31 October 2014

London part 3

After our afternoon stroll around Regents Park we made our way back to the Hotel to get ready for our evening. I had a luxurious bath and we relaxed in our room watching Strictly whilst getting ready. There's nothing better than being able to have time to properly do your hair and make up with being interfered or hurried out the door!  

We had dinner reservations at the twotwentytwo Restaurant & Bar located in the basement of the hotel, but before we were treated to some cocktails in the wonderful Mirror Bar. I think we underestimated how long pre-dinner cocktails take (we don't exactly do it often!) and arrived with only half an hour before our dinner, amateurs I know! The menu was full of delicious sounding cocktails, with infusions new to us and of course the classics. I opted for the Rooibos and ginger iced tea, with rooibos infused gin with honey and ginger topped with ginger ale and Rob had the Kentaro, with Japanese whiskey, bancha tea with sloe gin and blueberries. We were given nibbles and relaxed in the opulence of the lowly lit, comfortable bar. Our cocktails arrived just as it was time for our dinner, so were escorted to the restaurant by the waiter and shown to our table to enjoy our cocktails there. 

We had the most fabulous three course dinner; roasted vegetables, crab salad, the most perfect burger, steak, cheesecake and bourbon creme brûlée. Each course was so packed with flavour and perfectly cooked, it really was such a treat. The waitress's attended our every need, filling glasses, advising us on dishes and folding our napkins. We certainly weren't used to service like this, I don't think we've ever been somewhere where we've been so well looked after. The whole hotel far exceeded our expectations, and I know we could definitely get used to being treated so well! 

29 October 2014

A family walk: Blaise Castle in Autumn

One bright Sunday a week or so ago Theo and I needed to get out the house as DIY was happening. I wanted a walk and Theo wanted a park, so we headed over to the Blaise Castle estate once more. Visiting in Autumn is probably my favourite time, just as the trees are turning and the sun is still warm enough to be happy outside exploring with no coats or hands turning blue. 

As soon as we arrived the sounds of children shrieking and laughing filled the air, the playgrounds and fields filled with families playing, picnicking and out enjoying the sun together. Theo scooted past the small playground straight to the big kids play area, showing me once more that he's no longer a baby and can confidently conquer even the tallest of slides and climbing frames. Proving to be one of our favourite parks in Bristol. 

We stayed a while until he could be persuaded to take a walk through the woods up to the castle, which to our surprise was open, for the first time on any of our many visits. We did what we always do, climbed over tree roots, searched for berries and treasures and looked out to admire the view. Once we reached the castle Theo hooted is way all the way up the spiralling staircase with excitement, and stepped out onto the castle roof to survey the land below us. The wind tousled our hair and blew in our faces as we peered over the walls at the people underneath and the Severn Bridge crossings in the distance. We stood in the middle to hear our voices bounce and echo around us, before descending down, counting the steps as we went. 

Our visit ended like it always does, with ice cream. Perhaps the last of this year? We returned home tired but refreshed and happy from our afternoon adventure. 

27 October 2014

Postcards from Scotland 7

So I've done it, I've reached the very last set of photographs from our holiday to Scotland. Yes I took a lot of photographs, and yes I'm slow at getting round to sharing. But holidays aren't all about coming home and sharing all the memories straight away for me, its about savouring them over the months and reliving moments that may have faded from your memory slowly over time. 

We spent our last day in the cottage hiding from the rain in the morning before packing up a picnic of leftovers and heading out towards Loch Lomond for our final adventure. As the rain ceased the heavy clouds clung to the tops of the hills and the mist rolled over, and we even caught glimpses of sunshine through the breaks. Unsure of a destination and with no real plan in mind, we travelled around the lochs and through villages, some touristy, some not. Around lunchtime we decided to stop and found a lochside road stop, where we ate lunch and investigated. We were so glad we did, as we found little coves and secluded pebble beaches with clear water lapping at the edge. The sun found its way out through the clouds, and it wasn't long before the pup and the boy ventured in. The views were spectacular, and perfectly ended our love affair with Scotland. 

The next day we packed up our things and left our sweet cottage on the side of the hill and drove to Dunoon to take the ferry across the loch this time. On the other side at Gourock, we stopped at a funny open air heated swimming pool, and dared to walk in the freezing rain to the pool in our costumes for a swim. The water was salt from the loch, and a very strange experience! We stayed as long as we could bear it before warming ourselves at a cosy cafe for lunch. Then our long drive down through Scotland towards Cheshire began, staying in a hotel for the night, before heading to our last treat of the holiday...a day at Alton Towers! 

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