Sunning Ourselves at Sandleigh Tea Rooms, Croyde, Devon

Sunning Ourselves at Sandleigh Tea Rooms, Croyde, Devon

During our summer stay in the lovely ‘Getaway’ at Freshwell Camping in Croyde we explored the area and made the most of being right on top of the gorgeous North Devon coastline.

After a lovely walk along the North Devon coastline to Baggy Point, Nathan and I were in need of some refreshments. We stopped off at the nearby National Trust’s Sandleigh Tea Rooms and enjoyed some cold soft drinks – just what we needed in the hot summer heat.

We sat outside in the gardens which were full of bloomingly beautiful borders and had lots of gorgeous flowers. It was quite busy on our visit and lots of people were clearly enjoying some tasty food and drink whilst making the most of the summer sun.

I would like to pop back to the Sandleigh Tea Rooms another day when we are in Croyde as it was a lovely place to sit outside in the gardens and the food looked really tasty! I bet a cream tea here would go down a treat!

 

Autumn Vibes and Keeping Cosy with Fashion World

Autumn Vibes and Keeping Cosy with Fashion World

I don’t know about you guys but I really love Autumn! It’s definitely my favourite season for many different reasons. I enjoy it when the nights draw in and give you an excuse to snuggle up with blankets and drink hot chocolate but it’s not so cold you have to have the heating on full blast continuously! I enjoy Autumn because October brings my birthday and Halloween which are always good fun. I love November too and the thrills firework night brings!  Mostly, however, I love the changes in nature and the colours it brings. I love watching the trees and leaves slowly change from green to yellow and then to orange.

This year more than any other year (I’m possibly just getting old..) I have appreciated the stunning Autumnal colours around me. Living in Devon – a place full of the countryside and wonderful nature means I’ve ‘experienced’  Autumn more than ever! I keep seeing the most amazing trees whose leaves have been such vibrant reds and oranges they don’t even look real! I love it when they all fall to the ground and you can kick through all the leaves and look for conkers!

I am getting quite sad knowing that winter is well on its way and whilst that brings fun and festivities, it also means all the leaves on the trees will begin to die and those stunning Autumnal colours will begin to fade!

I’ve enjoyed many walks and days out recently where I have been able to experience the beauty of Autumn around me. Nathan and I have enjoyed exploring local parks, woods and National Trust properties and have admired all the seasonal gorgeousness around us. During these walks, I have been kept nice and warm and dry by my lovely new Regatta Bergonia waterproof jacket from Fashion World. The jacket is a gorgeous teal green colour and has saved me from getting caught in the rain during our weekend walks.

I have needed a waterproof jacket for ages as I always seem to end up buying coats that are really impractical and never keep me dry. I’m glad now that we can go on walks together and Nathan won’t have to put up with me moaning that I am all wet and miserable! The Regatta Bergonia jacket is also fur lined so it has been keeping me nice and toasty too! I think it’s super stylish and the colour means it’s perfect for all seasons really.

The jacket is available through the Fashion World website and can be ordered in sizes 10 to 32, so it should fit most shapes and sizes. There are lots of other awesome looking coats and jackets on the Fashion World site, along with loads of other stylish clothes and accessories on offer. As a plus size lady, I am always on the lookout for companies that sell stylish and on-trend plus size clothes so Fashion World really gets a thumbs up from me!

Autumn has again brought a busy few months for me involving lots of exploring and starting the second year of my doctoral clinical psychology training so it’s been all go! I’m glad I have been able to find the time to get outdoors and immerse myself in my favourite season of nature. I’m even more pleased I now have a comfy, warm and stylish waterproof jacket to wear on our adventures too!

***The Regatta Bergonia Waterproof Jacket was gifted to me by Fashion World, however, all thoughts, opinions and photos are entirely my own.***

Devon’s Best Ice Cream on Westward Ho Beach, North Devon

Devon’s Best Ice Cream on Westward Ho Beach, North Devon

After staying at the wonderful Owl Valley Glamping site in Bideford back in the summer, Nathan and took a trip to Westward Ho! Beach in North Devon.

It was a super sunny and gloriously hot day and we enjoyed wandering along the beachfront enjoying the seaside views.

