City Guide: Bath

DSC_0776Bath

A few weeks ago me & Carys hopped on a train just 20 minutes down the road for a weekend break in Bath. Living so close to this beautiful city, both of us had visited plenty of times before but neither of us had ever stopped to smell the roses and actually explore. So when given the choice of South Western cities to visit by First Great Western we couldn’t wait to spend a few relaxing days in this ancient city.

 

How to get there

I’ve travelled to Bath by both train and car and in my opinion by train is by far the easiest. Bath’s beautiful winding streets and subsequent one way systems do not lend themselves to modern transport. And besides, everything in Bath is within walking distance, so leave your car at home and opt for stress free public transport instead. First Great Western run trains directly to Bath Spa train station which is slap bang in the centre of the city so it’s super handy for wherever you’re staying.

 

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Where to stay

Villa Magdala – Boutique B&B – £££ – 5* – Website

We stayed at the luxurious 5 star boutique B&B Villa Magdala and without a doubt would recommend it to others. Affordable luxury is their USP and that’s the truth. Compared to other 5 star accommodation in Bath, Villa Magdala is by far the most affordable (£190/night for a ‘best’ room) without compromising on the experience. Set over looking Henrietta Gardens and just a 10 minute walk from the beginning of bustling centre of Bath Villa Magdala is perfectly positioned to ensure you get the most peaceful night sleep while being within stumbling distance of bars and restaurants.

 

The hotel itself is beautiful, set over several floors separated by the most amazing, maze-like staircase. We stayed in one of the Superior Rooms, which was one of the most spacious hotel rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure of calling home for a couple of nights. The bed was an ultra comfortable super king complete with a hypnos mattress and just about every type of pillow you could imagine. The bathroom was again, super spacious, the size of most family bathrooms with the added luxury of bath and rain shower.

 

Villa-Magdala-Bath-Breakfast

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The award winning breakfast was beautiful! A buffet selection of continental followed by your choice of dishes from the hot menu and complimentary bucks-fizz while over looking the gardens – I’m not sure you could ask for more.

 

*Breakfast Top Tip* – At £12pp/day, if you’re thinking of booking with booking.com your breakfast won’t be included – I don’t think the room price is any different so if you want to enjoy breakfast without the extra cost, just book direct.

 

Roman-Baths-BathWhat to do

The Roman Baths – ££ – Website

Obviously we could go to Bath for the weekend without taking a trip to the Roman Baths! I’d actually never been before so it was I was super surprised to find out that it’s not just the central Baths that you see photos off but a whole museum of Roman themed artefacts.

 

*Top Tip* – Go early! And early on a Sunday if you can help it – in the summer The Baths get so so busy and sometimes in the afternoon the queue can reach around the block so if you want to avoid the crowds make it the first thing you do in the morning.

 

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Thrift/Charity Shop & Flea Market – errm £? 

Okay okay, I know this isn’t exactly cultural and I know you can find charity shops and flea markets everywhere but in my opinion, Bath has some of the best. Carys and I spent most of Saturday morning exploring Bath’s winding streets wondering in and out of charity shops. Then, when we saw a sign for a vintage flea market we knew we’d come to the right city (that house we’re buying, turns out we’re a lot more interested in buying impractical things for it like giant Vogue posters and copper fans than say, a microwave or a toaster – who needs those?)

 

Where to eat

Same same but different – Tapas – ££ – Website

On the first night we met up with my friend El from uni and she took us to one of her new favourite places. Same Same but Different is a Spanish tapas restaurant that’s so tiny inside and so popular that we nearly didn’t get a table – booking is a must. While there are a few main courses to choose from if you’re feeling a single filling meal the tapas options are vast. For tapas, the portion sizes were massive, meaning you only really need two or three dishes each. My favourite dish was the asparagus with proper Spanish Aiollo made with wild garlic. The service was also friendly and the atmosphere cosy. Overall it’s a lovely little find and it’d definitely recommend it if you’re visiting the city.

 

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Côte – French – ££ – Website

The final place I wanted to mentioned was the restaurant Cote. Cote Brasserie is part of a chain, with locations all over the country but I’d never eaten there before and I was so pleasantly surprised. Usually with chain restaurants I don’t really expect the food to be exceptional – it’s always okay, like instant coffee is okay, it does the job but it’s the freshly ground stuff you savour right? Well Cote was a lot more like the freshly ground kind than I was expecting. For our main courses, both Carys and I had the light asparagus and goats cheese risotto with garlic bred to share and it was really lovely – not too heavy, perfectly cooked and presented nicely. For dessert Carys had the sharp lemon sorbet while I had frozen berries with melted white chocolate (something I’d actually tried to make last Christmas but failed miserably – turns out it’s not as easy as it sounds!), both we’re delicious. Whats more was that the atmosphere was great, the staff were friendly and funny – in a genuine way – not the awkward way and it was super reasonably priced.

 

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So there we have it! We had the nicest weekend away, it felt like a little holiday. I’ll definitely be going back to bath, just for the day or for dinner but I’d love to go back for a short break again too. There’s so much more I’d like to do and so many more streets I’d like to explore!

