Travel: Crete

Crete is an odd holiday for me to write about because what started out as a lovely and relaxing holiday... well, it didn't end that way.

We stayed half board at the 5* Sensimar Royal Blue Resort & Spa and shared a private pool with another room. The hotel was located quite close to the village of Panormo, which is a tiny village (population: 400). There's not much to see or do there as we discovered when we boarded the "little train" and went to visit it. Still, we had planned on having a purely relaxing holiday so this wasn't too much of an issue for us.

I think what makes it difficult is that we really could have been anywhere - we didn't get a sense of Greece. When I think of Greece I think of the Acropolis, temples and beautiful churches. Crete is the birthplace of Zeus, but I didn't get a sense of history from the island only, dare I say it, some quite tacky tourism.

Take Rethymnon, for example. The buildings in the Old Town and the harbour are really picturesque - it's just a shame that most of the buildings seem to be home to tourist shops selling fake designer goods. I did manage to pick up a cute beach bag, some pretty hand-made glass coasters, plus the obligatory thimble (I collect them), but mostly all we could spy was junk.

As for the restaurants... We wanted to try Greek cuisine, but what we found were restaurants with identical, uninspiring menus *and* they were those ruddy awful picture menus. Which brings me to why the holiday ended badly. On the Sunday night, at a restaurant near the harbour in Rethymnon, I ate something dodgy and ended up spending my last day in bed with severe food poisoning. It made travelling home horrific, and then I ended up becoming dehydrated and was quite ill for a few days after we landed back in the UK - it really was a lousy holiday end.

But, I can't complain about the weather (mid 30s and no rain), the company (I went with my best friend from uni) or the hotel, but I would have liked to have got a sense of Greece whilst I was in Crete (and not have been poorly). Sadly, that didn't happen. What was more sad is that I barely managed to take any pictures because we had planned to take them on the last day... I didn't really want any reminders of me looking like death. But, at least I got a few which is more than I can say for my Dublin trip where the camera was on the wrong setting and I didn't get any!

What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you on holiday? Food poisoning? Lost luggage? Hotel not built? Let me know! xoxo

Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's

Last Monday, because I decided I wanted my last UK meal to be yummy before I jetted off to Crete, I dined at the wonderful Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's, somewhere you can't really dine at *every* week. Makes sense, I mean there's Le Gavroche, Tom Aikens, Clos Maggiore, Yauatcha, The Ledbury, Wild Honey, McDonald's... we mustn't be limited in our eating choices!

Despite the restaurant losing its Michelin star this year, it was a delicious meal with faultless service, plus we enjoyed a spot of afternoon tea afterwards.

My starter was the Thai spiced tiger prawn ravioli and green bean salad, tarragon velouté. He had the mosaic of beef, foie gras and pistachio and asparagus salad. I may never be able to eat 'normal' ravioli again as the flavours were amazing and the ravioli shell was beautifully executed.

For the main course we both had the braised wild boar with ginger carrots, bok choy and pomme mousseline. You can't see the pomme mousseline as it's layered, but it was yummy, and the wild boar was spot-on. For dessert we both had the peanut parfait, cherry sorbet and roasted apricots.

I was a wee bit disappointed as the dark, white and caramel chocolate mousse, lime ice cream and chocolate madeleines option wasn't available; if it had have been, I would have been 100% delighted with the meal, but the peanut parfait was nice enough. All-in-all, a gorgeously tasty meal that saw me leaving London with a happy tummy.

What's the best meal you've ever had, and what's your favourite restaurant? x


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