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Saturday, 29 March 2008

Nooooo my pear trees!

Nooooo my pear trees!
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Tis a sad day. When we moved into this house about 6 years ago now there were two lovely pear trees in the garden. Ok so they were rather over grown, but we got some very yummy pears every October. At the moment we have the builders in putting in an extension to the back which will form part of a new kitchen diner - I've been waiting for this work to happen for a couple of years now, so I'm really happy that things are finally starting to happen, but yesterday I came home to find the two pear trees are now sadly deceased. Apparently the builiding regulations inspector took a disliking to the being to close to the foundations and ordered them gone (or v.expensive foundations twice as deep). *Sob*

I think it will be a long while before our garden is in any fit state for anything, but I'd like to think we get some new pear tree planted at some point.

Centerparcs Whinfell Review Continued

As promised I'm finishing off my review of the Whinfell Centerparcs. For the final part of the review I'm going to concentrate on the resteraunts on site (again apologies for the complete lack of photos - so unlike me!). All of the accomodation on site has good kitchen facilities so you don't need to eat out at all - we mostly ate at home (made the most of having a willing Mum to do all the cooking for me), but we did try out a couple of places.

Rajinder Pradesh - this is an upmarket indian resteraunt, with the option to either takeaway or eat in. Mark & I ate here on the Wednesday night (it was his compensation for having to suffer the Salsa class with me) and I can heartily reccomend it. The portions are on the large side so unless you have a really big appetite I wouldn't reccomend going for a starter - we just had a couple of poppadums. I had the chicken shishlak which was a sizzling chicken tikka dish served with a salad and yoghurt dressing - very delicious! We shared a rice, naan and a gobi aloo saag - again all very nice. Mark had a lamb curry (sorry I can't remember which)which I tried a bit of and again I'd give it a big thumbs up.

The only thing I would say about eating out at Centreparcs is that as it's very much a family resort the peak time for eating seems to be between 7-9 as many people bring their children with them (but I can reccomend the luxury of bringing the grandparents to babysit). As a result of this, most places seem to be dead after 9pm, so if you do book yourself a baby sitter don't get too excited at the thought of a wild night out!

The other place we ate was the Cafe Rouge in the Village Centre. This was pretty much the same as any other Cafe Rouge you'd find on the high street and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Most of us had the special which was a pork fillet in a calvados sauce with mash - very yummy, but I didn't realise it came without any vegetables so I would have ordered some on the side had I known.

Other places we visited but didn't eat in were the Lakeside Pub, Sportsbar and the Rock Cafe. I was less impressed by. The Lakeside pub was rather brightly lit so lacked atmosphere and the food that I saw by the bar looked rather unappetising pre-prepared frozen stuff kept hot under lamps. They did have a better selection of beer here than in the sportsbar however. The sportsbar is quite popular, but I was put off by the rather loud TV's blaring out sport - I guess this is some people's idea of entertainment but I find it a bit of a turn off myself. The Rock Cafe is a kind of Hard Rock Cafe/TGI Fridays type of place. We only had a beer in here so I can't really comment much on it. They have a longish cocktail list, but again the place was fairly empty by 9pm.

Other places on site we didn't visit were Bella Italia and Cafe Fresh in the Village Centre. Yuzen (a Chinese/Thai resteraunt) in the Sports Plaza. Also there are two Starbucks that were in the process of being built whilst we were there due to open shortly.

Oh and there's also a supermarket in the Village Centre for provisions with a nice fresh bakery.

Overall I would definately reccomend it to anyone looking for a family holiday, though it can be quite pricey if you don't go out of season like we did. There are many great activities to do, but be careful not to overbook yourself or you'll end up running round like a mad thing and after all holidays are meant for relaxing! If possible I'd reccomend bringing extra familiy such as the grandparents along to do a bit of babysitting - this will allow you time to do activities together and to get out occasionally in the evenings. I know we will definately be going again some time.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Enjoying the facilites

Happy holidays - Centreparcs Whinfell review

I've just spent the last week at the Whinfell Centerparcs and have had the most fantastic time. The first time I went to a Centreparcs last year, it was just me and my husband, so we ended up playing tag team with one of us looking after the little one whilst the other one went off to do an activity - it made booking stuff a nightmare especially as the creche times didn't seem to coincide with any of the activities we wanted to do. This time I brought my parents along which gave us a chance to do things together whilst they looked after our son. I had meant to take a load of photos whilst we were there, but I ended running round so much from one thing to the other I never seemed to get the time! So you'll just have to believe me when I say that I actually managed to drum up the courage to go abseiling (probably had something to do with most of the group being under 12 years old - just would have been way too embarrasing if I bottled it in front of them when they did it)!

So for the review:

First thing was the accomodation. We had a 3 bedroom Comfort plus logde which was set in woodland and very comfortable though the decor is a little dated (I belive they are currently undergoing a rennovation program for a number of the lodges to a more modern style). We were situated fairly close to the Sports Pavillion which was quite handy for most of the activities we had booked. You have all the comforts of home apart from washing machine, but there is a laundrette on site. Down stairs there is a large open plan kitchen/dining/lounge area and one bedroom with an en-suite. Upstairs was another bathroom and two twin rooms. There's a collapsable cot provided which we put in one of the twin rooms though our little one still seemed to end up in our bed most nights!

Getting about:

There are cycle tracks and footpaths throughout the site and you can hire bikes on site or bring your own. The terrain is a bit undulating though if you don't like cycling up hill. We didn't bother with bikes and just walked everywhere this time which we found easy enough.


