Summer is finally on its way, the weathers not been too bad and things are starting to open up as the vaccine roll-out continues! In a couple of weeks restrictions will have lifted allowing us to dine inside and stay in hotels – this naturally meant we had to book somewhere to stay. We have stayed a number of great places in Ireland during 2020 but our favourite has been the Lough Erne Resort and we are staying again in June.
We are still waiting to hear and slightly unsure about international travel, it is likely we will have similar guidance to that of England and might get to take a short break away in Portugal – somewhere Iain has never been. We have also been giving a lot of thought to what we want to do and see over the next few years, there’s a few bucket list destinations such as Bora Bora that we are beginning to save towards and will hopefully experience in the future.
For now its great to have something to look forward to, this last lockdown took its toll as we were starting to feel like it was wake up, work, eat and sleep for a few months. For now we are looking forward to spending more time with family and friends, getting out and seeing the world.
Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure! Brianna and Iain
Hey Everyone, we are back to work again and its been a busy couple of weeks, alongside this the Covid-19 restrictions have again increased for us so we haven’t had the chance to get out and about as much!
We have been trying to keep following bloggers and do a bit of writing in the evenings, one blog we have really enjoyed lately is Mingwrites.com and we would recommend you check it out. Ming’s latest post talks about writing/blogging challenges and has inspired us to try the Hallotober challenge:
Thank the person who tagged you and link to their post
Put the rules at the beginning
You can use the tag image somewhere in the post
Answer the 13 questions
Tag 13 people to do the tag
Delete Question 13, add a new number one question of your own
What’s your favorite thing about October?
October is special for the both of us as it’s the month we got married, we were lucky to be able to get away for a couple of nights this year to the 5* Lough Erne Resort this year, it was really amazing – if you want to read more you can find it here.
Are you a big celebrator of Halloween?
We love Halloween, we used to love dressing up and going out to the bar/club when we were younger, in recent years its been more about decorating our house and house parties. Unfortunately, we can’t do that this year but we still have our spooky decorations!
What’s your favorite horror movie?
We aren’t big horror movie watchers and it’s not a movie, but we have really enjoyed The Haunting series on Netflix – Hill House and Bly Manor, we found Hill House especially creepy. I think it became one of our favourite series as the way it is filmed has you always on edge, feeling like somebody was watching you due to all the background characters.
Would you rather a cozy night in watching horrors or a big night out in a costume?
We love a night out but at this time of year we find there is nothing better than sitting in watching TV, the fire lit and a nice hot drink in hand! So, a cosy night it is!
Which has been your most favorite costume to date?
Brianna’s favourite was a Scarecrow, because it was a fun costume to design and do the makeup and it was comfortable for a night out!
Iain’s favourite is a Zombie, because it is easy to change any outfit into a Zombie outfit and again it can be as detailed as you want!
Bobbing for apples or pin the hat on the witch?
We would definitely pick pin the tail on the witch, we laughed/cringed at thinking how disgusting bobbing for apples really is!
How do you celebrate Halloween?
As mentioned previously, we like to spend Halloween in our own home or out at a friend’s!
What’s your least favorite horror?
We recently watched “It”, to be honest we really did not enjoy it considering all the hype we had heard.
We found that the movie just kind of dragged on and did not really feel spooky/scary – as mentioned we aren’t big horror fans and this one didn’t hit the spot for us!
Do you have a favorite trick or treating memory?
Brianna’s favourite is when they were trick or treating and they went to an older person’s house they were visiting said they had nothing but they would get some bread for them – they all stood at the door in confusion, but too polite to decline when the owner returned with a big bag of sweets for them each. Then it was back to the spooky cave under the stairs that her mum made every year!
Trick or treating was not as big a thing in Iain’s area so sadly he does not really have any favourite memories.
What’s your favorite thing about Halloween?
We love the atmosphere and decorations; it is also really nice in normal years to have the sense of community it can bring.
Scary costume or Silly costume?
We both love a well-done scary costume, however it can be a lot of effort to do amazing make-up, whereas it can be easy to throw together a silly costume! So, I guess it depends on our mood/motivation!
What’s your favorite Halloween candy?
This year we have been really enjoying Reece’s peanut and they have been making Halloween pumpkin chocolates!
Who is your favorite Harry Potter character and why?
Brianna is a huge Harry Potter fan so this list could be a long one! But one choice is Luna Lovegood. Firstly because she is a Ravenclaw. And she’s a funny, unique character who is independent and intriguing!
Iain’s favourite is Sirius Black, Iain loves his story and how it progresses – up to his untimely demise.
It’s almost the end of the month and you might not have time to participate, but if you would like to complete the challenge and get a mention let us know!
As mentioned in our final causeway coast guide we spent a night in the Ballygally Castle. This hotel is always special to us as it is where we had our wedding reception. We would pop in for a bite to eat a few times throughout the year, but we thought this time we would spend the night and have dinner.
On our way to Ballygally we stopped off in Glenarm to have a bite of lunch in the Glenarm Tea Rooms, these are part of the Glenarm castle and walled gardens. This is a place we always try to visit at the weekend and find that its full making it difficult to get into – especially during current circumstances! But the grounds were really cool, there is a workshop that sells really unique items, a clothes shop, fudge factory, gardens to walk around and a castle. The tea rooms provide afternoon tea, coffee and your usual fare – the food was good and reasonably priced.
After this we journeyed on to Ballygally Castle along the coast road, the castle is a 17th century castle that overlooks Ballygally bay. It has a modern section and then the older castle and exterior walls alongside a beautiful walled garden and river area. The hotel is owned by the Hastings group who own a chain of 4- and 5-star hotels across Northern Ireland, we aren’t normally huge fans of chains but we find that Hastings generally provide great service and accommodation.
On arrival our rooms were ready so we went and freshened up, our room this time didn’t have as good a view as previous stays – overlooking the roof of the function room, however as always with this chain the room itself was top class. We always find that they have the most comfortable beds, and the bathroom and shower are always great! We spent the afternoon in the lounge having a few drinks and chatting, the setting is really beautiful here and we sat by the window looking out over the Irish sea.
Our stay included dinner and breakfast in the hotel, we had booked in that evening in the Garden restaurant for food, for dinner Iain had prawn cocktail, and chicken and mango curry and Brianna had the pate with toast, and salmon with crushed baby potatoes. If we are being honest about the food we found that whilst it was fine, the quality and flavour were lacking.
We had stayed at the Bushmills Inn the night before and the food was much better – another issue we noticed during this visit was the lack of staff. There appeared to be only one staff on the bar and serving all the guests in the lounge and during dinner only two staff members for the whole restaurant. Whilst the service was friendly and helpful the staff members were run off their feet – at one stage, we noticed ourselves and three other tables in the lounge waiting for drinks orders to be taken.
Overall, we found that the Ballygally Castle as always has great rooms and is a beautiful hotel, but compared to other 4 star experiences the food and service weren’t quite up-to-par during this visit.