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I love being from London but most of the family I have in the UK are also from London which means I rarely get the luxury of escaping to the country for the weekend but last month we did just that.

We drove down to Axminster on Friday evening and checked into our lodge at the Hawkchurch Resort & Spa. The drive was actually not too bad from London and the lodge was really nice! Neither Michael or I had ever stayed in a lodge but it was really beautiful and the perfect place to spend the weekend. We had a large kitchen/living room/dinning room area, a nice bedroom with a huge bed, two bathrooms and even a hot tub!

We arrived pretty late on in the day as Michael had work until a little later and we made the rooky mistake of thinking we could get dinner at 9.30PM as you can in London but luckily there was a Tesco not too far and we had a quick make-shift dinner.

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The following morning I discovered that the internet is currently not as good as I’d hoped (something that they’re working on) but it was actually the perfect excuse to switch off. We played board-games which Hawkchurch Lodge kindly provides, went on walks by the sea, cooked and chilled in the Hot Tub.

Sunday afternoon we headed out for lunch and I must admit we failed at this a little, we really wanted to visit The Tytherleigh Arms┬ábut didn’t realise we needed to pre-book but I will definitely check it out next time we’re in the area.
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We then drove back on Monday morning and were back in London after two hours, feeling far more relaxed and having really enjoyed some country air!

I was surprised by how much I feel in love with Hawkchruch Resort & Spa, it was the perfect way to spend a weekend in England and I’m already planning to book and go back. They’re part of Darwin Escapes and there are lodges up and down the country so I may actually check out one of the other locations but I can’t recommend Hawkchurch Resort & Spa enough.

I’m always hunting new places, not too far from London to explore over the weekend.

Would love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

madeira a little obsessed travel ALO

I always joke that I am the least travelled person ever (it’s not really a joke), I am 24 years of age and I have never left Europe. It’s never really bothered me, we use to go to Portugal for the month of August every year (and still do), visit family in France regularly and I’d been to Spain as were a 30min drive from the border in Portugal (plus it’s one of our nearest beaches). In the last two years I’ve also managed to add Beligum to the list as I’ve been there twice for work but that’s it. I’ve been to four countries in my 24 years, five if we include England.

I’ve decided it’s probably time I start traveling a little bit more, I feel if I want to travel I should probably do it now before I attempt to buy a house (who know when that will- have you seen London house prices?!) or even start thinking about having kids (this won’t be too soon either). This doesn’t mean I will be booking a 5 week backpacking trip across Asia and I can’t even promise I’ll make it out of Europe this year but I feel that with Europe City breaks being so cheap I really have no excuse! (well Mike’s a teacher and half term prices are cray!)

I have so far booked Berlin and Amsterdam for this month plus Rome at the start of April. There will be no change in my regular month in Portugal although I have seen that we can get from our house (in Portugal) to Madrid in a four hour drive so I am considering squeezing that in too.

I’ll be taking you all with me on my holidays through my blog, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat (alittleobsessed) and Twitter so make sure you follow me. I have lots of post ideas from city guides to how to book an inexpensive holiday and any luxury hotels I may stay at, which I really hope you will all enjoy. I’m also working on a few London guides for any of you looking to come to London.

In the comments I would really love recommendations on countries I should visit and what I should do in Berlin, Amsterdam and Rome. I’d also love to hear about your favourite holiday and also what you have coming up. Let me know what sort of posts you would like too, I’m really looking forward to sharing a different part of my life on here.

PS. I went through my holiday photos from last year to find the images for this post and I miss my tan and the sun so much I could cry.

Please hurry back summer.

Last week I touched on my trip to Spain in a blog post (here) but since my vlog is up too I thought it was a great time to talk a little more in depth. I went with SantaVerde an Aloe Vera based, natural skincare brand which recently celebrated 25 years and is based in the south of Spain (although the business/brain side is based in Germany).

The truth is that I don’t know a lot about organic or natural skincare and, if anything, it has always scared me a little so it was a great opportunity to learn. We arrived on the plane in Malaga and headed to Estepona where the Santaverde finca is based and run by Kurt and his wife Sabine.

They welcomed us into their beautiful house and shared both food and their stories with us. They originally bought the Estepona fina as a holiday home but later learnt about the power of aloe from a Texan neighbour who gave Sabine some to try on her own skin. After falling in love with the effect the aloe had and with their entrepreneur background the couple thought it would be a great business opportunity.

They spent a long time researching, experimenting, planting and harvesting the raw aloe vera and although their initial plan was to sell it on to cosmetic giants they realised that the big worldwide brands were misleading and using barely any aloe in their aloe products, often opting for aloe powder, knowing that it wasn’t as affective.

Instead of helping the leading companies mislead their customers they decided they we going to both grow the aloe and manufacture the products on their finca as a 100% natural, organic and honest brand.

