Sent by Lisa Leaming
South Cave 19/05/2022
Based in Brough
My name is Sarah, and I'm a travel agent in Brough.
I've worked in the travel industry and customer services for over 27 years. I'm one of those lucky people who work in an industry that is essentially my hobby: travel! I love travel and all things related; be it the foreign culture, traditions, architecture, smells and sounds and, of course, the cuisine.
I have travelled extensively so have first-hand knowledge of many worldwide and luxury destinations including the Middle East, Caribbean, Australia, Canada, USA, South Africa, Maldives, Mauritius, and Morocco, Egypt and many European destinations including multiple Greek islands, Italy, Austria, Spain and Portugal. I also have immediate access to a huge circle of colleagues all over the world, so if I can't answer your question, I'm confident someone in the Travel Counsellor community will be able to.
The largest holiday I ever organised was for my own wedding in Zell-am-See, Austria in 2005. It was an amazing week where 64 family and friends joined us for a 'winter wonderland' wedding. It was truly bespoke with seven different departure points, flights, trains, cars, transfers, two boutique hotels, a horse-drawn sleigh and plenty of mulled wine!
I have won many awards and accreditations. Here's a few of my career highlights:
TUI New Shop of the Year award 1993
TUI Shop of the Year award 2001
TUI Shop Manager of the Year 2004
Institute of Customer Services (ICS) Solutions Award 2011
Travel Counsellors Nominee Best Newcomer (Leisure) 2013
Awarded Gold Travel Counsellor status Oct 2014 - recognised as one of the top 10% in the company!
Why choose me?
1. I believe in building strong and trusted relationships with my customers so that when you think 'holidays', you think 'Sarah'.
2. I believe in fully understanding my customers’ needs so that I can offer you the best holiday to match those needs.
3 I believe in good old-fashioned customer care. You simply can’t get this if you book online. I would never recommend a holiday that I would not feel happy booking for me and my family.
4. I am available to you when you want me, often when most travel agents are closed. You only ever deal with me all the way through the process.
5. There are so many recent changes to travel these days, I have access to the latest FCO rules and regulations, country by country, whether you need a negative COVID test to enter, whether you need to complete an e-form before you depart, etc... so you don't have to worry about a thing!
So, when you are thinking about planning your next trip, be it a luxury honeymoon, a city break, safari, ski trip, a cruise, or a round the world trip of a lifetime, just give me the opportunity to quote.
Remember: With me, it's a relationship not just a transaction.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
07 March 2022
It was absolutely lovely – thank you for arranging it for us and your recommendation! Some comments from the trip: Sakoa Boutique Hotel, Trois aux Biches – absolutely lovely place – location and facilities were perfect. Nothing was too much trouble for them and the food really excellent. Would certainly recommend. Heritage Kaz’alala, Bel Ombre– this was really interesting – a bit like an upmarket hostel with buildings which house 4 bedrooms and shared kitchen and living area. They had a pool and open restaurant where you could see the cook preparing the food. Food was basic Mauritian style, noodles, curry, rice, but very tasty. There was a school party whilst we were there, so it was difficult to imagine it without a lot of teenagers!. A perfect destination for young families as it was very laid back. We had dinner one night in the Chateau on the same site, which was outstanding. Highly recommend that – top quality food and service. La Vielle Cheminee, Chamarel. There were a number of individual houses dotted around the farm, so you got a whole house to yourself. Dinner and breakfast were delivered in advance and put into your fridge, where you could then just heat up the food, or cook breakfast as you wanted. This was simple local Mauritian food. House was lovely and it was up in the mountains so the views were spectacular. It was perfect for us as we prefer to be away from people. Activities: Hike to Le Morne Brabant. Wow, what a hike! Very hard going, but really good fun, especially when we climbed high enough to be in the clouds and then in rain! Very steep and rocky climb, so not recommended for the feint hearted! Lovely local guide. Electric bikes were cancelled, so we went for the quad bikes instead which (in my opinion) were much more fun. I’d recommend giving your clients a choice here if you want to, the electric bike tour or the quad bikes. The bikes were on a cycle track along the coastline, but with very little shade, so for us pale English people it could have been extremely hot! Canyoning – this was my favourite activity by far – I’ve never abseiled before and they made it great fun, safe and a lovely day out. We had a massive thunderstorm when we reached the bottom which made the very steep climb back up the mountainside challenging. Like climbing up a muddy waterfall!! Loved every minute of it! Food tour of Port Louis – a great guide who knew all the areas to take us to and showed us around parts of the city that we would never have explored ourselves. Cooking with Rosamund – this was great fun, a friendly local lady in her own home who we had a lot of laughs with even though she had only a little English. And a tasty lunch as well. Car Hire – the car was great to have – we would have been extremely stuck without it as we spent a lot of time exploring the back roads around the island. One point here, it arrived about an hour and a half late on the drop off day (Gerald did let us know), and when we dropped off at the airport they were about ¾ hour late collecting it which was a shame as we were getting hassle from the airport police to move it. They were also very difficult to get hold of, so if Gerald has alternative providers he can use it might be worth exploring for next time. The weather was very hot, but it was overcast for some of the time which helped Andy in particular. No more cyclones thankfully! Gerald (the host) was great throughout, plenty of recommendations and WhatsApp messages to make sure we were doing ok, even though he was in Costa Rica at the time.
12 November 2020
I was determined to travel in 2020 once the travel bans were lifted, not just for my own mental-health, but to see first-hand how life & travel in Covid-times was different to any other year. I was pleasantly surprised! We took advantage of twilight check-in the night before our early flight from Manchester. There was NO-OTHER person in the check-in queue, it was spookily quiet! After our Greek entry forms (on the app) were checked for approval we dropped our cases in record time and retired to an airport hotel for the night. On arrival at Manchester Airport the next morning, it was time to don the face mask until we arrived in Greece. Without the need to queue for bag-drop, we headed straight to security, through Duty Free (sadly no tester perfume sprays or snifters of a wee dram in 2020!) and at the gate you have to drop the mask for a split second for passports to be checked. When eating and drinking onboard the flight you can take your mask off too. On arrival in Greece, QR codes are checked again, random Covid testing was done on approx 30 people off a full flight. Then onto our hotel....and relax! The sun shining, Mythos in hand, around the pool or walks to the beach for the 7 days of chill-out I needed. The sign of a good holiday is not knowing the day or date, so this was the day we decided to hire a car and take a self-drive Island tour of Kefalonia. Hire a car....a must on an island this size with so much scenery its just perfect to explore. First stop : Argostoli, the capital, for turtle spotting around the harbour and envy at the superyachts! Next stop : Myrtos Beach.... The most famously photographed beach in Greece. The colour of the sea changing as the sun went behind clouds was just mesmerising! Lunch stop and a quick paddle : Assos. I could quite happily retire here. What a stunning picture postcard little village, just like all the photos, with well-kept different coloured buildings, high quality tavernas, tiny beaches and crystal clear waters backdropped by pine clad mountains with an old castle on the top....lunch of fresh sardines grilled in the open air.. I'm SOLD Ice cream and pudding stop : Fiskardo... The St Tropez of Kefalonia. Super-yachts, boutiques, famous-people spotting and very glamourous and a great place to sit back in a harbour-side cafe and watch the world go by with a crepe, a baklava, coffees and ice creams... Which is exactly what we did. LOVED IT! Last stop : AntiSamos... For a swim and snorkel stop. This is a famous little spot with the locals behind the town of Sami. It's found up a rough windy road only slightly wide enough for 2 cars. With sheer drops into the Ionian Sea it's a touch nerve-wracking at times. When you turn the corner to get the view of the bay it's just stunning. Cool, beach bar vibes and water-sports on offer, it's a great end to a long day of driving. We finished off the day with a drive back over the mountains to Svoronata for a stunning sunset. Mythos and a gyros.. Of course. Kefalonia ... I will be back!
22 March 2019
I was invited as a guest to the Crieff Highland Games in August 2018 by one of the elderly patrons, so I thought I would make a family weekend of it, why not? I stumbled across the perfect little dog-friendly cottage in nearby Comrie, a 15-minute drive from Crieff. At once I felt the Scottish welcome I've grown to love with the best complementary tea-tray awaiting our arrival! Caroch Cottage had won me over with a bottle of red wine and a Battenberg! A cosy living room, stylish shower room, a twin and a double bedroom on the first floor and kitchen/diner downstairs with bread, milk and ice lollies for the kids set us up nicely for our long weekend. We enjoyed lovely walks down by the river with some picturesque views, stunning properties, and just the right mix of small hotels, local cafes and shops and tourist gift shops to ensure my escape from busy life was well and truly felt and batteries recharged. The location of the cottage was perfect for parking (a free car park just steps away) and rather too handy for the village fish and chip shop next door. Fried mars bars really do exist... and this was the first time I had ever seen fried pizza on a menu too! My highlight of the weekend was the Highland Games! Starting with the 'kilt race' through Crieff high street, then the majestic sound of marching pipe bands from all over the world. The high street is cordoned off as the streets are lined with locals and tourists alike listening to the authentic traditional sounds of the big drums and bag pipes! Magical! The Games are held annually in August with all sorts of competitive races for all age groups and abilities. There are also Scottish dancing competitions, the famous tug-of-war and of course the traditional caber tossing! A fun-fair for the children in the surrounding showground compliments local trade stalls, live music and bar tents. All in all, a great day out for all the family, well organised, and much fun. Crieff & Comrie.... I will be back! Top tips: 1. Buy your Highland Games ticket in advance for a reduction. 2. Caroch Cottage can be booked through me, via Hoseasons UK holidays. 3. Go prepared for all weathers, it could be sunny in the morning but raining by the afternoon!
31 December 2019
It has been 18 years since my last visit to Cyprus so when I got the chance to visit two of the leading hotels on the island in the month after my busy-booking spell it was a no-brainer! March is a cracking time to visit this Eastern Mediterranean island, still divided since 1977, the north being occupied by Turkey, the south Greek- speaking. Don’t get me on the politics but I only visited parts in the south. It’s a pleasant temperature this time of year, I had a week of early 20oC sunshine and just half an afternoon of light rain. The two hotels I stayed in are next-door to one another in the Amathus area of Limassol. Both 5* yet both very different, both are beachfront with wide sea views. Amathus Beach Hotel was my first stay for 3 nights, it’s set in beautifully kept, extensive gardens the outside of the hotel does not do the inside justice. It’s a 1970's ‘block’ style hotel yet once inside the modern interiors are sparklingly modern and ooze elegance. In the winter the choice of restaurants is limited as the outdoor ones open only in summer, but this doesn’t affect the choice of food as menus are changed daily with themed buffets and an excellent A La Carte option. I loved the spa here too, themed on the fire, water, earth signs it felt like I was entering a serene Balinese space with flowing waterfalls and twinkling lights… zen like! If the weather is a bit changeable you can always head to the indoor pool, gym, spa, lounge areas, bars and shops within the hotel until the clouds pass. We did! Moving next-door-but-one to The Four Seasons, you are at once greeted by huge cascading chandeliers over fountains and the most beautiful flower arrangements that add sophistication. I instantly felt like I should be on my best behaviour compared to the relaxed feel at Amathus Beach Hotel! Again, beautifully kept gardens leading down to the beach, free form pools, an excellent spa and more restaurant choices including the islands BEST Oriental restaurant on the island apparently (you MUST pre-book as very popular with non-residents too) I can concur it was blooming good!! For me what stood out at both properties was the attention to detail and the most excellent customer service levels. There’s no surprise repeat guests are a huge proportion of business at both hotels. There also seemed to be staff everywhere – all stopped what they were doing and acknowledged you as you past. I felt very special! In the winter I would recommend both hotels to the more mature client not only because it’s quieter, but the cooler months may suit more. In the summer months, many families and couples will visit for the excellent standards and beach life. Both hotels provide well for children; with child pools, kids clubs, early dinners, large family rooms, play areas, and entertainment. Some rooms even have their own private pools! TOP TIPS: The hotels are located 8kms to Limassol town centre. Use bus number 30 which runs frequently from the Park Lane hotel to Limassol town centre all day every day for 1.50 Euro each way. An absolute bargain, and the bus stops right out these hotels! Explore the Old Town streets of Limassol. We found historic squares and churches to visit, authentic meze restaurants, cute little bars, boutiques and galleries. A short taxi ride out of Limassol we found a great Cypriot meze restaurant with live music and Greek dancing called Forsos Tavern – I’d highly recommend it – great prices and tonnes of food (book in advance) Alternatively, if you prefer a more modern feel, visit the new multi-million Euro Limassol marina area. With amazing waterfront villas and apartments currently being finished, with expensive yachts neighbouring old fishing vessels, it’s a great place to wander and people watch. The restaurants and bars around here are more renown names, bustling with local life. If you plan to visit Cyprus in the winter, head for one for the bigger resorts like Paphos or Limassol for a wide range of accommodation where amenities are fully open and where ‘town’ life complements tourist-life. We happened to visit the island in Carnival Week which culminated in a big street carnival, Rio-like, with floats, music, fancy dress and dancers galore! It was a fantastic parade with a buzzing atmosphere full of locals of all ages having great fun! A great end to our Cypriot week away!
