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Hotel Review: The Fat Fox Inn, Watlington (Oxfordshire) -The perfect base for exploring the Cotswolds and the Chiltern Hills

 

Just another hotel review 🏨🏨🍾🍾 #standardmonday #luxlife #ionlygetoutofbedforchampagne

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Last Monday I was invited to stay overnight at The Fat Fox Inn, a wonderful pub with 9 cosy rooms nestled in the medieval market town of Watlington in South Oxfordshire. Conveniently located just three miles off the M4o, with easy access to London and the Midlands, and a short drive from both the dreaming spires of Oxford and the delightful Henley on Thames, The Fat Fox Inn boasts the perfect location from which to enjoy some of the Cotswolds’ and the Chilterns’ finest tourist attractions. I invited my best friend Emily to be my travel companion for the night (she gets all the good jobs!) and so, without further ado, here’s my full review of this cosy property…

The Location

 

 

The Fat Fox is right at the heart of the Cotswolds and the Chilterns; close enough to explore everything this area has to offer, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities, so that you can get a good night’s sleep and a true taste of market town life in Watlington. As mentioned above, both Thame and Henley on Thames are approx. a 20 minute drive away, whilst other places of interest, including Reading and Oxford, are both a 30-40 minute drive away .

 

The Room

 

How cute does this cosy little room look?! Can't wait to get a good nights sleep here tonight 😴😴

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The Inn boasts 9 cosy rooms made up of standard and economy double and twins, premier doubles and a larger family room. The rooms are separate to the main building and are located to the rear of the car park, just opposite the pub. Each room boasts an en-suite bathroom, with large shower and bath tub, central heating, freeview TV, tea and coffee making facilities and there is free WIFI throughout. Our twin room was located at the top of the stairs on the right and was so cosy and warm. The bed (and the pillows!) were super comfy and the hot shower was amazing the next morning. We both had a great night’s sleep and really loved the homely, comfortable feel to our room.

 

The Bar

 

 

The Fat Fox is cleverly split into a few different areas, with the bar, pub seating areas and separate dining room all split up, but all next to each other, it felt like we were able to enjoy a restaurant and a pub atmosphere at the same time, giving us the best of both worlds. The atmosphere in the dining room was still as relaxed as the pub/bar area, but the food was exceedingly good and felt much more than just ‘pub grub’, with imaginative dishes and creative presentation, I’d liken it to a bistro or proper restaurant menu.

 

The Dinner and Breakfast

 

 

We were both so looking forward to dinner after a busy day at work and a long journey down to the hotel so couldn’t wait to tuck in to our food for the night! The menu was really interesting and offered a range of dishes to suit every palette.  We opted to skip starters (although I’ve heard the speciality scotched egg is a MUST!) and went straight for the main courses, choosing the braised shoulder of lamb (£16) and the bavette steak (£20) respectively. My steak came medium rare and was cooked to perfection, with mouth-wateringly good straight cut chips and gremolata as an accompaniment. Emily chose the lamb, which came with gratin potatoes and sprouting broccoli, and she loved the tenderness of the meat which was cooked perfectly.

For dessert we chose to share the chocolate cookie dough torte (£6 I think) because we were both soooo stuffed but felt we should at least make an attempt to taste it for you lovely lot, nothing to do with the fact that we wanted to be in cookie HEAVEN. The torte was amazing but super rich and I was so glad we shared as I couldn’t possibly have managed one on my own!

 

 

Breakfast the next morning was really lovely; a choice of fruit and cereals were served first, before we were shown the menu.We both opted for the Full English and enjoyed freshly cooked sausages, bacon, eggs, tomato, black pudding and mushrooms with toast and a handmade hash brown – my particular favourite! The breakfasts set us up for the day ahead and we left feeling content and with our tummies full, although I could have managed another hash brown or three before leaving! 😉

 

The Verdict

 

 

Overall we had a really wonderful stay at The Fat Fox and I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit for a cosy and comfortable stay in Oxfordshire. Every aspect from the warm and welcoming staff to the brilliant dinner and gorgeous room made our stay such a pleasant one; the staff made us feel so welcome throughout the whole of our stay, from the minute we arrived at check in, to the second we checked out the next day

