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Hello Spring! Looking forward to the summertime, more travelling ...more reviews! :)

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since 01/04/2011


Elephant Trekking, Ko Samui 04/12/2017

My Experience of Elephant Trekking

Elephant Trekking, Ko Samui You have only got to briefly browse travel review sites like Trip Advisor or similar to see that everyone visiting Thailand wants to do an Elephant trek. We were in Ko Samui for a relaxing holiday in a beautiful resort south of the island but were also very keen to book an elephant ride with a tour company and were recommended one which then made our decision quite easy. For us, it was made even easier because of the opportunity being probably a-once-in-a-lifetime experience and had never done this before. So we thought about the other choices around in Ko Samui (which there are lots of) and decided we wanted to do this, which involved elephant trekking at the location that the hotel travel desk recommended. Just a quick note, what I’ve reviewed below is from my experience and from what we saw in person and haven't involved any of in-depth things that happen at the safari park in terms of the elephant treatment as we didn’t go as far as to look into that – we were just there for the duration of the trek basically as tourists. If there was any kind of cruelty to the elephant, its definitely not something I am disregarding but we didn't anything like that. Elephant trekking is such a popular thing in Thailand and is something that still is going on, so there are so many people that want to do this. In combination from what we experienced, it is also something from what we were told by locals and what we heard so whether it is something that is for you or not, only you can ...

Rudloe Arms, Corsham 04/10/2017

Quirky Quiet Getaway

Rudloe Arms, Corsham This was our summer weekend getaway for two nights at this mansion , one of Marco Pierre White’s hotel and restaurants, located in a stunning area, not too far from Bath town centre, and in the middle of a peaceful woodlands area. We loved our stay here, the rooms were lovely and clean, the food was great and the outdoors surrounding area was pretty. The fact that the restaurant in itself was special and probably the highlight, made this place feel quite different to any other hotel. The Victorian Styled Hotel Location This hotel has an interesting Victorian style, quirky deco and the artwork is all based around Marco Pierre White’s tastes and the good standard and quality of food at the restaurant really sums up this hotel. It is rated 3-star, established in 1961 and situated in Corsham on Leaf Lane just off Bath Rd, A4 Wiltshire. If you are driving to the hotel like we did, the postcode required for your sat nav is SN13 0PA. If you are travelling by train the nearest train station is Chippenham which is around 6 miles away. At first sight, the building looks grand, historic with a Gothic style. When you drive into the car-park as you arrive, it does seem like the peaceful retreat that we were looking for when we initially booked this weekend getaway, so first impressions were fab. Corsham in Wiltshire The hotel is in Corsham which is a small historical town around 10 miles away from Bath and surrounded mostly by countryside. Although the market town itself is a unique ...

Bali and Lombok Berlitz Pocket Guide - Martin Gostelow 23/08/2017

Bali wrapped up in a little book!

Bali and Lombok Berlitz Pocket Guide - Martin Gostelow Bali is a stunning place to visit but it’s incomplete without a good travel guide. This little book was our travel companion and when we returned it became our little souvenir. In fact we have a collection of these little books for most of the countries, cities and regions we have visited and it does make a nice memory of the holiday once it’s sadly over! – just like collecting fridge magnets, only these are more informative! Good size for convenience This paperback book has 144 pages and is around 10.2 cm by 19 cm. The latest edition of this book was published in 2010. Each page in the book was coloured and slightly glossy which I think helps improve the reading experience and it’s slightly larger than a passport so perfect for taking along in your travel bag. It is as light as it could be but since it is glossy it did not feel as paper light as I might have expected it to be, however it also wasn’t something that was a worry in terms of adding to baggage weight as the worst thing I could have wanted for travelling was a guidebook built like a brick and many of them are even though they may be more detailed. Content & Information When I initially flicked through the book I could see it split into different regions of Bali and Lombok, just like all of the books from this series of pocket guides, and has coloured edges of the pages so that I was able to easily navigate around the areas of the book by quickly skimming through – i.e. the sections on ‘Where to go’, ‘What to ...

