The Weekender – Fest’Oie – the Business of Foie Gras in Sarlat

The Farmer and his pet goose

Foie Gras d’Oie in the Perigord Noir and a Guilty Conscience. The Fest’Oie in Sarlat is a celebration of one of the region’s greatest (and in the UK most controversial) delicacies.  Festivities include the Bodeg’oie – a street feast focussing on various dishes made with goose, the  Sunday Street festival and, the highlight of the […]

Sarlat – Perigord Noir, Dordogne France

Sarlat Wild Boar Ham

The Weekender – Vive la Difference – Sarlat, Dordogne: I hesitated before accepting an invitation to visit Sarlat in the Dordogne for the Fest’ Oie.  Although I do sometimes eat Foie Gras, it always feels like a guilty secret – our cousins across the channel seem to have no such concerns.  More on the Festival […]

Blissing out with the Bard – The Shakespeare, Stratford Upon Avon

The Shakespeare - lounge

Mercure Hotel Shakespeare – Stratford Upon Avon: You know those best laid plans, to coin a phrase from another Bard?  It was one of those trips.  I’d planned to find a play, I’d planned to spend a little more time discovering Stratford and I’d planned to make my one night stay into a mini break.  As […]

Four Spas and a Barrel of Wine in Madeira

The Vine Hotel

Funchal, Madeira.  Spa-Testing and Madeira Wine Tasting: Much of my recent trip to Madeira was taken up by exploring and trying some of the spas in Funchal.  Having just spent a week on a boot-camp in Spain I was really rather thrilled to be invited to spend a few days being pampered.  And to make […]

Ellenborough Park – A Place in History

Ellenborough Park - Great Hall

Modern Comforts and Traditional Style in a Luxury Hotel and Spa: While I don’t always stay in luxury hotels, with family and friends in the area I thought I had a good idea of places around Cheltenham.  I’d never heard mention of Ellenborough Park though, although what I found on the internet looked stunning.  The […]

Staycation and Shopping – Thistle, Kensington Gardens

Thistle Hotel, Kensington Gardens whiteleys

The Thistle, Kensington Gardens – a Central London Bolthole: I’ve quite taken to the idea of a staycation – especially when there’s shopping involved (is that any suprise?).  Although right now I live in Central London, many of my friends are just out of town, so nights out tend to get curtailed so they can […]

Review – The Bull Hotel

The Bull Hotel - Wrotham

Wrotham (pronounced root-em) is a tiny village in Kent just south of London.  The small town with a population of less than 2,000 has three pubs all within a hundred yards of each other, one of which is The Bull Hotel.  We were lucky enough to get an invite for dinner and an overnight stay. […]

To the Lifehouse

The Lifehouse Hotel and Spa - Thermal Area

A Spa Hotel in Essex: What woman doesn’t like an overnight stay in a Spa Hotel?  I have to admit the last time I went to The Lifehouse I had some reservations – partly because of my own complete lack of sense of direction which resulted in a feeling of being totally lost much of […]

Rugs and Bones – Arraiolos and Evora, Alentejo, Portugal

Chapel of Bones - skeleton Evora

The Alentejo – Arraiolos and Evora: Evora in the Alentejo region of Portugal was not entirely new to me; I’d visited this Unesco listed Heritage City twenty years or so ago on my  first trip  to Portugal.  At that time we were Pousada hopping.  The State owned and (at the time) run historic hotels are […]

Paradise on my Doorstep – Madeira, Portugal

Palm Trees in Madeira

Unexpected Magic in Madeira: Two trips to Portugal already this year, I perhaps should  have learnt to expect the unexpected.  Having found rice fields in the Alentejo, ancient rock carvings at Foz Coa and a Flintstone-like village built in between the boulders at Monsanto, you might have thought I’d realise that Portugal is the land of […]

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