Tuesday, 28 March 2017

It's Hard to Beat For Sure - Travel Photographers in The New Forest

A lunch date with a business colleague took me to a place rarely visited and right on my doorstep.

I arrived early so that I could take some time out to read.  Always find it so difficult to do at home as so many distractions.

However ....

I was rather distracted before going in.

It seems someone else would rather like to visit!

Oi, just a minute.  Go back, you're not allowed and that's far too close for comfort. 😓

What's more I need to take a photo of this beautiful hotel in the New Forest before I go in and you are in my way.

Bad hair day...

I think you need to get your hair done before having a photo taken.

The Balmer Lawn Hotel

Imposing building on the way in to Brockenhurst and extremely welcoming.  This is where I had been invited to lunch with my colleague.

Enchanting ..

Look at this pretty tree to welcome you just before you go in.  I remember seeing one of these before at The Mill, Gordleton.  I think they still have it... it was called The Enchanted Tree

Ok, still early, so just a bit of time to get settled with my book before my friend arrives.

My camera always goes away when inside unless I'm on a professional shoot.  

Rhubarb and other things

Our lunch was delicious.  We both had steak and fat chips :)  Cooked to perfection for both of us.  Even though we were full the dessert menu was just too tempting! 

Oops had to take the phone out for this picture on instagram. Rhubarb Mille Feuille with ginger ice cream for me and a banana and peanut butter bread and butter pudding for my colleague.  

Finished with a coffee.  More than replete I think I can say!

Thank you to my friend and business colleague and Balmer Lawn for an excellent lunch date.

We will definitely be back, although it may be we'll be there shooting a wedding before I get back for lunch again!  Either way, we love your venue.

Yes, right on our doorstep, The New Forest is hard to beat that's for sure.

Would you like to feature on our blog?  

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Fun Walk Through the Woods or On the Beach - Mudeford to Highcliffe

Staying close to home for this post and sharing a walk that I often do when grandchildren visit.

Dorset coast

You can either start off at Highcliffe Castle or Mudeford Quay, whichever takes your fancy.

We normally start off at Mudeford Quay, take a long walk along the beach and then back through the woods from Highcliffe Castle, along the top of the cliff.

It was a bit cold on this occasion and we thought it may be a little more sheltered to walk along the top of the cliff so we parked in Highcliffe Castle car park.

An adult only walk takes less time :)

The walk takes about 20 minutes really.  But when with children there are many things to do on this walk, including hiding from mum and dad!

Once we get to Avon Beach, we usually stop for a little sustenance and warm up at The Noisy Lobster.

Any leftovers?

So when son offered lunch, we all said yes - rather too quickly I think, feeling a little peckish and chilly too. 😃

Us adults chose lots of sharing things.  Mainly because it's really hard to choose from this delicious menu.  The boys had beefburgers.

'Proof is in the pudding' as they say!

Dad was eagerly waiting for leftovers!  No such luck on this occasion ....empty plate is what he got :)  Unheard of with one small child, so I guess their food was as good as ours then!

Back along the beach

So with full tummies and a lot warmer now, we headed back along the beach.

Once again, lots to deter the children en route, ah and the adults too I see.

Back up the steps to the car park.  Oops, looks like the boys aren't quite tired out yet!  More climbing to be done.
Well, after all that exercise and full tummies I think they'll sleep tonight.  I know Nana will anyway :)

Where we ate: The Noisy Lobster

However, there are takeaways at Avon Beach if you don't feel the need to sit in the restaurant. Also a small cafe on the route, if you can't get all the way without a break.  And Highcliffe Castle has a tea room too.

So a fun walk through the woods or on the beach - Mudeford Avon Beach to Highcliffe Castle - both a great walk with or without the kids.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Wonder What's on the Menu Tonight for the Travel Photographers

A nice day and you won't need to ask me to go fly fishing twice!

No, no I don't do any of the fishing.  I just go along for the peace and quiet.  You just can't beat the tranquillity at the fishing lakes.  A little light relief from the travel blogging and travel photography helps get the brain cells working again.

Rockbourne here we come ..

The forecast was for a dry day and supposedly sunny.  However, it didn't turn out sunny, but thankfully stayed dry.  
And I must have had my sensible head on as I put my trusty boots on ready for the mud.  Yep ... there was mud!

I had never been to these lakes before.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Off the beaten track, so had I been on my own I would never have found them.

My advice is to take a good map, good sat nav or a good husband :)
These fisheries are in the New Forest in an area of outstanding beauty, just outside the village of Rockbourne.  It certainly is the perfect place to relax and unwind.