Afternoon Tea at Quorn Country Hotel 17/08/2017

A Lovely Summer Afternoon Tea!

Afternoon Tea at Quorn Country Hotel We booked this afternoon tea as a treat for two people through Groupon, so we had a few places to choose from but we wanted something different, out of the city and something quite quaint, traditional, country-styled afternoon tea. We found this location to be an ideal choice for a summer afternoon tea from what we saw and read about in reviews and on their website. So we went as a couple and it was a birthday treat to spend a relaxed afternoon together - we both agree that afternoon tea is more to do with the time you get to spend together catching up and chatting and then nibbling the little treats in front of you while sipping your little cups of tea, rather than it being something to fill your belly up with while leaving you with your buttons about to pop! Well, this one was so filling!; we left so full and enjoyed all the items on the table, so we really did had a lovely day, all in all! Getting there The best way to get there is by car and it is quite easy to reach the hotel - the location is parallel to M1 and just off the A6 towards Loughborough and you will follow signs to Quorn village - so the M1-A6 route is probably the best way depending on where you are approaching from. The hotel is near the Village Hall which you may pass and you will know the hotel is nearby. There is a car-park around the back of the building, so parking won’t be an issue. If you prefer to use public transport, Loughborough Train station is around 4 miles away from the hotel, so will ...

Kota Kinabalu area (Malaysia) 11/08/2017

Things to Do in Kota Kinabalu (Malaysian Borneo)

Kota Kinabalu area (Malaysia) Our stay in Kota Kinabalu (KK) was for a week at the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort and Spa, a great hotel - you can check out my review on the resort if you are looking for inspiration of where to stay. We did however tear away from our relaxing resort to discover what’s out there. So here’s a small guide on a selection of things to do to give you ideas when booking or deciding on whether Kota Kinabalu is the place you want to book on your trip to Borneo. Now just a brief about the place, Borneo is a large island located in the South East of Asia, and divided into three regions - Brunei, Indonesia’s Kalimantan and Malaysia’s Sabah and Sarawak (East Malaysia). Kota Kinabalu is in Sabah, and is the state’s capital. Borneo as a whole is the third biggest island in the world and contains one of the oldest rainforests which the endangered Orangutans are inhabitants of, which is why this specie is so important to Borneo. Flight to Borneo A flight to Borneo is around 15 hours from the UK, however we had a stop-over in Kuala Lumpur (KL) – the stop-over usually depends on which countries airline you are travelling with. Malaysian Airlines will always have their stopovers in KL. If you are staying in KK, then you will land at Kota Kinabalu International Airport where there is a taxi counter so you can complete your journey by getting a taxi from there to your accommodation. This will cost roughly MYR 90 one way which is around £17, so not the cheapest taxi ride, but for the sake of ...

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu 25/07/2017

Amazing Resort in the Rainforest of Borneo!

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort, Kota Kinabalu The Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu in Sabah,Borneo is located in the Borneo rainforest and beside the sea with a private beach and stunning natural landscape of the lush green and gorgeous rainforest surrounding. Our stay was for 7 nights during the summer months of dry season (June) when the weather tends to be at it’s best, although we had rain a few days but is quite normal for Borneo. The resort is an amazing place to stay and we enjoyed every minute of our time here so below is my review of what we experienced and hopefully this will give you enough information to make your mind up about which hotel to book for your trip to Borneo! The Resort Location: Kota Kinabalu doesn’t really offer much in terms of things to see and do, so we ended up spending a lot of time within the resort, although you probably wouldn’t be choosing this resort for the ease of locality but more for the beauty of the landscape. The nearest airport - Kota Kinabalu International - is around an hour and 45 minutes away from the resort and everything else requires a good hour’s drive or a flight – i.e. the Orangutan Sanctuary and if you haven’t pre-booked your transfer to the hotel, you will easily be able to find a taxi from outside the airport which will take you to the doorstep of the resort. This should cost around £30-£40 for the journey one way. Arrival: Arriving at the resort, you will be taken past the security gates, through the stunning golf course and as you drive ...

