Friday, 30 December 2011

Three Fabulous Frugal Days in Venice

photo by A. Reid
Venice my favourite city it is so completely different from anywhere else I love it.
I live like a student when I am away and find the nearest Mcdonalds, I don`t eat the food but the Tea, hot chocolate and ice creams as well as cold drinks are as good as most places.

 It is  works out much cheaper to rent an apartment central to where you want to be, for example, St Marks Square. Although this is a noisy option if you are only going for a few days it is fine.  Being central saves the traveling from the surrounding islands and gives you more time in Venice itself.

  You can nip back to your apartment and make a quick lunch or dinner saving a fortune as Venice is expensive to eat out. Try and go on one of the Ghost Walks and as you walk the narrow alleyways you are sure to believe you hear the cries of the plague victims. 
Watch the massive yachts parallel parked alongside working barges and water taxis, in September the film festival comes to Venice and the glamour Hollywood competes for attention with the art galleries and churches.
St Marks Church Venice by A. Reid
 Catch the waterbus to Lido island and laze on the perfect beach where old elegant hotels line the seafront and cling jealously to their private beach spaces. The public beach is far more fun.  
Rialto Bridge Venice by A Reid
 Venice by a Reid

We flew from Luton Airport and paid £59 return for our flights in March with Easyjet.

We rented an apartment just behind St Marks Square for £300 for three days. We went mid week to keep the costs lower. We bought a 3 day waterbus pass and ate in the apartment. 

We hoped on and off the waterbus all day and wandered down tiny streets and crossed over ornate bridges. You can`t really get lost as you just head back towards the grand canal. I love it and would go every few months if I could. I have already visited three times and think it is excellent value if you are a little careful how you spend you money.

 grand Canal Venice by A. Reid

Things to do in Venice 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

All About Family - It`s Christmas

Christmas nothing like a good laugh with family and my neice Angie is always fun.

Angie life and soul of any party!

Mark and Dawns Wonderful Wedding  at Bodelwyddan Castle in Wales

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

My Gang

Christmas Day - Mark Katrina Anthony and Marks dog Sarron. My two sons and Daughter.

Katrina with Hubby Richard walking in Ashridge on Boxing Day.

Saturday, 24 December 2011


Christmas 2011 almost here, in fact, just one hour away it is nice when it gets here but such a hassle worrying about it beforehand.  I spent most of the day at the food bank centre preparing food hampers and then later delivering some.  Waitrose where unbelievable  they sent so much fresh food down, endless turkeys, chickens and lots of other stuff well done Waitrose.

Family have been here this evening which was very nice, they will be back for dinner tomorrow which again will be nice, look forward to it.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Intimidating food

Like I said in my post about my meatball/tagliatelle dish I find it quite difficult to dress up food.  Not the actual act, of course, that is easy but the whole idea of the need to dress up food.  What is wrong with a good pan of scouse or a sheperds pie without herbs decorating the top or cake without a swirl of cream. I do understand that taking photographs of food requires a like colour but this can be created by a napkin or a tablecloth. I think it just puts people of trying to make their own dishes as the expected standard seems so high and the whole language of food is changing.  Even on a site like Moneysavingexpert if you read some of the menu plans it is like reading a resturant menu. Maybe the celeb chefs and food programmes in general are the main reason our food language has changed. It would seem though with money being so tight and food banks growing in number we need to be saying egg and chips are fine.

Recent Photo

Conwy Castle

Conwy - North Wales

Conwy has everything for a family day out. Conway castle is exciting and well preserved and inexpensive. 
There is a pay and display car park next to the castle but parking can be difficult in busy times. 
The harbour is full of working fishing boats and small sailing boats. There is also a tourist boat for a trip round the harbour.
 The smallest house in Britian nestles along the harbour walkway and the fish and chips are good. 
You may even see William and Kate walking around. Fanastic place for all the family and North Wales has some good camp sites and caravan parks.

Conwy Castle by A. Reid

I am lucky that my eldest son Mark lives in North Wales so I have easy access to the spectacular area.

Conwy Castle by A Reid

Conwy Castle by A Reid

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Winner Stands Alone - book review

Review of Paulo Coelho – THE WINNER STANDS ALONE

I have recently finished reading this book and if anyone is thinking of buying it this review maybe useful.
Set in Cannes during the famous yearly film festive, Igor comes to win back his ex-wife. The story leads us through the superficial world of fashion and film, it players and its demons. The need for an economy to accept the whims of a superclass and the dreams of hopefuls crashing along with the waves.
The Russian multi-millionaire who destroys lives to send a message and the model who walks the red carpet only to find its not what she wants.
This book is interesting and compelling reading. It is highly critical of the glamour and diamonds that seem to matter so much to people while the sunset on a warm beautiful evening is ignored. It is the first book I have read of Paulo Coello but it will not be the last.

