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Kicking the Habit

"Jackie's been looking forward very much to this long-awaited weekend break with her husband. Thinking about it, though, maybe now isn't the perfect time.

Trevor has decided to quit smoking. It's only day five and it's not going well. He's tetchy and irritable and is biting his fingernails almost down to the quick. Jackie's caught him twice, sneaking a crafty puff in the garage.

Oh well, maybe a change of scenery will do him good and help take his mind off things.
She hopes so, because right now she'd find it a lot easier to live with Victor Meldrew,

Over the years, Jackie and Trevor have usually spent their weekend breaks in hotels, but having investigated the benefits of a luxury serviced apartment, they agree that this seems to be a better option for them. Serviced apartments combine all the comfort of a hotel with the freedom, flexibility, space and privacy of home. They are also great value for money, as they don't have the same running costs as a hotel. There are no waiters, chefs or chamber maids to pay for, so the cost saving is passed on to the customer by way of lower prices. Obviously there are no restaurants, but most serviced apartments are situated in or near city centres, which means that eating out is very convenient. Alternatively, as the apartments have fully fitted kitchens, it's easy for visitors to prepare their own meals, without the need to spend exorbitant restaurant prices. With two children going through university, these are all considerations for Jackie and Trevor. They find that booking online is simplicity itself, and have even managed to secure a good discount. As they set off for their weekend break in Bristol, Jackie's at the wheel. She felt the least she could do would be to offer to drive, to give Trevor's frayed nerves a bit of a rest. It's been a cold, dismal and seemingly endless winter, but now spring is finally here, and as they drive along, Jackie enthuses about the pretty spring flowers along the roadside and the fluffy white lambs gambolling in the fields. Meanwhile, a rather grumpy and monosyllabic Trevor gnaws anxiously on his thumb. Jackie's not sure whether nicotine withdrawal or her driving is to blame ' possibly a combination of the two.

Within an hour or so, they've reached their destination. Located in the Bristol harbourside, the apartment is ideally positioned for enjoyment of all the many delights that Bristol has to offer. There are countless retail outlets, ranging from shopping malls with well known high street stores to exclusive designer boutiques, busy pavement and riverside cafes and restaurants.

Jackie couldn't be more delighted when they enter their apartment, and even Trevor's mood seems to lighten. Tastefully decorated in a very modern style, light, airy, spotlessly clean and amazingly spacious, the apartment has a marvellously equipped and user-friendly kitchen including microwave, toaster and coffee maker, a roomy, comfortable lounge/dining area, and a sumptuous bedroom with en suite bathroom and power shower. Furnished to the highest standard throughout, fresh, crisp linen has been provided and there's even wireless broadband, digital TV, DVD player, direct dial telephone, washer/dryer, hairdryer and an iron and ironing board. There's a fabulous view from their balcony of the waterfront and street below and it's clear that they have twice the area they would have in a hotel of a similar calibre, for about half the cost! In a nutshell, it all adds up to privacy, independence, space and value.

Having explored the many appealing features of the apartment, Jackie puts a bottle of champagne on ice whilst the couple change their shoes and get ready to sample some of the charms of Bristol.

Jackie's keen to visit some of the chic boutiques for a little serious clothes shopping, whilst Trevor, a bit of a rocker in his day, has discovered that there are several music shops in the area that could warrant a visit. Separating for an hour or so to indulge their own shopping preferences, they meet up later to peruse one of the local bustling food markets, where Jackie buys a couple of juicy steaks, the wherewithal for a fresh, healthy salad, fresh fruit and a couple of bottles of fine red wine.

Back at the apartment, with feet aching slightly but happy with their respective purchases, they change into their 'comfy' gear and slippers and set about the business of preparing their meal in their luxury kitchen. It's a banquet fit for a king and queen. Trevor cracks open the champagne while Jackie adds the finishing touches with dimmed lighting and scented candles dotted around the dining area. Having feasted heartily, they settle down contentedly on the soft sofa, arms entwined, to enjoy their favourite DVDs. It's a simple recipe, maybe, but so welcome after the stresses and strains of everyday life. They can do exactly as they please, with absolutely no hassle. It's been a long time since they've been able to do that.

After a long sleep in the most relaxing of beds, Jackie and Trevor get up quite a bit later than they would normally ' but then there's no pressure whatsoever to rush. After a leisurely full English breakfast, enjoyed in their dining area, and a little more exploration of the area, they're ready, reluctantly to make their way home.

On reaching the front doorstep, Trevor stops and thinks. He realises that, whilst they've been away, he hasn't even thought about a cigarette, let alone craved for one. He's cracked it!"

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