Fylde Coast Musings vs Cyprus Life – in pictures

Originally from a small mill town in Heywood, Lancashire (United Kingdom) we moved overseas at the beginning of March 2004 and spent the next glorious 12 years in Limassol, Cyprus. Sadly, in 2016 we had to return permanently to UK due to family ill health. We now live on the Fylde coast where the river Wyre meets the Irish sea just across from Fleetwood. More places to discover and capture on camera!

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Travel and More Photography

It’s time to meet Travel and More Photography” – my new photography page by Thulborn-Chapman Photography.

A month or so ago, I decided it was time to look at alternative ways to display my photography and I came across a post on Facebook which led me to Picfair.

It’s a way of hosting my photos which can be purchased purely as a downloadable image for screensavers, sharing or the buyer can create their own print, create articles etc. Alternatively, there’s an option to purchase prints in several formats by ordering them directly through the Picfair site.

Either way, all photos come complete with their own licence, which means you should make your purchase accordingly. Licences will be explained further down this post.

At the moment I have around 150 photos uploaded and have created a few albums to separate into the following categories (links below will open in a new tab/page):







See ALL IMAGES with most recently added first

Picfair designates the licence for each photo as follows:

Editorial & Personal Licence

Editorial use – print, online, and broadcast; personal use.

Commercial Licence

Editorial use; personal use; promotional and marketing use; advertorial and social media.

Advertising Licence

Print advertising, out-of-home advertising, broadcast advertising, & display advertising; merchandising and retail product packaging.

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Memories of Morocco – Review of Riad dar Moulay Ali, Marrakech.

We would be happy to stay here again – especially now we know how to find it!

Good Points:

#Quiet and #authentic and #traditional #riad just steps away from the souk leading into Jemaa el-Fna square.
Friendly staff.
No noise at night or early morning from the streets or the nearby mosques. In fact, we didn’t realise the mosque entrance was at the top of our street until we saw the door open on our second day!
We would stay again at the Dar Moulay Ali or at another nearby.

Not So Good Points:

Water pressure not very good in the shower and often went off if people in the rooms below us were using theirs.
It went off 3 times while I was washing my hair…
However, we were on the very top floor so made allowances for this, although really it shouldn’t happen as the riad wasn’t fully occupied during our stay.

Riad dar Moulay Ali – Google Map location.

Riad dar Moulay Ali – location with Jemaa el-Fna square situated just below it (look below Riad Dar Ten)

Overall Review:

We booked a taxi transfer directly with the riad and arranged with Achmed that he would meet the taxi. We already understood it wasn’t possible for cars to drive up to the door of our accommodation and that it wouldn’t be so easy to find.
We knew we would have paid a little over the odds for doing it this way but it was worth it for someone to meet our taxi and walk us through the narrow streets. We paid €15 for the trip from the airport with the meet and greet in the Medina – a journey which would usually cost between €7 – €10.
There’s no way would have found it on our own as it was already almost fully dark by the time we left the taxi.

Mint tea (you will come across this often, I prefer mine without sugar) was served to us on arrival while we went through the paperwork and we were provided with a map of the area which was handy.
We were given information on how much we should pay for a taxi to the railway station and advised if the driver did not accept the price to simply let him go away and stop another one.
Also it was offered by Achmed he could come shopping with us if we needed anything in particular.

Breakfast was filling although the same was served every morning – orange juice, coffee (or tea if you asked for it), bread rolls, croissants, butter, jam, omelette, 4 Moroccan pancakes and yoghurt (for 2 people).
As the weather was still cool in the early morning (we travelled in early March), breakfast was served to your table by the pool.

Pool area – Riad dar Moulay Ali

Accommodation: Our original room should have been a twin bedded room which I believe was to be situated on the ground floor. I’m never happy with being a ground floor room so I did request prior to arrival if it would be possible to be moved up a level.
We were pleased to find we were on the top floor in a long room containing 2 double beds and 2 sofas.
We did experience a few problems with the water pressure which we put down to us being at the top level of the Riad. The shower head needed to be fixed up permanently but these were small matters under the circumstances…

Moroccan beds we found are all very firm – but extremely comfortable. This same consistency followed in the other 2 places we stayed during our time in Marrakech and Essaouira. This was great for me as I like a firm mattress!

Overall, a good stay at the Riad dar Moulay Ali – and the photos of the hotel on booking.com site looked like those I took myself during our stay.

It’s a little tired and could do with a bit more TLC but the staff between them manage it very well.

The lady (Fatima) who does the cooking and the housekeeping, who I believe is Achmed’s wife is lovely – always smiling and is delighted if you can converse a little with her in French too!

