Last weekend I went away with two of my favourite girls. We left behind our busy lives and escaped to Stratford-upon-Avon for a relaxing  weekend away.

After a really pretty train journey from London Marylebone, only taking two hours, with just enough time for  lots of catching up. We arrived in the beautiful market town. We jumped into a cab and headed to our hotel,  the Crowne Plaza, a short walk from the centre of town.

The first night we ate at The Oppo, highly recommended on Tripadvisor. It had a very cosy atmosphere and great service. I ate delicious scallops and steak and we drank a lot of Viognier.

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The next morning we got up bright and early and went for a great brunch at Bensons cafe. You can buy breakfast for only £5.00, tasty scrambled eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes as well as limitless coffee. It was really popular and people were turned away. You should try and go there early if possible.

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After breakfast we went exploring Stratford-Upon-Avon, you can feel how steeped it is in history. I took lots of pictures of all the beautiful Tudor buildings. There were lots of tour groups but we managed to get past them to some of the more peaceful corners of the town.

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The famous Stratford-Upon-Avon Christmas shop.

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The Stratford-Upon-Avon library, is housed in another what an amazing building.

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Crabtree & Evelyn has a very lovely spot.

We did a spot of shopping, I particularly liked Vinegar Hill. A great range of Christmas presents, these decorations caught my eye.

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Even though it was still October, they had a great Christmas range. Their displays were beautifully done. I love an advent candle, these ones were great. They also sell How to Hygge by Signe Johansen (who has a great Instagram feed).

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I love candles and I was really impressed by the display of St Eval Candle company candles. I plan to order some of these soon to replenish my stocks.

dsc00464We then moved on to White Stuff, where we all bought something. I really liked the 1970s changing rooms, reminding me of Edith’s House in Crouch End with its retro interiors.

dsc00473dsc00471It was a sunny day and so we went down to the river , some lovely places to explore. It was also lovely and peaceful away from all the crowds.

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Saying hello to the swans, trying to capture the perfect shot.

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After sitting outside in the sunshine, we went for afternoon tea in the RSC’s rooftop restaurant, a great spot with fantastic views.

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We were given extra plates of sandwiches and a goody box to take away.

Check out the amazing views.

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So all in all a great location for a weekend away, easy to get to, loads of beautiful buildings and just the right size. Go!

Some helpful details for you on our weekend

The RSC –  for details of menus or to book at table visit www.rsc-rooftop-restaurant.co.uk

For information on accommodation visit the official website – http://www.shakespeare-country.co.uk/

Where we stayed – Crowne Plaza hotel

Trains from London Marylebone- Chiltern Railways you could pick up a ticket costing just £7.00 and £5.50 if you book in advance.

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After a weekend of gluttony, booze and too much fun, Monday has rolled round once again. I am starting the week with lots of good intentions and  I have just been to Frame for my weekly Barre class. Barre is designed to work your whole body to increase strength and flexibility and hopefully to create long and lean muscles. It is tough but I always feel amazing afterwards.

The Barre instructor Chris Unwin was excellent and really motivating,  he made the class lots of fun. On the way home from the gym I was trying to work out how I can incorporate more exercise into my day-to-day life. I always have great intentions at the start of the week which drifts away with work, friends and being a bit lazy.

My boyfriend is a mad keen cyclist and one of the fittest people I know. He suggested running home from work and so that is something I could try. I will keep you posted on how I get on.

With just over two months until Christmas it would be great to hit the festive season in a healthy frame of mind and fit into my Christmas party dresses. I also love the endorphin rush after exercise and how great I always feel.

Living in London means you walk a lot without even trying,  normally about 6 or 7 km a day. I am going to try and walk a bit further on the way to work and go out for a walk at lunchtime.

So LB’s good intentions are the following:

  • Walk as much as I can.
  • Run my commute once or twice a week.
  • Try and fit in as many Frame classes as I can (already booked in one for Thursday), I will let you know how I get on!

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I will report back and let you know how I get on.

On Sunday we went on a tour of St Leonards, although a lot of the shops were shut  we manage to explore ‘Shop’ a fantastic home store and cafe on Norman Road, which is open 11-4 on a Sunday.

Apparently Norman road is the place to visit and Shop was a great mix of both cafe and store, selling a range of interesting home accessories along with a tempting array of coffee and cake.

I bought a great birthday present for one of my best friends and some beautifully smelling soap for my Mum. If we had longer we could have stopped for a coffee and slice of cake.

These bird houses from Hastings and Bex Hill Recycling particularly caught my eye.

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Then we went along Norman street down to the seafront.

We popped into the I Love Mel gift shop, which  even has its own selfie room. Here are a couple of shots of the huge array of colouring books.

We also had a look at RockOptika in St Leonards where you can buy great glasses.

We marched down the seafront and went to Half Man Half Burger which was absolutely delicious. I had a Big Cheese and fries with delicious chipotle mayo.

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Love the interior of the restaurant and great beer.

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Then we went down to the pier for a gorgeous coffee at Billycan Coffee.

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Thanks Hastings and St Leonards for a great weekend.

This weekend marked the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and so in true Sussex style they stage a torchlit procession through Hastings.

It isn’t that easy to get there from London, but it is a very pretty journey. After a bit of a march from the station, down the seafront and on to the old town we stationed ourselves at the Jenny Lind pub. She was an opera singer, named the “Swedish Nightingale”, apparently she was one of the best known entertainers in 19th century Europe… Anyway it was a very nice pub and incredibly busy on Saturday night.

So we settled in with our pints of Sussex ale, I drank Long Blonde from the Long Man Brewery, lemon, fruity and refreshing, as they state on the website. Then the procession began which was loud with drummers and flaming torches. A real spectacle. It wasn’t as anarchic as the Battle bonfire procession where they set off bangers in the street. A great thing to see.

 

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Here is a Norman, quite a lot of them about…

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So after the procession we went down to the seafront to watch the amazing fireworks, but not before we got some chips. Not a very healthy night out…but lots of fun.

If you want to go to a bonfire procession there is one taking place in Battle on 5th November and also in Lewes.

 

I was down in Bournemouth for a family gathering and was struck again by what a beautiful place it is.

We had lunch at West Beach which according to The Times is one of the best places to eat by the seaside. I am going to try and work my way through a few other places on the list.

I was really impressed by the location and the stunning sea views. I imagine when it is the height of summer it would be really beautiful eating on the sun soaked decked terrace. It was still pretty special on a sunny October day.

So here are a couple of the fish dishes we ate, which were both specials.

The service was great and we were in there for hours. But the best bit was being out on the beach afterwards. Right next to the Bournemouth pier. It was a great afternoon.

So if you find yourself down in Bournemouth, check it out.