Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Lazy Days

With winter still in full throttle, our saving attempt upped and a dose of adulthood reality finally kicking in, we are are determined to spend more time as a family at home. Our usual National Trust days out are still very much our escape mechanism, however there's only a certain amount of coffee & layers that can prevent the next tantrum from happening (mine- not the kids). Every weekend we are usually out and before you know it we've successfully cleared out the bank. I am slowly adapting to taking a picnic where possible and not relying on coffee shops to feed us all. But with many a damp bench on a offer, I am none to keen on having a soggy bottom.

There is one saving grace, a peaceful Sunday. I know what you're thinking, it sounds rather romantic. Lets not forget that there are three children in the mix, however the idea of staying home isn't all that bad. A lazy morning in bed, papers delivered and the special Sunday coffee in our cafetiere, is quite possibly one of my favourite things in life. The kids are at an age where the demands of porridge first thing in the morning are lesser and they can find their own ways in life early morning. Netflix becomes the saving grace and the battle past dry rice crispies when we make it to the kitchen are actually rather cop-able. The hubby and I sit at the table with our Joe Wicks breakfast creation, papers laid out and discuss which of the reviews he is reading is on our hit list. Normally we choose a car that Chris Evans has reviewed and then pine over the latest gadget offering. In this case the Panasconic HDR 4K TV  has caught his eye and I have to admit our Sony took a beating in the last few years. Only 3 of 5 people in this house know how a small scratch came to make it's way on the bottom left corner and the husband and I are not in that 3. Bringing a whole new element of staying in and saving- an investment perhaps?











































The beginnings of a Sunday roast commence, the smell of rosemary and garlic potatoes fill the house and I find my place on our corner sofa. By the time the the evening comes I've watched at least one Hugh Grant film and Countryfile is on. Before you know it we have all congregated in a heap of cushions and are watching how Highland Cattle live out their days in the Hebrides. The roast dinner is quickly consumed and I become ever thankful of the creation we fondly call "the dishwasher". Then comes my all time favourite.

As a child I loved nothing more than a Sunday evening curled up on the sofa watching the good old BBC Antiques Roadshow with my Grandad and this is becoming something that my children also seem to love. The bedtime routine that follows is something more chaotic, however there really has to be something said of a once in a while doss day. A day of relaxing before another chaotic week begins, a day of no make up and letting your skin breathe and a day of falling into your favourite Jack Wills tracksuit. More importantly sometimes it's good for the children to know they don't have to go out to have fun. Watching The BFG from a homemade den is just as fun and more importantly cheaper. Unless of course Daddy gets his way and we have a whole new creation in the corner of our lounge in the form of Panasonic.





Monday, 2 January 2017

Venice Part 1- Food and Hotel

If you follow me on Instagram it's no secret that my husband and I just celebrated ten years of marriage in the beautiful Venice. Back where we honeymooned....

Our visit ten years back couldn't have been more different to this time. Perhaps we appreciate things differently, perhaps it's age or perhaps I researched it to death before we went and I knew where we were heading.

One thing that I did find whilst researching, was that there isn't much in the way of up to date reviews in a blog format. There are plenty of trip advisor reviews to trawl, however partly as a way to remember the most amazing time and partly to help others have just the same, the below is our trip broken down.... I will do it over a few blog posts as it's going to be one HUGE blog otherwise.

Length of stay

3 nights/4 days. First flight out and last flight home.
So for us childcare this time around was a big factor. So our trip was condensed down and we had to make the most of every second.

Hotel 

Ten years back for our honeymoon we stayed in the illustrious Hotel Danieli a once upon a time palace. Steeping in history and grandeur and with a budget to match! This time around we really looked into finding value, service and location and oh wow did we find it! The Hotel Canal Grande showed fantastic service before we even arrived. I had arranged for Prosecco on arrival in our room and queried the best way to reach them via the airport. The info they passed back was not only extensive but very helpful and accurate. We opted for a private boat taxi, we arrived in Venice the same way before and there is something magical about how fascinating it becomes the closer you get.

On arrival our room was ready, as well as few upgrade options. We went for an upgrade simply because we got to look at all the options and the view was just brill. As a girl in sales, I know that they had this set up down to a "T" to get the extra from those booking through booking.com, but you know what I didn't care. It was worth it.

We booked via booking.com, however check out the hotel direct too. http://www.hotelcanalgrande.it/



View from the bath! 


The hotel location is set on what I would say is the best side of the canal, quieter and able to watch the hustle and bustle from a distance. St Marks and all the big tourist attractions are easily walkable, and we much preferred what appeared to be the local route and real Venice. We sat and enjoyed a drink beside the canal courtesy of the Hotel balcony every evening, it was the perfect way to unwind from a day of exploring before we headed off for more food!




The restaurants we visited were recommended by the hotel, filled with locals and just out of this world. More on those later!

Food

So the below mentions are absolutely worth the mention. All very different, but all so very worth a visit. Get ready for the Carbs, you can't escape it- embrace it!

Pasta Dal Moros

Now this one will be trickier to find, the closer you get the more people tucking into their takeaway pasta pots you will see. Set hidden down a small alley you will find what looks like a fast food joint- DO NOT BE PUT OFF!! What you are about to eat is probably some of the best pasta I have had. We both added some extras and had to pay 13 Euros. The best bit was you get so much, you are filled for the day! The guy that runs the tills, is the grandson and it's all still a family affair. Never have we had such fresh pasta so quick and cheap. Please find this!








Al Squaro

Oh man did we enjoy this absolute gem. We loved how we were sat among locals on a busy Saturday, we loved the house wine, we loved the food and we really loved that we were not paying crazy money. We sat in here for some time, made our way through a good number of chicetti & 3 glasses of house red wine and all for approx 30 Euros. As you can imagine we were rather giggly when leaving! The location is again away from the hustle and bustle, but positioned opposite one of the oldest squares in Venice. In fact it's opposite where the infamous gondolas are built. We were lucky to have grabbed some stall's at the bar, but people even stood outside and sat on the wall. We had such a giggle and this afternoon will firmly remain as one of our favourite memories of marriage.









Al Vecio Pozzo

Never have we eaten beef like we did here. Ever. This is quite possibly one of the best restaurants we have eaten in. It was recommended by the hotel, in fact they booked it for us. The first night they tried to get us in and it was full. When we first approached the building I will admit that I was unsure if it was going to live up to the rave review we had heard. It's not a fancy interior in fact the first part is quite brightly lit, however if you are looking to have a darker more romantic spot to sit ask for the next room, it's darker and more venetian in style. We sat beside the chef that was bashing out some tasty looking pizzas! We opted for the house red- again amazing and so affordable as above in Al Squaro and we went straight in on a Chateaubriand. We were served the perfect amount of food, to go with the meat- which is seared and then finished by yourself at the table. We had a desert each and if memory serves me well, the lot cost us approx 55Euros. Please find this place and opt for the same, you won't be disappointed!


















Bacarro Jazz 

Unfortunately I don't have many images of our meal this time around, however we ate here first time around on our honeymoon. They no longer have live music and you would predominately visit here for the fab cocktail hour that they do, however don't be too judgmental on the food- give it a go. As you would hope for in Italy, it's fresh and tasty. The menu isn't as vast and it's predominately a bar, but the atmosphere is fantastic and the we were even treated to a champers! The price does start to creep up again as you are getting closer to St Marks and therefore begin to pay a premium. However even if you only stopped by at cocktail hour before heading off somewhere else, it's worth it.


The next blog will involve places to find and keeping you busy!