Category Archives: Reviews

The Eden Project

During a four day break in Cornwall with my husband, son, daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren, we decided that a visit to the Eden Project was a must. We looked at the weather forecast and the day that was scheduled for rain, was the day we booked to go.

Prices:

The tickets are priced seasonally, so the prices range:

Adults: Standard – £32.50 Peak – £37.50
Child (aged 5-16): Standard – £11 Peak – £12
Child (aged 0-4): Free all year round.

Parking was included in the admission price.

Length of time spent here:

We arrived at 10:30 AM and left at about 2:30 PM.

My Review

We have been here before but that was approximately 15 years ago, so a lot has changed since then!

The Eden Project was originally a china clay pit and was used by the BBC as the planet surface of Magrathea in the TV series, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This lovely driftwood sculpture of a horse was at the entrance – stunning!

It was drizzling with rain when we arrived, so we headed straight for the biomes, entering the Rainforest Biome first.

The Rainforest biome was amazing, it was like stepping into a different world. The amount of different flowers, plants and trees was mind boggling, from wild bananas to oil palm to all kinds of spices.

It didn’t feel as hot as I thought it was going to be, but this was in April, I suspect that in August it is a different story!

There was a treetop walk which included a rope wobbly bridge, where at the top, there was commanding views of the whole biome from the viewing platform.

After spending a couple of hours in this biome, it was time for lunch. We ate in the main dining area between the Rainforest and Mediterranean biomes, it was a little pricey so maybe bring your own packed lunch is the way to go, but we all had a snack and a drink….

…then it was onto the Mediterranean biome.

Stepping into the Mediterranean biome, I was struck by how much lighter and more colourful it was than the Rainforest biome. In here we found grape vines, olive trees, cotton and citrus fruit. The array of flowers was spectacular:

There were some intriguing statues in this biome which were called The Rites of Dionysus. These depict Dionysus, Greek god of the vines and his followers who dance and writhe through the vines beating drums and sounding trumpets.

After thoroughly exploring this biome, we made our way back out into the gardens, where it was raining pretty steadily now and headed towards the Invisible Worlds exhibition.

This was an exhibition which explored our sense and how life is shaped by and also shapes, invisible systems.

Invisible Worlds exhibition (Picture taken from Eden Project website).

One sculpture which immediately drew our attention was the Blue (Infinity Blue) ceramic sculpture which weighs in at 20 tonnes and is almost nine metres high. It pays homage to one of the worlds smallest but most important organisms: cyanobacteria. No, I didn’t know what that was either, it says on their website:

The sculpture is a monument to these vital microscopic beings, who, along with the descendants found in the photosynthesising cells of all green plants, continue to provide the oxygen in every break we take.

The Eden Project
One of its vapour rings!

It was time to head back to the caravan and even though the rain hadn’t let up all day it didn’t matter to us, we were in the biomes most of the time. We all had a great time, the grandkids enjoyed walking around and exploring the different areas, in fact, I think we all learned something today!

Bournemouth Christmas Tree Wonderland

Price:

Free

Amount of time spent there:

We were there for about an hour and a half.

Suggested Christmas Tree Trail

My Review:

We try and do something each year to celebrate the holiday season. For a few years we went to the London Palladium to watch the pantomime and then walk around London to see the Christmas lights, another year we went to Longleat Festival of Lights, but due to Covid, obviously last year we didn’t do anything. So this year, we decided to go to Bournemouth, which is about a 45 minute drive from us and we took our daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren to the Christmas Tree Wonderland.

We arrived at Bournemouth at about 6:15 PM, after inexplicably getting lost, even though we’ve driven to Bournemouth numerous times! The first stop was to get some fish and chips and where better to go than Harry Ramsden’s. We had a lovely meal there, the batter really is very light and tasty!

So then it was time to wander through the Christmas Tree Wonderland…

There were an array of different lighted up Christmas trees, with a few other displays as well including a reindeer, polar bear and, of course, the main man himself, Father Christmas.

