Willow House B&B West Wittering : Coastal Gem


Britain has a spectacular coastline with some of the most striking beaches in the world.  My childhood summers were spent on the coast with my parents taking my brother and I to the seaside for our summer holidays. We never went abroad but had memorable stays in places like Torquay, the Isle of wight, Bournemouth, Eastbourne Weston-super-Mare, the Lake District, the list goes on. Those memories inspire me to make sure Jay enjoys his summer with us and we try and do as much as we can.

These days Air B&Bs are very popular with guests but I really do like staying in B&Bs enjoying a semi relaxing break by the sea if you’re a parent, where you can enjoy the chance to sample a hearty farmhouse breakfast and then take a stroll down the beach to the water.  The UK’s seaside bed and breakfasts are no longer associated with chintz and net curtains. Forget poky rooms, creaky stairs and the stale smell of fry-ups, I really think the British seaside B&B has reinvented itself and there are some absolutely beautiful places well worth your precious pennies. The colour blue has been found by an overwhelming amount of people to be associated with feelings of calm and peace.  Staring at the sea actually changes our brain waves’ frequency and puts us into a mild meditative state. If you haven’t been to the coast in a while I encourage you to think about booking a break.

We booked a stay at Willow House B&B in West Sussex for our wedding anniversary  set in a peaceful location in West Wittering. After quick communication vie email and text messages we packed our things and headed off. Upon arrival our lovely host and owner Sarah greeted us immediately and showed us around. We were able to park right next to the accommodation in a safe space.  As my parents came too we were allocated two private lodges within the courtyard both having king size beds. Our lodge had an additional single bed for Jay which was lovely. It’s clear to see that every detail has been carefully thought about.

My favourite theme for decor is ‘coastal’ so this was heaven for me! I absolutely adored everything and wish I could recreate the same look at home. The Courtyard Suite is a bright and airy and luxury bedding and pillows made for a good nights sleep. The soft dressing gowns, fluffy white towels were fantastic touches. We were made to feel right at home.


The busy town of Chichester City Centre is 15 minutes away and the Blue Flag sandy beach at West Wittering is only a 5 minutes drive. It’s lovely to have amenities around you and yet enjoy the peace and tranquility. The location really is perfect for a romantic break or one with the whole family.

The En suite shower rooms have luxury vegan toiletries, and a flat-screen smart TV with Freeview. There are tea and coffee facilities  and luckily for us sweeties in the fridge. Lots of detail made us feel very comfortable including books and games for Jay.  My parents had the garden lodge which was absolutely gorgeous in style.  I dream of having a little costal place like this to escape to at the weekend. I think Sarah will have to help me decorate it if ever I do manage to buy a little oasis by the sea.

Breakfast was delicious and lots of options to cater for everyone. Sarah kindly asked us what we wanted and nothing was too much trouble. I like the fact that food was local products  including eggs from free range hens from a local farm. My parents are vegetarian and enjoyed the selection on offer. Whenever we go away I always look forward to breakfast because in my opinion it really is the best meal of the day.

On the first night we went to a lovely restaurant called Three Veg at Samphire.  It’s the first time I have been to a restaurant where vegetables took priority. I am a flexitarian so this was really wonderful to experience.





We booked our accommodation directly with Sarah and I highly recommend booking in advance.  I know I find being by the sea does wonders for my mindset. Science says the surf and sand does the mind (and body) good.

Go get some Vitamin Sea and let that ebbing and flowing you hear as you lie on your towel under an umbrella de-stimulate your brain. This is the perfect place to explore one of the loveliest beaches in England.

Rooms: £121 per night including breakfast with an extra £20 supplement for Jay.

Contact: Sarah

Tel: 07708 736 940

Email: info@willowhousebedandbreakfast.com

Thank you for reading

Bella

~X~

MIM ES VIVÉ IBIZA


I first stepped on The White Isle in 2001 with my bestie heading to the lively resort of San Antonio and have been in love with Ibiza ever since. Sitting pretty in the mediterranean sea it’s a hugely popular destination. I bet the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Clubbing’ which I have to admit is what I think too! but there’s so much more to this gorgeous island than the party scene. I love the pretty coves and sandy bays  along with the lush pine forests and gorgeous whitewashed villages. There is something for everyone and with a two and a half hour flight time from London it’s perfect for fast or slow paced holiday makers (and those with pace makers). The nightlife is LEGENDARY (I can vouch for that) and the sleepy villages and UNESCO protected old town aren’t to be missed. Don’t rule Ibiza out if you have never been because I assure you there is a place for everyone.

