Sensational Baby Boomers

Friday, 11 January 2019

A LOOK BACK AT OUR 2018 TRAVELS



We both love travelling - sometimes together, sometimes with our respective families, and sometimes with other friends, so for the New Year we have just had a little planning get together to see where 2019 will take us. 

But first, we thought it would be a great idea to have a look at where we went last year - some of which were on our respective bucket lists - which means we can now cross them off and move on! And we have already identified where we would like to travel to next.

First up Anne C visited Iceland in January with her daughter Louise, whose birthday she celebrated in Reykjavik while they were there.  It was on Anne's bucket list to see the Northern Lights, though sadly despite going out on four occasions, they didn't appear - a huge disappointment for her.

Having said that, they had a fabulous time, visiting the stunning waterfalls at Gullfoss, taking a dip in the geothermal springs of the Blue Lagoon, whale watching, appreciating the beautiful yet simplistic and oddly shaped church of Hallgrimskirkja, and seeing the boiling geysers at Blaskogabuggo. To note from the photo that specialist clothing was required because it was so cold!

For anyone interested in learning more about that trip, more details can be found here and here.

And to the other side of the world and a completely different eco-system, Anne H flew to Costa Rica in Central America with another long-term friend. Their escorted touring holiday took them through stunning rainforests, across amazing countryside, to beautiful hotels with golden beaches, up volcanoes and alongside lakes and eco-systems.  

It was a country of real contrasts, from the flora and fauna, the animals and the terrain, through from Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean coast, into the cloud forest of Monteverde to the beautiful beaches on the Pacific coast .Truly a holiday of a lifetime! More details about this trip here and here. And of course Anne had her own specialist clothing - but of a different kind!



Our first joint trip of 2018 was to celebrate Anne H's birthday with a visit to Bruges in Belgium - a beautiful city which Anne C had already visited - which certainly helps since you know the best parts to see.  This time we took an overnight ferry with P&O from Hull - part of the experience as that was such a leisurely journey - to Zeebrugge and then finished our journey with a short coach ride.

Of course Belgium is famous for its delicious chocolate, which we enjoyed at every opportunity, but the buildings are also stunning.  We stayed overnight in the fabulous Academie Hotel, and spent our two days visiting museums - the Diamond Museum and St John's Hospital Museum, to name a couple (but there are loads more) and generally walking around the picturesque streets.  We did avoid the Belfry of Bruges Tower, from the famous scene in the movie "In Bruges" starring the rather gorgeous Colin Farrell, because we are both scared of heights, and believe me the stairs to the top of the tower are very scary!



Anne C went off again with her daughter in April, this time to the Big Apple in the US.  There's quite a story behind this visit, which she will talk about later in the year, but suffice to say that it was rather more of a business visit than a holiday.  However, when in New York, you can't just sit in the hotel, so she managed to take in the very moving 9/11 Museum, a wander around ChinaTown and Times Square, and a trip up the Rockefella Centre (less scary because you go up in a lift and can't hang out through the windows!



Anne C is a bit of a sun-worshipper, which necessitates frequent trips to Greece.  Her first visit of 2018 was to the island of Thassos with hubby Peter and two friends, although the weather was a disappointment (unusually for June - floods and torrential rain). She also holidayed there the previous year, and information on that trip can be found here and here.  Her second Greek holiday was back to the stunning island of Santorini, where she and her family have been holidaying for almost 20 years, which she has written about extensively here and here.



Meanwhile Anne H returns year after year to Tropea in Italy, where she has family.  Incidentally, both of us have previously visited the other's regular holiday destinations - Anne C has been to Tropea and Anne H has been to Santorini).

Last year, Anne H took her daughter and other family members for a girly holiday and a bigger family reunion.  See here and here for more information about Tropea from previous visits.

Then Anne H was off again - this time with her blogger daughter Lizzy to Club Med La Plantation d'Albion on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.  This was an opportunity to enjoy an all-inclusive break, take in the stunning scenery and marvel at the colonial plantation houses.  But for them it was an opportunity to catch up, unwind and chill, so their most strenuous activities involved reading and visiting the hotel spa!



But we don't just hop on a plane every time we go away.  We have a beautiful country of our own, and probably as we get older we may well ditch overseas holidays and opt for staycations in the UK.  This year we managed a couple of mini getaways together, to Liverpool and London, while Anne H went to Bristol with an old schoolfriend.



Both of us have previously done business in Liverpool during our working lives, but we wanted to experience a different side of the city, and the touring exhibition of the Terracotta Army from China gave us the excuse for a couple of days there.

