HELLO SEPTEMBER 2021
And so, as another lovely Summer comes to an end, I look back at some wonderful experiences my family & I have had and I’m so grateful for all the wonderful people, things & opportunities I have in my life.
September to me is a fresh start, a new term & time to put new plans & goals into action. I seem to have more than ever this year with exams to pass to further my career, a book to have published, growing my blog and a new business launching in January. Not to mention Belle starting college & Max starting his new school and Tony running the London marathon.
As I look ahead at the next few months the sheer amount of dates in my diary & workload is a little daunting but I’m so excited & positive about everything I can’t wait to get going.
FABULOUS THINGS THAT HAPPENED LAST MONTH
1. I took Isabelle & my parents to Highclere Castle for the day to see where our beloved Downton Abbey is filmed!
2. An overnight stay in Watford to take Belle, Max and my nephew Jack to the Warner Brothers Studio Tour of Harry Potter
3. A few wonderful days in Cornwall
4. A lovely overnight stay in the beautiful city of Bath & driving through The Cotswolds for Tony & my 18th wedding anniversary
5. A few days in Cardiff Wales!
LIFESTYLE, LEISURE, PLACES & HOME
Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)
Oh what a perfect day!
My parents, Belle & myself are huge Downton Abbey fans & have been wanting to go to visit Highclere for some time. I can safely say it was one of the best days of the summer and we all loved every minute. I’ve watched the series and the films many times and Isabelle & I had another binge watch in the week leading up to our visit to get us in the mood for the wonderful era in which Downton is set.
Situated in Newbury, Berkshire, it’s a good 4 hour drive from our village in West Yorkshire but it was most definitely worth it. We were blessed with beautiful weather so when we arrived we took advantage of the outdoor bar and had pimms on the lawn!
Our tickets to go inside the house were for 1pm but you can arrive at any time prior to this and enjoy the grounds. We arrived mid morning and enjoyed a wonderful couple of hours exploring the beautiful grounds & gardens and having a spot of lunch. It really is a spectacular place and I definitely did feel like Lady Mary wandering around.
On entering the stunning house, you are met with a lovely feeling of familiarity and it is wonderful to see all the beautiful rooms and the stunning staircase that we’ve grown to love throughout the series.
The ‘below stairs’ scenes are not filmed in the house as, with the house being lived in today, the kitchens are all updated for present day use. However, the rest of the house has kept all its original features & artwork and is a spectacle to see.
We were never rushed and could spend our day exploring inside and outside at leisure which we loved and, although there were plenty of visitors, it was so well organised that you never felt crowed in any of the areas.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink along with a lovely gift shop, so we did treat ourselves to a couple of souvenirs.
My parents. Belle & I had a wonderful day and if you’re a Downton fan I can highly recommend a visit.
BEAUTY, HEALTH & STYLE
My Weekly Home Facials
I’ve always looked after my skin but as I hit my 40’s I upped my skin care regime to keep my skin as fresh and youthful as I possibly can.
During lockdown I worked a lot on myself both mentally & physically as if I’m not at my best how can I be at my best for my family & businesses. One of the things I’ve stuck to is a weekly home facial every Sunday morning. I love to go for regular professional facials but it’s always good to continue them at home in between going to the beauty spa. It takes me around an hour, and I change my products from time to time. I always use a good face mask and I follow it with 15 minutes using my facial massager. A coffee and a favourite programme on TV whilst performing my skin care routine makes it a lovely hour to myself of pure self care & to top it off my skin has never been as good.
RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH
The Ivy – Bath
I’ve been to a few of The Ivy restaurants in various cities & I’ve never been disappointed. Bath was most certainly no exception. Although it is now a ‘chain restaurant’ of sorts it is certainly of a high class and feels nothing like your usual chain restaurant. It offers a high quality dining experience with a varied & enticing menu.
The welcoming & friendly staff are attentive from the minute you set foot in the restaurant to the minute you leave and the attention to detail & customer service is excellent.
I ordered steak & Tony ordered fish and both our meals were delicious and cooked to perfection. After our entrée we ordered deserts but, as it was our anniversary, they very kindly brought us a celebration cake also. Very naughty but very very nice!!!!!!!
The ambience is warm & welcoming, and the signature Ivy Art Deco décor is fresh, glamorous & inviting.
We had a wonderful evening from start to finish & we will continue to visit The Ivy restaurants around the UK.
COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH
Raspberry & Passion Fruit Martini
- 100ml vodka
- 1 tbsp raspberry liqueur
- 50ml passion fruit juice
- handful of ice
- ½ passion fruit (optional)
- STEP 1
Put 2 martini glasses in the freezer for 5 mins to chill. Mix the vodka, raspberry liqueur, passion fruit juice and a handful of ice in a jug or cocktail shaker.
- STEP 2
Strain into the glasses and float ½ a passion fruit on the top of each, if you like.
FILM/TV SHOW OF THE MONTH
Knowing we were going to be visiting ‘Highclere’ at the end of Summer, as the full series had arrived on Netflix, I decided to binge watch it yet again to remind myself of the beautiful castle before I see it in the flesh.
I adore how this beautiful series always transports me back in time and it feels comforting, like a ‘warm hug’. The production still looks as beautiful now as it did when it was originally released and the writing, performances, costumes and of course Highclere itself are the epitome of class! I love it just as much now as I always have.
THIS MONTH I’M LOVING
Knowing I’ve still got some lovely plans coming up in September & October!
THIS MONTH I’M NOT LOVING
Summer is over!!
THIS MONTHS FAVOURITES
1. Woman & Home Magazine – I actually had time to sit down & read magazines last month!
2. Cornwall – a stunning part of our country
3. JS health hair & energy vitamins
4. Smoked salmon
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion, being alive is a special occasion. Enjoy life today because yesterday is gone & tomorrow is never promised!