The finca is now filled with aloe vera plants and a glass building used to harvest and process the aloe. Whilst we were there we got to witness the harvest and I even got to pick my own leaf. We then got to help the lovely girls with the washing and peeling, which looked far easier than it actual was. It gets prepared to be sent to Germany where the products are made and the companys business side is run from.

Unlike most aloe products the final results are pure, it doesn’t have bulking agents or powdered aloe and is designed to really work rather than to mislead people. All the products are unisex and don’t catered to a certain skin type. Santaverde is certified organic, cruelty free and vegan!

The finca is compleltey opened to the public and to it’s competitors (so if you’re ever in Estepona- it’s a great place to go) really showing that they don’t have anything to hide or a fancy recipe,  I learnt so much on the short trip and has really made me think about were my cosmetics and skincare items come from, what in them and how good they are for the enviroment,

Santaverde is available online and in Harvey Nichols  

It feels like a life time ago already but it was only last month that I was in Madeira. If you don’t know too much about Madeira it’s an island which is part of Portugal, but actually more off the coast of Morocco than of Portugal. I’ve been there a few times as my boyfriend’s family are originally from there and since his parents have a house there it’s a nice place for an easy and fairly affordable holiday. Although the tourists there are usually a fair bit older it’s actually a beautiful island and we always have a great time; consume far too much food and usually have some fabulous weather too.

I’ve done most of the touristy things in the past but there were a few things we never got round to ticking of the list. We went up to visit Pico Do Arieiro which involves is a bit of a scary but enjoyable (and safe) drive. It’s Madeira’s third highest peak which leaves you above the clouds and is potentially my favourite place in Madeira!

Another place I discovered this year was Santa Catarina Park, a fairly small but truly beautiful and free to visit park. We ended up here after visiting the CR7 museum (not my cup of tea), it was a really warm day but the perfect place to relax and have a leisurely stroll.

We also stayed a few days at the Porto Mare hotel and I’m so glad we did! The room we had was amazing: large sitting room, a good size kitchen, a perfect bathroom, balcony and a huge comfy bed. We spend the whole day by the pool, drinking cocktails, relaxing on our pool floats and playing games. We made the most out of the pool loungers and inside pool, although we didn’t get round to trying the outdoor hot tub.

For dinner we went to Kyoto Da Ilha which we were recommended to by some of Mike’s family. They serve some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, in a beautiful location too. It’s a little expensive compared to other restaurants out there but pretty cheap for sushi. I think this has joined O Lagar with being my favourite restaurant in Madeira.

The following day, after a great nights sleep at Porto Mare, we had a great breakfast outside in the hotel’s gardens where we had choice from a huge breakfast spread and then went on to enjoy the pool some more. We had such a lovely stay that I hope to be able to book there again for the next time we go.

Boy did this post give me the holiday blues but check out my YouTube channel where I’ll be sharing my Madeira vlog once it’s been edited.

Morange, Peach Blosson, Vegas Volt, Pure Zen, Lady Danger and Brave

Packing lipstick is probably the hardest decision I have to make when packing, if I could take a small suitcase of lipsticks, liners and gloss I probably would. Even though that isn’t possible I ended up with six MAC lipsticks this summer and a couple from other brands too.

I’ve mentioned before that I am currently in love with MAC lipsticks so although I only originally packed four I ended up buying two more at the airport. I ended up with three everyday colours and three brighter real summer shades.

First lets talk nude everyday colours…

I packed Brave and Pure Zen but ended up getting Peach Blossom at the airport as it came highly recommended on Instagram. MAC Brave is a great everyday colour all year round with a beautiful semi-matte finish. It’s a mauve shade which everyone seems to be going crazy for but which I think works really well with most of my eye looks and can really be toned down (made less Kylie Jenner) with a good nude gloss. Pure Zen is a MAC shade which almost confuses me a little, I love it but I think it really doesn’t work on me by itself. Instead I use it to soften lip liners or tone down lipsticks but it’s actually a colour I probably couldn’t live without. Peach Blossom is one of my newest MAC lipsticks and although it didn’t blow me away it’s a fabulous everyday peach nude shade which has been living in my handbag for weeks now.

The bold shade I ended up reaching for the most was my airport purchase Morange, it really isn’t the easiest colour too as it’s a really bright neon orange but it’s just perfect for holiday with a tan. I’m not sure I’ll be reaching for this again until next summer but it’s the perfect airport MAC lipstick purchase. I also took Lady Danger as my summer time red but didn’t end up wearing Vegas Volt as I forgot my orange liner and felt that Morange offered a more intense orange. Vegas Volt is a great more wearable orange which can really be intensified with an orange liner.

Now it’s time to start thinking about autumn/winter lipstick shades, leave your recommendations in the comments please….