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Travel alot on Easyjet, Ryanair and any other carrier that will take us to where we want to go. Retired from working a Scheme Manager and lots of knocks on door to now knocking on doors of hotels.

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since 29/07/2007


East London Liquor Company, London 05/07/2015

Mother's ruin, never!!!!

East London Liquor Company, London Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in our house with four grown up children is wonderful, but we keep saying there is nothing we need, just a card and to see you all, well this year they outshone us with their gift to us both, a tour of the “London Liquor Distillery” in Bow. I like Gin, (shock horror gasp) so does Robert, and the children had booked for us to pay a visit to the London distillery, a guided tour, plus sampling the Gins, wow, wow, wow. We were booked in for the 2nd tour of the day which starts at 3:00pm, so arranged our time down to London based on this and found that we could get off at either Mile End, Bow or Bethnal Green to walk to Bow Wharf at 211 Grove Road, which we found with ease, when we got off at Mile End. You see the large sign for “Bow Wharf” some way off so just walk, go through the entrance and it is the buildings in front of you to the left. The bar, distillery is all in one and with a shop to the side and tables outside. We went in and let them know we had arrived and where given a wonderful Gin & Tonic, complimentary, which on a hot July afternoon was wonderful, we were told that the tour would start at 3:00pm and we would be collected from outside, they were waiting for another person to arrive. James, called us in and as we walked into the bar the first thing that we noticed was the large copper stills, which James told us are from Germany. There are two of these, and look very impressive, as they are behind a glass wall behind the bar, so ...

Brew Babu, Oundle 29/06/2015

"Brew babu" what do you do?

Brew Babu, Oundle Rob and I decided to catch the bus to Oundle this morning, as the Ladies Tour Cycle Race was starting from there, didn’t like to take the car due to the amount of traffic that would be about for the Cycle Race. We saw the start of the race, the slow ride from the outskirts into the town center, then out and on a circuit round the town then whoosh they went past us at a speed, and they were off. Great spectacle if you ever get to see it. The Police outriders where fun as well keeping the road clear, waving at the crowds and doing a great job. It was all over for us in 30 minutes, so we looked for somewhere to have a cup of tea. Oundle is a very old market town but has a lot of history as it has a lot of private schools and all are well known in the area. Worth a visit if you are in that part of the country, but busy on a Thursday as it is market day. We walked along and found just along from the market square, “Brewbabu” which when we visited last September was in the process of being set up, so pleased to see open. The interior is painted grey with all different seating, tables and very eclectic. At home I only use loose leaf tea, and they do the same here. There is a choice of 6 brew black, English Breakfast, Strong Brew, Citrus East Grey, Masala Chia, Himalayan Afternoon, Darjeeling Special Blend and Violet Dream. 1brew herbal, Berry Blend. 3 brew white, Pai Mu Dan, Oolong Iron Goddess of Mercy and Flowering Tea. 2 brew green, Jasmine & Rose and Jasmine Dragon ...

Barrow Hill Roundhouse Rail Ale Festival, Barrow Hill 15/06/2015

Around the Roundhouse, ale in hand.

Barrow Hill Roundhouse Rail Ale Festival, Barrow Hill Barrow Hill Roundhouse Real Ale Festival this year was sponsored by Fuller's, Everards, Batemans, Castle Rock and a few more breweries. "Barrow Hill Roundhouse is a unique venue as it is the only remaining operational Roundhouse in Great Britain. It is a wonderful Grade 11 listed building and is used to stable and service steam trains and diesel locomotives that serve as a backdrop to the bars of the festival". Taken from their programme. The beer festival runs in May, and this year was held on 14th, 15th and 16th May. The dates for your diary for next year is 15th, 16th and 17th May 2016, or This was the first time we had travelled to this festival, and from Peterborough, we caught the train to Chesterfield, just as you walk out the station there is a bus (free) ready to take you the rest of the way to the Beer Festival. They do ask for a donation for the cost of the renovation of these old buses, which everyone gave freely. It is a distance out of Chesterfield so our advice would be to catch the bus, but it is signposted if you want to drive...........but not drink. The cost, on Thursday Advance or on the gate £5;00, Friday and Saturday, Advance £6:50 on the gate £8:50, this includes your entrance fee, your commemorative 1/2 pint glass, free train rides on the steam trains but only Friday and Saturday and if you are a CAMRA member just sign your name and show your card number and you get a free pint, (two half pint ...

