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Marrakech through the ages – In three days

Morocco is a city of contrasts; colour, poverty, dust, antiques, donkeys, motorbikes, horse drawn carts, history, architecture, artisans and gastronomic delight.  To take all this in, in three days is quite an assault on the mind and body.

For a good place to start your tour is the new Almaha Marrakech Riad based in the the Kasbah district of Marrakech, a 20 minute walk from the main square of Jemaa-el-Fna – from where it is possible to see the whole of Morocco in a condensed state.  Almaha Marrakech which opened in February, is run by a small team.  It comprises 12 rooms and suites, the size of which places it in the ’boutique’ hotel category.  Each suite on the first floor has its own private staircase leading directly to a large roof terrace, divided into private spaces by the clever use of fencing made up of Bougainvillea.  From here you have the vantage of surveying the whole of Marrakech and beyond to the Atlas mountains.  Also on the roof terrace is a small swimming pool and a covered terrace for breakfast or dinner.  The hotel is situated in a residential area meaning that you hardly see any other tourists and become immersed in the culture quicker. We built up a good rapport with the gentleman who sold water from a kiosk just minutes from the hotel and despite walking from the main Square back to the road at night, we felt much safer than we would have done in London.  Almaha Marrakech provides excellent food and you should definitely try their speciality (and indeed Morocco’s) of lamb tagine with prune and almonds.  Off the main courtyard is the Library where a wall panel of hand-folded books features the words from the poem by Charles Baudelaires ‘L’invitation au voyage’.  Another lovely room is the Pixel Room, so named due to the 23,000 or so silk pieces of fabric manually fitted  together to represent the Mosque and surrounding area of the Jamaa-el-Fna.  Bearing in mind the heat, a spa and hamman with its various treatments on offer is very welcome. A time to reflect on all that you have seen and done during your stay.
The architecture of Marrakech is varied and beautiful – places we would highly recommend as visiting are the Medersa Ben Youssef containing the most exquisite stone carvings you have ever seen representative of the Arab-Andalusian architecture;  The Secret Garden containing two sections – one for indigenous planting and the other showcasing plants from five continents; the Virtual Museum of the Public Square which holds temporary exhibitions reflecting local heritage and culture; The Marrakech Museum with its fantastic mosaics. For a rest from serious culture, go to Jemaa-el-Fna at night and see Marrakech come alive with its informal culture; snake charmers, medicine men, tooth pullers, storytellers, acrobats, musicians and entertainers.
You can walk everywhere, but at the end of the day, after some 8 miles of walking never has a spa or a sunbed been so welcome!
Lucy and Stephen were guests of Almaha Marrakech
Almaha Marrakech, 55 Derb Ben Zina, La Kasbah, 40040 Marrakech, Morocco   www.almahamarrakech.com

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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A wine lover’s delight – The Vineyard, Stockcross, Berkshire

Wine lovers in Kensington are rather spoilt. We have the Milestone Hotel, The Royal Garden and the Kensington Wine Rooms all offering a wide variety of wines and experiences. Outside London though, just off the M40 at Newbury, is The Vineyard, a five star Relais et Chateaux hotel offering wine connoisseurs, wine lovers and novices alike, a true wine experience.

The hotel is not what you would call ‘quintessentially pretty’ – for that stick with Hartwell House, Hambleton Hall or Gravetye Manor previously featured in this magazine. But it does outdo all with the variety and types of wine on available. With over 30,000 bottles, 3000 bins and hundreds of wines on offer by the glass, the hotel is able to provide opportunity for serious wine dinners, wine tasting evenings, corporate private wine schools and ‘wine nights’.

It has hard to deny you are in a boutique ‘wine’ hotel – upon entering the reception, you are greeted with a double story height wine cellar containing 5,000 bottles. Most unnerving (but visually spectacular) is the glass floor upon which you stand looking down onto the lower level cellar. In the 3AA Rosette restaurant, our gastronomic ‘Judgement of Paris Dinner’ comprised 7 courses, with two glasses of blind wine for each course and was, according to my husband who fancies himself a wine connoisseur and foodie, “fantastic”. The Judgement of Paris was the momentous occasion in wine history, when, on 24th May 1976 top wine experts gathered together to taste six French and six Californian wines blind. Many of those who attended were amazed to find they had voted Californian wine as superior to the French. A mural in one of the meeting rooms depicts this occasion. One course was accompanied by blackened glasses, so not only was the country difficult to discerne but (rather unbelievably), also the colour.