We walked around the park, it was lovely to see Harry’s face as he saw each Christmas tree, he’s nearly three, so just beginning to understand what happens this time of year. He loved the bright lights and excitedly ran from one display to the next.

At the end of the park, we came across an ice rink and we stopped to watch the would-be Torvill and Deans, skating around a fairly huge ice rink. There was the usual people hanging onto the sides, gingerly making their way around the rink, and I have to say, that would be me, skating is definitely not my thing!

View of the ice rink

You need to pre-book the ice rink, there are sessions of an hour each, from 10:30 AM until 20:30 PM throughout the day and prices are:

ADULT -£12.50 CHILD – £10.50 SENIOR CITIZEN – £11.50 and FAMILY – £41.00

A quick look around the stands in the city centre, which were mainly food outlets and we headed back into the park to walk along the back path where there were even more displays to see.

Gingerbread men, one of Harry’s favourite biscuits!

One last stop at the Carousel, it cost £3 per person, but it seemed to go round forever. Harry chose his horse and held on tight!

Gee up Neddy or Coleen!

We were very impressed with Bournemouth’s light display, it must have cost the council a lot of money to stage this and for it all to be free as well is wonderful.

Week Three – Bread Week

Warning: there are spoilers in this blog - who won star baker, who left the show, who received a handshake from Paul, what necklace was Prue wearing, things along those lines.

Am I the only one who didn’t understand the opening this week? Maybe it’s because I didn’t understand what the fish was saying?

Anyway, it’s Bread Week…

Oh sorry, wrong Bread show!!

Signature Dish: Focaccia Bread

Any flavour and any style, crispy crust and an open and irregular crumb structure: two hours, 45 minutes.

Breadmaking advice from Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter

George’s Greek Inspired Focaccia:
Packed and busy. Lovely. Good bake, good blend of flavours, but needed more water to open it up a little bit more.

Maggie’s Classic Focaccia:
Attractive, filling wasn’t pushed down into the tray, stretchy, soft texture, soft on top, but good flavour. A decent focaccia.

Freya’s Mexican Fajita Focaccia:
Smells great, nice texture, well baked.

Rochica’s Roasted Garlic Focaccia with Tomato, Feta & Pesto:
Lovely design, strong garlic taste, okay texture, try to keep flavour throughout the bread.

Amanda’s Chasing Grainbows Focaccia:
Overbaked, filling in lines, Prue recommended scattered so you get a taste of everything in one bite,

Chig’s Spanish Cheesy Meaty Focaccia:
Overbaked, lovely powerful flavours, delicious.

Crystelle’s Feta and Grape Focaccia with Fennel & Walnut:
Open structure, needed to be much thicker. Beautiful taste, great flavour combination, fresh.

Lizzie’s Final Furlong Focaccia:
Nice top, filled the tin nicely, good flavour, nice and soft and crispy on the outside, could have been proved longer, a great focaccia.

Jürgen’s Kipper-caccia Focaccia:
Slightly overbaked, more proving and less baking, quite tight inside needed more mixing, more cake-like than bread-like, Prue wasn’t mad about the flavours, could have been a little bit better!

Giuseppe’s Breakfast in Gaeta Focaccia:
Soft with focaccia structure, beautifully light focaccia, mouthful of everything in every bite. Paul said it was beautiful and he was rewarded with the first Hollywood Handshake of the series!

The first Hollywood Handshake
of the series!!

Technical Challenge set by Paul – A batch of 15 olive and cheese ciabatta breadsticks

Words of advice from Paul – “It’s a fairly complicated recipe, but be careful how you add the filling.”

We can see you Noel!

I love the Tweets from innocent drinks!
Position in Technical Challenge:

1st – Giuseppe
2nd – Lizzie
3rd – Amanda
4th – Freya
5th – Jürgen
6th – Chigs
7th – George
8th – Maggie
9th – Crystelle
10th – Rochica

Those in trouble before going into the Showstopper Round:
Jürgen
Maggie
Rochica

Those in line for Star Baker:
Giuseppe
Lizzie

Showstopper Challenge – Themed Display Using Milk Bread

Three dimensional, shape and decoration to reflect chosen theme.

