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Most wanted compact cameras this year

Graham Hadaway - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wherever you decide to go away this year, a camera is an essential companion. Whether you’re a pro photographer or a beginner merely looking to capture some great holiday memories, no one wants to take a bulky DSLR away with them, it’s just not practical. So, we’re here to give you the low down on the best compact cameras this summer, and don’t worry, we’ll be covering all budgets.

 

A ‘compact’ camera, to most people, is one that fits nicely into their pocket or bag. It doesn’t weigh too much, take up too much room, or need an entire kit of tripods and lenses to be carried about with it. Technically though, a compact camera is one with a non-removable lens. When you’ve got luggage restrictions to worry about though, we know you’re unlikely to want to carry a DSLR-style bridge camera around with you, which is why we’ve limited this list to the real compact cameras.

 

High-end – £700

 

The Panasonic LX100 is classic in looks, but has all the essential features a top of the range compact camera needs. Here are the stats:

 

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds, 12.8MP

Lens: 24-75mm, f/1.7-2.8

Monitor: 3-inch, 921K dots

Viewfinder: Yes

Continuous shooting: 11fps

Movies: 4K

User level: Expert

 

For an expert photographer it’s very rare they’ll put down their DSLR. They obviously want their photos to be amazing quality regardless of whether they’re trying for a close up of a rare bird or a shot of their best mate acting the fool in a dingy. However, there are some occasions when the big camera needs to stay at home.

 

On these occasions, it usually means putting up with a smaller sensor, but Panasonic have somehow managed to cram a CSC-sized Micro Four Thirds sensor into a tiny, pocket-sized camera body. This really is a professional camera, and although it’s a lot more in terms of price, it’s unique and full of the quality you’d expect from a standard camera.

 

Mid-range - £300

 

The Fuji X30 is small, compact and packed with features, but what’s important is that budget-wise, it’s much more affordable.

 

Sensor: 2/3-inch X-Trans, 12MP

Lens: 28-112mm, f/2.0-2.8

Monitor: 3-inch tilting, 920K dots

Viewfinder: EVF

Continuous shooting: 12fps

Movies: 1080

User level: Intermediate/Expert

 

If you want a top quality camera but don’t have a fortune to spend, this is the model to go for. Although it’s by no means the priciest or the fanciest model out there, it’s a camera that’s solidly made, has an amazing electronic viewfinder and punches well above its weight when it comes to sensor size. Give it a go for yourself, you’ll certainly not be disappointed.

 

Affordable - £70

 

If cost is the biggest factor in the hunt for your new camera then you can’t go wrong with the Sony W800.

 

Sensor: 1/2.3-inch, 20.1MP

Lens: 26-130mm, f/3.2-6.4

Monitor: 2.7-inch, 230K dots

Viewfinder: No

Continuous shooting: 0.5fps

Movies: 720

User level: Basic

 

There is a very fine line between cheap, stylish and functional, and plain rubbish – not to worry, the W800 is very much on the side of cheap and stylish. With more than 20 megapixels and 5x zoom capacity, it produces images that are more than satisfactory for a holiday pocket camera. The styling and quality are a cut above when you consider the price bracket, you really won’t find a camera like this from any other manufacturer.

 

With all of this in mind, whether you opt for the high-end, professional Panasonic or the more budget and family-friendly Sony, you’ve got all you need to know about this year’s greatest pocket cameras regardless of your spend.


Must have dresses for your UK summer getaway

Graham Hadaway - Monday, May 18, 2015

 


If you’re planning a summer getaway in the UK you’ll need to plan your wardrobe carefully. Although you won’t have the tight luggage restrictions you’d suffer if you were flying abroad, you will have the issue of unpredictable British weather to contend with.

 

Packing for a British summer holiday is never easy. In fact, it’s probably more difficult than limiting your luggage to a 15kg baggage allowance. When travelling in the UK you need to be prepared for all four seasons and have the ability of fitting clothes for every season into a modestly sized bag, that won’t scare the B&B owner into questioning the length of your stay.

