Friday, 22 June 2018

An Experience You'll Never Forget - Nearly Over - Go Now You Won't Be Sorry

I had so little time this week but I so wanted to see these and my husband said 'go now or it'll be too late'.
Wow, wow and wow some more.  The beautiful rose gardens are incredible and Malcolm was right to push me out the door to go now.

They are certainly past their best, but still beautiful and I swear you can smell the roses throughout the grounds. 

Arches and arches of roses that awaken your senses as you walk through or sit a while on one of the many benches and take it all in. 

Lots of refreshment stops around the grounds too. 

I sat with a refreshing bottle of Luscombe Sicilian Lemonade, which was my choice on a glorious sunny day. 
I have never ever had such an experience like this.  I can't believe I haven't visited before at this time of year.

Go now to Mottisfont Rose Gardens you won't be sorry and even if the blooms are almost over their perfume certainly isn't!

And anyway these gardens will still be full of colour with so many other flowering plants and so much more to see too.
The Lavender borders too will be in full bloom very soon.
An experience you will never forget.  Go now, you won't be sorry.
Visit Mottisfont Website for opening times and more info

Enjoy and be sure to let us know about it.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Travelling Means ... What Comes Next

Our first visit here ..... on arrival we had mixed feelings.

We hired a car .....


The car hire company were great, very pleasant and efficient, picked us up at the airport and took us to their office to pick up the car.

Malcolm always does the driving.  He's not a very good passenger with me driving at the best of times so in a foreign country probably even worse!

Whoopee - Lidl

Our plans were to pick up some shopping en route to the apartment, get a light lunch somewhere and then on to destination.

Luckily we didn't have to look far.  A Lidl directly opposite the car hire office.  That went without too much trouble, except, of course, we needed a coin for the trolley!  Great!  Oops ....we'd only just arrived so no coins :(

Luck was on our side, a loose trolley waiting for the foreigners who'd just landed :)

Shopping done, let's do lunch.

My advice to you if you're of a nervous disposition, as I tend to be if taken out of my comfort zone, is take public transport.
First we had to manoeuvre our way through drivers like we'd never seen before and I was getting closer and closer to the edge (edge of the road and my edge) and Malcolm was, shall I say, a little hot under the collar (heat and mood).  We had been up since 1am which added a little tension πŸ˜’ and as we travelled along the road the huge mounds of rubbish alongside actually wasn't helping our moods 😟in fact we became increasingly concerned.

31 degrees of heat and mounting rubbish didn't fill us with hope😟

(I'll digress a minute to give a brief explanation ....

We consequently found out from the owners of our apartment that there had been a disagreement over payment by the Mayor.  Hence mounds of rubbish not being collected.  

I will go on to say that a couple of days before our departure the Mayor must have changed his mind and paid up as thankfully the rubbish was disappearing )

Back to our arrival!

Is that a Marina and a Bar?

Some things put a smile on Malcolm's face and they include boats and a bar!  Whew!  We were both definitely in need of a drink.

To be honest just getting out of the car put a smile on my face ..... boy oh boy do either of us really want to get back in that car?

What?  No meat?

The Marina bar looked inviting and cool in the shade.  We were served by a very friendly waiter (who we actually saw several times later in the week too)

I opted for a Greek salad, one of my favourites and a nice cool beer.  To my surprise Malcolm chose the same,  no the beer not a surprise, but a meal with no meat?  Must have been the heat messing with his brain :)

Now that feels a little better and both, after refreshment, in a better frame of mind ....

We venture back out on to the roads ..

Not far away and a very very welcoming sign ..... Kontokali Lake House
So pleased to see this and it truly is welcoming with its pretty floral entrance.

As soon as we pulled up we were warmly greeted by Spiros.

Apartment full of everything you need and more

We were shown to our pretty apartment.
A kitchen equipped with all you need and more, and two spacious rooms, a lounge (come bedroom) with terrace and large bedroom with balcony.

Everything spotlessly clean and as we found out, to our delight, during our stay, is cleaned every other day.

The owners, by the way, are extremely friendly and very helpful should you have any queries.  Our only query was 'why so much rubbish on the island'?  And you too know the answer to that now.

We couldn't wait to explore.

Outside and at the bottom of the drive is the beautiful view over the water.

If you book early you may be lucky enough to get an apartment with a balcony overlooking this beautiful view.   We were late booking but we could get a glimpse from our bedroom balcony.
and one evening we sauntered down with a glass of wine and sat for a while.  It was very peaceful.
It is truly beautiful ...... and you may even get a glimpse of the wildlife!
Suffice it to say we settled in to life here and its peace and tranquillity and ended up having a very relaxing holiday.

Breakfast on our terrace, a stroll to the Marina or the beach followed by a bottle of the local village wine (which looks like it's in a sunflower oil bottle!) with olives on our balcony in the evening.  Life's not so bad here in Corfu.

