Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Prison Break

A few days before Christmas the husband and I took Mum and Dad for a night in a prison cell in Oxford....No, they hadn't midbehaved, far from it, but a night in the Malmaison was their christmas present from us.

If you have never been you really must. The prison was still being run up until 1996 when it was all converted into the sumptuous hotel and surrounding restaurents and shop complex that it is now.
The original landings and stairs are still in tact, and all of the original cell doors remain. Each bedroom and bathroom suite is made up of three old cells, with arched ceilings and high windows with bars up and shuttered windows.

The bedrooms are beautiful inside and come complete with chaise longue, mini bar and the most amazing room service menu. Not that we needed that as we had a fabulous meal in the restaurant in the cellar!
Me stealing toiletries from the bathroom. In the vain hope they may bang me up for longer...?!

Another reason we decided to stay in Oxford is that Mum and Dads Christmas present to us was a trip to lake Como in Italy for Christmas. Oxford being halfway between home and Heathrow seemed like the perfect start for our Christmas holiday.

We had five days in a beautifully elegant hotel right on the Lake, with breathtaking views and scenery.

On the first day we went to a traditional Christmas market in Como itself, which was very interesting. Pigs trotters, anyone?!

The sunsets were amazing....

And the villas were spectacular- this was my favourite!

Obviously we had to do lots of work related research, so plenty of cappuccinos were consumed!

Below is Bellagio, the most beautiful village. We caught a boat outside our hotel and went over to Bellagio a couple of times. On Boxing Day the village was full of Italians, meeting for coffee, socialising, walking by the Lake. Everyone we came across was dressed BEAUTIFULLY. Fur coats hats and boots galore!

This was our hotel, taken first thing in the morning from our balcony. The colours changed throughout the day, the light was amazing.

It was just what the doctor ordered, being away for Christmas. Away from work and home and bad memories of a rubbish year. A great big Thank You to my very fabulous parents for an extremely generous present. We appreciate it far more than you realise.
I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas, have managed to banish the sniffles sneezes and flu from your homes and raise a glass of Limoncello to 2009. (god, have you tried that stuff? 30% alcohol-evil but fabulous!)


Ginny said...

wow Anna, what a gorgeous break.. the light does indeed look amazing.
Here's to you for a fabulous 2009. So glad you are well again.
with love
Ginny x

The Rose Room said...

I'll take a prison break anytime - fantastic! Rachaelxo

Kitty said...

Lovely to 'see' you Anna. What wonderful pictures - Lake Como looks beautiful.

Hope you and your loved ones all have a fabulous 2009.

Take care. :-) x

April said...

Wow, sounds like you had a fabulous time!

Did you get any Krispy Kremes from the shop by Malmaison?

Happy Christmas

April xx

Lynn said...

Anna, what does it say about me that my favorite picture was the one with the cappuccino? Specifically, those cute sugar packets with the children on swings. So glad you had TWO wonderful getaways!!

Lesley (Notesfrommydays) said...

What lovely parents you have!!! must drop hints to mine for next year :-)
the Malmaison looks fantastic might have to persuade Hubby we need a night away..........
Have a fantastic 2009!
Lesley x

Vintage Amethyst said...

Aaahh what a wonderful Christmas present.
How gorgeous!
You must have certainly had a fab time.
Wishing you lots of love & happiness for the new year.
*Happy New Year*

Attic24 said...

Oh Anna, how utterly wonderful, I am insanely jealous!! Lake Como is somewhere i've always always wanted to visit, it looks soo beautiful and how lovely to be there for Christmas.
Here's wishing you a fantabulous 2009, hoping the new year brings you much happiness.
lots of love and hugs

Gina said...

Your prison break and Lake Como both sound divine. Wishing you a very happy and successful New Year.

Carol said...

Wow, what a novel idea! lucky girl being taken to Italy for Christmas, the pictures are stunning. A very special Christmas.
I wish you and your lovely family a very Happy New Year.
Love and hugs,
Carol xxxx

Lisa said...

Wonderfully thoughtful and generous gifts all round!
Hope you both relaxed and feel recharged after spending some time in what looks like an breath takingly beautiful part of the world.
Happy New Year to you both.
Lisa x

mollycupcakes said...

Hey Anna,
Happy new year to you and that lovely hubby of yours.
Enjoy a wonderful evening what ever you do.
Mines a baileys or 2 and early night lol old gits we are lol
See you in 2009
Many hugs,
Catherine x

Summer by the sea said...

Hi Anna - Lake Como looks wonderful, so relaxing and picturesque - I truly hope that 2009 is a better year for you. you are such a nice person and deserve lots of happiness - Natalie x

driftwood said...

what utterly fantastic presents! you totally deserve them, and here's wishing you all the best for a truly lovely 2009. xxx

Anonymous said...

hi anna,

glad to see you have had a gorgous few days. I so wish you a fabulous 2009. Have a brill year and yes we were given a lovely bottle of limoncello as a Christmas present - very very nice.

serendipitylovesnewyork said...

What fab christmas pressies! I've heard great reviews of the hotel amd how stunning are the views in Italy....bellissimo!! Happy New Year to you...Claire xx

Cowboys and Custard said...

Hello dearest Anna
I have just returned from three days in Manchester.. not quite as romantic or beautifully scenic as your Como Trip. I have always wanted to go to the lakes being a bit of an fan of Italy..so it was lovely to see it through your eyes.
So pleased you ended the year on a high note and long may it continue !
Happy New Year and much love

Ragged Roses said...

Happy New Year lovely lady!!!! I am so happy to hear that you managed to get away for Christmas, just what you needed and deserved. I am sure this year is going to be full to the brim with good things for you both. Take care

Janette said...

hi Anna, certainly looks like you had a lovely time in Italy. It really is my dream to see Italy for myself one day, As for Mal maison, Neil really fancies giving that a go along with Le Manior which I remember you writing about last year. Anyway all the best for 2009 and I really hope you have a wonderful year.


vanessa said...

The prison looks fabulous! But the holiday in Italy! Wow........................ it looks idyllic.................

thriftymrs said...

Looks like a lovely break!
And as for my photography, haha!

CatHerder said...

Just surfed in...what absolutely breathtaking pictures!!!!..great blog

Vanessa said...

How lucky are you I love Lake Como, I had a Italian boyfriend when I was 16 and we travelled around italy for 6 weeks, Lake Como was my favourite place!

Hope you had a great Chritmas & New Year there. I hope 2009 turns out to be a great one for you!

Vanessa x

Anonymous said...

Whoa! What a lovely trip and gift!


Gingham and Flowers said...

Hi, only just discovered your blog and have just spent a wonderful few minutes enjoying your photos of Lake Como. This is because we're going to be going there eight weeks tomorrow on our honeymoon and although I've seen quite a number of photos, it's lovely to see even more. I'm now feeling even more excited at the thought of the trip. We're staying in Bellagio so it's great to see your photos of it. We're actually getting married in four weeks but hubbie-to-be is a teacher so we have a four week break before the honeymoon. Glad to see you had a nice time in Oxford. I live just a little outside and have often walked past Malmaison and wondered what it is like inside. Really interesting to see.