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jo145

jo145

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Having had a rest from writing I am trying to get back to Ciao and catching up with reading reviews. I am having problems rating, will try and come back if it hasn't worked, please message me if I need to come back to you.

Reviews written

since 03/08/2003

273

Saccharum Hotel, Calheta 27/07/2015

Sweet hotel.

Saccharum Hotel, Calheta Calheta is a small village on the coast about 45 minutes west from Funchal airport by taxi, through lots of tunnels and about 21 miles from Funchal. The mountain provides a backdrop to the two hotels, owned by the same company and a few shops and several restaurants. The Saccharum hotel was only a couple of months old when we visited so everything was looking very new and clean. The hotel *********** There are 175 rooms, 6 suites and 62 apartments, including some rooms suitable for people with reduced mobility. The hotel is very modern, and inside although quite dark is elegant and has lots of old machinery and articles depicting life at the Sugar cane factory, which used to stand on the site. All rooms have a balcony with chairs and a table and most have a sea or side sea view, although some face the mountain and don’t get as much sun. We booked a side sea view but were upgraded to a sea view and with the balcony window open at night were lulled to sleep listening to the waves on the beach. The rooms were quite dark, but as it was a sunny week we found it quite restful all rooms I believe are similarly decorated in wood style panelling in brown and green with a wall depicting sugar cane growing. The bed was larger than our king size and very comfortable, if you have a premium room you get slippers and bathrobe provided. The television was a flat screen on the wall and easily seen from the bed or from the armchair. There was a refrigerator and safe in one built in ...

Wessex Rose Hotel Boat 30/09/2014

Floating luxury holiday hotel

Wessex Rose Hotel Boat Relaxation is something we all need and travelling at a few miles an hour sailing through pretty countryside is one way of doing it. The Wessex Rose hotel boat is a 5* floating haven, with everything you need for a relaxing holiday on the Kennet and Avon canal. Launched on 1st May 2013 the Wessex Rose is the newest luxury wide beam canal boat in England and is owned by Karen and David, an energetic and hard working couple who are so enthusiastic, talented, helpful and friendly that we soon felt like friends or even family. They run the boat very efficiently doing all the cooking, cleaning, and steering as well as working the locks, and unless you want to help you can sit on top (in nice weather) and watch the world go by. The boat is 69ft long and 12ft 5” wide, and is prettily decorated with fresh flower tubs. The boat has three double cabins, the beds are so comfy you get a brilliant nights sleep, and can be put together to make a king size or left as twins. The bedding is luxurious with smooth Egyptian cotton sheets. Robes, slippers and even buoyancy aids are supplied. There is under floor heating if needed, and a small wardrobe with shelving and some other storage. A good hairdryer is supplied, and sockets if you need to use other electrical appliances, and also a television. If you like an early morning cuppa, no problem as there is a kettle and tea and coffee in the cabin and each night Karen leaves a small flask of fresh milk which stays nice and cold for the morning. ...

Knorr Stock Pots 23/10/2012

Little pots of flavour

Knorr Stock Pots Many years ago I trained in large scale catering and one of the first things we learned was how to make good stock, white, brown and vegetable. It took hours, browning bones chopping vegetables, straining etc but gave the food we prepared a better taste than adding stock cubes or powder. I don’t make it anymore as I admit I am lazy and find other more interesting things to do with my time, so when I’m cooking I reach for a jar of powdered stock or crumble in a stock cube or at least I did until I was introduced to Knorr stock pots. I am a Bzzz agent and was lucky enough to get some samples to try so am Bzzing you all to tell you about these little jellied pots of stock. There are no artificial colours, preservatives or flavour enhancers, you can just rest assured these are good quality pots of delicious jellied stock. They come in a little tub and four to a pack or eight if you prefer to buy more, so easy to store in the cupboard. The foil top peels off and you just plop it into what you are making, where it melts slowly and gives your meal a wonderful depth of flavour. You can of course then add water or other liquid if needed or if you prefer you can dissolve it in hot water before adding to what you are cooking, it is advised to dilute in 500ml of boiling water or 750ml for a lighter stock. The other weekend I got my slow cooker out and made a double quantity of beef casserole, I added one pot of stock to the mixture and it tasted delicious. I have added the chicken ...

