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24 hours offline (at Glamping the Wight Way)

Living life online is overwhelming, stressful and all-consuming.

Writing a blog, replying to emails, maintaining a beautiful Instagram grid, continuously posting stories, interacting with others on Twitter – arrrghhhhhh! Even writing it all down makes me feel tired. It is HARD WORK. Especially when you’re told that to ‘grow’, you need to (constantly) ‘sell yourself’.

You know you need to take some time offline when you’ve been scrolling through your camera roll for 1hr 45mins desperately looking for a picture to instagram. And that’s exactly what I decided to do. I was sat on my bed, in a moment of complete digital dismay, when I realised I needed to stop. I frantically started googling ‘where in the world has the least phone signal’ and then ‘how to get to the Isle of Wight’ and then ‘Glamping on the Isle of Wight’ and I found Glamping the Wight Way!

The tagline on their website was ‘Bubbles, Blankets & Birdsong. Connect with the Natural World for a while’. I nearly hopped on the boat straight away.

So off I went to Glamping the Wight Way, ready for a digital detox and a weekend away immersing myself in nature. It is the PERFECT place to chill out and forget about your Twitter notifications. Right by the River Yar near Yarmouth, it is completely rural. You drive down a little farm track lined with cowslip and pull over to find 4 beautiful safari tents at the top of a slope with beautiful views across the fields. It’s almost completely off-grid, you have to heat the tent and the water with a little log burner and there’s the odd solar lamp but no street lights! It’s all about toasting marshmallows on a fire pit, boiling a kettle on a gas stove, and playing cards while wrapped in a blanket.

At 4 o’clock I turned my phone off (timed so that my boyfriend could watch Man U kick off at 4pm the next day *eye roll emoji*) and let out a huge sigh of relief.

This is what I learnt:

I don’t NEED my phone on me 24/7

It’s surprising how much you don’t NEED your phone in a day. Really the only desperate NEED for it is in an emergency. I don’t NEED to post on my instagram story or check my Facebook messages, but we think we do, cause we’ve all acquired such bad habits! No messages or calls came through in the 24 hours that I NEEDED to read… so maybe I don’t need my phone as much as I think I do?

My ‘checking my emails obsession’ is ridiculous 

No one, NO ONE is going to email you an amazing opportunity at the weekend. Anyone worthy of an ‘exciting email’ is going to be living their life at the weekend and not sat their worrying about whether you’ll take up their offer of a free phone case for 6 instagram posts.

I spend more time talking and not sat in silence 

Normally when my boyfriend and I go to bed, we spend around half an hour to an hour sitting on our phones, looking at nothing, sat in silence. Am I going to remember this moment when I die? No. Am I going to remember a meaningful conversation about his favourite cheese? Yes.

I didn’t miss out on much 

‘OMG but what if a MAJOR news story breaks?!’ – then you’ll find out tomorrow. ‘But what if @instagramuser does an AMAZING instagram?!’ – you’ll see it tomorrow. ‘YEAH but what if ALIENS invade the planet and EAT my cat’ – bit weird, but you’ll find out tomorrow.

All that happened was Caroline Flack got engaged and a linen jacket I wanted from Mango came back in stock.

I even texted my mum at 3.59 on Saturday saying ‘HI MUM, just a reminder that I’m going offline for 24 hours! Don’t miss me too much, love you!’ and she DIDN’T EVEN REPLY.

I felt less stressed and much more relaxed 

It was so nice not worrying about other people having ‘more fun’ than me. I just tried to focus on having fun myself and not taking a ‘boomerang cheers’ for everyone else to see on the ‘gram. (‘LOOK GUYS, I’M HAVING FUN’). In the constant chaos that is life, it became one thing less to worry about.

The whole experience was a real weight off my shoulders for 24 hours and I actually loved it. That’s not to say I’m going to be offline 24/7 – how can we be in this day and age? But I’m certainly going to make a concerted effort to put my phone down, observe the world around me, listen to peoples’ conversations and just have a nice life – instead of worrying about how to portray my ‘nice life’.*

*The irony is… here is now a portrayal of my ‘nice life’ at Glamping the Wight Way haaaa. Obvs these photos were taken while we were there, but all the editing, uploading and writing of this blog was done after my time offline!

