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?

Monday, 13 November 2017

And Today a Little Retail Therapy in Porto Cervo

Nothing like a stroll round the old town of Porto Cervo with shops like Prada, Versace, Billionaire, Bvlgari and Gucci to make you feel a little decadent, maybe a little bit rich and maybe a little bit envious too!

A little dreaming

This is Centro Porto in Porto Cervo a place to wander and dream. 

Feel like a spot of billionaire shopping?

Just pop in to this shop here then.  Do you think you have to be a billionaire to go in?

Ah Gucci - a favourite of mine.

And Prada is another favourite.

Time for a spot of reading?

Bvlgari had these fabulous catalogues (more like a coffee table book) scattered on soft cushions outside the store. 

To be honest it would have been nice just to bring one of the catalogues home.
Oh ....  hang on a minute, Versace and .... who is this?
Could this be ... no really?  My husband shopping for me in Versace?

Nope!  That man's no fool .... the shop is closed!

Thanks for stopping by for a spot of retail therapy ... see you soon. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

Wherever You Go Becomes Part of You Somehow

Short and sweet today.

This quote 'Wherever you go becomes part of you somehow'
gave me plenty of 'food' for thought.

And oh so true ..... how easy it is to fall in love with wherever you are.
Calheta, Madeira

Raft Rocks, Milford on Sea

The Noisy Lobster, Avon Beach

Le Petit Cafe, Guernsey

Corinthia Palace Hotel & Spa Malta


Terrone, Marsaxlokk, Malta

Costa Smeralda Sardinia

Waters Edge, Gurnard

Corinthia Hotel & Spa, Attard, Malta
Exbury Gardens

Braxton Gardens Lymington

And you can see why they say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

..... and a little heavier :)  

Ah rude not to sample the food and drink wouldn't it? 

Staycations or vacations wherever you go it will become a part of you for sure.

Can't wait to go on our next travels, coming soon.

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.