Sometimes you just really need to treat yourself, don’t you? And what better way to treat yourself than head to a Hilton Hotel for a posh spa weekend with a best friend? This is exactly what I did back in August with my good friend Katherine. Read on to hear more about the spa and what we got up to on our grown-up girly weekend!
I drove from Devon to Southampton and it took bloody ages in busy summer traffic! By the time I arrived (late!) at the Ageas Bowl Hilton Hotel and Spa I was hot, sweaty, stressed and very much in need of some relaxation! Lucky I found myself the right place for some proper R&R.
Katherine was waiting for me, having already checked into the spa and was enjoying a glass of Pimm’s on the sun terrace! I got myself checked in, completed the health form and we were ready to rock! Or should I say relax!
The Spa Facilities
The facilities at the spa were really good; large changing rooms with plenty of mirrors and hair dryers to check you still looked human after lounging around all day! After changing into our swimming gear and utilising our free flip-flops and bathrobes we explored what the spa had to offer. I headed first to the foot spa as I love all things feet treatment-related, whilst Katherine tried out some of the funky rain showers and even the ice cold one – she is mad!
We moved on to enjoy the pool which had some very relaxing jets in – we laughed hysterically though at how the jets blew up our swimsuits making it looked like we were balloons being blown up! The spa wasn’t very busy and so it felt really chilled and like we had the place to ourselves really. This made me feel much more comfortable as I’m not really someone that enjoys taking my clothes off and wandering around in swimwear!
After lounging around, enjoying the facilities and doing way too much gossiping, it was time for our afternoon tea in the before spa kitchen. This was included as part of our spa break package and it was totally scrumptious. The restaurant has a chilled vibe and guests using the spa can enjoy a light lunch or afternoon tea whilst being cosy and comfy in their bathrobes – ideal!
The afternoon was delicious and we were stuffed by the end of it. I’m not actually sure we were able to finish everything which is very unlike both myself and Katherine! There were little sandwich rolls, a variety of tasty little cakes and some lovely filling scones with jam and cream – perfect! The kitchen overlooks the golf course at the hotel and so there were some lovely views of the lush green course and we enjoyed spotting all the golfers – some of who were clearly more successful than others!
Next, we headed to the relaxation room to chill out in preparation for our spa treatments. This was a really chilled out room with super comfy chairs and relaxing music – I could have easily had a nap there! The spa deal included one spa treatment each and Katherine and I both opted for neck, shoulder and back massages which were super relaxing and just what I needed after a stressful few months at university. My massage therapist was really friendly and I had noted on my health form that I sometimes suffered from some anxiety and claustrophobia and she was really sweet in broaching this with me and checking the room, temperature and music were all OK for me. This helped put me at ease and I allowed myself to really (about 85%!) relax which is a rarity for me! I think I enjoyed my massage more than Katherine did which is a shame as I had hoped we would both feel the benefits of it afterwards.
We spent the reminder our time checking out the other spa facilities and doing yet more gossiping. We must have sat in the outdoor hot tub for a good hour just chatting and catching up which was great. We spent more time in the indoor infinity pool as well as trying out the heated relaxation room, saunas and steam rooms. I, of course, made sure I went back to the foot spa bit!
There were various different groups of people using the spa including mothers and daughters, small groups of friends and couples. I couldn’t help but think a spa day or break would be a lovely thing for Nathan and me to do together as I don’t think he has ever been to sap or had any professional treatments before! He, like me, isn’t one to take his clothes off and parade around either so he might take some persuading!
After enjoying our afternoon in the spa and re-dressing (it’s amazing how used to chilling in a swimsuit and robe you get) it was time for us to check into the hotel and see out room. We did this with ease and were pleased to find we had a lovely big room with twin beds. There was an en-suite bathroom with shower and all the usual amenities including complimentary tea and coffee and a huge TV. The room also had huge floor to ceiling windows and we were quite high up so I was glad there were net curtains to obscure the drop down to outside somewhat!
