Tag: Europe

A day trip to Lokrum Island, Dubrovnik

We could see Lokrum island from the terrace of our apartment when we went to Dubrovnik last year (read more about it here). We watched boats sailing across the short stretch of sea from the harbour, we saw people sea kayaking towards it and we did a loop of the island in our speed boat trip on the first afternoon.

The next step was to actually get on to the island and explore it for ourselves!

Passenger ferries run from the mainland harbour on a regular basis, and the cost is very reasonable (I’m being vague here because I can’t remember, it’s been almost a year since we were there and I’ve been a lax blogger in posting about it!). The journey takes 10-15 minutes and is very popular, so if you have a specific timescale in mind, make sure you get there early (similarly for the return journey, people queue in advance).

Lokrum is a National Park

Similarly to old town Dubrovvnik, Lokrum was used as a filming location for Game of Thrones – many of the scenes in the city of Qarth were filmed there (then heavily CGI’d, so it’s not obviously recognisable).

There’s a small GoT exhibition, which is mainly in Croatian, but you do get to sit on a replica of the Iron Throne, which is kinda fun!

Outside of that there are some attractive benedictine monastery ruins, a botanical garden (which was past its best, tbh), free roaming peacocks and rabbits and an inland Dead Sea which many people swim in (which was VERY cold and VERY awkward to get into because of the rocks underfoot).

Sea swimming is also very popular, and there are nudist areas around the coastline, if that tickles your fancy!

Lokrum island is a national park, and no-one is allowed to stay overnight – the island is vacated by 7.30 every evening. It’s very green and relaxing, but there isn’t an awful lot to do there. It’s definitely worth a visit, as long as you have the right expectations (or just want to chill out and do nothing!)

As I said in my previous post, Dubrovnik is a very beautiful city and one that I would recommend to anyone. It would be daft not to visit Lokrum unless you were desperately short of time, and the ferry journey also gives you a different view of the city looking back into the old harbour.

Have you been to Dubrovnik?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

A week in Greece

Last week I flew to my happy place in Greece, a small village called Stoupa; nestled in the base of the mountains on the Mani Peninsula. I first blogged about Stoupa here. Whilst I’m not usually a fan of going back to the same place multiple times (it’s a big wide world out there, after all) there’s something to be said for finding a place in which you’re completely at ease, completely relaxed in an instant, with incredible food, scenery and people.

That place, for me, is Stoupa. Which is why I’ve been there 5 times.

It’s testament to the village that it’s hardly changed at all since I first went there around 16 years ago! And that’s the appeal of the place. Whereas holidays, for me, are often about exploring and finding where everything is, the beauty of Stoupa is that you already know everything there is to know. It’s like putting on a comfy jumper and cosy slippers.

I first went with my Dad, then my Dad and his wife went, then my husband and I went and so, after my Dad died last year, it seemed fitting that his wife, me and the husband would all go together, as we all love it so much.

With no further ado, here are my pics!

Do you have a favourite place in the world where you feel instantly relaxed and at home?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

The Big 4-0: Where to Go?

I’ll be 40 in December. 5 months today, in fact.

40 mug

I’ll spare you all the “how did that happen” bollocks, all the “I still feel like I’m in my 20s” bollocks and all the “if I could do it all over again” bollocks, because a) it’s bollocks, b) it’s dull and c) it’s pretty obvious! It happened, because life. I don’t know how old I feel, really, because I don’t know how 40 is supposed to feel, but I certainly don’t act how I think 40 year old grown ups acted when I was a kid. And I wouldn’t do it all over again, thanks. I’m very happy and settled in my life, with myself, with my relationship and with my home, compared to school years and early 20s which were a troubled cocktail of confusion at times!

The biggest issue I have with turning 40 at the moment (and I reserve the right to change this to sheer panic as the date gets closer!) is how to celebrate. More specifically where to celebrate. I’m not a party type person. Not to say I don’t like parties, or social occasions, or fun (I do, and I excel at them, at least in my own head!) but the thought of having a party for me just ticks no boxes at all. If anyone were to organise a surprise party for me I would be livid. It would also be pretty impossible anyway, because my birthday is on 20th December and people tend to be so caught up in Christmas parties/works parties/shopping/visiting family/spending money on presents that there isn’t necessarily room for ickle old me in their plans (this is not a pity statement in anyway, I’m cool with it, I’ve had 39 years to be ok with it and the people that matter always make a fuss regardless).

