Hotel Hermitage, Isola d’Elba

Hotel Hermitage, Isola d'Elba

Getting to Elba: The ferry for Portoferraio, Isola d’Elba leaves from Piombino. Book your ferry well in advance at – www.mobylines.com

Where to Stay: The only place to stay on Elba, in my opinion, is Hotel Hermitage – www.elba4star.it – set directly on an idyllic beach in its own secluded bay and surrounded by the Mediterranean sea. You really need at least 10 days here to relax and unwind, three salt water pools, tennis, golf, water games a mini club and an amazing diving centre there really is lots to do. To stand a chance of getting into Hotel Hermitage you need to book well in advance. Families return here year after year and it truly is a special place.

Diving in Elba:
The diving centre situated in the bay and grounds of Hotel Hermitage is second to none – www.divinginelba.com/en/home.asp – the staff are fantastic with kids and gave the perfect balance of safety and fun, really professional and knowledgable, brilliant! Riccardo, Allesandro and Sandro were the ‘freckles’ favourites. Be sure to visit them as soon as you arrive to book yourselves onto a dive. You will be pleasantly surprised with the number of dive sites available and the variety of sea life that you will see.

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Skull Bracelet features on The Fancy

Freckles in the Sun introduced the delicate and gorgeous ILD bracelet with tiny solid

Silver Skull Bracelet

silver skull delicately suspended on silver chain with silver fastening detail to the UK in 2012. A gold version is also available. They have become firm favourites to the site and our best sellers to date.

This exquisite bracelet with it’s tiny silver skull measures 6.5″ and is stylish, delicate and elegant and currently features on The Fancy

 

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The Detox Kitchen

The Detox Kitchen Breafast

The Detox Kitchen Breafast

Last summer I decided to try out a few detox programmes, both for research purposes but also to see if I could feel and look better with the help of carefully designed meals and diet eliminations. I personally find it too difficult to try and follow strict rules and menus on my own, however, with the help of The Detox Kitchen, I found that I could easily follow a diet plan without veering off track.

I was so delighted and impressed with The Detox Kitchen, I have signed up this week to write a day by day account of what a week looks and feels like. Read the full feature here…

 

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South Hams, Devon

Dartmouth, South Devon

Dartmouth, South Devon

Having just spent a fantastic long weekend with friends in their spectacular Devon house in South Devon, I could not resist sharing some of the hi-lights from our trip. Food, atmosphere and view does not come much better than Beach House at South Milton Sands. The fresh fish served here is delicious and the beach hut venue is relaxed and effortlessly cool, I could have sat here all day enjoying a lazy lunch with friends whilst looking at the panoramic views of the South Hams coastline, stunning!

Hire a boat and steer yourself towards, Dartmouth. You will not be disappointed as you cruise along the River Dart, through gorgeous tree lined river banks, passing Agatha Christie’s Georgian magnolia coloured mansion set high in the hills, before arriving with the beautifully pastel coloured Dartmouth town ahead. If you can find a spot to moor up, visit Mitch Tonks’ Rockfish for delicious fish and chips, which can be taken away or eaten in. There is also a fantastic fudge shop called Edward’s Fudge Kitchen, selling a huge array of flavoured fudges from Baileys, seaweed and licorice to classics like vanilla and chocolate, well worth a visit!

For drinks, head to The Crabshell Inn in Kingsbridge. Situated on the quayside this inn serves drinks and the best pizzas, whilst locals and visitors sample the latest paddle boards or get hands on advice and training on how to paddle board in style, perfect viewing to idle away a few hours until the sun sets.

Of course I have not touched on other South Ham delights, such as Blackpool Sands and Salcombe and many other amazing places I have yet to discover. However, if you are lucky enough to visit the South Hams area for a couple of days, our recommendations are not to be missed. We are already looking forward to our next visit…

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Eqvvs Training

I have long yearned to find a great yet fun way to stay in shape and I seem to have worked my way through many different fitness classes, fads and gyms trying to find the perfect fix. Although I have spent many years trying, I have never found the perfect solution for me… until now. Living in London with so much choice it can often seem an impossible task when choosing to begin something new. A chance tweet led me in the direction of www.eqvvs.com

After some time navigating myself around the slick Eqvvs website, reading about each trainer and the package options available, I did not have the guts to actually book myself a session. Which package would I go for and which trainer would I choose? They all sound so good…

24 hours later an emailed pinged into my inbox from none other than Eqvvs’ founder, Nicola Addison. Nicola was emailing me as she had seen that I had been perusing the website and wanted to invite me along to the Eqvvs gym in Knightsbridge for a free hour long consultation, who could refuse?

Following our informal chat and a taster of some of the deep lunges I could expect to be practising, I was convinced that changes could be achieved and duly booked myself in for some sessions with Nicola a week later. Unusually, (from my own experience), for a personal training venue, the entire team seem really lovely and all greet you as if you have known them for years, it really is such a relaxed and fun atmosphere, which I found to be uniquely refreshing.

Nicola is one of the best female personal trainers that London has to offer and her excellent dry wit, humour and honesty make the hour long one-to-one training sessions fly by. Each session is different as Nicola, having watched you move at the consultation, will have already pinpointed the problem areas to target and has mapped out each training session to do just that.

I mentioned that I was keen to get beach fit fast so Nicola suggested an ingenious device called a Ki Fit. Worn on your arm like an arm band, the Ki Fit measures how many calories you burn at what time of day, how well you sleep and how many steps you take. Once downloaded it is then clear the areas that need adjusting. Nicola not only helped me decipher the results but has helped change my entire attitude toward what I eat and when to make the training I do, have the maximum effects.