For dinner, we decided to check out the onsite restaurant owned by cricket legend Sir Ian Botham- BEEFY’S. BEEFY’s offers great British food and boasts awesome views over the cricket ground. There was actually a cricket match on the night we stayed so there were lots of people outside enjoying a local game – I personally don’t know much about cricket but this was the closest I had even got to a cricket ground so I found that pretty exciting! Despite there being a match on the restaurant wasn’t too busy and we were seated straight away. I loved the decoration and the huge chandeliers in the restaurant, it had a good vibe and people seemed to be having a good time. Katherine and I were both excited by the menus and ordered ourselves some cocktails and main courses. Unfortunately, that was when the excitement ended for us both with my drink arriving way later than Katherines and after our food arrived. After all the water and fun in the spa, I was super hungry and excited to dive into my huge chicken burger only to find that after a few bites the chicken breast was raw in the middle! We immediately sent it back and the waiter asked if I would like another one however I had been somewhat put off by the chicken and opted to have a replacement beef burger instead. This came very quickly and was cooked this time which was great but I had lost my appetite a little and then was fretting a tad about being poorly which ruined the meal for me really. I think Katherine enjoyed her dish however they didn’t seem to be much of it for the price and it felt a little overrated. We were equally unimpressed when the bill came with an already included 12% tip which we did refuse to pay given a slow service, the difference in timings with the drinks and the raw chicken burger! What a shame as I reckon the restaurant and food could be so much better here!
We made our way back to our room and chilled out watching some rubbish on the TV and chatted putting the world to rights. The beds were really comfy, the hotel quiet and we both slept well.
In the morning we headed down to BEEFY’s again where the included breakfast was served. It was buffet style and wow there was so much on offer! There were tables full of hot and cold food including all your full English breakfast items, fruit, cereals, pastries and more! There were plenty of juices on tap too and tea served to the table. It’s times like this when I am presented with all you can eat oodles of yummy food that I wish I was more of a ‘breakfast person’. I never feel I can eat much in the mornings and feel I don’t do justice to what is on offer. We enjoyed our breakfasts and I was glad to see everything was cooked fully!
We checked out and then it was time for Katherine and me to go our separate ways and head home! I really enjoyed our spa break at the Hilton Ageas Bowl in Southampton and would return for their spa facilities, afternoon tea, the nice hotel rooms and plentiful breakfast. The only downside was the experience at BEEFY’s but I guess maybe the restaurant was just having a bad night! The whole spa break cost us £150 which I think for a night in a posh hotel, spa treatment, use of the spa facilities and breakfast isn’t bad indeed! I look forward to the next spa break Katherine and I treat ourselves too!
In Dorset, I took a trip to the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum to learn more about Dorset’s criminal history and the justice system. It was super interesting but a little too busy for my liking.
I stayed in the gorgeous Hideaway at Kingsland Farm in Bridport, Dorset. I enjoyed sleeping in the very cosy shepherd’s hut surrounded by the most stunning countryside and even had a homemade cream tea yum yum!
Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway was another blog stop on my trip and one I thoroughly enjoyed. The gardens were super beautiful and the train ride was pretty fun!
I also stayed in Lynton where I went on the Lynton and Lynmouth Funicular Railway which was so enjoyable and gave me some great views over Lynmouth Bay. I took a walk to the Valley of Rocks where I saw lots of sheep and goats!
I stayed in Poole, Dorset, visiting the wonderful beaches of Sandbanks and also stayed in Taunton, Somerset where I visited the Museum of Somerset – a great free museum.
Back home in Exeter Nathan and I visited our local National Trust property Killerton to explore the Killerton Votes for Women exhibition.
October always brings my birthday meaning meals out with friends and Nathan too.
We visited the Minature Pony Centre in Dartmoor where we got up close to loads of miniature ponies that were so super cute!
We spent some time exploring the wild rugged Dartmoor and encountered lots of animals roaming free including a lot of cows and sheep – just so sweet!
For Halloween, I went to Knightshayes where the National Trust put on a spooky and fun event centred around classic scary tales! It was good fun and as a member cost me nothing!
Nathan and I headed to Sussex where my sister lives to attend my nephew Cillian’s christening. Whilst there we enjoyed a trip to another National Trust property called Monks House and played a round of adventure golf on Brighton seafront.
November was a pretty quiet month although I did get a fancy new waterproof jacket from Fashion World and enjoyed some Autumn walks.
We headed home to my parents in Kent for my sister Chloe’s 21st birthday and my sister Emily’s 18th birthday. They had a joint party which was lots of fun!
December brings Christmas mania across the world and for me and Scrapbook Adventures this was the same! Many of my adventures had a festive twist which always helps to make me feel all warm and Christmassy (often needed when working hard and studying!)
I went to York for a training curse related to my university research but made sure to tick off some blog visits whilst there. I went to Castle Howard and enjoyed their 12 days of Christmas even. The house and decorations were simply amazing.
I really enjoyed a tour of Yorks Chocolate Factory and loved the interactive parts of the tour including lolly making and a chocolate truffle demonstration.
