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I had never heard of this church before and had no idea of it's royal connections and place in history before we visited. We visited S Michael's after visiting Framlingham Castle where the church was mentioned in the musuem part as being the plave where Henry VIII's illegitimate son was buried. I didn't even realise he had an illegitimate son up to that point, but once I did I waned to know more about the story! The church is just off of Framlingham's main street and no more than a five minute walk from the casle itself. It is an old church (with the current building dating from the 16th century) and is absolutely beautiful. The grounds outside are very well kept and there is a war memorial surrounded by flowers that looked fantastic when we visited in July. The church has one of only 3 surviving Thomas Thamar organs from the 17th century (Oliver Cromwell didn't like them much apparently and most were lost during the English civil war) and it is magnificent looking. There is also an early painting of Jesus crucifixion worth seeing. There are several tombs of well known people within the church - including Thomas Howard who was the uncle of not one but two of Henry VIIIs wives and a big name in Framlingham and the tomb of Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond and Someset, who was the illegitimate son of Henry VIII and one of Katherine of Aragon's ladies in waiting. As well as everything there is to see in the chuch (and there is a lot) it is also very peaceful and still used as a parish church. A lovely lady showed us around when we visited and was very knowledgeable. The church was very interesting and we learnt even more about East Anglia's history, the Tudors and Framlingham here than we did at the castle!
It is difficult to explain Southwold Pier as it is both traditional yet modern and fun yet conservative! The entrance to the pier makes it looka little run down in my opinion - which is a shame, as it is anything but once you get onto the pier. There are several individual gift shops selling high quality items (no cheap seaside tat here, although still plenty of lovely souveneirs of a day at the pier) and a restaurant and coffee shop with lovely outside dining areas perfect on a sunny day for relaxing with a cp of tea whilst looking out at the brightly coloured beach huts along the sea front that Southwold is famous for. There is also an amusement arcade where only low value (2p and 10p) games machines are in use and Tim Hunkin's fun "under the pier show" which is a collection of one off home made slot machines with fun names such as rent a dog which have to be seen to be believed! There is also a water clock which gives a show every half hour and brings a smile to the faces of those watching. The pier is very sturdy boarded (I'm not always very good walking on piers as I feel unsafe, but here was fine) and it's not too long so you can easily walk down to the bottom and have a look back to the shore line. It's a nice place to visit and manages to incorporate traditional seaside pastimes into a modern space without going down the tacky route.
The Duchess is the kind of pub that you may walk past several times before you even realise it is there, but once you find it you wonder why you haven't been in before! Situated at the end of the high street next to the Williams & Griffin department store, the pub has been open for just over a year (it was previously called the Wig & Pen). Very tastefully decorated, the pub has comfy seating, low lighting and pictures of Colchester in times gone by on the walls. Some nights a pianist plays in the bar adding to a chilled out feeling (although not if you sit too close to him - it's quite loud then, as we have found out!) The drinks are priced competitively and the food is very nice and reasonably priced. My first visit to The Duchess was for a work's Christmas meal and since then me and my husband have eaten there several times, enjoying our food each time. The sharing platters are particularly nice and good if you can't decide what to have! Being on the high street, the pub is fantastically placed for a drink or bit to eat after work if you work in Colchester or a stop off during a shopping trip for a it of lunch and it feels one of the calmest places to be if you've been rushing around in shops!
We visited Thorpeness whilst staying in nearby Aldeburgh on holiday. Situated in Suffolk, about 9 miles West of Saxmundham, Thorpeness is a quaint seaside village which began life as a fishing village but was changed by Stuart Ogilvie, a Scottish businessman, into a "private fantasy holiday village" after be bought the entire village in 1910. At the centre of the village is a meare - a shallow large kind of boating lake which was built to resemble elements of Ogilvie's friend J M Barrie's most famous work - the children's favourite "Peter Pan". The meare has little boats and islands and is very quaint. There is also a pub (The Dolphin) which we didn't visit but have heard good things about and a tea room and "junk shop" in which to waste time rifling through the wares. The main reason for our visit was to see the "house in the clouds", which is perhaps Thorpeness's biggest tourist attraction. An old water tower, it was clad and made to look like a house nestling in the clouds above the skyline so that it wasn't such a blot on the landscape. It is very unusual and well worth going to have a look at to mavel at its deisgn. You can't get too close to the "house" as it is actually now let out as holday accomodation (with a large garden) ut you can get close enough to take a photo or two! There is also a very nice beach, similar to that a couple of miles up the road at Aldeburgh, but much quieter and a golf club, hotel and spa. There isn't masses to do in Thorpeness but if you're visiting Suffolk it is well worth a look and is a nice place to spend an afternoon.