Probably one of the best bread showstoppers – Paul’s lion!

George’s The Very Hungry Koala:
Adorable, bread a bit heavy, milk bread can’t carry weight of an upright sculpture. Clever design.

Lizzie’s Pig Banquet:
Some caught in the oven, clever design. Nice texture, light.

Chigs’ Honey Milk Bread Picnic Basket:
Beautifully done, well proved. Really well made. Hint of flavour. Colours consistent, good design.

Maggie’s Things You’d Find In A Rockpool:
Abstract, rustic, under-proved, no flavour, very cake-like, could be a bit lighter.

Jürgen’s The Baby:
Clever use of flavours in different breads, design is simple, lovely flavour, sweetness level just right, slightly underproved.




Crystelle’s Bready for Sunday Roast:
Very clever, longer in the oven would have created more of a darkness, great flavours, fantastic citrus kick, lovely texture.

Giuseppe’s Your Five-A-Day:
Incredible design, amazing job, beautiful execution, very clever, absolutely delicious and lovely texture.

Amanda’s I Just Fish We Had More Time:
Overall, a really good job, clever and highly effective, delightful, lovely flavour, sweetness just the right side of sweetness. Spot on texture, but a massive air pocket just underneath.

Rochica’s Bird Cage:
Over-proved, tight, sweetness level is right, too dense. Tastes delicious but the texture is not right – not sure it was four hours work.

Freya’s Under The Sea Milk Bread Display:
Amusing, very neat, nice milk bread, light structure, holds its bake, sweetness levels just right, tastes great.

Star Baker and Who’s Going Home:

Thoughts

I have to agree with the judges on both counts, Giuseppe had an amazing week and Rochica did struggle with bread week. Lizzie pulled herself up in the ranks and I loved George’s Koala bear this week.

Next week is Dessert Week – let’s hope their skills don’t dessert them and they don’t crumble to the pressure!

One last thing, Prue’s necklace, I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere else!

Week Two – Biscuit Week

Warning: there are spoilers in this blog - who won star baker, who left the show, who received a handshake from Paul, what necklace was Prue wearing, things along those lines.

First of all, can I apologise for Xing out Tom, but I couldn’t think of a better way to do it. But unfortunately this will befall all our bakers, except for one of them of course!

Signature Dish: 24 Brandy Snaps

Perfectly baked lace biscuits, identical and have to have a good snap! Any shape but have to be coated, dipped or filled – two hour baking time.

Lizzie’s dog, Pru, has her own Instagram account and seemingly doing quite well with 1,779 followers. When Matt asked Lizzie if she had practiced in the tent yesterday, she admitted that she didn’t but watched Harry Potter instead!

Baking, I wouldn’t say it was rocket science, but…

Jürgen went to University in Germany and gained a Masters Degree in Physics

Freya’s “Brandy Snapuccinos”:
Scrumptious, look quite dark, nice lace and a good snap, too strong coffee flavour. Overall a decent job.

Amanda’s “Open Sesame” Brandy Snaps: Very thin so falling apart. Delicious flavour,

Jairzeno’s “Chocolate, Passion Fruit & Pineapple Brandy Snaps:
Messy. Flavours too strong. Not well executed.

Rochica’s Coffee Brandy Snaps:
Massive variety in size, delicious flavour.

George’s Cypriot Brandy Snaps:
Irregular in size, flavours work well together, but looks a mess. Original and sensational.

Crystelle’s “Apple of my P-eye” Brandy Snaps:
Lovely snap, beautiful flavour combination, done well with the textures.

Lizzie’s, Fast-Food Apple Pie Brandy Snaps:
Very little lace, delicious, nice creme diplomat, lovely mouthful.

Guiseppe’s Gianduja Snaps:
Really pretty, elegant and uniform in colour, nice lace, delicious, crisp, nicely flavoured. Chocolate doesn’t come through very much.

