Tucked away in the South Wales Countryside is The Vale Resort, Cardiff. A 650 acre resort consisting of a 143 bedroom hotel, two championship golf courses, Wales’ largest spa, an award winning restaurant and a huge array of sport facilities, from a fully equipped gym and a 20m swimming pool, to full size tennis, rugby, football and squash courts. And the beautiful Hensol Castle is also within The Vale Resort. The Hotel is also a quick 20 minute drive from Cardiff Centre and a tiny bit further from the wonderful Cardiff Bay. I can safely say we weren’t stuck for things to do during our stay.

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

Sam and I have been working flat out for the last 6 weeks, spending 8am-6pm at our ‘day job’ then going straight to our house to work on that until about 10pm. As guilty as we felt having a couple of days off, my gosh did we need it. We made out way to The Vale Resort after finishing work on a Saturday. It was a quick 50 minute drive from Gloucestershire so we arrived in no time. I honestly didn’t realise Cardiff was so close to us.

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

We made our way to our room right away, after checking in of course. We were in one of the ground floor rooms (506) with a gorgeous terrace looking out onto the golf course. I felt relaxed the second I stepped into the bedroom, it was so tranquil. The bedroom was very spacious, with a large king-size bed, a plasma TV, a wardrobe, desk and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom consisted of a separate bath and shower (although I don’t think that’s the case in all the bedrooms). And the bath was something else, I’m sure Sam and I could have led alongside each other in it. A bath is a luxury for me at the moment so I made a point of bringing Bath Soak and a Lush Bath Bomb and took the opportunity to have a well deserved soak.

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

Soon after arriving I made my way to the Spa as I had a Temple Spa Drift Away Massage booked for 5pm. This was what I was looking forward to the most. I was amazed by the size of the Spa, well I suppose that’s a silly thing to say considering it’s Wales’ largest spa. Equipped with 19 treatment rooms and three relaxation zones, including a chill zone, float zone and slumber zone. I’m writing another post dedicated to the spa so I won’t go into too much detail here. This could be a very long post otherwise. The Drift Away Massage is a ‘top to toe massage, formulated with a dreamy blend of essential oils, guaranteed to have you drifting away. A full body and scalp massage – we’ll wind you down and take your mind off your thoughts for a while’. Definitely what I needed.

The Vale Resort, Cardiff

Butternut Squash Soup at The Vale Grill, Cardiff

8oz Sirloin Steak at The Vale Grill, Cardiff

Blackcurrant Cheesecake at The Vale Grill, Cardiff

After my massage I made my way back to the room to start getting ready for dinner in the award winning Vale Grill. Again, you’re getting a whooooole other post on the Vale Grill as I have too much to say and too many photos to share with you to include in this post. Although if you want a sneak peak into the gorgeous 3 course meal we had, there’s lots of photos on my Twitter. I went for Butternut Squash Soup to start, Cod Loin with Vegetables for my main course and Raspberry and Strawberry Mille Feuille for dessert. Oh and a side of the chunkyist chunky chips I’ve ever seen in my life. Sam went for Pork and Apple Roulade, 8oz Sirloin Steak and Blackcurrant Cheesecake. We couldn’t resist each other’s desserts though so we had half of each. Best of both worlds.

With our bellies full we made our way back to the room, surprisingly it was 10:30pm by the time we’d finished eating. This is when I took the opportunity to have my relaxing bath, before falling asleep just before midnight (which is very early for me). All the pampering, relaxing and eating must have tired me out!

 The next day we woke quite early, eager for breakfast, which was just as divine as our meal the previous evening. It was a buffet style breakfast so you could help yourself to as much (or as little) as you wanted. Sam took it upon himself to pile his plate with a full Welsh Breakfast. I skipped the cooked part and headed straight for the Croissants. As anyone that’s been reading Ami Rose for a period of time will know, they’re my guilty pleasure. And yes I did have three. Accompanied with a Cinnamon Whirl, or two. How could I resist? I also had some fresh melon and pineapple with yogurt, you know, to balance it out a little… I’m sure I was still stuffed from dinner anyway.

Before we left The Vale Resort we wanted to make use of the Leisure Facilities. We didn’t have a chance on Saturday as we arrived later than planned but were pleased to know we could use the facilities all day on Sunday despite checking out at 11am. We had a dip in the pool first, but made our way to the Sauna/Steam Room/Jacuzzi quickly afterwards. Spending 15 minutes in each the Sauna and Steam Room as then sat in the Jacuzzi until our bodies resembled that of a raisin. We both felt totally and utterly relaxed and ready for a day exploring Cardiff.