To have seven courses and not mention any would be remiss: dishes included Leek and potato veloute with black truffle accompanied by Crozes Hermitage, Champ Morel, France 2014; Guinea fowl and partridge terrine, blood orange with walnut accompanied by Alsace PB, Marc Tempe France 2012 and Tidenham duck, heritage beetroot, quince and ginger accompanied by Bialla, Cabernet Sauvignon, California 2009. In addition to the entrance wine cellar, we were
shown around more wine vaults situated behind the main rooms of the hotel and a ‘fridge room’ on the top floor. It is probably fair to say I shall never hold a more expensive wine than the £20,000 magnum bottle of 1982 Chateau Petrus!

The rooms are generous and ours had a large seating room area with balcony overlooking the golf course, and a huge marble bathroom. If you have had enough of food and wine, there is a gym, swimming pool (indoor), Jacuzzi, steam and sauna room and treatment rooms.

The Vineyard won the European Hotel Wine List of the Year in 2015 – not surprising when their wine cellar boasts 30,000 bottles of fine wine from some of the world’s best wine producers, Sassicaia, Domaine Leflaive, Armand Rousseau to name a few In addition, the wine cellar has vintage wines including; Old and new world wines including Domaine Charles Audoin (Burgundy) and new world, Rudd Estate Mount Veeder Sauvignon Blanc (California). Unusual grape varieties, such as Orin Swift Mute which is a Californian dessert red made using native grape varieties from portugal. As I said, enough to satisfy any connoisseur, wine aficionado or novice.
The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berks RG20
Telephone: 01635 589407
www.the-vineyard.co.uk

(Lucy and Stephen were guests of The Vineyard)

Images & Copyright: www.lucyelliottphotography.com
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Out of Kensington: Hambleton Hall, Leicestershire

For a weekend away, many consider the Cotswolds as “The Place to go” – however, just 90 miles out of London, but in a northerly direction up the A1, is Hambleton Hall. This distinctive Victorian mansion, near Oakham in the East Midlands county of Rutland, is the perfect starting point for long walks around Rutland Water or to take part in water-based leisure activities.  Hambleton, built in 1881, was originally a hunting box* and provided an ideal base for local hunts and for their social activities.

In 1979 Tim and Stefa Hart bought Hambleton Hall to create a boutique hotel. Upon arrival via a sweeping drive, a roaring fire greets you. Outside, the Great Outdoors beckons.  Most visitors come for the country air or to get some exercise. There is a swimming pool in the gardens and Rutland Water, being the largest artificial reservoir in Europe, offers plenty of other activities, such as sailing, kayaking, canoeing or windsurfing. Game shooting, riding, fox hunting or watching birds from the 31 hides is also available. Well behaved dogs are welcome and rows of Le Chameau wellingtons are available for long walks around Rutland Water.

Back inside, food and wine play a large part in the Hambleton Hall experience. Aaron Patterson is a Michelin-starred chef who originally trained at Hambleton Hall and then, after a stint at Le Manoir under Raymond Blanc, returned in 1992 as Hambleton Hall’s Director and Head Chef. The food is beautifully presented and very original – as an example we had tian of crab and cucumber, flavoured with lemongrass and ginger; rice-less squid risotto with chorizo sausage; loin of fallow venison with celeriac and chocolate and roast duck with cucumber, plums and black beans.  The menu changes daily and most of the ingredients are sourced locally, or are grown in their own kitchen garden. The innovation and taste of their meals proves yet again that restaurants outside London can easily hold their own against those in the capital.

Tim and his sommelier, Dominique Baduel, offer various wine-pairing events during the course of the year.  Dominique showed us a new acquisition that they were trialing – a type of syringe (called Corovin) where a thin needle pulls the wine out of the cork without the need to take the cork out of the bottle. The cork will then reseal the hole, meaning that expensive wines can be offered by the glass.

The 17 bedrooms are individually and traditionally decorated and all overlook the gardens and Rutland Water. The gardens are beautiful and in April tulips provide a carpet of colour. One of the highlights is to have lunch on the terrace, amid the floral display, watching the various activities on the lake.  Using Hambleton Hall as your base, there is plenty to see – Belvoir and Rockingham Castles, Burghley and Boughton House, Elton Hall and Althorp are within reasonable distance. The market towns of Uppingham, Stamford and Oakham are also a draw, offering antiques, art galleries and small independent shops. Tim also runs the Hambleton Bakery in the next door village of Exton – a very popular destination where traditional breads, fruit loaves, muffins and cakes are made on the premises.

