Wednesday, 28 December 2011

RS Wedding Designs

Earlier in the year Rachyeta featured us on her lovely Shaadiesque blog and we are very proud to be featured in her Supplier Lounge there, so I am very pleased to be able to share with you news of her exciting new planning packages.

Think you can’t afford a wedding planner? Think again! RS WeddingDesigns  is offering pick-n-mix planning from just £280 with their Theme Design packages.

“No bride wants a cookie cutter wedding but all too often weddings try to foist a package wedding onto them that really doesn’t reflect their personality,” says Rachyeta Singh. “With a Theme Design package, it’s a small outlay that can really open your eyes to what else is out there.”
“It’s your opportunity to do something different and make your big day stand out.”

The package starts at £280 for design ideas, rising to just £395 if you would like RS Wedding Designs to recommend suppliers as well.

The idea for the Theme Design package came from customer demand. Rachyeta often updates her blog with gorgeous reception decor ideas and her eye for colour and attention to detail can turn a dreary hotel package wedding into something rather wonderful.

One bride who avoided a cookie cutter wedding, but ordered some gorgeous cookies, is Catherine, who booked a Theme Design package with Rachyeta.

“The theme Rachyeta chose for us was a paradise dream theme, because our love story was something out of a dream,” Catherine says.

“The place names were little puffy clouds, the set up was a light blue and pink infusion. Our favours were a mix of a thermometer shaped ginger biscuits and an aeroplane shaped biscuit, as I am a doctor and my husband is a pilot.”

Her venue suggestion was spot on and everyone had a blast.”

So how does RS Wedding Designs come up with these special touches? The company takes an innovative approach to wedding planning, building up an online directory of preferred suppliers to add to the creative flair of Rachyeta and her team. As such, RS Wedding Designs brides not only get great ideas, they also get great discounts.
“Brides use Google a lot nowadays to research wedding ideas but it’s a real shot in the dark,” Rachyeta says. “You may find the supplier of a product you want, but how can you be assured of quality? There has to be a degree of trust and nothing beats a recommendation from those within the industry.

“Our suppliers are people who will deliver. There is a great deal of vetting going on before they are added to our directory. We want to get to know the company behind the business logo - and, in the wedding industry, the photographer behind the camera.”

You can contact Rachyeta through her website, follow her on Twitter and get gorgeous inspiration from her Shaadiesque blog and her Bridal Street, rs1 blog.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Little Wedding Ideas

It's almost the end of 2011, where has it gone?! I hope that it's been a good year for everyone? It's certainly been a busy one here at LG HQ and has flown by! So what's new for 2012? Apart from lots of lovely weddings there is of course going to be the London Olympics. Our guest blogger this week is Grace from Little Wedding Ideas, who supplies unique and innovative wedding favours and for the sports fans of you there are some additions to her ranges that will no doubt interest you!

Little Wedding Ideas
The whole nation are in anticipation of a huge summer of sport next year.  We have Euro 2012 in the football calendar and the usual Wimbledon season to look forward to, but the excitement really lies in the Olympics 2012.  Here at Little Wedding Ideas we have already found that our personalised cricket balls and mini rugby balls have become a popular choice as wedding favours for couples passionate about their sport.  Summer 2012 is going to accentuate this even further, with the whole country going a bit sports mad!

We have a great selection of sports themed products.  We have leather cricket balls, mini and foam rugby balls, regular and mini footballs, volleyballs and tennis balls, to name a few.  However, we also have sports themed confectionery, name place holders, key rings and accessories to compliment the theme.

Examples of our products:

Printed mini rugby ball - Authentic in appearance to a full-sized ball, but only 17cm in diameter. It can be printed with the couple’s name and wedding date to make a great favour or save-the-date announcement.  £3.45 each. 

Printed cricket ball – A personalised full size cricket ball makes a fantastic wedding favour.  The ball is made from high grade leather and the official weight used in the sport.  These balls can also be colour matched to compliment your wedding theme at an additional cost.  £3.85 each.

Printed beach volleyball – An authentic beach volleyball which can be printed in up to four colours would make a great addition to a beach themed wedding.  £6.50 each.

Printed tennis ball- A printed tennis ball makes a great summer themed wedding favour.  Printed with your own words in a colour of your choice.  £2.40 each.

