Lydhurst Cottages: Sustainable Retreats without boarding a plane

The last long-bank holiday past I was determined to make something of the 3 days of expected blistering sun. Let’s face it, when the sun hits the UK it brings out a different side of people and makes everyone friendlier and way more approachable. No longer able to safely board a flight, I set about looking for country retreats with a focus on the natural and sustainable. Why should boarding a plane always equate a holiday? Even when you approach it from the sustainable side of the conversation, driving a few hours outside of London and setting up camp for equal doses of heat and tranquillity is a hugely reduced carbon footprint compared to that of boarding a plane (even if for a short flight). Especially if you are covering countryside miles in a TESLA.

Take our destination of West Sussex for example, where you still get the perks of endless miles of coastline, picture perfect treks and popular beach locations – Bracklesham Bay looks out onto the Isle of Wight and the English Channel – but with less time spent travelling for a 3 days or so our bank holidays usually afford us. I am not against the idea of flying away for bank holidays, but I wish more people would look closer to home because this was a truly magical experience for all of us. Armed with books, games, a car full of friends, food and trekking gear, we made the short drive of 1.5 hours to Warninglid and set up camp in The Farmhouse at Lydhurst.

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The Medieval Fairy-Tale Town in Belgium: Feel the Spirit of Brugge

A perfect destination for celebrating the New Year’s Eve, Christmas, or this holiday spirit in general, Bruges (or Brugge in Dutch) is a small town in Belgium where time has stopped for good. Cascading colorful houses, peaceful canals, greenery in abundance, and of course, ample beer, chocolate and famous Belgian waffles, among other things will make you weak in the knees as soon as you catch a glimpse of this vivid city and its diverse tastes.

Bruges seems to be a town made to tease your palate, pamper you with a lush stay in a boutique hotel that gives you an even more profound feeling of time coming to a full stop, and treat you to a voyage into the past with its numerous museums, galleries, horse-drawn carriages and streets cobbled to perfection. But don’t be fooled – this little town is well-versed in all things modern and advanced, as well! Read more…

Give Your Fashionista Soul a Gift – A Luxurious Travel Experience in Southern Greece

Time-trodden and soaked in sun, Greece is a Mediterranean Eden that has become a holiday hotspot for lovers of fine wine, culinary wonders, and sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. A less-known fact, however, is that this ancient country is home to some of the most opulent experiences in the world, and yet it still manages to remain on the wallet-friendly side without jeopardizing any of its rustic, untamed charm.

Among a plethora of its resorts and famous coastal towns, there are a handful of spots that remain unspoiled by crowds, especially during the late days of spring, and early summer. One such place is in the South of the Peloponnese peninsula, the region called Laconia, where a little piece of land is detached from the main coast, and is known by the name of Monemvasia. What may be considered one of Greece’s best-kept secrets, this jewel of a town is a slice of heaven for those who seek to relax and enjoy life to the fullest, the only way Greeks know how!

Fairy-tale-worthy accommodation

Perched atop the hills with a commanding view of Monemvasia, Kinsterna Hotel remains in its essence a castle, a remnant of the Byzantine era, and perfectly restored to meet the needs of the modern traveler, with an extra pinch of luxury. In the embrace of dreamy vineyards, olive and orange groves, as well as the Mediterranean Sea, the mansion strives for immaculate self-sustainability in every aspect of its existence. They boast their own herb and vegetable garden, which makes their every meal in their all-day restaurant a feast for the senses – if you’re ever there, do try the Greek breakfast, it’s to die for.

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Christmas 2017 giveaway – beauty gifts up for grabs

So what are ‘organic beauty’ products? By definition, organic cosmetics are created from ingredients which have been certified organic by one of the numerous certifying institutions that operate worldwide. An organic ingredient (or natural ingredient) is formally an ingredient which has been harvested without the use of synthetic chemical compounds. Net A Porter launched added beauty to its offering in 2013, launching with  a highly curated selection of makeup, hair, fragrance, nail polish and skin care products from a range of brands.