So, back to the impending 40th. I know it’s just another day, and another year older, and nothing will change, but somehow it feels like I should do something a bit special. And I have always thought/expected that something special would involve a trip. A holiday. And I always wanted the destination to be Goa or New York.

Now the time has come to make plans though, neither of those are really feasible. There’s the proximity to Christmas, obvs. I don’t want to be away over Christmas, because that’s family time, which therefore means travelling before Christmas and having a really long Christmas holiday which neither my bank balance or waistline would thank me for. Also, with moving house this year, annual leave is at a premium i.e I don’t have enough left to take time off for a long haul trip (that’s Goa out of the question). And New York would be incredibly cold (although pretty) and what if we got snowed in and couldn’t get home for Christmas Day? Too risky.

I suppose I could plan the trip for January, but it’s not my birthday then, so…

This leaves me the option of Europe. And while there are heaps of places I want to go in Europe, most of them lend themselves to summer. Lisbon? Summer. Seville? Summer. Dubrovnik? Summer. I’ve been to Prague, and I’ve been to Budapest (for my 30th). Flight timetables tend to be less regular as Christmas gets closer and the limited annual leave I have left gives only a couple of days window of opportunity to fly.

My first thought was Amsterdam. I do want to go there, but don’t really link it with any particular season in my head, so it seemed like a decent idea. It’s a short flight from the UK and there are lots of airlines serving Schipol airport. But the husband said he thinks of it as more of a warm days/light nights destination for wandering the streets and sitting outside street cafes, so the idea was shelved.

So far the frontrunner is now Rome. It has enough epicness to be worthy of a 40th birthday (History? Check! Architecture? Check! Food & wine? Check, check, check!) It’s close enough to fly to for just a few days; the last few years have been surprisingly mild in December, and it will probably be less busy than high season which means shorter queues for attractions, more choice of hotels and less crowded restaurants. I like the idea of hunkering down eating steaming bowls of pasta and sipping red wine in cosy cafes in between marvelling at the Coliseum, St Peters Basilica and the Spanish Steps. There’s an early morning flight from Manchester on the day of my birthday, which would be a pretty exciting start to the celebrations, and the flight home leaves us enough time for last minute preparations before Christmas Day.

Part of me thinks I’m being selfish wanting to be away so close to Christmas, when we’ll already have lots of stuff to do. But then the spoilt brat in me thinks it’s not my fault I was born so close to Christmas (thanks, Mom!) and that if my birthday was any other time of year there’s be no issue in going on a trip. I’m already kinda compromising… (told you, spoilt brat!)

What do you guys think? Should I plough on regardless? Wait til January? Is Rome a good idea or do you have any other suggestions? Help an aging girl out…!!

Thanks, as always, for reading x

0

My first…wedding anniversary

Another first of another month!

This month the husband and I will have been married for 8 whole years. Wowsers! We have a way to go to catch up with Chris and Charlotte, who I posted about yesterday, but it’s pretty good going for an unmarriable handful (me) and a previously engaged twice commitment-phobe (him!)

There are two things that stick out in my mind about our first wedding anniversary. The first is that my Dad actually said “I don’t know how you’ve made it to a year” with the reasoning that I am the afore-mentioned unmarriable handful. I mean, he had a point. But still!

The second thing is that we went to Marseille

Based in the South of France, Marseilles has an enviable climate and a very Mediterranean feel. We totally fell in love with the place. It’s small enough to get around quickly with a great public transport system, lots of pretty buildings and great architecture, harbours, beaches and we got door to door in 6 hours. We declared it our new go-to weekend break.

Unfortunately, after we got back, Ryanair ceased the Birmingham to Marseille flight route and we haven’t been back since.

My top tips for visiting Marseille:

  • Pre-plan your airport transfer. Stupidly I didn’t, thinking it would be cheap enough to grab a cab on arrival. All the drivers wanted between 60 and 70 euros; no way! So we jumped on a bus, me blagging the husband that I knew exactly where we were going, when actually I had no idea (if I’d ‘fessed up he’d have panicked and just thrown money at a taxi). Between a printed map and some pigeon English to the very French bus driver we established he was only going as far as the main bus station. So from there we jumped in a cab to our apartment; which still ended up costing us 20 euros for what would have been a 5 minute walk, had we known where we were going.
  • Jump on an open top bus tour. This is something I recommend wherever you go on a city break, as it gives you a really good feel for a city and you can then decide which bits you want to revisit. The audio guides are usually pretty interesting too for some history. If the weather’s good try and sit upstairs for the best views.
  • Do consider going for longer than a couple of days. Ours was just a flying weekend visit but there are lots of beaches with watersports and activities in Marseille, so you could easily have a mix of city and beach break.
  • Get familiar with the underground metro system. There are only 3 lines (from memory) so it’s easy to use, very cheap and very convenient with little to no crowding and comfortable air conditioned trains.

