Tag: mini break

Fuerteventura – Hotel Elba Sara and the Cat Cafe

I’m flabbergasted that it’s only been 4 weeks since I was soaking up the sun in Fuerteventura. It seems like such a long time ago, and almost like it never happened, to be honest. To prove that it did I thought I’d share a few pics!

When we arrived at our booked hotel, we were told that there wasn’t a room available for us due to water damage (the island had experienced some unusually heavy rains. I found out that, because heavy rain is so rare, many of the buildings aren’t fully waterproofed, simply because there is no need.) Panic immediately subsided when the receptionist told us we’d be moved to another hotel in the resort – a better class hotel than we had booked – at no extra cost. Result! They called us a taxi, and off we went to Hotel Elba Sara.

hotel-elba-sara-fuerteventura

hotel-elba-sara-fuerteventura-lobby

hotel-elba-sara-fuerteventura-downstairs

hotel-elba-sara-fuerteventura-pool-and-bar

(images taken from hotel website)

It was, undoubtedly, a very nice hotel but it was just so big! This isn’t the kind of hotel we would usually go for at all, because with a lot of rooms comes a lot of people using the pool/bar/restaurant. That’s not to say it wasn’t lovely, it was, but it wouldn’t be my choice. It was also much further out of the resort than the hotel we’d booked. Having said that, we were only there for 4 days so didn’t have much intention of getting out and about anyway, and with all inclusive running from breakfast time until midnight we were happy to soak up the surroundings and enjoy some chill time.

Mid 20s temperatures and blue skies aren’t to be sniffed at in November!

The hotel grounds were lovely, lots of bright flowers and a lazy river running through the gardens.

We’d noticed quite a few cats wandering around the hotel grounds, and had both commented it was unusual as generally you would expect animals to be kept away from the public. They were all very clean and well kept, very tame and loved to be fussed. Then we can across this. cat-cafe-hotel-elba-sara

It says “We are a small charity, run entirely by volunteers and have been working in Fuerteventura since 1995.Our aim is to humanely manage the homeless cat population. Each cat you see with the left ear tip missing has been sterilised.

We have installed this cat café so visitors can feed the cats here. Please put cat food and biscuits in the bowls provided and not on the surrounding ground or on the base of the café as this attracts the ants and flies. We rely on the visitors to feed the cats and to keep the area clean, a dirty cat café would reflect badly on the cats.

We depend entirely on volunteers and public donations to carry out our work.

Please help us to help the cats of Fuerteventura. Thank you from all of us at “Twinkle” and the puss cats”.

Isn’t that just adorable?! I love that the hotel encourages this instead of shooing the animals away. It shows compassion and understanding.

Here are some pics of the kitties, who were all extremely well behaved and liked being fussed (I think I’d be well behaved and like fuss if I could live in year round sunshine with free food, too!)

Find out more about Twinkle Trust Animal Aid and cat cafes here.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

My trip to Lanzarote

As I said in Monday’s post I really didn’t do a lot on my mini break! But I thought I’d share some highlights and some pics with you.

Our hotel
We booked into an all inclusive resort called BlueBay. It was only 15 minutes from the airport, which was ideal after a 4 hour flight. The hotel was bright and airy, very clean, with a lovely pool area, decked pool bar, low rise whitewashed apartment blocks and beautiful gardens – immaculate trees, flowers and cactuses everywhere!

Blue Bay Lanzarote entrance

Blue Bay Lanzarote pool are

 

Our rooms were actually apartments; a spacious open plan lounge, kitchen and dining area with a table and chairs, big sofa and sliding doors to a big balcony, and then a separate bedroom with a dining table and sliding wardrobe and a separate bathroom with walk in shower. Food is always something of a concern in a larger hotel, when catering for the masses, and even more so in an all inclusive resort, but there was no need to worry. Everything was fresh and tasty, well cooked, lots of choice and variation. The staff were, without exception, incredibly friendly. It was a good choice.