Chigs’ “Espresso Martini” Brandy Snaps:
Nice and lacey, chocolate comes through well, nice snap, right amount of sweetness, coffee flavour a bit weak.

Maggie’s Blackcurrant Brandy Snaps:
Very small and could have a bit more colour, not quite baked enough so are really chewy, but delicious.

Jürgen’s “A Cup of Chai” Brandy Snaps:
Overall look pretty good, nice and even, lovely and thin, blend of spices work beautifully well. Texture-wise done well. Creme pat perfect.

Jürgen received a handshake from Matt Lucas, which Matt admitted that it meant nothing getting a handshake from him.

Technical Challenge set by Paul – Sandwiched Jammie Biscuit

Words of advice from Paul: “This is pretty straight forward, but read your recipe, we want perfection.”

I wonder how many takes they had to redo when Jammie Dodgers was said instead of Jammie Biscuits!

Position in Technical Challenge:

1st – Jürgen
2nd – Guiseppe
3rd – Freya
4th – Amanda
5th – Maggie
6th – Lizzie
7th – Chig
8th – George
9th – Jairzeno
10th – Crystelle
11th – Rochica

Jürgen, the Baking Terminator as named by Guiseppe! Hasta La Biscuit baby!

Picture pinched from Twitter!

Those in trouble before going into the Showstopper Round:
Jairzeno
Maggie

Those in line for Star Baker:
Jürgen
Guiseppe
Chig

Showstopper Challenge – 3D Biscuit Replica of Favourite Childhood Toy

It has to be delicious but also have an interactive element.

Love this Tweet from Innocent drinks!

George’s “Paul and Prue Airlines”:
Interactive: airplane flies around in a circle
Great design. Not too hard, but very crisp. Well done.

Rochica’s Gingerbread Pinball Game:
Interactive: moving parts
Delicate and thin, texture spot on.

Guiseppe’s Reversi Board Game:
Interactive: you can play the game
Classic gingerbread. Properly engineered. Beautiful.

Chigs’ Snooker Table:
Interactive: you can play snooker
Very clever, a little bit cakey, but if it’s thick you don’t want it to be too hard. Perfect.

Lizzie’s “Paint a Truck”:
Interactive: you can paint the car
Interesting concept. Gingerbread and chocolate together – too strong. Tones down with icing and is delicious.



Jürgen’s “Grandpa’s Windmill”:
Interactive: sails go around
Very good, looks beautiful. Lovely flavour in the mouth, great job again.

Crystelle’s Vanity Playset:
Interactive: you can play with jewellery
Lovely flavour, beautiful, very clever design, flavours spot on.

Freya’s “Winne”:
Interactive: rocking horse
Beautiful, structurally sound.

Amanda’s Carousel Rocking Horse:
Interactive: structure had broken
Wouldn’t have chosen that type of biscuit to use as it’s so delicate.

Maggie’s Beach Playset:
Interactive: you can play with it
Basic, needs to be more elaborate. Should be a bit thinner. School report would say, “Needs to try harder.”

Jairzeno’s Tall Ship:
Interactive: Not sure
Rough and ready. Lovely blend, tastes delicious.

Freya and Amanda’s Rocking Horses – they had varying success!

Star Baker and Who Is Going Home…

Jürgen was able to tell his family this week!

Thoughts:

I think Jairzeno was the right choice to go home this week, personally I think he should have gone last week. Maggie didn’t have such a good week as she did last week, but I thought Lizzie and George had much better weeks.

Next week is Bread Week – who will rise to the top and who will knead to improve their baking skills? #sorrynotsorry

Thursday, 16th September, 2021

We decided to spend today on the sun deck as we hadn’t been up there very much. So after a late breakfast, we ventured up on the top decks to find a couple of sunbeds. We found some on the shady side, which half an hour later turned into the sunny side!

We both finished our books, drank some mojitos, cider and strawberry daiquiri. Hubby went swimming in the infinity pool, we saw dolphins and a whale and generally had a relaxing morning.