Smile Stella Studios, Skopelos Town 15/06/2015

O.k. walking down, hard way up.

Smile Stella Studios, Skopelos Town We the magnificent 7 having booked to go to Skiathos, thought we would spend a few nights on the island of Skopelos, so Steve checked out and booked us into "Smile Stella Studios" for two nights. We caught the hydrofoil over to Skopelos from Skiathos, only 1 hour and landed in Skopelos Town. E-mails between Steve and the owner, said he would meet us at the harbour in his "mini bush" we where excited to see this mini bush. Katherine kept a watchful eye on the transport and then we saw the mini bush, with Stella Studio's emblazoned across the door. It was a little Toyota, and we thought you will never get us 7 in that. How wrong we where. Our driver folded back the middle seat and there was another seat at the back, so all 7 of us climbed in. Philip had the best seat in the front with our driver. It took just 5 minutes to get to our apartments, but it was a climb up from the harbour, even in our mini bush, but the little machine managed us all. Our apartments where large, very clean, with a t.v in each room that did not work, (so only there for two nights), a two ring cooker, (no kettle) just and umbrekki for boiling the water, fridge and Wi-Fi. What more could you ask for, for 38 euro's for two of us for two nights. The bed was large, very clean sheets, and towels and the cleaner came in and cleaned both days we where there. Our room had a balcony (only ground and 1st floor) and cherry trees hanging with cherries which we picked and ate, but this did make ...

Beltsios Apartments, Skiathos 12/06/2015

You cannot beat, Beltsios.

Beltsios Apartments, Skiathos It was with a damp early start from Stansted that we flew off again to Skiathos with Thomas Cook on Friday 22nd May for 2 weeks in Troulos. As the 7 of us had been to Skiathos and Troulos before we had some idea as to where we would be, but had not been to Beltsios apartments before. We had to leave our cases at the airport in Skiathos as the transfer bus cannot get down the road/lane/track to the apartments, so they are picked up at the airport via a truck and delivered to your apartments with haste. Our transfer only took 25 minutes and our luggage was there waiting for us when we arrived at the resort, all in tact and safe. We got off the coach on the main road and the Thomas Cook rep said just walk along the lane and you will come to Beltsios Apartments and they will be waiting for you and show you to your rooms.......... Thought if this was your first trip to Greece and you had children with you it could be a little daunting but it was 100 yards along the lane past the Astoria apartments and then next was Beltsios. We where greeted by Anna, the co owner who gave us a choice of ground floor or 2nd floor apartments, (Rob prefers the upper floors) so we took one of those, Katherine and Russ, next door, Steve and Jane and Philip (single traveller) took the two ground floor. There are 3 blocks of apartments on this site and with 12 in our block 4 x 3, we had a great view over the area. Steve, Jane and Philip in a block in front of us but to the left so no problem with ...

Tricurious - Laura Fountain, Katie King 09/06/2015

Tricurious, how hard can it be?

Tricurious - Laura Fountain, Katie King Laura Fountain wrote, "The Lazy Runner" about marathon running, or how to. Having mastered that she then decided to step up a gear and try for an Ironman, not just any Ironman but the Bolton Ironman. TRICURIOUS, is about, Surviving the Deep End, Getting into Gear and Racing to Triathlon Success. As she was a novice in this field, she contacted her friend Katie King and asked her "Why, when and how" and so this book came about by the e-mails sent backwards and forwards between the two of them. Katie having already taken part in a Triathlon, being a great cyclist and swimmer, not so good at the running part, whilst Laura could run but not the other two disciplines. Each of them take a turn writing a paragraph as to answer the questions that each other asks. Their advice to each other is funny, hilarious at times and also moving. The first 8 pages is the introduction to both girls and how they met, and is again funny and enlightening. All in all there are 25 short paragraphs by the two of them, Chamois, shorts and shelter: and somebody has to come last: They don't pull any punches, they tell it like it is, and how it effected them. Again as The Lazy Runner, may not make you a marathon runner, TRICURIOUS, may not turn you into an Ironman, but the journey that the girls have taken will enlighten you, move you and make you, think how the heck do you start to do that, about the Triathletes you see on the T.V. or Ironmen/women. I could not do it, but having read their book, ...