On that note, here are a few pics! I have less than I would like, because 8 years ago phone cameras were pretty naff and I didn’t blog or live my life on instagram – if I went back now I’d be snapping everything!

Have you ever been to Marseille?

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

I feel like I’m in mourning

Dramatic? Yes.

Truthful? Absolutely!

I’m shocked, saddened and angered by the Brexit vote. I expected it to be close, but I didn’t think people would actually follow through with it and vote against stability, certainty and security.

It feels like we’re in freefall.

I’m genuinely worried for the future. We have no allies now. No-one who wants to back us up. Except maybe America if that buffoon Trump gets voted in (which I would say is a very real possibility). So we’re basically a terrorist target and I wouldn’t be surprised if Russia comes sniffing around as well.

Some interesting statistics:

HOW AGES VOTED (YouGov poll)

18-24: 75% Remain

25-49: 56% Remain

50-64: 44% Remain

65+: 39% Remain

I read an article earlier this week about an older man who voted based on what his 17 year old grandson (who wasn’t eligible to vote) wanted. As he said, the younger generation have a lot longer to live with the results. I think that was a very noble and wise decision (perhaps some other older voters should have considered doing something similar).

Here’s the split, in case you haven’t seen it.

EU referendum how the UK voted

I predict that there will be another Scottish referendum and they’ll vote to leave the UK – and who can blame them? In fact I think we’re taking a liberty calling ourselves the “United Kingdom” anymore because this decision is clearly going to split our home nation.

I don’t blame David Cameron for resigning,  but the thought of bumbling Boris as leader of our country scares me to death.

The MD of the company I work for is taking some solace in the Article 50 side of things; in that until it’s invoked (which David Cameron is saying he won’t do during his remaining term) then proceedings won’t begin and that buys us more time. I wouldn’t be so sure. European leaders are calling for a swift clean exit. It’s going to be an acrimonious split for sure.

I feel terribly terribly sad. Bereft, even.

And the price of wine is predicted to rise…

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

5 things about the EU Referendum vote, on An historical and potentially life changing day

I’ve posted before on why I think the EU Referendum is a bad idea. If you don’t have the time or inclination to read it, the summary is that the general British public are too stupid to make a fully informed decision. I realise that’s a sweeping generalisation, but as today has gotten ever closer I’ve been very alarmed by some of the comments and opinions I’ve heard from the average Joe Bloggs.

My vote is cast and I’m 100% certain I’ve chosen the right option.

UK EU referendum ballot box

For the record, and because I’m in no way ashamed or protective of my decision, I’m firmly in the Vote Remain camp. This is based on personal circumstances, commercial circumstances and what I believe is the right move for Britain. I truly believe in stronger together.

Some people hold their personal political beliefs very close to their chest, and I very much understand that. It can cause hostility. Last year I got into a conversation in a bar with a man I didn’t know following the General Election. We were chatting merrily about all sorts of things, and the conversation turned to politics. When I revealed that I’d voted for the Conservative party in the Election, he literally turned his back on me and wouldn’t speak another word. This was a man in his 60s! Very immature and extreme behaviour, but indicative of how strongly some people feel.

I don’t believe in trying to influence people’s voting choice as it is a very personal decision. But when people are quite blatantly being uneducated and voting for ridiculous reasons I admit to “pointing things out” (you may have noticed, if you read this blog regularly, that I’m rather opinionated and vocal!) The husband, on the other hand, has been quite vociferous in his disdain for people voting in the opposite camp to him (even his own Mom!) and last night he seemed to be on a one man social media political tirade. Having said that, he had a horrendous few years where he got involved in a forced company buyout and making redundancies during the last recession, so he’s keen to avoid the threat of another economic downturn. His methods might be questionable (the phrase “uneducated idiot” has been used more than once) but his intentions are good.

Here are 5 things I’ve either thought, heard or read during the lead up to the referendum:

Thought: Boris Johnson – great as a guest presenter on Have I Got News For You, not great as a Prime Minister (also, as commented by a friend, how can you trust a man who can’t even control his hair to control the country?)