If you have small children I would definately reccomend bringing along the grandparents to do a bit of babysitting (luckily ours are very ameniable to this as we live far away so unfortunately they don't get to see him very often). I'd also reccomend not being too ambitious and booking lots of activities otherwise you end up running yourself ragged trying to get from one thing to another (which can take a while on the large site). First off Mark did the Quad Biking experience followed by Abseiling for both of us. I somewhat foolhardily signed up for this one thinking it might be something like a rock face, but was rather daunted to see it involved climbing up to a platform about the height of my town house roof (eek), standing with your back against the wall while they check your harness then most scarry of all, stepping forward to the edge of the platform while they connect you to the second rope. Then you have to turn round and slowly lean back over the edge, letting the second rope out as you go. I'd thought going over the edge would be the worst bit, but as you can't see down at that point and you can feel the the rope is taught and holding you it's not so bad. It's just that bit when you're standing at the top on the edge that really makes your heart sink to your toes. After I'd done it the first time, I knew what was coming so it wasn't quite so terrifying - I was really pleased with myself at the end of it for not bottling out.

After the abseling, I had a quick dash back to the lodge to get changed, grab a sandwich and run back over to the village centre for the pottery painting session I'd booked (not realising the abseiling was 2hrs, I mucked my timing up a bit hence having to dash all over the place). At Whinfell the pottery painting (done in association with Flying Saucers) is done in the Green Room where they have evening entertainments. It wasn't as good a set up as in Longleat where they had a dedicated Pottery Painting cafe, but the staff there were very helpful and fetched me a cup of tea from the bar whilst I did my painting. It wasn't quite the relaxing experience I'd intended as I was still pumping with adrenaline from the absailing and my hands were shaking quite a bit, but I enjoyed myself and painted a plate to match the mug that I'd done at Longleat last year.

Wednesday we did the snorkelling session which was great fun, followed by a morning in the pool. In the afternoon I had an art class where the teacher had example paintinings with step by step pictures of how they were done for people to copy. I'm not much of a painter, but I was fairly happy with what I did (though not enough for it to be hanging on the wall any time soon) given that we only had 2 hours.

Thursday morning Mark & I went off site for a pony trek - would have been fab apart from the biting cold (really wish I'd remembered my gloves), but despite that we had a great time. Next time if we go I'd like to do the young families trek - our son was just shy of the cut off age by about a month this time, but I think he'd have been a bit little even if it was after his birthday. They did all look very cute on their tiny ponies though - just like something out of a Thellwell cartoon. After the trek we went back to the Lodge to defrost and have lunch. In the afternoon I hit the spa with my mum - very relaxing. It has a number of different spa's and saunas that you can wonder round (such as Balinese Steam room, Greek Herbal Spa, Turkish Hammam etc), two pools and lots of areas for relaxing. You can also book additionally (or seperately) for various massage/facial type treatments.

Well, with various interruptions etc this has taken me most of the day to write (yeah I know I'm dead slow), so I think I'll call it a day for now. Tomorrow I hope to have time to cover some of the other bits like the resteraunts on site. Ta ta for now.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Big thanks KMC!

Yay - thanks to some help from the wonderful KMC, I have finally managed to get 3 columns in my blog. Still need to populate them with something, but at least the framework is now in place. If you haven't come across her before, KMC makes the most excellent duct tape bags and wallets around. Her shop is definately worth a look:

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Tagged continued

Album 1 murraypage_008c
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Looking back at my tag answers, the post looked a little bare, so I thought I'd add this pic of me as a kid. Yes that was probably the last time I wore a bikini.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by the lovely Siansburys http://siansburys.blogspot.com/ and Nutty Knitter http://thenuttyknittersblog.blogspot.com/ ! This means I have to tell you 7 random facts about myself. Rules are:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

So here goes (I should warn you as I write this I've had a glass or two of wine so it should all be taken with a pinch of salt) :

1. I am a leftie - handed that is. Some might think this is a disadvantage as there are so many things that are orientated to right handed people, but for me this has resulted in me becoming near enough ambidextrous as you just have to get used to using your right hand for somethings.

2. Useless talent - I can mirror write (i.e. write backwards). No actual use for this that I can see, but it's amusing some times.

3. My favourite colours is... well I'm not quite sure as it's always changing, but at the moment I love teal, turquoise, olive green and red.

4. I am an eldest child, hence supposed to be sensible.

5. When I was about 5, I did ballet class and we had to do a show where we danced with our teddy bears. One of the other girls in class pushed in front of me so I clonked her one with my teddy bear. Don't mess with the cloth.

6. I am afraid of confined spaces. I don't have a problem with things like lifts or cuboards, but any tunnel where you have to stoop to get through freaks me out something chronic. I only have to watch someone caving on tv to start hypoventilating. Why would anyone want to do that? I managed to get into the burial chamber at Maes Howe, but only by making everyone else go in first so I had a clear route to the exit behind me.

7. I love chocolate - who doesn't?

I think most people I know have been tagged already, but here are a few that don't seem to have been:

Coldcell http://coldcellphotography.blogspot.com/
Giggleicious http://giggleicious.blogspot.com/
Kala http://karenjinks.blogspot.com/
MadebyCara http://madebycara.blogspot.com/

errr I think I've run out now. Everyone else has been tagged. Will add a few more if I find anyone else.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Travel Wallet

Travel Wallet
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat

Travel wallet

Travel wallet inside
Originally uploaded by Cloth cat
Well I finally got round to finishing the travel wallet. I'm quite please with how it came out, though there are a couple of tweaks I shall make to the next one. Just need to get the time to make more and get this one listed on Etsy.