For ages I had been using Liz Earle's cleanse and polish and was really happy with it. I had tried a couple of high street alternatives and they were either not that good or OK but not for long term every day use and not as good as the original. However, Liz Earle is quite expensive at about £13 a time (plus P&P as nowehere near me sells it) so I longed for the day when I tried a cheaper brand and liked it! I notced this No 7 Hot Cloth Cleanser when I was in Boots about 4 months ago, and as it was only £9.95 and I had a £5 No 7 voucher to use anyway (taking it down to under a fiver) I thought I would give it a go! The packaging is very nice and simple - a cardboard box that encloses the pump action dispenser and a hot cloth. The pump is made of sturdy plastic and feels of good quality, and there is a push on lid to avoid any bathroom mess. Like the Liz Earle original and other hot cloth cleansers, you apply the cream cleanser to your face and neck area with your fingertips and then place the muslin cloth (that you pre-soak in warm water) over your face before using it to remove the cleanser. The cream has a lovely fresh smell that is not overpowering and the cream is a nice consistancy. You also learn quite quickly that a little goes a long way and as a result it lasts a long time. Whilst not all of the ingredients are 100% natural like Liz earle's cleanser, I have found it to be very gentle on my sensitive skin with no tightness, redness or irritation. The cleanser removes all impurities and make up - it kind of dissolves it leaving your face lovely and clean and very smooth to touch. I love how my skin feels after i've cleansed it with this product! I have bought it twice more since I first purchased it and each time I have managed to use one of the No 7 £5 promotional vouchers that Boots often do so each time it has cost me under £5, and has lasted about 5 weeks so that's £1 a week! Would really reccommend you give this a go if you're a fan of Liz Earle but not the cost!
Regatta is a well known restuarant in the Suffolk coastal town of Aldeburgh and when we were in Aldeburh for a week recently we decided to try it out. We had originally planned to got o Prezzo on the night in question, but stupidly hadn't booked so our plans were thwarted. Walking past Regatta we decided to try our luck at getting a table, but weren't hopeful seeing as it looked quite busy and was 7.00pm on a Saturday night in July. However, despite being very busy (and having a list of bookings), they did their best to accomodate us and said that if we they could have the table back at 8pm they could let us in. In the end we stayed until closer to 8.30, and although the restaurant was very busy, they were fine with this. The resturant has a nice feel - it feels like a well run and classy place to eat whilst remaining unstuffy and friendly. There is a bias on seafood on the menu (although there are non-seafood options to try) and the menu changes regularly to make the most of what is in season. We opted for pitta bread and hummus to start (we shared it) and both the bread and hummus was very nice. For my main I had hot smoked salmon with creme fraiche and red chilli chutney, and my husband had salt beef with homemade coleslaw. We also had new potatoes. For dessert I had caramel, fudge and malteser ice cream (which if I am honest I had already eyed up on the menu when passing the restuarant earlier that day!) and my husband went for vanilla creme brulee. Our bill was just over £50 and I think it was good value for money considering how nice our meal was. All of the food was absolutely lovely and was so good we're still talking about it a few weeks later! In fact, we think it is possibly the nicest meal we have ever eaten when out for the evening - so we're pleased we ended up there and can't wait to return to the Regatta when we're next in Aldeburgh!