The resort
We opted for Costa Teguise, on the east coast, due to proximity to the airport. The resort was a 20 (ish) minute walk away from the hotel, or less than 3 euros in a taxi. We used a taxi a couple of times and then on the last day the husband and I walked along the coastal path there and back, which was picturesque but very very windy!

Costa Teguise has no history as such, having been built purely for tourism purposes in the 1980s. There are some tourist shops, bars, low rise villas and a backdrop of volcanic mountains behind. The windy weather makes the bay a haven for windsurfers; there must have been about 50 of them, some fairly far out to sea and getting up some great speeds!

My Mom’s birthday
The reason for the trip was to celebrate my Mom’s 60th birthday. We decorated the room with balloons and banners and spent a relaxed day at the hotel enjoying the sunshine and drinking sangria. I’d bought her a Pandora charm as a reminder of the holiday, a small silver passport.

Pandora passort charm

For dinner we went into Costa Teguise, to a restaurant called El Maestro. I’d selected them from TripAdvisor reviews and emailed in advance to book a table and explain that it was a special birthday. The restaurant offered me a birthday cake, in my choice of flavour with a personalised iced message – so trusting as they didn’t take any payment details in advance! They lit candles and came out singing happy birthday, which was a nice touch.

Mom's 60th birthday meal

The restaurant was beautiful, the service excellent and the food exquisite – garlic mushrooms to start followed by chateaubriand with potatoes and the lightest fluffiest birthday cake for dessert. The restaurant even boxed up the rest for us to takeaway (which we ate on the balcony with cocktails the following afternoon!)

I’d be happy not only to go back to Lanzarote, but to the same hotel, which is an unusual thing for me to say! But knowing that there’s a tried and tested bolthole in the sun we could escape to, just to get away for a few days of R&R during the cold winter months, is great. And of course there’s lots to see and do on the island too.

Sitting in the airport waiting to fly home, in the outdoor bar which has a view over the volcanic landscape (how cool is that?!) I could quite happily have stayed another couple of days…

Arrecife airport outdoor terrace

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

Holiday vs travel

I love travel. Not travelling. There’s a distinct difference between the two, not least the length and breadth of the trip! I say this, as I know there are travel purists who think that you’re only a traveller if you take a backpack, a dog-eared map and sleep in hostels. Staying in a hotel doesn’t count.

To me, travel is seeing things, experiencing new cultures, eating local food, soaking up atmosphere and language and local customs, visiting must see sights, taking photos and creating memories. It’s ok to bring shampoo and many pairs of shoes. There isn’t a pre-requisite that you should only spend £3 a day on meals and travel cross country on the floor of a train, as far as I’m concerned. There’s a lot of snobbery around “travelling”.

Travel is amazing in a mind blowing, eye opening, life affirming, head expanding, wow kind of way. Even if you do have 2 showers a day and eat at nice restaurants while you’re doing it.

But sometimes it’s ok to just have a holiday. To do little more than eat, sleep, drink, lounge, read, laugh, snooze, wander and repeat.

Passports

I’ve just had a lovely holiday in Lanzarote. Didn’t see any of the island, but that’s ok. We spent quality family time, got some sunshine, my Mom had a great birthday, and I feel relaxed.

At least I did until a 3 hour flight delay on the way home (thanks, French air traffic control, you swines). And some unexpected health news from my mother in law. And my sister’s boyfriend being attacked by 3 men in the street, while she was with him.

Real life sucks.

But that’s the thing about real life. You have to return to it sooner or later, whether you’ve been away for an extended holiday, a week, a few days, or even just a weekend.

Welcome home to me!

This time in 7 weeks…

…I’ll be on my jolly holidays!

It’s my Mom’s 60th birthday mid March, so we’ve booked a short break to Lanzarote.

Who wants to spend money on a party for everyone else to enjoy when you can spend it on relaxing in the sun, paddling in the sea, and drinking cocktails?

We fly out very first thing on the Wednesday morning and come back Sunday afternoon. Perfect.