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful Fat Fox Inn. I cannot recommend this place highly enough for those looking for a comfortable stay in the heart of the Cotswolds and the Chilterns– thank you to the lovely staff for making our stay such a pleasant one! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of The Fat Fox Inn for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

 

Another day, another hotel review! Here's my home for the night 🏨🏨

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February Newsletter

 

⛴⛴ #Liverpool #titanic #takemeback

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Hi everyone,

With January being a ridiculously long month I always forget that February is a super short month and therefore March comes around so so quickly! It only seems like yesterday since I wrote my January Newsletter, and my highlight of this month was my first overseas adventure of 2017 which was pretty amazing! Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past few weeks…

I started planning my European adventures

 

 

Now that January is out the way, February gave me a chance to really plan my adventures for 2017 and have a good think about where I want to go, and what I want to do. I’m still not entirely sure, and I’ve been mulling it over for weeks now, as you’ll know if you read one of my recent posts. I have however decided to book another trip and am sooo excited to announce that I’ll be heading to Bratislava and Vienna at the end of March with my lovely friend and fellow travel blogger Lucy from Faraway Lucy! We’re flying in to Bratislava, staying there for two nights and are then catching the train to Vienna for two nights before flying back from Bratislava to the UK on 1st April. We’re both super excited and can’t wait for our first adventure together… send us all your recommendations for Bratislava and Vienna please guys!

I was featured in IceLolly.com’s new campaign

 

 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll notice that I recently posted a few throwback photos from some of my previous trips to Zakynthos and Paphos for a new campaign that holiday comparison site IceLolly were running throughout February. The campaign was called #IceLollyLoves and I posted a series of photos from destinations I completely fell in love with the first time I visited them, and I chose Zakynthos and Paphos, but focused on Paphos for the purpose of the article that IceLolly had put together. I really loved taking part in this campaign as it reminded me how much I love exploring beach destinations, something I haven’t done for the past three years whilst I have been city-breaking my way across the world! I’m off to Tenerife in May though and can’t wait for some proper sunshine and a full week of relaxation! You can read the article that IceLolly put together here – my contribution for Paphos is top of the list!

I took a social media detox

 

 

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling a little down after having a few bad days in a row. It may have been something to do with the fact that it was Valentines Day and I was feeling even more single and lonely than I usually do, but something in me was just feeling really unhappy and I knew I had to do something about it. So, on Valentines Day, I decided to take myself off social media completely for the whole day and just remove myself from what was becoming quite a toxic online environment. I don’t want to see what presents people have bought each other on the most commercialised day of the year. I spend my days browsing Facebook seeing that couples are getting engaged, moving in together and having babies, and I always wonder why it’s not me living those dreams, and why it’s always somebody else instead.

I know I’m not ready for those things yet, and I love travelling as much as I can and just enjoying myself, but deep down, I find it hard to accept that I haven’t quite got my life together yet. Anyway, I took myself off social media to try and remove any negativity and, you know what, it really helped. It just made me realise that looking at other peoples lives and comparing mine to theirs isn’t doing me any good at all, and it made me realise I just need to concentrate on what I have got, not what I haven’t got. Social media is a massive part of my job, and my blog, but I’ve decided to cut down on how much I use it in my personal life, and I think that’ll have a big impact upon the way I see things going forwards. I’ll be cutting down a lot over the next few weeks so I’ll report back in a couple of months time and update you then!

I went to Copenhagen for the weekend

 

Been in #Copenhagen for less than four hours and I'm already in love! This place is so beautiful 😍😍 #visitcopenhagen

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If you’re following me on social media you’ll know that I recently went on my first overseas trip to the Danish capital of Copenhagen and I had the most wonderful time! I travelled with my sister and we spent four days indulging in scrummy Danish pastries, people watching at the beautiful Nyhavn Harbour and exploring the stunning Christansborg Palace and Rosenborg Castle on foot. We wandered down the Stroget, the largest pedestrianized shopping street in Europe, climbed up the Round Tower for spectacular views of the city below and trekked along the waterfront to see the iconic Little Mermaid statue. We also found the time to cross the Oresund Bridge over to Sweden and had a day out at Malmo as well, ticking off another country along the way! We had a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to share my full guide with you soon… watch this space!