 

As with any holiday, when you’re packing for a staycation there are some suitcase essentials, and one thing you’ll definitely want to have packed in there is a new summer dress. The summer dress is the season staple purchase for all women. However, for a purchase that women around the world make so regularly, it’s certainly not the easiest. When it comes to dresses, it’s not just the latest fashions that you should be concentrating on, you need to consider the latest fashions that will look great on your shape.

 

Here, we’ve come up with the essential guide for anyone shopping for their perfect summer dress.

 

Apple

 

As an apple you tend to have great pins, so don’t be afraid of going for something short to show them off. An apple’s problem area is always around their middle, so stick to something that doesn’t cling to your stomach – a shift-style dress is perfect for this. This bold-print dress from ASOS will allow you to show off your arms and legs without drawing attention to your tummy; it also incorporates one of this season’s biggest trends, making it perfect for your UK getaway.

 

Column build

 

When your hips and bust are the same width and you’re lacking a defined waist, you’re a definite column. Lucky for you, columns are really easy to dress and they look great in most clothes. Block colours and panelling are huge this season and will create an illusion of curves, flattering your figure and completely transforming your shape. Try this block colour panel dress if you’re planning an evening of fine dining while you’re away.

 

Hourglass

 

If you have a well-defined waist, then you’re one of the lucky ones. You’re curves sit in all the right places and you have the tiny waist that most women would kill for. Although you should never hide your curves, your waist is the thing you should be showing off, so look for a dress that will pull you in at the middle. Belted designs, like this one from Lipsy, will accentuate your curves and show off your slimmest point.

 

Pear

 

Pears carry their weight at the bottom, they have shapely shoulders and a small waist but large thighs and hips. Sleeveless, full-skirted dresses are a great choice to draw attention upwards at the same time as disguising any lumps and bumps at the bottom. Lace dresses are perfect for this and, what’s more, they’re all the rage. This lace skater dress from Lipsy will not only flatter your figure in all the right ways, it’ll make the perfect outfit for an evening on the town while you’re away.

Top 10: What to do in the Lakes (part 3)

Graham Hadaway - Monday, May 11, 2015

It’s time to round off our expert guide to the Lakes in some spectacular style, starting with a stroll around Derwentwater.

 


 

Derwentwater, near Keswick

 

Keswick is famous for its graphite and its slate mines – that’s why it’s the home of the largest colouring pencil in the world – but nowadays, visitors make their way here to visit the bustling streets of a beautiful market town.

 

Derwentwater is said to have been one of Beatrix Potter’s favourite Lake District locations, and it’s really no surprise. With handsome views and the opportunity to row the lake at your leisure, there’s really nothing to dislike.

 

The Drunken Duck, near Hawkshead

 

Nicely nestled on a hilltop between Hawkshead and Coniston, this is the gastropub you want to visit. As the years have passed the food has reached top notch restaurant standard and there’s no way you’ll be disappointed.

 

There’s nothing pretentious about this place though, you’ll enter into a rustic beamed bar, decorated with sports prints and antiques, and the menu is brimming with traditional British classics. So, if you’re looking to try something that’s a bit out there, like lamb sweetbreads and goat curd, then this is definitely the place for your feast.

 

The Church Suites, Bowness-On-Windermere

 

Finally, to finish off the creation of some amazing memories, a stay in one of The Cranleigh’s Church Suites is a must. When you’re roaming around the Lake District, taking in the fresh air and checking out some of England’s most famous and beautiful sights, you’ll need somewhere to rest your weary head at night. You don’t want just any old bed though, you need a cocoon of complete luxury, where you can sleep soundly in the knowledge that you’ll wake up feeling revived, refreshed and ready for the day ahead. The only downside is the fact that our rooms are so luxurious, you might not want to leave.

 

Sadly, we’ve reached the end of our expert ‘what to do in the Lakes’ guide, but don’t fret, we’ll be back next week with something equally as exciting and full of invaluable information if you’re planning a stay in the Lakes.