The Lazy Runner - Laura Fountain 08/06/2015

The Lazy Runner

The Lazy Runner - Laura Fountain Laura tells in her book that she was never an athletic girl at school, and how she use to watch with her family the London Marathon, saying she/we would as all of us do whilst watching, they would like to do that. Also she would look for her uncle Steve who did take part and complete the London Marathon 3 times. Laura had never even run 400 metres but went on to run her first marathon at Brighton 18th April 2010. Laura goes through all the emotions of starting to run, what to wear, what to eat, all through trial and error, from a few pence to the top of the range Garmin's. She will tell you how it is and how you can do, also why to do it. Not for anyone else other than yourself. Don't worry what people are saying around you about their P.B.'s just "DO" what you want to do and how "YOU" want to do it. In places her book is very funny, very moving and above all a very good read. On Christmas Day 2011, she put on a pair of running shoes on the other side of the world to all her family, a Santa hat and her sports bra and headed out on a barefoot run in Byron Bay, Australia with surfers for company and her family back home in England. It took her 4 years to get there to that place, and this is the last chapter in her book. I came across her book as an e-book, after reading her blog "Lazy Girl Running" her book is now published in paperback and was published this year. Laura has completed eight marathons, and at the time of publish is training for an Ironman, but this is not ...

Nectar & Ambrosia, Skiathos 08/06/2015

Not quiet Nectar tonight.

Nectar & Ambrosia, Skiathos Having been to Skiathos a few time before and eaten in most of the restaurants, this year on going back we decided again to go to and pay another visit to Nectar and Ambrosia. It is on the main road in Skiathos at "Bus stop 19" and there are a lot of steps up to the restaurant, 58, (O.K. up but be careful on the way down having had a drink or two), but well worth the climb and the view. Seven of us ventured there Wednesday evening as we flew back Friday. The staff greeted us a long lost friends and made a table up for the 7 of us with no bother. The menu's are made from cork and in both English and Greek. We asked about the mixed meze for two, and was told that they can put a mixture on of their choice or ours, so we had these and on each of them came, a roasted red pepper stuffed with feta cheese, 2 spicy chicken rolls, that looked like a pancake roll but tasted wonderful, meatballs, cheese croquets, small cheese, fresh cooked mushrooms and spinach pies and then in the middle of each of the three platters we had different dips, so taziki, beetroot dip and spicy chilli, all wonderfully presented and tasting great. Philip had just a starter of the stuffed red peppers, of which there where two. We all loved it. The mains came along and Rob and I had ordered Pork in paper, Russ Lamb in tomato sauce, Philip salmon in lime and dill sauce, Steve beef in the pot, Jane chicken in a almond sauce and Katherine chicken in tomato feta and olive sauce. The two chicken dishes came out with ...

Travel Republic 23/09/2012

Crete on a budget, in Georgioupoli.

Travel Republic We have visited Crete and Georgioupoli, many times, but the last holiday we booked there was 4 years ago when our holiday company Kosmar went under with XL, so we did not get there and ended up on the Algarve. Uncle Doug who travels the island with us asked if I could book us this year into Crete and Georgioupoli, so did my best and booked it with Travel Republic, as no large Thomas Cook etc. tour operator now goes there. I booked the fights through Monarch as they fly into Chania airport, the hotel booked our transferee from the airport to the resort, and I booked the hotel with Travel Republic. There was 6 of us travel, so I wanted 2 double rooms and 2 single rooms, and the cost of these where£180-00 for the double with breakfast for 14 nights, and £140-00 for the single with breakfast for 14 nights. I read some of the reviews on Trip Advisor, and Travel Republic about the apartments Feriniki Spa Resort, that we had booked into and I think if you take the worst and the best out somewhere in the middle is the truth. We where not disappointed by what we got when we arrived at the resort, and Travel Republic had sold us a basic place at a basic price and all 6 where pleased with our hotel, and the cleanliness of the rooms, bedding towels and the resort and hotel it self. Travel Republic, Thankyou.