My friend Katy and I enjoyed a wonderful festive afternoon tea at the lovely Kitley House Hotel in Plymouth, Devon. It was so tasty and a lovely Christmas treat.
Christmas was spent at home in Kent with my family where I spent many days enjoying spending time with my niece and nephew. I was lucky enough to get some really awesome gifts too!
For New Year Nathan and I stayed in a lovely little cottage in Bridport, Dorset and explored the local beaches including beautiful West Bay. It was a lovely way to end 2018 and welcome in the new year.
Here’s to a 2019 full of love, laughter and adventures!
Any adventures that take your fancy? Let me know in the comments below!
Welcome to the second part of the Scrapbook Adventures 2018 yearly round up! In this post, I will talk about adventures from the months of May to August and feature some of my favourite blog trips. If you missed part one of the years round up then check it out now to catch up!
May was yet another busy month for me and the blog with lots more attraction reviews and our first glamping trip of the year.
I enjoyed a trip to Carnglaze Caverns in St Neot, Cornwall, where I was shown around the caves and enjoyed a pretty fairyland walk.
I visited the lovely National Trust gardens at Trelissick House with my friend Emily where the spring flowers were just divine.
I took another garden walk, this time around the impressive Dartington Hall in Totnes with my friend Lucy. We enjoyed a scrummy hot chocolate and cake in the cafe too!
Nathan and I got some exercise by walking around Siblyback Lake in Cornwall which had some stunning views. We topped off our walk with a cheeky ice cream!
Continuing with the walking theme I walked a few miles of the pretty Grand Western Canal in Tiverton and had a naughty couple of treats to eat too! The weather was just lush!
The best bit of May was certainly our trip to Just Us Retreats in Crediton, Devon. Here we stayed for three romantic nights in the wonderful bell tent named Gabriel. We had an awesome time cooking on an open fire, relaxing in the hammocks and falling asleep by candlelight. This place is just the bomb!
Summer was well and truly here by June with many of our adventures starting to make the most of the sunshine and the quietness of attraction and beaches before the hoards descended in the school summer holidays.
We kicked off June by heading to Somerset to the magnificent Forde Abbey. Here we wandered around the incredible gardens and enjoyed a homemade pizza making workshop too!
I took a solo trip to Torquay where I enjoyed an overnight stay at the Heritage Hotel followed by a trip to Cockington Court the next day. I loved all the different craft and art shops and walks around the gardens.
Nathan and I spent a weekend at the cool Andrewshayes Holiday Park, Dalwood where we enjoyed a two-night stay in a glamping pod. It’s a great site with a games room, swimming pool and fields full of friendly cows to watch!
We spent the day at Wildwood Escot where we saw lots of amazing animals and really enjoyed a great bird of prey show. Definitely, a great place to take kids for a treat.
We visited the gorgeous Landram Bay and Otterton Village where we nearly died walking in the relentless midday heat and by nearly getting chased by a herd of cows! I have never appreciated a pint of cold lemonade so much!
The end of June was fantastic for me as I spent a relaxing night at The Wood Life in Devon. I stayed in a beautifully crafted shepherds hut and had the most amazing bath in the accompanying bathing wagon. I cooked my dinner on the open fire overlooking the gorgeous Devon countryside – a highlight of 2018 for me for sure!
July started with a trip to the circus! We really enjoyed entering the big top at Paulos Circus and watching all the acts – fun for all the family indeed!
We enjoyed a lovely trip to Bideford in North Devon where we stayed at Owl Valley Glamping. We were lucky enough to stay for two nights in a wonderful bell tent and had the woodland site all to ourselves. It was a lovely few days and we enjoyed play games in the parliament building!
Whilst in North Devon we visited Westward Ho! beach for ice creams and a chill on the beach.
I took a trip to West Bay in Dorset to meet up with some friends from my university days. We spent the day exploring West Bay including seeing all the sites from BBC’s Broadchurch. I had some Dorset orange marmalade flavour ice cream too which was a bit random and not as nice as I hoped it would be!
Nathan and I enjoyed a weekend staying in a camping pod a the Forest Glade Holiday Park in Cullompton, Devon. Here we enjoyed BBQ cooking, a cosy camping pod and games of pool in the games room.
We spent a random Sunday at Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre near Okehampton and played for ages on the old fashioned arcade games. We enjoyed riding some of the old fashioned theme park rides too, enjoying the dodgems the most! We followed up our visit by taking a wander around Roadford Lake before stopping for a chill in the sunshine and an ice cream!
