Category Archives: Travel

Adventures Outside the City: The Ethicurean

September 5, 2017

Life / Photography / Travel

Beautiful orange flowers in a rustic sink at The Ethicurean near BristolBlue sky above the walled garden at The Ethicurean, BristolBlue sky and sunflowers at The Ethicurean, Bristol

I always say one of my favourite things about Bristol is its proximity to a wealth of gorgeous countryside. We haven’t had a car for the last few years however (and I don’t cycle), and although there’s plenty of green spaces and walks reachable on foot it’s not the same at jumping in the car and escaping the city. With a little one on the way, we decided it was time to get a new motor and, aside from all the practical benefits, I’m beyond delighted that we can go on mini weekend adventures.

Instead of discovering somewhere new, for our first exertion we headed to one of our favourite places on the outskirts of Bristol, The Ethicurean. I sing the praises of this place to anyone who will listen and it is quite a regular feature on my Instagram feed. But for those who don’t know The Ethicurean is restaurant set within a beautiful victorian walled garden. The views are stunning, the seasonal dishes they serve taste and look incredible and there’s a signature toffee apple cake that’s nothing short of magical!

Tea and toffee apple cake at The Ethicurean, BristolRestaurant at The Ethicurean, BristolVeg for sale at The Ethicurean, Bristol

We left it a bit late to book a table for lunch but that didn’t stop us turning up for a wander around the lovely kitchen gardens and enjoying a slow afternoon in the sun with a pot of tea and a slice of the aforementioned amazing-toffee-apple-dream-cake! I’d recommend a trip at any time but this end of summer season seemed like a particularly beautiful time of year to visit, the gardens were luscious with gorgeous flowers in bloom and the trees abundant with fruit.

It’s sort of amazing to me that barely a 30 minutes drive away from the city centre we can find such a perfect slice of countryside paradise. That said, every visit at some point includes the inevitable musings on local property prices. But for now we’re content to head back to our town house with a full bellies, full camera rolls and a full veg box to boot!

Looking out at Mendips view at The Ethicurean, BristolVeg for sale at at The Ethicurean, Bristol Veg for sale at at The Ethicurean, BristolBright orange flowers in a rustic sink The Ethicurean, Bristol

More ‘adventures outside the city’ to follow! Where would you recommend for a day-trip jaunt?

Words: A Day Away

April 17, 2017

Travel / Writing

Durdledoor, Dorset, Feet in the sand, A Day AwayEvery person needs to take one day away.
A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.
Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us,
and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted,
no solutions searched for.
Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Maya Angelou (full poem here)

Perhaps the trend of sharing inspirational quotes and phrases online is seen as cheesy by some and I suppose there are some more famous quotations that get bandied about to the point of cliche. However, personally I’m thankful for this type of sharing because I think there’s something so special about coming across words that really resonate with you.

It might just be for a moment; you read a quote that lifts you up, provides inspiration or spurs some motivation that you were otherwise lacking. Or sometimes you come across quotes or phrases that speak to something deeper inside you and you know theses words will stay with you for a lot longer.

That’s how I felt when I first read A Day Away by Maya Angelou. Discovered on Instagram of course, these words although articulating something so simple just resonated with me. They are beautiful yet they feel instructional too; like a recipe for a more joyful life. Everyone needs A Day Away – to find some headspace, to unplug, to defend against burnout – it just makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?

Durdle Door Walking Away

For me a day away definitely involves a ‘digital detox’. I feel like it’s a cliche to say that these days, but I think it’s so important to take a break from the constant checking notifications and the mindless scrolling. Especially because all the apps and social channels are tools of my work, if I’m having a day away proper then I really have to disconnect entirely. I rely on social media daily; for distraction, for inspiration, for community and comfort, and to be honest I don’t mind relying on it for those things, but it definitely feels good to break the habit every now and then. I find that after a day or two of a blanket ban I am much more mindful of my usage – at least for a little while.

Ideally a day away for me would mean getting out of city; to the sea or the mountains. My head becomes the clearest when out in the wild and breathing in fresh air. I’m sure you might feel the same. That said, a day away doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be about literally getting away. It could be taking yourself to your favourite cafe or park, to a spa or to see a film.

I think the key, taking our cue from Maya Angelou, is a day spent not thinking about obligations or worrying on problems. Often it’s in those moments when you’re not searching for answers when things suddenly become oh so clear.

