I’ve always loved musicals, plays and live performances, so when I was offered the opportunity to see and review Agatha Christie’s murder mystery entitled The Mousetrap, I decided to go for it. My excitement got even bigger when my colleague told me it was the longest-running West End show, with over 25,000 performances since 1952! The Mousetrap will be playing at the Pavilion between 5th and 10th August 2019. You can book tickets here.
The plot of the play revolves around eight people trapped in a guesthouse because of the heavy snow. They suddenly discover that there is a murderer amongst them. The past traumatic experiences of each character are slowly revealed and the motives make you guess who committed the crime.
I obviously won’t tell you who the killer is, not only because nobody likes spoilers, but also because the audience of the play was asked to keep it a secret for the rest of our lives! The play is worth seeing not only for the mysterious atmosphere and the feeling of suspense, but also because of the black humour used throughout the play by its talented actors.
So once again, if you want to see the longest running West End show and experience the nail-biting moment when the murderer is revealed, hurry up and book it here. The Mousetrap will be playing at the Pavilion only until Saturday 10th August!
Lake Garda and its surrounding villages were some of the places we had the pleasure to visit on our recent holiday to Italy. If I could quickly summarise what we were doing there, I would say that we ate tons of gelato and were simply living La Dolce Vita, all while enjoying the sunshine. In this blog post, you’ll see photos from Bardolino and Sermione – adorable places located near to the biggest lake in Italy – Lago di Garda.
Lake Garda is a popular holiday destination in the northern part of Italy mainly because of the picturesque scenery (the lake is surrounded by mountains), lovely cafés and restaurants, and also the possibility of using the lake for water sports. Most of the tourists are from Germany and Switzerland and German is the language which I mostly heard on the streets. If you are going to the east side of Lake Garda, I recommend going to Bardolino and the ancient fortified town of Sirmione. Obviously I cannot be an expert, as I haven’t visited all the towns around Lake Garda, but these two are really worth visiting!
Bardolino was the first town we visited. It has a wine museum and winery where you can see the history of wine-making by the Zeni family. They’ve been running the business for a century! There is also a free wine-tasting opportunity and the possibility to buy some home-made wine or prosecco. Zeni family members who work there can professionally advise you on what type of wine will suit your taste buds.
You can also visit the Zeni’s basement, which contains hundreds of barrels of wine and beautiful paintings. The mysterious atmosphere of the place will transport you into another world. You can also eat some Italian antipasti there while drinking wine from the family’s collection.
Let’s move to Sirmione, the second town we visited, which is located on the south side of Lake Garda. It has two major historical landmarks: the remains of a Roman villa from the 1st century – the Grottoes of Catullus – and a medieval port fortification – Scagilero Castle – from the 13th century. I do not want to include too many historical details about these places, so if you wish to read more about them just click on the links to find out more. But I hope my photos below will give you an impression of how beautiful Sirmione is.
The map below shows how big Lake Garda is. You have a large choice when deciding where to stay! I am sure each town is unique and can offer something different, but one thing they will always have in common is the beautiful lake and surrounding mountains which will leave you speechless and tranquil. I suggest visiting Bardolino and Sirmione, but I am sure you won’t regret going to any of these places.
In my previous post about Cornwall, which you can find here, I described what to do in Padstow. This post will be devoted to a small fishing village called Port Issac and a beautiful town with turquoise water – St. Ives.
We spent only a couple of hours in Port Issac, so I cannot pretend to be an expert in what to do or visit there. But believe me, just a short period of time in this adorable place was enough to make me fall in love with it. Coastal views, tiny alleys, family-run shops and the omnipresent nautical atmosphere – what’s not to love there? Well, just be careful if you’re planning to drive through the alleyways. They’re so narrow, your car will barely fit!
One thing I will always clearly remember from Port Issac is the Cream Tea, which I can honestly say was the best one I have ever eaten. The freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with tea and milk, tasted just heavenly!
As I said before, we spent only a little time in the peaceful and quiet Port Issac, so I would now like to move on to St. Ives. Its atmosphere is completely different to Port Issac – it’s more lively and touristic, offering a variety of attractions like boat trips to Seal Island (which we sadly did not have time for) and contemporary art galleries like the Tate Modern. St. Ives will enchant you with its turquoise water, lovely harbour and tiny houses with cute nautical names like in Port Issac.
We had a lovely stroll around St. Ives, had a close encounter with some angry seagulls, ate a big, home made, traditional Cornish Pasty (which was made in front of our eyes!) and I also finally tasted lobster for the first time in my life!
I could probably upload 100 more photos that I took in Cornwall, but as they say, less is more, and quality is always more valuable than quantity. So I will leave you with only a couple more photos to end this post.
I hope I have encouraged you to visit Padstow, Port Issac and St. Ives, and I hope you’ll have more time to explore than I did. Unfortunately, one weekend was simply not enough!