We have plenty more ideas for sports themed parties and weddings on our website.

You can also find Grace on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. Even if you're not a sports fan, there are plenty of other great favour ideas on the website so pop over and have a look!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Stunning Photography by Dinendra Haria

This weeks guest blogger is Dinendra Haria, an Asian Wedding Photographer based in London who has a passion for photographing weddings of all cultures.  Dinendra specialises in Asian/Indian Weddings covering the Hindu wedding ceremony, Gujarati wedding ceremony, Sikh wedding ceremony and Muslim wedding ceremony and also photographs English weddings.  In his blog, Dinendra shares with us some of the stunning photos that were taken during a traditional Hindu wedding and an English Civil Ceremony for a lovely couple.

Asian | Indian Wedding Photographer | London
"Minal and Gavin's wedding was the perfect demonstration of the joining of two cultures - they had a traditional Hindu wedding followed by an English Civil Ceremony, at Manor of Grove, Hertfordshire. The day started dramatically with a few rumbles of thunder and rain, and then it got warmer and the sun shone in all the right places. Minal and Gavin chose beautifully co-ordinated Indian wedding clothes for the Hindu ceremony, which included the 'Jaimala" where they exchanged flower garlands and 'Kanyadaan' the most important ritual where Minal's hand was given to Gavin as his bride.

The families from both sides had a role to play in the ceremonies and Minal's brothers and cousins were on hand to wish the couple happiness as they completed the 'Mangalpheras' or circling of the sacred fire, the 'Havan'.

The couple changed into romantically understated and chic English outfits for the civil ceremony. Minal's bridesmaids also wore stunning dresses throughout the day, and the colour schemes for the outfits and the surrounding decor were altogether quite mesmerising."

You can contact Dinendra on his WebsiteBlog, Facebook, or catch him on Twitter.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Buttercup Bus

Since the Surrey Networking Tweet Up a couple of weeks ago the Wedding Industry Awards Regional Winners have been announced. Having met so many wonderful people at the Tweet Up I looked with interest to see who the regional winners were. On the list, amongst the people I have heard of but not actually had the privilege to meet, I was thrilled to see the name of one person I had met and with a delightful and unusual business! Mr LG has a huge soft spot for VW Campers, having spent months living in one travelling across Australia many years ago - in fact he still has the VW badge from the front of the van tucked away with all the photos from the trip. My parents bought a VW Camper when I was a teenager, a rather fetching two tone orange and cream (well, it was the late 70's!), with a pop top roof where two people could sleep.

Nathalie, who runs Buttercup Bus VW Campers is passionate about restoring these vehicles which I'm sure feature in the memories of many of us .......

VW Camper Hire in London

 Mini-mooners with a sense of adventure!

I was delighted to be invited to write a blog entry for the lovely Kim at Lil Guys. (We met a couple of weeks ago at the weddings in Surrey Tweet Up, exchanging stories about our mischievous puppies!). I wanted to write a blog about something that seems to be a current trend I have identified, and also something very close to my own heart as a lady passionate about the outdoors...

Over the past three years, surveys have reported a decrease in wedding budgets of around £5k. The honeymoon is starting to make way for the new “mini moon”, as couples become increasingly cost-conscious with wedding plans. These “mini moon” breaks can lead to people coming up with inspirational ideas on how to spend a blissful short break with their loved ones, whilst often avoiding the stress of busy airports, long haul flights and not forgetting the passport shenanigans with maiden name changes.

Giving up the traditional two week holiday on a tropical island need not be a sacrifice with some of the ideas I have seen floating around on the UK wedding forums. As a wedding supplier myself, I spend considerable time on these forums, keeping tabs on changes in wedding trends. I wanted to share with you my top UK mini moon ideas, taken from real bride’s recommendations combined with my love for the British countryside and camping with a luxurious twist...

