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30 August, 2019

2 DAYS IN THE NEW FOREST, HAMPSHIRE

2 DAYS IN THE NEW FOREST, HAMPSHIRE

I hope you're having a good Summer wherever you are :) Just when I thought Summer was coming to an end, we've been having some glorious sunshine so I'm not packing away my sandals just yet! Over the bank holiday weekend in the UK, we booked 2 days away in the New Forest, Hampshire. I've not been there for over 10 years when I went bike riding with friends, so I figured a trip to the countryside was much needed. We had looked at going to Majorca but who knew a short trip to Spain would be so expensive?!

We travelled by train from London Waterloo to Brockenhurst, which is a village in the middle of the New Forest. The journey was 1 hr 40 min, which wasn't too bad and little one loves train journeys. I wanted to share what we got up to, places we ate and where we stayed. Hope you find this useful if you're planning a trip to Hampshire!

LUNCH IN BROCKENHURST VILLAGE

If you're after a pub lunch in a cosy location, then pop along to The Huntsman of Brockenhurst. I had seen this place recommended a few times on blogs so was keen to visit and try their roast dinners! It's a hotel with a restaurant, so handy if you want a local place to stay in Brockenhurst. It's also only 5 minutes walk from the station so easy to get to. The decor was traditional with modern elements, wood panel walls with modern prints. The outdoor area was great, lots of wooden tables, cosy benches, a fire pit and deck chairs to enjoy cocktails. It was pretty hot so we sat inside, that didn't stop us from ordering the roasts though! Hang had the roast beef and me and little one shared the roast chicken. Both was delicious except for the potatoes, which was dry and hard. We still had a nice lunch and the environment and service was good.


FOREST PARK HOTEL

A few weeks ago I was looking at places to stay in the New Forest but I think we left it to late as all the good places had been booked up. I really wanted to stay at The Pig Hotel but it's super popular - next time! Lots of cute cottages and rustic B&B's were either really expensive or also booked up. So when I came across Forest Park Hotel I quickly booked 1 night stay. Ideally 2 nights would have been good but that's all the availability they had! It's right in the middle of the New Forest, which was what we wanted as we weren't driving. The grounds looked huge and the rooms and restaurant cosy, perfect for a Countryside break. We paid £255 for a triple room as that's all they had left and also asked for a cot in the room, which is an extra £6. We walked from Brockenhurst station to the hotel, which took about 20 minutes and passed along so many horses and cows! Animals have right of way here and it's not scary being so close to them :)

The staff at the hotel were very friendly and accommodating, assisting me when I asked them about walks etc. The garden was so relaxing, with lots of tables and chairs and wooden swings to enjoy our Gin and Tonics on. The room itself was fine, the only issue was the cot was so hard and not comfortable at all for little one, so we placed pillows inside to soften it up. Apart was that it was fine for a nights stay and it was really nice to tucked away in the Forest. If you're thinking of staying here, you can use my Booking.com referral code for 10% off :) Fun fact, Roosevelt visited this hotel in 1910!

We paid to have breakfast in the hotel and there was very nice selection of cooked breakfast options, toast with jams (had the mulberry gin and vanilla jam!) pastries and cereals. It's also a nice place to have dinner to, my beef and stout pie could of been better but the other dishes we ordered were nice.

FOREST PARK HOTEL BROCKENHURST
FOREST PARK HOTEL BROCKENHURST
FOREST PARK HOTEL BROCKENHURST
FOREST PARK HOTEL BROCKENHURST
FOREST PARK HOTEL BROCKENHURST
FOREST PARK HOTEL BROCKENHURST

WALKS IN THE NEW FOREST

Travelling to the New Forest with a toddler means a totally different trip if it was just me and Hang, I knew we couldn't just hire bikes or go on really long walks but we made the most of it. The New Forest website and app is really good to plan out walks and things to do. As we were staying in Brockenhurst, the nearest walk for us was the Whitefield Moor walk, which was 1.6 miles. Because it was so hot as well, I didn't want little one to be hot and restless. It was a nice walk over bridges and streams and under the tall trees. There are so many other things to do, like deer watching, bike riding, pony rides and parks and museums. I would highly recommend downloading the app as it has maps and walks you can view on the go.

WALKS IN THE NEW FOREST
WALKS IN THE NEW FOREST
WALKS IN THE NEW FOREST
NEW FOREST WALKS
NEW FOREST WALKS
NEW FOREST WALKS
NEW FOREST WALKS


LUNCH AT THE CLIFF HOUSE

After our stay in Brockenhurst I looked into beaches we could visit the next day as the great thing about Hampshire is that it's so close to the coast. You can travel to Bournemouth, Dorset or Southampton so you're spoilt for choice! I was looking up the best beaches in Hampshire and came across this amazing looking hotel and restaurant, The Cliff House in Barton on Sea. I was sold on the decor and how it was over looking the beach.  I booked a table for lunch and our visit coincided with their Gin & Beer festival - win! The taxi ride from our hotel was about 25 minutes and cost just over £30. 

It was such a gorgeous day to have lunch by the beach, the coastal and nautical decor was modern and welcoming. I loved the whole beachy vibes! The restaurant opened out to over look the cliff side and it was so nice to enjoy the sea breeze. The menu is a mix of seafood and meat dishes, we went for the crab and smoked haddock mac 'n' cheese, it was yum! I would definitely recommend dining here as it's a great atmosphere with nice tasty meals.




