Choosing Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

There are many on line guides available to help you choose bed and breakfast accommodation, whether it is a city location such as a Leicester bed and breakfast that you are looking for, or a quiet retreat deep in the Scottish Highlands.

Some on line guides offer a bespoke booking service, with instant confirmation of your room reservation, as well as offering visitor information on the location or region you will be staying in. Special discounts for on line bookings and late availability discounts for last minute room reservations are also offered. On line guides sometimes offer independent reviews of featured bed and breakfasts, with ratings awarded to different aspects of the accommodation, such as cleanliness, quality of the food, decorations and furniture and the welcome given to guests. After you have finished your stay, you may be invited to provide feedback and this, in turn, will be useful to future prospective visitors.

Bed and breakfast accommodation is a growing area on line for guests to research and find well priced overnight stays. It is also an increasingly popular medium for bed and breakfast owners, as they are able to reach a national and even international market. Formerly, many bed and breakfasts would have remained undiscovered gems, only able to attract local visitors or those able or willing to search out guide books and contact the tourist information facility in the region of their proposed stay. The Internet has changed all that, by providing a world platform to guest houses, inns, farmhouses and many other types of bed and breakfast accommodation.

The great appeal of bed and breakfasts is that they offer a more personal alternative to a hotel, in a relaxed atmosphere. As well as the traditional seaside bed and breakfasts in coastal resorts such as Blackpool, Skegness, Scarborough and Brighton, you can find intimate cosy countryside retreats in beautiful areas such as the Lake District or the Cotswolds. There are also many establishments aiming at the top end of the market and these are situated in towns, villages and countryside alike, meaning that you can experience luxury in, for example, a sleek modern London, Birmingham or Leicester bed and breakfast or in an «old world» environment of a thatched Gloucestershire pub or Shropshire coaching inn.

A stay in a good bed and breakfast should be like a welcoming home away from home. You should feel as relaxed as if you were staying over at a friend’s place. You will get breakfast and sometimes even a packed lunch (usually at an additional charge, although some establishments will fill up your flask with tea or coffee for free). Drying facilities are normally on offer if your bed and breakfast is on a walking trail, so that if you get a soaking (quite likely, given the typical British weather!) your clothes will be dry and ready to wear again the following next day. As most bed and breakfasts are run by the owners themselves, they tend to know a lot about the local area and can be an absolute mine of information. They will know the best pubs, restaurants, shops, walks and excursions and often enjoy sharing their knowledge with their guests.

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Wide Receivers – Catch the Ball at the Highest Point

A wide receiver has his best shot at preventing a defensive back from defending the pass if he catches the ball at it’s highest point, but what does that actually mean. It means the receiver should reach for the ball and catch it with his hands, meaning catch the ball as far away from the body as possible. Sometimes that does mean bending over to catch a low throw, but at the highest point of the balls trajectory when it is close enough to catch.

This is a relatively easy thing to practice and can be done alone or with someone throwing the ball to you. If you do have a partner, stand approximately 5 yards apart and lob the ball towards your partner, trying to keep the ball above the receiver’s head. The receiver will stand waiting until the ball is close enough to catch, reach out and catch the ball as high as possible. If the ball is high enough to make the receiver jump for it, simply jump, timing it so that you not only catch the ball as far away from you as possible, you want to time it so that you are at the highest point of the jump.

If you do not have a partner, no problem, simply throw the ball straight up in the air and again catch it at it’s highest point or the highest point of your jump.

This drill will can always be varied to fit the situation, more people and just one ball? Just form a triangle and throw the ball between the three of you.

This simple drill will pay huge dividends on the field because it will increase your feel for where the ball is going, body position and hand strength.

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Spanish Primera Division News and Notes

There has been a great deal of action and excitement over the past couple of weeks in the Spanish Primera Division, and the news and results have been coming in fast and furious since the season ended just two weeks ago. Let’s take a look at everything that has transpired over the course of the past few days to get an early look at what the Primera Division will look like next year.

Barcelona Retains Crown

Barcelona was able to win the Primera Division again this year by beating Valladolid 4-0 in the final game of the season. Barcelona was also able to set a Primera Division record this season by accruing 99 total points over the course of 38 games played. Lionel Messi led all scorers this season on Barcelona with 34 goals in league play and 47 goals in all competitions, which tied the club record set by Ronaldo in the 1996-1997 season. Real Madrid, despite having one of the highest payrolls in Primera Division history, was only able to garner second place. Finishing three points behind Barcelona, Real Madrid finished runner-up for the second straight season despite having one of the greatest collections of players ever assembled on one team.