Ubud (Bali) 05/07/2017

Top 5 Things to Do in Beautiful Ubud (Bali)

Ubud (Bali) Bali in Indonesia is an exciting place to visit and Ubud which is a town on the island of Bali, is located in the centre of the island. This guide is part of my review on Bali, but since Ubud is such a stunning area of Bali which would be sad to miss out the opportunity to visit when out there, I have created a separate guide to this area only to pick out the best bits according to our experiences and highlights of things to see and do. Our visit to Ubud We visited Ubud during our 7 night stay in Bali and since Ubud is in the middle of the island, it makes it easier to reach there. It is an exciting place to visit for tourists because the town is full of culture and tradition and it is a relatively popular place to stay as you will find beautiful hotels and accommodation here, on the other hand it is not as touristy or popular as a place to book your accommodation as Seminyak or Denpasar as it is far from beaches and instead surrounded by lush green valleys, rice terraces and vegetation. We didnt actually stay in Ubud, we stayed at Jimbaran Bay, but when choosing accommodation it was a choice between the Luxury Villas in Jimbaran or an accommodation set high up on a valley in Ubud overlooking the fields possibly with an infinity pool overlooking this view – we chose Jimbaran in the end, but that didn’t stop us from making a separate trip to Ubud as there is lots of time to be spent here too and lots to take in. Getting to Ubud If you, like us, have chosen your hotel ...

Exists (DVD) 31/05/2017

Another found footage film

Exists (DVD) 'Exists' is an American found footage horror film released in 2014, about a monster in the woods. The film is given a score of 5.2 out of 10 on IMBD which is not really great and has a guidance rating of 15 because of some of its frightening scenes. It runs for a total of 1 hour 20 minutes only so it’s not a very long film at all. This is a film I watched on Netflix which you should also be able to watch on your Amazon Prime, Netflix or similar subscriptions, if you pay for these ways of watching films and TV series. The opening: The film opens with a written statement on screen about past encounters with bigfoot to help emphasis the reality aspect of the events to come, which then is backed up with the video footage of the scenes. It tells the viewers that since 1967, there were 3,000 Bigfoot encounters in the USA and that only violence provokes them, apparently - an interesting 'fact'. The characters are seen in the opening of the film on their way to the location of their trip, in the middle of the night, maybe a hint of ignorance and a bit of childishness amongst the group, where they are stopped short when they crash into something unknown. This then opens up the mystery to the storyline of this film. Storyline: The plot is based in Texas and revolves around a mysterious thing lurking in the woods, which this group of friends become aware of once they set up for their camping trip and the mysterious thing which ‘exists’, as is shown on the video footage, tries to ...

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur 17/05/2017

Top 5 Things To Do at Petronas Twin Towers

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur The Petronas Twin Towers are located in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, a city which has lots to see and do, from sightseeing, exciting food, plenty of shopping and this must-see iconic building located in the heart of the city. We stayed in Kuala Lumpur as part of our two week holiday for a city break before the relaxing half of the holiday further into the Far East. Our accommodation during the stay was the superb Traders Hotel well-located in the city and a well-known place to have a drink at the Skybar on the 33rd floor of the hotel and enjoy the panoramic views. (You might like to check out my review for the Traders Hotel if interested in browsing for accommodation to go with your KL trip). About the towers Petronas Towers is a 451.9m metre tall steel and glass building, named after Malaysian oil company Petronas with office spaces used by a range of multinational companies, where tower one is occupied by the Petronas oil company and tower two, other multinational organisations including Barclays, Microsoft and IBM. The ‘Skybridge’ atrium connects the two towers which is 58m long at level 41 and 42 and level 86 is where the observation deck is. The construction of these towers began in 1992 and took 6 years to complete, and at that time it was the 2nd tallest building in the world, after the Burj Khalifa, Dubai. However it is now the 8th tallest building in the world. But looking up at it, it still looks like the tallest building in the world! Visually the towers look ...

