Weekly round-up, 22-28 August 2011

Constance Le Prince Maurice water villas

Constance Le Prince Maurice water villas

This weekly feature offers a roundup of the content on our blog from the past week, in case you missed anything.

Split into categories, it’s another way for you to easily find the posts of value to you.

This week we’ve got a fantastic special offer at Constance Le Prince Maurice, highlights on Madagascar, beauty tips, our Friday recipe and more.

Offers

Long stay special offer at Le Prince Maurice

Stay at Constance Le Prince Maurice, Mauritius, for 7 nights and you get 15% off your stay.

Events

Edinburgh International Festival 2011

It’s not too late to enjoy the sights, sounds and culture of the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival. Find out about what’s on, as well as editor’s top picks from the Guardian.

Culinary

Recipe: Pizza dough – Constance style

Want to create some of our chefs’ amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes online.

Spa and sport

Top tips to get your feet sandal-ready this summer

Sophie Demaret, Spa Manager at Constance Le Prince Maurice, has some great advice to get your feet looking sexy in this season’s hottest sandals.

Insider tips

Top 5 beach beauty bag essentials

Get expert tips on what to pack for head-to-toe fabulousness as you head to the beach.

Inspiration

Top 10 highlights of Madagascar

We’ve put together our must-see list of the island for a truly epic experience, with links to more useful information.

Water villas at Constance Le Prince Maurice

The water villas are perched along the edge of a natural fish reserve, offering tranquility and beautiful views across the lagoon. Find out more, and see photos on our Facebook page.

Recipe: Pizza dough, Constance-style

Get set for a relaxed weekend supper with this pizza dough recipe from Constance Ephelia executive pastry chef Shahine Mohammad.

Pizza

Pizza

Serves 4
Preparation time: dough should be made the day before you want to use it

Ingredients 

For the dough

  • 1 kg strong plain flour (a mix of 500g of type 55 + 500g type 45 flour)
  • 50g extra virgin olive oil
  • 100g liquid ‘levain’ (a mix of 50g plain flour and 50g water)
  • 20g salt
  • 10g fresh or dry yeast
  • 500g water (at 14˚C)

 1. Firstly, prepare the ‘levain’.
2. Then pour all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl of your mixer, and knead at speed 2 with the hook for a few minutes until all ingredients are perfectly mixed. Alternately add the ‘levain’ and the olive oil, then the water. Keep kneading for a few minutes until the dough is thoroughly mixed. Important: the temperature of the flour should be 25°C and the ideal temperature of the room 25°C as well.
3.
Stop the machine, remove the dough from the bowl and finish kneading by hand for a further 5 or 10 minutes, on a wooden board sprinkled with flour.
4. Cut small portions of dough of 150g each, then roll them by hand to give them a nice round shape. The surface should be smooth.
5. Sprinkle more flour on top and under the balls of dough.
6. Cover with a humid towel and leave in the fridge until the next day.
7. When you are ready to bake the pizzas, take each ball of dough and form it by hand to the shape of the pizza. The edges should be thicker than the centre. The thickness of the dough depends on your own taste.
8. Garnish the dough with tomato, mozzarella and other toppings of your choice.
9. Bake in a very hot preheated oven for approx 7 minutes, at 250°C. 
10. Once the pizza is cooked, brush the edges with extra virgin olive oil.

Top tips to get your feet sandal-ready this summer

Sophie Demaret, Spa Manager at Constance Le Prince Maurice, has some great advice to get your feet looking sexy in this season’s hottest sandals.

Luxury foot treatment at Spa de Constance

Luxury foot treatment at Spa de Constance

Before you leave for your Indian Ocean paradise, it’s essential that you give your feet a few treatments.

1. Use a coarse-grained salt scrub twice a week in warm water to remove any hard skin.

2. Soften the skin on your feet with a thick nourishing cream, applying in circular movements until its absorbed.

3. Once you arrive at your Constance hotel, make an appointment with us at the spa and treat yourself to a foot treatment. At Constance Le Prince Maurice, the Guerlain spa offers a beauty foot break, the ultimate luxury for your feet.