Heard: Various stories of people who want to retire to Spain but are voting out (WHAT????) Or even people who have second/holiday homes in Spain but also intend to vote out “because Spain needs our income for their economy so they’ll be kind to us”. Good luck with that.

Read: “Not everyone who votes out is racist, but everyone who is racist will vote out.” I’m alarmed by how many people are using immigration as their sole reason for voting out. All immigrants seem to be put into the same category, when of course there are massive differences. Leaving the EU won’t stop illegal immigration because, by it’s very nature, people don’t need permission to do it. Also, economic migrancy is different to fleeing-your-home-country-due-to-war migrancy. And many migrants who come here are non-EU members anyway (e.g Syria). There seems to be an opinion that we’ll leave the EU and there’ll be no more “bloody foreigners” coming in. Ridiculous. Also, why is it that people who come to the UK are immigrants, but when British people move abroad they’re ex-pats?

Thought: Many people who want to “Take Back Control” (and if you watched the BBC debate with Boris Johnson and Gisela Stuart on Tuesday night you’ll fully understand why that statement grates on me – it was uttered every other bloody sentence) actually dislike the Tory government. So by voting out they’re relinquishing their secondary support network to stop the Tories doing exactly what they want in the country, as the Tories will have sole control. There’ll be no European intervention around maximum hours and human rights, for example.

FACT: If we leave, the EU member states are under no obligation to negotiate favourable trade deals with the UK. There seems to be this arrogant notion that Europe needs to trade with us and will be fair. Really? Put it this way, If someone told me they no longer wanted to be my friend, but they’d come on a night out with me when they wanted to, I’d tell them to bog off. Europe is more likely to make an example of us by making life difficult in order to discourage other member states from leaving. The company I work for does a lot of business in Europe. In contrast, when we ship to non-EU member country Norway, we pay 25% duty. Multiply that by 27 other EU member states and that becomes a big problem to UK businesses who currently have a large European market. And that’s assuming that they don’t impose even higher duties and trade restrictions.

In truth, anyone who enjoys holidays and travel, works for a company who trades in Europe or enjoys the current low mortgage rates from the Bank of England would be a hypocrite to vote out, because you’re making life more difficult for yourself. There is no evidence to prove that leaving the EU is good for Britain. Our Prime Minister thinks we should stay, leading Captains of Industry think we should stay, and the President of America; arguably the most powerful man in the world, thinks we should stay. Pretty compelling.

More to the point, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump think we should leave. That in itself is all the evidence I need.

On that note, I’m off to collect my holiday Euros, which I bought in advance for fear that the unthinkable happens and the exchange rate goes tits!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

Our trip to Lyon – what we did

Lyon is the third biggest city in France, after Paris and Marseilles, according to the commentary on our bus tour of the city. The open top bus, where everyone was crammed downstairs because the weather was so bloody awful…

Thank goodness for overpacking. As I mentioned in my previous post the weather forecast for the first two days was cold and rainy, followed by warmer temperatures and sunshine for the next two. There’s always the hope that the forecasters have got it wrong, and in fact they had, it was colder than suggested!

Our first stop was the Basilica de Notre Dame, situated high on Fourviere Hill on the old town side of the River Saone. We took the (impressively clean and organised) Metro and then the funicular railway to the top of the hill. The Basilica was built between 1872 and 1884 and is one of the most breathtaking churches I’ve ever been in – from sheer scale through to attention to detail.

Inside was mind blowing.

I spent so long looking at the mosaics – each one must have been 3 metres long and was made entirely out of tiny half centimetre squares. The dedication and attention to detail is hard to comprehend.

Mosaic fresco at Basilica de Notre Dame Lyon

On a good day you can see Mont Blanc from Fourviere Hill. On a cold, rainy, windy, 6 degree day, you can’t!

Vieux Lyon, old town, is a maze of cobbled streets and little squares with restaurants and traditional Lyonnais bouchons – tiny eateries serving rustic cuisine from the region. It was very pretty, but hampered by the weather even though we struggled on in the face of adversity!

You can get a perspective of how high the Basilica rises above the city from this picture.

Vieux Lyon with view of Basilica

Parc de la Tête d’Or covers 290 acres. It’s huge! I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a multi faceted park in my life, and we spent 2 hours just wandering around.

It has a lake where people can boat in summertime, a beautiful fountain surrounded by flowers, and there’s a big velodrome in the grounds too!

There’s a small deer park, which randomly also has some ostriches?!