07 March 2019
Our trip was wonderful thank you. Brandon Lodge was just what I hoped it would be, nice and relaxed with really good food and accommodation. The activities that we’d booked turned out great. The Dogsledding was absolutely fabulous. We had a stunning sunny day, beautiful fresh snow and keen dogs in the forest…Gorgeous. The provider even had us all in their home afterwards for fika (coffee and cake) - lovely people and a superb activity. The other activity was “dinner on ice”. What we’d booked was a dinner for two in a teepee out on the ice near the chalets at Brandon Lodge. What we actually did was to go a couple of miles out onto the sea-ice on sledges pulled by a snowmobile. We were in company with other guests and our guide/chef. We were a bit taken aback by this initially, but it turned out to be a better evening than it probably would have been for just the two of us. Our guide Tommy was a friend of the owners and was helping out in a busy period. He is a professional hunting guide (nordguide.se) and a frankly amazing outdoor chef. With a large frying pan and a wood fire he produced a meal of Swedish flavours that I would have been very happy to pay for in a really good restaurant. Interesting and super knowledgeable host and all-round super chap. To top off the evening the Aurora obliged with a lovely green arch display. Our photographic skills weren’t up to getting a picture but fortunately a fellow guest did better and obliged us by taking a picture with us in it which he has promised to e-mail to us. This exemplified the rest of the guests we met. A mix of nationalities who were all happy to share their experiences over excellent food in the dining room. All in all, a super destination full of very nice people. Lulea Clarion Sense hotel. Lovely! Jo tells everyone they are the best beds she’s ever slept in and I tend to agree. Great room, beautiful restaurant/ bar and fabulous food. Massive choice at breakfast, and the evening meal we had on Monday 4th was astonishingly good. Apparently simple dishes done to a stratospheric standard. Possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Only thing to watch out for is that the restaurant is shut on Sunday evening so guests might want to time their arrival accordingly. Lulea itself was very pleasant as well. The harbour around the town was frozen solid as you’d expect even though the locals told us it was 15 to 20 deg C warmer than they were used to for the time of year (whilst we were there it averaged about minus 13 I think). The local council had swept and smoothed the 11km ice track around the whole harbour and in the beautiful weather we had it was lovely to walk out and watch people ice skating, skiing etc. We walked right round the circuit on Monday and it took just less than 2 hours. A nice thing to do on a sunny day! Guests would be well advised to buy a set of slip on ice spikes from Class Ohlson in one of the malls though as without them walking required concentration. In the town there was a good array of cafes. We tried a place called “Hemma Gastronomi” which belongs to a close friend of the aforementioned Tommy and was recommended by him. It was a good recommendation. We had lightly smoked reindeer with creamy mashed potato with a creamy gravy and lingen berries. Doesn’t sound much but was amazing. Very highly recommended. All in all, I would say that this was one of the best trips we’ve been on. All the Swedish people we met spoke better English than us and were polite to a fault, taking excellent care of us at all times. A great success and thank you for arranging it for us!
26 February 2019
As Familiarisation Trips go this one was pretty special! A twin-centre COMO hotels trip staying at both Cocoa Island and Maalifushi. As it was my first visit to the Maldives, I was so excited to arrive, so a short 50 minutes speedboat transfer was just what I needed with some fresh air after being on a plane for so long, and great to whizz past other islands en-route. I reached 5* Cocoa Island first, greeted by the GM Benjamin, instantly you can tell how tiny the place is, you can walk around it in 10 minutes, the sand is so soft and the water crystal clear you can see baby black fin sharks and baby stingrays in the lagoon where the water is shallow and warm. All the rooms are over-water, only 33 rooms in total so at certain times of the day when the dive trips are out you feel like you have the island to yourself! It's got a traditional-Maldivian rustic feel to it, all wooden and decorated in white/creams and interior in browns/woods too. They are closing 2019 for a refit which it does need to compete with the new islands that are opening all the time. I hope they don't spoil the rustic-ness though as there is a certain charm to it. The unique Dhoni boat shape of the leading over-water rooms are really cute and ideal for a couple. I stayed in the duplex suite with bedroom upstairs, large living room which can sleep kids and a huge balcony into the sea with loungers on the deck. The larger overwater villas are on each end of the platoon (sunset and sunrise) and offer much more space, privacy, lots of decking and bedrooms for kids. Although there is no kids club or kids’ facilities to offer many families come for the space and the beach life/snorkelling/ diving etc. There is only one restaurant and bar, but the food is amazing. It's so fresh, lots of seafood and fabulous, friendly service. The menu changes every day so it's like having many restaurants on one island. I had a great Thai menu one night then a seafood one the other... all delicious... and the puddings? Wow! They also have a stunning 1km sandbar that is lapped by the Indian Ocean, stunning for a daytime paddle or they can set up for romantic meals on an evening. Most repeat clients come for the excellent diving and snorkelling. It is truly amazing and you can dive from very nearby. We did a black-fin shark snorkelling trip and saw 32! A huge favourite with repeat guests who feel like they are home when they land. I can see why; the welcome was lovely and smiley, and the small size makes you feel like not just a room number. My only negative is the closeness to other islands, there are a few more 'local' islands close by so small boat traffic is constant, and the proximity of the Maldives Jail island is a bit of an eye-sore, saying that all accommodation faces the other direction. After two days at Cocoa Island, I arrived by seaplane to 5* COMO Maalifushi, greeted personally by the GM who had checked faces against passports and knew all our names. I noticed this with other guests arriving - if a couple arrived, he knew them by names on the reservation - nice touch I thought! This island is quite large in comparison to the sister hotel, so every villa is assigned Dutch bikes to get around on and there are buggies for those that chose not to cycle. I had a sunset over-water villa, I felt like I had won the lottery or died and gone to heaven! Loads of space, private pool, his and hers sinks and shower inside and out. The decking space was private and had both a double day bed and sunbeds both extremely comfortable and luxurious. The ever-changing sky at sunset was just truly unforgettable and so romantic! I viewed other rooms, all are very well decorated, and luxurious. The amenity kits are by COMO Shambala the in-house spa products, all organic and beautifully smelling. Beach rooms are again very private with hedges in front with just a small cutting to get to the beach. Watersports are free - paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel kits with vests, and the marine life centre staff were very helpful and informative. For keen snorkellers, the house reef was truly excellent with so many different fishes it was amazing! The drop-off at the edge was just like in Finding Nemo where huge shoals of fish could be seen in the cooler water. They offer a must-do whale-shark night snorkel trip which was just breath-taking, local fisherman call the hotel when they spot the whale-sharks feeding, we were given a mobile and when we got the call at dinner you must drop everything to rush to the speedboat to get to the feeding-site. Wet suited and snorkelled up I snorkelled next to 2 whale-sharks who were 6ft long! Once in a lifetime stuff! Food at Maalifushi is also fabulous, lots of choice and varying menus, a great Japanese restaurant facing the sunset (oh the lamb chops) and a main bar/restaurant area. For families, the Kids Club is huge, both indoor and outdoor, with an emphasis on learning and eco-friendly /recycling/environmental marine work. The spa is also well worth a visit (although quite expensive) all in-house COMO Shambala smells, divine! I would return in a heartbeat, the most romantic place I have ever been! Top tips: Always book the most meal-inclusive plan as food was expensive. Why not twin-centre both islands for two very different experiences like I did. If you have a late flight home why not check out early from Maalifushi and book a day-room at Cocoa Island so you can enjoy your last day and then speedboat to Male for your international flight home?
07 January 2019
The resort is right next to Sandals Barbados so you can walk freely between the two resorts and they are really just two resorts in one, but we did prefer our side. It just felt more luxurious and typically Sandals. The food as usual at Sandals is amazing, we certainly have some pounds to lose! Thankfully with us being Club Level the concierge made all our reservations, so we didn’t have any problems getting into the restaurants. Our favourites are the Sushi and Butch’s Chophouse, but we loved them all! We also loved the beach. We were a little disappointed with the beach last time we visited Barbados on the West Coast, but here the sea was turquoise and the sand like flour. We did manage to escape the resort and went to the Harrison Caves, which took you on a tram 150ft down. We then went onto a Nature Reserve to see the wild monkeys! We will definitely be going back, it is so easy direct from Manchester and a 15-minute transfer, you can’t go wrong really! Thank you once again for organising a lovely holiday!
18 December 2018
This relatively unknown corner of the Greek Mainland had been on my radar for a while as it's a firm favourite of my fellow Travel Counsellor colleagues. It's one of those places that you could go back to time and time again (as many Parga-fans do) and never eat in the same restaurant twice! With accommodation to fit all budgets and tastes from luxury boutique hotels to quaint, typically Greek self-catering units, it really is a destination which appeals to most markets. Two stunning bays with sand and shingle beaches, plus local beaches and the main 'town' beach to choose from, you can find a spot for you to enjoy the sunshine and warm Mediterranean Sea. There's even a couple of trendy "Beach Clubs" for that relaxed 'Marbella' feel at one end of Valtos beach. For me the main appeal is Parga Town itself. By day it’s a myriad of cobbled streets with a wide range of tourist shops and ice-cream parlours leading to the main harbour, but by night the place comes alive with twinkly lights, busy tavernas, street artists, buzzing bars and Greek music, and the wonderful smell of home-cooked Greek cuisine.... Loved it. Honest, welcoming, Greek hospitality at its best! Drop the map, and lose yourself in one of the back streets, you'll come across some fabulous places to eat and drink, pass the time of day, and some amazing views over the roof-tops towards the castle. Try Helloniki behind the main harbour for authentic Greek fare. The other reason for wanting to return are the stunning views. There is something quite magical about the backdrop of green hills, a mish-mash of old town buildings all leading down to the port, the colour of the sea against the red-roofs and the constantly changing vista of fishing boats and luxury yachts in the bay. I'm ready to return! Top tips: Book on self-catering or bed and breakfast, as there is so much choice for eating out! If you struggle with walking up hills, it’s not the place for you! However, there is a set fee of 5 Euro taxi fare for anywhere in Parga district so walk down for dinner and grab a taxi back! My favourite restaurants: Med Bar (for the views over Valtos beach), Sakis - large portions, great value, authentic home-cooked Greek food. My favourite bars: Avo Cado - modern design, great views over the castle and Old Town, trendy cocktails. Gin Distillery - quaint stone bar with swings attached, amazing views over Valtos beach at sunset. Explore: Greek mythology - find the entrance to the underworld, white water raft, horse ride or dip your heel in the freezing waters of the gorge at River Styx like Achilles.
18 December 2018
A great Easter base for us for access to Perthshire, Sterling with the Wallace Monument and Sterling Castle, and only an hour's drive to lovely St Andrews for the world-famous golf and stunning wide beaches. These lodges - The Woods are in a quiet location on the outskirts of Alva, with super views overlooking the Ochil Mountains, locally known as the Hillfoots were the perfect place for a few nights with our Molly-dog! Lodges are modern, spotlessly clean, warm (a necessity in April), well-decorated and well- maintained and a big plus for me ... are dog - friendly! Two local pubs that are also dog-friendly in the area: The Birds and The Bees (Causewayhead) and Torbrex Inn (Sterling) offered great pub-grub and a welcome for Molls too! We loved St Andrews, the beaches here are fabulous for dogs and many cafes and restaurants are also dog-friendly, offering water-bowls outside and a warm welcome inside. Top tips: Stop in Sterling for a bigger supermarket shop, the shop on site is very small, and limited supplies in Alva itself. Take a walk down to the river close to the lodge park, you may spot a swan or two, or even a canoeist battling the slalom posts! The small village of Dollar is within an easy 10-minute drive for more upmarket eateries and shops.