The Visit (DVD) 27/04/2017

Creepy Visit

The Visit (DVD) ‘The Visit’ is an American horror/thriller film in a found footage-documentary style format released in 2015 by Universal Studios and directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan (also the writer and director of the films ‘Sixth Sense’ and ‘Signs’). The film is rated 6.2 on IMBD which is a pretty good rating and is given a guidance certificate of 15 because of some of its disturbing scenes. The film runs for around one and a half hours, so another short horror film like many others of this genre. This is a film I watched in cinema when it was released, but you will be able to watch this on your Amazon Prime and Netflix as part of your subscriptions, if you pay for these ways of watching films and TV series. The opening: The film opens with a camcorder recording, forming the introduction to the film and the purpose behind why the film is in this found footage format which we learn is because two children want to create a documentary when they go away to stay at their grandparents for a few days, against their mothers requests yet their mother allows them anyway. The relationship between the mother, who is a single mother, and the grandparents is not great as they haven’t been in touch for years. We see that the grandparents’ home turns out to be located on an isolated farm house which creates the setting to the film. Overall, the opening scenes gives us an idea into the surroundings as the two children are settling into the house and working on their documentary in the ...

Don't Breathe (Blu-ray) 21/04/2017

Not my idea of a good film!

Don't Breathe (Blu-ray) "Don’t breathe’ is an American crime thriller/horror released in 2016. The film is about events that occur when three thieves target a wealthy blind man’s house for a break-in. The film is rated a very high 7.2 out of 10 on IMDB and is given a guidance certificate of a 15 for some of its quite disturbing scenes. The film is an hour and a half long. The beginning: The opening scenes of the film are not too bad, and I like to check the IMDB rating before watching a film so as you can imagine I had high expectations for this one. The scenes that start the film are promising and the viewer can only hope for the plot to get better as the story goes on. The film starts with a bizarre snippet of a horror-like scene that basically fits into the plot of the film later on. That’s a creepy beginning but unfortunately the story doesn’t continue that promise the viewers might have built up in mind. The plot: So the plotline revolved around these three thieves - Rocky, her boyfriend Money and friend Alex. They decide to break into the house of a man where they believe they can walk away with a small fortune between them – however they realise they are dealing with a blind man, the guilt kicks in for some of them, but things quickly take a turn when they blind man turns out to be the worse victim they could have dreamed off. It soon turns from breaking into the house to a game of how to escape the house and the events and consequences are quite shocking. This plot is not the most ...

Loro Parque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife 18/02/2017

Orcas here to stay?

Loro Parque, Santa Cruz de Tenerife We stayed in the North region of Tenerife for 7 nights during September, far away from the busy and buzzing South region, without the prettier beaches but it was a nice time to be there during September - after the busy summer holiday period, but weather still good enough to enjoy the time there. This was our first time in Tenerife however we found there was not much to do in the North Region apart from visit Mount Teide, so a trip to Loro Parque it was. Our ticket to Loro Parque Loro Parque is located in Puerto de la Cruz, North region on Tenerfie. Loro means parrot in Spanish, so Parrots are the supposed to be the highlight of the attraction, but it probably won’t be the highlight of your day and it definitely wasn’t for us. Loro Parque (park) place is basically a huge zoo with timed shows – closest thing to a SeaWorld resort, but on a smaller scale. We booked tickets to Loro Parque through the hotel, inclusive of a private ride to the park and spent around 5 hours there which seemed more than enough time to see everything we wanted to, including all the pre-set shows. The opening hours are from 8.30am to 6.45pm. Getting to the park The best ways to get to the park is by booking the transport with your accommodation tour desk or booking a private car. It may also be inclusive as part of your ticket if you book with your hotel like we did. Otherwise, depending how far you are located from the park and if you are familiar with the Tenerife roads, it could be easier to ...