Top 10: What to do in the Lakes (part 2)

Graham Hadaway - Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Last week we thrilled you with the first edition of our expert what to do in the Lakes top ten, and as we don’t like to disappoint, here’s part two…

 


 

Buttermere, Borrowdale & Honister Slate Mine

 

Buttermere and Borrowdale are neighbouring Cumbrian valleys. Buttermere is the wilder of the two; it’s the quieter of the two areas - great if you're looking to escape the crowds - but boasts beautiful views from the dramatic fells that overlook the village and its two stretches of water, Buttermere and Crummock Water. Borrowdale, is very much the busier of the two, showing off the typical Lake District landscape of green fields, drystone walls and quaint cottages.

 

Honister Pass separates the two valleys, and is home to one of the Lake District’s only working slate mines. You can take a guided tour of the mine, or, if you’re feeling a little more daring take a trip along the Via Ferrata for some amazingly dramatic views.

 

Climb Helvellyn

 

The twin ridges of Helvellyn are famous (or infamous) for miles around. Their vast drops and exceptionally steep climbs are down to the glacial action in the area during the last ice age. Although a great challenge, this climb is completed by thousands of people every year – it’s probably not a good idea to tackle it if you suffer from vertigo because you’ll find yourself hand over hand in certain areas.

 

Beatrix Potter’s house

 

If you want to explore the place of many childhood dreams then this little farmhouse in Near Sawrey is the place to be. This is the original home of Peter Rabbit, Mr MacGregor and Mrs Tiggywinkle; in fact, fans of the series will spot many features from the author’s illustrations.

 

Newlands Valley

 

Although there are some great views and amazing things to do, the Lake District can sometimes get a little crowded. When you’re looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a bit of time with your loved one – when you finally pull yourself away from your beautiful suite, that is – Newlands valley is just miles and miles of open countryside that remains pretty quiet all year round. You could tackle the Newlands Round which is a ten mile loop of the valley’s summits. Alternatively, if ten miles really isn’t for you, try the shorter route from the beautiful village of Little Town.

 

So, that's one to seven of our top ten covered, remember to set a reminder for next week's installment so you really can fill your time away wih visits to some of the greatest sites the Lake District has to offer. 


Top 10: What to do in the Lakes (part 1)

Graham Hadaway - Monday, April 27, 2015

 

Situated on the edge of Lake Windermere, we definitely have one of the best spots in the Lake District, so we should be pretty good at telling you the best places to explore, the most amazing things to see and exciting things to do.

 

Here is the first part of our on-going expert guide to the Lakes…


 

Cruising on Lake Windermere

 

It seems only right to start at our own front door. Lake Windermere is the largest lake in England, stretching more than 10 miles between Newby Bridge and Ambleside. Bowness-on-Windermere is perhaps one of the more touristy areas around the Lake, and, lucky for our guests, we’re right in the heart of this exciting village.

 

If you’re feeling brave and fancy joining the quayside crowds then there really is nothing better than a scenic boat trip around the lake – other than resting your head on a pillow in our beautiful hotel after a hard day, of course - taking the time to visit all of its 18 islands.

 

Wordsworth’s house, Grasmere

 

William Wordsworth’s first home in the Lakes, this place is a literary lover’s dream. Currently owned by the Wordsworth Trust, it’s full of memorabilia that’ll keep you in there all day, including his glasses, passport, ice skates and even a picture, given to him by Sir Water Scott, of his favourite dog Pepper.

 

It’s not just inside this picturesque cottage that’s impressive though, outside is just as spectacular. Make your way out back and take in the breath-taking scenery that used to assist Wordsworth when composing poetry. The half-wild backdrop to his charming cottage helped him write some of his most famous creations.

 

Hiking in Great Langdale

 

If you’re a fan of fell walking then you’ll almost certainly have heard the name Great Langdale. Home to some of the most famous hikes in the Lake District, experienced hikers love the challenge of the Crinkle Crags and Bowfell. If this is something you plan to tackle then it’s worth arriving early to secure a parking space, as carparks fill up quickly.