16 October 2018
Stunning soft sandy beaches, a huge choice of excellent hotels with superb service. Perfect for weddings, with lush gardens, Caribbean Sea backdrops, relaxing spas, romantic sunsets, Jacuzzis in your room or balcony - or both! We visited four stunning hotels all very different and for very different markets. Here’s a summary: Dreams Riviera Maya, Cancun A great all-round resort for families and couples, groups and weddings. A laid-back atmosphere with friendly, smiling staff, good food with plenty of choices of restaurants from beachfront grills to Tapanyaki. Great little kids club for your youngsters. Small spa area in lush surroundings. The couple’s area is perfect for a treat after a wedding! Upgrade to a premium room for a jacuzzi on your balcony facing the sea as well as one in your spacious room! Occidental Xcaret A must for nature lovers. This hotel is built in the middle of an eco-rainforest with free-form pools surrounded by wildlife like deer, gecko, flamingo, and monkeys swinging in the trees! Awesome! Attached to the hotel is the Xcaret theme-park. In Xcaret you will discover more than 50 attractions to appreciate the natural and cultural wealth of Mexico. A great day out for all, plenty of places to eat, and explore the rides and thrills then swim through underground caves to cool off! Take the free boat shuttle to the park from the hotel reception to arrive in style. Tip: for a quieter day head down to the lovely sandy beach, grab a cabana or a hammock, and a chilled cocktail from the beach bar! Grand Velas Now I’ve eaten in some fine restaurants and I’ve been pummelled in some fancy spas, but this place just tops the bill! The hotel is vast but divided into three distinct areas and if you never left ‘your area’ you’d think the hotel was pretty small. Ambassador area is for families: beachfront, a large pool and amazing kids’ clubs for all ages, a range of restaurants to suit all tastes and some great vibe around the pool. I’d stay here with my family - large rooms, sea views, fall out of bed onto the beach! Zen: set in the eco-jungle, green and lush and the setting of one of the Caribbean’s largest spa. The most divine space I’ve ever seen! Worth booking a treatment and spending a day there. The smell as you walk in, excellent staff and great products! Great rooms in this area of the hotel with views over lagoons and rainforest jungle. Grand Class: I was so lucky to have a suite in this part of the hotel. It’s the adult-only part. Quiet and chilled. A great pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea. We had our own concierge and our own butler, I truly felt spoilt! Here we were treated to the most delicious, highly presented meals and attentive, friendly service. The huge bedrooms were cool and welcoming with a great well-stocked minibar. They have thought of everything even down to providing a cute beach bag to take your belongings down to the beach or pool. A huge balcony with splash pool complements the indoor jacuzzi area! I’d return here in a flash! Secrets Akumal A gorgeous adult only hotel further up the coast so a longer transfer than some hotels nearer to Cancun. Built around three pools, in luscious gardens with a beautiful sandy beach it’s worth the drive! Relaxed and chilled with attentive service but unobtrusive if you want some privacy. Rooms are modern yet accent towards the Mayan culture with warm woods and decorated in reds, oranges and yellows. I loved the Cafe de Paris for fresh coffees and pastries or ice creams! Perfect for a quick pit stop before getting ready for a sublime dinner in one of the yummy restaurants! During the day swim out on the house reef and spot the neighbourhood sea turtles feeding on the sea grasses! I will be coming back here! Top tips Even though your hotel is all-inclusive, check the policy for tipping as if you have received great service you may want to show appreciation. As Mexico is popular with many Americans the staff may be used to a dollar here and there. Do not be tempted to buy cigarettes or alcohol on the outbound flight as you will be required to pay tax on arrival in Mexico. Take mosquito repellent as the Riviera Maya is built on lush mangrove jungle and even though many hotels spray daily you may be bitten. If visiting Tulum or Chitchen Itsa or any other Mayan ruins plan your visit for early morning to escape the heat. Always book a guide to get the most from your visit.
19 December 2019
Jacob’s Lodge, Egglestone, Teesdale, Northern England. Finding a large cottage of the best standard, the right amount of parking, enough bathrooms, a games room, and in the right location for 15 of us over three generations was never going to be easy, but we fell lucky with Jacob’s Lodge Cottage in the northern part of the Yorkshire Dales. Located north of the A66 not far from the market town of Barnard Castle, in the most stunning rolling hills the views are to die for. With a huge wooden farmer’s-style kitchen table we self-catered for huge breakfasts. We enjoyed some wonderful walks from the front door over hedges and stiles into sheep-filled fields once coming across local farmers learning to sheer their sheep. Great for the young (and old) to watch. A short drive away we found amazing gastro-pubs in Middleton for a cracking Sunday lunch, and lovely antique shops, craft shops and homely cafes. Another day we scaled the rocks at High Force Waterfalls for that fabulous insta-moment! Bookable by our UK supplier Sykes Cottages, please get in touch for more details. Top tips: If you ask the owner they will wheel round their BBQ to use. They live close by. Make sure you book a table at the local gastro-pubs for Sunday Lunch as they are very popular and get very busy at peak times. Escape the rat race once in a while, pack the car up, don the walking boots and breathe in the fresh air, it’s good for the soul!
25 May 2018
As you know I was little apprehensive in entrusting the itinerary to anyone else but I have to say the organisation of it all was fantastic. You, the Travel Counsellors team and the Easia company, in Vietnam were all exceptional. Day 1 to 3 - Silk Path Hotel - Hanoi Hanoi is simply one of the world’s best cities. It is so vibrant, busy, interesting and fascinating that it could be a holiday destination all by itself. We had originally not booked a guide to show us around the city but on arrival and being met at the airport the guide was very interesting and whetted our appetite. We therefore booked him for some time the following day and he showed us around the sites and sounds of Hanoi. I would definitely recommend a guide as a must for anyone visiting Vietnam for the first time. The whole concept of food and drink is very “unwestern” and can appear a little daunting. A guide shows you how it all works and gives you the comfort and confidence that the locals will embrace you and welcome you in. The Silk Path Hotel which we stayed in was in a great location and was a great base. A well-furnished hotel with good food and drink. Day 3 to 5 Trip to Sapa (north Vietnam) We were picked up from our hotel in Hanoi early evening and transferred to Hanoi Rail station. We were booked on the Victoria Overnight Train which in reality is a couple of carriages which are attached to a much longer train. The Victoria is the best class of accommodation that you can book for the overnight train. The carriage was well furnished and relatively comfortable. Unfortunately it was also very cold and the noise pretty much makes it impossible to sleep which means you arrive in Sapa more than a little tired. The bathroom facilities are also shared which wasn’t great as the smell was particularly unpleasant. That said it was a memorable journey and looking back at least we can say we did it. On arrival in Sapa we transferred to the Fantastic Victoria Hotel which was simply the most beautiful hotel in Sapa. From there the guide took us to a couple of local villages and we also asked him to take us to the cable car in the mountains. We had learned that this took you to the highest point in Indo China and whilst the weather was bleak on the day we went it was again an unforgettable experience. The local food and drink in Sapa were a particular highlight with everything being wonderfully tasty and 3 of us eating and drinking for less than £20. Definitely a must visit for any excursion to Vietnam Day 5 We opted to change our plans at this point and instead of travelling back on the overnight train we took a Limousine through the Country and stayed an extra night in Hanoi. In hindsight we should have done this from the outset and I would recommend that other visitors try the same. We got to travel 5 hours through the Vietnam Countryside really experiencing and seeing how the people live. A truly amazing experience. On arrival in Hanoi we stayed at a different hotel in the “French Quarter” called the Conifer Hotel. This was an exceptional hotel and very well located in what is the “Posh” end of Hanoi. Day 6 Halong Bay Trip on the boat from Halong Bay with Indochina Sails Company. This was a fantastic boat and by far the best of the “400” or so boats that departed with us. The scenery is spectacular whilst the water is very polluted. Only to be expected I guess when you have that many visitors. The accommodation, the food and the organisation on this boat was again really good. We opted not to do some of the small trips that they had planned simply because of the volume of tourists that were there. None of this was a problem for them and we were made very welcome to change our minds. The second day of the trip was far more exclusive as we ventured further than the day trippers and really found some hidden gems. Again this is a trip that should be taken on a visit to Vietnam but go prepared to be with the masses if you only do one day. Day 9 Phu Quoc We stayed at the Mercury resort on Phu Quoc. The hotel was ok and we had a really nice apartment in the grounds. I was expecting a little more from our visit to Phu Quoc but I think as we started to restrict our budget (when booking) a little we perhaps didn’t quite experience the “paradise” that we were expecting. That said it was a great place to chill out and relax after so much travelling. My recommendation to anyone doing this is to go for the best quality hotel you can afford. The local town of Phu Quoc is bordering on the Benidorm of Asia and you really need to make sure your hotel has all you need so you don’t need to go out. Day 13 Saigon Can't remember the name of the hotel in Saigon now but it was the best of all of the hotels. Really comfortable and modern and fresh. Fantastic breakfast with everything you could ask for. Saigon is similar to Hanoi in that it is very bustling but certainly not as friendly. We really enjoyed our time here but with hindsight would probably have preferred to have better accommodation in Phu Quoc and left Saigon off the itinerary. That said it was a fascinating city and the War Remnants Museum was very thought provoking. As with everything in Vietnam the food and drink is ridiculously cheap. I think I have probably spent more on giving tips to people than I have on food and drink the whole of the 2 weeks I was there. Shaun told me he thought Vietnam was the best holiday destination in the world at this point in time. I have to say that I agree with him wholeheartedly. If anyone asks me where they should go I would point them in the direction of Vietnam Finally we had 3 nights in Hong Kong at the Kowloon Harbour Hotel. This was a great hotel well situated and with a shuttle bus that took you into Kowloon every 20 minutes. From there you can catch a ferry for 25p across to Hong Kong Island. We did a few touristy things whilst there but it never really floated my boat too much and I wouldn’t rush back. I think however that could be because we had such a good time in Vietnam that anywhere else in the world would pale into insignificance really. Finally thank you to you personally for putting together such an amazing itinerary. We really loved everything about Vietnam and it was all made so easy by you. You are a credit to Travel Counsellors and I hope they realise how lucky they are to have you.
31 January 2018
This is one of my client's reviews following their anniversary trip to the 5* Sandals La Source in Grenada. We had an amazing time, I think I can honestly say the most relaxing holiday I have had for some time! The room was really nice, they had only just been built in July, so it still felt nice and new. It was open plan with the bathroom within the bedroom, which I loved because it was so modern but not so great if you want some peace and quiet whilst taking a shower! The food was really nice, with plenty of choice including Japanese, Italian and Sushi - we have eaten so much! The gourmet hotdogs for lunch were lovely! And we always managed to fit in a cupcake from the French cafe! There were two nice size pools, they were renovating the one nearest to the beach, but it didn't stop you being able to use it. The beach was nice. Although they are public, because of the location we only saw a couple of beach sellers. The sea was like a bath, so warm and clear, although we did do some snorkelling, you didn't need to because you could easily see the fish. They do put on a free boat trip up the coast so we did that one afternoon and we also booked the Jeep safari and river tubing excursion, so we got to see the island on an open top jeep with a stop off at the sulphur springs and then river tubing, which was really good fun! The only downside (and there has to be one) was that the hotel did seem to have a lot of Butler Suites, so you found that first thing most of the sun beds were reserved for the Butler guests. They put towels on most them so that they would be able to choose which one they wanted! At times you felt there was a class thing going on! One major bonus was the transfer - it took about five minutes! I was a bit worried about it being rainy season, but the weather was perfect! Over the 10 days, we had about 30 minutes of rain! Plus, because we were out of season, the hotel didn't feel overly full, so it wasn't overcrowded and there was no issues getting into the restaurants. It's certainly on my list to go back! Thank you once again for booking a lovely holiday.
18 December 2017
It was all perfect! The accommodation was a separate ’block’ at the back of the hotel, three minutes’ walk away and the room was lovely. The hotel was great location for the toboggan run and the supermarket was a 10 minute walk away, where we stocked up on bits for lunches. Scotty treated us to the extra trip of the Husky ride. Not cheap but as Scotty said “we’re only here once”. We went out at dusk driving our own Husky team across a frozen lake and through woodland. Jacob was sat bolt upright at the front LOVING it while Libby cuddled up to him on my knee-pretty perfect! The trip to Santa was great. All the games the kids loved and lots of friendly staff, the elves were Jacobs favourite - he’s usually so quiet but he was shouting out at them and laughing his head off plus another husky ride where mums and dads drove the team again. We’re so glad we stayed the extra night, but glad we did the huskies for an afternoon to break it up too, not sure I could do a full day at the toboggan run as well as all the other times we did (10pm on Saturday night!) Can’t recommend the trip enough. I realise it’s a lot of money but if you ever have clients not sure they honestly won’t be disappointed. I actually had tears down my face when we met Father Christmas, Jacob’s face when he knew his name and had his actual letter was worth every extra pub shift and saving through the year. Feel extremely lucky we were able to go. Thanks again for everything, we’ll be in touch once I’ve qualified for another ‘big’ holiday.
01 September 2017
I've just returned from a wonderful taster cruise onboard Cruise & Maritime's Columbus. It's a medium-sized ship which is a refreshing change from some of the huge resort-sized ships we see these days. Not too many people and less likely to get lost finding my cabin! Onboard, there is a feeling of spaciousness as there are various venues for guests to be entertained, dined and refreshed, or simply just chill- out. The decks are spacious with plenty of deck chairs and sun beds around the pools to snooze away or catch some sunshine. Lots of food choices and excellent service from the waiters made dining experiences meals to remember. I particularly enjoyed the Indian speciality dining which is excellently priced with very authentic food and Indian beer. We had an outside cabin with a large picture window. It was spacious and clean and had UK plugs to compliment the sterling onboard - another welcome difference between some other cruise lines who only operate in dollars or Euro. Entertainment ranges from piano bars, quiet cafes, The Dome nightclub, a theatre for dance shows, and even an authentic English pub. There really is something for everyone and with such a mix of ages and clientele on board, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a weekender on board. We visited Amsterdam and Antwerp, perfect destinations for a short break as you dock right in the heart of the cities within walking distance of the main sights and attractions. For longer journeys on Columbus it's mainly an older clientele, with a clear adult only emphasis. If you are interested in sailing on Columbus, or would like any further information please get in touch. Top tips: On 4 night or longer cruises upgrade to the all-inclusive drinks package, currently costing £17.95 per person. Don't fancy sailing from the south coast? Did you know Cruise & Maritime sail from numerous local UK ports, eg Hull, Bristol, Newcastle and Liverpool. Pre-book a spa treatment on the day of embarkation and receive a 10% discount.