I loved the cute, brightly coloured beach huts and as we walked we stopped to choose our favourites!

I think it would be great to own a beach hut one day, especially somewhere like Westward Ho! that is such a pretty sandy beach and has a lido too!

We treated ourselves to a very tasty ice cream from a Hocking’s ice cream van.

Hockings had been recommended to us by the hosts Pauline and Ray at Owl Valley Glamping and what a good recommendation it was – the ice creams went down very well!

We sat on the beach for a while, watching the world go by around us and lots of families playing in the sand. It was a weekday and not the summer holidays yet so it was busy but not too busy. I can imagine this is a really popular beach with locals and tourists in the summer months.

Before heading home we stopped off for some fish and chips for lunch. We shared a large portion of haddock and chips which was plenty to fill us up, especially after the ice creams earlier!

I would love to pop back to Westward Ho! beach another time soon. There’s so much of North Devon and the coast I want to explore so I’m sure we will be back one day, even just for another Hockings ice cream!!

A Place for Reflections Amid the Student Chaos at Reed Hall, Exeter, Devon

A Place for Reflections Amid the Student Chaos at Reed Hall, Exeter, Devon

Amid the bustling and busy campus of the University of Exeter is a quiet, peaceful and pretty place for reflection and a good afternoon treat. When I’m not busy with my adventures and blogging I am working for the NHS and training for my doctorate in Clinical Psychology. This means I am often up at the campus attending teaching and working hard! When I need to escape the library and seek a place for a moment of reflection I head to Reed Hall.

Reed Hall is an impressive grade II listed building which can be hired for events and conferences. It’s surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens and regularly holds wedding receptions.

I love visiting the opulent Café Reed which offers a good range of drinks and tasty cakes. Last time I visited was on a sunny day in April I was able to sit and enjoy my afternoon treat whilst watching a group of cute little bunnies bouncing around on the lawn – so cute! Next time I need to go and have lunch as I bet the food is super tasty.

I hope Reed Hall and its pretty surrounding gardens remains my place on campus to escape student life and take a moment to de-stress and reflect – coz boy does clinical training mean I need it!

Where do you like to escape too for a coffee when life is just a bit too much?! Let me know in the comments below!

A Unique Stargazing Getaway at Freshwell Camping in Croyde, Devon

A Unique Stargazing Getaway at Freshwell Camping in Croyde, Devon

A sunny weekend in July saw Nathan and I take a trip to Croyde in North Devon for a stay in Freshwell Camping’s ‘The Getaway’. Read on to find out more about this unique place to stay and for campsite views of the beach that will instantly make you want to visit!

A Pure Slice of Glamping Heaven

We arrived at Freshwell Camping quite late on the Friday evening, just as the heavens opened and it started to rain. Given this hot summer we have been having it felt like we hadn’t seen rain for ages – we all know that the grass needs it – most of England currently looks like a dry desert! We received a warm welcome from staff, who gave us our key and directed us to the getaway.

As we unpacked, and the rain continued to poor I was pleased I wasn’t staying in a tent and would have a proper roof over our heads! I did, however, hope the rain would clear by the morning as I wanted to explore the beautiful beaches of Croyde after hearing so much about them and seeing so many gorgeous pictures on Instagram!


The Getaway and Night Garden

The Getaway was awesome – a really rustic, cosy, home from home. I was glad to see the proper double mattress and clean duvets and pillows –  a real treat when glamping! The wooden hut had such lovely interiors – simple but lovely artwork adorned the walls and a gorgeous wooden bench provided a table with stools to sit on. The curtains and blinds were totally my style, and all matched the seaside blue theme! I loved all the little touches and the pile of books left for guests to read.

As if all this wasn’t gorgeous enough, the best bit about the glamping hut was undoubtedly the views! Huge front and side windows provide The Getaway with stunning, panoramic views over the rest of the campsite and beyond to Croyde Beach. I loved sitting at the window and watching people milling about and seeing the beach fill up as the day went on.

The hut also boasts apex skylight windows in the ceiling which enable you to lie in bed at watch the stars – very romantic and perfect for stargazers. The accompanying stargazing book provided helped us out when hunting for various constellations! More information and some neat pictures can be seen on Freshwell Camping Facebook page – be sure to give them a follow!

