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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Our Cottage Break at The Stables, Charlecote ♥

Liam came back from his first Army deployment on New Years Eve and I excitedly drove down to Gatwick airport to pick him up in preparation for our week ahead. We spent New Years Eve celebrating in Milton Keynes city centre and had a lovely steak dinner at Cafe Rouge and then went out to a few bars. The next day we drove to a little village called Charlecote near to Stratford Upon Avon, as we had booked a short break away to relax at a luxury self catering cottage called The Stables. 

It was only about an hours drive away from where I live, but it was so nice to be able to get away, especially as Liam had spent the last 3 months in Africa. he location of the cottage was ideal for us, as it is set in a rural village just 4 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon and 5 miles from the historic town of Warwick. It's also not far from the charming town of Leamington Spa, and an easy drive from The Cotswolds.

We pulled up to the cottage which was easy to find thanks to the directions provided by the lovely owners. I had found the cottage online as I was looking for somewhere perfect for us, and I really wanted somewhere cosy and preferably with a hot tub! This accommodation ticked all the boxes and was exactly what we were looking for. I emailed the owner Katriona in November and she agreed a price for us and so we then paid the deposit; booking was easy.

The traditional grade 2 listed cottage looked absolutely beautiful from the outside, and on arrival, the cottage was lovely and warm as the wood burner had been left on for us as it was a very chilly day. We'd also been left some delicious shortbread biscuits which I thought was a lovely touch! The whole cottage is decorated to a very high standard, and I was pleasantly surprised by how large it was. The living and dining area is very big and open, with two big comfy sofas in front of the fire and a nice big TV which had Sky access. There was also plenty of DVD's and books to keep any visitors occupied! The kitchen was fully equipped and had everything you needed to cook proper meals. Although we mainly ate out throughout our stay, except for making breakfast and snacks when we used the kitchen facilities. It was like a home away from home, with everything there for you to help you to relax and enjoy your stay.

The bathroom was fresh and clean and included a nice big shower, and the bedroom had a huge bed with down filled bedding and crisp white Christie sheets and towels. The cherry on top was the beautiful green surroundings and of course, the outdoor hot tub! I had brought with us a bottle of champagne and there was champagne glasses and a fridge ready for us by the hot tub. The hot tub was all warm and set up ready, we simply needed to take the cover off and turn on the sweet fairy lights. We only used the hot tub once, but it was so lovely to be able to use it after a long day out. We were also provided with thick bath robes so we could wrap up to walk to and from the cottage and the tub.  

We spent our days getting up late, enjoying breakfast in bed, and then going out for the day visiting local towns. I really enjoyed looking around Leamington Spa which had some lovely shops, but unfortunately it was raining so we were running around a bit. We mostly ate out during the day, and on the Sunday we went to Stratford for a roast dinner carvery at The Old Thatch Tavern which was delicious! We also got the train to Birmingham one day from Stratford parkway, as it was only £6 for a return ticket so we thought we'd go shopping for the day. I was really sad to have to leave the cottage after spending 4 nights there, but we had a brilliant relaxing break, and I'd love to stay again maybe in summer! There was still so much to see and do; I'd love to have visited Warwick Castle and had more time to look around Leamington. It was the perfect break that we wanted, and it was well worth the money, and excellent value (3 nights or more, £85 per night).

Cafe Rouge steak baguette | Beef roast carvery

Oreo milkshake from Blue Cow | Stratford Upon Avon

Giant wooden soldier selfie | The Christmas Shop

We made baked Camembert | Italian lunch at Ask


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Pretty Garden Inspiration* ♥

Winter is coming to an end shortly, so it's a great time of year to start thinking about how to spruce up your garden for the summer season. When I was little I used to love gardening with my Mum, and I was always jealous of my friends big gardens with nice decor and snazzy water features. We have a rather odd shaped garden which has always been a bit tricky to make 'pretty', but I like to browse Pinterest and magazines for garden inspiration. One day I'd love to have my own rose lined garden with a pretty little pastel coloured shed at the bottom!