08 November 2016
I have been incredibly lucky this year I know. Every so often we are offered the chance to visit some fantastic locations around the world to see for ourselves what destinations have to offer. So when I was offered the chance to visit Aruba with a group of fellow Travel Counsellors it was very hard to turn down, especially as it was a Caribbean island I have not visited before. As the island is part of the Dutch Antilles we flew with KLM (the Dutch airline) via Amsterdam. Regional airports connect very well so I set off from Humberside Airport to Amsterdam for our connection direct to Aruba. I really like this idea of getting the short hop from Humberside Airport (25 mins from home) rather than the normal 4+ hour drive to London I usually have to do to get to the Caribbean. Circling the island to land you can see the beautiful white sandy beaches, and also appreciate the island’s close proximity to the South American coastline of Venezuela! Location plays a key role for Aruba as it sits outside the main Caribbean hurricane belt. On arrival the heat hits you! Love that feeling especially as I left the UK in autumn! My first impression of the island was that of wealth as we passed the designer shops in Oranjestad, the capital. Many cruise lines stop off here so the island likes to capitalise on this where possible. The architecture is a nice mix of old and new Caribbean with lots of Dutch influences as bright colours and shuttered windows adorn shops and houses. Some Caribbean islands feel quite poor with locals living in tin shacks – not Aruba! Our first morning was an orientation half day island tour taking in the stunning California lighthouse, various stunning white sandy beaches with the famous Divi Divi slanted trees, the Alto Vista Chapel, the Natural Bridge, Casibari Rock formations and the Bushiribana Gold Smelter ruins. This was a great introduction to the island and its people, I really got a feel of the small size of the island and its friendliness. I would recommend this. The next day was hotel visits taking in the Ritz Carlton which has some lovely hotel rooms and a buffet breakfast service that was superb. From there we made our way to the Renaissance Aruba Beach Resort which consisted of two sites, the first being on the beach and the second across the road in Orangestad’s main shopping complex where we had a lovely lunch. Then to our surprise we were whisked away James Bond style in a speedboat from inside the main hotel, through an underground tunnel, out to sea to their own private island for the afternoon to swim and snorkel and take pictures with the resident iguanas and pink flamingos! Lastly, we visited Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa, which was a low rise, traditional Caribbean-style hotel with some lovely facilities including a beautiful Balinese style outdoor spa on the beach and a very intimate restaurant and bar. The following day we were up early and off to see a varied selection of hotels this island has to offer. Firstly, we saw a wonderful privately owned, small boutique hotel called the Boardwalk Boutique Hotel which was so different. Set in lush small tropical gardens with roomy accommodation for families that included kitchen facilities on a self-catering basis. Perfect if you want to hit the beach all day, come back, put the kids to bed and then sit out on your balcony and terrace, BBQ, lounge in the hammocks and open the vino! I liked this one a lot! From here we hit Palm Beach, known locally as the ‘high rise’ area. Here you have all the bigger hotels and our first hotel we visited was the Hilton which is currently going through a building upgrade, the artist’s impression of the final look was very impressive. Following lunch at the Hilton beach restaurant with some wonderful prawns cooked on the grill (highly recommended) we made our way along the beach path through the lush gardens and palm trees to the Grand Hyatt which is everything you would expect of a Hyatt property. There are good sized rooms and plenty of space to chill around the different pools! Our last hotel of the day was the Amsterdam Manor Beach resort, a Dutch style property with lovely apartment style rooms for families with the beach just across the road and their own beach bar and restaurant where you can sit and have a real sunset dinner experience. This evening’s experience was a night to remember: Kukoo Kunuku: Aruba’s infamous party bus pub crawl! This was a lot of fun, a bus with no windows, lots of flashing lights, music blaring, we were all given maracas to shake and wave at the locals…. Singing and dancing you couldn’t help but enjoy the ride around the town, stopping off at four bars before being dropped off at the hotel just before 12.30 am. A great laugh, not for the faint hearted! The next morning, and probably not best planned after the party bus experience, we were out on a catamaran cruise for the morning from 9am to 2pm. This included three stops for snorkelling around shipwrecks, and then closer to land to see some wonderful sea life. Lunch and drinks included in the tour, this a great excursion to enjoy the Caribbean Sea, sun, and the views back to the beaches and rock formations were stunning. After an afternoon chilling back at our host hotel we were taken for our last hotel visit and for me, they had saved the best for last. The Bucuti & Tara Beach resort hosted us for an evening tour and champagne reception on the beach. This boutique hotel is an adult’s only hotel and the vibe was so relaxing and chilled. Couples who come for honeymoon are often repeat clients for anniversaries and birthdays in future years. The resort was lovely with great service, lots of space on the beach and around the pool. The beach restaurant with sunset views was a perfect place to spend our last evening. Very romantic, sparkly lights in the trees, a beautiful sunset and fabulous food, I would return here in a heartbeat. In summary, although Aruba is a small Caribbean island it has so much to offer you in choice of accommodation for all budgets and for things to do; from golfing to water sports, to yoga or gambling. Whether you just come to relax on the amazing beaches or be active, there is definitely a spot on this island for you. Top tips: You don’t need to book all-inclusive hotels, there are plenty of restaurants for all budgets. From McDonalds to top steakhouses or exquisite Thai restaurants to KFC! It is safe to drink the tap water. Ensure you use plenty of sunscreen. The winds can make it feel like it’s not as hot as it really is. Take it from me you can easily burn! The iguana is the local cat/dog! Weird to see them walking around the pool side or on your balcony!
15 August 2016
Umbria and Florence: Rolling hills, wide vistas, sunflowers as far as the eye can see, silence... As you may have guessed by now, we love our food. Having enjoyed Italian hospitality on previous holidays we chose Umbria as our summer destination this year. It's been a busy year so a quiet place was needed where we could chill out and recharge our batteries, have some days out in the surrounding area, and enjoy some fab food and wine. If this sounds like your perfect trip then Umbria is for you. More reasonable than neighbouring Tuscany, yet only 2.5 hours’ drive from Pisa, get off the beaten track and find vineyards for local wine tasting, view olive trees growing in pretty lines, medieval hill top towns with bell towers 100s of years old, kick back and relax. We visited famous wine towns; Orvieto, Montepulciano, Volterra, Casteliagno del Lago, Paciano. All stunning with amazing churches, some with caves, quaint old towns, traditional shops and THE best gelatarias! One day we made 3 types of wonderful fresh pasta and an Italian peach cake at Fontenaro Cookery School, a 5-hour course in a stunning traditional farmhouse kitchen, then our hosts served us our meals in their beautiful garden washed down with their homemade wine. Great day and highly recommended. After a week in Umbria, we had 3 nights in Florence. It felt very busy compared to Umbria and the prices in restaurants were double! Designer shops and beautiful people on every street made the contrast a great second destination to highlight the differences between city and countryside. If you are into your art then you will love the galleries, sculptures, and museums. If you are not afraid of heights (and physically fit!), climb the bell tower and the dome of the Duomo...only a mere 464 steps up (and down!) Top tips: Stay on an agriturismo property for the best local hospitality. Learn all about olive oil manufacturing, pasta making and wine producing by attending a cookery class. Attend local markets for fresh porchetta, cheeses and artisan bread. Make the most of your mornings as late afternoons in July / August storms occur. Avoid the queues, buy your Florence duomo entrance ticket online before travel.
14 April 2016
My youngest daughter is a bit of an adventure junkie (yes even at 8!) so when the opportunity came to visit Portaventura theme park on the Costa Dorada in Spain I jumped at the chance to fill the Easter school holidays. We stayed on site at the 4* Hotel Caribe and although it’s a large hotel it didn’t feel busy this time of year so there were plenty of tables for the huge buffet at dinner and breakfast. I can imagine in the summer it could be very busy and noisy! The food was varied and of a good quality, with plenty of choice for all palates. The salads were particularly good and replenished regularly. A complementary ‘noddy’ train takes you to the theme park gates. The theme park itself offers plenty of rides for all age groups and is themed into different ‘lands’. Two of the scariest (tallest) and (most loops) rollercoasters in Europe are in ‘China’ – Dragon Khan and Shambhala, so if you like the thrill of the ‘coasters and can’t quite stretch to Orlando, then a few days here will tick your box. We particularly liked the water rides, such a laugh – although in April we didn’t dry off very quickly! Top tips: Visit out of season for fewer queues. Beware of the opening times of the aqua park (Costa Caribe) it’s only open from end of May until September. Buy a poncho for the water rides (and the changeable weather in April!) Following our 3 nights here we caught the train (1.5 hours) to Barcelona for a few nights. One of my favourite European cities and although I have been before we managed to find spots we hadn’t previously explored and restaurants we will return to! We particularly enjoyed the Museum at FC Barcelona's Nou Camp stadium, a great interactive experience with access to some areas of the back rooms, press areas, pitchside and the impressive trophy room - highly recommend this most visited attraction of the city, although the shirts are ridiculously expensive! Top tips: For the best seafood eat in La Barceloneta. This is the area where the fishermen used to live and there are some excellent traditional Spanish restaurants hidden away in the back streets. Take cash as many won’t accept cards. Try a bike tour, you will get off your feet for a few hours and cover loads of ground to see areas only the best guides know about. Watch your purse, especially on Las Ramblas.
15 April 2016
Sometimes I get a bit blasé about destinations when I am dealing with them day in and day out and you forget how special some places are; so when I had the opportunity to travel to Swedish Lapland I had to pinch myself as I had never been anywhere so special before. We travelled with Scandinavian Airlines via Stockholm to Lulea in the heart of Swedish Lapland and our first overnight was the ‘red cottage’ style Pine Bay Lodge with just 7 bedrooms and a hearty fire to welcome us I already fell in love with the simplicity and beauty that is so often lost with huge hotel chains. We were then served the most amazing platter of nibbles I have ever had which included my first taste of reindeer, then a wonderful, locally produced, 3 course meal (I was hooked). A quick look for the Northern Lights (they were hiding unfortunately) on the frozen lake followed then a sound sleep in a very comfy bed. The Swedes have a fascination with their beds and sleep with a very think mattress topper on the mattress and then a duvet and heavenly pillows. Wonderful! The following day we were taken on a snowmobile tour out to the edge of the archipelago of islands in the bay, totally frozen this time of year, you pass tiny islands with a handful of inhabitants that are usually surrounded by water but now only accessible by snowmobiles! The silence, once the engines were switched off, was enough to give you goose-bumps! Our guide cooked up a fabulous meatball lunch over a BBQ (yes at -15oC!) as we huddled around in our thermal suits. 70kms an hour whizzing across the snow, we headed home for hot chocolates and cinnamon buns! That night we stayed back in the city of Lulea in the Clarion Sense Spa Hotel, a stunning hotel, with great Skybar, but before another comfy bed we visited the famous Ice Music Arena where an hour of Swedish music was played on musical instruments made of ice. A totally surreal evening to be seated in an igloo listening to Roxette and Abba , amongst others. The next day was a day and night I will never forget; we met with the husky dog legend Richard first and had an introduction to his huskies and a short mush with him. Next we arrived at Aurora Safari Camp for a stay overnight in lavvu tents in the wild forest of Swedish Lapland and the Råne River Valley. Stories around the campfire, a sauna, and plenty of wine kept us entertained before bed. Your lavvu tent has a comfortable bed with an Arctic sleeping bag and chairs and a heater to keep the air warm and snug on a cold winters night. The outside temperature in winter can be anywhere from -5°C to -35°C but inside you will find it around normal room temperature due to very efficient 'in-tent' stove fires which you keep going with plenty of logs, our alarms had to be set for every 2 hours to keep them lit! What a night sleeping in full thermals, a hat and a headlamp ! Bleary eyed the next morning; we met with Lars, a Sami elder, at his reindeer farm and museum for an insight into the fascinating Sami culture. It was interesting to hear first-hand about how the Sami people live and taste yet more yummy reindeer. This evening we stayed at one of the world’s top 10 quirky hotels: The Treehotel! Designed by individual architects the rooms are uber cool and quirky, offering great views of the wilderness and endless skies. We went moose spotting in the forest but no signs of the Northern Lights still. A fabulous hotel, truly worthy of it’s title. So, in summary, if you are a little adventurous, and want a trip of a lifetime, great food, super hotels with excellent service, and Lapland without any of the commercial Santa hype, this kind of trip is for you. Contact me to help you put together the itinerary for you. Top tips: It’s all about keeping warm! Wear layers of clothes made of natural fibres, no jeans or cottons. Thick wool socks are a must! Most suppliers offer free thermal suits and boots, so don’t spend a fortune on outer layers until you know what is included. Even though its freezing cold outside it’s boiling hot indoors so be prepared to walk around hotels in your socks and under-layers. It’s expensive to eat out, so have a good breakfast and pre pay any evening meals if you can before leaving the UK. If you are staying at the TreeHotel make sure you pick the right room for you, some access via ladders and some can be quite claustrophobic, there will be the right room for you, so read up! Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see the Northern Lights, it just means you have to return again!