Team Movements

Next season, the UEFA Champions League will be the homes of Valencia and Sevilla, as both teams qualified through their finishes of third and fourth, respectively, within the Spanish Primera Division. 5th-place Mallorca and 6th-place Getafe have secured spots in next season’s UEFA Europa League while Valladolid, Tenerife, and Xenex have all been placed in the second division.

Summer Transfers

Ricardo Costa has been transferred to Valencia on four-year free deal. Costa had been playing for Lille, but Valencia’s inclusion into the UEFA Champions League forced them to have to make this deal. Costa joins Mehmet Topal, a midfielder from Turkey, who also was signed just a few weeks ago to strengthen the Vallencia team going into next season’s play.

Barcelona continues to get stronger, as they worked out a deal with rival Vallencia to transfer David Villa to the Barcelona squad. Villa has passed his physical examination and is now a member of the powerful Barcelona championship team. In his last five seasons, Villa has averaged 22 goals scored per season, which ranks him near the top of that category in La Liga.

Atletico Madrid, who were able to clinch the inaugural UEFA Europa League title, has gained a transfer in the likes of Arsenal’s Fran Merida. Merida comes to Atletico Madrid on a free transfer for a four-year deal. Merida hasn’t seen a great amount of big-game action since joining the Arsenal squad in 2005.

Sevilla has gotten Mouhamadou Dabo from AS Saint-Etienne on a free transfer. Dabo’s agreement with Sevilla extends the length of four seasons. Part of Dabo’s contract will include a 25 million euro buyout clause. Dabo, a fullback is able to play on either side of the field, with most of his time from this past season spent on the left side of the field.

Coaching Change

Real Madrid parted ways with coach Manuel Pelligrini to bring Jose Mourinho as their new coach for next season’s play. Pellegrini departs at the midpoint of the new two-year deal that he signed before the beginning of this past season. Mourinho, who is currently under contract with Inter Milan until 2012, will need to work out a plan with that squad before he can make settle in to his new home with Real Madrid.

Contract Extension

A one-year contract extension has been given to Atletico Madrid’s coach Quique Sanchez Flores. After winning the inaugural UEFA Europa League title, Flores led Atletico Madrid to a 9th-place finish in the Spanish Primera Division this past season.

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A Very Poetic Chelsea Restaurant Review

Every Wednesday evening, at a very British institution strewn with cobbled streets and fudge shops and ladies in black gowns, I would slick my hair back gently and put on a reserved smile. I would then move into the traffic of black gowns that flowed into a large hall. On each table I distinctly remember a folded card with someone's name written in gold pen, white cloth, polished silverware, and a sky of paintings and Latin prayers that no-one paid the slightest attention to. It used to be that you could choose who you sat with; and then the Dean or Master of Ceremonies said that this wasn't 'in the spirit of things', and so you made do with awkward silences and shifty glances over your shoulder for the main and dessert. That is, until the wine came and you all got completely blathered.

This is supposed to be about a cool London restaurant, isn't it? Give me a moment, please. Feelings are palpable things, rich with imagery and memories and worlds that you want to hold onto, or let go of. The places we go and see and like – it's not all a matter of taste … or rather, taste is not coincidence … it's no more than a development of your imagination.

I've got my hair gently quaffed up now, and I stroll into Penny Black, Chelsea; and, yes, the nostalgia greets me before the ballet of pretty penny's do; It's got a nice ring to it, this place, but all I'm seeing are those days when the Champagne flowed from gilded cups, those halcyon days when I thought myself something special; and the Champagne flows now. In Penny Black, it flows with the cool chrome at the lounge & bar, and the specially commissioned Simon Claridge paintings on the walls; it flows in the old British style with a surrealist twist (they have an original Salvador Dali on the far wall, for instance), and it flows in the precision of the menu, the dialectic of the bone-colored wine list. It's a full on British revival, and there's the regal red and black of it everywhere now. Look at the columnists; they're all giving inches back to this institution, built from toad's in holes, roasted turbot, forerib of Longhorn beef, Paddington duck and sweet things your Mum's mum used to bring in after tea; Arctic rolls, posh jelly and bread & butter puddin '.

Out with the international then, with pan-fusion and cutely-cut vegetables that they throw on the pan for a moment and call it 'gourmet'. In with cool Britannia, unless we're talking about the wine; a pretty good way to start the conversation, and to end it if need be. It comes by the glass, carafe and bottle, and there's a personal bottle service for those with mean pairing skills (though the Sommelier is quite something, I tell you). She's already pouring the light Argentinean red, and my fingers are twitching from starter to main to dessert; the music is classical, soothing, Beethovenish (every 21st century institution needs its theme tune); but the lights are too bright and so my date can't see how my eyes dilate. 'I know what I want' I say; 'Roast root vegetable salad, then the Beef Wellington, potato and celeriac bake … finish it up with the Bread and butter pudding'. She has the London Particular soup to start, Seared venison, Jerusalem artichokes, duck fat chips with a South African glass of 2008 lilac wine; Chocolate fondant & raspberry sorbet to finish.