Easy Pudding

Following on from the previous post I decided to do a simple pudding to follow the meatball course as they are so filling.  I made some forest fruits individual crumbles using frozen  fruit and served with a bit of single cream they were very nice.
The rest of today has been spent cleaning and last minute card writing like many people I would think. Tomorrow its the fruit and veg then I`m done.  I am helping at the local food bank on Christmas Eve along with twenty other people.  I haven`t done this before at Christmas time and I am looking forward to it as all the volunteers are great.

Chilli Meatballs

I am still experimenting with the Copella Winter Warmer drink and trying to incorporate it in my limited menus.  Tonight I decided to add to the sauce I was making to go with meatballs and tagliatelle I added two large spoonfulls to the pan after the meatballs had cooked then added tinned tomatoes and some chilli flakes. Really turned out nice the drink mixes well with chilli and adds a bit of depth.
I am also practicing food photography so following the rules I have used a white plate. Hope to get better at this, in fact hope to get much better, I know I should use a bit of green or a twirl of sauce for effect.  Trouble is it goes a little against my nature to `tart` food up. I must be strict with myself it is only a decoration not a statement of being a bit snobby.

Tarot another Passion

I have been interested in Tarot cards since my early twenties it is one of my great passions.  I do read for other people occasionally but I don`t try to earn my living through the Tarot. Personally I think there must be a lot of pressure on someone trying to pay bills through readings and I like a little more stability in my life. I also like Psychometry which is when you read from something belonging to a person for exmple a ring or set of keys, for some reason I read better from metal than say a piece of clothing. This is part of who I am.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Yes You Cannes - in Cannes!

I must tell you about the wonderful competition I won through Capital FM sponsored by Warner Brothers for the promotion of the Horrible Bosses Competition.  I won five days in the Carlton Hotel in Cannes for two people, I took my sister Maggie. £500 spending money was included in the prize, flights and private transfer to and from the hotel from Nice Airport.

It was the most wonderful holiday. We went in October and the weather was still hot, the hotel was elegant and had its own private beach and the fruit and flower market was seductive. We went on the train to Monte Carlo for the day, wandered through the Hotel de Paris and the Monte Carlo Casino and ate our picnic lunch on the harbour wall. Pure fantasy Land. 


Salmon and Chilli Pie

I am practicing with some receipies to enter a competition that requires the use of Copella Winter Warmer Drink which has a mix of warming things like cloves in it. I am not the best cook but I can rustle up as decent pie so I made flaked Salmon, chilli, leeks and potatoes as well as the required Copella into a filling meal.  Hope I have done enough. It has to be better than my effort at the Co-op gingerbread bake-off where I didn`t even get a vote but hey thats comping for you. 

Covent Gardens

Covent Gardens the busy hub of Cafe and Theatre land good to roam around and see the market and shops. Just down the road at Seven Dials is a Jamie Oliver Italian which I covert to eat in but I am restricted to Bella Italia with my Tesco Vouchers. Bella Italia is fine and the food is nice but I still want to go to Jamie Olivers, Santa are you listening! I was at Covent Gardens a few weeks ago with my daughter Katrina and we had a great few hours there.

Harrods just to look!

I love London although that feels a little wrong as I am a scouser and should really say Liverpool is better but for me its London that captures my heart.  There is so much to do and see and most things can be done on a budget, £10 theatre tickets, ok you are up in the gods need a seatbelt and a parachute but you still see the show. Fantastic parks and free entertainmant on the embankment and beautiful churchs and art galleries.
At this time of year though I really like going to Harrods just to look mind you I would have to have another life completely to buy anything there. I saw a bottle of crystal water for £30!! what person on planet earth pays £30 for a bottle of water? it was a nice bottle mind. The windows look lovely at christmas and the toy section is more spacious and less crowded that Hamleys.


Hi my name is Chris and I have set up this blog mainly to learn about blogging.  I also wanted somewhere to put photos and a summary of some of the places I go and ordinary things I do.  I love photography and comping as well as writing so it seemed a sensible way to learn to combine them all together.

I am now considered a Silver Surfer as I have turned 50,  it also seems the age that advertisers think we should all be using Tena pads, have false teeth and use stairlifts! Have these people never heard of the formidable women in their 60`s and older like the amazing Joanna Lumbly or the forminable Janet Street-Porter to name but a few. It is insulting to be considered in `age` terms from companies and it is also `ageist` which in fact illegal. Rant over now but I would say that I would never give my money to any company who made me feel inferior simply because I am over 50. Take note companies many people feel the same way.

I have spent part of today at the workplace christmas meal and as its only a small company I work for this was very nice.  None of the big dramas you get from large firms.