09 March 2016
This was to be our last family holiday before my 18 year old decided it's no longer cool to go with us, so I wanted a real family trip for half term with loads of activities for both age groups of my children and I couldn't have chosen better. We went to the 5* Beaches hotel, Negril, Jamaica, mainly for the weather, but also for the beachfront location, the watersports, choices of restaurants and all-inclusive activities. It was fab! The waterpark on site kept my 8 year old busy all day, every day. We also tried all the FREE watersports available, paddle-boarding, banana boats, water skiing, hobie-cats, kayaking and snorkel trips. It was unlimited so we had plenty of goes every day. The Scratch DJ Lessons were really popular with the girls too, for $25 an hour they got to learn how to scratch records and came away with a CD with their work on too. The food was the highlight for me, especially Café de Paris for breakfast (French pastries and lovely coffees), Grills/BBQ for lunch, and Kimonos was my favourite for dinner(the tepanyaki restaurant) such different foods and offered such variety.... the cocktails weren't bad either! The romantic setting sun and daytime beach-life were just what we needed for an all-round fabulous family Caribbean holiday. I would highly recommend.
27 October 2015
Not happy with just one Greek island I wanted to pack in three this holiday! I chose these three islands due to their locations, ferry connections and contrasts and wasn't disappointed. We stayed in three very different properties which suited our family perfectly. We flew with Easyjet into Mykonos then home from Santorini, after 10 nights of Greek sunshine. My highlights : Mykonos: Watching the A listers on their yachts in Platys Yialos. Mykonos Town for cocktails and sunsets over Little Venice. Getting lost in Mykonos Town's maze of back streets. Naxos: Naxos Town- loved the harbour and Old Town. THE most amazing sunsets I have ever seen in the WORLD whilst eating some of the best seafood I have ever tasted. Try Patatosporos restaurant - amazing! Book ahead for a table in the beach for the sunsets. Laid back Greece, uncommercial, friendly and really good value. Santorini: What a view! Sitting on our terrace overlooking the caldera watching the sunsets whilst the cruise ships sailed away. Last day on a fabulous catamaran cruise around the island, swimming in the sea and the hot springs around the volcano with BBQ on board. Hiring a car for the day to see the whole of the island, visiting Oia ( stunning hotels with views to die for) eating at A Good Heart restaurant with the famous Anna and her sun-dried tomatoes. Tips: Beware of the days the cruise ships enter the port in Santorini, the town of Thira gets very busy.
05 May 2015
I spent a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend at Basin Howe Farm Cottages in Sawdon Heights, North Yorkshire with my family. I can highly recommend these luxury cottages for a stay in this beautiful part of the world. It's location is perfect for mountain bikers, walkers, people who like the coastal area, it's also set on the outskirts of a peaceful village with a fabulous gastro pub too! We took plenty of walks with the dog and loved rock pooling on Cayton Bay beach. A fish and chip lunch in Filey or Scarborough is also a must! The cottage is a very high standard and well equipped for a self catering stay. I loved the viewing pod which has fabulous views over the rolling countryside and woodland.
02 June 2015
When it comes to anniversaries and birthdays or I need to leave the rat race for a night this is where I head. Raithwaite Hall Estate. It is a fabulous luxury property only a mile inland from the Whitby to Sandsend coastal road but set in beautiful gardens it is calming as soon as you walk in the doors. The service is impeccable in the restaurants and I rate the breakfast as one of the best Yorkshire breakfasts I have ever had, all locally sourced fresh foods and with views over the gardens I cant fault it. We tend to have a spa treatment too and an hour or so in the indoor pool area which at certain times is child-free. Our room was in the main original hall this visit so there were thick walls and high ceilings and one of those marshmallow beds and duvets that engulf you into a great sleep. I would highly recommend a stay here to golfers, walkers, families and couples a like. The area has so much to offer from the bustling harbor town of Whitby for fresh fish and chips to tiny Yorkshire Moors villages that look like they haven't been touched by time. I will definitely return...not only for the deconstructed snickers bar dessert! Top Tips: Book a spa treatment before you go as they do get booked up. Reserve a table for dinner - scrumptious steaks! Try the afternoon tea in the bar area too!
02 June 2015
I'd promised my eldest daughter since she was 12 or 13 that I would take her to New York when she was 18. I have no idea where those years have gone but in February 2015 I made the promise into a reality. We arrived in the coldest spell of winter storms they had experienced for years but we were well prepared so it didn't stop us doing anything we had planned, infact the snow made it more magical, Central Park more stunning and Ground Zero more eerie. We stayed at the mid-priced Ameritania hotel, perfectly positioned for Midtown Manhattan, Times Square, Central Park and The Theatre District. The rooms aren't massive, but warm and comfy and to be honest we were out all day so that's all we needed. Each day we shopped, walked and walked, ate (a lot), visited the iconic sights like Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Macy's and Bloomingdales, Grand Central Terminal and Madison Square Gardens. My highlights: The Pizza Tour of Brooklyn - get off Manhattan for the best views of it! Fab pizzas, stories of Mafia mobs and iconic movie scenes and a trip to Coney Island. 9/11 Memorial and Ground Zero - fascinating, touching and emotional and very well done. Allow a fair few hours to see it all properly. Take tissues! Jersey Boys - amazing show in a beautiful theatre just off Times Square. New York baked cheesecake at Juniors. Sunday brunch at Sarabeth's - make sure you reserve a table in advance! Chinatown on Chinese New Year - amazing dragon dancers, drummers, street parades and fabulous gala meals. We felt safe at all times, the subway was clean and easy to use and much cheaper than a yellow cab. We will return!
02 June 2015
Sometimes we get the opportunity to travel to destinations to 'try them for ourselves' so when I was offered a trip to Jamaica courtesy of he leading all-inclusive hotel group of Sandals I jumped at the chance. I visited 4 hotels on the island, here are my reviews: Sandals Royal Caribbean: I visited this hotel for lunch. It remains one of my favourites of the trip. Beautiful rooms and suites, particularly the swim up lagoon suites. the gardens are well kept and beautiful. I loved the private island at Sandals Cay that you get a boat across to. There is a fabulous Thai restaurant on the island and a nudist section of the beach that is very private and not in sight of the bar or pool there. There are cabanas and hammocks over the sea here, all very romantic. The beach is stunning, soft white sand and the property has quite stretch. There are some lovely wedding venues in a few different locations from garden pergolas to small docks/piers into the sea that are dressed in floaty materials and can easily accommodate rows of chairs for guests. All looked stunning. I liked the choice of restaurants and bars, all a bit different to the next with even an afternoon tea area like old England. The watersports facilities are excellent and the sea is very shallow and warm for quite a distance out to sea, perfect for lounging in! The hotel staff were really welcoming and couldn't do enough for us. I want to return for definite ! Sandals Royal Plantation: It was by far my favourite of the 4 hotels I visited. It is the smallest and most intimate property with all rooms having stunning sea views. The hotel has an old-plantation home feel to it, very well decorated and furnished. Quiet and romantic. The clientele I saw around the hotel tended to be older couples, and honeymooners, wanting a more discreet service level. The hotel has two small coved beaches with watersports available at one. This isn't the normal brash, full-of-Americans Sandals hotel, far from it. There is a champagne and caviar bar in one of the intimate restaurants (at additional fee) and a beautiful drawing room that is often used for weddings. If clients stay here but want a livelier day or night they can pop next door to the Grande Riviera but guests staying there cannot go to Royal Plantation. Beautiful grounds and driveway really make for a stunning welcome on arrival. The rooms are luxurious with dark wood furnishings to fit in with the old plantation house theme. The Prime Ministers Suite being totally gorgeous with amazing balconies and bathroom. There is also a private villa in the grounds that can be hired with Cook and butler. I would definitely stay here! Sandals Grande Riviera and Butler Village. (now called Ochi Beach Club): The Butler Village is on the hillside so you have to get a little golf cart or mini bus to the main hotel, pools and beach front. If you get an ocean view villa then you are right at the top. Each villa shares the pool with either 2 or 4 other villas. There wasn't many people around the pool areas in this part of the hotel so I got the impression the private villas are only used as a base and most time is spent at the beach club or pools lower in the resort. Although if you wanted a quieter stay you would be fine up here. There are lots of facilities here you would expect from Sandals properties, the spa, tonnes of restaurants, bar areas, etc and some you wouldn't expect, like a climbing wall!! I found the resort to be quite lively with lots of people around the pool and beach, but as the resort is so spread out there are plenty of quiet areas too. The resort is incredibly lush and the gardens are like a jungle in places so even though it was a big property it is really pretty with flowers, ponds, walkways and palms everywhere. I would stay here, but not in the Butler villas as I think they are too far away from all the action and I would get annoyed at having to get a golf cart anywhere. Beaches Ocho Rios: I stayed in a gorgeous concierge suite on the beachfront in the Greek Village area. It was huge and would quite adequately fit a family of four with amazing views over the sandy beach onto the Caribbean Sea which was literally 6 steps away from my suite door. It is a large property made up of various areas, The French Village is being completely renovated at the moment with all new bathrooms and tiled floor areas being revamped. We ate at Neptune's seafood restaurant a couple of times which was nice food, but not massive portions. Service was very friendly and chatty. The main buffet restaurant was the main area for breakfast there was always a huge selection even though the hotel was not busy what so ever, in fact this made the hotel feel a bit soulless and not much in terms of atmosphere. Also the disco and the A la Carte restaurants weren't open as not enough customers warranted it. I would therefore be careful about recommending this property out of season as it may be too quiet for some. When I discussed this with a watersports instructor he said it is really busy in peak time and the beach can be crowded! The waterpark in the hotel is the largest in Jamaica so this is a real attraction. It opens from 10am every day. The kids club area had loads of activities planned and the Sesame Street characters are at home here for character breakfasts and parades. Great fun! The rooms in the kids club area are a bit dated in my opinion. they could do with a refresh. The location of the hotel on the outskirts of Ocho Rios means you are too far out to walk into town so a taxi would be needed. However, Ocho Rios is central for all the main attractions of the island; Dunn's River Falls, Mystic Mountain, Dolphin Encounter etc. I would stay here with my family, but only when it is busier.
28 August 2014
Ios is a neighbour of Santorini, in the Cyclades group of Greek islands. Its popularity as a party island for young people should not deter you from visiting it. It is a Greek island of much beauty, un-commercialised in most areas, with beautiful sandy beaches, mountainous hillsides, windmills, history and myth. The fact that it is on the main backpacker route around the Cyclades does mean in July and August it is popular with young people but in June and September it is much quieter and offers a very reasonable alternative to its neighbours of Mykonos and Santorini. We loved hiring a kayak for the afternoon and finding our own cove with no one else on it. We loved chilling out in hammocks in beachside tavernas, the way the hippies would have done in the 1960s and 1970s. Certainly an island for chilling out and kicking back. Loved it! Tip: Before sunset climb the hill at Chora (The Village) of Ios Town, past the churches with the whitewashed walls and blue domes and pick a place to watch the amazing sunset, very romantic! Restaurant Recommendations: For a special occasion try Grandma’s at Liostasi Hotel & Spa above Ios Town harbour – excellent food, service and views, to be expected at one of the small leading hotels of the world. For rustic Greek, Sally & Nicos Arhondiko in Chora, is great after the sunset walk. It has a lovely roof terrace. Also, the Nest is very busy but very reasonable with great hearty, local food.