A zoo with flamingos, a giraffe (who we didn’t see, unfortunately), lions (who wouldn’t stand up for a photo!), a variety of monkies who I couldn’t photograph through glass, buffalo, toucans and tortoises! An eclectic mix!

The park is famous for it’s rose gardens, although we were slightly too early as they weren’t fully in flower. I can only imagine what a riot of colour there is in high season.

And the Botanical Gardens which, although not my thing (too claustrophobic) were  very impressive.

There you have it, an overview of our time in Lyon! We didn’t mange to see everything we’d have liked because of the weather, the fact that 1st May is Labour Day and there is no public transport running (WHAT???!!! I didn’t know that when I booked!) and also my Mother-in-Law, who was our travelling companion, isn’t at 100% health right now so we were tourist dawdlers rather than striding out all over the place and walking miles like we usually do.

Special mention, before I finish, to my first time of eating snails! Which I enjoyed so much I had them a second time too! They’re fiddly to get out of the shells and not very filling, but they were so tasty and enjoyable. A similar texture to mussels, they were cooked in garlic butter and I loved them.

Tomorrow I’ll share some pictures from our daytrip to Annecy, in the Alps.

Thanks, as always, for reading!

0

5 top tips for booking a bargain overseas city break

I’ve worn down persuaded the husband that we need to book a city break in early May to take advantage of the bank holiday and “free” time off work. Last year we went to Nice, which you can read about here, here and here. I love an intense short trip to soak up the feel of a city, have a wander round, look at good architecture and of course eat!

Aeroplane

Here are my 5 top tips for planning and booking an overseas break as cost effectively as possible.

1) Have a look where you can get to cheaply. I usually start with the low cost airlines, type in my departure airport and date, and see where they go to and how much it costs. Then have a look on travel sites and find out what there is to do there, and if it interests you. I’ve been to some great places like this that I might not have considered before.

2) Consider travelling a day either side to save money. This is especially true on bank holidays where prices can be expensive to take advantage of the fact that people want to travel Saturday to Monday and not use any extra annual leave.

3) Use Trivago to find the best hotel for your budget. Search the city you’re going to then do a combination of sorting by price and distance from city centre to find out what works for you.

Trivago logo

Are you willing to pay a little more to be closer to the attractions, or are you happy to walk/use public transport in order to get cheaper accommodation? What I would say for this type of break is that there really isn’t any point in booking a fancy hotel. On a short break you need to cram in as much sightseeing as possible and so you won’t spend much time in your room.

4) Use cashback sites to earn money back on your bookings. I use Quidco and have earned quite a lot back over the years – not just on travel but also on general online shopping. You can set notification so that when a retailer increases their cashback rate you’ll get an email. Sometimes a hotel that is slightly more expensive on one site can work out cheaper when you apply the cashback. Hotels.com is a favourite of mine, as they often have 12% cashback offers and, on many of their hotels, you earn a free night for every 10 you stay (you can build them up as you go and the value of the free night will be the average of the 10 booked and paid nights).

5) Remember to add in additional costs – luggage (if you need to check bags in), transfer from the airport, and public transport for getting around your destination all add up. We got to Marseilles once on a really cheap flight, and then found out at the airport taxi rank that a cab to our hotel was going to be about 70 euros, oops! No point getting a bargain flight and then paying double that for your transfer.

Are you a fan of city breaks? Any other top money saving tips I should know about?

Thanks, as always, for reading!

0

Why I think an EU referendum is a bad idea

I’m not a political person. I don’t know enough about it, nor do I have any desire to become more involved. That might seem like a terrible attitude about something that is so important to the future of our country and the people in it, but there you go. It’s too confusing. I also think that I’m too much of a little fish in a big pond to make a difference. I appreciate that if everyone thought that way we’d be screwed, but it is what it is. So shoot me.

The trouble with politics is that you’re never going to agree with everything a party stands for, and so you’re immediately setting yourself up for disappointment. They will always agree with/vote for/pass law upon something you don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I do exercise my right to vote, but it’s probably fair to say that I don’t look into it enough to fully understand everything I’m voting for. Because then I would talk myself into and out of multiple political parties and go round in circles. Ain’t nobody got time for that when there’s holidays to be planned and sales to be shopped.

What I do have a strong opinion on is the upcoming referendum. Not the outcome. I haven’t looked into that enough (surprise!) But the actual handing over of a momentous decision to the great British public.