There’s still posts coming on The Vale Grill and the Temple Spa Drift Away Massage so look out for those. I may even write one on our day in Cardiff/Cardiff Bay too. Thank you for having us The Vale Resort, we both had such a wonderful, relaxing time. Spa, Dinner, Bed and Breakfast Breaks at The Vale Resort start at just £99pp.

Have you visited The Vale Resort before?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!
Written in collaboration with The Vale Resort. All opinions are 100% my own.

When I asked my fiancé what he wanted to do for his birthday, London was the last place I expected him to say. Especially around Christmas time. But he had a point, there’s always something to do in London. I suggested Bournemouth, Torquay and many other seaside towns but he was right, what’s there to do other than walk along a cold, wet beach and visit shops you’ve been in 100 times over. I’ve put this little post/guide of Things To Do In London to help anyone thinking of visiting.

Things To Do In London - London Eye

We booked a Travelodge in Teddington, around a 10 minute train ride away from London, as always. I always recommended a hotel outside of London if you’re driving in as you don’t have to pay ridiculous (£20+) per day parking fees. And you’re more than likely going to have to buy the Zones 1-6 Travelcard anyway so you’re saving yourselves a few pennies to see the London sights. I almost always book a Travelodge as you know what to expect, and it doesn’t cost the earth. Breakfast is always good and rooms are a good size and clean. We weren’t expecting to be evacuated from the hotel at 11pm and a fire crew turn up though…

All I wanted to do on Monday night was visit Oxford Street and Strand to get a few Christmas presents. Strand because I needed to visit the Twining’s shop to get some tea for my Grandma. I’ve managed to get her into Green Tea recently so I thought it was nice to buy a few different teas for her to try. Of course I also bought myself a selection and I’ll be doing another Twinings Tea Tasting soon. We then ended up in Pizza Hut, I know we could have been a little more imaginative as we were in London but we were also absolutely starving. And you can always count on Pizza Hut to fill you up, especially with their free salad cart. A few restaurants I’d suggest visiting near Strand would be Garfunkels, Bill’s or Fire and Stone, or Afternoon Tea at the Savoy if you’re feeling a little more (very) spendy.

As far as Things To Do In London go, you must visit Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park if you’re in London between 18th November – 2nd January. London doesn’t do things in small measures, and Winter Wonderland is a fine example of this. It takes over an hour to walk around, yet alone stopping at the many Christmas Market Stalls, eating ‘Dirty Fries’, drinking Mulled Wine and releasing you inner child on the roller coasters. I thoroughly enjoyed the Bavarian Village myself.

There are many ‘eateries’ in London to find yourself Breakfast. Whether it be a traditional Full English at The Pavilion Café, an American Breakfast at Beany Green or a healthier option at the Vegan Black Cat Café. We took the easy option of Breakfast at the hotel, which never disappoints. Full cooked breakfast (Veggie/Vegan options available), full continental options and a range of tea/coffee/fruit juices all for £7.95 and unlimited, ‘all you can eat’.

Will full bellies we headed into London to start the day. A Zone 1-6 Travelcard is around £12 and will get you on every tube and bus in London, all day. This makes it so easy to travel around and is definitely the cheapest option. Of course you can use the legs you were born with. But it does get tiring once you’ve walked over 20 miles in a day.

Things To Do In London - London Eye

Things To Do In London - London Eye

Things To Do In London - Sightseeing, Big Ben

Things To Do In London - Chinatown Buffet Restaurants

Things To Do In London - M&M World

This is where the fun begins, there are so many Things To Do In London. I’m going to be brave and say you could probably do 3-4 of these suggestions in a day. Depending how long you spend at each one. You could spend the entire day looking around the many museums. The Imperial War Museum and Natural History Museum are my favourites. Other Museums include the British Museum, Science Museum and the London Transport Museum (and of course many many more). Correct me if I’m wrong but all of these Museums run on a donation basis. You can visit them all in a day without needing to take out a second mortgage. Make sure you do donate though, even if it’s just £1 as the Museums depend on these donations.

If you’re visiting with children (or if you’re a 12 year old stuck in a 30 year olds body), my top suggestions would be the Sealife Centre, the Cartoon Museum, Shrek’s Adventure, M&M World or a trip for Hamley’s if you’re ready for the multiple I wants, can Is and pleeeeeeeease Mummys.