Emelie (DVD) 15/02/2017

Unsetting and uncomfortable watching

Emelie (DVD) ‘Emelie’ is an American horror / thriller film released in 2015 about a babysitter from hell. The film is given a rating of 5.4 out of 10 in IMDB which is quite average and has a guidance rating of a 15 because of a range of its disturbing situations. It runs for around an hour and 20 minutes. This is another one that I decided to watch on my Amazon Prime subscription and just like the previous film I watched (‘Lights Out’), I was glad I decided to watch it on Prime rather than at the cinema as this was another I didn’t really like – it was the conclusion to the film that upset me and many other viewers too I believe. Beginning: The opening scenes has us aware of the fact this is going to be a babysitter from hell – don’t let her near your kids! – It’s the style the film goes for, where the evil is revealed before it even happens, having us wait in anticipation for the horrifying events to unfold as we know they are coming anyway. That’s not a big issue for me though, we knew it was coming, and the beginning of the film was fine - it introduces the babysitter into the house, all the while seeing that evil streak within her as she checks out the house. And how evil she is, we don’t yet know…but it’s the main bulk that had me unsure a little bit… Story: So I watched on and the storyline did have me torn between the dislike of it - obviously none of it is meant to be pleasant – and keeping me hanging on because this was actually effective nail-biting thriller stuff. There ...

Lights Out (DVD) 09/02/2017

Lights Off

Lights Out (DVD) ‘Lights out’ is an American horror supernatural horror film released in 2016 about the experiences of a creepy paranormal creature. It is rated a 6.4 out of 10 on IMDB and given a guidance certificate of 15 because of some of its scary scenes. The film is an hour and 20 minutes long. This one I picked out on my Amazon Prime subscription, on a rainy day as the ratings on IMDB where high and the subtleness of the film picture seemed attractive. So at least I wasn’t too annoyed watching on Prime as actually I didn’t really enjoy the film, but might have been worse if I had watched the film in the cinema. Beginning: The opening to the film achieves its first few scares, lights on-lights off, it definitely had me on the edge of my seat around ten minutes in. Two members of the family, the dad Paul and his young son Martin, are introduced as the opening to the film, but within these first few scenes we are left with a little mystery which has the viewer wanting to know more. These opening scares are definitely a nice bonus to any horror film as it will hopefully keep us hanging on with expectations of more scenes of horror like these. If I had watched this in the cinema on the big screen, surrounded by pitch darkness, I would have been very impressed with the opening. The story: The plot is interesting and a little bit more unique than other films of this genre as it doesn’t seem to try too hard with frights to create scare over-kill and gore, yet on the other hand I felt it ...

General: Bali 08/02/2017

Top 5 Things to Do in Bali

General: Bali I couldn’t imagine anyone not falling in love with Bali the moment they stepped on to it and so did we. To go with this review, I have written one on a great villa accommodation – “Lumbini Luxury Villas and Spa” located in Jimbaran where we stayed at during our time in Bali and which you can check out for inspiration on where to stay! I’m hoping my review will be useful when you need a brief overview about deciding on holiday options and hope it is helpful to determine whether this island is for you and whether it tempts you to go visit! Our stay in Bali This was our first time in Bali where we stayed for 7 nights in November and although this time of year is considered monsoon season, we had a few days of rain but otherwise it was very hot and sunny the remaining days of our stay. Bali is one of Indonesia’s many islands, the country has over 10 thousand islands, around 900 are populated and Bali is one of them. Hinduism plays a huge part in the lifestyle of the Balinese. You will see the Balinese practice elements of Hinduism wherever you go like the offerings of sweet food placed (for the Gods), along with incense sticks in front of shops/businesses, houses, restaurants and temples, as you walk along streets when out and about – it’s a gesture of welcoming the gods for blessings in return. We saw these beautiful temples with intricate carving-work almost everywhere we went. The Balinese culture, the food, weather and climate, the lush natural features and landscape ...
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