I enjoyed a fun-filled and action-packed family holiday at Brean Sands Holiday Resort Unity with my sister, niece, nephew and nan! We stayed in a really nice caravan and had a great time making loads of awesome memories!
We topped the month off with a stay at Freshwell Camping in Croyde, Devon. We stayed in a unique stargazing getaway which allowed us to watch the stars from our cosy cabin. We enjoyed a walk around Croyde and to Baggy Point, of course ensuring we ate lots of ice cream! We visited Sandleigh Tea Rooms too which were really pretty.
August saw us head to Somerset and enjoy Nathan’s birthday weekend at Petruth Paddocks a camping and glamping site in Cheddar. We stayed in a rather lovely yurt called ‘Mr Yurt’ for three nights and had a great time despite some wet weather.
During our time in Cheddar, we visited the infamous Wookey Hole Caves which was a great day out. There was so much to see and do and we loved the tour of the caves and crazy golf them most!
I also visited Bishops Palace in Wells, Somerset – a wonderful Palace and gardens full of colour, history and perfection. I had the best time taking two free guided tours and soaking up the sunshine. I would love to go back here and would recommend for garden lovers and history buffs!
I spent some time doing university work at Reed Hall a grand old building and cafe on the Exeter University campus. It’s such a lovely place to go for some reflection and is a nice quiet place to work (and write blog posts!).
I also went on a lovely spa weekend with my friend Katherine. We went to the Hilton Hotel and Spa at The Agea Bowl in Southampton. We enjoyed a super relaxing massage, made the most of the spa facilities and enjoyed dinner in Ian Botham’s restaurant.
Nathan and I took a trip to Tintagel in Cornwall and enjoyed exploring the coast and the National Trust Old Tintagel Post Office.
My parents visited me in Exeter for the first time and we took a trip to Tiverton to explore the canal and have a tasty cream tea. I also took my parents to the Crediton Museum to check out some local history!
On another weekend Nathan and I went and played crazy golf at Dawlish Warren and stopped off for ice cream at the Orange Elephant on the way home.
I had a really great summer! So many fun glamping trips and lots of lovely days out to beautiful; gardens and beaches. I loved the holiday with my family too – defo a highlight!
Certainly another busy few months! What adventures do you like the sound of the most? Let me know in the comments!
Well, 2018 was a fantastic year for Scrapbook Adventures, seeing us venture out to many local places across the South West and beyond! It saw us spend the summer glamping at many of the best sites in Devon and Somerset and making memories that will be remembered for years to come.
The blog has gone from strength to strength and I am really proud of what I have achieved this year, especially given I am studying for my Clinical Psychology Doctorate and working for the NHS too! I continue to enjoy exploring new attractions, finding unique and cool places to stay and sharing them all with my followers and friends. Planning adventures, visiting places and writing blogs continues to be an enjoyable outlet for me and long may it continue into 2019!
Here is the first part of my Scrapbook Adventures 2018 round-up with a month of month guide from January to April detailing what I got up to and the places I visited! Just click on any of the links to be taken to the blog posts to read more!
So let’s kick off with January – often a very bleak and depressing month after the festivities and fun of the Christmas period. However, January started well for Nathan and I as we spent New Years in Kingsbridge, Devon, enjoying some peace and quiet and exploring the Devon beaches of Torcross and Strete. We treated ourselves to a wonderful afternoon tea at the Thurlestone Hotel too which was scrumptious to say to the least!
We also visited Exmouth for the first time, enjoying a crisp winter walk along the beach followed by some fun in the amusement arcades.
January also saw my friend Carly turn 30 and we spent the weekend in Bath hitting all the top tourist spots.
I visited Brighton for my friend Sarah’s hen weekend where we had tonnes of fun painting pottery, completing an escape room and enjoying many other hen related activities!
We finished the month by visiting the very cool Pirates Quest in Newquay, Cornwall. Here we immersed ourselves in the world of Pirates and myths from the sea – a great family fun day out.
March saw Nathan and I experience some paranormal activity at the spooky Bodmin Jail. Here we took a Historical and Paranormal guided tour which was so much fun, if a little scary at times!
I enjoyed a brilliant trip to the newly opened spa at Beyond Escapes in Totnes, Devon. Here I was treated to a full body massage, afternoon tea and made the most of the wonderful facilities. Their BE Indulged Spa Package is amazing and I really recommend it!