Having lived a large proportion of my life on the Hertfordshire / Essex border, this  little find was rather close to my heart- BOUNCERS FARM CAMPSITE.  The cute little gypsy caravan traditional bowtop wagons are adorable, and ooze with romantic charm... imagine sitting together in front of the log burner with a glass of red wine, enjoying each other’s company...  Set in an orchard, this campsite is a must, if you are getting marries in the first week of May – think of all that blossom! If you are planning a trip later in the year, October would be ideal for the orchard harvests! For those of you with a real sense of adventure, the farm land can be used for horse riding, and there are even carriage trips available. At £50-60 / night, this little gem is a viable option for those on mini moon!
Gypsy Caravan at Bouncers Farm
For those of you looking to sleep under canvas, but without the stress of putting up tent poles, or carting all you camping equipment down with you, why not try Glamping Holiday  based on the Surrey / Sussex Boarder. Bell tents decked out with everything from bedding to chandeliers guarantee a camping trip that offers something special...not to mention the welcome breakfast pack on your arrival containing eggs, bacon, bread, butter, jam, milk and even marshmallows.
Glamping Bell Tent
If a holiday isn’t really a proper trip unless you have crossed the sea, then what about The Isle Of Weight? The Really Green Holiday Company offer 16ft fully furnished Yurts... and you can even hire one complete with four poster bed! There are plenty of tourist attractions in the area, and in the evenings, you can watch the stars in each others company – or go to the communal “dome” and meet other couples as a “Mr and Mrs” to enjoy a drink and a chat!
Really Green Yurt
One place that I have always wanted to go to (but never been able to get availability) is The Treehouse at Kinlochlaich House in Scotland. Yes, this octagonal shaped accommodation is up in the branches, with an oak, spiralling staircase, winding round the central tree... I don’t think that I would want to leave, all snug, looking out at the fantastic views. Short breaks are available out of peak season, at around £360 from Friday to Monday. Prime time August for a full week comes in at £605. Just remember to book well in advance for this hidden treasure.
The Treehouse
For the magpies out  there that are attracted to bright and shiny things, there is no accommodation that sparkles more than an airstream. We love one campsite in East Dorset near the popular New Forest and wonderful sandy beaches, that hires out these vintage Airstream caravans. Happy Days RetroVacations offer Mobile fire pits can be rented from reception so you can enjoy toasting marshmallows with a glass of local cider by the fire as the sun goes down. A fish and chip van visits on a Saturday night in high season and an ice cream van visits frequently too.
Looking for accomodations reflective of history a little further back in time? Shepherd’s Huts were built in the 19th century to provide living quarters for shepherds who were away from home during the lambing season. Today, many of these huts are being restored to a high specification, to include sofas, double beds, kitchen and shower room.  The Rose and Applewood Shepherds Huts in Butley, close to the Suffolk coast, are situated in a lovely garden, deep in the countryside. Guests will enjoy a wonderful experience, with a pre-war atmosphere, while every practical consideration has been taken care of... Friday to Monday short breaks come it at £318 during August, with a full week costing £505.
Shepherds Hut
Last, but certainly not least, how could I miss out an adventure very close to my own heart... the vintage VW Camper. As the owner of Buttercup Bus VW Campers - a Croydon (South London and Surrey Border) based VW Camper hire company, one of the perks of the job is to regularly go out on little breaks – the Sussex countryside being one of my favourites. The campervan provides you with the freedom to hit the open road, the flexibility to visit as many destinations as you want, and brings a certain vintage charm to your trip, which will turn people’s heads and make them smile. We love to go to the WoWo campsite in Uckfield with our buses. This campsite is based in the Sussex countryside, and has a brook that runs through it, allows open fires and offers communal soup gatherings. There is a yurt and a Tipi on offer to hire, as well as ample space for campervans and tents alike. They will even allow musicians to stay for free if you are willing to share your musical skills with the campsite. Prices start at £60 per pitch for a long weekend at Wowo. Buttercupbus campervan hire starts at £325 for a long weekend. Book early to get your places secured!
Nathalie with a Buttercup Bus!
Whatever your preference, the blanket term “glamping” used to describe holidays that embrace  humble (and sometimes quirky) outdoor living combined with the modern luxuries any newly weds would desire, is certainly becoming increasingly attractive as a mini moon choice.

I'm very definitely a country girl but glamping is much more my thing than the traditional wet week in a Welsh field with the loo block half a mile away! I'm seriously considering looking into the Isle of Wight option, not because I have to feel that I'm 'abroad' but because I heard on the radio the other day that Springsteen & The E Street Band are headlining the closing day at Bestival 2012 - would love to go but not keen on a tiny tent and queuing for a smelly portaloo at night! 

