Learn to dance Strictly in Devon, like Ann Widdecombe

http://www.bbc.co.uk/strictlycomedancing/2010Anyone who is watching the new series of Strictly Come Dancing cannot fail to have noticed Ann Widdecombe who for this series has taken over from John Sergeant – last year’s ‘one that has limited dance talent’ – and relies on the viewer’s votes to be kept in the programme each week, aahhh!!!

She may not be the judges favourite to win but her popularity with hundreds of fans has lead bookmakers to lower their odds on Ann winning this series of Strictly from 66-1 to 40-1. Ann and Anton’s unique version of the Salsa attraced more that 8000 views on YouTube within 24 hours of its showing!

Ann has been taking dance lessons with her professional partner Anton du Beke down in the South West of England at a dance studio in Newton Abbot, Devon. Newton Abbot and the surrounding area is a part of Devon offering a host of dance opportunities. In fact just a short drive from this Newton Abbot dance studio is TLH Leisure Resort in Torquay, one of the UK’s leading dance holiday destinations.

TLH Leisure Resort run a programme of dance holidays throughout the year and offer dance genres to suit all tastes. Holidays cater for all abilities from ‘learn to’ as a beginner through to improvers and advanced. Check out our website to see what we have to offer – Ballroom, Latin, Sequence, Jive, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Salsa, and Northen soul to name but a few – a feast for all dancers! There are 4 hotels to choose from on the complex, and 7 ballrooms!

So if you aspire to being able to dance (like Ann Widdecombe – or perhaps you fancy yourself as another Strictly star) then take a look at TLH’s dance holiday programme as Devon seems to be the place to learn how to dance right now… according to Anne anyway, you would be in good company!!!

Have a look, and remember… keep dancing!!!!!

Commonwealth Bowling Victory – It’s great to have famous friends.

I am absolutely delighted to be able to congratulate my friends from the South West on their successes in Delhi during the Commonwealth Games. Three of my chums were playing and they were brilliant.

I watched most of the finals on BBC during my working day on my computer. Good job I work in bowling here at TLH Leisure Resort, or it may have seemed a bit strange for me to be urging on woods and groaning when a particularly good shot was played against our team members. My office mates who are not bowlers must have wondered about all the noises, but bless ‘em, not a word was uttered. They know I am in serious danger of becoming a bowling anorak and fortunately they just let me get on with it.

I have had the pleasure of bowling with Natalie Melmore who won Gold in the Ladies Singles in Delhi. Nat is a great bowler and a very nice person. She has matured into a splendid adult and is a pleasure to be on the green with. I remember her younger years when she started at Newton Abbot Bowls Club and Teignbridge IBC, and you just knew that she was a star in the making

Putting her education at Plymouth University on hold for a year whilst training and playing for these games, was probably one of the best decisions she has made, and what a pay off.

Nat “You are brilliant.”

I have to feel for Sam Tolchard, another splendid player and also from Kings BC here in Torquay. He, is a great team mate. I lead for him in the Egham final last season and we were the only winning rink from our club. However, Sam must have been bitterly disappointed as he was the only player from England coming home without a medal. Don’t worry kiddo, we still love ya.

But Sam, you played really well and deserved better. Don’t be disappointed, we all think you are a great bowler and at the very least, it was a wonderful opportunity and honour to represent you country. Well done.

Lastly, I wish I could hug Sian Gordon. Coming home with a Bronze was just superb. Playing with Sian was Jamie Lee Winch and Sandy Hazel. Jamie had a great game but Sandie looked to be struggling with her line. But well done anyway.

I was waiting for someone to call out, “chalk that bug, it’s a toucher”. What a night for moths and beetles, and a scorpion as well. Nasty creatures, and me a bit jittery around a daddy longlegs.

It was with Sian that our 4’s team were England Champions and then British Isles Champions in 2009. Sian is a great skip, very encouraging and a pleasure to play with, even if we do get the occasion master class in cussing.

It’s great to know you guys, keep in touch. Good old Facebook.

I am so pleased to know you all. Long may you shine.

Signing off now

Keep practising. Terri Kennard

Toorak in Bloom

It must be a sign that I’m truly a grown up, in that I really enjoy gardening these days. In fact I’d rather potter around in the vegetable patch than hit the shops on a Saturday afternoon. So I was secretly quite pleased to hear that the outdoor swimming pool at the Toorak Hotel was to be filled in and landscaped, mainly due to changes in pool legislation. I know many guests mourned its passing, but what is now there instead is just as lovely and probably a whole lot more practical.

Although still in its infancy, the new ‘inner’ garden area has developed well and it’s raised beds are displaying some vibrant autumn colour, with much still in bloom, especially since we have had a week or so of an Indian summer.

The inner garden and the existing garden areas are looked after by Ace Garden Services and their hard work this year led to the Toorak being awarded a first prize in the Larger Hotel category in the Bay Blooms competition, run by Torbay Council. Just last week, Nigel Beck, the Toorak’s General Manager, picked up the trophy and certificate at a special awards evening at Paignton Zoo.

You can find out more about how Ace prepared the gardens prior to the judging last summer here http://www.acegardenservices.co.uk/bay_blooms%202.htm#.

The Toorak gardena are a real treat, if only my own garden looked as well tended!

TLH Shortlisted for Springboard Award

Customer Care Training at TLH

Outstanding service in the Victoria Restaurant

We’re celebrating here at TLH becsause we’ve just found out we’ve been shortlisted for a national award – the Springboard Awards for Excellence 2010 in the ‘People Innovation’ Category.

