Monday, 29 August 2016

Airbnb App and The Hayloft in Winchester

Today is my last day of my summer hols, two weeks off from the daily 9-5 and it's been simply magical. Whilst I would have loved to have jetted off abroad and believe me seeing all those fantastic summer holiday pics on Instagram has made me very jealous, I used my time off to do a variety of different things and make time for people in my world - family and friends.

With our house development under full swing, I now feel like I am living in a bedsit! And so when I had the chance to take a few days out and book myself in to a cottage or B&B, I jumped at the chance.  It would just me and my gorgeous Bichonpoo, Alfonso.

Hunting for cottages in peak season by the sea and one that will allow dogs, was not an easy task.  Days I searched, and talk about having to read the small print!! Every time I thought I found something that was reasonable, the "allowing dogs to stay" element generally didn't tick Alfonso boxes, with so many rules he would have more fun staying in my car!

And then a girlfriend introduced me to Airbnb (thanks Mabel!) - this is an app/website where people rent out either a room, part of their house or their entire property (worldwide). Not only was the searching so much easier, but people were up front and honest about their house rules and their costs.  I went from not having much choice to having six or seven options for my last minute dates - how fantastic is that!!

And so I booked in at the Hayloft near Winchester.

This was a gorgeous and very very peaceful rural retreat, just a stone throw away from Winchester - which by the way is a very good base for activities for forest walking, beaches and national parks.

I'm not entirely sure you would call The Hayloft a cottage; it seemed to me it was a converted barn, that on one side allowed for two garages and on the other side was The Hayloft.  You walk into this beautiful space that has a modern kitchen and views of fields that horses were using.  Also downstairs there were two armchairs that were ideal for reading or chatting on the phone, but still allowing you to take in the country views.

Upstairs was a dream, again very modern with an area that allowed for a desk, a TV area with a moderate size sofa and plenty of large cushions giving you a very chill-out area for watching films etc. And then pass the snooker table (which by the way I didn't use, being on my own!) but a great way to break up the big room and it has been set up as a large table with ornaments and magazine - leading to the bed and the bathroom.

The decor was lovely in white and blue, it looked modern and fresh.

For a really great room rate of £88 per night, this included breakfast and a home from home.  In addition to that there is a service fee.  The Hayloft offered everything it said plus more, and what I liked about it the most, I was left to get on and enjoy my space. For me. 100% rest and relaxation achieved.

Lily my VW Beetle parked up - The Hayloft is property on the right

We are in! Alfonso very happy with cottage - this is downstairs with kitchen and armchairs that have fabulous views.

This was my Monday morning - rest and relaxation with a good book and coffee (Bliss)

Part of upstair - gorgeous decor and chill-out areas
And the view - horses, fields and can you hear?... that's right peaceful ;)

I can whole-heartedly recommend Airbnb, it was easy to search, to book, to be able to ask my host questions, and with having the chance to review the places you stay, you know what you are booking way before you get there - I really like the honesty.  Click here for a link to the site.

And if you love The Hayloft and fancy staying there, then click here.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

A few of my favourite summer beauty products

A beauty routine is a must and I believe we should be open to the idea of changing our regular products every now and then.   Beauty products are constantly being redeveloped by scientists helping you to take advantage to improve your skin or hair.

Brands rarely change their formula as they don't want to upset existing customers, therefore launching new sister ranges to get new product out there.  Every now and then take time to browse the beauty section just as you would new clothes each season.

I've invested in new products this summer and I've also chosen to carry on with some of my favourites, here's a few I would love to share with you.

Image: P20

One of my first great finds this year is P20 - A sunscreen that you only need to apply once a day.  I tested the product on my recent holiday to Rome and I have to say it was very good. P20 I think is a slightly confusing name, as my bottle is a factor 30, I've opted for the spray which is a transparent oil and I've found you do have to give it a good few minutes to absorb into the skin before you can put clothes on, especially on delicate fabrics - but so far it's worked and one I will continue to use.

Image: ARK Skincare

I've wrote about this product before on my blog, I'm a huge fan of ARK Skincare and my favourite product from their range is their Primer; it's SPF 30 and I find its a fantastic base for my foundation.  I choose not to wear foundation much in July and August each year; I find I don't want to wear it when it's hot and so I use this primer as a base for my make up too, it sits well and leaves me with a natural look that I like for summer time.  I always make sure this product comes with me on holiday, and I prefer to use it than applying sunscreen on my face - it's a must have!

Image: Amazon

A good way to keep your hair in good condition and avoiding the hairdresser cutting too much off every month is to apply oil to your dry ends - especially if you're like me and can't resist your straightens! I have used Moroccan oil in the past, including the light version - but it tends to be too oily for my fine hair.

This Schwarzkopf Bonacure Oil Miracle Barbary Fig and Keratin is fantastic - you don't have to worry about putting too much on and I can use this product before blow drying or during the day if my hair looks a little dry from the summer heat.  What's more, 2-3 times a week I apply a larger amount just before I go to bed, my hair will absorb it overnight and it's silky soft by morning but you will have to wash it.  I buy this product from Amazon and I'm loving it, so it's a keeper!!