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Back after decorating,work and holiday. Still convinced that the 3 Rs make this site work - Read, Rate and Review. Trying to catch up with doing the 3 Rs as much as possible. Very grateful for all the Reads and Rates of my Reviews from others on Ciao.

Reviews written

since 30/09/2015


Vytronix VTBC01 25/05/2017


Vytronix VTBC01 <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> I always have good intentions, when it comes to replacing household appliances, of shopping around and spending a little more to get a higher quality product, which will work a little better and last longer. Admittedly I knew my vacuum cleaner was on its last legs (or should I say suction, not that this was very strong towards the end!), but there always seemed to be more pressing requirements on my time than researching a replacement. Eventually, with the pending arrival of my daughter’s chocolate labrador for a two week holiday, I had to give in and start the search quickly for a replacement vacuum cleaner. Time and economy being of the essence, I checked out the Amazon site, as I had a gift card balance there and found the Vytronix cyclonic vacuum cleaner VTBC01 model on sale at £36.99. Although reviews were generally okay (you always get the odd complainer I reasoned) I was a little wary of an online purchase, having bought a microwave from Amazon, which then developed a dodgy door catch, but which I still have, as the returns process was such a hassle. So my next port of call was Asda to see if they had any vacuum cleaners to compete on specifications and price, as I was doing a regular shop there and I knew from experience that returns were relatively easy. Unfortunately, vacuum cleaners in Asda proved to be more expensive and the lure of the gift card balance pulled me back to Amazon, where, after a few clicks the Vytronix ...

Asda George HOME 1.7L 18/05/2017


Asda George HOME 1.7L <<<<<<<>>>>>>> In common with many UK households, one of the most important small appliances we have is the kettle. The cause of many a power surge on the National grid, as we all put our kettles on in the ad break during popular TV shows and my ‘go to’ appliance first thing in the morning. Working from home, I have to admit to making good use of the household kettle for the all important tea and coffee breaks through the day, not to mention when entertaining friends. Despite the welcome addition to our household of a Nespresso machine over 2 years ago, the trusty kettle still retains its place at the top of the pecking order. Sadly, a few weeks ago, after several years of use and I wouldn’t like to estimate the countless number of boil ups, our last cordless kettle, from Argos, developed a faulty switch and became less than reliable, so we set about looking for a new one. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> Living in a village, several miles away from shops of any decent size, for many the internet would be the first port of call. Having had the odd bad experience with electrical items bought on the internet not working well and the hassle of returning them, I preferred the old fashioned instore experience. But I was reluctant to make a special trip, so waited until the next opportunity. Whenever I think of replacing a small appliance, like a kettle, iron or vacuum cleaner, I always have good intentions of doing some research, shopping around ...

Brewers Fayre Bedford South, Bedford 12/05/2017


Brewers Fayre Bedford South, Bedford <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> We were visiting our son and daughter-in-law for the weekend in Bedford and our son suggested going to Brewers Fayre Bedford South for Sunday lunch. He had a 40% off voucher to use (of which more later) which was a big incentive, as eating out on a Sunday lunchtime can be pricey. Having gone to church with them in Bedford, it was never going to be an early lunch and he was able to reserve a table at Brewers Fayre Bedford South for 2.00pm. The location just outside Bedford on the A428/A421 suited us, as it was en route to the M1. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> Address: Brewers Fayre Bedford South (A421), Marsh Leys, Kempston MK42 7DN Telephone: 01234 844046 Brewers Fayre Bedford South is located 6.7 miles south west of Bedford near the A421 and A428. It is 8.5 miles along the A421 from junction 13 of the M1. The A421 runs from the A1, Black cat roundabout to the A43 near Brackley. The A428 runs from Cambridge via Bedford and Northampton to Coventry. The restaurant is 21.7 miles north of Luton, 15.4 miles east and slightly north of Milton Keynes. It is 39.5 miles south and slightly west of Peterborough and 32.2 miles west and slightly south of Cambridge. <<<<<>>>>>>> (Please feel free to skip this section, but I am aware that this is of interest to some.) The first Brewers Fayre restaurant dates back to 1979 near Preston and was opened by Whitbread, which traces its history back in turn to 1742, when it was founded as a ...