We played cards in the Sky Dome, which again, I won. We had a salad from the Horizon buffet because we were going to the Epicurean Restaurant in the evening and didn’t want to fill up with food.

This meal was booked via the *UCP and it was absolutely divine. The food was amazing, as you can tell from the pictures.

Phil had the Alaskan Snow Crab, Langoustine and Salmon Caviar Cocktail – Pea and Chervil Custard, Parchment Bread and a Cucumber Mojito and I had the Chicken and Morel Mushroom Mousseline with Pistachio Crumble – Duck Liver Parfait, Sweet and Sour Pickled Vegetables and Spinach Anglais.

Our main courses were: hubby had Black Cod and Canadian Cold-water Lobster Tail with Avruga Caviar Gratin – Bouillabaisse Fondue and Bee Pollen Dressed House Salad and I had Maple-glazed Saddleback Pork T-Bone – Air Crackling and Scrumpy Jus – which I have to say that there was a LOT of pork, but it was sublime.

Dessert was Lemon Meringue Tart for me and hubby had the Belgian Chocolate Jaffa Cake.

We chatted to an older couple sat on the table next to us and we found out that they are going on the same cruise as us in March next year, on the Britannia, cruising around the Caribbean and then sailing back to Southampton!

We finished off the night at the 710 Club, where the band was as good as ever, but there was some trouble with people trying to get it, thinking that we had been sat in there all night. The waiting staff were very patient telling them that this was not the case, but all the time they queued up for the next show, we could hear them talking loudly outside. When we came outside after our performance, the queue started cheering.

After a quick cocktail at the Cow and Keel, the Honeyed IPA we then retired to our cabin.

The sunset as we ate at The Epicurean.

*UCP – Ultimate Celebration Package

Tuesday, 14th September 2021

36 YEARS!!

Today is our wedding anniversary: 36 years! Included in the Ultimate Celebration Package is breakfast in bed, which included a half bottle of champagne.

As you can see, it also included Danish pastries, fruit, pain au chocolat, yoghurt, orange juice and continental meats. We mixed the champagne and orange juice and had a Bucks Fizz.

Next it was time for our couple’s massage, another part to our UCP*, we had chosen to have a hot stone massage which was an extra £10 each but it was definitely worth it. It was really relaxing, and no, I didn’t fall asleep! One funny thing was that when we were in the treatment room and the two masseurs were explaining what was going to happen, hubby started stripping! I shouted to him to stop and wait until the ladies had left the room, they laughed and said, “He’s keen!”

The giant jacuzzi.

We had booked into the thermal suite for £25 each for two hours. This was sooo relaxing, it had a salt steam room, a steam room, sauna and an amazing shower, which lit up like a disco and you never knew where the water was gonna spray from or what temperature it would be! The thermal beds were heaven, that’s somewhere I could go to sleep.

After lunch at the Cow and Keel, joined the virtual queue and got straight in, we had a rum cocktail each and hubby had a Black Sheep ale, which was recommended by the waiter, Mary. We ordered the sharing dessert, not so much “sharing” as hubby always has more than half!

We then went to an area of the ship that we said we wouldn’t go to – the Art Gallery! We saw a picture (left) which caught our eye by Rebecca Lardner, of course and there is somewhere in our front room where it is meant for, so we bought it. The man who worked in the art gallery was called Alex and he was very knowledgeable, we had a lovely chat to him about all the artists we have bought art from. When he found out it was our anniversary he insisted that we came back in the evening to collect the paperwork and he would treat us to a cocktail!

It was celebration night tonight, so I wore my old faithful black and white dress (about eight years old now) and hubby wore his tuxedo. We had booked dinner at the Coral Restaurant at 6:00 PM.

As we walked into the restaurant it was lovely to see the ladies in their dresses and the men in their formal wear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man look bad in a tuxedo.

The menu was devised by Marco Pierre White, which consisted mainly of fish, so hubby was very happy. I had the chicken and we had a glass of Prosecco each and a glass of Malbec with our main course.

We made our way to the art gallery and met up with Alex, who true to his word, ordered us a cocktail. We spent the next half an hour chatting about art and drinking our cocktails.