The attractions in London can be enjoyed by all ages. Sam’s favourite is Ripley’s Believe It Or Not as he remembers reading the books as a child. I love Madamme Tausauds and the London Dungeons. And of course the London Eye to see the spectacular views of London. The London Eye is a ‘must do’ if you’re visiting London for the first time. I’ve been on many times myself but the experience is surreal each and every time.

As for dinner, Sam and I are definitely eat as much as we can people. We like to know we’re going to leave with full bellies. We headed to Jimmy’s in Wimbledon for dinner as it was on our way back to Teddington but there’s so many other buffet restaurants around London. I’d recommend any in Chinatown, Mr Wu in particular or Lido but this one isn’t a buffet. El Burrito is one of our favourites too and there’s quite a few Wahacas dotted about.

Obviously there are many many more Things To Do In London and I may add to this/update it at a later date as I experience attractions and places to eat/drink. But these are my favourites for now, and some of my ‘must do’ suggestions.

Have you done any of these Things To Do In London? What are your favourites?

Until next time,

 Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

Bath Christmas Market has been on my ‘to-do’ list for years and years and years. Although Bath is relatively close to us, it’s somewhere Sam and I have only gone a handful of times. This year I was determined to go. And boy have I been missing out. It was absolutely magical.

Bath Christmas Market is the South West’s biggest shopping event and a celebration of local, and regional independent businesses, with 85% of business coming from Bath and the surrounding areas. With over 170 unique chalets, there is something for everyone. Hundreds of one-of-a-kind gift ideas, from homeware to clothing to jewellery, children’s toys, artisan food and much much more. The Bath Christmas Market is open from Thursday 24th November – Sunday 11th December.

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For the first time ever, this year’s Market will see the ‘Bath Glow’, a magical light display. The Abbey Chambers will illuminate and ‘the city of Bath will be brought to life in a spectacular animated projection’. We stood and watched this for a little while and loved it. The Bath Christmas Market is definitely more magical at night. As well as the Bath Glow. As usual they’ll be lots of festive entertainment scattered around the city. I could have listened to some of the local musicians all day.  Along with the carol singers, brass bands and theatrical performers. If you weren’t in the Christmas spirit before visiting Bath, you certainly will be now! I’m still driving Sam insane singing Christmas Carols.

It goes without mentioning, Bath is a beautiful city without the Christmas Market. Make sure you explore beyond the market too. The culture of Bath is outstanding. Some of the museums in Bath are offering discounts throughout the Christmas Market so make sure you pay at least one of them a visit. The Roman Baths have always been a favourite of mine since my childhood. The Museum of Bath Architecture is pretty spectacular too. But even if you skip the museums and just wonder around Bath for an hour, I can almost guarantee you will leave inspired.

Back to the Christmas Markets though… I just found myself getting lost talking about the beauty of Bath. I’ve included some photos of my favourite stalls at the Bath Christmas Market here. The stalls that I found exceptionally spectacular and unique. The amount of time, and effort that goes into creating these one-of-a-kind gifts is incredible. So thank you for sharing your remarkable talent with us. And thank you Visit Bath for giving them the opportunity to shine. I know I’m going to be returning to the Bath Christmas Market for years to come.

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From Beautiful Handmade Wooden Gifts at Timber Treasures to Glass Decorations from Robyn Coetzee Designs or Jo Downs Handmade Glass, or Wooden Ties, Cashmere Socks and Traditional German Christmas Decorations. There was so much to choose from and it was so hard to pick my favourites.

A big thank you to Visit Bath for inviting us and to Bertie and Jack, Boop Design, Bath Gin Company, Dimkins Patisserie, Fudge Kitchen, Kat Aromatherapy, Keylime Design, Robyn Coetzee Glass and Shining Seren for the gorgeous goody bag items. I’m sure these will be featured on my social media channels, or here, very soon. I can’t wait to hang my little glass Robin on my tree.

Will you be visiting the Bath Christmas Market this year?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!
I was invited to the Bath Christmas Market by Visit Bath and gifted some of the items mentioned. As always, opinions are 100% honest and my own.

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for a while but I keep putting it off as I know it’ll probably take me all day. Although I don’t want to babble too much. I love writing holiday posts like these. Where I can share my pictures and talk about my adventures. They’re always lovely to read back on too. Especially last years Portugal post where Sam proposed, I read that one over and over again. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I visited a place that’s been on my bucket list for years – Santorini. Santorini really didn’t disappoint, it really is as beautiful as the photographs.