 

Have you been to Bath? Do you have any Bath recommendations?

 

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So you’re thinking of travelling alone?

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Mum turned 50 a few weeks ago and we celebrated by going to London for a couple of days. It was a truly lovely long weekend but it wasn’t without it’s dramas. Muggins over here got super sick and used up my inhaler resulting in a middle of the night trip to A&E to get me a new one. (Believe me, A&E in central London is no fun)

 

I know it couldn’t be helped, how was I to know that I’d get sick and my inhaler would run out at the same time leaving my somewhat challenged lungs struggling to cope? But, still, I felt guilty and it got me thinking, wouldn’t mum be better off going on holiday or a break on her own?

 

She’s always looking out for other people and especially when we go away, she’s always the one carrying the tickets, the money, the insurance. She’s always the one worrying about where everyone is, how everyone is and what everyone’s doing, instead of just relaxing. So, in order to put my case together I decided to do a bit of research into single holidays, find out what they’re about, where you can go and any top tips.

 

Who to travel with:

Saga, overwhelmingly are the single holidays experts – if it’s your first single holiday you’re probably be better off going with a tour operator who specialises in this kind of thing rather than going independent. Saga will tailor a holiday to you, depending on how social or independent you want to be. Their staff are trained to help you meet other travellers and make you feel comfortable. I’d feel happy about mum going away with Saga knowing that if she decided she did want some company, she’d be able to get it!

 

What to do:

There’s so many options now, from cruises, to touring holidays to just relaxing hotel stays. I think for mum, her first single holiday would be a short break somewhere relaxing, like a spa or boutique hotel – just for a few nights to see if she’d like it. I actually also think single holidays are perfect for special interests, like safari’s, walking/nature spotting holidays – the kind of stuff where you’ll be in a big organised group of people all passionate about the same thing.

 

Top tips:

Take a book – especially at the beginning, doing some things alone like eating out or visiting a beach might seem daunting so having a book or a couple of magazines to flick through will help you relax and hide any nerves – plus, I find, getting lost in someone else’s world is one of my favourite things to do to fill alone time.

 

Pack light – you don’t need to take the kitchen sink! (this will be the toughest one for mum) Keep your case light and organised. The last thing you want to do is be dragging a heavy bag around, plan what you’ll need and stick to it.

 

Stay safe – call your mobile network before you go and see what deals they have for traveller texts and minutes, make sure you keep in touch with people back home – even if it’s just a snapchat to make them jealous.

 

So there we have it! Would you consider travelling alone? Or have you already? What are you top tips? 

 

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Feeling blue this Summer?

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This summer is all about colour. We’ll be dressing in a colourful palette of neon brights, minty greens, over-the-top oranges, sunshine yellows and blinding whites!

 

If you’re confident enough to rock the rainbow from head to toe, you’ll be sure to make a summer statement. But simple pops of colour in your accessories will keep you on trend too. Chunky jewellery in bold shades will set off the simplest of outfits and shoot you through the roof of summer style.

 

In Bristol however, there’s one colour trend that wins hands down – the blue and white of Bristol Rovers. Newly promoted to the Football League after triumphing over Grimsby Town at Wembley, Bristol Rovers’ trademark blue and white has been de rigueur on the terraces all season. Happily, it has also been all over the catwalks, so the style conscious wanting to show support for their local team can do so with their fashionable heads held high!

 

It all kicked off at Paris Fashion Week this spring when Australian actress Melissa George turned heads at the Hermes collection in a stunning blue and white ensemble. She teamed a flowing, knee-length linen skirt in a striking shade of blue with a pretty pale blue and white striped top. The chic, short-sleeved blouse was tucked neatly into the skirt, but Melissa avoided being too true blue by accenting the outfit with bright yellow accessories and snake-skin heels. And that’s the key to turning classic blue and white from old school to the Class of 2015 – dare to be bold.

 

In fact, keeping it simple could be your biggest mistake. The trick is to avoid coming over all Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Steer clear of blocks of colour and, instead, look for pretty patterns or graphic prints. Stripes and checks are both very “now”, but dilute the traditional feel by choosing pieces in more edgy shades – electric cobalt, mid-ocean or the palest cornflower blue. Silver jewellery looks fabulous with blue so invest in pretty bracelets or bangles and stack them up your wrist. Or inject a bit of colour into an all-white outfit with a gorgeously crafted pair of ear-rings in Grecian blue. Luckily for us, blue looks cool on most skin tones and is infinitely less harsh than black. Just go easy on the make-up. Keep your lips natural to avoid elevating your look to red, white and blue and, for the same reason, keep your blusher light. The High Street is also packed with blue and white accessories. Cinch in a navy blazer with a wide, white belt or dress up your denims with a strappy blue sandal. Look for oversized clutches embellished with blue jewels or delicate embroidery and hunt out floaty scarves in wispy chiffon or luxurious silk.

 

There’s just one rule – absolutely no nylon.

 

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