Lastly, and this is purely indulgent, I have to post pics of Nathalie's Yorkie and my LGs!

Nathalie's cheeky chappy - not sure why the photo's
refusing to stay upright!
Bingo's trying to persuade Betsie to help him
find the squirrel he saw......

Betsie prefers exploring rabbit warrens though!

So Bingo has another go himself .......

Bingo & Monty enjoying a walk on the River Adur
More photos of the LGs on our Facebook Page, why not come and join us?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

The Wedding Reporter

One of the lovely people I met first at the Taunton Tweet Up in the summer this year and then again at the opening of Isabella Grace Bridal Boutique in Tunbridge Wells was Emma Woodhouse who is The Wedding Reporter. I do like to discover and bring to you diverse  ideas and information connected to weddings and Emma certainly offers a service that I'd never heard of before - and to be honest wish I had done before our wedding in 2008!

The Wedding Reporter
I have always written down everything important that’s happened to me. I think I have a phobia of forgetting momentous events, and I like taking time to think about what’s happened as I write it down. Reading it back years later I end up being astonished by things that I thought I’d remember forever.

You think that you’ll remember everything about your wedding. It’s one of the biggest days of your life, right? So much blood, sweat and tears goes into the preparation that you can’t actually comprehend not remembering all of that pain for years to come. How could you possibly forget anything about something so momentous?

The answer is: easily. Weddings are an absolute hurricane of chaos, a tour de force of emotion and adrenaline, and a blur of conversations amidst a sea of faces. In the same way that you won’t get enough time to properly talk to all of your guests, you also won’t get the opportunity to savour the sheer brilliance of the day.

I created The Wedding Reporter in order to offer a service to any bride and groom who want an added layer of texture to the memories of their wedding. Essentially, I attend the wedding as a professional guest; jotting everything I see, hear and feel in my trusty notebook. I burst into tears at the entrance of every single bride because I believe in the power of love. No two wedding reports are the same because no two weddings are the same.

After the wedding I write all my notes up into creative non-fiction account of the day. At the end of it, the couple will have a literary legacy of their day. The words become their property, so they can simply print it off and send it out with thank you cards, or I can have it made into a real book for them. My affiliated designer can create a bespoke cover and publish the reports into unique hardback books that sit beautifully alongside your photo album.

I have created The Wedding Reporter out of a passion for both words and love. There is something luxurious about the written word; I like taking time to labour over the exact sentence structure and choice of words used. This thoroughness is the very least that I can do when endeavouring to narrate what many people will consider to be the best day of their entire lives.

If you would like more information or would like Emma to attend your wedding, you can contact her through her website, Facebook, or Twitter  

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Calling All Peacock Design Lovers...

Our Guest Blog this week comes from Suzanne at Esemee designs who has some fabulous new Peacock designed accessories to add to her extensive collection of amazing fascinators. We always like an update from Suzanne as her designs are fabulous - not just for weddings either! If you're off to Ascot or Henley next year get in contact with her now to order something to get everyone noticing you!
'While I was on my travels to the Far East and India, I came across this amazing Peacock fan which is used for Deity Worhip by the local people.  I was so inspired by this fan that I set about creating some fabulous items featuring this design and added a few sequins along the way! 
In my new collection for next year is the amazing Peacock Fascinator which sits to the side and a matching clutch bag with extra sparkles.'

If you're wondering what to get Mrs LG for Christmas or birthday this stunning clutch bag would be very well received, hint hint Mr LG! As always you can contact Suzanne through her website and follow her on Twitter. 

If anyone is thinking about having a Peacock themed wedding, Lilguy Stationery have a fabulous selection of Peacock designed invites and stationery which will certainly add a touch of glamour to your special day.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Jenny and Gary Chose Burgundy and Pink Invites for their Gorgeous Dartmoor Wedding

Our Guest Blogger this week is Jenny, who was one of my happy clients from March 2010, and wanted to share some of her wedding memories.
Firstly, all great weddings have to start with planning and preparations, luckily, Kim Stewart from LilGuy Stationery was able to put together the most exquisite wedding invites for my guests and an extremely useful PostBox for all of the cards we were given.  I can’t recommend using a PostBox highly enough as I know so many Brides that have had drinks spilt on their cards where they were left placed on tables as guests were not too sure where to put them down or who to give them to.  Kim was also able to help with lots of advice on Wedding Favours, table decorations and table plans.