Jardim Botânico do Faial, Azores 28/09/2012

Saving the seeds.

Jardim Botânico do Faial, Azores The island of Faial is part of the Azores, way out in the Atlantic ocean between Portugal and America and is known as the blue island. Whilst there earlier this year we were on a tour which included a visit to the Botanical Gardens. The gardens were originally old farm pastures and orchards at an old Quinta at Rua São Lourenço 9900-401 FLAMENGOS, near to Horta. Opening Hours: Summer: Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 5 pm. Saturday and Sunday, 2 pm to 5.30 pm. Winter: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 12.30 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm. Started in 1986 it became part of the Natural Park of Faial in 2008. We began our tour with a film about the Island in the Visitor’s centre where there were toilets and a small shop. Although quite small the gardens have several zones for the visitor to wander around and do a lot of work with seed conservation. In the area nearest to the visitor’s centre is a zone with a collection of medicinal and aromatic plants and an Orchid greenhouse, also an area dedicated to traditional agricultural crops that had an impact on the economy. There is a small area where you can see the dangerous invasive plants which threaten the Azores and also the laboratory. The paths are easy to walk on but some steps in places which you need to climb if you walk in the two figures of 8 but you can turn and walk back if you prefer not to climb steps. There is an arboretum with native trees and areas of coastal vegetation, plants from different heights and sheltered and shady zones. ...

Terceira Mar Hotel, Angra do Heroismo, Terceira 11/09/2012

Hotel in a World Heritage city

Terceira Mar Hotel, Angra do Heroismo, Terceira The Terceira Mar hotel on the outskirts of Angra do Heroismo, which is a UNESCO World Heritage City is in the south of the island of Terceira, which is the third largest island in size in the Azores and the second most populated island, and is also known as the lilac island. It is classed as a luxurious 4 star hotel. We flew from Ponta Delgada on the island of Săo Miguel to Lajes, near Praia da Vitoria on Terceira, which is also an American Air force base. The 20km takes about 30 minutes by coach and the hotel is 10 -15 minutes walk into the town. The 4 star hotel has been designed so all bedrooms overlook Fanal bay and Mount Brazil. Entering from the car park, the reception, bar/lounge and restaurant are all on ground level and there is an excellent view of the gardens and the sea. Bedrooms There are 139 rooms including some single, all overlook the bay and are decorated with rich coloured fabrics. Air conditioning, mini fridges and hair driers are all provided. These are on the lower floors. A multi coloured carpet with curtains matching the tweed throws on the bed. The large double wardrobes housed a safe as well as shelves and drawers. The dressing table had a mirror above and a fridge and drawers below. Two comfy arm chairs and two chairs and table were useful additions. There were two 3ft. beds with firm comfortable mattresses. Plenty of lamps made the room look nice and also bedside tables, telephone and television. The bathroom was quite small but adequate, plenty ...

Hotel Do Canal, Horta 24/08/2012

Friendly Faial Hotel

Hotel Do Canal, Horta Whilst exploring the Azores we stayed in Horta on the Island of Faial for a few days at the 4 * Hotel Do Canal which was opposite the ferry and had magnificent views of Pico mountain when the cloud cleared from the top! Ten minutes from the airport and a ten minute walk along the front to the Marina and town also close to the beach and Whaling museum. There was some parking near the hotel. The hotel is in the Bensaude chain and has just over 100 rooms. Reception The large reception area had some seating and 2 lifts and stairs to the upper floors and extended into a lounge area, outside seating with water feature and a small bar and the restaurant. Bedroom Our bedroom had a minute balcony and overlooked the church. The carpet was deep red around the edges of a natural, gold, teal and red check, it looked quite luxurious and with plain white bed covers, gold throws and bright cushions made the room very attractive. There was a red leather stool at the writing desk which had drawers and a fridge built in, and TV on top. There were two dark mahogany wood bedside tables and lamps above the bed and also standard lamps. A small round table had fruit and water on when we arrived which was a nice touch. There was a tray with kettle, cups and saucers, tea, coffee and sugar but no milk, but we discovered at the end of our stay that you could get milk from the bar. Perhaps a small jug in the fridge at the start would have been good! A case stand had a cupboard underneath and there was ...