 

We're extremely lucky to have all of this right on our doorstep (Lake Windermere, is literally a few minutes walk away), but that's not all, the Lake District has plenty more to offer. Stay tuned for our next installment of the Top 10 for even more activities to fill your Cumbrian getaway. 


The Awards are in abundance

Graham Hadaway - Tuesday, April 21, 2015


After the announcement of our Mills & Boon Romance award nomination last week, it seems only right to inform our fans of another huge award nomination.

 

Our Church Suites really are proving popular for awards this year and we’ve been shortlisted for two awards at the Luxe et al International Property Awards. The awards are hosted by design et al, a top interior design magazine based in the UK, but they’re not like your usual award ceremony. These international awards are different to many others because it’s only the world’s top designers, hotels and architects that are entered, and the winners aren’t decided by a panel of judges, they’re decided by industry professionals and design et al readers, clients and customers.

 

These awards highlight the best bars, hotels and restaurants in the world, that give us the chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Cranleigh Church Suites have been shortlisted for the Best Suite in the global category and Best Suite in the European category because they’re renowned for luxury, sophistication and exclusivity.

 

Unfortunately, a date for the awards is yet to be announced, but don’t worry, we’ll keep you updated on our progress.


Immerse yourself in the fragrance and flora of the South of France when you stay at the Cranleigh Boutique

Graham Hadaway - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

The Cranleigh Boutique gives you the enjoyment of the luxurious L’OCCITANE products in the comfort of your suite. The Cranleigh Boutique prides itself on offering nothing but the best, and the superior, natural ingredients used by L’OCCITANE provides the most desirable bathing experience for you and your special other.

 

The Cranleligh Boutique supplies five of L’OCCITANE’S highly respected merchandise from the Shea Butter Collection. Shea butter is a tried and tested beauty ingredient that has been used for centuries by women to nourish and protect their skin and hair. L'OCCITANE uses shea butter from Burkina Faso, harvested in a fair trade partnership with the women who produce it.One of the products available to the customers of The Cranleigh Boutique is the incredibly popular Ultra Rich Body Lotion, created with sustainably extracted shea butter, which was rated the Best Body Lotion in 2014 by The Ultimate Natural Beauty Bible. The neutrality of the Shea Butter Collection by L’OCCITANE means it is popular with both males and females who desire superior skin care.

 

 

 

The renowned reputation of L’OCCITANE speaks for itself in terms of quality and indulgence. Inspired by the Mediterranean lifestyle, the textures and fragrances allow you as a customer to concede to pure relaxation and bliss after experiencing all the Lake District has to offer. All L’OCCITANE products ensure optimum pleasure while respecting and contributing to developing societies and the environment.

 

L’OCCITANE permits you to submit to ultimate satisfaction at The Cranleigh Boutique.

 

L’occitane products are provided at the Cranleigh Boutique when you stay in our Escape, Sanctuary and No.10 Suites or at any of the Church Suites and at our Hideout House.

 

Written by guest reporter Emily Hadfield

We’ve been shortlisted!

Graham Hadaway - Friday, April 10, 2015


That’s right, we’ve been shortlisted as one of the UK’s top ten Most Romantic Venues in the first ever Mills & Boon Romance Awards.

 

After hundreds of venues were nominated we’re delighted to announce that our Church Suites have been shortlisted to feature in the top ten. However, the fun doesn’t end here. There’s every chance that we could win the title of Most Romantic Venue and all we need are your votes by the 20th of April! 

 

These awards cover everything romance-related. There’s the most romantic wedding venue, most romantic view, romantic classics award – yes you can vote for your favourite literary classic and there are some corkers on there – and, of course, the most romantic venue.

 

You can vote once in each category:

 

You can vote once in every category and each time you do, you’re in with a chance of winning some great prizes including, a romantic hotel escape for two, £300 towards a luxurious mini-break, £200 bundle from Find Me A Gift and many more.