Holiday Inn Northampton West, Northampton 04/05/2017


Holiday Inn Northampton West, Northampton <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> At the end of January, Holiday Inn Northampton West featured on a list of points break hotels released by the InterContinental Hotel Group, which could be booked for 5000 IHG rewards points per night on a room only basis. Lists are getting shorter and it is much harder now to find a hotel that fits our location requirements. But, as we have family in Bedfordshire and we were due to visit, we decided that a couple of nights here in April would work well. Reading up on hotel reviews, my husband thought that Holiday Inn Northampton West was being showcased after its recent refurbishment. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>> Address: Holiday Inn Northampton West High Street, Flore, NORTHAMPTON NN7 4LP Telephone: 0871 942 9033 Holiday Inn Northampton West is said on the internet to be located 100 minutes from M1, junction 16. Although I was sceptical at first (as ever) we found this was accurate timing from the northbound exit. It is located by the side of the A45, just before the small village of Flore. The hotel is 6.8 miles west of Northampton, 38.5 miles north west of Luton, 69.1 miles west of Worcester and 34.9 miles south of Leicester. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>> (Please skip this section if you like, although I am aware that it is of interest to some.) The first Holiday Inn was opened in 1952 by Kemmons Wilson in Memphis, USA. The name came about as a joke by the architect, Eddie Bluestein, and was taken from the Christmas themed ...

The Wentworth, Barnsley 21/04/2017


The Wentworth, Barnsley <<<<<<<<>>>>>>> After checking out of a hotel near Barnsley recently, we realised that we would need to grab a meal on our way south. We had previously been to Taybarns at Tankersley near Barnsley, which was only a few miles away. It was a very reasonably priced all you can eat buffet restaurant. Now I have a bit of a reputation for buffets in our family. I blame it on my northern upbringing and restricted portion sizes as a child. The majority of the time I’m into healthy eating and reasonable portion sizes, but show me a buffet and the temptation is too much. I just have to test everything and even when I try to be restrained I often seem to end up with the biggest plate full. It’s not for no reason that I have the family record for eating the most slices of pizza at Pizza Hut! So it was on this particular day that I looked forward to the Taybarns buffet, especially the chocolate gateau with chocolate sauce and ice cream. Sadly I was to be disappointed. Thanks to a quick check on the website I was sorry to discover that Taybarns had been closed, and worse, all the Taybarns in the country had been shut. In the past we had visited one in Coventry and another in the North east. But Alas poor Taybarns, they are no more! Taybarns restaurants have now reverted back to the Brewers Fayre brand. All was not lost for us, as we joined the Brewe’s Fayre Bonus Club several years ago and we happened to have a couple of vouchers with us; one for a free main meal for my ...

Holiday Inn, Barnsley 08/04/2017


Holiday Inn, Barnsley <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>> My husband had a few days off around his birthday in February, so we waited for the release of Holiday Inn points breaks hotels towards the end of January to see where we could stay using our points. The list of hotels for 5000 IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) points has got shorter over the years, so it was a bit of a gamble. Having stayed at Holiday Inn Barnsley M1, Jct37 several years ago, we were pleased to see it on the list and, even better, half our family now live in Yorkshire, so it was a no brainer and we booked to stay there for three nights. <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> Address: Barnsley Road Dodworth Barnsley S75 3JT Telephone: 01226 299571 Holiday Inn Barnsley is handily located 0.4 miles west of M1, junction 37, in the village of Dodworth. The hotel is 2.1 miles west of Barnsley, which is on the other side of the motorway. Holiday Inn Barnsley is 14.9 miles north of Sheffield, 33.7 miles west of Manchester, 22 miles south of Leeds and 30 miles west of Doncaster. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> The Holiday Inn brand has come a long way since the first hotel was opened by Kemmons Wilson in Memphis, USA, in 1952. The Holiday Inn name came about as a joke by the architect and takes its origins from the Christmas themed film, “Holiday Inn” of 1942, starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. In partnership with Wallace E. Johnson, Kemmons Wilson took the brand through a phase of rapid expansion. By 1959 there were 100 ...

