After a fortnight of London life I was more than ready to pack up a giant suitcase (because hello, gurl needs 47563 winter coat options) and whirr off on the train to the West Country for a weekend of respite, pyjamas and three course meals.
So on Saturday morning at 8.32am I found myself vlogging from the forecourt of Ipswich station like OMG GOING AWAY TO THE COUNTRYSIDE before I realised that lol, I’d left my train tickets at home on the dining table, snuggly placed between Rudey and several dull letters from the bank.
Thankfully I have a boyfriend who loves me (and has poor traffic light judgement), and after basically having a small breakdown on the station floor surrounded by the contents of my bag, a couple of camera lenses and a cute statement pink polka dot suitcase, I was reunited with my train ticks and floating off towards the other side of England.
I was invited, alongside a couple of other bloggers, to come trial Blue Chip Experience. Which, to put it in basic babe terms means that basically as well as booking self-catering accomodation and holiday cottages through Blue Chip Holidays, you can arrange for the company to sort out all your holiday extras – from activities like horse riding and llama trekking to things like hampers and private chefs.
And so, for poor ol’ Hannah that meant eating posh restaurant-quality food without having to leave the house. It also meant a lot of red wine and girl talk and tea and blankets and long soaks in the bath and yeah, pretty horrendous, someone get out the violins.
We stayed at Stowford Manor, the most incredible 19th century house of all time, in Ivybridge. It’s currently my life ambition to live in it. Or y’know, maybe in something that’s identical but like, in Suffolk?
IT HAD A KITCHEN ISLAND BIGGER THAN MY ACTUAL BEDROOM.
And free-standing baths and the most incredible tiled floor and six bedrooms and seriously high ceilings and a roaring fireplace and omg goals.
It felt so regal and grand and yet sleeps 12 and yes, I’m booking it for my 27th bithday next year and yes I will find you and give you a really hard pinch if you try to book it out for that weekend before I’ve pulled together the deposit.
Anyway, right yeah, back to the weekend.
Soz got carried away with really sexy thoughts about Stowford Manor. Soz not soz.
IT FELT LIKE I LIVED AT DOWNTON ABBEY. CAN WE JUST TAKE THIS IN FOR A MOMENT PLZ. (Watch my vlog here gal pals)
We arrived on the Saturday morning to classic grey British autumn weather and snuggled up round the table to pots of teas, chatter and cake before disappearing off to our rooms for bubble baths and a make-up refresh.
We spent that first evening eating the dreamiest lamb, followed by chocolate fondant and oh mumma.
And, without sounding like the worst cat parent, it felt OH SO FLIPPIN’ GOOD to have a full night’s sleep without cat paws on my face or relentless meowing and scratching at the bedroom door at 6am.
You wonderful little brutes, you.
Sunday was spent doing something so entirely out of my comfort zone that my nostrils flared on my than one occasion.
I WENT HORSERIDING. (And I *think* I maybe kinda enjoyed it?)
I had a cute little chap named Ewan who carried me (and my belly full of toast and blueberry jam) around Dartmoor National Park.
He was a right little pudding, but he farted a lot. What a hunny.
It was one of those insanely perfect and crisp November mornings and taking in those views whilst riding Ewan (I mean, that sentence would sound better if he didn’t have SUCH human sounding name, lol), made me feel so at peace with the world.
The warm, happy feeling in my soul and belly was amplified by a glass of mulled wine and a steak and ale pie at the local country pub.
I spent the rest of the afternoon, erm, napping. Because Sunday, y’know?
And then had ANOTHER bath and watched a chef talk us through how to make Bao buns, crispy duck breasts and apple mousse.
(Somehow I’ve come home weighing LESS. Nah, no idea how in the sweet heavens this has happened either…).
Before settling on the sofa with my laptop, a cuppa and Bridesmaids (because the house came with QUITE the DVD collection).
This trip wasn’t as exotic and omg I’m off on a plane and woo cocktails and OMG LOOK AN INSTAGRAM OF THE SEA, but it was easily one of my favourites of all time. It was just SO effortless. So chilled, so good for the soul, so good for me.
And, so long as me and my bank balance see eye to eye, it will be the first that I’ve booked to go back to because I’m so desp for all my friends to see it and for us to play board games together and cook together and venture out to the local pub together and MAYBE sit around the long dining room table and pretend we’re Death Eaters in Malfoy Manor together.
And then y’know, maybe chip in to get a private chef one night when we’re feeling way too fly for another mass batch of fajitas.
I loved how chilled it was. That there was time to slink into a bubble bath TWICE, that there was time to sample the sofa blankets and to fire bathe (a new winter terminology I’ve just made up for lying in front of the fireplace).
I love that I came home to Ipperz recharged and feeling ready to tackle life with a big ol’ smile plastered across this face of mine.
And I love that it felt so far from actual work. Like an lazy holiday with pals.
Good work Blue Chip, you guys are aces. Give yourself a big pat on your back and cut yourself a nice hefty slice of cake, you deserve it.
Blue Chip Holidays offer 3 nights at Stowford Manor in Ivybridge, Devon from £105 per person based on 12 sharing on a self catering basis. Activities, experiences and a private chef can be arranged through Blue Chip Holidays bespoke concierge service Blue Chip Experience for a hassle free break. www.bluechipholidays.co.uk / +44 (0) 333 3317 995.