Do you have any tips you can share for keeping your feet baby-soft and summer-ready? Get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

Edinburgh International Festival 2011 – round up

It’s not too late to enjoy the sights, sounds and culture of the 2011 Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival.

Edinburgh International Festival

Edinburgh International Festival

  • Get the scoop on the hottest tickets in town from the official Edinburgh International Festival website. Festival ends 4 September.
  • The Edinburgh Festival Fringe celebrates creativity in all its guises. Don’t miss it – the fringe ends on 29 August.
  • What’s hot and what’s not – read the Guardian’s top picks for this year’s festival.
  • Best joke at the Fringe has been named by digital channel, Dave. Nick Helm won for his joke: “I needed a password eight characters long so I picked Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.” See what else he had to say on the British Comedy Guide website.

Top 10 highlights of Madagascar

The varied landscape and unique wildlife are undoubtedly the highlights of the vast and remote island of Madagascar.

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Local Mitsio fishermen in Madagascar

Here you’ll find 32 different types of lemurs, all endemic to Madagascar and 250 bird species - 106 of which are only found on the island.

We’ve put together our must-see list of the island for a truly epic experience, with links to more useful information.

And, we want to know what you think – do you have an all-time favourite place in Madagascar that should have made it onto our list? Or photos you want to share? You can get in contact with us via Twitter, Facebook or the comments section below.

North Madagascar

1. Ankarana National Park

This national park is formed of a limestone massif with caves and canyons that have become home to many lemur and bird species.

2. Montagne d’Ambre National Park

This stunning landscape combines rainforest, volcanic massif and waterfalls. The park gets its name from the amber-coloured resin that drips from the trees here. You’ll find the crowned lemur, aye-aye, dwarf and rufous mouse lemurs. The reserve is also home to at least 11 species of chameleon including the tiny Brookesia minima.

3. Antsiranana

Gateway to both Montagne d’Ambre and Ankarana National Parks, Antsiranana is a brightly coloured port that retains a sense of its colonial past, with crumbling architecture and a deep water harbour.

Beachside villas at Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

Beachside villa at Constance Tsarabanjina

4. Constance Tsarabanjina

Constance Tsarabanjina is situated in the Nosy Bé archipelago off the North-West coast. With unspoilt beaches and superb diving, Tsarabanjina offers a total get-away experience where barefoot luxury is the order of the day.  Hunker down or use it as a base for your Madagascan adventure.

East Madagascar

5. Ile Sainte Marie

This small tropical island sits off the east coast of Madagascar. The channel between the island and Madagascar is a great spot for whale watching as large groups of humpback whales come here to breed between July and October. Diving is also superb. Protected from sharks, the waters off Ile Sainte Marie are brimming with colourful corals and fish. Orchid lovers should head here in September, when the flowers are at their peak.

South West Madagascar

6. The Spiny Desert

Thorny trees make navigating this area very difficult for animals, and the wildlife here has had to adapt to survive in this hostile landscape. Visit the spiny desert and you’ll find the ring-tailed lemur, sifaka, Madagascar radiated tortoise and Grandidier’s mongoose.

7. Avenue of the Baobabs

Baobab trees in Madagascar

Baobab trees in Madagascar

Some of the tallest baobab trees are found along the avenue of trees near Morondava, a small beach town in the south west of Madagascar. Six of the world’s 8 baobab species are endemic to the island, and they can grow up to 30-40 metres.

8. Kirindy Reserve

This reserve is just north of Morondava. Madagascar’s dry tropical deciduous forest is under threat and this 10,000 hectare reserve offers a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in the landscape. Here you’ll find several species of lemur including the pygmy mouse and nocturnal lemurs, as well as reptiles and amphibians.

9. Ifaty

This popular, laid back beach resort is renowned for its long beaches, surfing and whale spotting sites. If you’re up for an adrenalin shot, there’s also the opportunity to dive with sharks.

Central Highlands

10. Antananarivo

The lively Malagasy capital is surrounded by hills and rice paddy fields. You can enjoy some buzzing local city life, and visit museums, botanical gardens, markets, churches and restaurants.