 

I reviewed another wonderful hotel in the Cotswolds 

 

Just another hotel review 🏨🏨🍾🍾 #standardmonday #luxlife #ionlygetoutofbedforchampagne

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Last night I was staying in the pretty Cotswolds town of Watlington where I had the pleasure of reviewing The Fat Fox Inn, a beautiful country pub with 9 en-suite rooms perfectly located between Oxford and the Chiltern Hills. I stayed with my best friend and number 1 travel companion Emily who comes with me on all of my review trips – it’s a hard life isn’t it! We had a lovely stay and enjoyed a fantastic dinner, a cosy night’s sleep and a scrummy breakfast before heading to Oxford today for a day of shopping and lunching. I’ll be posting a full review and blog post in a couple of week’s time, so watch this space…Thank you to The Fat Fox for having us!

So there we go, that’s how my February turned out! Did you have a good month? Let me know what you got up to – it would be great to hear from you!

Love Jess x

 

Watch and you'll see, someday I'll be part of your world 🐚🐚 #Copenhagen #thelittlemermaid #ifoundariel

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December Newsletter: Happy Christmas!

So yesterday was #christmasjumperday and I finallyyyyy started to feel #festive for the first time this December! 🎅🌲🌟

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Happy Christmas Eve-Eve!!

Ahhhh just two more sleeps – I can’t believe it! I know I say this all the time but it genuinely only feels like a couple of days have passed since I wrote my November newsletter, not a whole month! Because of the Christmas break, this newsletter is being brought to you a little early this month, and I have an End of Year Review coming just before the New Year, so watch out for that too, but first here’s how my December went…

I launched my first giveaway

 

It's HERE! My big #Christmas surprise! Go find out what it is over on the #blog- link in bio!! #Wordpress #newpost #blog

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So I’ve never done a giveaway before, but I see a lot of other bloggers doing them and it always seems to work out nicely; I get a few new followers and you get something in return, and it’s Christmas after all 😉 My giveaway is super simple- just go ahead and ‘like’ my Facebook page, if you haven’t already, and the person who is my 500th like will WIN a prize – it couldn’t be simpler! GOOD LUCK!

I went to The Clothes Show

 

Loved meeting @fernemccann today @clothesshow – what a babe! @ambamarie19 #clothesshow #birmingham #sundayfunday

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This was a last minute decision me and my friend made, and I am SO glad we did! We found cheap 2-4-1 tickets online and headed to Birmingham’s NEC Arena on a frosty Sunday morning in December ready for a full day of shopping! I’ve been to The Clothes Show before and loved it, and this was the final year it was going to be held in Birmingham, so it really was the end of an era! We had a lovely day of shopping, grabbing goody bags and celeb spotting too. The show is relocating to Liverpool next year so hopefully I’ll get the chance to attend when I’m up visiting the family!

I took a trip to the Birmingham Christmas Markets

 

I just love #Christmas markets 🎅🌲🎁🎡 #Birmingham #GermanMarkets #SundayFunday

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I went to the Frankfurt Christmas Market Birmingham the same day I was at The Clothes Show, just because we finished early and had time to spare before we had to be home that night! It was super easy to get to the city centre from the NEC – we left the car there, hopped on a train to New Street and arrived within a matter of minutes. The train was cheap, totally stress free and sooo much easier than driving into the centre, faffing with finding a space and paying for parking! The Markets themselves were lovely and super festive, selling everything from handmade chocolates and sweets to little fluffy hats and children’s toys. The Birmingham Markets are the biggest German Markets in the UK, and I would 100% recommend taking a trip there if you get the chance!

It was the public vote for #UKBA17

 

 

As most of you will know, this year I was SHORTLISTED for an award at UK Blog Awards 2016 and the whole experience was fantastic from start to finish. When I found out that the awards were running again in 2017 I knew I just HAD to take part for a second year running and entered my blog in the travel category again. The public vote went live two weeks ago and closed this Monday. During this time I promoted my blog, and my entry, and tried to get as many votes as I possibly could! Good luck to all the other wonderful bloggers too, I know there was some tough competition in my category alone! The shortlist will be announced on 2nd Jan 2017 and I am PRAYING that I make it there again as it would kick off my 2017 in the best way possible – I will of course let you know the outcome and am keeping my fingers crossed!