Hambleton Hall provides a real break away with plenty to do and see in wonderful surroundings. Having many friends and relatives in Leicestershire we know it’s a favoured destination for those looking for something special and we thought it might be the same for the residents of Kensington!

Lucy and Stephen were guests of Tim and Stefa Hart
Hambleton Hall, Oakham, Leicestershire, LE15 8TH
www.hambletonhall.com 01572 756991

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Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Out of Kensington: Hartwell Hotel & Spa

Sitting in 90 acres of sweeping fields, landscaped gardens, ha ha’s and a lake is the beautiful Hartwell House – an Historic House Hotel, one of only three in the UK, owned by the National Trust.

Just an hours car journey from London this historic house, built in the seventeenth century, now provides a true respite from the rush of London life. In the past carriages would have bought you to the huge wooden front door via the mile long avenue of Lime trees. Today you approach via a sweeping drive to be met by a statue of Frederick, Prince of Wales. The door opens and you are immediately in the Jacobean Great Hall – where high ceilings, works of art, antiques, traditional furnishings and a large wood burning fire place greet you.

Over the years, various architectural additions have been made resulting in architectural styles such as Jacobean, Gothic revival, Victorian and Georgian interiors. The gardens, in the style of Capability Brown, have also received various designs. As an example, and in addition to the ha ha’s, there are statues, gazeebos, follies – and the mid-section of the bridge originally formed part of Kew Bridge.

Leading to the rooms in the main house is a fine example of a Jacobean staircase complete with statues. Rooms are large with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the countryside and gardens. Our room, The Queen’s Bedroom comes complete with four poster bed, his and hers walk-in wardrobe, floor to ceiling windows, artwork, antiques, multiple sofas and armchairs. This room originally belonged to Queen Josephine when she and King Louis where exciled from France and lived at Hartwell House from 1809 – 1814.

Hartwell House is clearly a popular destination for both residents and non-residents – many were enjoying formal Afternoon Tea, and the restaurant at dinner was full with couples, groups and those attending a corporate event. Chef Daniel Richardson is locally known as the chef who bought Aylesbury Duck back on the menu – traditionally quite a difficult bird to cook and one which takes skill, especially as it is quite a fatty bird. Sadly, not being in season on our visit, we were still able to chose from an extensive menu: Pan friend scallops with apple and fennel salad, accompanied by cauliflower and lime leaves; Veloute and pan friend fillet of Hallibut with crushed potatoes, artichokes, saute leeks and crab sauce or Beetroot macaroon with goats cheese mouse as examples. Deserts were equally exotically named.

Walking around the grounds on a beautiful Autumn’s afternoon is a real treat. If walking does not give you enough excerise, there are tennis courts and a croquet lawn. The converted former stables provide elegant space for a gymnasium, large swimming pool, together with sauna, spa and beauty rooms. Again non-residents are very welcome with day spa packages being popular and a smart cafe/restaurant is on-site overlooking the pool area.

Hartwell House is well situated being close to London and Oxford and is ideal for overnight or longer stays, combining with other attractions in the area. It provides a relaxing break from London in old traditional surroundings, comfortable and classy with no bling in sight!
Lucy and Stephen were guests of Hartwell House

Hartwell House Hotel & Spa, Oxford Road, Nr Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP17 8NR
www.hartwell-house.com 01296 747444

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Images: Copyright:  Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Out of Kensington: Beautiful, historic St. Moritz

St. Moritz, high up in the Swiss Alps, feels like entering Narnia.  Travel via the UNESCO Rhaetian Railway, the most scenic route imaginable and a few hours later reach St. Moritz.  Be greeted by liveried staff from Badrutt’s Palace Hotel and enter a different time, a different experience.  The hotel, built in 1896 epitomises luxury – an historic building filled with antiques, discrete staff, beautiful views and various restaurants to suit all types of requirements.