Mark and I joined friends on a five night stay at the luxurious MiM Ibiza Ea Vive owned by Lionel Messi and formally known as Es Vivé in Figueretas. It’s our third trip together to the Island, we chose to mini-moon  in 2010 straight after our four day wedding celebration. This time we went with a group of friends celebrating our beautiful friend Dawn’s 50th which happens to be next month. (An Ibiza reunion awaits!). We all had an amazing time and weeks on still talk about the trip which brought wonderful memories and laughter. Party week it certainly was!

 

LOCATION

A 20 minute drive from the airport and a short walk to Playa d’en Bossa Beach, you arrive at a three storey building set away from a quiet street.  MiM Ibiza Es Vivé is an Adults Only boutique Art Deco hotel open from April to October. I remember looking at brochures back in 2001 hoping that one day I would get to laze about here. For me the very sight of tropical palms signifies a calm oasis and you just know it’s going to be good.  Check in at 3pm meant we left our cases in a secure area next to the reception area. I genuinely thought the hotel was owned by Lionel Richie and totally misheard until I saw the ball d’or! silly funny moment!

The staff were really welcoming and smiley and after a few details  we went to place our suitcases in the holding area and began relaxing as our room wasn’t ready.  Our early flight to the island was tough as we were up at 01:30 and arrived on the island around 09:00. All we wanted to do was sleep! The outdoor area is perfect to unwind and enjoy the Balearic beats poolside. The pool isn’t huge but doesn’t feel overcrowded and we were there in July. There are plenty of sunbeds so no rushing necessary. Es Vive as it was formerly known was opened  17  years ago with the motto “To Live The Dream.”  It’s an award winning hotel and I can see why.







 

ROOF TOP GLAM – SKY BAR

The sleek interiors give you a very good idea that the roof terrace is going to be something special. As you climb the steps up to the top and open the door it hit’s you how gorgeous the space is. The location is spot on for views of the Old town. The Sky Bar is first class and very much a favourite of mine because you can relax eat and drink on a king size bed while the resident DJ and Producer Erik Pastrana does his thing. Good vibes, chatting to friends drinks in hands and beautiful sunsets. It really is super easy to forget about the World and your worries. Recline on Kingsize beds and sip cocktails taking in views of Ibiza ‘s old town which is gorgeous sparkling away in the dark.

Mark takes the mick out of my love for a good hotel breakfast but for me this is the best part starting your day right and enjoying brekkie especially when it involves fizz!  who can blame me Prosecco available first thing served until 11am! take your pick with fresh fruit and juices, cereals, granola, yoghurt and a hot offering of eggs, bacon, sausages. Some of us couldn’t quite face a full English after a night on the town but options like  eggs benedict, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon or the breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, avocado and cheese. There are other items if you don’t like or eat eggs of course!

Throughout the day, you can order from a wide-ranging health-focused menu including seared red tuna steak with quinoa, tomato, kale and sunflower seed salad and grilled chicken breast served with grilled vegetables and brown rice or quinoa. For those indulging, the club sandwich is delicious, as are the burgers.

 

FOOD  & DRINK

The all-day menu also offers everything from sushi and soft shell crab salads to chicken thai salad served with jasmine rice and it’s all pretty well priced. You can order health shots like immune-boosting Wheat Grass or Aloe Vera health.  Large, black-tiled bars are the central features of the Deco restaurant, the Experience Bar and the reception.

 

VIRTUE SPA

ROOMS

Comfy accommodation is paramount any where you travel. This hotel oozes style.  Award winning Interior designer, Sean Cochrane is responsible for the unique rooms and suites at Hotel MiM Ibiza Es Vivé. The distinct art deco style runs through the hotel and the luxurious marble bathrooms, stylish furnishings which really flow beautifully giving that glam feel.

We had a tiny (air-con) room on the third floor with a gorgeous balcony. When I say tiny the room was very small, my only negative  about this hotel. My fault for bringing a massive suitcase!  But in all honesty we didn’t spend much time there so it really didn’t matter. I guess it would have been good to have a little more space to manoeuvre around in. I stubbed my toe on two occasions but I will forgive the hotel as the rooms are lovely with pieces of period furniture  in decadent dark tones with silk and velvet fittings.