We arrived very late at night on the 3rd May and were staying at the Santa Miramare Resort. Which was a short 20 minute drive from the airport; always lovely when you arrive late at night. We were shown to a ground floor room with a terrace. As nice as the room was, I cheekily asked if there were any sea view rooms left, luckily there was. I’m in the process of writing a full hotel review so I’m not going to go into too much detail about the hotel itself. We went straight to bed as it was nearly 2am by the time we were settled.

We woke up at around 7:30am. Sam and I aren’t morning people whatsoever but we managed to get up early for breakfast every single day. We were so well rested and just wanted to explore. As Santorini is only 15 miles long, we vowed to see absolutely everything, we did.

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

The first day was more of a wonder around and get our bearings day. We walked into the nearest town of Perrissa and bought a few bits and pieces. Then wondered the other way into Emporio and bought an Ice Cream from Terra Nera, it was gorgeous. I’m not sure where the first day went but it was soon time for dinner, we were half board so ate breakfast and dinner at the hotel and most definitely got our money’s worth. Anyone else eat ridiculous amounts at buffets? Every day I was like I’ll be healthy tomorrow, and every day I ended up needing a rest before going out for the evening as I was so full. Oopsie.

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

We rented quads for the next two days. And paid 30 euros for the two days which is a really good price compared to other places we’ve visited. We always like getting some sort of vehicle so we’re not dependant on busses to travel round. Which was a good thing as we found there was only two busses a day anyway. We explored the South of Santorini on the first day – visited as many churches as we could, bought strawberries from a little market, saw the red beach and went right to Akrotiri Lighthouse, the Southern tip of the island. We had a wonder around Megalochiri and Athinios Port before making our way back to the hotel for dinner.

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

On our 7th Anniversary, and the second day of having a quad, we explored the rest of Santorini. After a quick breakfast we went straight to Ancient Thira, one of the oldest, if not the oldest city on the island. It was quite a trek to get to, 570m up a mountain. But these views were totally worth it. The Ancient City was pretty cool too. We then made our way to Oia, the Northern tip of the island, stopping in the capital of Fira on the way. And being the fifth people ever to have a Santorinian McDonald’s. After Oia, we visited Amoudi Bay and walked around the cliffs but quickly made our way back to the hotel as it was dark, chilly and we were getting hangry. It took around 45 minutes to get from Oia to Perissa by quad.

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

The fourth day was my favourite day, we went on a boat trip to visit the smaller islands, which meant we’d seen every single part of Santorini – in four days. We visited, and walked around the active volcano that created the beauty we call Santorini. Then swam in the thermal hot pools. The thermal hot pools were an amazing, surreal experience. But my gosh was it cold swimming back to the boat afterwards. We then spent two hours in Thirassia, the second biggest island and one of the original parts of Santorini before making our way to Oia then right along the coast back to Athinios Port. I love boat trips and Sam and I always make a point on going on at least one every holiday. They give you the opportunity to visit areas you can’t access by car and see the area from a different perceptive.

Adventures in Santorini Greece

Adventures in Santorini Greece

I’m really trying to keep this post as short as I can but there’s so much to fit into it. The next day was a relax by the pool day, finally. We had an overly extended breakfast which saw me drinking nine, yep nine, cups of Green Tea. We made this a habit too. Then we spent some time by the pool and on the hotel’s private beach before making our way into Perissa to find something for lunch. We only had lunch twice in the entire week as we were so full from breakfast. Both times I had a Greek Salad and Sam had a burger of some sort. We found a nice restaurant that served food on the beach so we sat there for a little while. Before heading back to the hotel for more swimming and sunbathing, and a couple of games of cards.

We were told that we couldn’t visit Santorini without watching the sunset from Oia so we rented a car for the day. We were amazed that the cost of renting a car for the day was only 20 euros, including insurance. And we only put 5 euros worth of fuel in to drive from one end of the island to the other. Stopping at anything we hadn’t already seen on the way, including visiting the fishing port.

Adventures in Santorini Greece

We arrived in Oia for around 6:30pm so walked around the town and bought a few souvenirs and gifts before heading to the castle. This was apparently the best place to watch the sunset from, everyone had got the memo.  The sunset was beautiful but it wasn’t amazing, it can’t be the best sunset in the world every day though. After watching the sunset we had to drive home right away as otherwise we would have missed dinner.

