Hotel Xuroy, Cala Alcaufar, Menorca

IMG_2258

After the last few weeks getting the house ready for sale, we really needed this break to Menorca!  We’ve stayed here before at the Hotel Xuroy (pronounced shoo-roy) and knew it would be the perfect place to kick off our shoes and get lost in a good book.

We had a shockingly bad experience with Thomson right at the start when we found ourselves bumped off an overbooked flight and bussed to Gatwick from Manchester, resulting in a 12 hour delay.  I kid you not, I can barely write this without steam coming out of my ears, so I’m going to say nothing more, other than our claim for compensation is in.

When we come across poor service, our normal way to deal with it is to vote with our feet, so goodbye Thomson, nice (or not so nice) knowing ya!

 

IMG_2268

Anyway, back to Cala Alcaufar.  The place is drop dead gorgeous.  The water is clear and there are jetties stretching out into the sea where you can climb down from a ladder and just drop right into the sea.

IMG_2265

The Xuroy is only two stars and is basic, but clean.  The food is good but there is very little choice – it’s a bit like going to a friend for dinner and just eating with the family.  There is no aircon so I wouldn’t go in the summer months, but in September it’s just fine.

IMG_2305

At night drinks are on the terrace and the view above is what you see as you sip your glass of rose and watch the sun go down.  Service is a little slow so you have to be patient!

IMG_2279 (2)

Our room faced the courtyard at the back.  The rooms have been done up quite recently and are modern and fresh.

The village itself has just one hotel, some self catering places, one shop and one other bar (Piccolo Mundo).  Within walking distance though, you can reach Punta Prima (about 35 mins scramble over rocks) where we had an excellent paella, and S’Algar which is another small village with a few more bars and shops (15 mins walk).

I’d go again, but next time I think we’ll rent a small place in the village and book flights independently.

 

IMG_2266

One Stone Lost and a Moving House Update

Today I reached my one stone weight loss target with Slimming World.  To celebrate, I treated myself to some lovely Freya lingerie from The Lingerie Room in Hoole.  I’m learning to reward myself with gorgeous treats like this and not food!  I went to get measured for the new bra and guess what – no change!  I really thought I would have dropped a cup size, but no.

IMG_2238

I really am very slow at losing weight, but I’m hoping that this slow steady approach will mean I can keep it off.  I’m seeing it as a gradual re-education and a new way of eating for life.

In other news, we have a buyer for our house and have had an offer accepted on a bungalow.  The new property is a bit of a renovation project, so I’m looking forward to having free rein with decoration.  It needs a new bathroom and kitchen as well as central heating.  We also plan to knock a wall down to make a bigger kitchen/diner. Yikes!  Suffice to say, we will be getting professionals in for this!

As I have compromised on location (I wanted to go home to Wales, he wanted to stay close to his dad), Steve has agreed that all décor decisions are mine and has promised not to interfere.  We’ll see!

Anyway, it’s early days for both sale and purchase.  Absolutely anything could happen, so we are keeping an open mind on the new property until we have absolute confirmation.  Luckily we are old enough and ugly enough not to get emotionally attached.

The next few weeks should prove to be eventful if nothing else.

 

Slimming World Progress

IMG_2008Another one and a half pounds off this week – making 12.5 in total.  Very close now to that one stone milestone and I’m determined to get it!

I’ve not been cooking much the last two weeks because of the moving house cleaning and painting frenzy that’s been going on, but I did manage to make the Slimming World crustless quiche (pictured).

So, with the house due to be on the market by Thursday, I have the ideal opportunity to get out and about again and burn some calories.

I’m getting that ‘back to school’ feeling which I think makes this time of year very special.  It’s a time for new beginnings, the start of Autumn/Winter fashion in the shops and an excuse to buy a new pencil case (or maybe a new house if we get an offer on ours).

Feeling positive about the next few months!

 

 

 

 

Moving On

I have some news!  After thirty three years in our home, we are moving on.  Our house will be on the market next week which is very exciting.

IMG_2086.JPG

I’m really going to miss my garden, but I’m aiming to have a new garden project in the pipeline soon!

We’ve been extremely busy with the paint brush this week, making sure everything is spick and span.

I’ll leave the home pics to the experts for now…..we’ve instructed our estate agent and it’s all systems go!

In between painting and gardening, I’m Mari Kondoing the place, so anything that isn’t nailed down is heading for the tip or the charity shop.

We’ve also been scouring the area for our new home.  We are looking for a smaller property and currently torn between getting something ready to walk into, or buying something that needs work and taking our time over doing it up.

In other news I’ve lost two and a half pounds last week making at total of 11 so far.  I’m really enjoying Slimming World and with putting so much effort into the house, I’m not really thinking about food which is great news.