I discovered Christmas at Blenheim Palace

 

Oh baby it's cold outside ❄️☃ #sundayfunday #blenheimpalace #decemberdays #cotswolds #oxfordshire

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As an annual pass holder I get to visit Blenheim Palace ALL the time, and I totally love it! I go during spring, summer and autumn, but my favourite time to visit is in December, when winter is in full force and the Palace looks even more beautiful than it usually does. This year they’re hosting a special event called ‘Christmas at Blenheim’ which, sadly, I haven’t been to yet, but I have been on the normal days and it’s special anyway so that will do for me! I love exploring the inside of the Palace, gazing up at the artwork on the grand ceilings and wandering around the acres of grounds outside too. Blenheim is particularly pretty during winter so go if you get the chance, spring will be here before we know it!

I started planning my travel adventures for 2017

 

Planning for my 2017 #travel adventures… It suddenly all seems a little bit real! 🌎✈️🚂 #jessdoeseurope

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So this is kind of exciting, but I have been in full on planning mode for the past couple of weeks and already have my first two trips of 2017 sorted! I’m off to Copenhagen for a few days in February (bring on The Little Mermaid!!) and have booked a cheeky week away in Tenerife at the end of May (thanks Jet2 – those free flights came in handy!) – it’s been three years since I had a beach holiday or done any kind of relaxation on a trip so I am really looking forward to it! I’m also in the early stages of planning my European Adventure – details will be revealed in the new year but what I can say is that I’m gonna be doing a 10-week-14-country stint across the continent at some point during 2017. Watch this space… I am so excited! #JessDoesEurope

Well that’s it from me – I’ll be publishing my End of Year Review next week, but until then I hope you have a wonderful Christmas – eat, drink, be merry and ENJOY IT! Happy Christmas everyone, and thank you as always for reading my blog, you have no idea how much it means to me that it’s still going strong after 2 and a half years!

Love Jess x

It's friyayyy 🎅🌲🎉🌟 #fridaynight #christmas #drinkssss

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Hotel Review: The White Horse Inn, Duns Tew (Oxfordshire) – A wonderfully cosy stay at the heart of the Cotswolds

Another day, another hotel review! Wonderful stay in the heart of the #Cotswolds – full review and blog post coming soon! #Oxfordshire

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Last weekend I was invited to stay overnight at The White Horse Inn, a glorious pub with 11 cosy rooms nestled in the sleepy little village of Duns Tew in Oxfordshire. Located an hour away from London, and just 20 minutes drive from both the dreaming spires of Oxford and the world famous designer outlet of Bicester Village, The White Horse Inn boasts the perfect location from which to enjoy some the Cotswolds’ finest tourist attractions. Here’s my full review of this gorgeous property…

The Location

 

 

The White Horse Inn really is at the heart of the Cotswolds; close enough to explore everything this beautiful area has to offer, but far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities and towns, so that you can get a perfect night’s sleep and a true taste of village life in Duns Tew. As mentioned above, both Oxford and Bicester are a 20 minute drive away, whilst other places of interest, including Chipping Norton, Burford and Woodstock (where you’ll find the stunning Blenheim Palace), can be reached in under 30 minutes.

The Room

 

 

The Inn boasts 11 cosy and comfortable rooms made up of standard, classic and premier doubles, king superiors and king twin beds. Three of the rooms are over the pub itself, up a small staircase at the rear of the bar, whilst the rest of the rooms are separate to the main building. Each room boasts an en-suite bathroom, with hot shower and bath tub, central heating, LCD flat screen TV, tea and coffee making facilities and there is free WIFI throughout. Our double room was located in the main building, on top of the bar area, and was so cosy and warm. The bed (and the pillows!) were super comfy and the hot shower was amazing – we had a great night’s sleep and really loved the homely feel to our room; it was cosy and full of character, as well as fitted with all the new mod-cons I would look for in a hotel room.