We also took in a visit to The Cavern Club made famous by The Beatles, took pictures of us with the statues of John Lennon and Cilla Black, and climbed aboard the Ferry Across the Mersey - that of Gerry and the Pacemakers' famous footballing anthem.

In August, for Anne C's birthday, we headed for London for a more relaxing visit to Anne H's blogger daughter Lizzy (who is also Anne C's god-daughter) in Notting Hill, where we mooched around the shops and headed up west for lunch and another mooch around Covent Garden.



Our final trip of 2018 was our annual Christmas outing - not actually a holiday - which was to the beautiful Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.



Phew! Until writing it all down we hadn't realised how many trips we had taken between us, but it hasn't deterred us from planning our 2019 trips.  Anne C is currently packing for a business trip to Hong Kong and China with a client as we speak, and hopefully can give us some information on the visit on her return. She is also flying off to Budapest in the Spring - which was a Christmas gift from her daughter, and will be returning to Santorini with hubby again later in the summer.

Anne H is heading north of the border to Scotland with her Costa Rica friend for a touring holiday taking in the stunning Highlands and some of the cities within our own shores. She will also be making her annual visits to family in Tropea as usual.

So what of our joint trips this year?  We haven't got anything booked yet but have been looking at a riverboat cruise in Venice and another big trip in 2020 - hopefully a cruise to Hawaii no less!

* All our trips are self-funded, but if any travel companies would like to collaborate, please let us know!


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Friday, 4 January 2019

2018 BLOOPERS




The end of the year is always a good time to share some of our blooper photos - those pictures which should never really see the light of day!  But we're not proud and it's always fun to look back on those shots which should have made the cutting room floor.



Go on Anne, just bare your teeth!




Not to be outdone, the other Anne can bare her teeth too - and pull a face at the same time!


Is there anything down there???


Surprise! 


Strictly.... here I come - never mind the white bra showing though...


What's that on the floor????


Just listen to me when I'm talking to you!


Words fail me!


Hurry up I'm getting wet!


Playing aeroplanes amongst the dead flowers!


Just singing in the rain!


Good grief!


I can't get this jacket off!


Happy New Year - here's to a healthy, happy and peaceful 2019!



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Friday, 21 December 2018

CHRISTMAS 2018 OUTFITS


If you remember our Christmas outfit posts from last year, you may recall seeing Anne wearing a similar dress to this black one, but in champagne.  It's one of her favourite dresses and in fact she loves it so much - it's so easy and comfortable to wear, that she bought this similar one in black from Chesca.


In fact it is billed as a coat, but you can wear it as a dress if it's buttoned up, so it makes it really versatile.

It's not cheap at £175 but can be worn over skinny trousers to keep it casual, or dress it up with jewellery to keep it glam.

The jewellery and handbag are rose gold, with the pretty necklace from Jon Richard at Debenhams (currently half price), and rose gold drop earrings from Simply Devine. The rose gold handbag was bought on the Greek island of Thassos last year.






Anne H's velvet jacket from Massimo Dutti is the Slim fit single button style available at £139.  It comes with matching velvet trousers but that's just all a little bit too luxe for her so she has teamed with her  trusty MaxMara black trousers.


The sateen sheen blouse is also from Massimo Dutti and is available at £ 59.95. With its classic straight fit and simple lines it is perfect for wearing with smart or casual trousers.




The trouble this time of year is that all the clothes colours are really drab, so Anne deliberately set out to find some winter white clothes.

The pearl-trimmed sweater was bought at Iizzy boutique in Bury which has some really nice pieces.  She has teamed the sweater with winter white thick leggings from Hallhuber at House of Fraser. They now have only black ones online here.

The Chelsea boots in cream are from Amazon - Anne was a little apprehensive about these as they came direct from China - not known for generous fitting of anything - but despite her quite broad feet, they go perfectly with the outfit and are also really comfortable.


She has matched her sweater with faux pearl earrings and necklace - and even a pearl watch - which she had in her jewellery box from years ago - pearls are so versatile and never go out of fashion.






This next top is also very simply styled in this season's beautiful forest green silk with keyhole neckline and comes from COS.  Not the cheapest of tops as it costs £89, but it is definitely something she will wear time and time again. The long necklace is from Mint Velvet and was purchased last year and shoes are black suede courts from Dune.





We are down to casual days at home now, with this orange sweater and suede trousers combo.  The sweater has front pockets but the detail is all in the back with diamante and bows down the centre for a bit of sparkle. The top came from Emphasize in Romford, and David, the owner, travels the country to all the local country and specialist shows.  This was bought at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate this year, but they do not have a website as all the stock travels with him.


