Monday, 30 October 2017

Throw Back to our Stay at The Savoy Hotel Saacharum Resort and Spa

After a day travelling - actually isn't everywhere at least a day's travel these days?  We landed in Funchal, Madeira.

Travelling light ......

We flew by British Airways from Gatwick and to be honest it was quite uneventful.  Except that we had decided to travel light and take bags on to the plane and not put in the hold.  Inexperienced in travelling light we made a bit of a hash of it!

You see, when you travel light, hence take all baggage on the aircraft with you, you must ensure you have all liquids, creams etc in a plastic bag.  Easy, you think?  It must be the correct size!  19cm x 19cm and one each is allowed, and each bottle/tub no more than 100ml.

Our bags were larger and full, of course!  Consequently many of our items were confiscated!

Note to self:  
Regulations are: 19cm x 19cm
100ml max each bottle and tub
Bag can be full but must be able to seal it!

liquid regulations on board flight

Whew, feet back firmly on the ground

Eventually we board the plane. 
I am not going to say I enjoyed the flight, but that's not because of anything other than I just don't like flying!
Always very pleased to have feet back on the ground.

The best taxi ride ever ....

We had booked a taxi from the airport to our destination in Madeira and this was a great experience.  Our cab driver spoke excellent English and talked us through the 45 minute drive to Calheta.

Somewhere new and a friendly welcome.  You can't beat it!

Our arrival at the Hotel was greeted with warm friendliness by all Hotel staff.  The Concierge, Jose, took us to our room (from this point until we perched ourselves on sunbeds by the pool, my mouth stayed open .. and if you read on you will see why!)

Jose was full of information from room air conditioning to pools, day trips and much more!

Anyone for a sundowner?

We were so excited to see it all, that at this point we didn't unpack our bags.  The room was amazing and overlooking the small private hotel beach.

Anyone seen the bar?  

But just for starters, and to quench our thirst after a long day, we couldn't wait to investigate the top pool and bar!

At 18.30 the sun still shining, warm and lots of empty sunbeds overlooking the ocean.  It was definitely time for a sundowner.

Actually the sun didn't go down until about 20.30 in Madeira.
So, yes, you guessed it, we had more than one sundowner!
Hotel resort and spa calheta madeira
As the sun goes down by the pool
Some of the most amazing sunsets from our balcony and even saw the moon and reflections one morning.  Beautiful.
views from balcony in madeira

An Alfresco Breakfast anyone?

A buffet breakfast and there was so much to choose from.  English breakfast, which was Malcolm's favourite, but mine was the delicious fresh fruit, yoghurt and to top it all the sugar cane syrup and outside again overlooking the ocean.  My idea of heaven!   

delicious food on offer at saccharum
This Hotel has windows galore and everywhere there are the most amazing reflections.  Absolutely stunning.
I think by looking at our photos of this wonderful place, you will see why my mouth stayed open in wonder and amazement.
Hotel Saccharum Resort and Spa ... I can only describe as blissful.

Want to know more about Madeira?

See too our visit to Funchal, our ride in the cable car, the tropical gardens, and a very long levada walk.

Bliss .... meaning 
The Savoy Hotel Saacharum Resort and Spa Calheta, Madeira


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