The last day was another chill day, we had to be out of rooms by 11:30am, which is quite late in comparison to other hotels so we had breakfast first. I then took some photos of the room for my hotel review and took blog photos for post that you have probably seen by now. We stayed by the pool all day as we didn’t want to venture too far and miss our coach transfer to the airport. We bought lunch from the hotel snack bar which was lovely, then changed into something more comfortable for the journey home.

As you can see, we filled so so much into our week away, we really did want to see everything. I know I would have regretted it if I came home and someone said ‘Did you see…’ and I hadn’t, relaxing is overrated anyway right? If Santorini isn’t on your travel bucket list, I really suggest you add it right this second. It’s absolutely wonderful and I’d go back again in a heartbeat.

Have you visited Santorini? What countries are on your Travel Bucket List?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

Set in the Cotswold Village of Bicester is the Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa. A 134 acre resort with its own 18 hole golf course, 3 restaurants/bars, 52 deluxe bedrooms and the Forest of Wellbeing Spa. The Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa is a 20 minute drive from Oxford City Centre. And less than 10 minutes from the famous Bicester Village Shopping Outlet. Spa facilities include a 20 metre pool, hydrotherapy pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room. Along with a state of the art, recently refurbished gymnasium. Mum and I were invited on a Spa Retreat Day last month and I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it.

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa was around an hour from a half from us. Not helped by the rush hour traffic. We still made it by 10am though so had plenty of time to enjoy our spa day and use of the facilities. There are a range of of Spa Days to choose including the Bicester Experience Day,  Enchanted Energies Day and the Essential Spa Day. Spa Day Packages start at just £50.00 and include a full days use of the facilities and a 2 course lunch. The Spa Retreat Day is £130 per person and includes a Mediterranean Candle Back Massage and a Taster Facial. 1 hour and 30 minutes of treatments.

As we arrived a little later than planned, we decided to skip the gym. But let’s be honest, I probably would have if I’d arrived at 7am. My fitness is awful at the moment. Although we did take the time to have a little look around the gym, knowing I’d want to include it in my review. I was impressed with the equipment offered, plenty of each machine and a massive variation. Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa have over 2000 members. Monthly membership starts at £80 and includes use of all the facilities and access to daily fitness classes. A competitive price for the area.

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

Then after a quick look around it was time to make use of the pool area. We had a quick swim in the 20 metre pool. It’s refreshing to have a pool that it’s actually possible to swim lengths in as many spa pools are small or ‘decorative’. After a swim we had a 10 minute soak in the Hydrotherapy Pool then headed to the Jacuzzi for a further 10-15 minutes. Then it was as long as we could bear in the Steam Room and Sauna before it was time for our treatments.

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

A Spa Day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa, Oxfordshire

A soon as I entered the Treatment Room I was relaxed, knowing exactly what was ahead of me. I went for a medium/firm massage. I probably could have done with a Deep Tissue Massage but wanted to relax, rather than scream out in pain. The therapist was lovely, asking whether pressure was OK throughout and allowing me to decide on the different oils used. I’m sure the options were Uplifting, Relaxing or Detoxing. I went for Relaxing anyway. The massage relieved so much tension and the therapist worked out any knots she found. Which is painful at the time but so worth it. The Facial was just as relaxing; the first I’d had and it definitely won’t be the last. I’m hoping it improves my awful skin. This was followed by a head massage whilst waiting for the mask to work it’s magic.

After our treatments we got ourselves ready for a 2 course lunch in Grays Restaurant. We could have stayed in our robes but as we were heading to Bicester Village straight after, we thought we’d get ourselves sorted. Mum and I chose the same for lunch (we’re too similar for our own good).

We went for the Superfood Salad as our main then a Mixed Fruit Salad for dessert. I was tempted by the Chocolate Brownies and Ice Cream but didn’t want to undo all the good the spa had done for me. The Superfood Salad was delicious, this consisted of mixed salad, broccoli, green beans, beetroot and squash topped with pine nuts and sunflower seeds. It had a gorgeous flavour. The only thing I’d change would be the addition of a dressing, such as honey and mustard. But then I suppose that defeats the object of a healthy salad. Dessert was gorgeous, it was a medley of melon, grapes and orange.

And that was the end of our relaxing day at Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa. I could have gone straight back to the Hydrotherapy Pool and Sauna if we didn’t have a few hours of shopping planned. Thanks for having us, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Have you visited the Bicester Hotel Golf and Spa? Have you been on a Spa Day recently?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!