Maybe it’s something in the Spring air but I’ve noticed a couple of my blogging friends have recently put down thoughts in a similar vein. I urge you to go and read Lyzi’s post on Taking Time as well as Siobhan’s Lessons from the Mountains. Both are beautifully written, insightful pieces on taking a day (or days) away.

The Pig near Bath: Our First Wedding Anniversary

October 29, 2016

Travel

The Pig is a small chain of hotels with five locations across the south of England. As a self-proclaimed “restaurant with rooms” The Pig is a dream getaway for foodies so treating ourselves to a night at The Pig near Bath was the perfect way to celebrate our first wedding anniversary.

The Pig near Baththe-pig-near-bath-01The Pig near Bath, hotel room, bed

Wanting to make the most of our time away we headed out of Bristol just after lunchtime and checked in at The Pig in the early afternoon.

Opting for a ‘Snug’ room (The Pig’s smallest, cheapest option) certainly didn’t feel as though we were scrimping in terms of luxury at all. The lovely room, with its Pinterest-worthy bathroom, huge bed and gorgeous countryside view was perfect for us and included all those little touches that make a stay feel that bit more special. I’m almost certain you won’t find such a well-stocked room fridge in any other hotel! As tempting as it was to just don robes and stay in bed all day devouring the contents of the mini-larder, heading out to explore the grounds won out.

The gardens at The Pig near Bath are some of the best kitchen gardens I’ve ever had the pleasure of wandering around. I think we were especially lucky to visit at what, in my opinion at least, is the best time for gorgeous produce; surely there is nothing better than a greenhouse full of pumpkins?! We had such a dreamy afternoon wandering around the grounds, admiring the abundance of veg, visiting the resident pigs and deer. We also shared a pizza from the outdoor oven and enjoyed a couple of beers in the September sun.
The Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, PizzaThe Pig near Bath, bread trolley

One of the things I love about The Pig near Bath is how many different spots there are to just stop and sit and enjoy your surroundings. There’s just something that delights me so much about a well-placed bench in a secluded spot or a vintage armchair in a cosy nook –  it conjures up and encourages ultimate relaxing experiences – drinks on the terrace, conversations under  the trees, watching the sunset over the deer field, reading by the fireside. Of course, all this luxuriating and relaxing can be taken to the next level as The Pig has a potting shed spa treatment room – next time maybe!

The Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, The Pig near Bath, greenhouse

Starting with a celebratory cocktail in the bar, dinner was divine. In our typical indecisive nature, we opted to share a selection of ‘Piggy Bits’, starters and small plates to try as much of the menu as possible. Everything was delicious with Will and I agreeing that the cured salmon, which is smoked on site, was honestly some of the very best smoked salmon we’d ever had; and despite all the amazing things we sampled our resounding favourite dish was the bacon jam on toast!

After dinner we decided to retire to the library room to enjoy a cheese board and another couple glasses of red wine, we even found our favourite board game. Sat in the cosy room by a roaring fire, playing backgammon with cheese and wine we felt quite at home.

The Pig near Bath, greenhouseThe Pig near Bath, dining roomThe Pig near Bath, sunset

The breakfast spread at The Pig is what I imagine mornings must look like in heaven – fresh sourdough, homemade granola, boil-your-own eggs; plus we ordered from the cooked breakfast menu to boot!

Determined to squeeze every last moment out of our stay, we ordered a final coffee after we checked out and whiled away another hour with a book in the comfort of the drawing room. Can you tell I would have happily stayed at The Pig near Bath forever!?

The Pig near BathThe Pig near BathThe Pig near Bath, dining room

I’m a girl who enjoys life’s simple pleasures so to me, true luxury is feeling totally relaxed in beautiful surroundings accompanied by good food… that said, what can’t be improved on by a sea view and fresh seafood? Pig on the Beach I’ve got my eye on you for the next special occasion!

Photo Diary: Chasing Waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons

June 15, 2016

Photography / Travel

Brecon Beacon Waterfalls Sgwd yr Eira close upBrecon Beacon Waterfalls RiverBrecon Beacon Waterfalls In Pine Trees

Sometimes one of my favourite things about Bristol is how quickly you can escape from it!

On the late May bank holiday weekend we packed a picnic in our hire car and headed off for an adventure to go chasing waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons.

Before I’d lived in Bristol I’d only ever been to Cardiff, but over the last eight years I’ve had the chance to explore nearby Wales a lot more. I’ve loved discovering its beautiful beaches, mountains and now the incredible waterfalls in the Brecons.

