It’s taken me three days to recover from my weekend, primarily because I spent it with 13 other bloggers in Devon courtesy of holidaycottages.co.uk. If you’ve ever been on a blogger press trip before, you know exactly why I’m so tired!
I had been thinking about hiring a cottage for Christmas for Dexter and so the timing of this opportunity was great because it meant that I could see whether holidaying in a UK holiday cottage was for me or not.
I drove to my friend Katrina’s house (she blogs at Cool Banana’s blog, and she kindly drove us from London to Devon, which took about five hours. I impressed myself with only needing one toilet break, so I reckon the pelvic floor exercises are definitely working! #TMI
When we arrived at Lympscott Barn, I was surprised by how modern it looked from the outside. It’s a stunning contemporary building, but it’s also part of a working organic dairy farm, so if you look through one window you see a hot tub but if you look through the other, you see a herd of cows and a couple of horses!
We were all tired after a long drive – it’s hard work being a passenger you know – but we un-packed all the food and drink we had each brought, got to know each other (and the lovely PR girls from holidaycottages.co.uk) and then spent two hours drinking Prosecco in the hot tub. I hope you understand that this was purely for research purposes so that I could report back to you. No need to thank me. And I can confirm that the hot tub was amazing and a big shout-out has to go to Vanessa (HPMcQ) who kept my glass topped up. I asked her to move in with me but she declined.
Moving on, I co-cooked breakfast the next day as we had been left a breakfast hamper by John, the local deli man, so we got to try out fresh Devonshire butter, sausages, eggs and bacon. There’s something about the country air that meant we all definitely had healthy appetites – mind you, it could have also been our mild hangovers. Either way, it was delicious and set us up for what Emma and Katy, the PR girls, had in store for us.
We then drove over to the nearest beach, which was only 20 minutes away in Bude. I love going to the beach out of season because it just has a completely different feel about it. You’re wrapped up warm against the cold wind, all the colours look somehow different and I love that there are less people there! We even saw two horses galloping along the beach, which I doubt they could do in summer, and it just was a lovely refreshing way to spend two hours.
We drove back home to share a picnic style lunch and then it was time for our next activity. This time … a treasure hunt!
We drove to Tamar Lake, which again was only 20 minutes away, and is home to a watersports centre. Katy and Emma had gone ahead and hidden ten clues around the lake and we all set off in little groups to find the clues, write down our answers and get back to the cars as quickly as we could. I think I slightly under-estimated just how far the 3 mile walk was and I think a layer of clothing came off at each mile mark. I was paired with Katrina and Alice (Project:Wanderlust) and it turned out that we were quite possibly the most competitive women in history. We were determined to win and took it way too seriously, but I like to think everyone was good-natured about our steely determination!
It was a lovely way to spend an hour or so as the countryside in Devon is just so pretty. The winners wouldn’t be announced until dinner-time so it was time to get back to the cottages, get ready and go out to the Bradworthy Inn for dinner.
What can I say about the food? It was delicious! Seriously yummy. I had Thai fishcakes to start with, followed by sirloin steak with all the trimmings then the most amazing home-made lemon cheesecake I think I’ve ever had and trust me, I’ve had a few in my lifetime! (And we did, of course, win!)
When we got home, we all chilled on the huge sofas, swapped Secret Santa presents and relaxed for a couple of hours before bedtime.
I’ve written another blog post about Devon over at my collaborative blog, We Blog Travel, so please do take a look at that if you would like to know more.
The journey home was smooth and I was home by 3pm. Suffice to say, Dexter had missed me just a little bit and even though I missed him being Captain for his football team that morning, I think I’m now forgiven. But that’s only because I had to give up the Devonshire fudge I’d been given in my goody bag!
Another huge thank you to holidaycottages.co.uk for going over and above what a lot of PRs/brands do when they work with bloggers. Nothing was too much trouble and they went out of their way to make sure we had a great time.
Would I rent a holiday cottage again? Try and stop me.