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Dive into the World of Healthy Hedonism by Amy Mia Goldsmith

Dive into the World of Healthy Hedonism by Amy Mia Goldsmith

As legend has it, the Chinese Emperor Shen Nung was a famed herbalist. He spent his time researching plants and their medicinal properties, as he believed strongly that one could find a cure for any ailment, if only they were to look at what nature had to offer. One day, when the servants were boiling some water for their emperor (which was taken to aid digestion in the ancient times), a few tea leaves accidentally blew from the tree and fell into the pot. The servants never noticed, and the water was served. The emperor saw the leaves, and just as he was about to ask for a new pot, his curiosity took the better of him. He drank the water, and found the taste to be more appealing than anything else he ever drank. And thus, tea was born, in 2737 BC.

Beginner’s guide

Are you new to tea? Well, we can help you start. There are technically only a few types of tea: black, white, green, oolong, and dark. They are all made from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis, and the difference lies in the process of fermentation, where the leaves come from, and which time of the year they were picked. All other teas are called “tisanes,” herbal blends of plants, roots, or seeds with potent taste. However, this term is rarely used, and the easiest thing to do is simply refer to all of them as tea. Want to know more about the history of tea and get some suggestions on which ones to try? Read on. Read more…

Oakley Court Windsor

I recently had the honour of staying at Oakley Court, a historic country house which overlooks the River Thames and sprawls over a 30 acre ground. The exterior presents a Gothic façade and endless sprawling gardens, with the garden’s centre-piece fountain and the surrounding rejuvenated orchards delivering unforgettable wow-factors. The 4-star residence hosts an award-winning restaurant, tennis courts, croquet lawn, and an indoor pool with stunning rover-bank views of the Thames. If you decide to wander outside the luxurious grounds, a brisk 10 minute walk will lead you to Windsor City Centre or Windsor Castle, or go a little further for Ascot and Thorpe Park, but you will always love returning to this gorgeous estate as your base. As expected with an estate dating back to 1859 and built as a home by Sir Richard Hall-Say, High Sheriff of Berkshire, the decor is unyieldingly traditional. Still, it offers a few surprising splashes of modern decor – notably the three riverside boardrooms – or slightly offbeat artwork, particularly the driftwood sculptures by James Doran-Webb.

During our stay, a favourite experience – second to soaking up the view – was the food. The menu is led by Head Chef Damian Broom whose second year saw the 2AA rosette award winning restaurant, The Dining Room, rewarded with two distinctions: Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life Restaurant of the Year and Chef of the Year for 2015. The dinner was fresh and delicious, prepared from scratch like all the meals served up in The Dining Room. In part, the richness of the dishes can be traced back to the kitchen gardens which provide seasonal, high quality and local organic produce. Read more…

Newquay with Cornish Horizons

I visited Newquay once when I was in my teens, but the visit was brief and though I remember the sandy beaches and beautiful homes,  I didn’t really appreciate how gorgeous it is – stunning views, rolling coastal lines et al – until a recent visit. Situated on the north coast of Cornwall, in southwest England, the town is best known for Watergate Bay beaches and a surfing community who enjoy the strong waves which come in from the Atlantic Ocean. This time, I stayed at a gorgeous modern cottage provided by Cornish Horizons, a family-run company (going strong since the early nineties) whose team know the land inside out and overflow with friendly welcome and a genuine passion for Cornwall. They have a portfolio over nearly 500 holiday cottages, all situated in glorious Cornish rural and coastal locations including Padstow, St Ives and Fowey.

Ocean Blue, the self-catering spot with a cracking Atlantic Ocean facing view of the local golf course and Fistral beach, that I stayed in is easily found in one of Newquay’s most sought after locations and offers a perfect place to soak up the region’s magical atmosphere. The second floor apartment was kitted out for everything our group needed, and within 10 mins of the beach where we watched waves break in a place known as a surfers paradise. Sunset and sunrise from the second floor apartment is purely picturesque, the ideal spot to relax and enjoy the impressive coastal retreat. Read more…