Outside the hut, there is a pretty night garden –  a landscaped area which guests can relax and absorb the gorgeous views from. A table and chairs ware provided and there was plenty of space for a BBQ. A chimenea, fairy lights and flowers provided a very nice place to sit and chill, both throughout the day and later in the evenings. We took a portable BBQ with us and enjoyed BBQ food both evenings – one in the rain on our first night and the second which was much better as the sun was shining and we could sit out into the late evening watching the sunset.

The Getaway is situated at the top of the field, next to the three bell tents the site offers. It’s a great location and offers brilliant views. I enjoyed being able to look out over the rest of the campsite and watch the children playing and families setting up their various camping accommodation. The site has a really relaxed and friendly feel – campers are invited to pitch their tents in the location they want and there are no restricted tent pitches or places to park. The owners choose to not fill the field entirely and this makes sure people have plenty of space and aren’t crammed I like sardines. I think this helps give the site a laid-back, respectful and welcoming feel. More awesome pictures of The Getaway and rest of the site can be found on the Freshwell Camping Instagram page.

The facilities are basic but more than adequate and clean. There are separate toilets and showers which have plenty of soap and hot water. There’s a couple of washing up sinks and staff are on-site 24 hours should you need them. You can pay to charge your mobile phones or gadgets for a very small fee at the reception – there are no electrical hookups on site so don’t forget your battery packs.

Location and Prices

The site is in a very enviable location, perfectly situated for those wanting to explore Croyde and its beautiful beaches. Croyde Beach is a stone’s throw away and takes only a few minutes to walk to – perfect for those taking children or heading out for an early morning surf. For visitors wanting to head out for some shopping or food then Croyde Village is only a short walk away and can be easily reached by foot from the campsite. We took a walk and treated ourselves to an ice cream which was super tasty and very much needed in the high heat.

Freshwell Camping is located in a beautiful part of Devon and there are lots of places close by to explore. You could check out nearby Saunton Sands, go for a ride at Woolacombe Riding Stables, try pottery painting in Braunton or explore the unique village of Clovelly. Check out Freshwell Camping’s Twitter page for more information on what’s going on at the site and locally.

We also visited Baggy Point, an area of coastline owned by the National Trust. It’s a stunning walk along the coastal cliffs to reach Baggy Point and there are breath-taking views back to Croyde Beach. I wasn’t so keen on watching the climbers scaling the cliffs without any ropes though – my heart as certainly in my mouth every time the wind blew!

There is a National Trust car park located near Baggy Point which was £7 to park in unless you were a member! This was a similarly steep price to some of the beach car parks so unless you want to spend all your ice cream money on parking I recommend leaving your car at the campsite and walking!

After visiting Baggy Point we enjoyed lunch at the Surf Lodge Cafe which was tasty and well-earned after the very hot and sweaty walk!

Near the Freshwell Camping site and Baggy Point is Sandleigh Tea Room and Gardens. This is another National Trust place to visit and we enjoyed a cold drink the pretty gardens.

Prices to stay at The Getaway are £96 a night and the bell tents are £85. Whilst these prices could at first seem quite pricey, I think the stunning interiors, amazing views and closeness to the beach make the price worth it. Prices for camping start at as little as £12 per adult and £6 for children, making camping a really accessible and reasonably priced summer holiday for families and groups of friends. The site is only open from the middle of July to the end of August so be quick and get booking if you don’t want to miss out!

Final Thoughts

We had a great two-night stay at Freshwell Camping. The site was relaxed and had a family friendly, surfer vibe. The Getaway, with its little garden area, comfy bed and panoramic beach views was a pleasure to stay in and provided us with a starry, unique stay. I think it would make a really cute romantic retreat for couples celebrating a special anniversary or would be a great place for surfers seeking solace out on Croyde’s famous waves. Thanks to Freshwell Camping for having us!

***Our two-night stay at Freshwell Camping was provided to us on a complimentary basis in return for this review. All thoughts, pictures and opinions are entirely my own.***

What do you think of The Getaway? Would you fancy staying here? Let me know below!