There are loads of great ideas for how to give your garden a make over, and there are some really cheap and easy ways to do it:
  • Inject some colour into your garden by painting your plant pots with any left over paint
  • Stain your wooden fences, shed, and garden decking to give them a fresh, clean look (get some inspiration online at Tesco) 
  • Buy mis-matched plant pots to give a shabby chic style
  • Add a cute bird table and water bath to your lawn for an instant feel good feeling
  • Fancy al fresco dining? Why not brighten your old garden furniture with some spray paint
  • Invest in some low priced solar lights and garden ornaments to give your garden a boost 
  • Add some flowers to hanging baskets and potted plants; they're easy to take care of!
Here's some of my favourite garden accessories that I've found browsing the web. They're all fairly low cost and there's plenty of alternatives available on the high street too. I've also found a few inspiring garden photos from Pinterest.

Pretty decking, pots and lanterns in Nic Guymer and Dave Turner's London garden Amazing Garden shed
Faith and Love ~ A Vintage Afternoon Tea Party Wedding... - Love My Dress Wedding Blog Vintage bikes + Spring Flowers with a little touch of bunting..... #weddinginspiration #fauxflowers

* In collaboration with Tesco

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Pound Shop Finds ♥

Sorry for my lack of posts lately, I've been watching far too many episodes of The Undateables on my iPad in bed (how had I never seen this before?!). I've also not been shopping since Boxing Day so I haven't had much blogging material, but I've collected together some of my most recent pound shop purchases, including some branded beauty buys and cute homewares.

I picked up these four Rimmel beauty products all in one sweep at my local Poundland store recently! I was really pleased to have found them, any my mini haul included the Scandaleyes gel eyeliner, Colour Rush lip crayon, Apocalips lip lacquer, and Space Dust nail polish. Unfortunately I didn't realise the gel liner was blue, I thought it would be black! But it is really nice to use, and sells for £7 in Boots. 

The Colour Rush balm crayon is my favourite new bargain product, which is a hot pink colour, and usually sells for £6. I've bought the Apocalips lacquer in the past at full price, so I couldn't resist buying it for only £1 rather than £6 when I saw it! And finally, the lovely pink glittery Star Dust nail polish is a new top product of mine, as I love the fairly neutral colour with a bit of sparkle, and is usually £4.

 I bought these goodies from the 99p Store, which doesn't usually tend to have much in the way of cosmetics, but they do sometimes have a few nice pieces. The Revlon nail polish I've been wearing for 2 weeks now and I really like the simple shade. I also picked up a Baby Lips lip balm in cherry flavour which I bought for my niece and she loves! And also I've always loved the tinted Applelicious lip balms from NYC and unfortunately they seem to be being discontinued now, so I picked one up before they go!

I also got this royal blue colour L'oreal Paris nail polish from Poundland recently, it's such a lovely bold shade! I bought quite a few of these last year too, they seem to go in and out of stock.

 These skincare products I bought from the 99p Store which is a brand new shop in my town. They have some really good branded items and I picked up these three including the Clearasil Refreshing Pads, Olay Day Lotion, and Garnier Vanishing Cream. I don't think these products are generally sold in the UK, but they're genuine branded products and these ones seem to have South African labels on.

Also from the 99p store, I bought this L'oreal Paris Elseve quick oil repair treatment. To use it, you use after shampooing, leave for a few minutes and then rinse it out. I think this product was originally for the Eastern market, but it's great!

 I bought these two hair 'cleansers' from Home Bargains as I was intrigued by their 49p price! When I got home I Googled them and these mini bottles sell for almost £6 from Look Fantastic! They're only 75ml so not full size, but I thought I'd give them a try for the 49p, and they have good reviews on Amazon.   

 Poundland have lots of new baking goodies in a range designed by baker Jane Asher. The range includes lots of cake decorations that are only two for £1, so I picked up these pink pearls and white chocolate stars for my next baking afternoon!

 These beautiful pink dinner plates are from Poundland and I love the polka dot and floral pattern. I think they're a great buy for only £1 each! They had the bowls and side plates etc too to make up a whole bargain vintage dinner set.

 They also had this cute mini cake stand in a few cute pastel colours, I couldn't resist it! Although I'm unsure what I'll use it for... 

 I think Daisy Patch designs are really cute, so I also picked up this slimline diary from Poundland, to try and help me keep organised now it's the new year!


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