Fairy Platinum Dishwasher Tablets 16/07/2012

Superior Dishwashing by a fairy!

Fairy Platinum Dishwasher Tablets Superior dishwashing. I am no longer as brand conscious as I was and prefer to save a few pennies or pounds and buy products that are on offer. Fairy is a brand I know and trust but only buy when on offer now, so was excited when I got the chance to try out this new product. The tablets are in a pouch with silver edges with FAIRY in bright red and bright green and blue swirls too, quite an attractive package. My pouch contained 20 action packed square shaped plastic coated tablets. The base contains a white powder with a few blue speckles and on top there is some green liquid and two shades of blue liquid swirls. Each section has its own job to perform. There is a lovely clean fresh smell when you open the re-sealable bag. The platinum tablets are described as being the professional’s choice, giving you the confidence to cook anything knowing that it will cut through the toughest grease and get your dishes sparkling. Plus it will also leave your dishwasher clean and sparkling too. Platinum tablets are said to have Rinse aid action, salt action, metal shine, tea stain removal and glass protection, so many actions in one small tablet, in fact 14 functions in all. Can this be possible I wondered? I’ve only got two tablets left so have used the other 18 tablets over the last weeks now and have to say we rarely have had any dishes needing to be re-washed and the dishwasher is looking nice and clean. As we live in a soft water area I don’t normally add salt to the dishwasher, ...

Best Western Premiere Leyland Hotel, Leyland 13/07/2012

Is this the Best Best Western?

Best Western Premiere Leyland Hotel, Leyland Returning home from a leisurely canal holiday we decided to meet up with relatives and chose the 4 Star AA Best Western Leyland hotel at Preston because it was close to the M6 for them driving from the south and for us to return north the following day. It really was easy to find and only minutes from the motorway. There was a security gate to the car park but this was in the upright position and we easily found a space to park. They knew we were coming as we had booked but I hadn’t expected the “Red Carpet” to be out for us! But we soon discovered there was a wedding on, and later discovered that there were 2 weddings! Basic Information *************** • 93 Executive Bedrooms • Open plan J28 Lounge Bar • FREE WIFI • Spa bath • Fitness room • The beautiful Four Seasons Restaurant • 14 Meeting & Conference Rooms • Swimming pool • Sauna • FREE Car Parking 250 spaces Reception ************ Once we had cleared the red carpet we found ourselves in a busy reception area that was also a lounge and bar area and had a wide variety of seating including a huge chair and various other interesting pieces for photographic occasions. There were lots of old Leyland photos and busts fitting in with the Italian theme. We were seen quite quickly but as they were busy our room wasn’t ready – we were one hour early and due to the rain hadn’t stopped en route as planned. But they took care of our luggage whilst we sampled the food in the bar area. We later checked in and received one electronic ...

Marina Atlantico Hotel, Ponta Delgada 19/05/2012

Atlantic views

Marina Atlantico Hotel, Ponta Delgada The Azores consists of 9 islands in the Atlantic Ocean between Lisbon and America, belonging to Portugal. Sao Miguel is in the Eastern Group and is the largest of the islands, with the largest town being called Ponta Delgada. Even though the islands are volcanic they are all blessed with plenty of plant life and Sao Miguel is called the Green Island. This was our second visit to the Azores and our first hotel stay this time was in Ponta Delgada at the 4 star Atlantico Hotel opposite the Marina and on the east edge of the town, although described as being located in the heart of it! Admittedly a short walk along the front and you soon reach the shops and cafes. The airport is about 4Km from the town. The hotel is designed to look like a ship with decking on the pavement and supports to give a ship like feeling. It has 184 guestrooms and is made of volcanic stone. Some of the rooms facing the sea have balconies and there are 2 lifts in each section of the hotel. There is parking under the hotel if you have a hired car. The reception is large and airy and a tray of iced tea is always available for guests. There is a small room near the lifts with computers and you can buy time from reception. There are toilets on both sides of reception with conference rooms on the side nearest town and a lounge, bar, shop and restaurant on the east side. During the first weekend a man was playing a keyboard near the bar. Snacks can be ordered at the bar. A mezzanine floor reached by the ...