We visited the Long Shop Museum whilst staying in Aldeburgh. We had been passed the museum several times as it is on the bus route from Aldeburgh to Saxmundham. The museum is in Leiston in Suffolk and for around 200 years the name of the town was synomonous with engineering thanks to the Garrett works on the site of the museum. The museum's website describes it as a "the story of a Suffolk industry, its town and its people" and that sums the museum up nicely as different parts of the museum concentrate on different things - the Garrett family, the works at Leiston, British engineering on a wider scale, local and social history and Leiston today where the nuclear power station Sizewell has taken over from Garrett's as the area's biggest employer. There is lots to learn and I personally was staggered by some of the things I learned such as how much money the Garrett family put into the local area and infrastructure and how their legacy lives on, as well as the story of Elizabeth Garrett-Anderson who was Britain's first female doctor and Mayor! On the day we visited, Leiston had been flooded a few days earlier and some of the rooms were being dried out so it was not very busy. However that was nice as we could really explore the musuem's workshops which I would imagine are much busier at weekends. As well as the displays and exhibits there is also lots of big machinery to admire - something I am sure that little boys would appreciate! The staff in the museum are all volunteers and those we came into contact with were all very knowledgeable about the history of the works, and passionate about the museum. There is a small shop where souvenirs can be purchased, and it is not as overpriced as some gift shops we have been in! We spent about two hours in the museum and it was time well spent learning about an industry we had no previous idea of. Admission to the museum is £5.00 for adults, £4.50 for OAPs and £2.50 for children (with under 5s free). A family ticket is also available for £12 (2 adults and 2 children). With any ticket you get free entry for a year so it's quite reasonable (especially if you plan to come back again).
We only went 50 miles away for our summer holiday but Aldeburgh is lovely (we have stayed here before for a night at The Brudenell hotel) and when we were looking for a cottage to stay in, this one jumped out at us because of it's brilliantly central location and lovely gardens (front and back). The cottage is situated in a small side road that links the seafront and the high street. It is mid terrace and a traditional cottage with a contemporary feel. Above the door is the sundial that gives the cottage its name, and the door is a stable door (where the top can be opened out as a window) which was very nice for airing the living room! The room sizes in the property were very good for an old cottage, and the ceilings weren't too low either - with the exception of the dining area, where my husband had to remember to duck each time he walked through (he is 6'5"!) The main living room had a traditional wood burning fireplace, but it was quite warm whilst we were there so we didn't need to try it out. It looked like it would create a very cosy ambience in the winter though! The living room decor is quite nautical with cream and blue. There was a large sofa, a matching chair and a wicker chair placed in the bay window recess, as well as a large sturdy wooden coffee table and TV cabinet. The TV was a flatscreen, but there was no DVD player (guide to the property said DVD was integrate, but we couldn't see it so either TV has been changed or we're blind! If I was being critical I'd say that a cream sofa isn't a good idea but that would be my only negative comment on the decor as the property is beautifully decorated with lots of art, including fabulous portraits by a local photographer of the owners family enjoying the beach at Aldeburgh. The dining area behind the living room is quite small (and has the previously mentioned low ceilings) but has room for a dining table that seats 3. The kitchen is a long galley style kitchen with a fridge, electric oven with gas hob, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine so everything you could possibly need is there, along with supplies like washing up liquid, dishwasher tabs, washing up powder, kitchen roll etc and lots of crockery and cutlery. My only gripe with the kitchen was the kettle which had a lot of limescale. I tried to descale it but it was a lost cause so I boiled water in a saucepan on the hob all week instead of using it. I have mentioned this to the letting company so hopefully a new kettle has now been installed. The main bathroom in the property has been added on at some point as an extension (like in all old cottages where bathrooms weren't built at the time of the house), and is on the ground floor beyond the kitchen which felt strange at first but we quickly became used to. The bathroom has a bath, over bath shower (that was quite powerful), toilet and sink. The main bedroom is decorated in a very contemporary way - luxurious white Egyptian cotton bedding with a red throw and scatter cushions on the king size bed that tied in with the large artwork above the bed of a poppy. There is no mirror in the bedroom which was a slight annoyance, but lots of space to store clothes in the built in wardrobes and a lovely view of the sea if you looked to the left out of the window! There is also an original fireplace in the room (which is now purely for decorative use). There is a second bedroom with a single bed with a view overlooking the back garden, as well as a small bathroom comprising toilet and sink. The outside areas of the property are lovely - at the front there is a small front garden complete with a wooden bench and table for sitting outside people watching, and at the back is a long walled garden with roses and other beautiful flowers and a bench and table to sit at and enjoy the tranquillity. We really enjoyed our stay at Sundial Cottage - it was a beautiful property where we felt totally at home, and were sad to leave. We can't wait to visit again soon! NB: We paid just under £600 for a 7 night break in early July 2012.