*AD – press event* After their pizza making event, a cosy pub in Bournemouth called The Stable invited the Bournemouth Bloggers again. This time it was for a cider tasting run by the biggest cider expert in the area – Ross Duncan. We had the chance to taste 10 different ciders which are nominated for the Cider of the Year award. The evening was fantastic and I found out a lot of interesting and fun facts about cider.
I have to admit, and please excuse my ignorance, before the event I was convinced that cider was an alcoholic drink made only from apples. While it’s true for the majority of ciders, there are other fruits like apricots, cherries, pears and rhubarb used to make cider and I strongly encourage you to try them as they are truly delicious.
Ross guided us through ten different flavours of cider, asking us about the sensations we could feel in different parts of our mouth. I realised after a while that I had to be careful – some ciders tasted like juice so it was easy to forget I was drinking alcohol! After tasting the third cider, I started to feel a bit tipsy! We were also offered some nibbles like crackers and cheese and had a short break for some mouth-watering pizzas and salads.
Some of the the ciders were more traditional-tasting, which I would describe as sharp and bitter, and probably they would appeal more to men than women. One of the ciders actually smelt of a farm…yes, you read correctly, it smelt like the countryside, and that is apparently a sign of a good cider!
My favourite ciders were the fruitier ones, and my ultimate winner was one with rhubarb juice called No.8 from Crafty Nectar (the name sounds like Chanel No. 5…well, almost! 😉 ). I would also recommend a sparkling cider from Kent called Nightingale, which has got a light colour and is similar in taste to prosecco. You can read the description of all 10 ciders nominated for the awards here, but you should obviously go to The Stable and taste them yourself! Other bloggers chose their winning ciders too and it was interesting to see how different our taste buds are!
I really enjoyed the event thanks to the outstanding expertise in ciders of Ross Duncan, a great atmosphere, and delicious food provided by The Stable’s chefs. If you are looking for an original present for someone, or an idea of how to spend an evening with friends in a social, but also educational way, go to the Stable for a cider tasting evening. You can choose different cider experiences which you can check out on their website here. Highly recommended!
We only had two days to visit Cornwall which, as you can imagine, is very little time! Having such a limited time, we only focused on two small Cornish towns – Padstow and St. Ives. However, we also managed to take a short visit to a tiny, but picturesque, fishing village called Port Issac. I took so many photos in these three places that I have decided to split this blog post into two parts. Padstow first!
Deliciously fresh fish, lobsters, crabs, Cornish pasties, beautiful sandy beaches and…Rick Stein’s ’empire’ are all things I will remember from our trip to Padstow. And that’s what you’re going to see in this blog post.
The first thing you should do after arriving in Padstow is go to its tourist information centre. I found it very helpful as I was given a map which was circled with the best places to visit and things to do if you have only a little time. Since Padstow is famous for sandy beaches, the first thing we did was take a walk to the beach by following the South West Coast Path. Of course, I was not surprised to see beautiful scenery, but what shocked me was a graveyard of crabs scattered all over the beach. It was sad, but also quite fascinating as I had never seen crabs in the wild!
When it started to become cloudy and windy, we decided to go to the Lobster Hatchery, which is a must-visit place in Padstow. It is a charity, but also a research centre which helps to increase the falling number of European lobsters. The entrance fee is £4, but you know your money will go to a good cause. I found out many fascinating facts about these shellfish creatures, and saw the different stages of a lobster’s growth. The youngest were just three months old (the cutest things ever) and there was even one giant lobster which was about 60 years old!
Another place worth paying a visit to is Padstow Museum, which is opposite the Lobster Hatchery. It’s free, but tiny, and you won’t spend more than 15 minutes there. Nevertheless, having a little read about the importance of the fishing and tourism industries for Padstow’s community was quite interesting.
Walking around the harbour area, you’ll definitely notice the omnipresent surname of a popular chef – Rick Stein. Padstow, apart from having plenty of local cafés, is literally dominated by Stein’s businesses. Stein’s fish and chips, Stein’s deli, Stein’s seafood eatery, Stein’s hotel, Stein’s restaurant, Stein’s patisserie, Stein’s shops with nautical souvenirs, Stein’s cookery school…you name it, and Stein will give it to you.
Rumour has it that the local community does not like Rick Stein. One of the reasons is that he’s bought so many properties in Padstow, making its property market really expensive. Moreover, he does not support the Lobster Hatchery. Other small local businesses do, so why not a rich man like him?! Just saying!
There are lots of stunning beach bays around Padstow which are easily accessible by car. Make sure you visit Booby’s Bay, Constantine’s Bay and my favourite one – spots around Trevose Head. I am sure my pictures will convince you that they are all beautiful.
Looking for a foodie’s paradise? Padstow is considered to be one! I swear to God, the sea bass I ate there was the most tender I’ve had in my entire life. The mussels in white wine were a real delicacy. If you are a seafood lover, you’ll be the happiest person on Earth in Padstow. Apart from the seafood, make sure you try traditional Cornish pasties as well as a Cornish Breakfast, which is very similar if not identical to English Breakfast.
