We all love our holidays; hot or cold, far or near our holidays are our saviours in a world where we are always working. I love going abroad and exploring new places, however, in recent years with the rise of the ‘stay-cation’ it has come to my attention that there are plenty of beautiful and well worthy places to visit in the UK. I mean we are seriously blessed with stunning coastline, rolling green hills and absolutely picture perfect countryside. If not always the weather to go with it – but hey ho! So, my husband and I seem to have found ourselves partaking in the fast growing trend of ‘glamping’ for some of our holidays.

So what is glamping?

Well, essentially it’s glam camping. Hence the name. All the beauty and wildness of camping – but with a few luxuries thrown in. The luxury element can vary – sometimes you could stay in a fully heated yurt or bell tent with a full sized double bed, or it could mean a tree house in the forest with a compost loo. The facilities are not what makes it glamping – it’s the fact that it’s camping, with a difference. Something a bit special that sets the experience apart from the rest.

I’d like to share one of our favourite glamping experiences with you. We use the website ‘Canopy and Stars’ to choose our trips and they are fantastic. They can be expensive but they only advertise the best, most different, vintage, kitch and crazy glamping opportunities out there. Eco treehouses, camping pods, lodges and even a bedroom in a sphere suspended in the middle of a forest in Cornwall are all among their offerings. There are other sites but I have found them to be the best and their write ups of the sites are very detailed and accurate. You know what you’re getting into!

Ges the Horsebox – £135 per night

‘Ges’ (coincidently pronounced Jess) is a traditional horse box and pony trap situated in the Surrey countryside; a combination of staying in a retro, up cycled vehicle and camping in total isolation and peace. Ges is sitting in a field, in the middle of another field, which can only be reached by driving down a deserted country road in the most rural part of surrey. To my delight, apart from the staff in co op when buying out supplies for the weekend, we didn’t see another human for the entire weekend. Pure escapism. Seriously, the interior was gorgeous, and to say that the owners had thought of everything was an understatement.

The little pony trap was converted into a stunning modern bathroom with luxury toiletries. There was a picnic set, board games, colouring books, fairy lights, hot water bottle. The back porch was complete with bunting and a tambourine! I felt like I had wondered into a 1960’s hippy festival daydream.

I’m a huge advocate of the ‘digital detox’ – even as a blogger! I think it’s really important to step back from our devices and reconnect with nature once in a while, whether that be as a person, as a couple or as a family. It’s so nice to have no TV or distractions, just each other. Time to talk, laugh and truly enjoy each other’s company. We had no electricity, no signal, a gas stove to boil a traditional kettle or grill some toast and a BBQ which we used have burgers for dinner. Other than that we munched on the home made cake and bread which was provided in our gorgeous hamper when we arrived, along with milk, water and a few other essentials. It was blissful. I’d recommend this glamping trip without a doubt.

You can view Ges & other amazing glamping experiences on the canopy & stars website.

Have you ever been glamping??

Oxford is one of the UK’s most popular tourist cities after London for a reason. It is seriously beautiful there and I wanted to share some of my photographs with you.

During the half term holidays I was desperate to make the most of my time off and I scoured Groupon and Wowcher for a cheap weekend away deal which wouldn’t be too far from home.  I found a great deal on Wowcher which was a hotel, dinner and spa break deal for two nights just outside of Oxford.  I have been to Oxford before but it was many years ago so I thought this was a great opportunity to explore the famous University city again and combine it with a quiet, relaxing weekend away from London.

A word about the hotel – the Bignall Park Hotel. A perfectly lovely and comfortable hotel in an excellent location for exploring both Oxford and Bicester Village. We weren’t expecting anything amazing as these deals never are but it was great for what we wanted. The food was really good quality too.

When in a city as beautiful as Oxford it is only right to spend several hours wandering around looking at the beautiful architecture and taking pretty pictures of it.  We took the decision to be frugal and not take a bus or person tour but everything is so central it is easy to get round and see all the colleges and university buildings on your own. I love how they are all nestled throughout the city and the students have the total run of the place! The whole city centre has got a really cool, studenty vibe which I really liked.