 

We’re up against some of the most delightful venues in the UK in this category and want your help to shine through and show everyone that our beautifully luxurious suites are a cut above the rest.


Spring Surprise in the Lake District

Graham Hadaway - Friday, April 03, 2015

 

The Lake District is a beautiful place, there’s no doubt about it, and that’s what makes it the perfect location for our Church Suites. In the winter you’ve got the snow on the hills and ice on the lakes; the autumn brings warm colours and the crunch of leaves on the ground, and summer brings the sun, picnics and a lot of visitors. Although it provides stunning scenery all year round, the best time of year to make a visit the Lakes – in our opinion anyway – is definitely spring.

 

During spring the light nights are a novelty, the sun is warming up, the sheep are lambing and the birds are singing, and it’s fresh and new for a new year.

 

Full of peaceful lakes, tranquil valleys and dramatic mountains, you can get up close and personal with nature, take in the fresh air and the spectacular scenery, and spend some quality time with your loved one without feeling guilty.

 

It’s not just the outdoorsy types that are catered for though, the Lake District was made famous by literary figures like Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter and, because of that, there are plenty of interesting, literature-related things to do. The Beatrix Potter Gallery, for example, is hugely popular with children and adults alike – let’s face it, everyone knows the stories – then there’s the Windermere Steamboats Museum, Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Grasmere, Honister Slate Mine and even The Cumberland Pencil Museum in Keswick, home to the largest colouring pencil in the world.

If you’re considering a trip to the Lake District then as well as the beautiful scenery to enjoy, you’re going to need somewhere equally as impressive to rest your head at night, and for that, our Church Suites are perfect. After a long day hiking, cycling or roaming around a few of the county’s many museums, there’s nothing better than kicking your shoes off, putting your feet up and being able to relax in surroundings of pure luxury. Surround yourself with the plushest of cushions on your super king size bed, or bring spa luxury to your room and take a soak in your spa bath with underwater lighting while watching your favourite film. Luxury is something that comes naturally to us so we’re sure to have everything you could ever need.


The brand behind the magic

Graham Hadaway - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

 

Just lately, our blog has been dedicated to spreading the word about the fabulous new addition to The Cranleigh name, the luxurious Church Suites. If you’ve been keeping up to date, you’ll have noticed that one of the elements that we’re certainly most impressed about - and we’re sure you are too - are the audio and visual systems that we have in place that allow you to create your own perfect haven.

 

Each of the suites comes with its own individual system with plenty of pre-set settings and ample scope for you to explore the visuals and audio on offer to create your own private hub of lights, music and movies. If you feel like relaxing in a deep bubble bath with the spa jets on, blue under water lighting and your favourite love song filling the room with beautiful sound, then why not? This is your paradise after all. Equally, if you feel like cosying up with your loved one on our soft, deep seated sofas, covered over with a beautifully plush blanket, enjoying a box of fine chocolates while engrossed in your favourite film, go right ahead, we won’t even try and stop you! 

 


 

All of our audio-visual systems have been provided and installed by up and coming Lancashire company, Epixx. Epixx was founded in 2014 by technology enthusiasts Matt Holmes and Ben Tomlinson, and they’re now a leading technology and AV company, covering the whole North West of the UK.

 

The aim of the guys at Epixx is “to make your life easier by recommending the best, most good-looking, simple-to-use, energy-efficient and highly-trusted technologies - Equipment that puts clients firmly in control, enhances homes and redefines lives!”

 

Matt Holmes, a director at Epixx, had this to say about their work at our Church Suites:

 

“While the Church Suites project is Epixx’s first foray into the leisure sector, working with one of the Lake District’s most prolific hoteliers meant we were able to come up with a vision that showed off our expertise in full.


The suites feature a bespoke AV automated design system meaning guests can experience luxuriously appointed rooms with all the additional comforts of cutting-edge technology.”


Each of our suites really are truly amazing, don’t take our word for it though, come and create a bespoke experience for yourself



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