There is no bar and no alcoholic drinks but I did check directly with the Riad via Booking.com and was informed you can bring your own and drink in your room, should you wish to.

We would be happy to stay here again – especially now we know how to find it!

Read also about Planning Our Morocco Trip and how we put it all together.
More accommodation reviews from our stay in Marrakech and Essaouira on the Atlantic Coast will follow soon.

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Memories of Morocco – a story in parts.

PART ONE: Choices, choices…..

11 nights / 12 days in the Marrakech (Marrakesh) and Safi areas during March 2019.

#Morocco had been on our travel bucket list for many years and once, we almost did manage to book ourselves a holiday to Tangier at the Hotel Continental but we ended up changing our minds and switched to Cyprus instead.

As I said, it was a long time ago and the switch at the time obviously worked in our favour, otherwise we may not have spent 12 excellent years living and working in Limassol from 2004.

After our return to UK in the early part of 2016 and getting settled into a new home as well as an area which was fairly unexplored in the past, the first opportunity to take a trip to a new destination was in the early part of March 2019.

We were in the middle of a kitchen renovation and a small discovery of a wall tile triggered our taste for some #Arabic influence outside of our 4 walls and so, Morocco the Dream finally turned into Morocco, the Reality.

Planning a trip to Morocco was happening at last.

The tile which started our journey on the kitchen colour scheme and our “Road to Morocco”

After making a decision that we really didn’t want to try and “do Morocco” in one foul swoop as seems to be the norm for travellers or backpackers, we decided Marrakech offered us the best travel option of being able to fly in and out of our local airport.

Ideally, I would have loved to have taken in Tangier as well but it meant we couldn’t fly directly either out from UK or on the return leg, so knowing our love of all things Arabic it was taken as read that we would most definitely be taking more trips to Morocco in the coming years….

What was our choice then?

The decision was to base ourselves around Marrakech but rather than staying in just one accommodation, we wanted to get a feel of the traditional Moroccan “Riads” we’d seen in tv programmes and holiday brochures but we also wanted to be able to do some exploration a little further afield without it eating too much into our break.

First of all, we booked an 11 night return flight with easyJet to Marrakech from Manchester. The flying time is approximately 3hrs and 45 minutes.

Next, we began to explore our accommodation in Marrakech options based on their locality for the areas we wanted to visit and for their looks, of course!

The Accommodation Search:

We used Booking.com accommodation website to make our reservations for 2 reasons:
a) we’ve always had excellent service with them and
b) we had a free cancellation option with each reservation just in case our plans went awry somewhere along the way.

We’ve worked with this company for many years and love the flexibility it offers. We needed it this time as one of our destinations meant we couldn’t pre-book our transport from UK, so everything was riding on us being able to book our return journey on the Supratours bus from Marrakech and we couldn’t arrange that in advance at the time. No foreign (non-Moroccan) credit cards were accepted when we were planning our trip but I believe this may since have changed.

Our first option of Riad Dar Moulay Ali, situated right in the middle of the walled city area of the Medina (old town) where all the excitement happens. We needed to be in a close and central position that we could explore all we needed to see on foot, especially Jemaa el-Fna which remains the main square of Marrakesh, used by locals and tourists.

We decided 4 nights in this first riad was a good choice for the ethnicity, compact size and the fact it had a great roof terrace as well as a pool in the central courtyard. However, knowing it wasn’t going to be an easy place to find as taxis are only allowed a certain distance into the medina and the streets didn’t all have names, we decided to ask the riad to arrange a taxi to collect us from the airport and that he would meet us at the drop off point to guide us to the riad.
This worked perfectly for us, the taxi was ready and waiting at the airport and the driver telephoned the hotel to let him know when he was close by.
It was a great idea as it turned out – the streets are very narrow, twisty like a rabbit warren of narrow entrances and doorways with no names.

You can read my review of our stay at Riad dar Moulay Ali here.

A handy tip for finding your way around Marrakech and/or Morocco: we heard about the Maps.me mobile app and decided to give it a try. Once you have the maps downloaded for the location you will visit, you can search without having the need for data. You can save places to your Favourites so sticking your accommodation in there when you arrive is a really good tip too!

This little app saved us a great deal of hassle on a number of occasions when we got lost in small streets with no names and no exits… we’ve continued using it ever since for all of our trips both overseas and in UK. We much prefer it to Google Maps.

Next choice, 7 nights in the Le Caspien Boutique Hotel (a large but more modern former riad) in the #Gueliz new town and shopping area of Marrakech was also ideal. Not only did it look fantastic with a huge Moroccan lantern in the central courtyard and reception area that came down from the ceiling 5 floors up, it also had a pool at the back, a roof terrace and a choice of 2 restaurants, one French and the other a Spanish tapas bar at the front of the hotel from the street.