Nivea Pure & Natural Hand Cream 18/03/2012

Daily protection

Nivea Pure & Natural Hand Cream Have you ever counted how many times a day you wash your hands? Try and if you are good at counting you may be surprised by the result! In this very "Health and Hygiene" conscious land our hands are in and out of water constantly, especially if you are a Mum( or Dad!) with a child or preparing meals and so your hands can become dry and it's essential to use a good hand cream to keep them soft and hydrated. I had nearly finished a tube I'd been using and looked in Tesco for a replacement when I spotted a tube of Nivea. Something I remember from my childhood in a blue tin! Nivea has actually been on the market for over 100 years and is a well trusted name, although this tube looks very modern and although it has the blue and white brand name it looks modern and is described as being "Pure and Natural". Paul Beiersdorf gave his name to the company who produced Nivea in the 1880's and it is still the name of the company now. What does the tube look like? The white tube has a pale green picture with some leaves and pale yellow what at first I thought was flowers but decided it is small globules of Argan oil! A little stamp says it is 95% natural origin, and gives protection for Dry hands. It has a blue flip lid and stands upright on this base. On the back of the tube there is some information about the product stating that the Argan oil helps soften and smooths the skin. The formula supports the skin's natural balance protecting and nourishing dry hands all day long. There are no ...

Flamingo, Sardinia 12/01/2012

Sun, sea and Flamingoes!

Flamingo, Sardinia Situated close to a beautiful private beach at Santa Margherita di Pula, the 4 star Hotel Flamingo is a 2 storey white building, with other blocks of buildings with standard bedrooms and the Il Nidi suites near by. It takes about 45 minutes from Cagliari airport which is in the south of Sardinia and there are small local buses running past the hotel to go into Pula, and from there you can catch a bus into Cagliari. A taxi costs about 20Euro to Pula. The hotel is situated down a narrow Eucalyptus tree lined road, opposite a camp site, apart from a couple of homes there is only a church at the junction with the main road. The camp site had a small supermarket and café which proved popular with many guests for drinks and in the evening for watching football on the television! Reception and Lounge *************** *********** The reception of the hotel area was large and airy and the four staff on duty quickly checked everyone in and handed over keys, whilst other staff escorted everyone to their rooms, using golf buggies for people in the annex buildings. There are no lifts and the curved staircase in the main building means disabled people have to stay in the ground floor rooms in the annexes. The rooms in the main building are Superior rooms, some face the sea and pool and others look towards the mountains. The Reception area opens onto the large lounge area which has several doors leading outside and plenty of comfortable sofas and chairs. In the centre of the area is ...

Tommee Tippee First Cup 23/12/2011

Cheers!

Tommee Tippee First Cup My daughter decided that it would be easier if we had a high chair for when they came out with my little Granddaughter and as well as ordering it online she ordered some other items to make meal times easier and to save bringing cups and spoons etc. Some of these items were made by Tommee Tippee, which is a name I remember from the 70’s when my children were small and I was surprised to see how the cup had changed over the years. Description The cup is a pretty pink, although I think you can get it in green and blue instead of the yellowy orange I remember. Described as a first cup it is suitable from 4 months onward. The lid is quite tight fitting, which saves baby knocking it off and spilling the contents, but the improvement in the mouth piece is worth a mention as it folds down to save spillage if you are travelling. This is described as free flow drinking, and although occasionally my little Granddaughter has spluttered when she takes too much, it is better than having to suck on a cup which has valves as they learn how to drink and swallow. On the opposite side to the mouth piece is shaped lip which allows you to take the lid off easier to empty and wash. The handles are quite narrow and easy to grasp, two handles are much better for young children, and this is quite a light cup to pick up. The plastic is see through and has a measure on the side, up to 170mls, so if you are diluting juice it can be done accurately. Cleaning It is easy to wash, and can be ...

Baileys Biscotti 16/12/2011

Bailey's go Italian!