 

Outfit details

Mango crochet top £19.99

Mango knitted skirt £35.99

Birkenstock Arizona sandals £59.99

 

 

 

 

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A festive weekend at The Hoxton, Shoreditch

London in the Winter can be a right old sweat. Rushing in the rain to catch the next tube, ripping off layer after layer for fear of over-heating and then two stops later, putting layer after layer back on for fear of freezing to death outside.

But the minute I got to The Hoxton, Shoreditch, I instantly felt relaxed. The atmosphere is cool and chilled-out due to the bare concrete architecture and open-plan lobby complete with velvet Chesterfields, naked light bulbs and wire bookcases lined with novels.  The huge roaring fires are so inviting, it’s impossible not to drop all your bags, sink into an armchair and stay for the week. We settled down into a cosy red leather, diner-style booth and devoured a Mac and Cheese (much needed after a strenuous journey).

Our room was funky and modern with a beautiful 60s style desk complete with branded mugs and (my fave) a Roberts Radio! Ngl, we spent most of the first afternoon just chilling in the room (so lethargic after my Mac and Cheese, plus it probs didn’t help that I’d had my Christmas party the night before…). And anyway, why would you leave a room that has unlimited tea bags, pillows made from clouds and Chill fm’s soothing mix of Massive Attack and Sigur Ros (srsly tho, is this a real radio station?).

We’d decided to stay in The Hoxton, Shoreditch for two reasons:

  1. Because we were going to see a play in the evening called The Ferryman. (If you know me, you’ll know I LOVE theatre, and this was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen, hands down)
  2. Because one of my life’s hopes, dreams and ambitions has always been to go to Columbia Road Flower Market. Ohhh the hours I’ve pondered over tulips, freesias and tiny, delicate cyclamen! And as luck would have it, it was just round the corner! (lol jk this was in the plan)

Finally, my day had come.

And on that day, those 24 hours that I’d chosen, one tiny little day out of 365, it decided to bloody tip it down.

But I REFUSED to let that stop me. This was my big flower market day! (huge shout out to my boyfriend at this point who stumbled after me in the torrential rain taking blogger pics while simultaneously trying to prevent our precious new lens from getting wet lol – what a gem)

Beyond the forest of Christmas trees (not quite a forest, more cut down and popped through one of those netting machines like a french sausage) were festive displays of red berries, eucalyptus stalks, pussy willow and poinsettias all shining out in glorious, wet, Christmassy joy!

It. Was. Wonderful.

I couldn’t leave without buying a seasonal bunch myself, despite knowing it would only cause me more chaos come the rain rush, layers on, layers off, sweaty tube chaos debacle. If only there was another Hoxton Shoreditch to greet me with an open fire and Mac and Cheese when I got home!

 

Outfit details:

Zara mohair jumper £39.99 (similar)

Zara red round bag £39.99 (similar)

Mango red slingback shoes £59.99 

Hollister white turtle neck £4.99

Urban Outfitters jeans £50.00 

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Pork Crackling and Apple Sauce at The Pig, Brockenhurst

It’s hard not to feel autumnal as you walk up the gravel track among the firs and the conifers, pine cones scattered over the dewy lawn. Despite me getting overexcited at a sign for the ‘Kitchen Garden’, it is FREEZING, and the smell of a woodburning fire entices us indoors, enveloping us in warmth.

The Pig in Brockenhurst is a small hotel with a focus on food. Nearly everything on the menu is grown on site or foraged-for nearby, so whether it comes from the forest or the coast, you know it’s as fresh as possible.

The interior is traditional with an informal twist. Boars’ heads frame the walls and colourful crystal glasses are lined up on antique dressers, but the menus tied up in garden string and napkin rings made from newspaper make for a ‘homemade’ feel. The sun-filled conservatory with bright, mis-matching floor tiles covered in potted plants is reminiscent of my Grandpa’s potting shed, though probably a bit more elegant.

But the real reason behind The Pig’s popularity, is the food. Their 25 mile menu (the idea being that most of the produce comes from within a 25 mile radius) boasts lamb and pork from Romsey, fresh Lymington crab and tomatoes from the Isle of Wight. All the herbs and most of the veg come straight from the Kitchen Garden, hence one section of the menu being called ‘Mostly Picked This Morning’. Try the curried cauliflower and Brocks Eggs – you won’t be disappointed – and whatever you do, don’t leave The Pig without trying some pork, or at least some crackling and apple sauce! The ‘Tomahawk’ pork chop is so flavoursome and you can mop up the sauce with a chunk of warm bread and Garden Herb-Infused Oil.