Most people visit in the winter months, but the summer months also have a lot to offer – plenty for all to see and do.  Try a trip on a horse drawn carriage complete with picnic hamper, to the mountain lake and swim in what must be one of the world’s most beautiful pools…. learn to make cheese in an Alpine lodge, try your hand at sailing in the ‘Badrutt’s Palace’ their own 6-person sailing boat, with the wind flying in your hair.  Shopping is provided in the hotel’s own Palace Galerie – a Bond St. in the mountains.  In addition to the hotel restaurants you can also try Chasa Veglia, a rustic style restaurant housed in one of the oldest farmhouses in St. Moritz.

For foodies, a Chefs Dinner in the kitchen, complete with silver service, followed by a ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ pudding experience in the Dessert Kitchen, is a must and will delight adults and children alike.   As for the bedrooms they are large and it is well worth trying for one overlooking the lake, which with the morning mist, looks spectacular.  Breakfast can be taken inside or on the verandah, the latter being very picturesque with flowers and again, over looking the lake.  Of course many famous people visit Badrutt’s Palace Hotel but even the less famous are treated as special. A real gem of a place and a diamond experience.

Lucy Elliott was a guest of Badrutt’s Palace Hotel

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Images: Copyright; Lucy M Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com
www.badruttspalace.ch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jazzing it up in Paris!

I am never quite sure why people fly to Paris, when Eurostar is so convenient, not least to mention quick, especially from Kensington. Premium Standard offers wide seats, snack meal accompanied by wine, tea and coffee. The fields of England and France pass by in a jiffy and within 2.25 hours you are in Paris.

Once you have arrived, and taken a short metro trip is the 5* Hotel La Tremoille situated in the ‘Golden Triangle’ between Avenue George V, the Champs Elysees and Avenue Montaigne, where, in addition to the top end retailers, are also many restaurants – modern, traditional (Belle Epoque style), expensive and otherwise.

The hotel, built in the Haussmann style in 1883 originally as a private home is an architecturally grand building. In the 1960s both Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington stayed there, placing the hotel in the centre of Jazz life in Paris, where every June/July the Paris Jazz Festival is held.

It well known that hotel rooms in Paris are characteristically small (indeed some are tiny). We
were lucky enough to have a room at the top of the hotel, overlooking the Golden Triangle complete with two ceiling height French windows leading onto an original wrought iron balcony and from which, armed with Gin and Tonics at night, we could see the sun going down. One unusual feature of the room was that it had its own service hatch, so breakfast could be sent to the room without staff intruding. Although the hotel is so centrally placed it sits in a quiet street and also offers a spa and wellness centre.

The restaurant, ‘Louis’, on a Monday evening, was (as befalls most hotel restaurants) rather quiet, which was a shame as the tuna tartar with avocado mousse was excellent, as was the risotto and guinea fowl breast.

So what’s to do in Paris? Well being so central – only a few minutes walk from the Champs Elysees and hence the Metro it is easy to be anywhere within a short space of time. Shopping is an obvious pastime, a boat trip down the Seine affords an excellent way to see the highlights of Paris from the river frontage and learn about its history. A particular recommendation and
despite having visited Paris many times previously, we had never visited, was the Ile St Louis – a delightful, authentic village built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Comprising narrow one way streets, two bus stops and no metro, it is a residential village with beautiful traditional architecture and small shops (mostly selling ice cream or home made chocolates).

With the speed of Eurostar and the centrality of the hotel, even a short break in Paris can seem like a true holiday.

Lucy and Stephen were guests of Eurostar and Hotel La Tremoille

Travel Information:
La Trémoille, 14, rue de la Trémoille, 75008 Paris,
Rates start from €360 (£256) per room per night including a continental breakfast and wi-fi. For further information or to book visit www.hotel-tremoille.com or call +33 156521400.

Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from London St Pancras International to Paris Gare Du Nord with return fares from £69.
www.eurostar.com/ or 03432 186186

Fast and convenient check-in – passengers are requested to arrive only 30 minutes before departure

The extra baggage allowance you get on Eurostar vs planes (Eurostar offers each person 2 bags/suitcases and 1 piece hand luggage)

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www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Gravetye Manor: Hotel, Restaurant and World Renowned Garden

Gravetye Manor is a small Elizabethan country house set in 1000 acres of the Sussex Downs. Built by Richard Infield for his bride Katherine in 1598 it is a beautifully proportioned house, with 17 bedrooms individually decorated in contemporary furnishings, but with large windows, wood panelled walls, and some with fireplaces and four-poster beds. There are several cosy sitting rooms, private dining rooms for families/larger parties all complete with roaring fires and abundant simple but beautiful floral arrangements.