Manuel Martinez

Then it was time for the Headliner Theatre to watch Manuel Martinez, magician and comedian, he was funny in places, but his accent seemed to drop a few times. Overall though, we enjoyed it.

We had seen that the band, Pulse, were performing a set of guilty pleasures in The Club House, so we went down there and actually found a seat! We ordered a Pina Colada for me and a Jamesons for hubby.

The atmosphere in The Club House was really fun, everyone was singing and waving their hands in the air, no dancing though. and the evening ended on a real high!

Gone midnight and we get back to the cabin, it was a wonderful anniversary!

*UCP – Ultimate Celebration Package

Sunday, 12th September, 2021

After a restless night, the cabin was far too hot and hubby was snoring, we woke up at around 6.30 AM and hubby did his morning ritual of going to the Horizon buffet and fetching a cup of coffee for himself and a green tea for me.

We had breakfast at the Horizon Restaurant where we both had a fried breakfast. We decided to go on a more detailed tour of the ship as we hadn’t really seen much of it the night before.

I have to say that the ship is very well sign posted and so it is fairly easy to navigate around. We took the stairs as much as possible: 1, to try and lose some of the pounds we will gain over the cruise and 2, the lifts are a bit of a faff. The maximum people allowed in a lift is four and there is a sign stating that you have to stand on the markers on the floor and no talking!

We stopped of at Vista for a Costa Coffee where I had an iced latte, which was just a cold coffee (urgh) and hubby had a Caramel Frostini which was very, very sweet. He has the sweetest tooth I know, but even he couldn’t finish it!

After picking up a few things from the cabin, we went up to the Sky Dome, it wasn’t very busy and we managed to get a couple of sunbeds next to the pool.

As I’ve mentioned in another blog (G131N Staycation Cruise) I love people watching and in particular which books people have chosen to read, but sitting at the side of the pool another kind of people watching was discovered: looking at people’s faces as they get into the pool, as it was VERY cold. When hubby got out he said, that it was so cold, everything got smaller!

Time to start reading our books….

As it was before midday I ordered a non-alcohol cocktail and hubby, who doesn’t let something like that get in the way, ordered a beer. The waiter service is a bit slower on Iona, but we never had to wait too long to be served, but we did notice people who accosted the waiters before they have even found somewhere to sit, ensuring they get a drink straight away.

Craig Stuart

Not being a huge gin fan, I decided to order a Pink Gin Spritzer cocktail, which was actually very nice and hubby had a Strawberry Mojito and then Busker, Craig Stuart started his set. A great singer who was also entertaining with his comments and who had amassed a couple of groupies with two women who hung on to his every word!

Then I’m ashamed to say we went back to the cabin for a nap! When I woke up hubby was sat on the balcony reading his book, I’ve never known him to read so much, it must be good!

Earlier hubby had booked us into the Coral Restaurant, when he tried to book it for two there was no availability, but when he put in three people, it came up with availability? So he booked it!

On arrival at the restaurant we went straight through, but when we sat at the table we were questioned as to why there was only two of us. They were a bit taken aback when we said they couldn’t make it and it didn’t go down well with the waiting staff. After a few minutes of talk, we were moved from our table for three to a table of two, seated next to the window, so it worked out well for us!

I had tomato soup followed by sirloin steak and hubby had smoked mackerel pate and then the beef brisket. A special mention goes to the thick cut chips, they were wonderful! We had a glass of Prosecco each and dessert was lemon seed cake for me and cheese and biscuits for hubby together with a port.

We had about half an hour before we were due to go to the Headliner’s Theatre and went to the Club House and saw Tucker, the comedian. We didn’t have very high expectations with Tucker, but he was funny, his jokes about the internet package and the strength of the signal hit the nail on the head. Talking about the internet signal, I couldn’t log onto any of my computer equipment, so I had to resort to the old fashioned way of writing everything in a notebook! And so hence this being uploaded after the cruise.

Writing my diary the old fashioned way.