To add to the mix, it was in walking distance from all the main shopping areas as well as the Supratours bus station and Marrakech railway station. We knew we wanted to explore so we thought this would be a good place to do it from as it cut the taxi ride from the riad in the medina to whichever transport method we went for.

All we had to do then was decide where else did we want to go for a few nights outside of Marrakech…..
After having being fans of Game of Thrones over numerous series, there really was only one place it could be. It meant a 3 hour bus ride in each direction as we decided rather than check out of the city hotel, we would keep the room on and our luggage could be safely held there and just travel with an overnight bag each. So Essaouira, a much smaller walled city and less hectic than Marrakesh situated directly by the beach on the Atlantic Coast of Morocco was the destination choice we went for, which put us in another riad in another medina!

Our accommodation choice here was the Riad Nakhla, again a smaller and simple riad with a roof terrace, a view of the sea but no pool this time, it wasn’t a necessity for this short trip.

We booked 2 nights here which was perfect for us as our bus got us to our riad in good time by 13:00hrs from Marrakech so we could enjoy the rest of our day – and we booked the return trip from Essaouira to Marrakech, again using the Supratours Confort Plus service (one bus per day) at 17:00hrs arriving into Marrakech by 20:00hrs.

To add here, on arrival in Marrakech we chose to take ourselves off to the Supratours bus station situated just around the corner from the railway station, where we made our seat reservations. We had the prices and times already to hand which we found during our search. Some information here.

For those who want to know a little more about Essaouira, take a peep here and I’m sure you will recognise those bastions from that famous TV series but if not, there’s also an article about the various locations that were used for filming in Morocco. Essaouira is shown at location number 3 along with some images.

So, that’s how it all came about!
The rest of our trip will follow shortly as separate blog posts, in bitesize chunks as well as individual accommodation reviews.

I hope you enjoyed reading so far xx

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Afternoon Tea Treasure Hunt

When the Afternoon Tea you had round at a friends house yesterday afternoon made you go to find the bakery it came from 😃

Needs must – a trip to Great Ecclestone where we spotted several places of interest including this Indian restaurant menu still in the display case of a building now for sale:

The building which housed the restaurant in is quite magnificent in itself:

Ghost Signage of the White Bull Hotel:

A nice looking cafe which comes highly recommended by a close friend:

The bakery we went in search of: Pebby’s Bakery – you can check out their Facebook page here

And finally, a titivated telephone box – all in the village of Great Ecclestone, Lancashire.

Great Eccleston was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Eglestun. In various 13th-century documents it was recorded as Ecclisto, Ecleston and Great Eccleston.

In 1066 when the Normans conquered England, the township of Great Eccleston—then part of the ancient hundred of Amounderness—was in the possession of Tostig Godwinson, the brother of King Harold II.

Tostig died at the Battle of Stamford Bridge and his lands were subsequently taken over by the Normans. Between 1069 and 1086 William the Conqueror gave Amounderness to Roger de Poitou, an Anglo-Norman baron.

In the Domesday Book, the area of Great Eccleston was estimated at two carucates (ploughlands) of land.

The township was originally part of the ecclesiastical parish of St Michael’s on Wyre and Great Eccleston’s parishioners would have worshipped there at St Michael’s Church.

In 1723, a chapel of ease to St Michael’s was built in a part of Great Eccleston called Copp. It was dedicated to St Anne.

Great Ecclestone village is as traditional as they come with the majority of shops, cafes, a few pubs serving food, a hardware shop and a number of others all line the High Street.

Putting Great Ecclestone on the map:

Link to Google Maps through the above image.

And the Afternoon Tea, I hear you ask?

It was delicious and SO MUCH FOOD for a single serving!
We were a group of 7 ladies, celebrating a birthday which had taken place a few days previously.

Ladies Who Lunch!

We had 6 servings of Afternoon Tea delivered by the daughter of the lady whose birthday it was. And there was still lots left late in the afternoon.
Sandwiches of 3 or 4 different kinds, I recall having ham and salmon, there was definitely egg which I’m not a fan of and another, possibly chicken.
Pies, sausage rolls, filled vol-au-vent cases and CAKES, did I say cakes? Far too many many cakes – nooooo, there can never be too many cakes! But we just couldn’t manage them all at once….

I brought a small selection of savouries home for my husband to try as he doesn’t have a sweet tooth – hence why the next day we ended up in search of Pebby’s Bakery in Great Ecclestone!