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2 September 2014

Wanderlust

I think you can tell a lot about a person by what they spend their money on.  And for me, this has certainly changed over time.  A few years ago, if you'd given me £100 I would have spent it all on dresses, with maybe a pair of shoes thrown in for good measure.  Nowadays, my two wardrobes and chest of drawers are full to bursting and I give away more clothes than I buy.  And maybe a year or so ago I would have spent it on pretty homewares (a sure sign that one is getting older) - some accessories for the mantelpiece, kitchenalia or a pretty vase or candle.  But now our house generally is pretty full and I try and keep it relatively clutter free.  So what do you spend your money on once you've basically got all of the things? For Tom and I (and Tom has never really been interested in 'things' anyway), I think we'd both say travelling.  Not necessarily the backpack, braided bracelet, country-hopping type travelling, but just visiting new places we haven't seen before.

As I write this, I'm looking around at last-minute things that need packing for our USA adventure that we leave for on Tuesday (and when you read this, we'll be on our way there!) And this week we booked a hotel for our honeymoon in Bali next April (we're going for a month to make it a real adventure).  Feeling very lucky (and pretty broke) right now!

Most of our adventures tend to be a little less grand than 2.5 weeks on the West coast of the USA or a month in Bali however.  It's more likely that you'll find us away camping for a few days or on a short break in Britain or Europe.  For this reason I've been hunting for the perfect weekend bag for some time - something classic and stylish and (after a bad experience with a wheely suitcase on the Underground recently - SO many stairs) something that I can sling over my shoulder.  The Great Gift Company kindly offered me a couple of picks from their lovely website recently and I rather fell for this Weekend Travel Bag (£39*).  It's actually from the 'Him' section of the gifts but I think its simple design means it's pretty unisex.

Great Gift Co Review

It will be perfect for my trips to London and weekends away, and it even recently came camping with us for a few days and was the perfect way to stow all my belongings (rather than spreading them around the whole van which I usually end up doing).

Great Gift Co Review

The only thing that's almost as fun as adventuring itself is planning your next adventure.  This is done extensively via my T R A V E L and P R E T T Y (photographs of beautiful places) boards on Pinterest, Wanderlust magazine and several books I own.  I couldn't resist the 'Make The Most Of Your Time On Earth' (£13*) book from the Great Gift Company, it has 1000 must-do experiences from around the world and is perfect for adventure planning! I've been making lists of ones I'd love to do - and of course I had a peek to see if any of the places we're visiting over the next few weeks are in the book...

Great Gift Co Review
Great Gift Co Review

Are you a fan of travel and adventures? Where will your next adventure be?

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30 August 2014

Chewton Glen Spa Day with Next

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to go to the launch of the new Next Hedge End store, and myself and Emma spent a fab morning nosing around the wonderful new store and eyeing up lots of clothes and homeware bits! No sooner had we spent our vouchers, we were whisked off to Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa for what was one of the most amazing and special days I've had in a long time.

Chewton Glen is a privately owned luxury country house hotel and spa located about five minutes from me in New Milton in the New Forest.  The stunning hotel has 130 acres of grounds, a renowned restaurant and a spa that offers over 60 treatments.  I have hankered after going for a spa day there for some time so it was a real treat to be invited to spend the day relaxing in the spa and then attend a champagne reception and three course dinner (I think I speak for both myself and Emma when I say we felt like to rather lucky little ladies!)

The house is simply stunning, and as you draw up the private drive you really feel as if you're about to visit somewhere special.

Chewton Glen front

I loved all of the Hunter boots lined up for dashing out to the car on wet mornings!

Chewton Glen Hunters

When we arrived at the hotel we were taken through to one of the function rooms for tea and biscuits and to find out more about the day.  We were all given complimentary treatments at the spa, and those of us that had 1pm appointments were taken up to the spa area to fill out consultation forms. Emma had opted for a manicure and I picked a full body massage, so we excitedly made our way to the treatment rooms! My massage was absolutely incredible, so relaxing! I've never had a full body massage before and I had to try not to fall asleep, I felt totally blissed out.  I've mentioned I've been experiencing a lot of lower back problems and she definitely worked a lot of tension out of my shoulders, it was amazing.

After our treatments we went for a buffet lunch in the spa restaurant.  Both mine and Emma's eyes were a little bigger than our bellies and we piled our plates high with the yummy options on offer, and then went back for two helpings of dessert! Feeling a little full we then ventured down to the pool (full of chocolate mousse and going to a swimming pool is not ideal - oops!). Sitting outside in the jacuzzi bath in the sunshine was pretty perfect.  We then tried out all of their different hydrotherapy pools, the steam room and foot spa.

After a couple of hours enjoying the spa and attaining extreme levels of relaxation, we decided to venture outside to take in the grounds.  It really is a beautiful house and the grounds are simply stunning - there's also another outdoor pool tucked away to the side of the hotel.

