2018 Instagram Top Nine Pictures

2018 Instagram Top Nine Pictures

I recently followed the trend and posted on my Instagram page my top nine most liked pictures for the year. It was so nice to look back at some of the memories I made this year and see what my followers had enjoyed seeing on my feed. Some of the photos were my favourites for the year too so I think they were quite accurately picked!

I thought I would do a quick post featuring the top nine pictures and explaining a little more about them and where they were taken. I had suggested I might do this in the caption on the post and lots of people were interested so here goes!

Pictures 1-3 – Bishops Palace

So three pictures from my visit to Bishops Palace in Wells, Somerset made it into my Instagram top nine. I think you will be able to see why – the gardens were just so beautiful and I visited on a very sunny day in August which I think really helped make them look so glorious!

This picture is of the well pools and you can spot the stunning architecture of Wells Cathedral in the background – just gorgeous!

Again this is another picture of the well pools. I loved how the trees were reflected in the water and the sense of calm and peace I got from wandering around the well pools and sitting on that green bench.

The final picture from Bishops Palace that featured on the best nine was this one of the old walls of the palace. I thought they were so pretty with the sun streaming through the window frames and the beautifully maintained gardens.

Picture 4 – Tintagel Old Post Office

Picture 4 is from the lovely Old Post Office in Tintagel, Cornwall. This is a National Trust property, which as a member I have visited a few times. It’s lots of fun to see how the old post office would have worked and you can still send letters from the post box in the wall! We visited in the late summer and enjoyed a good few hours wandering around the town and enjoying the coastal views.

Picture 5 – Valley of the Rocks

This is one of my favourite pictures I took when I stayed in Lynton and visited the Valley of the Rocks in Lynmouth, North Devon. It was a stunning piece of coastline and even though it rained and I got rather wet on my Septemeber walk, the views and grazing sheep and goats made it worth it!

Picture 6 – The Hideaway

This shows the amazing homemade cream tea I enjoyed whilst soaking up the countryside views at The Hideaway, Kingsland Farm in Bridport, Dorset. I stayed in the sublime shepherd’s hut and had the most relaxing and restorative stay. Danette the host is so welcoming and lovely and I would really recommend a stay here – check out my full review here.

Picture 7 – Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum

In Septemeber, during my South West tour, I visited Dorchester and the Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum. It was a really interesting attraction, although I visited on a free Sunday open day and so it was really busy. There was so much to learn about the justice system and historical crime which I found really interesting. Apparently, my Instagram followers did too!

Pictures 8 & 9 – Weston Sandsculpture Festival

The final two pictures from my Instagram top nine are from my visit to the Weston Sandsculpture Festival in Weston Super Mare, Somerset. The 2018 festival’s theme was the circus and I was amazed by the incredible skills of the sand sculptures in creating such stunning sculptures. You can find out more about the festival and see more of the sculptures on my blog post review. I also did a top ten favourite sand sculpture post too which is worth checking out to see which ones I loved the most!

So there we have it, a bit more information on the pictures from my Instagram top nine! Please do give me a follow on Instagram if you don’t already to see more cool pictures and to interesting pictures and follow my adventures!

A Fabulous Festive Afternoon Tea at Kitley House Hotel & Restaurant, Plymouth

A Fabulous Festive Afternoon Tea at Kitley House Hotel & Restaurant, Plymouth

On a cold, drab December day my festive mood was lifted a million per cent when I visited Kitley House Hotel and Restaurant in Yealmpton, Plymouth for a stunning festive afternoon tea.

As I drove down the very long driveway to Kitley House Hotel the anticipation grew and the excitement built – I was so excited to see my best friend Katy who I hadn’t seen in ages and also to feast on the wonderful festive afternoon tea ahead of me! As the driveway through the vast estate to the house was so long it allowed me to wonder what the delights the afternoon had in store and also allowed me to daydream what it would be like to have such a grand drive to a big beautiful house!

I arrived, parked easily in the large parking area and was reunited with Katy. It was great to see her and we were both so excited to step into Kitley House and see what was inside! Even on the gloomy winters day, the hotel looked so grand and imposing from the outside. It felt rather posh too!

The inside of Kitley House Hotel was just stunning; it was warm, festive and decorated so elegantly for Christmas! We were greeted by the friendly reception staff and out wet winter coats were taken and hung up for us.

We were guided into the Regency Room where the tables were decorated with pretty china crockery, festive candle displays and Christmas crackers! There was a lovely looking Christmas tree in the room too and some lovely Christmas decorations that added to the warm, festive atmosphere.

We were able to choose our table and chose one where we could see outside to the lovely gardens and watch the wildlife wandering about. It was such a wet and miserable day so it was lovely to be able to look out of the damp gardens but know were nice and toasty inside having a really tasty treat!

We pulled our crackers, told each other our jokes and of course put on our cracker hats! We were now ready to indulge in the festive delights of the festive afternoon tea and we couldn’t wait!

The waitress bought out our pots of tea and the cake stand full of scrummy food. There was a plate full of festive sandwiches including turkey and cranberry, smoked salmon, ham and mustard. We then had two huge warm scones each – one plain and one fruit which we were able to top with copious amounts of cream and jam – my favourite!

The top layer of the cake stand was filled with bitesize festive treats that included fruit cake, mince pies, mini blueberry cheesecakes and some fruit to balance out all that naughtiness I guess!!

Everything tasted delicious and we took our time enjoying it all whilst gossiping and catching up on all our news. I can’t decide whether the warm scones or blueberry cheesecakes were my favourites – it was all so tasty it’s hard to decide. We both gave it our best shot but we were unable to finish it all, but this didn’t matter as we were encouraged to take the extra bits home for later which Nathan and I enjoyed that evening!

I can really recommend Kitley House Hotel and Restaurant for afternoon tea – it was such a lovely treat and the perfect place to catch up with my best pal. I loved the festive twist on the afternoon tea selection as I am a big mince pie and Christmas cake fan so this was perfect for me! We also saw another table who were enjoying a three-course meal and the food looked really tasty.

For more information on the hotel and restaurant, and to see the food menus be sure to check out the Kitley House Hotel and Restaurant website. Cream teas can be enjoyed for £8.95 per person, with traditional afternoon tea starting at £17.95 per person. I would love to go back one day to sample either the normal afternoon tea menu or some of the main food offered as I can imagine would be of very high quality and very delicious tasting.

I think an afternoon spent in cosy warm surroundings with a good friend and lovely food is the perfect way to relax, indulge and treat yourselves and Kitley House offers the perfect place to do so. All the beautiful Christmas decorations and festive touches really helped us feel really festive too and we left feeling excited for the festivities ahead and rather full too!!

***Our afternoon tea was provided to us on a complimentary basis by Kitley House Hotel & Restaurant in return for this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.***

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!