The day of our March wedding came and we were rewarded with a beautiful sunny day, which was even warm enough for our first glass of champagne on the garden terrace and to have our gorgeous wedding photos taken outside. 
We married and had our Wedding Breakfast at the Moorland Garden Hotel which has a stunning setting just on the edge of Dartmoor where you can watch wild ponies and sheep grazing on the Moor.   The staff ensured our Wedding Day was perfect and all our plans for the day went like clockwork – apart from our cat Thomas getting lost the night before our wedding, which is a rather long story but he was eventually found safe and well the next day!

The Chandelier Ballroom at the Moorland Garden Hotel was bright and spacious with large windows overlooking the garden and we were very fortunate to have the last of the afternoon sun pouring in while we were finishing our speeches which was lovely.
Once everyone had enjoyed the Wedding Breakfast and a few glasses of wine, it was onto our Evening entertainment.  Hubby and I had our First Dance and then arranged a surprise Line Dance taster for everyone to join in on!  My Mum and I are very keen Line Dancers and although it took a bit of persuasion for hubby to let us to do some dancing at our wedding, it was great fun and we have some fantastic memories of all our guests trying to master the steps!  Our fantastic Line Dance Instructor, Sophie Turner was our Caller and did very well in trying to keep our guests dancing the correct steps and staying in the lines!  We had such great feedback from our guests on how much they loved this and how it made our day very memorable for them.  I would recommend any bride to try something a bit different on their day!

Thank you Jenny for sharing with us your wedding day. You can visit the Moorland Garden Hotel website, find them on Facebook  and follow them on Twitter.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Surrey Networking Tweet Up

One of the great things about working for myself at home is being able to use Twitter while I work. I've made some valuable contacts and lovely friends through it and it provides virtual 'office gossip', which is in some ways better than 'real' office gossip as you can literally switch it off if you're too busy or don't feel like getting involved. Twitter is great for picking up on different things such as information and events like networking meetings. Earlier this year I picked up on the Taunton Tweet Up which I made the effort to go to (yes, it's a long old drive from West Sussex to Somerset, but it was worth it as I tied it in with visiting family). It was great to meet some of the people I'd been tweeting with as well as making new contacts within the industry.

I'd been quite apprehensive whilst driving down to Somerset - sometimes it's difficult to walk into a room full of people you've never met before, but I'd committed myself to going so there was no chickening out! The first people I met were the Marry Me In Somerset girls, Abi & Lisa, along with Rachel and Lucinda, two of the Wedding Ideas Magazine 'herd' - all of whom were very friendly and welcoming. Another person I met in Taunton was Pam Wallin who is the driving force behind the Weddings In Surrey Directory. Having tweeted with her many times over the past year or so it was wonderful to finally meet her - like the Marry Me Somerset girls and all the WIM herd she is as lovely and friendly in person as she is on Twitter! I met many more wedding industry people that evening and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

When I saw a tweet a while ago about another Tweet Up, this time a little closer to home, I signed up for it immediately and put the date in my diary! Organised by Pam Wallin and Wedding Ideas Magazine, it was held at Fetcham Park House in Surrey, a beautiful wedding venue near Leatherhead.
The superbly elegant Grade II* Listed Queen Anne building is set in grounds which were originally landscaped by the famous Capability Brown and is believed to be one of only two remaining buildings which combine the work of architect William Talman and the artist Louis Laguerre.

I'd allowed plenty of time to tackle the A24 to Leatherhead as the evening was due to start at 6.30pm and arrived around half an hour early, plenty of time to admire the splendour of the reception rooms before they filled up with other attendees. If it's country house elegance and  style you're looking for then this venue definitely fits the bill and the Laguerre murals in the hall and stairway give a dark, richly opulent feel whereas the reception rooms are decorated in light creams and gold with intricate and colourful high ceilings.
Laguerre mural, Fetcham Park House
Louis Laguerre Mural, Fetcham Park
In contrast to the previous networking Tweet Up in Taunton I was not feeling at all apprehensive and had been looking forward all day to meeting more people that I had been chatting with on-line and some that I had yet to connect with. The list of attendees was for around 160 and we certainly filled the place up both physically and in noise level! 