15 July 2014
This is one of my customer's reviews sent to me on the return from his weekend away, I thought it was perfect to share on here! SAS airlines are excellent, no messing about, no fuss, they just get you there. Also the coffee is OK. Oslo airport isn't bad, we grabbed a decent bite to eat there. Aalesund airport is a bit like Humberside, but hugely efficient, clean and tidy. Car hire is right in the arrivals hall. The staff were friendly and efficient, not quite the German level of efficiency at Dusseldorf, but very close. Our car was upgraded to a rather smart Volvo. Out of the airport, through six miles of tunnels under the fjords and we ended up in the middle of town. Apoteksgata was first on the right. There is no parking at the hotel but the receptionist was super-helpful and told us about an underground car park 600m away where the credit card machine was broken, so we had three days free parking. It’s normally £16 for 24 hours, but this is bang in the middle of town. Think of Venice, but really clean. The hotel room had French doors that opened right over the harbour, straight down to the water. The hotel was an old salt warehouse. Staff were very efficient and helpful; right up there with The Marriott. Their internet service was fast and we could use their laser printer too which was great for boarding cards and maps. We didn't check the calendar, but there was a huge boat festival going on. There were live bands each night, a huge food marquee and dozens of exotic food stalls, plus hundreds of visiting boats and their associated crews. The only downside was that finding a restaurant seat was tough. We managed though. Prices were similar to London. A half-decent meal with wine was £70. We also ate from the street food vendors, superb paella from an Italian who was selling English preserves and Italian cheese and salamis as well. We went off into the fjords, skipped over a few ferries and up to the snow line. It was 25 degrees at sea level, but still glaciers and snow. It was a bit like Morocco in fact, baking hot but still snowy up high. We were hoping to get to Geirangerfjord, but we were seduced by a little restaurant/bar alongside the ferry and were treated to a superb halibut fillet, local fish soup and smoked salmon salad, and on a whim, jumped on a different ferry and went up through the hills to the north. The views were stunning, and we didn't get back until 11pm or so, but it was still full daylight and the boat festival partying was just beginning. Sleep was rather tough, as the party went on until at least 1am and it was still completely light. Hotel breakfasts went on until 11am so not a problem. The breakfasts were really good, with bacon and eggs and home-made warm bread. There were also rice cakes for those of us who are gluten-free but also bacalao (salt cod with onions, tomatoes and spices) and marinated herring, cold meats, porridge, several different fermented dairy products and cured air-dried reindeer sausage. The highlight of the visit was probably the Atlantic Park aquarium, with enormous shoals of herring and an amazing huge tank of cod, whiting, halibut and haddock. Lunch there was excellent, really good cream fish soup, salmon salad and bacalao. Second best was the living museum of Sunnmore, with replica Viking boats being built and 20+ houses from the 1600 and 1700s through to 1900s which have been moved to the site. We didn't have time to get to the Fishing Museum or the Cube modern art gallery or the shops or the Art Nouveau museum in town, but we are tempted to go back. We went off exploring the countryside and went up to the park at the top of the hill above Aalesund. It’s pretty much a wild area, but then you follow a track and have a panoramic view over the town, the dozens of islands, the harbour and the distant snow-capped peaks. Military aficionados would enjoy the Atlanticpark, with pillboxes and old gun emplacements for British Armstrong heavy guns from the late 1890s. Aalesund was burnt to the ground in 1904, and as a result, many of the buildings come from the Jugendstil or Art Nouveau period. There are lots of new buildings too, the place felt really booming. The ferries are excellent, a 24 hour service once per hour and once every 20 minutes from 7am to 8pm or so, and lots of tunnels. It would have been possible to get around without a car, but it made such a difference having our own transport. Prices were, as expected, ludicrously high, but we had a stunningly good time. The place didn't feel like it needed tourists, it was buzzing and managed fine without us being there, which added to the allure considerably. Highly recommended so long as you don't expect it to be touristy.
07 May 2014
I promised my children a trip of a lifetime that would encompass all that California has to offer and that's what we delivered. I wanted to see redwoods, the Pacific Ocean, national parks, theme parks (like Disney and Universal), Hollywood, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge - all the icons that sum up the Golden State. Hopefully they'll remember this holiday for a very long time. We travelled with Air New Zealand direct from Heathrow to Los Angeles, the service was excellent and I would highly recommend a direct flight. The Skycouch was perfect for the children as they got 3 seats which transform into a couch for the two of them (well worth paying the supplement for). Our itinerary was a busy one; with a city stay in LA, a beach week in bohemian Venice Beach, a culture and sporting stop in San Francisco, and then a four day drive back down the wild and wonderful Pacific Coast Highway. We had an amazing trip with so many wonderful experiences. Where else can you see elephant seals lazing on the beach in pup season, Hearst Castle, redwoods (the tallest trees in the world) in their natural habitat, drive past multi-million dollar mansions, cycle on world famous boardwalks, shop until you drop and then within a day be hugging Mickey Mouse or Scooby Do? This place really does have it all. Our trip was quite punishing for a family, so try not to under estimate the distances and the amount of traffic. I would therefore recommend planning in a few rest days in between all the driving. Needless to say I would be back within a flash; the laid back lifestyle, huge food portions, great year-round weather and reasonable prices are a draw. Also the people are friendly, the service in general is impeccable and the standard of the hotels leave some European hotels wanting. Hints and tips: Pre book and pay for a GPS when driving in the USA - a life saver on numerous occasions. Take plenty of small denomination dollar bills for tipping, you tip everyone! Wear sunscreen whenever you are out, the sun really is strong even when you think it's behind clouds. Pre book Alcatraz tickets before you go as these get booked up and are rarely available on the day. Most US hotels don't have kettles in the room so if you like your morning cuppa take your own teabags they will often give you a kettle if you ask at reception. We stayed at: The Mondrian, Los Angeles Clift, San Francisco La Playa, Carmel Madonna Inn, San Lois Obispo Harbour View, Santa Barbara
26 March 2014
I've just returned from a long weekend in Barcelona. This beautiful city is quickly becoming another favourite of mine. We stayed in the superbly located H10 Port Vell. It’s a 4* hotel with a small roof terrace for lounging on the warmer days and enjoying a drink whilst overlooking the harbour. Within a block you are into the myriad of streets of El Born, known for the artisan shops, boutiques and tapas bars this city has based its reputation on. Another block away and you find yourself in the Gothic Quarter with its wonderful cathedral and gothic architecture. I found Las Ramblas too busy and too touristy for my liking but it's the main pedestrianised area to get from the harbour front to the main square of Plaza de Catalunya, where all the tours seem to go from. We decided to leave the tour buses behind and hired a bike tour of the city's highlights. Such fun! There are plenty of stops for the guide to tell you stories of the city and the main landmarks. I would highly recommend this to anyone visiting the area, and you catch the sun whilst you are cycling! The food is always a highlight on any of my trips, so I wasn’t disappointed with all that Barcelona has to offer. With so many restaurants to choose from it's important to do some research before you go, otherwise you could end up walking aimlessly looking at menus! I can highly recommend Bastaix in El Born. It serves rustic Spanish food, plenty of it and it’s very reasonable. The Sangria was amazing too and in very authentic surroundings.
03 December 2013
I can't begin to tell you how special and unique the Northern Belle is. The food is outstanding and, for me, one of the highlights of the journey. The surroundings are enchanting with fine linens, silver cutlery and beautiful crockery. The service is attentive, being tailored to the customer, relaxed and chatty, and in no way stuffy or over the top. If you like the finer things in life and appreciate how lucky we are to have this kind of tradition and workmanship in this country you need to try it! Our trip was a long day with an exceptional five course brunch which was served as the train travelled through some of the most stunning Lake District and Scottish countryside I'd ever seen. The leisurely pace allows you to take in the views somehow with more appreciation than any normal train journey. On arrival in Edinburgh we took a tour around Holyroodhouse Palace which gave a great insight into the history of the palace and all the royalty who lived there over the centuries. The journey home on the train saw the lights dim as we tucked into another scrumptious five course evening meal. There was a more jovial atmosphere, the champagne was flowing and there was a buzz in the carriages as we shared experiences of our afternoon in the Scottish capital. If you have a special occasion, birthday, anniversary, Mothers or Father's Day or just want to treat yourself…..you will not stop smiling. From the minute you set foot on the special carpet on the platform to the minute you are waved off, it’s amazing! Do it!
16 October 2013
Leighton Hall Farm Cottages, Near Neston, The Wirral, Cheshire was our chosen place to stay for a weekend of quiet countryside where we could access the busy towns and cities close by. We chose these cottages as they were furnished to a high standard and had enough space for a group of 11 ladies all to have our own rooms. We hired all three cottages but one would be fine for a family of up to 6 people. I booked through Hoseasons Cottages who left loads of information for us on arrival with recommendations for places to visit and eat. I can hearty recommend the Greek restaurant Kri Kri in nearby Neston village. A half hour rail journey took us into Liverpool for a trip around the Albert Dock, The Beatles Story museum, Mathew Street for The Cavern Club, and to hit the shops in Liverpool One. The next day we spent all afternoon visiting Port Sunlight, the village Lord Lever built for his workforce when the UniLever factory was in its prime. This is a great place to visit for a history lesson and a nice leisurely Sunday stroll. The cottages aren't far from North Wales and Chester too, I may have to return to see that part of the country for another weekend away!
15 August 2013
Recently we had a wonderful time staying near Luino on Lake Maggiore, Italy. I could have sat on my balcony forever and never tire of the views over the Lake. I loved how the lake changed colour as the night drew in. We saw some fabulous sunsets and had two unbelievable storms where the lightning was fascinating to watch. We had a week visiting the following places: Our first stop was Lugano, Switzerland. We had a lovely walk around the old town and the lake. We took the mini tourist train through the town and did the funicular ride to the top of Monte Bre. The views there were absolutely breath-taking! On the way back we stopped at a chocolate museum and watched the chocolate being made. Happily, we were able to sample as much as we liked! We also took a day trip to the pretty islands of Isola Bella and Isola Pescatoire from Lavena on the little ferry. This was a great day out and we found a lovely fish restaurant for lunch. The gardens on Bella are amazing. Luino Market on Wednesdays take over the whole town. We particularly enjoyed the food stalls and stocked up for a BBQ that evening back at the Villa. TIP - Enjoy a swim in the lake after a busy day sightseeing, it's cold but very invigorating.
10 August 2013
The MSC Divina is great if you’re looking for a family orientated cruise that’s laid-back, casual and full of fun. There’s also a dash of sparkle and sophistication thrown in with lounge bars and tempting menus! The ship’s design was inspired by screen legend Sophia Loren. As a result there are sumptuous lines plush decor with Swarovski crystals embedded in the stairs, and overall the ship is pristine. We chose an itinerary departing from Venice, which almost looked like a miniature village as we sailed off through the lagoon. Highlights were:- a trip to Olympia, with a fascinating insight into how the modern Olympics came about and a chance to run on the original Olympic 'track'. Sea kayaking around the old fort, islands and coastline of Dubrovnik. The hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and the bazaar in Izmir with the eclectic mix of pet shops, hang bag stalls, kebab shops, the largest array of pashminas and fresh fish markets! TIP - Prepay the all-inclusive drinks package on board, relax and enjoy.
09 June 2013
Once in a while you have to treat yourself. With friends in London and friends in Yorkshire, Stratford upon Avon was the ideal place to 'meet in the middle' for a girly treat weekend. The McDonald Alveston Manor was our chosen retreat. Located perfectly by the river and a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of the summer street markets and the shops, cafes, bars and bistros of this busy tourist haven. We booked a spa package through UK specialist Superbreak where chocolates, champagne, robes and relaxation are on the menu. The staff were extremely special, especially the spa ladies who were chatty but very professional, and also made us feel relaxed and pampered. Dinner was served quickly and efficiently and a nice choice on the fixed menu. I can highly recommend the dark chocolate marquise with pistachio sauce, yummy!
06 June 2013
A quick dash over the North Sea from Hull on an overnight ferry allows a full day of exploration before the return journey. Bruges is not just about chocolate but it does feature heavily, if you love chocolate you’ll adore Bruges. I was pleasantly surprised with how pretty this little Belgian town is. It reminded me of parts of York with cobbled streets and ancient buildings. We did a walking tour of all the main squares and streets surrounding the main town including a short canal trip. If you get out of the main square the streets are much quieter and you can enjoy the quaint Belgian architecture. We tried the different Belgian beers found in the many bars before our coach back to the ferry, oh and the obligatory Belgian waffles smothered in chocolate sauce! Yum! TIP: Go in the moules season and enjoy the famous ‘moules et frites’ fresh from the seaside.
12 May 2013
Recently, I had my ‘big’ birthday bash in Dublin with a group of my best friends. We stayed in a really funky 4* hotel called the Trinity Capital hotel; it’s close to Trinity College, the main shopping area of Grafton Street, a short walk to the nightlife of Temple Bar area and the riverside. Apart from the Guinness tour (I recommend the steak and ale stew and mash in the Guinness bar!), the main highlight for me was a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison and now a heritage site museum. It is eerie and a painful glimpse into prison life in Dublin over the years. The guides that take you around are brilliantly knowledgeable and really set the scene of the suffering endured. TIP: The Guinness tastes different in Dublin, so give it a try, even if you think you won’t like it!
06 June 2013
I took my 5 year old to Barcelona in October half term and was pleasantly surprised how child friendly this bustling city is. The award-winning zoo was quiet this time of year so very few queues to get into the sea-lion and dolphin shows. It was also warm enough to picnic in t-shirts in the many park areas. We took a hop-on-hop-off 2 day ticket as my little one wasn't up for all the walking. The ticket also gave discounts off many attractions and restaurants, including the zoo! We found the metro to be very handy, good value and easy to navigate too. If you buy a multi trip ticket it can save you a fortune. An area we found to be ultra cool was 'El Born' - trendy tapas bars, shops, small hotels and great Spanish architecture really close to the main Gothic Quarter but nowhere near as busy. Definitely worth a return visit, without children next time, so we can enjoy the late night Spanish lifestyle! TIP - Make the effort to visit Gaudi's Parc Guell, north of the city, it has amazing views over the whole of Barcelona and out to sea.