Hotel Ibis Faro 30/03/2017


Hotel Ibis Faro <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> We had booked a morning flight back to the UK in early February and needed somewhere near Faro airport, Portugal, to stay. At around 2.9 km from the airport, Hotel ibis Faro Algarve, is one of the nearer hotels and having stayed there twice previously, once with two teenagers in tow, we were fairly confident that it would do the job for a quick overnight stay. An added bonus was that it looked like it had been refurbished since our last stay nearly three years ago. <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>> Address: Hotel ibis Faro Algarve, R. Poe. Antonio Aleixo 204, 8005 – 174 Faro, Portugal Telephone: +351 289 893 800 Hotel ibis Faro Algarve is located 4.9km north west of Faro, the regional capital of the Algarve. This is the coastal region stretching along Portugal’s southern coast and popular with holidaymakers for many years. Faro itself lies on the edge of the Parque Natural da Ria Formosa, a lagoon area with a system of barrier islands, which stretches along the coast to the east. To the west lie the beaches of the tourist resorts and the rocky Atlantic coastline with its cave formations and picturesque views. Vila Real de Santo Antonio, on the Guadiana river, which marks the Spanish/Portuguese border is 63.3 km east and slightly north of Hotel ibis Faro Algarve. Albufeira, a popular holiday resort, is 42.7 km west and slightly north of the hotel. Lisbon, the capital of Portugal is 275km to the north west. ...

Holiday Inn Algarve, Armacao de Pera 22/03/2017


Holiday Inn Algarve, Armacao de Pera (But it was a cracking view!) <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> My husband can’t take leave over the Christmas period and we’re not great fans of the English winter, so we often head off in search of warmer climes in January-February. While searching for a good deal online a review of the “best value hotel” in Europe grabbed his attention. Reading on he was very taken with the description of Holiday Inn Algarve, and even more taken with the price. In past winter breaks we have chosen local branded hotels on the continent, but the write up and prices were too tempting to resist and we booked in for 6 nights at the end of January running into February. <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> Address: Holiday Inn Armacao de Pera, Avenida Marginal, Armacao de Pera, 8365-909 Algarve PORTUGAL Telephone: +351 282 320 260 Holiday Inn Algarve is, as the name suggests, located on the southern coast of Portugal, the Algarve. It is 53km west of the airport at the regional capital, Faro. The popular holiday resort of Albufeira lies 15.2km to the east of the hotel and Lagos is 49.6km beyond the hotel to the west. The capital of Portugal, Lisbon, is 264 km to the north and slightly west of Holiday Inn Algarve. Holiday Inn Algarvel is located immediately above the sandy beach on the western edge of Armacao de Pera. Old photographs of the hotel in the lobby show that when it was built in the 1960s it was outside the boundary of the former fishing village, but as the years have gone by, so ...

Holiday Inn Bristol Airport, Bristol 14/03/2017


Holiday Inn Bristol Airport, Bristol <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> My husband was looking for cheap flights from the UK to Faro, Portugal and found some at the end of January from Bristol. As often seems the case with us, Bristol is not our nearest airport and as the flight was early in the morning, we needed somewhere to stay. At the time of booking there was no on site hotel at Bristol airport, but there was a Holiday Inn Bristol Airport, which we could book using Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) Rewards points. It made a significant dent in the points bank, but at least no money changed hands. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>> Address: Bridgwater Road, A38, BRISTOL BS40 5RB Telephone: 01934 861123 Holiday Inn Bristol Airport is 3.2 miles South-west of Bristol airport. As the postcode suggests it is a fair way south west of the centre of Bristol at 11.5 miles. The hotel is 21.8 miles west of Bath, 67.7 miles north east of Exeter and 12.1 miles east of Weston-super-Mare. Driving south west from the airport the hotel is on the right hand side. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>> Holiday Inn has come a long way since its early beginnings as a hotel opened by Kemmons Wilson in 1952 in Memphis. Its name came about as a joke by Eddie Bluestein, the architect, and was taken from the 1942 Christmas themed film starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, “Holiday Inn”. In partnership with Wallace E. Johnson, Wilson went on to build more Holiday Inns. In 1968, after a period of rapid expansion the 1000th Holiday Inn ...