The act in the Headliner Theatre was Craig Lloyd, a soul singer. We aren’t fans of soul music but he was a great singer. He was also a name dropper, Simon Cowell, Sinitta and Gary Barlow. He was in the first series of the X Factor and made it to judge’s houses and became a vocal coach for The Voice.

A highlight was at the end when Andy, the Assistant Entertainment Manager, had to orchestrate everybody leaving the theatre row by row. his comments made everyone laugh as we exited safely within Covid guidelines! You have to keep your masks on in the theatre and there is no food or drink. This was pre-bookable on the Cruise Personaliser and people were being turned away who hadn’t booked.

We went back to the Sky Dome and watched Pulse’s Rock Show. The sound wasn’t great, I couldn’t make out what they were singing straight away for a few of the songs, but the lighting was fantastic. A Pina Colado for me and a Mojito for hubby while we were watching them.

I had heard a lot of things about the 710 club via Facebook before the cruise, the overwhelming comments were how good it was, but the main complaint was that people would enter at the beginning of the evening and stay there for the entire evening. I did notice in the Horizon newsletter that it requested people to vacate the club after they have watched the session. So we went down to Deck 6 and were pleased to be able to join the queue for the next session.

The 710 Club is an intimate venue with seating for 75 people. We found a good seat and ordered a Baileys (for me) and a Jamesons (for hubby) and settled down. All I can say is the hype is well and truly worth it. To say I was blown away is an understatement, the pianist and singer, Harrison was simply fantastic, his piano playing skills need to be seen to be believed. The guitarist and singer, lends a more soulful voice to a couple of the songs. We will definitely try to get in there again!

Totally enamoured by what we had just heard, we headed to the Crows Nest for our nightly nightcap of a Baileys and a Jamesons.

Again, past midnight and we went back to the cabin after a thoroughly enjoyable day!

Beaulieu

Prices:

Adult: £21.50
Senior (60+) £20.50
Child (5-16 yrs) £10.00

The tickets have to be pre-booked with the day and arrival time. You can arrive up to 50 minutes after your allotted time.

Length of time spent here:
Approximately seven hours.

My Review

We visited on Father’s Day and they were having a hot rod show, (good planning by the Events Team!!). We took a wander around the cars, our son-in-law who is somewhat of an expert in cars, (there isn’t much he doesn’t know about them), enjoyed it a lot.

My grandson loved this car with the eyes in the bonnet.

After a walk around the cars, (there was a lot of them), we stopped for a picnic lunch and then headed towards Little Beaulieu.

This play area was really well thought out, there were separate areas for the younger children, complete with a wooden bus to climb on and a sandpit. Then you had the magical wooden palace with lots of slides and secret passages and for the adults there is a well stocked on-site café,

After we had drank a cup of coffee and Harry had run around the play area, we headed off to the museum. We had to wait outside until our time to go in, we wore masks and followed the one-way system, there was lots of arrows and directions which were easy to follow. There were lots of exhibits from racing cars, to motorbikes, to buses and even children’s toys.

After a trip around on the monorail, which circled the whole of Beaulieu, we then went for a walk around the grounds. As well as holding the car show today, there was also Sculpture at Beaulieu featuring international and national sculptors.

We went to visit the Top Gear Exhibition where a lot of the cars which featured on the Top Gear programme were exhibited. It didn’t take very long to walk through this exhibition, but it was good to see these famous or infamous vehicles.

We finished off the day, where else but the gift shop!

The tickets we purchased allowed us to have an Annual Pass, this only includes entry to the Motor Museum, if you would like one to cover all the attractions, you need to purchase an Annual Pass Upgrade ticket.

A lovely day out, we were blessed with the weather, it had been raining the day before.

Me and hubby in an Instagram picture setting.

Bryn Williams : Porth Eirias

As were were holidaying nearby, staying in a shepherd’s hut, we wanted to try this restaurant as it had been recommended to us and also we knew of Bryn from the Great British Menu….