Hotel Porta Nova, Tavira 19/01/2012

Porto Nova Hotel, Tavira, a great gem.

Hotel Porta Nova, Tavira Hotel Porto Nova in Tavira is a little gem at the top of the town. We have stayed in Tavira for more times than I care to remember, but have always stayed in Hotel Vila Gale, in the town centre, another wonderful hotel, review on Ciao. This year for a change we chose Hotel Porto Nova and we where not disappointed. The hotel is a 4 star, and in January 2012 was fairly quiet, but very nice and friendly with great staff. We arrived at 10-00am as we had an early flight and where able to leave our luggage but rooms where not ready till after 12-00. Our rooms where on 1st floor which to our amusement when getting in the lift was the floor we came in on………we had been up very early for our flight. All our rooms where next to and opposite each other with two with wonderful views over the town and great sunshine, the other one on the other side overlooked the front of the hotel and a great view of the bridges, so all very happy. The rooms are spacious with great bathroom facilities and very large wardrobes, which include a safety box. The fridge did not have any drinks in it, but you could order a mini bar if you wanted to, but it also gave you the capacity to place your own water wine etc in, which we thought was a bonus. The dinning room breakfast room is on floor 0 so down a level and they served breakfast from 7-30am till 10-00. Breakfast is a very nice buffet with a great selection of cold meats, yoghurts, fresh fruit, hot plate of scrambled egg, sausage (very meaty my husband ...

Pelagos Bay Hotel, Kefalonia 23/07/2011

Pelagos Bay, just wonderful

Pelagos Bay Hotel, Kefalonia Are you thinking of going to Greece? Are you thinking of going to Kefallonia? Are you thinking on going to Skala? If the answer to these questions is “Yes” then do look at going to Pelagos Bay. Why? You may ask, because, Pelagos Bay has the largest return rate of any of the accommodation on the island of Kefallonia. We spent 2 weeks there this June and where not disappointed. My brother and his wife have been staying at Pelagos Bay for the past 4 years, and as it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary and will be Ian and Lynn’s in September, we decided to go back to Kefallonia, as it was our first Greek holiday 20 years ago. Pelagos Bay is a little out of Skala, about a 30 minute walk down a slight hill and that was walking with a 70 year old uncle. The journey back is a couple of minute in a taxi, 4 or 5 euros for up to 4 people. Pelagos Bay is run by Billy, his wife Barbara, and their many staff. I can do nothing but praise them as nothing is any trouble to them. Once there you are part of their family for the length of your stay and you will remain their friends for a lifetime. Our group of 13 was of age range from Uncle Dougie at 77 to Molly our Granddaughter of 20 months. Not any of us where disappointed with our stay, and we are looking forward to going to visit Billy and clan again. The rooms are very well maintained and some have baths in the bathroom as well as showers, hairdryers, wonderful for Greece. As we all stayed bed and breakfast, we ...

Food From Many Greek Kitchens - Tessa Kiros 14/04/2011

It's all Greek to me

Food From Many Greek Kitchens - Tessa Kiros Mothering Sunday is always a problem with the children asking what I would like, so I was pleased to tell them that I had seen a book in Waitrose called “FOOD FROM MANY GREEK KITCHENS” by Tessa Kiros. (The title is spelt in capitals.) Cost £25-00. So when they asked I gave them the title. On Mothering Sunday, to my delight I was given this book. If you have ever travelled to Greece then this is a read, a delight and a treasure just to look at. From the cover the colour of the Aegean Sea through to the last page, you will have difficulty putting it down. The quality of the paper, the colours plates, and the pictures of the dishes cooked, which I believe are difficult to look good in photos, And the views of Greece are just stunning. You open the front cover to a picture of the inside of a Greek store cupboard, with packets, jars and everything you need and all so vibrant. The contents are introduced to you as follows: ONE – TRADITIONAL FOODS / TWO – FASTING FOODS/ THREE – EASTER FOODS / FOUR – SHARED FOODS / FIVE – BAKER’S FOODS / SIX – SOUPS / SEVEN – LADERA + SALADS / EIGHT – READY-COOKED FOODS / NINE – THERE + THEN FOODS / TEN – SWEET FOODs. The Glossary is the Greek alphabet, Alfa through to Omega and a note for each relating to Greek food and islands. The index is at the back of the book and all foods in the book are listed in either their Greek name or our English, starting with: Alatopiperigano on page 128 which is broken down to Alati ...