Other things worth doing while you are there? Well, I’d recommend the covered market in the city centre for food, coffee or a bit of Christmas shopping. It’s full of unique shops and crafty stalls selling beautiful gifts. Of course, the city is full of ‘University Memorabilia’ shops, which ones are legit I’m not sure but you can get some really nice hoodies and mugs with ‘University of Oxford’ emblazoned on the front. My main tips regarding planning a trip to Oxford would be; do not drive! We were planning to but were advised by our hotel to use the local park and ride. It’s super convenient, costs a few pounds and  removes infinite stress of trying to finding a parking space and then paying £5per hour to stay there.

It really is a stunning city full of culture and history, and is an important city which defines the UK’s image in a big way.  If you haven’t been I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.

Have you been to Oxford?

This weekend we went to visit a friend in the cute seaside town on Hastings. It wasn’t really a weekend away, just a day trip but we had such a lovely time I thought I would write a post about what we did.

Hastings is very beautiful and full of old buildings and English seaside charm. We braced the August wind (it was freezing) and spent the afternoon down by the seafront, exploring the pier and admiring the brave surfers! The sea front has all the usual; arcades, stalls selling ice teams and souvenirs, children’s rides as of course fish and chip shops. However, it’s one of the prettiest and cleanest British seasides I’ve ever seen! And I’ve been to quite a few.

I was particularly taken with George Street, an old street full of vintage cafes, shabby chic boutiques and cute arty places, it’s definitely somewhere I would like to explore some more.

We weren’t really feeling like fish and chips (trying to eat clean!) so we stopped at hipster pub The Crown for some lunch. I was soooo impressed with their gourmet pub food and had probably the best bruschetta I’ve ever had, here or abroad! They also stock local beers and drinks and use local ingredients which I like.

A proper old, English pub – just how I like them.

Hastings is definitely worth a visit and it would have been even better had it been a sunny day. It’s a lovely seaside town which has enough going on but doesn’t seem to have been fully ‘discovered’ and overrun by city people seeking the beach on their weekends, like Brighton and Bournemouth have.  The beach is shingle but that’s never stopped us Brits!  Still good on a hot day for sunbathing, arcades, icecream and even a dip in the Atlantic (for the brave only)!!

xox

I absolutely love the New Forest. Ever since I first visited Paul’s folks down there I have been in love with the place. It is an area of the UK which is renown for it’s stunning, unspoiled beaches, rolling countryside, beauty, green space and they have frigging PONIES running free!! Seriously, how could you not love it.

The particular visit was even better than normal because the weather was actually good and we were blessed with sunshine and warmth both days of the weekend (which is like wining the lottery in England). When we went to the beach I felt like we could have been in the South of France.

Check out the pictures to see how beautiful this part of the country is.

Stunning views from the top.

Paul and I enjoy making the most of our weekends. We both have busy lives, juggling degrees, jobs (several in my case), social lives and all the rest, but we try and keep all this confined to the week as much as possible so we can really soend some proper time together at the weekend. And hopefully get away somewhere.  Paul’s parents live in the New Forest which is a beautiful part of the world, so we are lucky enough to have a seaside place to visit easily and see family at the same time.

I’m not going to lie, the drive is not fun. But equally the train journey costs and absolute fortune so it is much more economical to drive. WARNING: if you are behind the wheel – the horses roam free down there. And I mean actually free. No owners, they rule the road, and if they want to stand in the middle of a dual carriage way you just have to let them carry on. 10 mph is pretty much your limit. For a Londoner, it’s a shock! However, totally worth it.

During our most recent visit spring was definitely in the air and on the Sunday morning the sun was shining so we decided to have a go at a popular local activity in Mudeford: crabbing!

Basically, you put some fish in a bag, put the bag on a line, dangle it in the water for a few minutes and they pull it up and it’s usually got a few crabs clinging onto it! You can collect them in a bucket and then (of course) release them when you’ve finished.

It’s actually really good fun and I loved it! I would advise against trying to pick one up as I did though as they do in fact have claws and are not afraid to use them!!!

At any rate I would defiantly recommend taking a trip down to that part of the world whether you are keen on crustaceans or not. It’s a lovely way to spend a sunny British weekend and the scenery is pretty spectacular. And you will definately see a horse or two.

Visit the New Forest.

xox