About the chef:

Bryn Williams originally came from Denbigh, Wales. He was the head chef of Odette’s Restaurant in Primrose Hill, London. In 2006 he shot to fame when, as a sous chef, he beat established chefs to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations on the television programme, Great British Menu. He opened Porth Eirias in June 2015 in Colwyn Bay.

Ambience and Service

Walking into the restaurant, it feels very modern industrial, with the steel accessories and complimented with the display of flowers on the back wall. The waiting staff were very attentive, even when the restaurant was busier a little later on. I noted one particular table which you could tell were going to be a little challenging and watched as the waiter patiently took their orders and answered the many questions asked about the dishes in a professional and knowledgeable manner.

The Menu

Starter

I had the ham hock terrine and hubby had the mussels. The terrine was very tasty and the apricot was the perfect accompaniment. Hubby enjoyed his mussels, especially the sauce, although two didn’t have any in them, but that’s the luck of the draw!

Main Course

I am not a huge fish lover, so I opted for the fish fingers. The crushed peas were actually the best I have tasted, they were really sweet. The fish fingers were delicious and very filling, so I could only manage three out of the four. Hubby loves fish and he said that the haddock was perfectly cooked. He thought the whole dish was exceptional.

Dessert

Pudding was a unaminous choice by both of us, it had to be Baked Alaska. This was probably one of the best puddings I have had in a very long time, my all time favourite being a souffle I had at a Marco Pierre White restaurant. The ice cream was just the right amount of melted and the meringue was chewy and gorgeous.

Overall Impression

I really enjoyed eating in this restaurant, there was an easy atmosphere with no pretentiousness at all. The food was excellent and with our meal, including drinks, totaling £72, it was very good value as well. The views were spectacular, overlooking the Irish Sea and Colwyn Bay. This is somewhere that I would definitely go to again!

The restaurant is situated on the beach front.

…In a shepherd’s Hut

Where: Denbigh, North Wales
Cost: £240 for two nights

So now that lockdown has somewhat been lifted, we were able to get away for a few days. We opted for a mid-week break and decided to forgo the traditional bed and breakfast accommodation, hotel or even a caravan and settled on a shepherd’s hut.

We chose North Wales as we normally visit South Wales and thought it would be a nice change!

We stopped off at a couple of Road Service stations and after about four hours of travel, we were in the vicinity of the hut. Several miles of travelling down small country lanes and having to reverse along a narrow road for a tractor(!) and having some difficultly actually finding the hut, we arrived!

The lady who owned the hut met us in the driveway and she showed us around, pointing out where everything was.

The kitchen was very well laid out. The microwave was in the bottom cupboard, there was a kettle, toaster and lots of cutlery, knives and crockery. The water ran hot very quickly.

The owner of the hut had left a bottle of Prosecco and a M&S chocolate cake for us!


The bathroom was compact and the shower was on the small side. The space between the sink and the wall wasn’t that big, so if you are of a larger frame, you might struggle to get into the shower.

Once in the shower, it was nice and hot and the water ran quite fast.

The bed was really comfy and you could watch the TV either in bed or sat on the settee. There was a handy shelf for my phone and glasses, but the problem I had was when I needed to visit the toilet in the early hours of the morning, I had to climb over hubby to get out of bed!

Our first night we decided to try out the kitchen amenities and cook our own meal. We had chipotle grilled steak salad from the Simply Cook recipes and as the weather was so nice, we were able to eat it outside on the veranda. We had made a school boy error by not packing olive oil for cooking, but there was no need to panic, it was provided by the thoughtful hut owner.

Cooking in this small kitchen was a little testing, there was no oven, but you’re not staying there to cook a gourmet meal, so it was great for a simple meal.

I have to mention at this point, the views from the shepherd’s hut were amazing, but don’t take my word for it….

My Thoughts…

I think to stay a couple of days is enough in a space like this, there’s not much storage, our clothes stayed in the travel bags and you have to be really comfortable with your other half, as there’s not much privacy.

But, it is the perfect “get away from it all” space and if you want to put some romance back in your relationship, this is the place to do it!