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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!

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.

I feel that the name of this blog post is a little misleading as I didn’t actually finish all of these products but the large majority were finished/close to finishing or I left them in Portugal for next summer as I wouldn’t be needing them in the current weather we’re getting in the UK.

I went through a lot of sunscreen this holiday and quickly found that aerosols are my favourite as they’re really quick and easy to apply. Towards the end of my holiday I was using the Kiko Wet & Dry Sunscreen which I really liked, it applied easily- which meant I applied it regularly- it’s a really easy consistency to blend and a really light weight. I also loved using the Hawaiian Topics Sun Spray Lotion and Lancaster Milky spray, both SPF15 but really kept me protected without a sticky feeling or white cast behind. I’ve said it numerous times but I really do think the best suncream is the Vichy SOS Balm, I didn’t quite finish it this year as the weather was only decent but I’d highly recommend it if you’re going away somewhere hot.

I also almost finished two Clarins Travel sizes; the HydraQuench cream and the eye makeup remover- I loved both of these items this August and used them daily. The eye makeup remover removed every little bit of mascara or eyeliner which I find is particularly important on holiday when I want to jump into a pool. The HydraQuench cream is one I’ve used for year but had put aside but I’ve fallen back in love with it. I have pretty dehydrated skin and it’s just perfect for injecting life and moisture back into it and I think I’ll make it my holiday cream from now on.

I landed back in London after a slight delay last night and it’s bitter sweet. After being away for a whole month I of course missed being at home (and having internet at home!) but at the same time I know I’ll have to wait until next summer to experience 30C+ heat and to spend a day lazing around in the sunshine.

I had an amazing holiday although it wasn’t anywhere as relaxing as a holiday should be. It was great to spend time with my family and friends whilst building some crazy memories with them all. I did actually try to vlog and will hopefully be editing and uploading over the next few weeks if any of you are interested in watching don’t forget to subscribe here. My holiday is a little different to a standard family holiday as we go away for quite a long time to see family that lives in Portugal and as a lot of my friends do the same I get to also spend time with them. Instead of sight seeing and spending time on the beach we spend time visiting family, attending parties, weddings and that sort of stuff but it’s still great fun.

I’ve got a few more posts about my holiday coming up but I just wanted to check in quickly and say hello. I hope you have all had a fabulous August wether you spent it away on holiday or at work, I’m still hoping for a few more days of sunshine.

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1. Make a new Playlist
There’s nothing like a song to take you back to your holiday which is why I think a good playlist is essential. Not only do you want it to fuel the fun whilst on holiday but you also want to be able to reminisce about your holiday every time you hear it once you are back.

2. Make space on your phone and camera for lots more memories
Maybe this is an obvious one but some how I always manage to forget and find myself frantically deleting half a dozen photos whilst my friends are posing for a photo.

3. Plan a few things to do whilst away but don’t plan too much
You want to have a few plans for whilst your away as you don’t want to spend your whole holiday researching what to do. Tripadvisor is amazing for this, you can plan things to see, where to eat and what to do. That said don’t plan too much, your holiday is suppose to be some what relaxing and you want to allow for some spontaneity.

4.Buy a new Perfume
This relates back to point 1. Make a new playlist I love putting on my perfume from the summer before and being automatically transported back my holiday which means I like to have a small bottle which I use throughout my holiday and occasionally when I’m back and want to be reminded of summer.

5. Prepare to disconnect and relax
Answer your emails before hand and set up an out of office, let Facebook know you’re off on holiday but save all the holiday pictures for when you’re back so you get a chance to disconnect from the real world and actually enjoy your holiday!

What are your tips for things you should do before going away? Where are you away to this summer?

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