Padstow enchanted me with its nautical atmosphere, delicious seafood, Lobster Hatchery (I didn’t know Lobsters could be such interesting creatures!), beautiful beach bays and the feeling of pride and independence you can see in its local people. The only thing I didn’t manage to visit was its famous Camel Trail, but it’s a good excuse to go back there one day. My next blog about the picturesque Cornish town of St. Ives and the fishing village of Port Issac is coming soon…
Nowadays, it’s not enough for a restaurant just to offer tasty food. Consumers are becoming more and more conscious of where the food they eat comes from. Is it local? Is it ethically sourced? Is it organic? You can answer yes to all of these questions while eating at The Stable. I had the opportunity to find out more about the Stable’s eco values during a Bournemouth Bloggers’ event during which we learnt how to make a pizza.
When we arrived, we were welcomed with nibbles such as slices of chorizo, olives, pepper paste, crispy bread and local cheese. Due to the fact that The Stable is known for having a variety of ciders, I decided to spend the evening with an accompaniment of this alcoholic apple drink. The bartender was very helpful and advised which cider would suit my taste buds – I don’t like it when it’s too sweet!
The main attraction of the evening was a presentation on how to make a soft dough and tasty tomato sauce by two charismatic chefs. I hope they don’t mind me sharing this secret with you! The secret of making a fantastic-tasting tomato sauce lies in frying red onions, which are sweeter than white onions, to balance the acidity of canned tomatoes. Do not add garlic to the sauce too quickly because it will burn!
When it comes to the dough, adding the right amount of water and yeast is key. If you add too much water, the dough will be too crispy! The Stable chefs said it was a matter of experimenting to find the recipe for success. It’s also worth mentioning that the flour that is used in The Stable to make pizza is 100% organic!
All of the Bournemouth Bloggers were given the opportunity to create our own pizza. We were given different ingredients and even though I felt like putting all of them on my pizza, I knew that the Italians believe minimalism is the key to success when it comes to pizza! I decided to go for mozzarella, chorizo, red onions and some basil leaves. Well, I still managed to overdo it and included too much cheese, so it came out too cheesy and heavy! But hey, who has ever complained about too much cheese?!
The event organised at The Stable was very informative and fun at the same time. It’s highly important to me to get to know restaurants’ values before I decide to eat there. In the end, we are consumers, and we have the power to create demand. I choose places which not only care about their customers eating good food and having a good time, but are also mindful about the planet. The Stable is a perfect eco-friendly place for a catch up with friends while having simple but tasty food like pizza and pies, plus local cider.
This is one of my favourite places to go at weekends. It’s simply fantastic. Both Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door are part of a long coastline called the Jurassic Coast. The structure of its cliffs, rocks and fossils can tell you the story of Earth across 185 million years! We had a fabulous time there, climbed a couple of cliffs (losing our breath a couple of times in the process), took loads of stunning pics, and rewarded ourselves with some comforting food in one of the restaurants.
Just admiring the beautiful landscapes of the Jurassic Coast is a pleasant and unforgettable experience, but when you realise that you’re standing on cliffs that have taken millions of years to be formed, it simply takes your breath away.
I bet the first association people have with the name Jurassic Coast is Jurassic Park. Yes, dinosaurs! They used to walk on these lands and you can still find plenty of their fossils lying on the beach, and for me, the thought of it makes the walk even more thrilling.
We started our walk from Lulworth Cove, which came into being because of a collision of continents, and continued towards Durdle Door. It is an iconic arch of limestone standing in the sea, making it a perfect spot for photos.
In my opinion, Durdle Door should actually be named Durdle Window since you can see beautiful turquoise water through it. It is like the Azure Window in Malta, which collapsed two years ago and left everyone heartbroken! Durdle Door is for English people what the Azure Window is for the Maltese – simply iconic. Can you imagine if Durdle Door collapsed into the sea? I can’t. The landscape of the Jurassic Coast would not be the same!
The beauty of this place is undeniable, but it can be dangerous if you’re not careful. There are high cliffs, strong winds and the tempting urge to get closer to the the edge to take a perfect selfie. Not advisable unless you want to feel like a god…
I know I have been complaining a lot about the exhausting walk up and down the Jurassic Coast hills, but believe me it’s worth it. Especially when you can reward yourself with some comforting food at one of the restaurants in Lulworth Cove. We chose the Lulworth Cove Inn – a cosy English pub selling fresh, local and sustainably sourced produce.
But if you decide to eat outside, be careful of voracious vultures….
Visiting the Jurassic Coast is a must if you live in or come to visit Bournemouth. It’s only a 45 minute drive by car and there are some travel agencies like Discover Dorset that can take you there as well. You can do a challenging walk and climb a couple of cliffs, but if you don’t want to get too tired, choose an easy walk from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door! I hope this blog post and my photos have encouraged you to go there!