Holiday Inn Express Kettering, Kettering 06/03/2017


Holiday Inn Express Kettering, Kettering <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>> Whilst planning a few days meeting up with family in the South and Midlands in early December, we noticed Holiday Inn Express Kettering had come up as a points break. Having had a good experience staying here previously in September 2015, we were keen to try it again. It was well positioned for breaking our journey and we could use points rather than cash to pay for it. After all who wants to get back late at night to a cold house when a warm hotel room is on offer with breakfast thrown in? <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> Address: Holiday Inn Express – Kettering, Rockingham Road, Kettering NN14 1UD Telephone: 01536 210210 Holiday Inn Express Kettering is by the southbound carriageway of the A43, 2.6 miles north of the centre of Kettering. It is 16.6 miles north east of Northampton from where it takes its postcode. Located in the south of the East Midlands, Holiday Inn Express Kettering is 39.5 miles east of Coventry, 64.5 miles south and a little east of Nottingham, 109 miles west and slightly south of Norwich and 83.5 miles north and a little west of London. Travelling from the south we could see the recognisable Holiday inn Express branding but managed to miss the turning in the dark for the hotel and drove several miles up to the next roundabout to double back only to miss the exit on the southbound carriageway. At our second attempt and when patience was wearing thin we took a left off the northbound carriageway towards North ...

Hotel Amic Horizonte, Palma de Majorca 25/02/2017


Hotel Amic Horizonte, Palma de Majorca <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>> We like to grab some last minute sun before the winter sets in. As we are no longer restricted to school holidays, we tend to head away when the prices drop at the end of the Autumn half term. So it was that we found ourselves looking for cheap flights leaving at the end of October. With the added incentive of Ryanair vouchers received as a birthday present, my husband found reasonably priced flights from Stansted to Palma, Mallorca. Whilst I accept that Ryanair is not everybody’s airline of choice, in our experience it serves its purpose and the are competitive. Having sorted the transport, my husband’s research turned to hotels and having decided that Hotel Amic Horizonte, Palma de Mallorca, within easy travelling distance of the airport, would do the job, he booked us in for a week half board. <<<<<<>>>>>>> Address: Hotel Amic Horizonte, Carrer de Vista Alegre, 1, 07015 Palma, Illes Balears, SPAIN Telephone : +34 902 40 06 61 The Balearic Islands, consisting of Mallorca (the biggest), Menorca and Ibiza lie in the Mediterranean Sea to the east of the Spanish mainland. Palma is the capital on Mallorca. Palma is roughly 280 km south of Barcelona, 470km west of the coast of Sardinia, 290 km north of Algiers, Algeria and 300km east of Valencia. Hotel Amic Horizonte, Palma is located on the other side of the capital, 13.3 km from the airport, around 20 minutes by taxi. The airport is further round the bay to the east and the ...

Holiday Inn Express Stansted Airport, Stansted 10/02/2017


Holiday Inn Express Stansted Airport, Stansted <<<<<<<>>>>> We have a tendency to put price ahead of convenience when we book airline flights. As a result we quite often find ourselves travelling a distance in the UK to get to an airport. So it was with Stansted in late October. As it was a fair drive and our flight was in the morning we looked for reasonable hotels nearby. It also seemed like a good idea to book in for the return leg in early November. My husband found that he could use Intercontinental Hotel Group Rewards points at the Holiday Inn Express Stansted Airport, which was a deal clincher, as no money needed to change hands. We have often used Holiday Inn Express in the past and have been very happy with hotels of this brand. So this review is a two for one deal. One review about two separate stays. <<<<<<>>>>>> Address: Holiday Inn Express Stansted Airport (STN), Thremhall Avenue, Stansted CM24 1PY Telephone: 01279 680015 Holiday Inn Express Stansted Airport is 31 miles south and slightly east of Cambridge, 34.7 miles west of Colchester, 38.8 miles north east of London and 39.9 miles west of Luton. It is 3.6 miles from Stansted Airport terminal and a transfer takes around 5 minutes. <<<<<<>>>>>> The Holiday Inn brand has been around since the first hotel of this name was opened in August 1952 in Memphis. The Holiday Inn name was a joking reference by the hotel’s architect to the 1942 musical of the same name starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Kemmons ...