The sunsets, of course, are lovely across the water......

and finally our version of 'a selfie'

Things you need to know:

  • Kontokali Beach is a short walk from Kontokali Lake House (the blurb online says 200 yards - well maybe as the crow flies!) - let's say about a 10 minute stroll in 31degrees of heat. :)  We ended up going there most days.  There's a great Taverna, run by a couple who are relaxed and great fun.  It's right on the beach and not expensive.
  • The Marina in Kontokali is about a 20 minute stroll and is worth a visit.  The Blue Pool Bar has just what it says .... a pool and a bar.  We ate lunch there a couple of times and recommend the Greek salad!  
  • We also recommend the Olympia Mare Restaurant where we had delicious fish for lunch on Malcolm's birthday.  More to follow on that with pics as it deserves another blog me thinks :)
  • The mosquitos love to bite at any opportunity!  I got bitten more than I've ever been bitten before.  Then we discovered an insect repellent at a local supermarket.  After which I didn't have any further problems.  It is Autan Family Care Repellent found on Amazon too.  Oh and by the way the ants don't like it either. :)
Thanks for visiting Kontokali with us ........ travelling means, what comes next ...... and there's certainly more to come.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Peace and Happiness Radiates Here in The New Forest

Feeling in need of a little quiet time away from the computer and editing, I remembered just the place.

A garden retreat with 'muffins galore' :)  

Just a stone's throw away and a place I hadn't visited for a very long time.

A quiet retreat where I could have some down time away from Social Media etc etc.  A little digital detox, so to speak.

Time for tea ....

Oh yes, definitely ... and look at this cute little jug.  Cool 😊
and what's that I see?  A very yummy looking cheesey scone I do believe. Strangely enough a favourite of mine.  Tempted?  Well it'd be rude not to!

I said 'detox' but I did say Social Media detox - not food!

Without further ado into the garden to sit and savour this delight and take some time out.

English Country Garden

Now, just before leaving I picked up my camera bag and popped it into the car.  I know I said 'time out' but ..... as a professional travel photographer one has to take their camera even when having some down time because one just never knows does one!

I did, however, 'just pick up the camera bag' .... I had been on a PR shoot the day before and after uploading the card, I replaced camera in bag and thought no more of it.  Yes, yes, before you think it did have a card in it and a full battery ..... but this camera had a portrait lens on it ... oh bother!  Tut!  

However, as Chase Jarvis said 'The best camera is the one with you'

We all know what would have happened had I returned home for the other one .... yes, computer would once again get priority.

The garden was full of roses today just like an English Country garden, so onwards and upwards, this camera and this lens was what I had so would be used creatively.  

Always like to challenge myself with different lens so here we go.

Definitely worth a visit, don't you think?  So when you next visit the New Forest and need a peaceful interlude, why not make your next stop Braxton Gardens and Muffins Galore or find them on Twitter @braxtongardens

You will find it in Lymore Lane, Lymington SO41 0TX 
Last time I visited they opened from 10am to 4pm

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Highs and Lows of Madeira

Madeira is a wonderful escape.  A beautiful Portuguese island blessed with fabulous massive ferns and exotic plants. 

Nearly two years now since our last visit but still remains firmly in our memory and it felt right somehow to do another post on this amazing island.

Oh and it would be rude not to mention the banana plants.  All over the island, absolutely incredible and look as if they are some prehistoric species :) 

The capital of Madeira is Funchal where you'll find International Hotels, vibrant restaurants and contemporary art spaces.   With its cafes and bars spilling into narrow alleyways it's hardly any wonder that it's buzzing with tourists and definitely a place to visit.

We stayed in Calheta which is much quieter but visited Funchal for a day and definitely wouldn't have wanted to miss it.

The highs ....

The cable car ride is a must for panoramic views over Funchal. 

I'm not much of an adventurer and a little nervous about doing anything out of the ordinary, but it would have been daft not to do this!
 As you can see, I'm smiling so it couldn't be that scary :)
Sadly we went just after the fires and some of the scenes below us were devastating.  People who had lost their homes to flames started purposely is hard to believe.  More on this in a previous blog.

Please, if anyone is lucky enough to go sometime soon, can you take some photos from the cable car to confirm that some of this beauty has been restored.  It would be lovely if you can share with us by email.  Happy to credit you with the images.  We just want to know all is well once more.

The lows .....

Ah you see I mean at ground level!  You must walk along the promenade, actually you'll have to, to get to and from the Cable car.

Take the kids to sit in the ice cream cones and buy ice cream of course!  Plenty of choice here and delicious.
And apparently the Madeira's own coca cola is Brisa which comes in different flavours.  Brisa Marecuja is the most popular made from the juice of purple passion fruit.  I haven't tasted it but if you do, let us know!

Oh and for the adults Poncha is the Madeira drink of choice, specially for celebrations.  It's made from sugar-cane rum, honey, sugar and lemon juice.  Yes, indeed, absolutely delicious, easy to drink and very potent.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Where to stay.  Well of course we can only recommend where we stayed in Calheta at The Savoy 

However, there are many many places, of course, and if you can recommend please get in touch we're always pleased to hear of recommendations.

There is so much to see and do and I could go on for ages ...... but if you want to know more ......

Another high is the tropical gardens which is at the top, once you disembark the cable car!  Prepare to be amazed :)

If you're going you will be sure to have a truly wonderful experience.
Enjoy and be sure to share with us!

And we will be sure to share with you another beautiful island very soon. :) 

Bye for now and as they say in Portuguese 'Tchau' 
See you soon = te vejo em breve