06 June 2013
I've seen Dubai evolve over the years, and it never ceases to amaze me! Not only known for its designer shopping malls and glitzy hotels, there is so much more to Dubai waiting for you to find. I would highly recommend catching the metro, which is unbelievably good value and clean, or a cab down to Bur Dubai. Take an abra ride (a small wooden boat) on the creek for a glimpse of what old Dubai was like before all the development began. It's a great way to get a tan, whilst enjoying the sights on this busy waterway. Reasonably priced, by Dubai's standards, there are also small cafes on the creek side where you can sit with a peppermint tea and Arabic snacks whilst watching the boats bob up and down the creek as the sun sets...marvellous way to end a day of shopping around the souks in this area. TIP – Pre-book your Burj Khalifa 'At the Top' ticket before leaving the UK, much cheaper than paying on the door and guaranteed entrance.
06 June 2013
We wanted to see more of the Emirates after staying in Dubai, so this cruise was perfect for us travelling with two children. The facilities on board are brilliant for families and the free child prices make his cruise company a first choice for me. Must see:- Abu Dhabi – The Grand Mosque - the most amazingly serene place, quiet and tranquil and a welcome cool retreat from the heat. Be prepared to don the full black gown and head cover to enter. Omani Fjords – We spotted dolphins and had a wonderful cooling swim in the fjords within Oman’s rugged coastline. Muscat – Old Muttrah Souk is close to the port and is a myriad of narrow alleyways selling everything and anything. I loved the smells and sounds coming from all the shops and stalls and could have spent hours here, husband permitting! TIP: Pre book the drinks packages with Costa before departure, well worth it.
12 May 2013
Another weekend trip with a group of friends, we had a great time visiting the galleries and nightlife of this famous European city. We stayed in the Convent Hotel on a broad street away from the main hustle and bustle of the liveliest parts of town. By day we wandered around galleries and museums, stopping for coffees and cakes when we pleased. By night we found a marvellous Dutch restaurant called Moeders where the locals ate. Traditional and homely, we felt we’d found the real Amsterdam. I would highly recommend this place for it’s home cooked food and vintage crockery and decor. TIP: Take a walk through the red light district; you can’t go to Amsterdam without a quick peak!
06 June 2013
We had a wonderful family holiday in the Midi-Pyrenees part of untouched France. We flew into Gerona in northern Spain, hiring a car to drive over the border into France. We stayed in a characterful town called Prades which was approximately an hours’ drive to the seaside or up into the Pyrenees in the opposite direction. Prades has market days which are a delight; beware of the smelly cheeses! We enjoyed a day out at the picturesque seaside town of Collioure where there are some great seafood restaurants along the harbour front. Travelling in August we arrived in the height of the peach season with fields and fields of beautifully ripe and juicy peaches and apricots for sale by the side of the road. Yummy! Carcassone, the medieval settlement, is also worth a day trip. The children loved the birds of prey and jousting re-enactment. For me the highlight of the holiday was the day we spent at the natural thermal outdoor spa baths ('bains'). There are quite a few of them in the area and the locations are stunning; often perched high in the mountains overlooking some amazing scenery. TIP – It’s not far to drive into Andorra, if you fancy visiting another country on your holidays.
06 June 2013
If you want the Greek islands where the Greeks go for their holidays, these two islands are for you! An hour's hydrofoil or ferry ride from Athens, it felt like I'd landed somewhere wonderfully relaxed and in total contrast to the capital I'd left an hour earlier. Still relatively uncommercial, during the day Agistri offers laid back beach life with shallow sandy beaches safe for children. We hired a boat and were sailed around the island by a full of character ex-pat, Robert! It included a brilliant swim stop for snorkelling and a fabulous lunch stop at the south of the island where we sat overlooking other tiny islets in the bay dotted with moored up boats. Wonderful! By night, the restaurant life brings everyone out for a stroll along the seafront down to the quayside to eat the fresh octopus that has been drying out in the sun all day. Barbequed on the grill, this is a local speciality of the island, and absolutely mouth watering. Aegina Town is a short ferry ride across the water, and a touch busier. The shopping here is better with some great local art galleries. TIP: On your return to Athens allow some extra time to see the capital.
06 June 2013
If you fancy seeing some of the real parts of Spain, this area in the north of the country is for you. We flew into Santander and had a week in Cantabria close to some of the best beaches and equally gorgeous seafood you can imagine, then a week in the mountains in Asturias. A trip to Antoni Gaudi's summer house, El Capricho, in Comillas is well worth seeing as is a day pottering around Santander, a colonial Spanish town with heaps of history. Find a Valon coffee shop for the thickest hot chocolate and churros known to man! The Cangas De Onis area of Asturias is an adventure junkie's playground. We took a day trip white water kayaking; an afternoon horse riding, hiking in the hills, to going underground in pre historic caves. Needed a holiday when we returned! TIP: Don't miss a visit to the pilgrimage site of Covadonga to kiss the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
06 June 2013
We had a wonderfully sunny weekend in Prague which meant we were able to walk and walk and walk. We stayed in a hotel in the Unicef World Heritage Area around the old square near the gothic cathedral really central for all the sights and sounds of this wonderful city. With limited time to enjoy the Czech capital, we joined a walking tour of the city which covered all the main sights of the bridges and cathedral and the Jewish quarter and offered a free ghost tour on the evening. This ensured I didn’t sleep a wink that night! I loved all the different beers and the cafe culture of the main squares. TIP: Trams are inexpensive and a good alternative to the more costly taxis to run you up the hill to the St. Vitus Cathedral.
12 May 2013
I used to escape the busier Zakynthos for day trips onto this neighbouring Ionian island Kefalonia. The drive from the small ferry port took us into Argostoli and up into the mountains usually to a favourite fish restaurant in Aghia Efthimia. This tiny resort with a shingle beach is typically Greek with white washed stone buildings and blue painted window frames. Just lush. Captain Corelli's Mandolin was filmed here with Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz. I bet the village didn’t know what hit it when Hollywood came to town! If time permitted we could get up to Assos or Fiskardo for some amazing views over the harbour to neighbouring islands. Don't miss the underground caves at Drogorati, lots of steps down to see these famous caves, remember you have to climb back up them all! TIP: Cameras at the ready at Melissani Lake, a must visit behind the resort of Sami. A rowing boat takes you down to this underground lake where the colour in the water is amazing.
05 June 2013
This is a challenging, high altitude ski resort with glacier skiing and guaranteed snow coverage situated in northern Italy. Not the prettiest of resorts but some amazing views from high up the mountains. The slopes are wide and great for beginners as the nursery slopes are close to the resort centre. I loved the snow mobile toboggan runs, great fun! TIP: We took a well earned rest from skiing one day and drove down to Venice, quite a journey, but it was Valentine's Day so perfect for a romantic day out! It was the famous Venetian Masquerade Ball, great to see people dressed up and masked ready for action.
06 June 2013
One of my favourite places in the world, I adore this place, it's magical. Once you have visited St Mark's Square, get off the tourist trail and throw your map away. Let the alleyways, bridges and canals dictate your day. Every corner you turn you will be spell bound by a different sight or square or church dome or intricate doorway. Once the sun goes down there is a huge variety of nightlife and something for everyone. One of the best ways to see Venice is by waterway. Gondolas aside, if you are lucky enough to sail into or out of the port at either sunset or sunrise the sun dazzling on the uneven terracotta roof tops is just breathtaking. TIP: Drinking outside a cafe in St Mark's Square will be double the cost of the same drink off the square!
06 June 2013
Villars and Les Diablerets are two beautiful resorts with some amazing skiing. My husband and eldest daughter are the mad skiers in the family, so I always look for a little something for me when I book our winter trips. With Switzerland I am never short for non-skiing things to do. I always book a resort with a toboggan run, and the Swiss do this very well. Whole road systems that are unused during the ski season are taken over as toboggan runs, so you take your toboggan up on the ski lift and follow the signs down the hill/roads where I meet the family after they have skied down. Still a speed freak, I am often first down! Great fun, but not for the faint hearted! I loved the picture postcard chalets and the quaint craft and chic-home shops. Great cafes for apple strudels and hot chocolates for après-ski. TIP: Go for half board as expensive to eat out.
12 May 2013
I was lucky enough to live on Zakynthos for the summer season of 2005 for 6 months. The island really does have something for everyone. I particularly like the Vassilikos peninsula; hire a car and take the drive down the winding coastal road through Argassi to this wild tip at the point of the island overlooking the mainland of Greece in one direction and Marathonisi, known as 'Turtle Island' in the other. There are some great beaches to visit and pretty views through olive groves at every turn. My favourite restaurant is La Bruschetta – this restaurant is high above Liminaria (Keri Lakes) for rustic Italian food, al fresco with the most beautiful flowering bougainvillea surrounding the walls of this top notch eatery. Great at sunset! Michaelo's on the Zakynthos Town road is also great. Home cooked traditional Greek food, friendly service and good value. Al fresco restaurant under grape vines. I can still taste the tzatziki! Yum!
12 May 2013
My honeymoon destination. It was a strange choice for someone who prefers uncommercialised places, but I loved it! The whole scale of the place made me walk around with jaw dropped, saying 'No! Look at that!' all week! We stayed at the Bellagio. Amazing place once we'd found the way to our hotel room after a 20 minute walk from reception. It also houses the best steakhouse we have ever had the pleasure of eating in, the Prime Steakhouse. Mouth watering! Don't miss the dancing fountains at the front of the hotel as seen in Ocean's Eleven. As for shopping, choice of eateries and amazing themed hotels, there is simply no where on earth to beat it! The place is truly bonkers, and a great place for people watching from celebrity spotting to brides in full bridal gowns playing on the slot machines! TIP: If you fancy a light aircraft ride over the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, book an early trip to catch the sunrise. Watch how the canyon changes colour as the sunrises.
06 June 2013
Another favourite place of mine, chocolate box villages on the hillsides and a link to The Sound of Music, what more could you want? I've visited Austria in the summer for the lakes and mountains season, as a city-break and in the ski season and equally love it for different reasons. So much so, we got married here in the snow in the Bavarian-style town hall in Zell-am-See. I hold very fond memories of a magical week in the snow with 64 of our friends and family. We stayed in the Romantik Hotel, and it certainly played up to it's name sake with a waterbed and Danish fire in the wedding suite and a sumptuous wedding breakfast with mulled wine in a cauldron on arrival for all our guests. Unforgettable! Salzburg is a fine location for a city break. Salzburg fortress, Hohensalzburg, offers fabulous views from the top over the city of Salzburg and into the hills of the surrounding area. TIP: Plan your trip when music concerts are at the fortress and celebrate the birth place of Mozart.
06 June 2013
Baqueira and Beret. These two ski resorts are fairly unknown by English tourists but are popular with the Spanish ski fraternity and more famously with Spanish royalty. The slopes are wide and well-groomed; a great place for my eldest daughter to learn to ski here with an English speaking local ski guide. The resorts are small enough to find your way around easily and there didn't seem to be many queues at the lifts, always a bonus! TIP: If you fancy a day off skiing, or you injure yourself like me, Barcelona is a few hours drive away.
12 May 2013
The whole island's motto should be 'fun, fun, fun'. Anything goes here in this Caribbean island! Music plays a key part of the general lifestyle so make sure you pack your dancing shoes. I managed to squeeze in a trip to Bob Marley's old home in the capital Kingston. It is now a museum, fascinating - even if reggae isn't your thing. His influence on the island is still very evident, although I hear Usain Bolt is fast on his heels! Climbing Dunn's River Falls is a must, but not for the faint hearted. For a more leisurely excursion try a river raft trip, slow and cool under the canopies of huge trees from the plantations. TIP - Go easy on the rum, those cocktails are lethal in the sun!
12 May 2013
This trip was a real mix of senses and contrasts, I loved every minute of it. In Kuala Lumpur, I saw the best electrical storm ever from 20 stories high in my hotel room. Thankfully, I was out of the rain, but the sight of the lightning at night over the tall skyscrapers, famous Petronas Towers and the neon of the city will stay with me forever. Fabulous! In total contrast were the delightful rolling hills of the Cameron Highlands where the tea plantations go on for miles and miles in almost Lake District-like surroundings. I visited a working tea factory where I watched the whole journey of the tea leaves being picked by hand to being bagged for my morning cuppa! Fascinating! Hillside hikes are also recommended for an afternoon of adventure. Kuantan is a coastal resort with wonderful beaches and a welcome break from all the buzz of Kuala Lumpur. Great to twin with the capital for some relaxation before your flight home. Take a canoe trip into the dense jungle past huge flowering lily pads to visit traditional Malaysian villagers in their mud huts. Remember your mosquito repellent! TIP: Get used to bartering in China Town KL, you can bag yourself a genuine-fake bargain!
12 May 2013
Stingray City has got to be a 'must do' for anyone visiting this more tranquil Caribbean island. We were taken by speedboat out into the Caribbean sea, no land could be seen for miles yet the sea was shallow when we stopped and delightfully warm. We held chunks of dead fish in our fists for the stingrays to sniff out. Without sight they have to smell their food and slowly come out from nowhere, the size of humans but soft and fleshy to touch as they glide up to your outstretched arm with their mouths wide open! The fish is gone from your fist and you let out a breath, phew! Highly recommended island for beautifully long sandy beaches, colonial buildings and architecture, and top notch hotels. TIP - Stay out of Georgetown when the American cruise ships are in, it gets really busy!