Holiday Inn Express Grimsby, Grimsby 19/01/2017


Holiday Inn Express Grimsby, Grimsby <<<<<<>>>>>> That’s a good question. After all Grimsby is probably not everybody’s top choice location for a hotel break. We wanted to stay within travelling distance of family near Leeds. My husband had collected Intercontinental Hotel Group Rewards points, so we waited to see which hotels would come up on the points break list for 5000 points a night. Holiday Inn Express Grimsby fitted the bill, so we thought we would give it a try for three nights in September. <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>> Address: Holiday Inn Express Grimsby 3-9 Wellowgate Grimsby DN32 0RA Telephone: 01472 806000 The old fishing port of Grimsby is located on the south side of the Humber estuary as it opens out towards the North Sea. Hull (via the Humber Bridge) is 33.5 miles north west, Skegness is 38.7 miles south east of Grimsby, Lincoln 35.8 miles south west and Doncaster 50.1 miles west. Holiday Inn Express Grimsby overlooks the station and a train to Lincoln from here (according to Google maps) takes the same time as travelling by car – 59 minutes. While we were staying at Holiday Inn Express Grimsby we travelled back to Leeds to visit family one day and on the other we took a trip round Cleethorpes (3.2 miles away) which was uninspiring on a drizzly day, Waltham Windmill (4.1miles), okay for a cup of tea in the tea shop and Louth (15.1 miles), where the mist cleared enough for us to climb the church tower. This was a slightly unnerving experience, as the lady in the church ...

Holiday Inn Darlington - A1 Scotch Corner, Darlington 16/01/2017


Holiday Inn Darlington - A1 Scotch Corner, Darlington <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> We were looking for hotels in Yorkshire in September within an hour of family near Leeds. As my husband had collected IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group) rewards points, we were watching for points breaks in the area. Holiday Inn Darlington – A1 Scotch Corner came up on the list for 5000 points per night. Although it was in North Yorkshire and on the limit of our preferred location, past experience of staying here once before had been good, so we booked in for three nights. <<<<<<<<>>>>>> Address: Holiday Inn Darlington – A1 Scotch Corner, Near Darlington, Scotch Corner Darlington DL10 6NR Telephone: 01748 850900 Holiday Inn Darlington-A1 Scotch Corner is 29.9 miles south and slightly west of Durham, 55 miles west of Whitby, 36.2 miles north of Harrogate and 76.1 miles east of Lake Windermere. <<<<<<<<>>>>>>>> Holiday Inn was originally founded as a U.S. motel chain. The first hotel was opened in August 1952 in Memphis. The “Holiday Inn” name was a joke by the hotel’s architect, referring to the 1942 musical starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The original owner, Kemmons Wilson partnered with Wallace E. Johnson to build more motels on roads leading to Memphis. By early 1956 there were 23 Holiday Inns. Expansion was rapid. By 1958 there were 50 hotels, 100 by 1959 and 500 by 1964. In 1968 the 1000th Holiday inn opened in San Antonio, Texas. By June 1972 there were over 1,400 Holiday Inns worldwide. In ...

Ibis Leeds City Centre, Leeds 09/01/2017


Ibis Leeds City Centre, Leeds <<<<<<<>>>>>>> We were looking for somewhere to stay in Leeds for our daughter’s graduation at the end of July. Graduating seems to be something she makes a habit of, this being her third graduation ceremony within 13 months. But this one had the added bonus of Martin Lewis, the money saving expert himself, being awarded an honorary degree and making an entertaining speech (not often a given at graduation ceremonies). From past experience, finding reasonably priced rooms in university cities at the height of the graduation season can be challenging. So I was quite relieved, after a brief search a couple of months before, to come up with a room for a reasonable price at Hotel Ibis Leeds Centre. <<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>> Address: Ibis Leeds Centre, 23 Marlborough Street Leeds WEST YORKSHIRE LS1 4PB Telephone: 0113 396 9600 Hotel Ibis Leeds Centre is located 1.18km from Leeds city centre, just to the north of the interchange where the A65(road to Ilkley and Skipton) meets the inner Leeds ring road, the A58(M). Harrogate is 16.4 miles north of Hotel Ibis Leeds Centre, Hull is 61.6 miles east, Wakefield 12 miles south and Bradford 9.5 miles west. <<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>> The international hotel company, Ibis is owned by AccorHotels, which was founded as the Societe d’investissement et d’exploitation hoteliers (SIEH) hotel group in 1967 by Paul Debrulle and Gerard Pelisson when they opened the first Novotel hotel outside Lille in northern ...
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