Tag Archives: Cotswolds

Total Bliss at Cowley Manor C-Side Spa

December has been a buy old month, a family trip to London , a new job and saying goodbye to my 30’s has left me feeling pretty dazed and exhausted. A Spa Day at Cowley Manor’s C-Side Spa was precisely what the doctor ordered. A few hours on my own, being pampered in luxurious surroundings is something that I don’t get to experience too often so my plan was to savour every minute.

From the moment you pull up the drive at Cowley Manor it starts to feel festive, with an amazing light display around the hedges and the house. You feel a bit like Alice whisked away to an enchanted Christmas Wonderland.

The Spa is set away from the main house and is incredibly modern in design compared to the rest of the surroundings, but like everything else at Cowley Manor, this eclectic approach makes it seem even more of a unique place. Think 1960’s Bond villain lair meets noughties design elements and you get the mix.

Cowley manor

The spa has both an indoor and outdoor pool (but this being December I chickened out of taking a dip outdoors, but others were) with the temperature inside so warm and cosy that I nearly fell asleep before my treatment I was so relaxed.

Cowley Manor swimming

All the treatments at the  C-Side Spa use products from Green & Spring which I am slightly obsessed with since our first stay at Cowley Manor a while back. My treatment was the signature Green and Spring Facial which takes about an hour.

Designed to repair and rejuvenate, the facial begins with a process of intense cleansing to stimulate and increase blood supply to the skin. This is followed by an energising scrub and secondary exfoliation with the unique Green & Spring Gentle Face Refiner which scavenges dead skin cells and brightens. Soothing local honey and skin-clarifying milk are massaged into the skin with a hot, herbal compress filled with lavender, calendula and wheatgerm to heal and remove toxins. A deep, toning and nourishing face massage is given followed by application of an antioxidant face mask to help heal, nourish and repair leaving the skin glowing and youthful.

Cowley manor Spa

Before your treatment starts you are offered a menu of the music you would like to listen to. It is these little touches that make the whole experience of visiting the C-Side Spa a really magical experience.

I have recently been reading Finding Your Way in a Wild New World by Dr Martha Beck  (Martha is Oprah’s Life Coach) Martha Beck

Finding Your Way in a Wild New World reveals a remarkable path to the most important discovery you can make: the knowledge of what you should be doing with your one wild and precious life. It’s the thing that so fulfills you that, if you knew what it was, you’d run straight toward it through brambles and fire. Martha guides you to find out how you got to where you are now and what you should do next, with clear instructions on tapping into the deep, wordless knowledge you carry in your body and soul.

This book is a fascinating read and I have been trying hard to ‘quiet my mind’ and be less verbal, which is much harder than it sounds! My day at Cowley Manor’s C-Side Spa certainly helped me to relax and achieve a sense of peace and calm I haven’t experienced for such a long time. By the end of my day at C-Side Spa the only thought I was having was trying to work out when I could come back next……


A Very Cowley Christmas with Cowley Manor

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cowleymanor_full_logo_rev-5One of the signs that Christmas is around the corner is the annual charity fashion and shopping event held in November at the fabulous Cowley Manor near Cheltenham.


This year the event is being held on Wednesday 25th November 2015 from 6pm – Midnight when the whole of Cowley Manor is transformed into a boutique shopping venue with each of the hotel bedrooms being taken over by various sellers and businesses.

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Showcasing …

We have a cosy feel to the show this year with luxurious silks and sumptuous knits and a decadent food hall filled with gourmet delights, from wine tasting and artisan chocolate to cocktail masterclasses and much more.  Perfume counters, antique fine jewellery and inspired beauty sparkle are sure to get everyone in the spirit of things, alongside gorgeous Christmas wrap, crackers and floristry… there’s really no place like A Very Cowley Christmas!





Not only is this is a great chance to do a spot of Christmas shopping and catch up with friends but it is also one of the few chances you can have to wander around this amazing hotel and if you are anything like me, enjoy having a nose around some of the finest hotel rooms in the Cotswolds!

