A Long Weekend in Devon

We  got back from a long weekend in Devon late last night and I thought I’d do a quick picture heavy post because the rest of the week looks set to be pretty busy. Tonight I’m off to the relaunch of the Miller pub in London Bridge for hot dogs by Street Kitchen, ice lollies and art. Tomorrow I’ve been invited to test out Itsu [dining] in Chelsea. It was only last week that I was barely eating a thing and this week seems to be quite the opposite!

We had another relaxing break in Devon, which was much needed, as the past few weeks have been full of one problem after another. There’s nothing like a bit of time by the sea to put things right! Here’s a little of what we got up to…

We ate ice cream by the sea in Babbacombe.

Babbacombe Devon

We spent time in Tavistock, and passed by this little beauty.

Bank Holiday Break

We visited Padstow on a warm and sunny day, and ate fresh prawns AND fish and chips at Rick Steins.

Padstow Delights

Ate lots of cheese and drank gin.

Cheese & Gin

Drank Elderflower wine – Produced and bottled in Devon – Then froze it accidentally and had to throw the rest away :(

Elderflower Wine

I tested out my new Zara bag.

Alex Zoe

And we stopped somewhere (we can’t remember where!) for a quick leg stretch, before hitting the Devonshire traffic!

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Did you have a good Bank Holiday weekend? What did you get up to?

Our Break In Devon

I thought I’d do a quick picture-heavy post to show you some of the images from our recent break in Devon. I always like to be pretty active when I’m away from London and having the dog means that there’s no excuse not to take some lovely picturesque walks by the sea… Even if it’s a still a tad bit chilly and I have to walk along looking a bit Eskimo-like in my puffer coat!

We spent most of our days within an hour-or-so drive of Plymouth, and spent quite a fair bit of that time eating. As. Per. Usual.
We tried out some dog friendly places, such as Saveurs French bakery and the Millbrook Inn (which I found on the Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastropub Awards). I’m going to review them both on Dog Friendly UK sometime soon, so keep an eye out for those posts. You really don’t have to have a dog to go to either of them and I’d definitely suggest a visit if you are near either, in the South Hams district of Devon.

We also ate at the new Gary Rhodes restaurant at the Plymouth Dome whilst we were away. Unfortunately, I have to say it was a very odd experience… I really wanted to like it, but I’m not sure it’s a place I’d recommend to anyone who really loves food. It was great value for money, but just not my cup of tea, with some slightly odd dish accompaniments that, in my opinion, were a little pointless.

Anyway, we had a great time and I’m looking forward to going back again some time in the warmer months.  I’m gaining some serious winter podge, so this week will all be about hitting the treadmill again and cutting back on those nasty things we call calories. *Face of gloom*

 

Lazy Sundays

We’re currently having a little break away in Devon and I’m enjoying every minute! I love spending any amount of time by the sea and we’re really lucky that Alex’s parents have recently purchased a little holiday apartment here in Plymouth. We tend to drive down and  visit Alex’s Gran a few times a year anyway, but having the flat to stay in makes it a whole lot cheaper and gives us the option to stay a little longer than we usually would, which is great.

Over the past few days we’ve been to Salcombe and Dartmouth and thankfully  the sun has been out all weekend. There’s a slight chill in the air still, but who cares, as long as there is sunshine! Dartmouth was my particular favourite, as we managed to bag a few little treats in the appropriately named ‘Lazy Sundays‘ store. Such a wonderful shop with so many more things that I could have bought.

Take a little look at what I bagged… I’ll be back soon, with some photos of the sea and Devonshire scenery.

This candle smells amazing. Alex said I was going a bit overboard when I said that it was the best candle ever, but I truly think it might be!

Lazy Sundays

Yes, more mugs. I love them and drink more than enough tea to warrant having more… Now, I just need a bit more kitchen space!

Lazy Sundays Mugs

I love this picture and the photo really doesn’t do it justice, but it’s late and I just couldn’t wait to share it!

Coaltit Picture

Our Weekend in Devon

After a long weekend in Devon, I’ve definitely got the Tuesday blues and a great deal of work to catch up on. We’re regular visitors to the South West, as I went to school there (many moons ago) and Alex’s gran lives in Plymouth. It’s certainly not a place that I could see myself living, but I love our breaks away by the sea.

Betsy the Chihuahua joined us for the first time and Fat Cat had his own little break away (from the hyperactive pup), at the in-laws. Packing up the car with all the puppy gear and stopping off for puppy wee breaks made things all a little more time consuming, but going for walks with her made things a whole lot more sociable, with endless chatter from other dog owners. I’m slowly getting use to talking to randoms on walks, but I’m still not totally into it!