Fun at the Fair at Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, Okehampton, Devon

Fun at the Fair at Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre, Okehampton, Devon

Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre is an attraction I had heard lots about and had been keen to visit for a while. I loved fairground rides when I was younger, and I love museums, so I was really intrigued to see traditional fairground rides from years gone by and hear about their history.

Nathan and I went to Dingles on a Sunday back in May. We got there shortly after opening time and it was relatively quiet which we liked. We had brought our entry tickets online the night before as they were slightly cheaper (15% discount) and included some tokens for the rides. The tickets are valid for 12 months for a return visit so I’m sure we will be back soon!

First off, we went around the museum part of the attraction. Being home to the National Fairground Collection and the Fairground Heritage Trust it was full of if interesting information relating to the birth of fairground rides and a cool timeline detailing the development of rides through the ages.

I really liked seeing the old fairground horses from the carousels and seeing how intricately made and beautifully painted they were. There were some interactive displays for the little ones and even some wartime themed rides!

We then moved on to the fairground ride part of the museum. It was really cool walking around and seeing all the heritage rides in full swing – the lights and noise transported us back to the past and we were keen to spend our tokens and get riding! There was also lots of vintage stalls offering prizes and guaranteed fun!

We opted to go on the moon rocket ride first which was so much fun! It basically just went around and round until we were dizzy and giggling in hysterics! Nathan was holding on for dear life and wouldn’t put his hands up in the air which I found super funny. Check out videos of the rides of Dingles Instagram page.

Next, we tried out the traditional carousel and rode around on horses – when as the last time you went on one of these?!

We also went on the ghost train which was funny as we went one at a time and one of the ticket people jumped out at me as the ride ended (which was probably the scariest bit!). It made Nathan laugh a lot as you can imagine. The ghost train reminded me of being a kid and my big sister and I going on the ghost train at Dymchurch Fairground in Hythe where my Nan used to have a caravan – good times!

The dodgems were next – this was fun and a chance to be a big kid again. There were quite a few other people on at the same time which added to the fun of trying dodge people and chase Nathan round the track.

We tried our hands at some shooting too – I have never done this before but I was actually better than Nathan, much to his dismay! Neither of us were good enough to win anything though, never mind!

At times we had to wait a while for staff to come over and let us on the rides – I think because it wasn’t busy they didn’t have many staff working and so not all of the rides or stalls were manned. As it got busier it meant there were quite a lot of people walking around and waiting, which may have bothered some people. I can imagine they have more staff working during the summer holidays when it’s likely to be busier.

Dingles also houses a large collection of old-fashioned antique arcade games. We enjoyed playing on the heritage 2p slot machines and trying our hand at table football. Unfortunately, quite a lot of the machines weren’t working and swallowed some of our pennies which was a shame and a  little frustrating.

After this we moved to have a look at the transport and living wagon collection. There were old-fashioned caravans and trucks. It was interesting to imagine them touring round, pulling along all the old rides so many years ago. I’m not sure what the darlek was all about though! Check out the DinglesTwittter page for more information and pictures!

The centre often puts on events during school holidays and as it was the end of half term when we visited, we saw some of the ‘dragons and unicorns’ event that had been running. We saw a unicorn (horse!) and lots of face painting and mythical activities for children. You can check out upcoming events on the Dingles Fairground Heritage Centre’s what’s on website page and follow them on Facebook.

After all that fun we needed some refreshments. We visited the onsite café and got ourselves some lunch. This consisted of a brie and bacon panini for me and a burger and chips for Nathan. It was priced as we expected (slightly more than we would have liked to pay) and could have been a bit tastier. We sat outside in the picnic area and enjoyed the Spring sunshine.

There’s a small gift and souvenir shop which sells books, memorabilia merchandise and the all-important postcard!

We really enjoyed our visit to Dingles and spent a good few hours there experiencing the fun of the vintage rides and learning about the heritage of fairground traditions. All of the memorabilia and historic collections are really interesting and there’s plenty of information for people to read. The centre is not far from Okehampton and located just off the A30. With plenty of free parking, a café and small shop there’s something for everyone and a really fun family day out!

Do you like fairground rides? Let me know in the comments below!