Nathan and I took a trip with Stuart Line Cruises where we enjoyed a cream tea cruise in Exmouth. It was a bit wet and windy but the tea and scones and fun commentary soon cheered us up!
Some friends and I tried all things cheese at Exeter Cheese Fest where we enjoyed watching Martin from Corrie do a cooking display! So random!
We enjoyed a lovely night away at Manley’s B&B in Tiverton where we enjoyed a very comfy room, amazing breakfast and lovely garden walks overlooking the Grand Western Canal. If you’re looking for accommodation in the Tiverton area then Manley’s is the place to go!
April brought about lots of blog adventures, many of which were in the Devon coastal town of Torquay. We visited the fantastic Bygones museum which was like stepping back in time and travelling through history. One of my favourite blog trips of the year for sure.
We also visited Torquay’s Dinosaur World where we enjoyed the dinosaur exhibits and quiz. I also found myself in fits of laughter while making Nathan pose with all the dinosaur models! Another really good place to visit with a family in Torquay.
We also enjoyed exploring the town and harbour of Torquay and enjoyed a tasty lunch by the sea at Anstey’s Cove – a place I would really like to go back to.
I went home for the Easter holidays and spent time with my lovely family. My little sister Emily and I enjoyed a round of golf at the newly opened Enchanted Vlliage Adventure Golf course in West Wickham, Kent.
April also saw us visit one of our local National Trust properties – Knightshayes. This time we were able to see the Lady Amory exhibition which was great.
Wow, quite a few adventures so far! Let me know what adventures you like the sound of in the comments below!
Longleat Safari Park is a fantastic day out for all the family. Nathan and I visited before Christmas to see Longleat’s annual event – the Festival of Light. We spent the day exploring the safari park which you can read more about in my previous blog post here – be sure to check out the pictures of the naughty little monkeys surfing Nathan’s car on the safari drive through!
This year’s Festival of Light centred around two young explorers whose adventures to India, Egypt, Antartica, under the sea, outer space and more were told using the beautiful and colourful Chinese lanterns.
These were just some of the first lanterns we saw which had a medieval theme to them and I thought they were really effective lining the paths for people wandering about the park. They looked amazing in the day but by night when it was dark they really came alive and were stunning to look at!
The beginning of the light parade to us back to prehistoric times to see the dinosaurs – super effective aren’t they! They even had some lanterns that moved for added special effects!
Next, the young explorers ventured to Egypt to see the pyramids and camels! The picture of the pyramid doesn’t really do it justice – it was such a huge lantern – very impressive indeed!
I just loved these train themed lanterns – so clever the way the lampposts look so realistic but really they are just made of very thin paper-like material! It was cool too as there was steam coming out of the train making it look like smoke from the engine!
Next, we took to a colder climate and explored the artic – this made me want to visit an igloo although I think it would be rather chilly!
The jungle was our next stop with some incredible animal shaped lanterns – the leopard definitely being one of my favourite of the collection.
The explorers even made it to outer space to see the planets and some shooting stars – not somewhere I’ve been before!
Next up we were transported to India. How cute are the elephant and the lovely lilac flowers – so pretty and very effective against the dark night’s sky.
This rose reminds me of the Disney classic Beauty and the Beast – just like a fairytale.
I loved the colours of the next journey, especially the bright pink fairy lights. Contrasted with the yellows I think they really stand out.
Our last stop on the light parade was to be taken under the sea to witness all the amazing sea creatures that live in the ocean. I loved all the bright colours and the characters dressed up with their little diving suits and equipment.
As part of the Christmas event, Longleat House was decorated with an Edwardian Christmas theme. No pictures were allowed inside but I can tell you that the decorations were spectacular and made us feel super Christmassy. Well worth a visit!
We were also able to see the big Christmas tree that’s full of lights that are so bright to the naked eye. Regularly throughout the day, there are light shows where the tree changes colours and patterns dance to a musical story – definitely worth the watch!
Tickets to the Festival of Light also included a chance to see the birds of prey show which was a nice watch and a fun way to end our day. It’s only short, lasting about 10 minutes, but the story is nicely told and you get to see some amazing birds flying and swooping overhead. I always really enjoy watching birds of prey shows but also get a bit nervous in case one decides to sit (or poo!) on my head!
We really enjoyed our day at Longleat Safari Park and loved the Festival of Light. Whilst tickets are pricey, I think there is so much to see and do that it is worth the entry fee. Even better if you can, use your Tesco Clubcard points as we did and you get in for free! The lanterns are so incredible and the theme was lovely to follow. I hope to visit again next year!