We visited Framlingham Castle in early July (2012) whilst we were staying in Aldeburgh. As non drivers, we had to get a cab from Saxmundham (the nearest station, about 7 miles away) at a cost of £15.00 although there is a lage car park if you're visiting by car. The castle is a 12th century fortress owned by English Heritage and admission is £6.50 for adults, £5.90 for concessions and £3.90 for children (5 to 15 years) with a family ticket available (for 2 adults and up to 3 children) for £16.90. The castle is situated in the small market town which gives it its name, Framlingham, which is a very quaint old English town with a traditional market square, a couple of old inns, some restaurants and tea rooms and some independant shops such as a deli. The castle is effectively ruins of the castle that was once there and all that exists is the outer shell with a grass area in the middle. You can however climb some stairs to "walk the walls" of the castle on an elevated platform that has been erected around the tall walls of the castle. This offers some amazing views of the surrounding Suffolk countryside as well as a chance to feel as though you're the king of he castle. It rained a little on the day we visited but we still enjoyed the views it offfered - although as someone with a fear of heights I had to hold the rail very tghtly all the way round! The steep stone stairs were also very difficlt to climb and we almost gave up as they felt quite unsafe (i'm sure they're fine but me and my husband are both quite nervous of heights!). The stairs we came down were much better (modern purpose built stairs) so I would recommend them if you are nervous of the drop or have small children or less mobile people in your party. It was at Framlingham Castle that Mary Tudor learned she had become Queen and 800 years of history and life at the castle are explored in the 'From Powerhouse to Poorhouse' exhibition at the castle in the exhibition space on the "ground floor". There is also a museum about the local area on the "first floor" (half way up the steps to walk the walls) called the Lanman museum. There is also an ice cream kiosk (that also serves warm drinks for colder days), a well stocked shop where you can buy guide books and gifts and a giant chess play area for children. As your ticket is for the day, you are able to pop out into the town to get items for a picnic and come back later if you so wish. The town (and in particular the church of St Michael) is just a few minutes outside of the gates and is well worth a look if you're so close by.
Prezzo is one of my favourite restaurant chains and i've been in quite a few Prezzos in my time - so when we were in Aldeburgh in January for our anniversary, there was really only one restaurant we could visit! The good thing about Prezzo (and this applies to all of them, not just the one in Aldeburgh) is that the menu is so varied - there's pasta, pizza, calzone, grills and specials meaning that you'll always find something that everyone likes. The Aldeburgh Prezzo is on the high street, right in the middle of the town and is a lo bigger inside the restaurant than it looks from the street oustide. The decor is modern yet welcoming with a lot of neatral colours and comfy chairs. We went on a Thursday night and the restuarant was busy when we arrived, but not packed (which is good beacuse we hadn;t reseved a table!). The staff were very nice and attentive but not annoying - which is something that's easy to get wrong judging by the bad experiences we have all had with waiting staff! I had penne con salmone as my main and my husband had a calzone (folded pizza) and both were delicious and cooked to perfection. We also had a tomato and red onion side salad and garlic bread with balsamic glazed onions to share, which was also very nice. We ordered our drinks before our food, and when we reordered water later on when our original drinks had been drunk, they offered us a jug of filtered tap water instead of automatically selling us expensive bottled water, which I though was good. They also served the water in the same way as bottled water (with ice and lemon) which meant we didn't have to feel stingy! Prezzo normally have a 2for1 style offer on main dishes during the week so it is always worth checking their website before you go and downloading a voucher. The menus are also all avilable online so you can decide what you're having before reaching the restaurant. We walked to the restaurant from our hotel on the sea front, but there is parking right outside on the road if you drive. We can't wait to go back next time we're in Aldeburgh :-)