Chewton Glen green Chewton Glen

We had fun in the leaf swings!


As well as the main hotel rooms, you can also stay in one of Chewton Glen's treehouses, situated in secluded spots in the forest.  You can just see in that photo one of the outdoor hot tubs.  Can you imagine lying in the hot tub in the sunshine, drinking a glass of champagne and enjoying the sights and sounds of the forest? There's even binoculars hanging from hooks in the windows for birdspottin - I think they've really thought of everything.

Chewton Glen treehouse
Chewton Glen woods

During a further walk around the back of the hotel we happened upon their bug hotel - I think these rooms are probably more in my budget than the treehouses (teehee!)

Chewton Glen bug hotel

There's even a beautiful walled kitchen garden, surrounded by wildflowers.

Chewton Glen kitchen garden

After nosing around the garden we then strolledback to the hotel terrace and stopped for a drink in the sunshine.  I opted for a local cider and Emma had a rather yummy looking non-alcoholic cocktail.

Chewton Glen outside
Emma at Chewton Glen

After all that exploring it was time to get changed for dinner.  The other press people attending were staying at the hotel as they'd travelled down from London, so we switched tops and put a bit of make-up on in the spa.  Doesn't Emma look stunning?


We went down to the restaurant for champagne and to take our seats at the dinner table.  The dinner table looked lovely with all of the fresh flowers.

Chewton Glen dinner
Chewton Glen dinner table

For my starter I had smoked salmon with sour cream and chive mousse, and shards of toast coloured with squid ink!

Chewton Glen starter

For my main course I had anglaise chicken and herb gnocchi.

Chewton Glen main course

For dessert I had strawberry pavlova with basil sorbet.  The basil sorbet was incredible, really refreshing and tangy - I must try and find a recipe!

Chewton Glen dessert

After all of that delicious food it was time to wave goodbye to Chewton Glen and the lovely Next ladies and head home.  It was such a wonderful day and I'm hugely grateful to Next for inviting me along.  Make sure you check out my post about the new Next Hedge End store, and pay it a visit if you're nearby!

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28 August 2014

Out and about: What's in my hand luggage?

I consider myself a pretty organised person - a lover of to-do lists and spreadsheets, with endless scribbled notes and appointments filling my Filofax, my finances carefully managed and all important documents filed in a box under my desk.  This level of organisation definitely extends to holiday planning - my pre-holiday routine usually involves creating files of all addresses we're staying at, organising travel insurance documents and tickets into a folder and researching local restaurants, as well as ensuring everything is ironed/charged/packed well in advance.

Even though we don't leave for the States until Tuesday, I've already packed most of my main bag (a big red holdall) and I've even started packing my hand luggage just so I can make sure nothing is forgotten!

Ritz recently got in contact about their newest product - Ritz Breaks, and kindly sent me an 'Out and About' pack so I can get my snack on whilst on the go! They sent me an awesome Mini Mi-Pac backpack with two packs of their new Ritz Breaks crackers, which are incredibly yummy.

Ritz Breaks

The backpack is the perfect size for hand luggage and will be really useful on my Trek America adventure.  I tend to always pack snacks in my hand luggage as there's nothing worse than being hungry on a long plane journey.  Buying snacks is definitely a favourite hobby of mine so you can bet I'll be hitting up the supermarket to get some sweets and other bits to accompany my Ritz Breaks in my plane bag.

Ritz Breaks

Electronics wise, I usually pack my compact camera in my hand luggage and my SLR in my main luggage.  You never know what photo opportunities you might miss out on the plane - obviously the classic 'wing and clouds' shot is not to be missed... As well as my camera I'll obviously also have my phone, my iPad Mini and my Philips Downtown Denims headphones.  I've loaded loads of books onto the Kindle app on my iPad Mini so I'll definitely be doing lots of reading on the plane and hopefully whilst we're away too.

I always pack a few skincare/cosmetic bits as there's nothing worse than getting dry and dehydrated skin from all that recirculated plane air.

Ritz Breaks

Here's what will be in my (clear) make-up bag:

Tisserand Focus Aromatherapy Rollerball (to keep me feeling energised and de-stressed during the flight)
Pai Skincare Rosehip Biogenerate Oil (to keep my skin hydrated and combat the effects of the dry air on the plane)
Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (I usually apply this before a snooze on a night flight as it's so quenching and soothing)
Jurlique Citrus Hand Cream (to keep my hands feeling soft throughout the flight)
Maybelline Baby Lips (I don't tend to wear make-up on flights so this will give a bit of colour and keep my lips hydrated)
Lush Sweet Lips (to get rid of any dry skin - and it tastes amazing!)

I also usually pack slippers or fluffy socks and maybe even some comfy jogging bottoms to change into if it's a longer flight.  Of course I'll be raiding WHSmith's in the airport for some magazines too.

What are your hand luggage essentials? Oh, and make sure you check out the MEGA yummy Ritz Breaks if you're a snack fiend like me!

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