I was offered the chance to review the new Aparthotels Adagio Brentford, so I sent my daughter Bee for a cheeky babymoon. The night’s stay was a gift – all opinions are Bee’s.

Adagio London Brentford A697

The one baby magazine that I read about 4 months ago told me to go on a babymoon with my ‘partner’, (he’s my boyfriend because I’m 23 years old), before the baby comes so we could appreciate having some nice quiet alone time together before our lives are filled with eternal screaming and we lose all feelings we ever had for one another. Or something like that.

Now I don’t really have a job, and the spare time my boyfriend has I basically force him to spend with me anyway, so I didn’t really feel like a romance needed to be rekindled, but it is always nice to have a change of scenery. The place I mainly always wish I was rather than here in dreary old Bath is London, so we decided to go there for the night.

It was actually sheer coincidence that we were then invited to stay in Aparthotels Adagio Brentford for the night to test out their accommodation! View Post

You know how sometimes life is feeling a bit like too much hard work, and you really just need a couple of days to take some deep breaths and have a break from home? I’ve felt like this for the last few months, and so our weekend at Bruern Cottages in the Cotswolds could not come soon enough.

Sometimes with a mini-break you go away and it’s nice but also you feel like you could have had the same experience just having a bit of a tidy up at home and watching a film.

Bruern Cottages was NOT like this.

Bruern Cottages review

Bruern cottages reviews

There are a few standalone cottages in the grounds I think, but the main area is this sweeping courtyard, with joined cottages forming three sides of a square around the edges.

I find the term ‘cottage’ a bit misleading really. I think of a cottage as generally being small, maybe a bit gloomy, but the cottage we stayed in, which you can see in the second picture above and was called Wychwood, was bright and spacious and basically bigger than my house. View Post

Post in association with On the Beach

I’ve got this thing with my nose.

When it gets cold, it goes red – a shiny, bright red, Rudolph style. I would like to say it’s kind of sexy and adorable, but it’s not, it’s just RED. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time, now Grannyhood is looming, before I start walking around with drips on the end of it. I may also grow warts on my chin.

What I really need is to be out of this cold, miserable weather and lying on a warm beach somewhere, living my best body-confident bikini life. Any nose redness then can be passed off as me being ‘sun-kissed’, which is a much better look.

family beach holidays

Perfect timing then for a 2019 Family Beach Index from holiday experts On the Beach.
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I’ve always wanted the chance to stay in a vintage VW camper. In fact, it’s on my list of 50 things to do before 50 – the new, vaguely anxiety-inducing list I’ve created since turning 40. (50? I will surely never be 50 years old?)

I’ve done a couple of longer road trips in big, modern motorhomes and absolutely loved them – the simplification of life, minimal stuff, and that feeling of being away from the real world is magical. There’s something very relaxing about it taking half an hour and a trip to an outdoors tap to make a cup of tea.

I’ve always wondered though how I’d get on in something a little less luxurious. It hardly counts as roughing it in a van if your double bed comes down from the ceiling at the press of a button does it?

Cue Happy Days Campervan Hire.

Happy Days is a family run business near Falmouth. They’ve been doing campervan hire in Cornwall for less than a year, but their two 1970s Volkswagen Westfalia Campervans are already proving very popular for weekend breaks and longer holidays. Both vans feature beautiful vintage interiors and are small but perfectly formed. They have full width double beds, space in the roof for a small one, and in good weather you could sleep another couple of people in a drive-away awning.

Now what I probably should have said when Happy Days got in touch, asking if I wanted to have a play with one of their vans for the weekend, is ‘that sounds amazing! How about doing something in the spring?’

What actually happened was that I was so over-excited that I looked at the calendar to find the nearest possible date I could feasibly do and said ‘Yes please! How about December 15th?’

I don’t know if you remember, but the weekend of December 15th was the one with the incredibly high winds and torrential rain. Couple this with a remote campsite on the most southerly coastline in the UK and it would be fair to say that it wasn’t exactly what you’d call optimal camping conditions.

Pah!

The sound of rain on a camper van while you’re tucked up inside is ace isn’t it? We packed our blankets, downloaded some films onto the laptop, filled a bag with ginger biscuits, hot chocolate and jumbo salted peanuts, and off we went.

We picked up Olive, the aptly named green VW campervan of the pair at Happy Days, at teatime on Friday. At a sensible time of the year it would have been still light of course, but we managed a pretty smooth handover by torchlight, and I took the wheel confidently, putting Belle in charge of directions to our campsite, half an hour away.

VW campervan hire UK

The ‘taking the wheel confidently’ bit is important. I’ve found over the years in these sort of situations that with Belle, the best thing to do is not let any nerves show at all, but to just assume the role of ‘person in charge who absolutely knows what they’re doing and definitely doesn’t have any doubts at all about how to change gear.’ View Post

With the daylight barely lasting until 5pm these days, it can be difficult to imagine that just a few months ago we were sat outside in the balmy summer air at 10pm with a light jacket. The cold weather and long nights can be really depressing, even with the Christmas spirit pouring in thick and fast as we make our way through December.

It’s never too early to start thinking about a summer holiday, and even though Christmas is expensive, with teletext cheap holidays starting deposits from just £49 what’s stopping you spending your cosy evenings indoors planning the perfect affordable summer holiday?

I’ve been having a look online for some inspiration of places to visit. If you fancy it, start a little Pinterest board of cool and fun places you’d like to go so you definitely remember them for the summer. Here are some of my favourite destinations at the moment.

Barcelona

I’ve been to Barcelona before, but there’s so much to see and do there that you always need more time than you think you will. A lot of people travelling go to Barcelona for a day trip while visiting other parts of Spain, but I’d fancy turning it into a holiday in itself. If you love the beaches more than anything you could go for an all inclusive resort and spend most of your time relaxing, or if soaking up culture is more your thing then you could head into the city and try loads of local restaurants. Maybe I could put into practice those weeks I spent learning Spanish to go on a date?

holidays in barcelona View Post

In association with National Express

Picture the scene…

It’s November 1st, I’m wearing my Christmas pyjamas, and I’ve cracked open a bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Cream. There might be a mince pie warming in the oven and it’s all I can do not to watch the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special. Even better, I don’t care a jot about all those people who are HUMBUGGING all over the place, telling me November is too early for Christmas.

IT’S NOT.

If it was, then how do you explain the fact that there are currently over 50 wood cabins in Bristol city centre selling Christmas gifts, mulled wine and oversized sausages?

(Seriously, what is it with the bratwurst? Why do they not design them to fit in the buns, or buy buns big enough to hold them?)

Bristol Christmas market

Bristol Christmas market even has CURLING, which feels pretty festive to me, and a Jäger Barn Bar, which feels slightly less so, but I guess it’s drinking, so that counts. Of course the downside to visiting a Christmas market is that often you’ve driven there, which means you can’t really do the mulled drinks offering justice. Ironically, the stress of finding somewhere to park, and then realising it is going to cost you £2 PER HOUR, means you really need a mulled wine more than ever.

Fortunately I have a solution: National Express.

Ta-dah! View Post