The Bar

 

The cosiest of bars welcomes you to The White Horse Inn #cotswolds #oxfordshire #hotelreview

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This 17th century property is full of charm and the bar and dining area complement each other perfectly. The bar is well stocked with every drink you can think of, and the large flag stones and cosy log fire make it the perfect place to unwind. The dining area leads just off from the bar and is equally as characterful, with plenty of space and a fantastic food menu, with locally sourced produce, which changes daily. We were both so looking forward to dinner after a busy day’s shopping at Bicester Village (on Black Friday, might I add!!) so couldn’t wait to tuck in to some hearty pub food.

The Staff

 

And my table literally had my name written all over it! #Oxfordshire #Cotswolds #hotelreview

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The staff made us feel so welcome throughout the whole of our stay, from the minute we arrived to check in, to the second we checked out the next day. Upon arrival we were welcomed by Alex and then shown to our room by George and told what time to head down for dinner that night and breakfast the next morning. We were then welcomed at dinner by Alex again, who showed us to our table which quite literally had my name written all over it! Throughout the evening we were served by George and James, they looked after us really well and nothing was too much trouble. The next morning we were served by George again for breakfast and he checked us out upon departure too. I cannot thank the staff enough for making our stay so enjoyable, thanks guys!!

The Dinner and Breakfast

Although this is a pub, the menu and the whole feel of the place felt more like a restaurant, in a really good way! The atmosphere was still as relaxed as the pub/bar area, but the food was mouth-wateringly good and on par with what you’d expect from a restaurant, so we felt that the Inn offered the best of both worlds in that respect. We opted to skip starters and went straight for the main courses, choosing the cheeseburger and the 10oz rib-eye steak respectively. Both main courses came with fries (cooked to perfection) and we really enjoyed our meals!

 

For pudding we chose the homemade apple crumble and the chocolate truffle torte, both of which were AMAZING! I’m such a pudding girl and I love all things chocolate, so my dessert was heaven on a plate, whilst the apple crumble was delicious too. Every aspect of our meal was wonderful, we just wish we could have chosen more food from the amazing menu, although we were suitably stuffed once we’d finished eating!!

Breakfast the next morning was really good; we both opted for the Full English (obviously) and enjoyed freshly cooked sausages, bacon, eggs and mushrooms with thick toasted bread. The breakfasts totally set us up for the day ahead and we left feeling well and truly full up!

The Verdict

 

 

Overall we had a really wonderful stay at this gorgeous hotel right in the heart of the Cotswolds. I would highly recommend staying here on a mid-week or weekend visit to this part of Oxfordshire for a cosy and comfortable stay. Every aspect from the warm and welcoming staff to the fantastic dinner and gorgeous room made our stay such a pleasant one, and I would recommend the Inn to anyone looking for a place to stay in the Cotswolds.

So there we have it, my full review of the wonderful White Horse Inn. I cannot recommend this place highly enough for those looking for a comfortable stay in the heart of the Cotswolds– thank you for making our stay such a pleasant one! For more information or to book a room please visit their website directly.

NB. I was a guest of The White Horse Inn for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are of course my own.

 

 

November Newsletter

Hi everyone,

It’s that time of the month again, and my jam-packed newsletter is here! As November is a five week month it’s felt like ages since I wrote my last newsletter, but I have crammed so much into these past few weeks and am so excited to tell you all what I’ve been up to! Here goes…

I celebrated Bonfire Night

 

My favourite time of year 💥🎉😍🍂 #bonfirenight #fireworks #autumn

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Bonfire Night is undoubtedly my favourite time of the year, I just LOVE it! I love wrapping up warm, grabbing a sparkler and gazing towards the skies as they light up with firework after firework. The food is a winner too, who doesn’t love tucking into a  hot dog (or three) whilst watching the fireworks go off?! I was lucky enough to go to TWO local displays this year and they were both wonderful.

I watched Ghost the Musical on stage

Musicals are soooo my thing, I love everything about them and am attempting to see as many as I can over the next few years! This year I’ve already seen The Bodyguard, Chicago and Les Mis, so watching Ghost was my final show of 2016 and what a show it was. Every single element from the cast to the music to the performance was mesmerising; I cried like a baby at the end but I loved every minute of it! Congratulations to the fantastic cast, crew and production company for putting on SUCH an amazing show.