Choice of destinations is more limited at this time of year due to climate, and we don’t want to travel long haul, so the Canary Islands are perfect. I’ve been to Fuerteventura in March and the days were actually quite hot, so hoping to get a bit of a suntan. It will just be nice not to have to wrap up from the elements, feel the warmth on our faces and sit outside reading books and watching the world go by.

We’re going to an all inclusive resort so the temptation to do nothing will be strong, but I’d like to get a feel for the island, so we’ll probably go on a day trip whilst we’re there, probably to the volcanic national park, and of course a wander to the resort, seafront and harbour will be a must.

Costa Teguise beach

Costa Teguise town

BlueBay Lanzarote

Timanfaya national park

If you’ve been to Lanzarote and have any tips or must sees, please let me know.

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

A weekend in Cornwall – Looe Music Festival

The husband came across Looe Music Festival a couple of years ago and we went for the first time last year.

We loved it so much that we said we would 100% definitely go again. And so we did.

As is usual with me I was watching the weather forecast on an hourly basis; hoping for sunshine but not counting on it. But we woke up to clear blue skies, packed the car, and off we went!

Driving to Cornwall

Looe is such a pretty place. I hadn’t been to Cornwall prior to our first visit last year, and was immediately struck by it’s beauty. A pretty harbour town, it’s split into East and West Looe by the River Looe – the two sides connected by a town bridge. It’s a myriad of small streets and fishing boats, leading down to a wide clean beach.

Out and about in Looe

Houses in the hills Looe

Looe harbour and houses

Looe harbour

It has a lot of history – check out the plaque on the Smugglers Cott pub! Built in 1430!

Smugglers Cott

During the music festival the whole place comes alive, with multiple stages around the town and bands playing in pubs, restaurants and out on the street.

It’s an absolute bargain at around £80 for a 3 day ticket, and there really is something for everyone. This year’s headliners were The Proclaimers, Jules Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, and Johnny Marr.

We stayed in a Parkdean caravan about a mile away from the centre which was comfy, cosy and in a great location.

The organisation is second to none. Well laid out with plenty of well priced bars, lots of clean toilet facilities and friendly helpful stewards, as well as lots of different streetfood stalls. Shuttle buses run every 10 minutes or so at peak times, stopping off at all the main holiday parks and campsites and dropping people off in the middle of Looe for just a pound each way.

The main stage is on the beach.

Looe Music Festival stage  Looe Music Festival beach

Looe Music Festival main stage

The whole area is so pretty…

Looking inland from Looe bridge

…and sparkles with lights as dusk approaches.

Looe

Looe evening

We ate noodles, paella, and Cornish pasties from various street food vendors.

Lamb, mint and potato pie with mash and gravy from Grumpies of Cornwall deserves a special mention. I could have eaten everything on their menu!

Grumpies of Cornwall lamb pie

Grumpies of Cornwall

Ate cake and drank wine at the harbourside after dark.

Cake and wine

And ordered handmade cocktails from the Beetle Juice van!

Beetle Juice cocktail van

The stage and beach light up for the headliners.

Looe Music Festival at night

Jools Holland at Looe Music Festival

Personal highlights included The Dodge Brothers – an Americana skiffle band. Mark Kermode – of film critic fame – plays the double bass; my favourite instrument in the world.

Looe Music Festival The Dodge Brothers

Wille and the Bandits played the BBC Introducing stage. We’ve found out they’re playing at a venue near us in a couple of weeks, which is great news!

Wille and the Bandits

And an afternoon in the Bullers Arms pub watching Steve Flanders play a great set which had the whole pub singing along.

Steve Flanders

The weather was fantastic all weekend – I had my legs out enjoying the last of the summer sun! (obligatory festival hats were worn too)

Looe Music Festival

Me at Looe Music Festival

I don’t like to be a creature of habit, because I want to see and do as many things in life as possible, but I already know there’s a very good chance we’ll be back for the third time in a row next year. That’s how special it is.

**Some photo credits to the husband on this post, including the ones with me in them, obvs!