Glamping

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I discovered this Shepherd’s Hut on the Canopy & Stars website (which probably deserves a post all of its own – I could spend hours gazing at the tree-houses on that site and it’s great when you’re in the mood for procrastinating!). West Town Farm, in Ide, is just an hour and a half from Bristol, and not only is the farm is the perfect backdrop for romance, the idyllic Shepherd’s Hut is pure bliss.

This place is the best of both worlds – secluded and peaceful, but with the bustling farm just two minutes’ walk away. The ‘bathroom’ hut with electric shower provided a touch of luxury, and the hand-delivered freshly cooked breakfasts gave me the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever eaten. Those eggs certainly came from happy hens! You get a real sense that the farm is a big part of the local community, and everyone is happy to show you around, or you can simply explore to your heart’s content.

And my birthday treat for The Boy – a Segway Rally through Haldon Forest. If you’ve never experienced Haldon Forest, it’s worth a visit, and while you’re there a Segway-ing is an absolute must. The beauty of the Segway is that pretty much anyone can ride one, there is very little falling off involved, and once you’ve mastered the balance you can feed the adrenaline junkie within you. Just as I considered trading in my car, I sadly discovered that Segways aren’t road-legal in the UK, so my commute isn’t about to get interesting.

If you’re ever in Ide (not a sentence I ever knew I’d use), I wholeheartedly recommend dinner at The Huntsman Inn. We loved this place! Great food, friendly team, and my personal favourite feature was a huge blackboard on the wall that listed the source of every ingredient on their menu, right down to the artichokes.

 And if I know where my artichokes have come from, I can sleep easy in my Shepherd’s Hut.

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A nod to the Welshman.

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I fell a little bit in love with these gorgeous piglets.

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 Oh, look, it’s the Hut again, but this time she’s made it look rustic.

 Check out: http://www.canopyandstars.co.uk/ @canopyandstars http://www.westtownfarm.co.uk/ http://www.go-segway.com/ @Go_segway http://www.thehuntsmaninn.com/ @THEHUNTSMAN_INN

This post is a cheeky re-blog from my original Cocktails & Chutney blog… hope you enjoy!

5* South Wales

When the post-festivities January blues kicked in, The Boy and I opted for flight not fight, and made the 30-ish minute journey to The Celtic Manor Resort. I’m not a golfer, neither is The Boy, so Celtic Manor might not seem the natural choice for a get-away, but ohhhh my goodness this place is about so much more than golf! It’s a gorgeous place to rejuvenate, with a stunning spa, and plenty of scrummy choice for foodies (and yes, apparently it has some golf courses – I saw a lot of grass, so I’ll believe it).

Despite its proximity to the doom and gloom of the M4, once you reach the grounds of the Celtic Manor, you pretty much forget the outside world. It’s a resort, so once you’re in, you can (metaphorically) emerse yourself in a little bubble of slightly smug contentment. From the moment the private taxi collects you from the car park, you know you’re going to be well looked after.

We opted for the dinner, bed and breakfast package, with an upgrade so that we could indulge at Rafters restaurant – There are several plush eateries to choose from. If you’ve an eye for a bargain, join Celtic Manor’s mailing list, so that you are notified about upcoming packages – The mid-week deals are particularly good, and it’s a brilliant gift for someone you want to spoil rotten.

The standard rooms at Celtic Manor are tastefully decorated (more corporate than boutique, but none-the-less delightful for that) and a decent size, with a mini bar, good-sized bathroom and huge comfortable beds. Inclusive breakfast is a buffet, with the option of cooked-to-order extras, and the attention to detail considering the number of guests is fab! There is a mouth-watering selection of continental and cooked food – I’m a big fan of blueberry muffins followed by Glamorgan sausages for breakfast, mmmm!

As for dinner… Rafters can be found in the Twenty Ten Clubhouse (golfing reference…) and our package included 3 courses. The chef kindly whipped up an off-menu tomato tagliatelle dish for me, and The Boy put two fingers up to his enforced anaemic vegetarian existence at home, and predictably chose a steak. The wine list is extensive, and I opted for a new world Sauvignon – I’m no wine expert, but wow this was good. We both went for the aptly-named Chocolate Heaven dessert, and the brownie was out of this world. I can remember every mouthful and I’d return for that alone! The lovely, attentive waiting team and charming ambience help you to forgive the slightly slow service, and the free taxi back to the comforts of the resort hotel all add to that feeling of luxury.

This won’t be our last visit to The Celtic Manor Resort, and although we’ve only experienced a tiny piece of the resort, I know we’ll be back for the food and drinks, and to ignore the golf once again…