We did book last minute  paid by ourselves via Booking.com and got a relatively good deal but it’s a popular hotel so it would be a risk to leave it late like we did. Rooms start at £250 a night in low season for a standard room to £800 a night high season (Gulp indeed). Always check directly with the hotel as they often have discounts not available elsewhere.

THE EXPERIENCE BAR
For pre and post drinking this is the place to be for a warm up or warm down. It has that underground nightlife feel to it with ambient lighting. Great music and plush surroundings.  You don’t want to miss the experience!
Thanks for reading
Bella
~X~

For all you Glow Getters ~Insta Glow is here!

Tomorrow is the launch day for the AMAZING Insta Glow a self tan product which sold out in the States in seconds when it launched over there.  Starting my online beauty business Belle De Beauté  has meant I get to try a number of products but I have to confess I have never used self tan until recently. I can tell Insta Glow is going to sell out quickly as I’ve seen the results on friends so for anyone who uses fake tan please keep reading, this is definitely one not to miss.

My natural skin tone is brown due to my Indian heritage but there are parts of my body that are fairer than others like my legs. I managed to get hold of my very own Insta Glow ahead of the launch on 6th June to get an even tone all over and it’s exceeded my expectations. I’ve heard many conversations over the years from friends who use tanning products and smell is the one of the biggest deterrents from using fake tan products. Most commonly compared to biscuits, curry or even more undesirable substances!

Insta Glow

Non drip gel formula applies smoothly

Delivers an instant bronze finish

Low Odour

Stain Free

Absorbs Quickly for a streak free finish

Apply with hands no glove needed

NO ORANGE HANDS!

BEFORE

AFTER

The British summer as we know can be very unpredictable but a beautiful glow all year round is possible with this easy to apply gel building up to a bronzed glow. Safer for your health and skin, self tanning is without a doubt the smarter approach to tanning. If you would like to order this best seller than please do send me an email.

A streak free perfect faux glow – no problem.

My pre-order list is open for you beauties!

Lots of love

Bella

~X~

email: alongcamejay@gmail.com

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Tranquility at The Medicine Garden, Surrey


We are well in the throes of the British summer (*whispers* what summer) and with an active toddler to entertain each day during the holidays I remembered this location that I once drove past and being intrigued by the name. The Medicine Garden sounds like a place that’s going to make you feel better and I can now say it works well for people of all ages tucked away in Cobham. If it’s serenity in Surrey you’re after then this is the place to travel to and best of all it’s free to enter. Before I arrived I’d imagined it being like a secret garden and it did feel a little bit like this other than there is no gate, you just walk in from the car park. The weather was just right when we arrived sunshine and a slight breeze which made the whole place come alive. This walled Victorian garden is a creative space, a place to sit with friends and have drinks and a natter. A place to bring the children for a run around. A place to find a collection of independent shops and of course consume food and drink by way of cafe and a restaurant. Nearly everyone that I saw had a smile on their face and I felt that the three hours passed by quickly. I found out that there are lots of events organised throughout the year things like outdoor cinemas and BBQs.

With the recently renovated glasshouse in the courtyard, they have a lovely and very stylish cafe called the Hothouse Cafe. These days being able to drink a coffee at my own leisurely pace is a rare treat.  I was able to drink my coffee but gave up my table to an 80 year old who kept telling me he was 80 years old. I told him I was half his age and he said ” yes but I am 80″.  Jay soon got bored of this odd conversation and then urged me to take him to the dome positioned in the corner of the garden so I said my farewells to the octogenarian.

The concept of the garden is to encourage people to think more about the power of nature and inspire them to create a bit of ‘good medicine’ in their own gardens and homes.  The design is based on an eight-pointed compass with each direction highlighting an important quality that we can creatively bring into our gardens and therefore our lives.

Courage / Vitality / Inspiration / Stillness / Wonder /Story /Nourishment /Rhythm

 

I have definitely taken more of an interest in gardening in the last year you might have seen my vlog of the herb garden I did recently, a new project at Along Came Jay HQ.  Whenever I see a garden shop I like having a mooch around and there were lots of ornaments to look at and purchase of course.  I’m glad Jay likes going to garden centres with me and he’s really also taken an interest in this herb garden and insists we plant some marjoram which I’ve yet to find. Within the Courtyard Community, there are also various independent companies. It’s a real eclectic mix of arts and crafts.