We watched quite a few comedy stand-up DVDs over the Christmas period but this is without a doubt the funiest one we watched - and one of the funniest (if not *the* funniest) ones I've ever watched. Micky Flanagan is one of those comedians who appears every so often on TV on things such as Mock the week and Live at the Apollo but isn't someone who everyone immediately knows or recognises. For those who aren't familiar with him, he's from the East End and is a true Cockney with a great way of telling stories. He's also someone who was born working class, but has become increasingly middle class (going into delis and the like, which is the basis for some of his comedy). Filmed in Southend in front of an Essex audience, this live DVD is Micky's 2011 "Out out" tour (referring to the fact that you can go "out" as in leave the house or "out out" as in go out properly for the evening) and is packed with stories that I defy anyone not to laugh out loud at. The DVD is rated an 18 and that should therefore tell you that there is a lot of "adult" humour in the show, not suitable for kids. Howver it is not a Roy Chubby-Brown swear-fest of constant effing, blinding and crudeness - the swearing and adult theme fits perfectly in the stories Micky tells and doens't come accross as aggressive or unneccesary in any way. Covering subjects such as what's wrong with society today, neighbours, holidays, Americans and school day there's something for everyone to identify with and laugh along with and I had to pause the DVD a couple of times where I had tears of laughter running down my face! The extras on the DVD are good too - including an interview with Micky's parents and a look at "his" East End. If you need cheering up after a long week at work, this DVD will do the trick!
I've been buying and using this product for a few years now and it's a lovely room and linen spray that makes your bedroom smell absolutely gorgeous and aids restful sleep too! It comes in a clear 125ml spray bottle with clouds on the packaging and is normally about £4 in the avon brochure, although they often have deals on the sleeptherapy range such as "2 for a fiver" or BOGOF. You can spray it directly onto your bedding (which is great as your pillows and duvet cover smell freshly laundered every night) or you can spray it into the centre of the room anuse it as a room spray. I do both just before I get into bed each night and it's really nice without being too overpowering. The spray has a mix of lavender and other fragrances that work together to make you feel sleepy and I think it works because if ever I can't sleep I spray a bit more of this and hey presto - I get to sleep! If you're looking for a room fragrance for your bedroom or have trouble sleeping i'd really recommend this product.
I started using this product a few months ago after using a new salon for the first time. The stylist used it on my hair and I liked how smooth my hair looked so I bought some to use at home. Part of TIGI's "bed head" range, after party is a hair creme that tames your hair making it smooth, silky and shiny. It comes in a 100ml bright pink phallic shaped pump dispenser making it instantly recognisable and a fun addition to your dressing table. It is only available from selected official stockists so it can be found in hair salons and online. The note on the packaging tells you to use it on dry hair but I've only ever used it on wet hair before drying as that's what the stylist did so I'm guessing it can be used on oth wet and dry hair! One thing to say about this product is that a little goes a long way - so although it's not cheap, it will last a long time! As I said before, I use it on wet hair - so after rough drying with a towel I smooth a small amount all the way down my hair. You need to be careful not to use too much or it will make your hair greasy. I then dry my har with the hair dryer and it goes really smooth and glossy. It smells lovely and I think it definately improves the appearance of my hair. It's fine for use on coloured hair too as I have coloured hair.