I attended WTM London for the first time

 

 

I was sooo excited to attend my first conference at WTM London this year and couldn’t wait to start rubbing shoulders with brands, tourism boards and fellow bloggers at the biggest travel trade show in the world. I met so many people and learnt so much in such a short amount of time, one day definitely wasn’t enough to take everything in. Read all about my amazing time at London’s ExCel Centre here – I already can’t wait to return in 2017!

I won FREE return flights with Jet2.com

 

 

So anyone that knows me will know that I have really BAD luck at winning things. I never win on scratch cards, on lottery tickets or at any competition at all, until this month when I was one of 20,000 lucky people who won FREE return flights with Jet2.com’s  Name It competition! I was sooo overwhelmed I couldn’t believe it! I have the choice of visiting over 58 of Jet2’s fab European destinations in summer 2017 and I need to pick my holiday destination by 16th December, so I don’t have long! At the moment I’m torn between a cheeky week in Tenerife, or a little city break to either Dubrovnik, Geneva or Warsaw – people of WordPress… HELP ME CHOOSE! I might run a Twitter poll because I genuinely can’t decide.. watch this space…

I visited London three times in space of 7 days

 

 

It’s no secret how much I love London, and I was delighted when I recently got the chance to visit the city three times in the same week. I did some sightseeing on the Southbank, some wandering around Winter Wonderland and accidentally stumbled upon the UK premier of Fantastic Beasts in the middle of Leicester Square! London is looking particularly beautiful now that all the Christmas lights are up, and I just love the city at this time of year.

I entered Accor Hotels latest competition

 

 

I found this competition after scrolling past something on Twitter but I was also emailed directly about it and was invited to enter before the deadline closed, so thought I would get my entry in nice and quickly! AccorHotels is inviting bloggers to share their top tips on how to spend 24hrs in their fave cities. Naturally, I chose to write about the Big Apple as I literally had just 24hrs there before I had to jet back to sunny London the day after Independence Day! The prize is an incredible 9 night stay in Berlin, Amsterdam and Paris which, for me, would be my total dream trip so I’m keeping everything crossed that I may have a teeny tiny chance of winning. Have a read of my entry – and GOOD LUCK to all other bloggers entering, don’t forget to use the dedicated hashtag #AccorHotels24Hrs

I spent a festive day at Winter Wonderland

 

 

If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I’ve been to Winter Wonderland recently as my feed is FULL of festive images from my day out there a couple of weeks ago. London’s Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year, and my fourth annual visit to the wintry spectacle certainly didn’t disappoint! I had a wonderful time and already can’t wait to return next Christmas (am I really thinking about next Christmas already?! Time – Please. Stop. Going. So. FAST!!

I reviewed a lovely hotel at the heart of the Cotswolds

 

Another day, another hotel review! Wonderful stay in the heart of the #Cotswolds – full review and blog post coming soon! #Oxfordshire

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Last weekend I had the pleasure of staying in one of the cosiest Cotswolds retreats, The White Horse Inn at Duns Tew. I was reviewing the Inn on behalf of a PR company and had a wonderful time. The staff made us feel so welcome, the room was sooo nice and cosy, and the dinner and breakfasts the next morning were AMAZING! The White Horse Inn was such as lovely location to spend my last weekend in November, and I would whole-heartedly recommend it to those looking for the ultimate getaway at the heart of the Cotswolds. Full review and blog post coming soon!

So there we go, I told you I’d had a busy month! It seems like November has gone by nice and slowly, and has given me chance to catch my breath after my hectic summer and busy autumn. I can’t quite believe we are about to enter our final month of 2016 though, where the HELL has this past year gone?! I’m in full festive mode now, I’m halfway through my Christmas shopping and I’m looking forward to the big day. Have you got yourself prepared for Christmas yet? Are you spending the festive period away from home? Tell me all your plans!

Love Jess x

 

Unexpectedly #London bound… Again! ✨💃 #selfie #happytuesday #backtomyfavecity

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