I also discovered a treatment room which offers therapies including reflexology, aromatherapy and holistic massage. Other treatments offered include osteopathy, reiki,  manual lymphatic drainage (Vodder) which sounds interesting and scary at the same time. Plus they have morning boot camps, yoga and Tai Chi classes in the main garden for those keen on body conditioning.


The Food Studio offers a range of cookery workshops demos and talks from UK’s leading Foodies, Pop-up Events, private and corporate dining, as well outside event catering.   I’d love to attend something like the Blid & Hatton Gatherings run by friends Surrey-born chef Maddie Hatton and Swedish native Helga Blid-Martinsson. They have joined forces to offer workshops which draws on the European tradition of cooking and ‘breaking bread’ as part of everyday life.

Something I’ve struggled with since moving to London and then Surrey is how busy everywhere is and the sheer volume of people travelling here and there. It’s taken a while to adjust to the frantic pace of life here in the South. Just like the Mayfield Lavender field I love being in these styles of outdoor spaces away from all the traffic and noise. I also know it’s a hard task keeping young children entertained. I was glad we made a trip here for Jay to burn of some of that energy he holds in abundance.

 

I would advise checking the weather before you visit as it started to rain as we left the car park and although there is lots of seating and awnings I think you can get more out of the visit not having to duck for cover. I forgot to take my vlogging camera so used my iPhone to snap photos instead. No doubt we will be returning before the summer draws to a close.  Some places give you that feel good factor and this garden fits the bill perfectly.

Opening hours

Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays 10am – 4pm

Address

The Medicine Garden
Downside Road
Cobham
Surrey
KT11 3LU

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

Bocketts Farm Park Visit



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I find one of the joys of being an older parent is being made to feel all young again visiting lots of places with my pre-schooler. Whereas most of our friends have children who ditched nappies long long ago I will be with my changing bag for some time yet. It is of course fine and life is fun as we are thoroughly enjoying our summer so far heading to visitor attractions most of which remind me of my childhood.  I  say that and I never actually went to a farm when I was young but I did go to local zoo’s and remember seeing lots of animals which is where my interest in animals started.

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Mr M and I are trying to take advantage of the little sunshine hours we have in this Country recently taking a trip to Bocketts Farm Park set in the beautiful Surrey countryside. It was particularly warm on the day so armed with Nivea SPF 50 and lots of snacks we arrived after a short drive and purchased our tickets.  This is the only negative I feel I need to write which is that adult entry costs £9.50 and child entry (3-17yrs) costs £9.95, Jay is three next year but I must admit paying £8.30 as he is nearly two and a half still seems dear to me. Then again I have seen higher admission costs elsewhere so I guess this isn’t so bad in comparison.  Mr M purchased a bag of animal food for the animals that you are allowed to feed and as soon as our wrist bands were on we set off to explore our surroundings.

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Optional extras:

Bag of animal feed 95p,

Tractor and Trailer ride £1.25 per person,

Pony Rides (3-12 years old only) £2.00 per ride,

Electric tractors and diggers £1 per ride,

Gold Panning £2 per pan (seasonal),

Water Wars £1 per bucket (seasonal).

 

Being a working farm, there are always baby animals to see including kids, piglets and chicks and ducklings. There are  extensive play areas and facilities for children of all ages. Inside are two play barns ‘ with a 70ft 4-lane astroslide which Jay and his daddy went on twice.  There are also trampolines and rides on tractors. We took a 15 mins tractor ride at the start of our visit which I thought was lovely and it was good to see that there were wash areas especially after feeding the animals. We didn’t get to see the pig race may be next time!

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There are also adventure trails, and a jumping pillow although Jay wasn’t that interested in the pillow and much preferred the wooden maze. The farm also has an 18th-century barn converted into a tea room and a sand pit nearby. We of course loved the gift shop but sadly were too late to purchase fresh farm eggs which taste so much better than shop bought.

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During half term there are various farm activities offered so always worth checking online perhaps.  I know we will return when Jay is a little older as he will be able to understand much more. He particularly loved the small animals and was fascinated by chickens and the degus. I can’t wait to go when spring lambing begins and see the birds of prey flying demonstrations.

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We did film our visit which you can see on my YouTube channel and thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the farm, judging by Jay’s face he had an entertaining time. If you can get here the address is Bocketts Farm Park, Young Street, Fetcham, Leatherhead, KT22 9BS. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed. I do feel that farm visits are incredibly educational and a wonderful way for children to learn and respect animals.

Thanks for reading

Bella

~X~

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