The Pig manages to combine simple, natural ingredients with an elegant, quirky touch that leaves your tastebuds tingling for hours. If, like me, you dream of roasting parsnips and boiling beetroot fresh from your vegetable patch, head to The Pig for inspiration. And while you’re at it, grab an armchair in front of the fire, and order yourself some ‘Piggy Bits’ (how do you expect me to dream about my Kitchen Garden, when I haven’t even tried  the pea and ham hummus yet?!).

 

 

 

Outfit details:

ZARA checked dress – £29.99

ACCESSORIZE black wool beret – £12

PRIMARK black wooden heel boots – £20 (similar ones from Office if you click this link!) 

 

 

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Happy glamping in Dorset

As much as I loved Ibiza, Santorini and Rome, sometimes you just need to hold off from booking an expensive flight and explore places closer to home. I am the keenest instagrammer/blogger/twitterer you’ll ever meet, but occasionally I feel a desperate urge to put my phone down, grab a scruffy jumper and embark on a countryside adventure.

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Stepping into the Wilderness

Streakers during fantasy cricket matches, Ottolenghi long-table banquets, and mass yoga classes at sunset, Wilderness is as much about the festival experience as it is about the music. In my attempt to visit some of the smaller festivals I finally made it to ‘the poshest festival in the UK’ based in Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire. 

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When in Rome

A city reminiscent of Gladiator, Julius Caesar and the Pope (obvs), there’s so much to see/do/eat in Rome, I don’t know where to begin. The history? The fountains? The relaxed lifestyle? The food?! As my Dad was working there I was lucky enough to go for a week so I really did try to squeeze in as much as possible! My photo diary is below and a list of my top 10 must-do things in Rome that you, well… ‘must-do’!

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Decadent Copenhagen bag

I recently bought this beautiful new bag from Danish brand, Decadent Copenhagen. It’s 100% leather (synthetic lining) with a beautiful metal clasp and detachable strap. I have been on the lookout for a small, black, leather bag like this for ages and believe me, they’re surprisingly hard to find! It goes across the body and fits in all the essentials: keys, phone. purse, lip balm – what else do you need?!

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A Brighton Birthday

The beach, the pier, the lanes – Brighton has so much going on so where better to spend my birthday! I stayed in the Brighton Harbour Hotel which was full of modern colourful touches, unique furnishings and jazzy wallpaper. I was actually flabbergasted at the size of the bed (it was bloody huge!) and overjoyed to find The White Company miniatures in the bathroom. There was even complimentary gin and sherry in glass decanters on the drinks table!

As comfortable as the room was, it was the most beautifully sunny and crisp February afternoon so my boyfriend and I headed to the beach with a bottle of champagne and my M&S picnic blanket. There’s nothing more pleasurable than watching the sun set with a glass of fizz in your hand – wherever you are in the world.

When we’d had a (cough) suitable amount of champagne, we felt it would only be right to try out the brand new spa that had just opened up in the basement of the hotel.

The spa was a maze of different rooms and unique experiences, opening out firstly to a heated pool complete with giant inflatable double lilo. Then after walking past the hydrotherapy pool in our complimentary robes and slippers, we headed down a damp, dungeon-like staircase which opens up to a beautiful underground room with roman arches. There were two wooden hot tubs reminiscent of cosy skiing holidays in the Alps, scented candles everywhere, and lemon water dispensers for when it all gets too steamy and you’re in need of some hydration!  The secretive, underground atmosphere made it one of the most unique spa experiences I’ve ever had, and therefore definitely one of the most enjoyable!

I’d seen The Jetty restaurant at the Brighton Harbour Hotel advertised so I was very excited to try some of the delicious seafood I’d heard so much about. I ordered a seafood platter which was incredible (see below) but it was a slightly disappointing experience as the sides didn’t arrive until after we’d finished… They were very accommodating, however, and did agree to remove the sides from the bill.

After a very comfortable night’s sleep, I was very happy to see a continental breakfast bar with all the cereal options! Obviously I had eggs benedict, but it’s just nice to have the choice, ya know?

I loved my little one night stay in Brighton, there’s so much to do in 24 hours, and with a hotel right on the seafront, a bottle of champagne and a picnic blanket what can go wrong?

 

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