I don’t know about you, but when we go away, choosing somewhere to eat is always a pretty long process with a lot to choose from and plenty of indecision. However, now we have a dog, things are slightly more complicated… For a nation of dog lovers, there aren’t many places that one can stuff ones face with a four-legged friend in tow! For this trip to Devon, I made full use of a fantastic app called Doggie Pubs – You simply press a button and the app finds all the pubs in the surrounding area that welcome dogs along with their owners. Easy. You can also type in the name of an area anywhere in the UK if you want to make plans in advance. We used the app three times over the weekend and never failed to get some pretty impressive pub grub and much puppy love from the bar staff. A fabulous addition to my phone, that I will now not be able to live without – In fact, I could have done with this when I was without dog!

Devon. We ate. We walked. We ate some more.

Delicious Fresh Crab Salad at The Cary Arms

Clotted cream ice Cream. Naturally.

Betsy Loved her first trip to the beach, however small dog equals BIG mess!

A far cry from Narnia, but worth a shot anyway.

Babbacombe

Abode Hotel Exeter Review

Alex’s Grandma hasn’t been very well recently, so last week we took a quick trip down to Devon to pay her a visit. Luckily, she has made it to the ripe old age of ninety four and there seems to be no stopping her just yet!

We’ve spent a lot of time in both Devon and Cornwall in the past and generally try to milk more than a few days there if possible. However this time we paid just a fleeting visit, due to our work commitments and the not so great Spring weather that we have been experiencing.

We tend to book a cheap as chips travelodge for our first night away as we usually drive down relatively late at night, to avoid the traffic. We then spend a little bit more on a nicer hotel the night after. On Thursday, we chose to stay at the Abode in Exeter. We’d stayed here before and had a lovely time, but this time around was a different story…

We booked a £99 special, which to me seemed like a great deal. It included a one night stay for two, dinner from the abode cafe set menu and breakfast the following morning. Check-in was seamless, the service was excellent at the front desk and our room was a perfect size… All OK so far! I had a bit of work to do so sat down to concentrate, whilst a busker played extraordinarily loudly from the cathedral square. Ah, that’s what the triple glazing was for! As I was working it seemed to get hotter and hotter in the room. The air con didn’t seem to be working, but like a fool, I thought we could live with it.  It is only spring after all.

After about half and hour, Alex suggest we ask to move rooms – Heat and the busker were driving me stir crazy, but I said it would all be OK and that we should just stick with it. This was totally the wrong move… Even though the busker finally took off, we still had to tolerate a whole lot more noise throughout the night.

The menu that we were able to select from for dinner was pretty limited, but didn’t taste too bad, if you removed the honey roasted cashews from the Thai chicken curry that is. The mojitos we ordered were far too sour, so we sent them back. The waitress told us that she made them suited to her taste. Hmmm. When our drinks were returned to us by yet another waiter (we had three as the cafe was empty), he told us that there was sugar on the table if they still weren’t sweet enough. Are you kidding me – I paid £7 for this drink?!! Needless to say we decided not to try out the hotel bar after dinner…

At around midnight, the pub right outside our window was filling bins and banging loudly for a good half an hour or more. Ah, another reason for the triple glazing. This was obviously a room with no view and extra sound effects. I always feel it’s a bit late to call down to reception at that time, so we just tried to sleep through it. When the worst was over, we managed to doze off, only to be woken up at 7.15am by the same pub unloading barrels and shouting for a whole forty five minutes. That was me awake and in an exceptionally foul mood!

I’m extremely disappointed that our stay was below average this time round. I do appreciate that the hotel can’t control the noise levels on the street, but the Abode are clearly aware this room suffers from external noise pollution. As the hotel wasn’t full, perhaps a different room could have been allocated to us in the first place. I do not expect to be downgraded just because I’m on a package price.

The manager offered another stay at the same price (even though this is a regular deal they offer) with a room upgrade on top. Very presumptuous of them to think we’d like to return and as if I’d book the same deal knowing you get the dodgy rooms in the hotel. We were not prepared to pay for our room that night and the manager said that the general manager would have to call us – So many managers!

We are still waiting for the call and are yet to pay. I’m not sure we will be back.

*BlOG POST UPDATE –  (10.50pm)
I have just seen that Abode have taken money from my account, without calling to discuss this matter as they said they would. Will most certainly not be going back.

*BlOG POST UPDATE – (16th May)
My faith in the Abode has been slightly restored… We finally managed to speak to someone and it appears that our messages got lost due to a member of staff leaving. We have been offered a full refund and an upgrade on a package deal should we chose to return. May go back one day and give it another shot :)

 

Have you had any bad hotel experiences? Would you have moved rooms earlier?
Do you think I’m being a bit harsh?

The Bedroom. Lovely huge bed.

The bathroom. Looks lovely, but has a tricky flush and a shower that floods the room because the screen door is too short.

The food…

Alex was clearly bemused by his dessert. He ordered a meringue pudding, but struggled to find the meringue!