Exceptional Room Best Room (2)

This year the charity that is being supported is Winston’s Wish the leading child bereavement charity in the UK which was founded in Gloucestershire in 1992.


General admission tickets are £5 in advance or £7.50 on the door, with all proceeds donated to Winston’s Wish Children’s Bereavement Charity.

Tickets to ‘A Fashionably Late Feast’ at 10pm with 3 courses and a fashion show – £45 per person.

To book, email tickets@cowleymanor.com or call +44 (0)1242 870 900.

Information and images courtesy of Silver Ball PR

The Great British Picnic

Getting all our kit together for our holiday this week got me thinking about picnics and everything you need for a great British picnic. My dream picnic would look something like this picture I found in The Telegraph but realistically ours are more of a nice rug and a good spot.

Beautiful picnic picture

Living in the countryside we tend to enjoy picnicking by the coast or near water as it feels totally different for us.

Cherry Good JuiceCherry Good Juice recently did some ‘picnicking’ research to celebrate International Picnic Day.  It revealed the nation’s top picnicking preferences to uncover the recipe for the perfect Great British Picnic ‘Brit-nic’.

Apparently over 10 million Brits picnic at least 5x a year and according to this research we are a nation of traditionalists opting for a classic chicken salad on white bread with crusts left on…but they must be cut into triangles!

What’s more, we spend on average £29.55 on our picnic hampers, with 1 in 5 of us including luxury items on our picnic shopping list. Almost 1/4 of those in Northern Ireland and London are prepared to pay over £50 for the perfect ‘Brit-nic’.

My Top 3 Picnic Spots in the South-West

Cornwall beaches Fowey1. Readymoney Cove, Fowey, Cornwall

This is perhaps one of the most child friendly beaches I know. A small sheltered cove in Fowey where you feel you are in the setting for a Famous Five novel. There are plenty of rock pools to explore and when the tide is out plenty of beach to sit on.



Best picnic spots South West

2. The Front Beach, Lyme Regis, Dorset

We had the most  wonderful afternoon here totally unplanned when we were  in the area for my brother’s wedding in 2012. We were staying at The Alexandra Hotel and wandered down to the beach not knowing what to expect. We ended up having an amazing afternoon eating crab sandwiches from a little sandwich shop by the sea front and it was G’s first real beach experience as a toddler. Very happy memories.

south west picnic spots




best beaches in Cornwall for picnics


3. Pridmouth Cove Beach, Nr Fowey, Cornwall

Before we had G we used to love going on long hikes. When we visited Fowey one year we walked some of the South West Coast path and came across the spectacular beach of Pridmouth Cove. Pridmouth Cove is quite an isolated spot with access to the beach a 15 min walk from the car park. It is also the inspiration for Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, with the house on the beach serving as the backdrop for Rebecca’s beach hut escapades. I read Rebecca at school and it has been one of my all time favourite novels ever since. I try and re-read every 10 years or so. I think my Du Maurier obsession is why I love visiting Fowey so much.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier





The most luxurious picnic I have been too was when I went to the Longborough Festival Opera, an annual event held a few miles away from us here in the Cotswolds. I was invited by my great friends, Barry and Finbarr who had prepared a fantastic feast for us to eat in the interval of the opera we had gone to see. We thought we were pretty organised until we started seeing silver candelabras coming out on the tables next to us!!

My dream picnic though is to book a ready made hamper from my favourite place in the Cotswolds, Cowley Manor and take off into their amazing grounds, with a bottle of something chilled and a good read.

Cowley Manor, Cheltenham

The picnic hamper menu just makes my mouth water reading it and although not cheap would be lovely for a special event. For me this has all the elements of a Great British Picnic.