The trousers are from Next and are a lovely soft suede  - bought after the summer sales for the fabulous price of £7.50 - we love a bargain! Similar ones here in grey are much more expensive!

The heart earrings once again are from Simply Devine.




Happy Christmas everyone!
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Friday, 7 December 2018

A CHATSWORTH HOUSE CHRISTMAS STORY


Each year we have a Christmas-themed day out - usually to a country house - and this year we chose the beautiful Chatsworth House in Derbyshire to get us into the mood for the festive season.

First thing to say is that it was absolutely the correct place to go - it was simply stunning.


Most of the houses we have visited in the past three years have had a theme, and Chatsworth was no exception, this one being  "Once upon a time at Chatsworth" featuring all the wonderful classic stories from our childhood - so perfect if you want to take your little ones with you when you visit, since the home itself - although stunning - is probably not that interesting for tots.

There were seated areas where a pre-recorded voice-over tape read fairy stories and there were also strolling players reciting stories to visitors as they wandered around the house. 


Look out for classics from Beatrix Potter, Cinderella, the Princess and the Pea (complete with mattresses), Sleeping Beauty, James and the Giant Peach, to name just a few. Pictured above is Arthur the dragon - that's a new one on us and wasn't around when our girls were young!




For us oldies though, looking around the stunning rooms of this gorgeous country pile and marvelling at the beautiful decorations, was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Chatsworth is still the family home the Cavendish family - otherwise known as the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and their families.

Back in the 16th Century, Bess of Hardwick - who later became the Countess of Shrewsbury and the second most powerful woman in the country after Queen Elizabeth 1 - married her second husband, William Cavendish.  They bought Chatsworth Manor for just £600 in 1549, and began to build the first house on the site.

Cavendish died in 1557, and Bess married twice more, latterly to George Talbot, 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, who was appointed as custodian of Mary Queen of Scots, who was imprisoned at various times at Chatsworth.

Bess also built the nearby Hardwick Hall, renowned for its unique collection of 16th and 17th Century tapestries, embroideries and furniture, and which was owned by the Cavendish family until 1957 when it was given to the government in lieu of death duties, and is now operated by the National Trust.


We could obviously write pages about the history of Chatsworth, but if you are interested, there is lots of information available here, here and here, but if you go to the website, the history covers 4,000 years and gives more detail about the house and the fabulous rooms.  

Some interesting snippets however are that during WW11, the house was given over to girls from Penrhos College, Colwyn Bay, Wales since the 10th Duke felt that schoolgirls would be better tenants than soldiers!

Before they arrived, the entire contents of the house were packed away in just 11 days, and in September 1939, 300 girls and their teachers moved in for a six year stay.  The whole of the fabulous house was used - including the state rooms, which were turned into dormitories.



In 1944, Kathleen Kennedy, sister of the late President of the United states John Kennedy, married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington and elder son of the said 10th Duke, though sadly he was killed in action in 1944, and she died in a plane crash in 1948.  His younger brother Andrew became the 11th Duke in 1950, and married Deborah Mitford, one of the famous Mitford Girls, and sister of Nancy, Diana, Pamela, Unity and Jessica.


The magnificent house has also played the part of Mr Darcy's magnificent home in Pride and Prejudice, while The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley was also filmed there.

But back to the house and a fabulous day out....








We couldn't help but marvel at the fabulous art works on show and how they have cleverly incorporated the Christmas decorative themes around them. Chatsworth's Devonshire Collection of art is famed for its breadth and is a reflection of the family's eclectic tastes, having been built over a four hundred year period. It encompasses Elizabethan tapestries, superb portraits and bringing the collection up to date, there is even a magnificent golden sculpture by Damien Hirst.





During the Christmas season, there is also a very tasteful Christmas market - no boozy bier kellers here, just wonderful country-themed goodies from lovely scarves to pretty lights, and locally sourced yummy food.  Entrance to the house is timed because it does get very busy from morning until night-time with special events, nativities and twilight tours.

There is plenty to do and see at any time of the year, not just Christmas.  There are country walks around the grounds and gardens, a farmyard, a playground, educational activities and talks, as well as the obvious house tours and even a masquarade ball!  

The estate also hosts weddings, and there is an abundance of local holiday and overnight amenities for the tourist trade, since the House is situated in the Peak District, such a beautiful part of England.

We ended our day out though with another old-fashioned English tradition - afternoon tea, in the Cavendish Restaurant, where we finished our fabulous day out.  Cheers!






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