Gravetye Manor is a delight for those interested in architecture, food or traditional English Gardens and is a member of Relais et Chateaux and Pride of Britain. It is rapidly gaining a fast reputation for the standard of food offered on the menu, prepared by Head Chef George Blogg and his team. Produce is supplied by local suppliers (mainly from Sussex) or in the case of most of the required fruit or vegetables, from their own kitchen garden or glass houses.

The 35 acres of garden really developed in 1884 when William Robinson redesigned the gardens, incorporating a more informal ‘English Garden’ look, than the previously traditional, formal Victorian garden. The garden is looked after by Head Gardener Tom Coward and his team of five full-time gardeners. It includes one of the oldest semi-circular walled kitchen in Europe (1.5 acres), glasshouses, lake and various different ‘gardens’ including a wild meadow. Great banks of flowers include snowdrops (and of course, the Gravetye species), daffodils, tulips, roses, clematis, rhododendrums, bluebells etc. feature throughout the 35 acres.

The Manor holds events throughout the year such as champagne/wine tasting, floral arrangements, and guided walks/talks around the gardens. It is within close proximity to East Grinstead or Gatwick airport and thus makes it highly convenient to visit from London, either for the day or a weekend. Guests who wish to visit Glyndbourne whilst staying at Gravetye are guaranteed tickets – usually highly sought after and difficult to obtain.

Gravetye looks beautiful throughout the year, but the gardens are particularly magnificent in April/May when the spring bulbs show through. When we visited we were lucky enough to wake up to snow – completely magical.

We would highly recommend this beautiful, small and personal country house hotel. A true escape from London and yet within a short space of time, you can be in a completely different world. A world where courtesy, charm, tranquility and professionalism are all taken as a matter of course.

Lucy & Stephen were guests of Gravetye Manor

www.gravetyemanor.co.uk

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Images and copyright:  Lucy Elliott www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Classic but contemporary: The Oyster Box Hotel, Durban, South Africa

The Oyster Box Hotel on the ocean coast of Umhlanga (exotically pronounced Umshlanga) is a colonial but modern, beautiful hotel just outside Durban. Conveniently located for the airport, it is clearly making a name for itself, both as a hotel for visitors, and a destination for locals. The famed ‘Lighthouse Bar’ was packed the evening we visited – overlooking the Lighthouse, with the waves crashing on a summers balmy evening it seemed a far cry from our very cold and chilly London.

Equally busy was lunchtime on the Terrace, overlooking the pool and the ocean. Staff wearing colonial type uniform, beaming away, carrying plates of huge salads, skewers of fish or curries (for which the hotel is famous). Afternoon tea is provided inside and comprises a huge table filled high with cakes, biscuits, scones and sandwiches. So much so this was providing the backdrop for many couples having a romantic and traditional English Tea.

We visited The Oyster Box some 15 years ago – it was a rather sad hotel clearly lacking love or attention. Taken over by Red Carnation Hotel in 2009 it now has both and doesn’t need the beacon of the lighthouse to make it stand out from the crowd. With only 86 rooms and some 600 staff, customer service is top notch, professional and well executed.

There is a separate building for the Spa, individual ‘villa or loft type’ rooms and a Presidential Suite – secluded and offering all the privacy the celebrities or VIPs who stay, need. Weddings are very popular here and the hotel has a special outside area to host these prior to sitting down in splendour in one of the huge dining rooms.

Children are well catered for and made very welcome, with children’s clubs and films, held in the hotel’s very own Cinema Room, complete with popcorn.

If you ever only go to one hotel in Durban, make it the Oyster Box – classic, classy, contemporary and convivial.

www.oysterboxhotel.com

Images and copyright:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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Life in the Bush: Molori Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve South Africa

We recently had the honour of reviewing Molori Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve for our March Travel edition ‘Out of Kensington’.  Madikwe is a malarial-free area, some 400 km from Johannesburg and is home to the Big Five and some 350 different species of birds. Here is an excerpt from our diary:

We are having such an amazing experience and really feel we have arrived!  Molori Safari Game lodge is wonderful – very small, very understated smart, serious customer service, lovely people and no bling in sight.  We were given a two bedroom exec ‘suite’ – more like a lovely house with its own pool over looking a watering hole – the first lunchtime about 20 elephants paraded to it – along with a couple of babies – a wonderful sight.  We were v lucky as we never saw this again, and they didn’t stay long.

