to see people celebrating in such a 'throw caution to the wind' way.

We felt quite honoured to be in Malta on this day and to witness such loud and proud celebrations.

Thank you Malta for the fun day we had.

Monday, 2 October 2017

A Pub with Rooms, Truly Scrumptious Food and Make a Weekend of it

If you joined us earlier in the week you will remember our blog on the close relationship between the vine and the man at Cottonworth.

Make a weekend of it

And if, like us, you'd like to make a weekend of your wine tour, no not touring and tasting all weekend (doesn't bear thinking about really) - why not make it a break away!  

Michelin Pub of the Year 2014

We recommend this lovely pub with rooms in Stockbridge which is not far from Hugh Liddell's Cottonworth.  

A Michelin pub of the year in 2014 and we know why!
The rooms aren't huge but enough space for a short break, cosy and welcoming.
A room at the front can be a little noisy if you like to sleep with a window open.  Stockbridge High Street is actually a lot busier than we thought.  We do like to sleep with the window open but to be honest the road noise didn't spoil our stay.
And the bathroom has lovely fluffy towels and my favourite ever bath essentials from Molton Brown.
Their fresh bread delivered every day is to die for, simply delicious as is their breakfast.

Be sure to book ahead ....

When we made our B&B booking, if we wanted to eat in the restaurant on the Friday and Saturday, we were advised to book as it gets very busy.

They were absolutely right.  It does get busy and I'll tell you why now.... the food is truly scrumptious.  Sorry I guess that's a bit of a girly expression but it really is truly scrumptious!  Quality service too with friendly and attentive staff.

And weather permitting there is also the option for eating alfresco.
Or .....
take a short walk down the path and
sit in the pretty garden with a glass of wine overlooking the River Test.
and ............. relax

Of course, Malcolm would love to fish here and maybe, just maybe he could get lucky another day. 

Apparently The Greyhound can put together a fly fishing vacation..... yes, yes we will see.

Where:  The Greyhound on the Test 

Monday, 25 September 2017

A Close Relationship between the Vine and the Man

So .... it has been a while since we have joined you here on our blog.  I can only apologise but sometimes in our world as I'm sure in yours too, life gets in the way.

I thought, the best way to return was with something Malcolm and I love and with the story of a man, who not only loves it, but has made it his world.

The world of wine and a tour of Cottonworth

The relationship between the Vine and the Man ..... yes indeed there is a very close relationship here at Cottonworth.
The tour begins with Hugh walking you up to the vineyard.  Don't worry, it's not too far, but sensible to wear comfy shoes.

As Hugh takes you on a tour of his vineyard you can hear the passion in his voice and feel the passion he has for his wines.
His focus is on producing fine quality sparkling wines and this he does admirably and talks you through every stage with humour and so much enthusiasm you wonder why you just don't go home and start your own vineyard!
 Ah, except of course we don't all have acres of land :)
After the tour and talk, we all wander back to taste these amazing wines.
And just to warn you, these are rather large tastings, but Hugh's wife conjures up a very tasty buffet lunch to soak it all up.
 A little sparkling white ...................
 A little sparkling rose ..........................
And a delicious white wine Hic Hic :)

But don't worry if you're driving you can always buy a couple of bottles for later.
Yep, we did that too, be very rude not to wouldn't it.

Where:  Cottonworth Wines Andover
             Wine Tours require pre-booking as small groups usually

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

How to Keep the Kids Amused in School Holidays

Well, ever since the school holidays began the weather seems to have changed which isn't much help to parents!

This gave me a problem a couple of weeks ago.  One of my granddaughters came to stay and we were really looking forward to it.

A keen and good swimmer and loving the outdoors we knew she'd be very happy on the beach. Living in Lymington, close to the beach and the forest, keeping her occupied wouldn't be too difficult!

The Great British Weather

Yep, the Summer had it's British Summer hat on!  Rain, rain and more rain so the beach was pretty much off limits and I certainly didn't feel like doing the great British thing sitting on the beach whatever the weather!

What to do on a rainy day?

So apart from drinking hot chocolate and eating pancakes at The Noisy Lobster on Avon Beach and the two of us getting grossly overweight ......
I had to think of something else pretty quickly!

A bit of pottery painting

I go to the hairdressers in Christchurch and remembered that next door was a little shop called The Clay Studio.

What a great find!

And there's a lovely cafe where you can have coffee and cake whilst you wait.  That's if you don't want to paint pottery yourself.  

I must admit I was tempted. :)
It was, unsurprisingly, very busy!  I thought for one minute we wouldn't get a place.

But we were welcomed with open arms, sat down at a table, actually the one you see here through the door.  To be honest this little shop is like a tardis, seems to go on an on, up and downstairs! 

You then get to choose a piece of pottery to paint and given instructions on what to do.  

A couple of hours of creativity and it is complete.

The finished article is then left with the shop and picked up a few days later after it has been 'glazed' and 'fired'.

Hey presto ..... one pretty piece of pottery to keep and one day in the dry!

The Clay Studio Open 7 days a week 
The Fountain, 1 High Street, Christchurch BH23 1AE
Telephone: 01202 475000

That was one day done ...... how did I manage on the other days?
Watch this space to find out.

Friday, 21 July 2017

What are you Waiting for - Next Week is National Parks Week

Gosh I've just found out it's National Parks Week next week, so a very quick blog to help you with places to visit and book your stay.
New Forest Pony

Plenty of Bed and Breakfasts in the heart of the forest.
We personally recommend the lovely Maria who owns

Better be quick though as she gets booked very quickly.
A few hotel suggestions from our note pad

Hotels we recommend and you can view on our Pinterest boards or our blogs:
Beautiful gardens to visit whilst you're here:
Braxton Gardens
So what are you waiting for?  Get booking!

If you are local to the New Forest and have any hints, tips and recommendations give us a shout out on Twitter or comment here.

New Forest Escape Uncovered by Travel Bloggers

Just kick off your shoes and reeeelax ......
After a very warm welcome from Maria put your feet up and totally chill out in this open and airy room.
 And if you can bear to leave it and the view ....
  why not sit outside with a drink and a snack.
It's time to read that book you never had the time for at home. :)
And the good news is the prices don't go up in the school holidays at this lovely bed and breakfast in the heart of the New Forest!

New Forest escape uncovered  learn more

Would you and your holiday business like to be featured here?