This hotel is amazing - the rooms are lovely, the food is gorgeous and the staff very helpful. We stayed at The Brudenell on a "luxury package" break the first weekend of October (We stayed Sunday night, as the luxury package isn't available on a Saturday) at a cost of £250. This included a sea view superior double room, wine, chocs and fruit in our room, a cream tea on arrival, 3 course dinner, welcome cocktail and breakfast. We don't drive so we arrived at the hotel by taxi from Saxmundham (which is the nearest rail station) and although we arrived too early to check in (check in is from 2pm) we were able to drop off our bags etc and we were told that our room would be ready by 1pm. Our room was on the third floor and was beatifully decorated with a large window that overlooked the beach. The room was very large and had a big bed, sofa, coffee table, flatscreen TV, desk etc. The bathroom was very nice with both a shower cubicle and free-standing bath and had a nautical theme to give it a real "by the seaside" feel. If I was being very picky I'd say that the bahroom could have been designed a little better as the shower cubicle was quite small despite the bathroom being quite big. The water pressure also wasn't brilliant (a power shower would have been better) but it wasn't terrible either to be fair. The toiletries provided were of a very high quality (as you'd expect from a boutique hotel) and the white towels were very soft and fluffy. Lots of books (proper books, not brochures!) about the local area and its history were provided in a basket on the coffee table and I thought that was a really nice touch. The TV had Sky1, Sky news and Sky Sports 1,2 and 3 in addition to the five main terrestrial channels. The bed was very comfortable, and the linen felt expensive. A mesh blind was provided as well as heavy curtains so that you could still enjoy the sea view and have some privacy at the same time! The view from the room was amazing and we enjoyed watching the sun come up over the sea upon waking. It was very warm (unseasonably so for October) during our stay and a fan was placed in our room before arrival. The large windows also opened which was good. There is no air conditioning, with central heating for colder stays. Our cream tea on the afternoon of our arrival was much bigger than we expected - two rounds of sandwiches (cut into fingers - cute!), two scones with jam and clotted cream, two huge pieces of cake and a pot of tea! We were glad that we'd opted to not have lunch as there was no way we'd have fitted everything in (we didn't have room for the cake as it was!) Dinner in the restaurant was very nice (although service a little slow). The menu is quite varied and changes on a regular basis to include "in season" foods. I had corn fed chicken as my main whilst and my husband went for the steak. Breakfast options included continental (which I went with) and a full Suffolk cooked breakfast (that my husband went with). Both were very nice. There is no mobile phone signal in the hotel (or in most of Aldeburgh actually!) but there is a pay phone off the hotel lobby, as well as a direct dial telephone in each room (charged at 70p per minute for UK landlines). The communal areas of the hotel - the restaurant / bar and lounge bar are really nice and there is an outside area for alfresco dining. Gift vouchers are avaiable for the hotel (we used some to pay for our stay). We had a fantastic stay and loved the hotel so we can't wait to visit again. If you're looking for a relaxing luxury break we would really recommend it :-) **Please note that my review above has also been posted on Trip Advisor with pictures**
I absolutely love this product - i've been using it for about 2 months now (since it was first released in the UK) and its my ultimate beauty buy that I now can't imagine life without! Garnier B.B. Cream Miracle Skin Perfector is the first mainstream high street BB cream in the UK. BB creams (or "blemish balms") have been used in asian cultures for quite a while but it is only recently that they have been adapted for lighter skin. A few high end BB creams were released in the last year or so with hefty price tags but this product comes in at £9.99 and therfeore won't break the bank - good in these tough economic times! It's a all in one product - SPF, moisturiser, concealer, skin soother and light coverage foundation. It's basically a very sophisticated modern day version of tinted moisturiser! It glides on to the skin and gives a fantastic all over even skintone which sees blemishes and inperfections in the skin disapear. It feels really light and lets your skin breathe - there's no clogging of the pores at all that you sometimes get with concealers and foundations. I've also found that this stays on my skin and doesn;t slide about during the day so it's great for warm weather. I use this product every day now (even when wearing no other make-up) and my skin has definately looked a lot more even since I started. I've also had less spots, which i'm putting down to the fact it's so light and the sothing properties of the cream! The cream has a lovely smell which is difficult to explain but reminds me of iced tea. The packaging could do with being a bit more exciting but the product speaks for itself so i'll let them off!