By the end of the evening, this country girl who is usually found in either slippers around the house and office or wellies outside walking the LGs was feeling decidedly footsore after several hours in gorgeous high heels, but very positive, buoyed up and raring to go! I may not be a wedding planner, but I do have an incredible list of contacts within the industry now and it's always wonderful to be able to recommend a supplier to a bride - weddings and their planning can be an absolute minefield of information and can leave couples and their families feeling that they don't know where to start. So if you're looking for a Wedding Planner, a Florist, a Harpist, a Caterer, a Cake Designer, a Candy Buffet or a Chimney Sweep (yes, really!) if I can't personally recommend one it's likely that I know someone who can.

I's so easy to become insular and isolated when you work at home for yourself, easy too to be in need of a little 'spark' or 'va va voom' and meeting like minded professionals can really help to give you a boost. So many thanks to Pam and WIM for organising such a lovely evening!

Grab A Button

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Buy Our Honeymoon - The Wedding List For Couples Who Don't Need More Stuff

A question frequently asked by couples ordering their wedding stationery is how to go about telling guests that they would prefer a donation to their dream honeymoon rather than a new toaster. There are poems you can include with your invitation to this effect and you either love 'em or hate 'em, it's a totally personal choice! Our guest blogger this week is Andrew Green from Buy Our Honeymoon with the perfect solution to this dilemma!

What do you do for your wedding gift list if you don’t need a new set of spoons or bath towels? Perhaps you’d prefer to swap traditional household gifts for the honeymoon of your dreams — but the thought of simply asking for cold, hard cash fills you with dread?

A honeymoon wedding list works in a very similar way to a department store gift registry, but instead of kitchen implements or bed linen, you put together a list of experiences, activities and contributions to make your honeymoon the trip of a lifetime.

Imagine champagne chilling in your upgraded hotel suite, a gourmet meal in the flickering candle light as the ocean laps nearby.  It’s all so much more appealing than a blender — and so much more appealing for your guests, too, who’ll feel that they’ve given you a real gift instead of merely donating to an anonymous pot of cash.

Buy Our Honeymoon is the UK’s top honeymoon gift list service. You can select from a variety of web addresses for your guests to visit, personalise your pages with your own photos, and add absolutely anything you wish to your online list. You can even mix honeymoon contributions  with household items if you’d like.

The site offers a free 7-day trial, and takes no commission out of the gifts you receive. You can receive payment for any gifts reserved from your list in whatever way suits you best — in cash on your wedding day, by cheque through the post, as a bank transfer, or online using a credit or debit card into your own PayPal account.

Buy Our Honeymoon coordinates and manages your gift money, but doesn’t collect gifts on your behalf. This means your gifts are completely safe, and are yours from the moment they’re given.

There’s a wide range of sample wedding lists
showcasing the beautiful design themes and different approaches to putting together your list. And if you get stuck, Buy Our Honeymoon offers a unique Helping Hand service to track down and copy over the best ideas from the site’s thousands of successful lists, to yours.

Buy Our Honeymoon was created by Shelley and Andrew Green to use for their own wedding gift list, and was met with such an enthusiastic response from their guests that they were convinced to launch the site nationwide.

For more information on how to make the most of your honeymoon gift list, visit Buy Our Honeymoon  or call 0845 224 0189. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! 

Also, a quick reminder that the brilliant Wedding Ideas Magazine Awards  has now started. You can find Buy Our Honeymoon in the drop down for Best Gift List (and Lil'Guy Invites under Best Stationery) - please do go and vote, it means so much to all of us involved in the industry!

Monday, 14 November 2011

A Long Weekend In Malta - Part Two

Unfortunately on Saturday evening when we went out in the car to find somewhere to eat, it was raining, as it had been on and off all afternoon. We ended up in a quaint looking Italian restaurant (we were trying to find a small local establishment serving great food rather than one of the larger chains with a TGI Fridays feel to it). After a disappointingly indifferent dinner we headed back to the hotel rather than the clubs and bright lights of Paceville.