Game drives are typically about 4 – 6 hours long (in a session) which go surprisingly fast.  We have an excellent guide who has not been to uni, but is the most intelligent person I’ve ever met.  He is paying to send his children to private school, which I suspect is a first for an African guide.   He is extremely passionate and enthusiastic.  Highlights were coming across two lions who had just killed a wildebeest and had eaten so much they were hyperventilating; having dinner in the bush – table cloths, candles etc with the owners of the lodge and their family who happened to be on holiday at the same time as us (here think the South African equivalent of Richard Branson).  Very friendly and welcoming as were his kids (early 20s) and wife.  There was a tea-candlelit path to the loo which I expected to be a hole in the ground but no, behind a little wooden fence sat a rather splendid porcelain white loo – facing onto the bush with the stars above.

The next day we went for a night safari and came across a leopard, apparently snoozing, but a minute later was up chasing a poor baby rhino who was stuck in the mud in a watering hole.  With fierce defence and defiance from its mother the leopard backed off. The guide then cooked us a stew in the bush, this time more informal, just with some camping chairs etc. but with a very full large freezer box, akin to a full bar – plenty of whiskey.  After a lesson in astronomy we packed up at about 10.30 pm. went to see how the lions were getting on with their feasting, had a good look and then realised the jeep had a puncture.  Now this was scary stuff.  One lion a good distance off, the other about 6 – 10 feet (depending upon who you spoke to) – I reckon probably about 7 ft. However, close enough.  We managed to get the jeep a few feet further away, turned it around, and then the guide changed it – Stephen with a large spotlight to track the nearer lion, and me with a smaller torch to shine on the wheel, guide and jeep.  He managed it in about 10 minutes and then we were off.  I was rather frightened but the other lady with us was genuinely terrified.

Next day I went out on my own with the guide, for a walking safari – I thought I was very brave and that we’d been out for an hour and walked miles, but it turned out we had only gone about 500 metres!  Really interesting and learnt more about nature, biology, science and animals/birds than had done in a lifetime.  We then came across a cheetah lying under a tree.  The guide turned the jeep round (being a fellow photographer), so we had the best angle – I lay on the floor of the jeep (being the only one in it, I had plenty of room) and then played eyeball with the cheetah.  At first it was fun/an experience, but the longer it went on the more unnerved I became, so I then demanded that we move.  The most incredible sight and when we returned and the guide was beaming saying that was magnificent/amazing, for someone who goes into the bush every day, was really something.  This is an amazing trip.  They do rhino conservation too but we haven’t been able to see that in action as we hadn’t got the right passes.  All in all this is a trip of a lifetime and far surpasses the other three I’ve been on in the past.

With thanks to Jonathan Peach of JPS Luxury Safari’s for arranging this trip:  www.jpsluxurysafaris.com

Lucy & Stephen were guests of Molori Safari Lodge, and flew with Trailfinders.

Copyright and images:  www.lucyelliottphotography.com

Not Glamping but Plamping: Sleepover and masked ball at Kensington Palace

Huge excitement as some 20 children complete with sleeping bags and teddies had the privilege of staying the night at Kensington Palace in Queen Victoria’s and her mother (the Duchess of Kent’s) bedroom. The event, in celebration of the 300th Aniversary of the George’s, treated the children to an action-packed evening; learning how to dance Georgian style (with perhaps more enthusiasm than style but they were between 6 – 11 yrs old), learning the language of the fan and experimenting with wigs and face powder. One of the highlights was making their own masks which they would then wear at the ‘Ball’. After a picnic the children dressed up and were ready for the Masked Ball. Faces covered with an array of decorative hand made masks, they then put their new found dancing and waving fan skills into action, accompanied and lead by ‘Princess Amellia and ‘Lord Grafton’.

At about 10.00 pm. the time had come to settle down for bed; parents and children slept on the floor and were then treated to a breakfast fit for a prince or princess. All too soon it was time to leave, and reality kicked in. The time for Prince and Princessing may have been over, but memories of this special occasion will live long and no doubt be re-told to their grandchildren about the time they spent the night at Kensington Palace…..

Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/www.lucyelliottphotography.com

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