Apartment S. Severo, Venice 30/03/2011

A wonderful apartment in the heart of Venice.

Apartment S. Severo, Venice We have stayed in Venice in various hotels for the past 9 years, and thought as we have been so often it was time for us to venture into renting an apartment, as this year our friend wanted to join us, so thought we could find a place to sleep 5. I trawled the net to see what was available and eventually we booked our apartment through Venice Apartments, at it could not have been easier. Just put in your requirements, bedrooms, size of group etc and the rest is simple. This was quiet easy, and my contact with them Fabio, always returned my e-mails and explained what, when, where and how. Our apartment was Campo S.M. Formosa which could have slept more than 5. Venice Apartments do have 2 apartments for rent in this apartment block, but 1 has a double and single bedroom and then a sofa bed in the lounge. As we are all 50 plus we thought we would give that one a miss and booked the other apartment, and we where not disappointed. The apartment has 2 large double bedrooms, 1 single, 2 bathrooms, lounge with 2 settees plus a dining table that seat 6 and a fitted kitchen with table and chairs. Both of the double bedrooms and the lounge are on the same side and overlook the canal, and you hear the gondoliers going past all the day singing and serenading the occupants of their gondola. This was wonderful and we would lean out of our windows to wave and say “Ciao”. This was noted in the literature of the booking with Venice Apartments that we ...

Direct Travel Insurance 17/10/2010

Direct Travel Insurance.

Direct Travel Insurance We have taken out holiday insurance for heaven knows how many years and never had to make a claim until this year. We are insured with Direct Travel, and pay an annual fee of £67-05 which covers both me and my husband. It use to be less when we first went with them but age and blood pressure takes it toll on all of us. We declare that we take tablets etc, and hence the higher annual fee, best be safe than sorry. This year whilst away on the island of Thassos, for two weeks our son text to say that there is a problem with our daughter-in-law and her pregnancy. Their first child was a normal birth so going away, (which we booked before we knew they where pregnant) 6 weeks before the due date we thought would be fine. We flew out on the Sunday, and on the Wednesday we had the news, again on the Saturday, no better and then on the 2nd Wednesday, to say that they had to have the baby a.s.a.p. What do you do? Stay or go? We went to our apartment and I rang the reps, very, very helpful, (read my review on 1st Choice) they sorted out our flights back to England. I also rang our insurers and told them what had happened and they assured me that if I put in a claim they will sort it. Our flights home cost 800 euros. We arrived and our grandson Zack, was born, small but perfect and his mummy was also very well, so that was all we wanted. I then sorted out my claim forms for the insurers. It was a lot of letter writing, form filling, e-mails, copying etc. but ...

Rhino Mania, Chester 18/08/2010

Rhinos! are everywhere and all very safe.

Rhino Mania, Chester Chester is a beautiful place to visit, and we went last weekend. On our arrival and walking out of Chester Station we saw a Rhino…………but this Rhino was dressed as Elvis, white rhinestone outfit and a very large quaff, very strange we thought as we got into the taxi to take us to The Pied Bull. Our taxi driver asked if we had seen Elvis, and we said yes, what is he doing at the station? He then told us that there are about 250 all in all around Chester and to keep a look out for them. For the whole of the weekend we kept a lookout for the Rhino. We then saw all the adverts for Rhino mania which is ongoing in Chester from July through to 12th September 2010. Well worth a visit if you are going to Chester, and all of it is free, you just walk the walk round Chester. We walked the walls on the Sunday and saw quiet a lot of them and the one at the Chester Racecourse is wonderful, though I wouldn’t fancy his chances in the next race at Chester, though the facts are that they can run up to 30 miles an hour, and that a group of Rhino's is called a crash? There are actually 62 large Rhino’s dotted around the city all painted differently and all painted by locals and each one has it's own name. (You are told NOT to sit on them, but to look after them). All in all they are well maintained but on the Saturday evening the young people out and about Chester just could not resist having a picture taken sitting astride the Rhino, youngsters today……… damage or injury ...
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