Baileys Biscotti Baileys Irish Cream was created by Gilbeys of Ireland and is a popular liqueur. The original Baileys has been used to create new flavours and Biscotti is the latest liqueur to come onto the market. Baileys is a mixture of cream, Irish whiskey and chocolate, producing a creamy drink and one you don’t need a lot of as it is both rich and has a high alcoholic volume. Biscotti is a twice baked Italian Almond biscuit which used to be served with wine but nowadays is often served with a Cappuccino. Mixed with the Baileys it creates a really lovely drink. All the flavours I love in one small glass! The taste is a creamy blend of whiskey and almond biscuit which I drank on its own on a cold snowy night and it left a lovely warm feeling as I drank it, comforting and sensually silky. I’m not a great lover of Whisky (Scotch) but do like Baileys, perhaps the Irish Whiskey tastes different! A lot of people drink Baileys over ice, it chills it and dilutes it and gives a different sensation as it is swallowed. The alcohol volume is 17%, which is surprising as it doesn’t taste that strong! So my advice is to drink wisely and not have too many! One 50 ml glass is just under 1 unit. Diageo who own Baileys, are proud that they use and source over 80% of the raw ingredients and packaging in Ireland. The fresh dairy cream is blended with whiskey, sugar and flavourings and the alcohol acts as a preservative giving this liqueur a shelf life of 2 years, even if it has been opened and it doesn’t ...

Glamis Castle, Forfar 10/09/2011

Did Macbeth murder Duncan here?

Glamis Castle, Forfar Glamis castle is in Angus, Scotland just 5 miles from Forfar (the home of Forfar Bridies) and reputedly is where Macbeth murdered King Duncan according to Shakespeare’s play. It is open from 10am in April to October and 11am in November and December. Glamis castle looks rather more like a French Chateau than a Scottish castle due to the fact much work has gone on over the centuries. It has been the family home of the Earls of Strathmore since 1372 when it was given to Sir John Lyon, now the Bowes-Lyon family. The original Tower house still remains at the centre of the castle. Glamis was the childhood home of the late Queen Mother and Princess Margaret was actually born there. The ticket booth is at the bottom of a long drive and as you travel along the tree lined drive to the car park you get a lovely view of the Castle against a backdrop of hills. There is plenty of space for children to run and play and to have picnics, as well as walks and a children’s play area. Dogs are allowed in the gardens. The Castle tour lasts about 50 minutes and is guided, it costs £9.50 for adults, £7 for children, £27.50 for a family ticket and £8.75 for concessions. We even got an extra £1 of each ticket as we had a leaflet with money off vouchers when visiting other places in the area. If you only want to visit the gardens it is cheaper and you can go in the restaurant, shop and Coach House exhibition. Children are given a souvenir booklet which explains the story of Glamis in a simple and ...

Loch Katrine 01/09/2011

A wee drop of water for folks in Glasgow!

Loch Katrine Scotland is a really beautiful country and I'm so lucky to live here and within easy reach of so many places to visit. Loch Katrine was our latest destination on a day trip and one I would like to share with you all, the area it is in is called the Trossachs. ~ Where is it? ~ Just ¾hour from Stirling, 1 hour from Glasgow and 1¼ hours from Edinburgh. All these cities have Railway Stations, and it's fairly easy to get to Callander, which is the nearest town where you can then catch the Trossach Trundler from there to the Trossachs Pier. Although a car is the easiest way to cover the 10 miles from Callander! The drive along the A84 to Kilmahog and then the A821 through Brig o' Turk, or from Aberfoyle along the A821 through the Duke's Pass, either way the scenery is beautiful and a lovely ride to enjoy the countryside. There are hotels and B&B's in Aberfoyle and Callander and also a hotel near by at Loch Achray so it is easy to visit and enjoy for a full day or more. ~ Loch Katrine ~ The loch is a freshwater loch in the district of Stirling. It is roughly 8 miles long by 2/3 of a mile wide and runs the length of Strath Gartney. It is a popular destination for tourists and day visitors from Glasgow and other nearby towns. Loch Katrine is owned by Scottish Water and is the primary water reservoir for much of the city of Glasgow and its surrounding areas. Oil-fired vessels are not permitted to sail in the Loch due to the danger of pollution to the drinking water of ...
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