Verdict: The signature Beef Wellington was the best I ever tasted, honestly; perfectly done medium-rare with the puff pastry layer so succulent that I'm calling the chef a genius. They say he worked with the legendary Oliver Peyton at Atlantic Bar and Grill. But this inspiration is all his own. The chocolate fondant, stolen signature dessert, drips off the spoon, tight grip as she tries to steal it back, lips-first. Hey, every institution needs its trademark dish, and these are theirs. You extrapolate between the two and what you get is a haze of sensory nostalgia.

People – British or not – if I told you this place does a magnanimous, stoic job of bringing hearty British food back to the faithless London gastro-scene, I'd be speaking figuratively, swayed by my own particular blend of reality and fiction. Still, you can't help but go again; not after this.

212 Fulham Road
Chelsea, SW10 9PJ

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Aaron Cresswell Overlooked for Country, Due to His Club?

How long can England ignore Aaron Cresswell because of the kit he wears?

Aaron Cresswell has been one of West Hams most consistent players, in one of their best ever seasons; definitely their best since the days of Mcavennie, Devonshire and Bonds at least. Ironically two of those players were also overlooked for England, whilst widely regarded as top quality players, in the prime of their careers.

Roy Hodgson has capped more débutantes for his country, than any other England manager in the past. Yet Cresswell cannot get a look in, even though he has been, arguably, the best performing English Left Back throughout the last two seasons in the Premier League. Perhaps even more importantly than his form, is that he has been a virtual ever-present for his club, chalking up a lot more game time than other candidates.

Players who perform week-in, week-out, are not getting selected, yet those who are used as squad rotation at the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United are being handed international starts on a regular basis. This appears to be on the merits of the club they represent, rather than what they put in on the pitch.

Cresswell is not an ‘academy graduate’ who was scouted for a top club and had to time to ply his trade in friendlies and reserve team matches, he had to graft and scrap his way through the lower leagues starting with Tranmere Rovers, before his subsequent moves to Ipswich Town and West Ham United – he knows how to work hard in order to garner success.

With Ashley Cole gone and Leighton Baines not getting any younger, Luke Shaw yet to recover from that horrific leg break – why is Aaron Cresswell still being overlooked? He has all the credentials required;

  • He is young enough to be blooded for the future, but old enough to have valuable experience.
  • He plays for a team competing with the big boys and looking to qualify for European football, for the second season in a row.
  • He has proven he is a hard-working professional who does not shirk responsibilities, or fail to track back when an attack breaks down.
  • He has shown his flair going forward with a number of wonderful strikes this season (Aston Villa and Leicester both spring to mind).

Does he need to move to a club lower down the table than West Ham? Such as Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton or Southampton, in order to break into the England squad?

Liverpool are reported to be interested in the young left back, so would he need to move to back to his home city, and play at Anfield; warming the bench for a side he has beaten three times this season, in order to play for his country?

That seems somewhat unreasonable to me!

My biggest concern is that players will move to clubs and rot on benches in an effort to represent their countries, thus leaving us with an international team full of people who do not regularly complete 90 minutes of competitive football. Surely that will have a detrimental effort on the sides results?

Aristotle said that; «The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.». This seems to apply on a domestic level, you need look no further than Claudio ‘the Tinkerman’ Ranieri and his band of ‘journeymen’ on the verge of Premier League Glory (and not by chance, deservedly so, in every way, shape and form), whilst Chelsea and their £400 million squad languish in middle table obscurity.

Internationally, the same should surely apply? Football does not stop being a TEAM game, because it is played under a different banner. The principles are the same, and we, as a nation, seem set on picking the best individuals, or the most expensive signings, rather than the players who function better in practicality, ultimately; football, is played on grass, not paper.

Perhaps I am just being negative, but I am searching for the reason that we have had so many ‘world class’ players over the years, and still failed to achieve anything – since that famous night at Wembley half a century ago.

Perhaps we are playing the wrong players, perhaps we are playing the right ones, and they are simply not good enough.

I am a firm believer in playing the players that are right for the team, people who will work hard for one another, and those full of passion and the desire to succeed – everything I have seen of Aaron Cresswell shows me he has those attributes, in abundance, and the talent to go with it.

Put him in the squad, pick him for a friendly, take him alongside another left back to the Euros, take a gamble, but do it soon – before another Englishmen ends up on a; «Best players not to be capped for England» list.

I would be interested in hearing anyone’s opinions on this, let us know how you feel about Roy Hodgsons selections, or Aaron Cresswells claim to a spot. You can get us in the comments section here, or over on Twitter @BeautifulDebate.

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