12 May 2013
This was my first big trip oversees and it cemented my love for travel. Even though it was more than 20 years ago I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember flying across the country as the pilot said over the tannoy ' we are now in Australian airspace' the red earth underneath seemed to go on and on for hours. I loved the laid back lifestyle, the love of the outdoors, the BBQs, iconic sights and loveable animals. For some real Aussie surf and beaches take the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide. We found quaint colonial seaside towns with amazing hospitality and seafood to match. Snorkelling around the Great Barrier Reef was also a highlight for me with fish and coral life made of colours I have never witnessed since. As a 19 year old, fresh out of Yorkshire, my passion for travel and adventure had begun. TIP: Don't under estimate the distances between places when you are planning your trip, this place is huge so allow plenty of time for your body clock to adjust!
South Cave 19/05/2022
Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire 03/05/2022
Stamford Bridge 03/05/2022
South Cave 13/04/2022
Auckland, NZ 18/03/2022
Saltburn by the Sea 14/01/2022
South Dalton, near Beverley 14/01/2022
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 14/01/2022
West Yorkshire 05/01/2022
Newport, East Yorkshire 07/12/2021
East Yorkshire 03/12/2021
PX Limited 29/11/2021
Eastrington, Goole 29/11/2021
Bassington, Lincs 25/10/2021
Otley, West Yorkshire 23/10/2021
NORTH FERRIBY 07/10/2021
Newport, East Yorkshire 28/09/2021
Newbald, York 28/09/2021
Market Weighton 27/09/2021
Newport, East Yorkshire 27/09/2021
Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire 24/09/2021
South Cave, East Yorkshire 13/09/2021
South Cave 03/09/2021
Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire 24/08/2021
Pickering, North Yorkshire 14/08/2021
Welton, East Yorkshire 14/08/2021
Walkington, Beverley 08/07/2021
Tickton, Beverley, East Yorkshire 08/07/2021
South Dalton, Beverley 28/01/2021
New Zealand 16/12/2020
Anlaby, East Yorkshire 11/03/2020
South Cave, East Yorkshire 24/02/2020
South Dalton, Beverley 10/02/2020
Lane End, Bucks 07/02/2020
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 05/02/2020
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 04/02/2020
Welt, East Yorkshire 29/01/2020
Hessle, East Yorkshire 15/01/2020
Welton, East Yorkshire 10/01/2020
North Ferriby 07/01/2020
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 09/12/2019
North Cave, East Yorkshire 06/11/2019
North Lincolnshire 15/10/2019
Welton, East Yorkshire 07/10/2019
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 25/09/2019
Tickton, Beverley 23/09/2019
Market Rasen 18/09/2019
Leven, Beverley 16/09/2019
North Ferriby 27/08/2019
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 19/08/2019
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 23/07/2019
Featherstone, West Yorkshire 08/07/2019
South Dalton, Beverley 02/06/2019
South Cave, East Yorkshire 29/05/2019
Welton, East Yorkshire 24/05/2019
Wansford, Driffield 16/05/2019
Anlaby, East Yorkshire 08/05/2019
Zante, Greece 07/05/2019
South Cave, East Yorkshire 07/05/2019
Trench, Telford 16/04/2019
Welton, East Yorkshire 15/04/2019
Welton, East Yorkshire 11/04/2019
Quorn, Leicestershire. 01/04/2019
Market Weighton 27/02/2019
Swanland, East Yorkshire 22/02/2019
Walkington, East Yorkshire 18/02/2019
South Cave, East Yorkshire 08/02/2019
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 04/02/2019
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 31/01/2019
Dubai, UAE 29/01/2019
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 26/01/2019
Zakynthos, Greece 26/01/2019
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 23/01/2019
Tickton, Beverley, East Yorkshire 13/01/2019
Wansford, East Yorkshire 10/01/2019
Brough, East Yorkshire 18/12/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 31/10/2018
Swanland, East Yorkshire 16/10/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 10/10/2018
East Yorkshire 26/09/2018
Lytham St Annes 24/09/2018
Lytham St Annes 18/09/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 13/09/2018
Kingswood, Hull 12/09/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 12/09/2018
South Cave, East Yorkshire 12/09/2018
South Cave, East Yorkshire 11/09/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 05/09/2018
Sproatley, East Yorkshire 04/09/2018
Hessle, East Yorkshire 28/08/2018
Newport, East Yorkshire 09/08/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 07/08/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 07/08/2018
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 17/07/2018
South Cave, East Yorkshire 03/07/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 25/06/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 25/06/2018
Stockton on Tees 22/06/2018
South Cave, East Yorkshire 17/06/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 04/06/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 04/06/2018
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 12/05/2018
Hessle, East Yorkshire 30/04/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 22/04/2018
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 19/04/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 12/04/2018
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 03/04/2018
Anlaby, East Yorkshire 25/03/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 22/03/2018
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 16/03/2018
Welton, East Yorkshire 08/03/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 28/02/2018
Swanland, East Yorkshire 22/02/2018
Swanland, East Yorkshire 19/02/2018
North Cave, East Yorkshire 12/02/2018
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 31/01/2018
Auckland, New Zealand 26/01/2018
Letham Grange, Scotland 16/01/2018
Brough, East Yorkshire 11/12/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 25/09/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 25/09/2017
Brough, East Yorkshire 20/09/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 29/08/2017
Swanland, East Yorkshire 19/08/2017
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 18/08/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 15/08/2017
Newport, East Yorkshire 07/08/2017
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 07/08/2017
Hessle, East Yorkshire 24/07/2017
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 21/07/2017
Bury, Lancs 13/07/2017
Letham Grange, Scotland 10/07/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 07/07/2017
West Midlands 16/06/2017
South Cave, East Yorkshire 10/06/2017
Foston on the Wolds, East Yorkshire 30/05/2017
Cottingham, East Yorkshire 23/05/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 23/05/2017
Brough, East Yorkshire 18/05/2017
South Cave, East Yorkshire 08/05/2017
North Lincs 28/04/2017
Cottingham, East Yorkshire 25/04/2017
South Cave, East Yorkshire 19/04/2017
Ashover, Derbyshire 19/04/2017
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 12/04/2017
Everthorpe, East Yorkshire 30/03/2017
North Cave, East Yorkshire 28/03/2017
Munich, Germany 28/03/2017
Broomfleet, East Yorkshire 27/03/2017
Brough, East Yorkshire 13/03/2017
Quorn, Leicestershire 08/03/2017
South Cave, East Yorkshire 01/03/2017
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 17/02/2017
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 09/02/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 07/02/2017
Walkington, East Yorkshire 06/02/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 27/01/2017
Brough, East Yorkshire 27/01/2017
Welton, East Yorkshire 23/01/2017
South Cave, East Yorkshire 22/01/2017
Dubai, UAE 19/01/2017
Brough, East Yorkshire 18/01/2017
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 04/01/2017
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 11/11/2016
Letham Grange, Scotland 03/11/2016
South Cave, East Yorkshire 16/10/2016
Swanland, East Yorkshire 05/10/2016
Brough, East Yorkshire. 07/09/2016
Tickton, Beverley 07/09/2016
Walkington, East Yorkshire 25/08/2016
East Yorkshire 23/08/2016
Skirlaugh, East Yorkshire 17/08/2016
Munich, Germany 04/08/2016
Palm Beach, California 18/07/2016
Cottingham, East Yorkshire 15/07/2016
Welton, East Yorkshire 07/07/2016
Kirkella, East Yorkshire 26/06/2016
Welton, East Yorkshire 13/06/2016
South Cave, East Yorkshire 13/06/2016
Swanland, East Yorkshire 06/06/2016
Brough, East Yorkshire. 02/06/2016
Welton, East Yorkshire 31/05/2016
Taipei, Taiwan 20/05/2016
West Midlands 16/05/2016
Maidstone, Kent 11/05/2016
Welton, East Yorkshire 28/04/2016
Keyingham, East Yorkshire 26/04/2016
North Lincolnshire 22/04/2016
High Wycombe 21/03/2016
South Dalton, East Yorkshire 16/03/2016
Welton, East Yorkshire 24/02/2016
Nordham, North Cave, East Yorkshire. 23/02/2016
South Cave, East Yorkshire 08/02/2016
Oxted, Surrey 04/02/2016
Walkington, East Yorkshire 02/02/2016
Pickering, North Yorkshire 26/01/2016
South Cave, East Yorkshire 20/01/2016
Elloughton, East Yorkshire 15/01/2016
Dundee, Scotland 13/01/2016
Dundee, Scotland 07/01/2016
Walkington, East Yorkshire 04/01/2016
Welton, East Yorkshire 19/12/2015
Near York 18/12/2015
Walkington, East Yorkshire 09/12/2015
Wrawby, North Lincs 06/11/2015
Hessle, East Yorkshire 19/10/2015
Brough, East Yorkshire. 19/10/2015
Cottingham, East Yorkshire 16/10/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 13/10/2015
Willerby, East Yorkshire 05/10/2015
Cottingham, East Yorks 31/08/2015
Welling, Kent 30/08/2015
High Wycombe 19/08/2015
Munich, Germany 17/08/2015
Cottingham, East Yorks 16/08/2015
Swanland, East Yorkshire 05/08/2015
Welton, East Yorkshire 09/07/2015
Brough, East Yorkshire 03/07/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 03/07/2015
Anlaby, East Yorkshire 01/07/2015
High Wycombe 22/06/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 15/06/2015
East Yorkshire 04/06/2015
Brantingham, East Yorkshire 22/05/2015
East Yorkshire 21/05/2015
Brough, East Yorkshire 21/05/2015
Swanland, East Yorkshire 19/05/2015
Welton, East Yorkshire 13/05/2015
Swanland, East Yorkshire 05/05/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 05/05/2015
Cottingham, East Yorks 26/04/2015
North Yorkshire 15/04/2015
Welton, East Yorkshire 09/04/2015
Beverley, East Yorkshire 07/04/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 20/03/2015
North Lincs 24/02/2015
Munich, Germany 13/02/2015
Brough, East Yorkshire 09/02/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 08/02/2015
Brough, East Yorkshire 05/02/2015
Brough, East Yorkshire 25/01/2015
Cottingham, E Yorkshire 25/01/2015
South Cave 18/01/2015
South Cave, East Yorkshire 18/11/2014
East Yorkshire 13/11/2014
Sigglesthorne, E Yorks 10/11/2014
Brough, East Yorkshire 29/10/2014
East Yorkshire 22/10/2014
Welton, East Yorkshire 18/10/2014
Brough, East Yorkshire 26/09/2014
Skirlaugh, E Yorks. 18/09/2014
Lytham St Annes 08/09/2014
Melton, E. Yorkshire 29/08/2014
Cottingham, East Yorks 25/08/2014
Welton, E Yorks 13/08/2014
Welton, East Yorks 29/07/2014
North Ferriby 12/07/2014
Welton, East Yorkshire 02/07/2014
East Yorkshire 16/06/2014
Welton, East Yorkshire 30/05/2014
High Wycombe 23/05/2014
South Cave, East Yorks 14/05/2014
Brough, East Yorkshire 26/03/2014
Hull. East Yorkshire 25/03/2014
East Yorkshire 03/03/2014
Dollar, Scotland 03/03/2014
Holme on Spalding Moor 21/02/2014
East Yorkshire 12/02/2014
Chesterfield, Derbyshire 11/02/2014
Welton, East Yorks 03/02/2014
Welton, East Yorkshire 29/01/2014
Welton, East Yorkshire 29/01/2014
Munich, Germany 21/01/2014
Hull, East Yorkshire 20/01/2014
Welton, East Yorks 07/01/2014
Uster, Switzerland 27/11/2013
Scarborough, N.Yorks 25/11/2013
South Cave, E Yorks 21/11/2013
South Cave, E Yorkshire 18/11/2013
Welton, E. Yorks 29/10/2013
Skidby, East Yorks 28/10/2013
North Lincs. 07/10/2013
East Yorkshire 03/10/2013
Melton, E.Yorks 03/10/2013
Welton, E. Yorkshire 01/10/2013
South Cave, East Yorks 11/09/2013
Welton, East Yorkshire 07/09/2013
North Lincs. 05/09/2013
Tickton, Beverley 28/08/2013
Biarritz, France 22/08/2013
Penn, Bucks 14/08/2013
Walkington, Beverley 07/08/2013
Leatherhead, Surrey 12/07/2013
Anlaby, East Yorkshire 01/07/2013
Swanland, East Yorkshire 25/06/2013
Flamborough, East Yorkshire 09/06/2013
Welton, East Yorkshire 03/06/2013
North Ferriby, East Yorkshire 29/05/2013
Cottingham, East Yorkshire 29/05/2013
Brough, East Yorkshire 27/05/2013
Clackmananshire, Scotland 27/05/2013
Brough, East Yorkshire 24/05/2013
North Cave 23/05/2013
Anlaby, East Yorkshire 14/05/2013