Springboard is the national body that promotes careers in Hospitality, Leisure and Tourism. Now in their 8th year, the Springboard Awards for Excellence celebrate and reward inspiring people, organisations and initiatives – those that work hard to elevate the profile of the hospitality industry as an employer and attract and retain talent. TLH Leisure Resort have previously won the Best Employer category in 2004.

Our entry centred on their new Customer Service Training Programme -STARs. Personnel and Development Manager, Gary Brenton, explains ‘We began to develop our new training programme about eighteen months ago. All of our staff were involved in the design of the course, they have all gone though the training and helped us to evaluate its success. We have seen real business improvements in customer service as a result. Our staff have been fantastic, they have really engaged with our training and to be shortlisted for this category, which is all about how our people have made a difference, is recognition for everybody within the company’.

We will find out if we have been successful at an awards ceremony in London on 29th November. We will keep you posted.

Anyone for Champagne? – new Autumn spa break is launched.

Spa breaks are a great excuse for some “me-time” and self-indulgent pampering – and why not. The new All About You  spa break at the Aztec Spa in Torquay is available now and this season spa treatments include the following:

Elemis Frangipani Body Wrap
Traditional Swedish Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage
OPI Juicie Minicure
A session on out therapeutic massage beds
Lunch in the Aztec Bistro
Use of the 25m swimming pool, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi!

All About You can be booked as a spa day or an overnight spa break with accommodation in the 3 star Carlton Hotel. This has been our most popular Spa package for the past 3 years and this Autumn we are making it even better by adding Champagne as an option to the menu!

Champagne anyone?

Girly gossip on a spa break

Spa breaks are really popular for a hen party or birthday treat, or just a girly day out with you friends, and you can make them even more special by pre-ordering champagne or wine to help your celebration along. This will be served whilst you are chilling out in our relaxation area.  And the best part is if you bring 7 friends you go absolutely FREE!

For more information about our Spa packages or to book, call 01803 400190 or check out our website .

Women’s National Top Club 2010

As most bowlers are aware, TLH Leisure Resort sponsors bowling’s 3 National Top Club events. This last weekend has seen the last 8 teams for the Women’s Top Club playing for the winning position. The finals are played over 2 days at 4 clubs on Torquay’s beautiful sea front with teams staying at TLH Leisure Resort at very competitive prices. It’s not just about the bowls you see, it’s about having a great weekend as well with your team mates.  

Margaret Docherty and Kay Kerley from Bowls England organise the competition from Torquay BC and it always runs smoothly. It’s a pleasure to work with you both and I look forward to seeing you next season.  

The 8 teams that qualified for the finals were: Blackwell BC (Derbyshire), Swinton BC (Yorkshire), Oxford City and County (Oxfordshire), Milton Regis BC (Kent) with Sian Gordon and Sandy Hazel both selected to compete in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this October plus Senior International Wendy King, Felixstowe & Suffolk BC (Suffolk), Broadway BC (Huntingdonshire), Box BC (Wiltshire), Portishead Royal British Legion (Somerset). 

Three games are scheduled over the weekend for each club in a straight knockout with the losing teams vying for positions of up to 8th place. The final this year could not have been closer with Oxford tying on shots at 74 each, but losing 3 of the 4 disciplines to Portishead Royal British Legion. Very close girls – it was a nail biter to the end and a great final. I personally had my money on Milton Regis to win this event with their fine array of International bowlers, but in the end their team came 5th. Just goes to show that unless you can afford to lose, don’t gamble.   

The final placings were:  

1st   Portishead Royal British Legion
2nd Oxford City and County
3rd  Box
4th  Felixstowe and Suffolk
5th  Milton Regis
6th  Blackwell
7th  Broadway
8th Swinton

Here are Portishead with their trophy. Well done girls. 

Winners of the TLH Top Club

The winning team

Markers and Umpires

These competitions can never be properly run without the efforts of our Umpires and Markers. They give up their time for the love of the sport and are often maligned. But my girls (and Derek) were just great this weekend. It was a pleasure to invite you to dinner at the Derwent on the Saturday evening – it was a great meal and the company and humour made the evening even more enjoyable. Well done to all of you – and here we are, all together, just waiting to parade on behind the teams. 

Top Club Umpires 

From left to right, Me, Mary Martin, Derek Tyler, Betty Simms, Pat Powell, Sue Devonport, Ruth Rogers and last but not least Julia Barnes.

The Greens

I will take this opportunity to say well done to the 3 clubs that support this competition. Kings, Victoria and Torquay Bowls Club all extend a great welcome to the visiting finalists and offer sandwiches and cakes for lunch. The bars were open for the celebratory drinks and it all helps toward the friendly atsmosphere.  

The greens are ‘prepped’ by hard working green keepers and their worthy assistants. Here is Dave Vinnicombe pushing the heavy roller, which keeps the playing surface as level as possible. Ladies, this is probably one of those rare pictures of men working so make the most of it – only joking Dave. 

Looking after the greens

Hard at work!

And so the outdoor season draws to a close. I have finished outdoors already and went for a practice at my indoor club on Monday. Not bad, no woods in the ditch which was a surprise. One more outdoor Umpiring duty to perform at the County Finals of the Mixed Triples, Mixed Pairs and the Foxland’s finals on Saturday at Feniton BC.

Just watch this space. There is bound to be more controversy over Umpiring uniforms and there is bound to be a lot happening around TLH Leisure Resort – here in Torquay on the sunny English Riviera. And this is the place to read it all, but don’t forget to blog back to me. I always want to read your comments. 

Signing off now 
Terri Kennard