Bosworth Hall Hotel & Spa: Review

From the outside, this beautiful building looks the perfect place for a luxurious weekend away.  Standing in generous grounds, yet just a five minute walk from the chocolate box village of Market Bosworth, it would seem an ideal choice for a quintessential British break.

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Check in was quite encouraging – the entrance is a grand affair, with a huge chandelier and some interesting sculptures in the lobby and plenty of information about the resident ghost: the Grey Lady of Bosworth Hall who met a very sticky end.  So far, so good.

The room wasn’t bad either.  I loved the bedroom furniture – my guess it was early to mid 20th century and original too.  It gave the room a bit of old fashioned Cunard style elegance.  There were some very nice lampshades which set off the style beautifully.

However, here began the issues.

One of my pet hates in hotels is windows that are jammed shut.  As lovely as the original sash windows were, I am a woman in my mid fifties and I need to get the window open guys!  Especially as the heating was blasting away and there appeared to be no way to turn it off.

The next issue arose at dinner (a carvery affair which was included in the very reasonable dinner, bed and breakfast price).  The restaurant was too small for the number of guests, resulting in a bit of a bun fight.  Tables were cleared as fast as the staff could manage, but inevitably there was plate scraping in situ (yuk!!) as bums were accommodated on seats.  The food was generally OK at dinner although we went for mains only as the soup looked gloopy and the salad offerings were heavy on the mayo.

The overspill from the restaurant meant that the bar was full of people waiting to eat and at times, the queue for a drink was ten deep.  The smokers’ outdoor area was right next to the bar and dining room so a right royal gale was blowing through.

We slept well despite the overheating as the sheets were good quality as were the pillows. The Grey Lady didn’t make an appearance – although she is said to roam the corridors at night.  Eek!  Should have checked for ghosts before I booked.

The breakfast experience was similar to dinner- too many people, lots of waiting to get into the restaurant, hasty plate clearing and scraping.  The food was motorway service standard.

In fairness to the hotel group (Britannia Hotels) it must be a nightmare to run this type of building and make a profit.  They have adopted a pile it high and sell it cheap approach which clearly works, as the place was bouncing.

In an ideal world, this grand old building would be home to a superior holiday offering, with tinkling champagne glasses, a piano bar and a fine dining experience to match.  But, as they say: you get what you pay for.

We had booked the hotel via Late Rooms, not specifically looking for a country house hotel, but just somewhere close to the Bosworth Battlefield Centre, where we were attending an event.

I wouldn’t rule out staying again as overall the accommodation was fine.  However, I would book on a room only basis and try out one or two of the pubs and restaurants in Market Bosworth for dinner and perhaps a grab a pastry from a local coffee shop for breakfast.

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If you are a Richard III fan (as I am), then Bosworth is a great place to base yourself.  It’s about a three mile walk to the actual battlefield where Richard died fighting Henry Tudor.  The Battlefield Centre has a restaurant, picnic area and museum where you can read up on the events of 1485 and there are a series of walks around the area, dotted with plaques explaining how the battle unfolded.

The village itself is absolutely gorgeous and so worth a visit.

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Hotel Xuroy, Cala Alcaufar, Menorca

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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!

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

 

 

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Half a Stone Under My Belt

 

 

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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!