EU referendum

The public are generally pretty rubbish. We vote for dogs to win Britain’s Got Talent. We watch the Brits (which by all accounts was rubbish, I wouldn’t know as I went to the pub) purely to moan about it on social media. We allow the Daily Fail to exist as an actual news delivering vehicle. None of these things are the behaviour of sensible, well rounded, intelligent beings. How then are we expected to know whether staying in the EU is a good or bad idea?!

Removing my tongue from my cheek for a moment, my concern is that people will be voting for (or against) people because of their feelings towards those people, without understanding the consequences or the bigger picture. There’s a lot of hatred for David Cameron, so there will be people who vote to leave the EU purely because he wants us to stay. “I hate David Cameron therefore I will vote the opposite to what he thinks”. Boris Johnson has a following of people who think he’s a great chap, so perhaps they will vote to leave because that’s what he’s campaigning for. “Boris is fun and he was brilliant on Have I Got News For You, so let’s agree with him” There are those small minded people who think our borders are being overrun by illegal immigrants claiming benefits or stealing “British” jobs, and will therefore vote to leave as an act of British defiance. “It’s our country and we need to regain control before the terrorists take over”. I appreciate that not everyone will vote so frivolously, and some people will actually understand the implications of our involvement in Europe and make an informed decision, but the fact remains that a chunk of people have the power to influence Britain’s future in a huge way, without the knowledge that such power requires.

I understand that there needs to be a referendum, and that the only fair way to do it is hand over the decision to the people who will be affected. It’s not a decision that the Prime Minister or his political party can make – there would be uproar.

But I do think there needs to be a helluva lot more education of Joe Public so that we’re all informed on what it means for us. Perhaps employers need to take some responsibility and explain how an in or out decision will affect their company and job roles, so people understand from a real lifescenario what it mayor may not mean for them.

Or perhaps we need to introduce IQ tests prior to issuing a ballot paper. Weed out the stupid ones so we have a chance of the right result (whatever that may be).

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

0

Holiday stress (first world problems)

It’s rather ridiculous that something that’s supposed to be fun, something to look forward to and something to relax you should be stressful. But my head is about to burst this year!

I’m very much of the “let’s use our annual leave to see stuff and go places” school of thought. Husband would happily spend a week at home. I think that’s a ridiculous waste of time. I usually always win.

This year we’re a bit short on annual leave, as we both started new jobs in April and so our holiday has been pro rata’d accordingly. Hence why we found ourselves sitting down with a spreadsheet, no less, to carve up our annual leave. That kind of ruins the fun straight away.

We’d planned on a short break to Europe, 3 or 4 nights all inclusive where we could lounge in the sun, read books, eat and drink loads. I would have shoe-horned in a daytrip somewhere too, just to satisfy my wanderlust. We were all priced up and researched and ready to go to Majorca.

I mean, look at it. Why wouldn’t you?

Majorca

Then, in true us style, we faffed. Not because we didn’t want to go, but because life happens. And by the time we did come to book it, the price had gone up by over £100.

Arse.

I then suggested Greece. Loads of bargains to be had, and as long as you’re all inclusive and paid up front you don’t need money, right? Husband was reticent – pointing out that the hotels may run out of money to buy food. I poo-pooed him and would have booked but I have to say now, with events of yesterday, that I’m glad one of us has a sensible head (I hope he isn’t reading this).

And so we decided on Wales. Now that might seem rather a departure (pun intended) from beach and guaranteed sunshine. But North Wales is one of my very favourite places in the UK – so green and atmospheric and mountainous and just generally ace. And we had plans of going on sunny walks, searching out waterfalls, eating lamb (of course!), sitting in beer gardens and generally chilling out.

North Wales

Our plans were nearly scuppered when the only guesthouse we wanted to stay at was showing no availability online, but a quick call and some jiggery-pokery meant that the owner was able to accommodate us.

All well and good.

Until today when the bloody weather forecast has turned and is now showing a rather unseasonal 14 degrees and rain for next weekend. And husband’s colleague has just come back from North Wales and didn’t see any of last week’s heatwave.

What to do? I have revisited Majorca plans in a mad panic, as the thought of spending precious annual leave in a sodden sulk fills me with dread. And the cost of keeping ourselves occupied will no doubt boost the Welsh trip into the realms of European spend anyway. But am I being a brat? Should I accept my fate and make the best of it, whatever the weather?

Don’t even start me on how we’ll agree on the rest of our leave. I had grand plans for Hong Kong, even offering to pay for us from my redundancy fund, but husband has little desire to go East.

That week at home that he so desires may be closer than he thinks…

0