As I mentioned yesterday, our hotel is opposite one of the many churches in Malta. It looks very pretty with it's dome and two bell towers which we can see very clearly from our balcony. This is because we are almost on a level with them. Which means that we can hear them. Very clearly. Whenever they are rung. The smaller church a few blocks away has a much softer sounding bell. We haven't as yet quite worked out what the bells are tolled for. At first we thought that one bell sounding one, two or three times followed by the other bell sounding however many times was telling the time, but this doesn't seem to be the case after all. We may never know! All we do know is that sleeping with the balcony doors open is a no-no if you want to get any sleep!

The breakfast here is wonderful - a huge selection of cheeses, fruit, yoghurt, pastries and cooked breakfast ingredients to choose from, fruit juices and water. A word of warning to any coffee lovers however - the coffee here is dire! You can stoke up on as much breakfast as you like and it'll keep you going virtually all day. After a lazy start to the day we headed out in the car to explore a bit more of the island. Marsaxlokk in the south east of the island is meant to be still a slice of traditional Maltese life, however the Sunday market selling a mixture of local produce and tourist tat could have been in any tourist area in the world. We stopped for a quick cold drink and then left.
On Saturday we had seen a sign for The Blue Grotto whilst driving around the Rabat area where Mdina is situated. Just the one sign! So on our way to visit the prehistoric temples in the south west of the island we decided to try again to find the Blue Grotto. 
Blue Grotto caves
We did find the Blue Grotto this time, but unfortunately it was very windy and therefore the sea was too choppy to make the half hour boat trip to the caves seem very attractive, so we passed on that one and made our way to the prehistoric temple site. Unlike Stonehenge which is open to the elements, the temples have been enclosed under a dome to protect them from the elements. At 9 Euros each to view the temples (plus visitor centre) we felt this was rather pricey compared to the value at the cathedral so gave this a miss also.
Prehistoric Temples
A late lunch at one of the waterfront restaurants in Vittoriosa, one of The Three Cities opposite Valletta, and indulging in a spot of people watching, passed a couple of hours.
A narrow stepped street in The Three Cities
The Hypogeum in Paola is an underground necropolis discovered during building work in 1902 and is thought to date back as far as 3600BC. If Mr LGs contract here continues and I get to come here to visit again this is definitely something I would like to visit. Tickets have to be booked at least 2 weeks in advance as visitor numbers are restricted but this can be done on-line before you get here - tours last around 50 minutes and it is not suitable for children under 6.

The Hypogeum
Mr LG is back at work today (boo!) but I've enjoyed a leisurely lie-in, a stroll down to the waterfront, reading my Kindle in the sunshine on the balcony, a bit of blogging and resting my feet! This evening we're going out with work colleages of Mr LG which will be fun but will no doubt be an early evening as they are all working such long hours, added to which the others went home to the UK for the weekend and arrived back at the hotel at around 1.30am so are likely to be feeling a little jaded!

Tomorrow I have another leisurely day, as well as doing a bit of work on my laptop I might also investigate the spa facilities here. Wednesday morning Mr LG and I catch the flight back to LGW and back to what passes for 'normality' at our house!

The long weekend has done both of us good, without the pressures of general every day life at home. It's been lovely to be shown around Malta by Mr LG, to spend time on our own and just be a couple, and I think (hope!) he's enjoyed some time alone with me and showing me around. He warned me that this area is very brown and built up and he wasn't wrong. Everything here is built of local limestone, and if there are planning laws they are not particularly evident, there's a mixture of old and new, and much restoration work in progress. It rained before I got here so where over the last few months everything has been brown and dry suddenly overnight there is a bit of grass here and there.

Driving here is not for the faint hearted. Don't be fooled by the fact that they drive on the same side as us and the signs and rules are very similar! It's every man for himself, zebra crossings you should treat very warily and make sure ALL traffic has stopped for you, give way signs don't seem to mean much at all, and if you commit the cardinal sin of actually giving way  at a junction you will be hooted at from behind even if there's not a millimetre of space to jump into! Oh, and Christmas decorations are going up left right and centre - look rather incongruous in the 21 degree sunshine but hey ho!

So on Wednesday I go home and back to being a mum as well as a wife, but feeling like I've had a bit of 'us' time with Mr LG and a bit of 'me' time while he's working - all very important in either getting your groove back or maintaining it!
 Grab A Button