Check out the safety specs – mud splattered was not the word for it once I got going with that Karcher!

IMG_2090

 

 

 

Slimming World Week Six

It’s been six weeks since I started at Slimming World and so far I have lost eight and a half pounds.  Not brilliant, but OK considering I had a holiday in Yorkshire where wine and cake was consumed!

The strategies that are working for me so far are:

  • Drinking on one day a week only
  • No snacking at all
  • No food between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • lots of exercise: swimming, cycling, running, walking, yoga
  • Having Old Jamaica sugar free ginger beer instead of alcohol
  • Eating more green veg than I ever thought possible

I could do better if:

  • I cut out the bread I am having for lunch as laziness has overtaken me when it comes to preparing soups, plus nothing feels like lunch except bread.
  • I made more SW recipes instead of just adapting my normal day to day menu plan
  • Stopped eating lunch out and made more of an effort to prepare food to take with me on the go.

I’m still learning what works, but have to say I’m finding it much easier to order a black coffee when I’m out and not look at cakes.  I do feel my social life is slightly impeded but I guess it’s all in a good cause and I want to be healthier and happier after all!

 

 

IMG_1949 (3)

Half a Stone Under My Belt

 

 

IMG_1951

Three weigh ins and I have lost seven and a half pounds.

Although I have not been hungry, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

My main issue is craving food which feels good – butter on my Jersey Royals or asparagus.  Butter on toast.  Honey in my yoghurt.  The added extras which make each meal a pleasure.

Oh and of course, no wine.  At all.  Not that difficult this week as we have not been out for dinner, but faced with a wine list in a nice restaurant next week I’m not sure I won’t cave.

Now, I can hear you saying ‘but you can have all these things on Slimming World if you count the syns’.  Yes, all well and good, but when just one glass of wine is maybe 10 syns and uses up all your daily allowance….well you get my drift.  As you can see in this picture, I’m on the mineral water and he’s on the Magners.

This last few weeks drinking has been limited to one night and having Bacardi and Diet Coke.

Drinking carbonated drinks containing sweetener goes against everything I’ve been led to believe about health.  I very rarely touch them and for most of my adult life, Diet Coke has been like the antichrist.  However, in the spirit of the plan, I tried it (and enjoyed it).  Not sure I will continue long term though because I just know it’s unhealthy.  On the flipside of course, being overweight is unhealthy too.  I figure I’ll just keep the diet drinks to a minimum and I should be OK.

I’m making it a mission to do at least 10,000 steps five days a week and cycling on the other two. I don’t have a Fitbit so I’m using the app on my phone to track it.  Once a week I’m swimming too and of course have my weekly yoga class.

Next week’s challenge is a birthday trip to Yorkshire, staying in a cottage next door to a pub.  Red alert!  I’m taking some basics with me, but not sure how the old willpower is going to cope when faced with the inevitable cream tea!

 

 

 

Luxurious Living At The Baron at Bucknell, Shropshire

Situated in the tiny Shropshire village of Bucknell, the Baron is a pub with rooms.  Nothing out of the ordinary about that, you may think.  However, this year, they have created  most amazing and luxurious garden rooms, elevating this establishment to something very special.

IMG_1990 (2)

I came across them on Twitter @Baronatbucknell and spotted that they had a competition running on Facebook to win an overnight stay.  Now you know I can’t resist a competition, so I entered and bingo!  I was picked as the winner.  Not one to let the grass grow, I booked immediately for the following week.

IMG_1976 (2).JPG

From the moment we checked in, we were made to feel very special.  We were given a guided tour of the room and facilities (including a huge TV with Netflix, hot tub, swanky bean to cup coffee machine and….wait for it……a private wild swimming lake!).  The room was tastefully decorated and had the most enormous bed, complete with top quality bedlinen and snuggly mattress.  The fridge had fresh milk and chocolate (nice touch) and there were cookies laid out for us to sample.  Lots of quality teas to choose from as well as the fresh coffee.

IMG_1961 (2)

First things first, we hopped into the hot tub and gazed out over the adjoining fields, watching the sheep grazing and the rabbits darting about.  We then put a toe in the wild pool and, gorgeous as it was, an English summer just doesn’t tempt me to jump in, especially as the day was cool and overcast.

IMG_1977 (2)

For dinner, we nipped across the garden to the pub and enjoyed a tasty ribeye and a couple of drinks before heading back to our trendy lodgings to resume our nature watch.

IMG_1967

Breakfast the next morning was again taken in the pub – lots to choose from: fresh fruit, yoghurt, full English, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.

We cheekily asked to look at the other rooms (there are three in total) and Phil, the owner was happy to oblige.  Take a look at the décor.  Wouldn’t you love to stay in one of these?

IMG_1983