Without further ado let's go fishing ......
 Within minutes the first one caught.....
Not a bad effort :) 5.5lbs
And trout number 3 - I wonder what's on the menu tonight?

Who's next?

 Oi! There's someone here catching their supper, 
think we could be next .... hide quick
D'you think he can see us?
I'm off ..... what time's the next bus?

New purpose built lodge

By the way Rockbourne Fisheries do offer breakfasts, light lunch and drinks in the lodge.

However, on this occasion, we left home quite late (me going to yoga in the morning caused a slight delay).

As Malcolm wanted to get fishing, we stopped for a quick lunch en route at The George in Fordingbridge.  Ah, that didn't turn out quite as quick as we'd thought.  Mainly because the menu was amazing and we found ourselves eating not such a light lunch!

A first visit for me and I definitely want to go back. Delicious food and great service.

Take a look at my goat's cheese starter.  Delicious!

Ah well, a day off is good for the soul but maybe not so good for the figure. :)

Monday, 13 March 2017

Travel Photographers Unwind at La Nave San Pawl il-Bahar

If you have been following us (and thank you if you have) you will know by now that we love good food and wine at reasonable prices. 😋

And that's good enough reason to return to La Nave Triq It-trunciera, San Pawl il-Bahar.
Situated within the Malta National Aquarium and with fabulous views across the bay.

Malta National Aquarium

Yes, both directions.....you could do with eyes in the back of your head!

Us British

Of course, we haven't yet been inside the Aquarium!  Being British and a little starved of sunshine we do anything we possibly can to stay outside! 

If you have kids with you, though, I think it probably is a must do. Apparently it houses a huge collection of fish including sharks, sting rays and eels. 

For us, as we have been blessed with another sunny day, there's absolutely no way we'll stay inside (ah unless of course there's classic cars involved - watch this space!)
So we find ourselves, yet again, sat outside this lovely restaurant trying to choose what to eat.

Funny though, we never seem to have a problem choosing the drink.  I go for Rose wine and Malcolm normally goes for the local beer, Cisk.

On the Menu today...

Seafood pizza and pitta bread with dips.

The pizza lived up to its reputation (I do believe we had similar on our last visit)

Oh my word, this hummus was the most delicious we had ever tasted.
Even if you're not a fan of hummus you just have to taste this. Incredible.
We finish up with a coffee.

One day I may have to do a blog on 'Coffee with a Heart' :)

Cheers and thank you again to the most delicious lunch. 

We'll definitely be back for more.

If you have kids with you, La Nave is a great place for families, right next to the Aquarium and there's lots of space outside the Aquarium for the kids to run around, including a children's playground. 
And those lovely fountains coming up from the ground that the kids love to jump in!
So fun for all here, along with great food.  A must visit.

Like I said 'watch this space' for the Classic Car Museum which even I enjoyed! :)

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Even on a Murky Day How Can This High Street Not Put a Smile on Your Face - Cowes IOW

Yes thank goodness!

At first I thought I wasn't going to be able to do this trip.  But at the last minute timing was right for me once again to join Malcolm on his revisit to Cowes.


Not far to travel for us, just across the water from Lymington.  We could easily have a staycation here.  In fact, in the past, we have, but that's a story for another day. This time, it's just a day trip.

So whilst Malcolm was busy with his client off I went to one of my favourite places of all time.

Yukky weather

It was, once again, cold, misty, wet and murky - yes very yukky weather indeed.

Follow me .....
 How cute is this ....Toby's of Cowes
 I bet he was freezing too.  Yes, looks real doesn't it! 
 The Food Hamper looks absolutely delicious.
 Ooh Healthy Indulgence - is there such a thing? :)
 And so pleased to see The Wine Therapy.  I always love their window displays.
Actually we do have a few corks floating around.  Have no idea where they came from?
This display has given me inspiration as to what to do with them.
 Ah and Sailor Ted and friends .....
 Oops have been spotted taking photos, better go in.  Be rude not to!

David Bailey? 

I have to admit these books look so cool.  I picked one up and started chatting to the chap in the shop.  He said 'I thought you were a female David Bailey?' 
'No' I said 'just Annie Liebovitz' 😃

Signed by the author

It turned out he was the author of the books and immediately offered to sign the book I was buying.  
 Sadly, now time to leave the Isle of Wight and return to the ferry.
Yes, as you can see, the weather has not improved at all but it would take more than that to dampen my spirits.

West Cowes.  Even on a murky day how can this High Street not put a smile on your face.

By the way, can you see a penguin?