HAMPSHIRE BEACHES

If you're after a beautiful cliff side beach, then Barton on Sea is a lovely place to visit. It's a pebble beach with some sand and it's very picturesque. It's a lovely British Seaside beach with colourful beach huts, people doing water sports and I felt so relaxed and calm being by the sea. We didn't have our swimming gear with us, but when the weather is hot it's the perfect place for a splash! Other beaches close by is Milford on Sea, Calshot Beach and Eastney Beach.

Barton on Sea beach
Barton on Sea beach
Barton on Sea beach
Barton on Sea beach
Barton on Sea beach
Barton on Sea beach
Barton on Sea beach

We had a lovely 2 days exploring Hampshire and The New Forest but travelling with our toddler was not easy! He doesn't like to stay still and didn't sleep well, so he was tired and cranky! Anyway that won't stop us from having more staycations in the UK :) Have you been to the New Forest? I would love to hear about your experience and what you got up to! You can also pin the image below to Pinterest for future reference :)





Outfits: Red Dress - H&M, Leopard print skirt - ASOS, white dress - Primark.
Have you been to the New Forest?

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09 August, 2019

SUNFLOWER FIELD, WRITTLE ENGLAND

SUNFLOWER FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY, WRITTLE ENGLAND

There's something about sunflowers that scream Summer right? These gorgeous golden blooms are now in season popping up all over the place and I was keen to see if there was a field near London! I was planning on visiting Stanhill Farm but I read on their website because of the weather they've not planted sunflowers this year. Then I saw on Insta Writtle Sunflowers, a family run farm selling flowers in Chelmsford, Essex - a perfect Summer's day out!

SUNFLOWER FIELD IN WRITTLE ENGLAND, WRITTLE SUNFLOWERS
SUNFLOWER FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY, WRITTLE ENGLAND
SUNFLOWER FIELD, WRITTLE ENGLAND
SUNFLOWER FIELD, WRITTLE ENGLAND

My sister and I visited the fields yesterday and the weather was gorgeous, it was very quiet and peaceful, a small but blooming field with bees buzzing around and gorgeous wildflowers growing as well. You can buy freshly picked sunflowers £6 per bunch or two for £10. Side note you can't just wander in the fields and take a millions pics for the 'gram ;) you do have to buy flowers, which makes sense! You can also book a professional photography session on 19th August.

SUNFLOWER FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY, WRITTLE ENGLAND
SUNFLOWER FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY, WRITTLE ENGLAND
SUNFLOWER FIELD PHOTOGRAPHY, WRITTLE ENGLAND

The conditions of the sunflowers varies, some were big and full of colour and some were wilted and small but generally they were a very pretty sight. It's a working farm so expect limited facilitates, bumpy grounds, no toilets or cafes but there is parking space. If you're planning on visiting, check their Facebook page for updates. We also explored Chelmsford park afterwards and it had a lovely lake, playground and cafe as well - a perfect Summer's day out :)

Writtle, Chelmsford CM1 3RU
Open Tuesday - Friday, 11am to 5.30pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am to 5.30pm

Have you been to a sunflower field?

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03 June, 2019

JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO

YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO

Yay it finally feels like Summer, hope you guys have been enjoying the sunshine. I've been preparing myself for wedding season and will be busy over the next few months working, so I've been making the most of my free time with my little boy. I've also been trying to finish off blog posts that have been sitting in my draft! I shared a previous post on the beautiful Le Jardin Secret when I was in Marrakech in April and I also wanted to share my visit to Jardin Marjorelle. 

The iconic Jardin Marjorelle is all over Pinterest and Instagram, the bright blue and yellow building and exotic garden are hard to miss! The garden is located outside of the main square of Marrakech and isn't really nearby any other attractions but that doesn't stop the crowds from visiting! The gardens opens at 8am and I arrived around 9.30am and there were already 2 long queues as well as another queue for tour groups. It's 70 Dihram (around £5.70) for entry into the gardens and an extra 30 Dirham if you want to visit inside the museum as well.

When you enter the gardens there's a small fountain with beautiful tiles and lots of people I couldn't move but they quickly disperse and found myself under a bamboo canopy. I wasn't expecting that at all but it was beautiful to see the tall bamboo trees shooting upwards and of course reminded me of the bamboo forest in Japan :) As I made my way through the garden passing all the selfie sticks and cameras, there were lots of cacti trees, exotic plants and flowers. There were birds humming and water tricking, even though it was crowded it felt nice and calm wondering around the garden.

JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO

As I walked towards the small pavilion, from there you can see the Majorelle square fountain and Museum in all it's blue beauty! Jacques Majorelle was an artist and transformed the now famous Jardin Majorelle into a living masterpiece. The high maintenance costs of the gardens forced the artists to open to the public in 1947. It wasn't no where near as popular as it is today as it was almost empty (no Instagrammers back then for sure!)

After Morelle passed away, Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge who visited and loved the garden decided to buy the garden and restored it from being sold off and replaced as a hotel. They wanted to make "Jardin Majorelle the most beautiful garden - by respecting the vision of Jacques Majorelle." Isn't that amazing how something can be restored and be such a special and incredibly popular place in Marrakech now?

JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO

After Yves Saint Laurent passed away, a memorial was built in his honour as well as the street in front of the garden to be renamed after him. It was really inspiring walking around taking in all the plants, the vivid colours and art deco design. 

I would definitely recommend a visit here if you're in Marrakech. You can easier spend a few hours here - just arrive early before it gets too crowded. The gardens are very well maintained with several workers on site.

YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO
YVES SAINT LAURENT JARDIN MAJORELLE, MARRAKECH MOROCCO

I personally preferred Le Jardin Secret as it was more spacious and I liked the Riad and pavilion but Jardin Majorelle definitely has it's own magical charm!

What do you think of Jardin Majorelle? Have you been to Marrakech?


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