Brecon Beacon Waterfalls Scramblers Brecon Beacon Waterfalls 4 falls

Each of the four waterfalls the route took us passed was stunning but without doubt the highlight was the huge Sgwd-yr-Eira fall. Being able to walking behind the wall of roaring water was pretty much magical.

The sun shone on us all day and the walk was long and tough at times but in that way that feels good and rewarding. After returning to the car for a well needed flask of tea accompanied by a melted chocolate bar we drove the scenic route through the mountains home. Such a perfect day – my favourite of the year so far.

Brecon Beacon Waterfalls in front of Sgwd yr Eira Brecon Beacon Waterfalls behind Sgwd yr Eira waterBrecon Beacon Waterfalls behind Sgwd yr Eira

The waterfall country of the Brecons isn’t exactly on our doorstep but having all this spectacular scenery within just a couple hours drive is amazing. I’d love to hire a car more regularly to explore more and I’m sure there are many beautiful escapes on the outskirts of Bristol reachable by public transport I’m yet to discover – If anyone has any tips let me know! 🍃🌿

Brecon Beacon Waterfalls Shoes

If you’re inspired to go chasing waterfalls in the Brecon Beacons yourself, the Four Waterfall trail I took started at the Cwm Porth car park, find details at breconbeacons.org.

Our Honeymoon in The Lake District

April 26, 2016

Love + Marriage / Travel

Lodge

Since our wedding day in September last year, seven months have flown quickly by. I don’t think I really experienced post wedding blues as such; however I often find myself daydreaming of our honeymoon in the Lake District where we spent our days outdoors amongst the most spectacular scenery as we took time to unwind and just be together, basking in the afterglow of a beautiful wedding weekend.

A south-west girl through and though, I’d never been to the Lake District before and I was completely blown away by the beautiful landscape. Having just tied-the-knot on the rugged South Devon coast I feel like, during that wonderful late summer week, we really got to experience some of the very best of our country’s wilderness! Whether by the sea, in the woods or amongst the mountains, my mind and soul are just more content when spending time outdoors. Better still is getting the chance to stay, cook and eat in the open air and sleep under the stars.

The Lodge Cumbria Canopy and Stars

I knew the moment I discovered The Lodge on Canopy & Stars it was the place for us to honeymoon, some people may dream of posh 5* hotels – give me a secluded cabin in the woods! That’s certainly not to say our stay at the beautiful log cabin, set on Edenhall Estate near Penrith, wasn’t completely luxurious. Walking down through the woodland path and discovering The Lodge sat in its clearing by a river bend was nothing short of magical!

It’s hard to imagine a place more peaceful and tranquil; sat on the porch of the cabin watching for signs of wildlife, listening to the sound of the river, surrounded by tall pine trees with the glimpse of mountains in the distance – it was the perfect romantic hideaway.

Supper on the porchSupper at The Lodge Canopy & Stars Cumbrischarlie at the lodge

Although reluctant to step in from the outdoors, once the chill of the evening brought us in we spent the cosiest of nights playing backgammon in front of the wood burner before retreating up the wrought-iron staircase to bed. The large tent shaped window that features in the cabin’s master bedroom means that you can enjoy the river side view in the morning with a cup of tea whilst remaining snug in bed!

WoodburnerCast Iron stair case Master bedroomAlthough I could have easily spent all day sat on that porch The Lodge was also the ideal base to get out and explore the Lakes. We were delighted to discover the gorgeous walk up Gummer’s How situated just south of Lake Windermere. Although Gummer’s How is a relatively small peak by Lake District standard it is the highest point in the immediate area and therefore boasts the most spectacular panoramic views. Passing beautiful fell cows that graze along the route, the ramble up is gentle but rugged enough in places to make you feel like you’ve earned the sights that greet you at the summit.

View from Gummer's How WindermereView from Gummer's How Windermererings at gummers how

Aside from having the most dreamy honeymoon lodgings and being immersed in awe-inspiring landscapes our trip was topped off with the fact that Cumbria is a foodie’s paradise, not surprising considering the wealth of wonderful local produce.

Our beautiful stay was so special; relaxing and enjoying time outdoors was exactly what we needed after the crazy run up to the wedding but there’s so much more I’d love to explore in the Lake District – It’s definitely somewhere I can see us returning to again and again.

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