£60 for two people


Ginger beer & vegetable crisps

Black pudding Scotch egg & Sausage roll

w Cowley ketchup

Manor smoked salmon & cream cheese

on sourdough

Tuck in

Roasted Poussin

w jersey royals & house dressing,

green bean salad w shallots & walnuts

Heritage tomato & Laverstock farm mozzarella salad

Keep Going

Fruit scones w jam, clotted cream

& a cup of tea

Elderflower & strawberry jelly

& a selection of Turkish delight, inspired by the gardens

Cheeses, chutneys & freshly baked crackers

Do you have any great picnic suggestions or places to go? If you had to create and organise your dream picnic what would it be? I would love to know!

Getting Ready for Christmas

getting ready for Christmas is as much fun for me as the day itself. As I start my new job in January I have a bit more time on my hands and have decided to get a bit more crafty this year having been inspired by some of the really get craft blogs out there and my Pintrest obsession. Also our village is holding a Festival of Christmas Celebration at the end of November and I signed up to a stall with one of my VERY creative besties so I had a goal too. If you are local to the Cotswolds it will be a great event and a very festive way to kick off your Christmas celebrations.


I wanted to create something that was not expensive to make or purchase that people would really like to buy and came up with soaps and candles. I researched soap making and bought one of the fab Kirstie Allsopp kits from Hobbycraft as this wasn’t a craft I was familiar with.


After one batch I was hooked and have had to really curb my making efforts so I am not left with hundreds of unused soaps. I have also made some candles with Christmas-sy scented oils in tins and the lovely type you see in elegant old china cups that you see going for a fortune all over the place. Fingers crossed these all sell otherwise my gift giving this year will end up with my Dad receiving rose-scented soaps!


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I also bought myself a set of Pom Pom makers which I have had great fun with after seeing some great ideas on Pintrest.

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Making Pom Poms has become a type of therapy and luckily I have discovered a great way to use them up. I have attempted to make the fairy garland as a gift for a friend’s daughter.  After purchasing a wreath for £2.99 from B & M Homestore I used these Pintrest images as inspiration and ta dah I was pretty please with my efforts. What do you think?


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All Things Wild, Evesham, Worcestershire


 A while back we were recommended to visit The Domestic Wildfowl Trust just outside of Evesham in Worcestershire, there is lots more there than just chickens now and it has been rebranded as All Things Wild. We are very close to Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park so have never ventured further than here for our farm experiences with G. All Things Wild which has a great range of experiences for children from an indoor soft play to the most amazing dinosaur trail.

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The dinosaur trail is in a huge field (which if there has been any rain I recommend taking wellies, it was a bit boggy when we visited) that has a great range of dinosaurs for your dinosaur mad children to be occupied for quite a while. There is also a great fossil hunting sandpit that G loved and played in quite happily on his own for quite a while which is always a bonus.

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We were so impressed with the great range of animals including gerbils, chickens, goats, ferrets and turkeys to name a few of the outdoor ones with snakes, lizards and terrapins inside that we signed up for a year’s family membership. They also took off our entrance fee from our visit that day from the price of the Annual Pass. The soft play and indoor tractors are great for under 7’s if the weather isn’t being kind and there are comfy sofas provided for watching your little ones exhaust themselves in the soft play area whilst you can enjoy a latte from the café. The café is very reasonably priced, so much so it probably works out cheaper than a picnic with the amount we end up taking with us. It is all home cooked on the premises, so it isn’t the quickest, but well worth the wait.

Yesterday we decided to pop down for a visit as Tractor Ted was there. G has been a big fan of Tractor Ted for a while now. The DVD’s are great and can highly recommend them if you have children into big machines and anything outdoorsy. The DVD’s are very educational and the songs will annoy you so much but you will never get them out of your head!  It is these add on days that really make having the annual pass worthwhile as we only popped down for a couple of hours but it was just enough for us yesterday.

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As a family we really rate this place and would certainly recommend a visit if you are local or visiting the area. (I should add as well that this post is NOT a sponsored post in any way and all the views and opinions come completely as our own.)

Entertaining Elliot