Visiting Eqvvs is like visiting your best friend for a weekly catch up, except you are getting fitter, toned, and more knowledgable with each session, you will also start to feel amazing. Give it a go for yourself, I promise you will be really impressed with the results, I am.

Eqvvs is located 43a Cheval Place, London, SW7 1EW

Nicola Addison, founder of Eqvvs Training answers our top ten questions here…

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Lovely London Pubs

The Bull and Last

Now that the nights are drawing in and the weather is turning a little colder, I thought that I would write about a few of my favourite London pubs, especially for lazy Sunday lunches and cosy evenings relaxing with friends. These are family friendly too, just check the hours that children are permitted.

The Bull and Last opposite Parliament Hill Fields is a fantastic find. Everything served here is hand-made and delicious. Book in advance as it has become a firm favourite with locals. If you do go, you must order the salt caramel truffles at the end of your meal, you can buy them to take-away too, they are amazing!

The Wells in Hampstead is a great place for lunch, with children and dogs welcome, this is a great place to stop after a walk on the nearby heath, the irish coffee is second to none.

Also close to Hampstead Heath yet further up the hill in Highgate, you will find a few great pubs. The Flask is a great summer pub with a great outdoor garden and known for its barbecues. Our favourite for colder cosy nights is The Red Lion and Sun. The open log fire and relaxed atmosphere makes for a perfect place to eat, drink and while away the hours.

If you are closer to the centre of town, The Clifton in St John’s Wood is a hidden gem. Great food and fully stocked with board games, this is a fantastic place for the whole family.  The Prince Alfred in Maida Vale is well worth a visit to enjoy a drink in their original Victorian snugs. You can also hire the snugs out for private functions.

 

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Our recent find from our Belize trip…

Catherine Weitzman Jewellery

When we visited Belize in April, I was, as always, on the lookout for anything interesting or special to bring home to sell through the website. I love looking in the hotel gift shops and local markets for one off items and trinkets.

Whilst staying at Turtle Inn, I was intrigued when I saw a glass box on the counter of the tiny gift shop. Upon closer inspection I was delighted to see a selection of beautifully delicate bracelets designed by Catherine Weitzman. I snapped up the blue starfish bracelet for myself and kept the designer’s details safe for making contact on my return.

I am delighted that Catherine Weitzman in now available to purchase here. If you want to read more about our amazing trip to Belize, click here.

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Goop

Goop

Goop

I am still surprised that so many of my UK based friends and colleagues have yet to find out about the delights of Goop. Goop is the creation of Gwyneth Paltrow and whilst it seems to attract some unnecessary negative press here in the UK, don’t let that put you off.  I personally find it really informative, easy to read and so laid back that I actually look forward to the latest newsletter arriving in my inbox.

We as a family have tried many of the recomendations on the ‘Go’ section, I highly recommend checking out the locations that Goop offer tips on before your next trip, New York is a particular favourite of mine. I would never have found out about Sushi Yasuda for example, an amazing sushi restaurant which the kids also loved, top tip!

The tone of the entire website is friendly, sassy and informative and you leave feeling as if the information has been hand picked specifically for you. If my website leaves anyone feeling as informed as I after reading Goop, I will be very happy.

It not only offers advice on travel but also fashion, food, health, the list is endless, check it out for yourself – http://www.goop.com/ – you will be delighted that you did!

 

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Babington House, Somerset

Babington House

As you drive past Stonehenge into the heart of Somerset, through Frome and into Babington, you are met by a long tree lined drive which takes you to Babington House. This unique luxury hotel feels like your own private country retreat with its relaxed atmosphere and all of the extras which make it feel like home. The luxury rooms, food and drinks and facilities of course make this place special too. Lounge in the outdoor heated pool, it is magical to swim through the steam and see the gorgeous lake and surrounding views. Follow up with a visit to the adjoining rooms for a steam, sauna or an aroma hit, you will feel totally relaxed and refreshed.

Afternoon tea is fantastic, freshly made daily and available from 3 o clock, it can be served to you in the privacy of your room, or in one of the many rooms in the main house, the library, the study or in the bar, my particular favourite. All of the staff are friendly and nothing is too much trouble, the barman even invented a cocktail to suit my mood before dinner, perfect!

Breakfast has to be mentioned too, set in the Orangery, fresh juices, coffees and a delicious comprehensive menu accompanied by a buffet are bought to you whilst you sit and read through all of the complimentary papers. A walk is recommended after, local walks are mapped out for you, wellies are provided, along with bicycles and cycle routes for the more adventurous.

I could write for hours about the delights of a visit to Babington House, my blog has not even touched on the Cowshed treatments and spa, the tennis courts, the amazing facilities for families, etc, etc, however, some things should be experienced and enjoyed first hand as a personal experience with all of the surprise and delight of a first visit. I can not recommend a visit here highly enough, if heaven were a place on earth, this would be it…

www.babingtonhouse.co.uk

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Clements Ribeiro Christmas Stockings

Clements Ribeiro Christmas Stockings

Clements Ribeiro Christmas Stockings

Clements Ribeiro have launched a divine limited edition range of Christmas Stockings this year. Available to buy exclusively through their online store, these seven individual, exquisite stockings, cleverly named after Father Christmas’ reindeers, each boast their own charm and character. My personal favourite is Donner. See a selection of them pictured here hanging over Suzanne and Inacio’s festive open fire, hurry though, I hear they are flying out…

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