Only Children

One of the podcasts I regularly listen to is Woman’s Hour, and yesterday’s was about Only Children as adults which, as an only child, was interesting for me. I’d never really given much thought to the concept of there being “particular challenges facing only children”, but I guess there are. Thinking about it, I don’t know that many only children, so I guess we’re still rare, although my Mum is an only child too.

Since listening to the podcast I’ve been doing a bit of googling on only children and have found a mailing list, a magazine, a book as well as the conference mentioned on the podcast. I’d never even though about there being support networks for only children, but I guess there are support networks for everything else 🙂

5 things to eat before you die

From The Traveler’s lunchbox via Amanda, 5 things to eat before you die inspired by the BBC’s 50 things to eat before you die (I’ve got 10 left to try):
1. Fish and chips (and mushy peas of course) from Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop in Padstow
2. Sausage and mash on a cold day
3. Chicken wings and ribs after a day snowboarding
4. Teriyaki salmon
5. Does chocolate count as food? If so, Montezuma‘s giant buttons

We can only have four, right?

The other day we were lost for a moment in Brighton, driving around a new development
called the New England Quarter. “New England Quarter”…. Ok, nice enough name.

A few days later, I spotted that we also have an Artist Quarter on the beach.

Sign at the Artist Quarter at the Brighton seafront

So does this mean there’s a land grab in progress? Quick! Get a sign up and grab your quarter before they’re all gone.

What makes a good hotel great?

Okay, so I’m not a professional traveller, or even someone who stays in a lot of hotels, but I do like to make sure that when I stay in a hotel, I stay in a great hotel. What makes a great hotel is probably quite a personal thing, but there are some common services which will help to make sure that a customers stay is a pleasant one.


Service is probably the key for me. A great hotel has an innkeeper/host that wants to make my stay as pleasant as they can. Some of the things that can be done to give me the feeling of good service are:

  • provide information about local resources – i.e. restaurant menus, maps, local history maps, tourist information
  • have the room serviced whilst I’m at breakfast (if the hotel has a separate breakfast room)
  • be approachable when I check in, give me a bit of a tour so that I know that you’ve provided restaurant menus, local information etc


Probably out of character with a lot of other UK citizens I don’t find a traditional English breakfast necessarily the best thing I can be offered. I like to have a choice, I like to be able to decide whether I want some fruit, a subsection of a traditional breakfast (just egg on toast), a continental breakfast or a full breakfast.

Of course, if you have a chef available and the facilities then some masterpieces can be created – I stayed in a couple of places in New England last year which produced beatiful 3 course breakfasts that were incredible.

But you don’t even need to have a dining room to provide a good breakfast. An Inn in California which I’ve recently stayed in had no dining facilities and so they left a continental breakfast on a tray outside my room. They also included a copy of the local newspaper and it was a real treat to sit in bed reading the newspaper and eating breakfast.

Outdoor Area

Whatever outdoor area you have can be put to good use to impress. If you’ve got a garden, then set an area aside with tables and parasols for guests to enjoy. If you have a porch or balcony area, then the same goes. Its always worth making sure that any garden area is kept in order, so that the guests have flowers to look at, or well maintained furniture to sit on.


I don’t mean cabaret nights :-), I mean in room entertainment. Provide your guests with televisions, with cable/satellite where possible. Also provide them with some audio system – prefereably a CD player with a library of CDs available. If you want to go that little bit further then how about a playstation or Xbox, and use that to provide both game playing and DVD as extra entertainment methods. This is particularly useful if your location is remote. Again provide a library of games/DVDs for your guests to make use of. If you’re worried about loss of media then some form of check-out system could be employed, so at least you can recharge the guest for any losses.


I guess the key for me is to keep to neutral themes. Having said that I always like the idea of themed rooms, and being able to select a particular room based on it’s look and features when I’m booking. This also allows some creativity to flow. The rooms can be priced at different levels according to their features (so, for instance, add a hot tub to a room and increase the price of it). Any brochure/website should include photographs of each room so that the guest knows what they’re going to get.


The little extras can make all the difference, for instance providing bath robes for your guests. That’s a really nice touch, and gives a good feeling about the place. You can always get lots made up and offer them for sale if your guests should want them – that way you always have spares.

Great hotels I’ve visited

The following are the sites belonging to places I’ve stayed. Not all of them have all the things I’ve suggested above, but they have enough to make a stay there feel special.

Johansens and Select Registry are often good starting points for finding great accomodation.

Note: This article was first written about 3 years ago, and I’ve just rediscovered it and thought it should get posted.

Two thumbs up to

Ferris Home at the Western Front

Two thumbs up to Dave for suggesting we go and listen to Pauline Taylor at the Western Front. As it turns out we weren’t able to hang around to hear her set, but we did catch Ferris (myspace: Other / Folk Rock / Alternative). I look forward to clicking “buy” on their music in iTunes at some point.

So we now know we have a great little live music venue two minutes from our front door.

We had weekend of

We had a weekend of food, some new places and one old favourite and as we haven’t done a food blog for quite some time it’s review time…

On Friday evening we had a takeaway from Noir as recommended by Amanda. We’d spotted this a few weeks ago, although according to the owner Denise they’ve been open since December – 0/10 for observation. We had jamaican jerk chicken, curried mutton with rice and beans and a roti and apart from the fact that it had cooled down quite a bit by the time we walked back home, it was all great and I look forward to trying some other dishes next time.

On Saturday, whilst we had the family visiting we had fish and chips from our favourite chippy, Bankers. We discovered Bankers shortly after moving to Brighton 5 years ago, and apart from the Rick Stein place in Padstow, it is some of the best fish and chips I’ve had.

On Sunday, after our family had left our friends Neela and Ste, and their friend Jana came to see us and we headed off to try a new Brazilian BBQ place, Caucau, that has only been open a few weeks. I’ve never eaten Brazilian food before, and to be honest we needed a Brazilian guide as we had no idea what to do with the farova (cassava flour). The service was good, and they did try and help us out, but sometimes you just need to be shown what to do :-).