Why all mums NEED a Mumcation – and the perfect place for a childfree holiday

The Iberostar in Ibiza is the ultimate place for a girlie or romantic weekend away

It’s official – experts say a break away with friends is good for a Mum’s health – so it’s time to book that girlie holiday!

According to American psychology professor Dr Nava Silton, minibreaks without children are “essential” to a mother’s wellbeing and, therefore, good for the children too.

Knowing a proper break from domestic and family responsibilities is prescribed by those in the know, I felt much less guilt waving the kids goodbye and jetting off with my best friend on what is now known as a Mumcation.

I know getting a childfree weekend isn’t as easy as it sounds – but if you can wangle it, it’s oh SO worth the effort. The fact is, all mum’s need a break. To let our hair down and laugh. Swear and dress up. We want to sleep uninterrupted and shower alone.

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The Sky Lounge has amazing views over the Med

The destination

We chose Ibiza – not because we wanted to be out partying until 6am which the island is known for – far from it. But because it ticked all the boxes.

Easy to fly to from Leeds/Bradford with Jet2 – check, within a three-hour flight – check and hot – check.

When you tell people you’re going to Ibiza they assume it’s to party, but there’s much more to the island than clubbing. It was amazing – here’s why…

Hotel Iberostar Santa Eulalia

I’ve found the perfect hotel for either a girlie break or romantic weekend away with a stunning rooftop pool.

The main reason for choosing the Iberostar Ibiza was because it’s for adults only. If you’ve not got your own kids in tow you certainly don’t want to be listening to someone else’s screaming kids.

And it was bliss. Not a snotty nose in sight. Just like-minded adults who were there simply to relax. The gorgeous hotel, which is a 20 minute taxi ride from the airport is right on the beach. It’s located in one of the most secluded corners on the island in Santa Eulalia

The sky lounge and rooftop pool

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The stunning rooftop pool at the Iberostar Ibiza

If you’re going to stay at this hotel, you must stay in a Star Prestige Room – not because they are the best and most luxurious ones with balconies and floor to ceiling windows – but because only Star Prestige guests have access to the Sky Lounge – where the rooftop infinity pool is.

The gorgeous Leeds apartments you can stay in for just £60 each

This sixth-floor rooftop terrace which is simply amazing. The views out across the Mediterranean Sea are stunning.

Here you have at your disposal Balinese beds, hammocks, a shaded area, the infinity pool and an OPEN BAR! Watch the video above to see just how fabulous it is!

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We watched the sun go down whilst in the rooftop pool

We made good use of the open bar which was just that – you could help yourself to bottles of wine, beers, spirits, soft drinks and snacks.
The only thing which could have made it perfect would have been sunbed waiter service, but it was nice to be able to serve ourselves to exactly what we wanted – when we could be bothered to peel ourselves away from our sunbeds!
If you look down from the Sky Lounge you will see the hotel’s main pool on the ground floor. Nice as it was, we spent all our time on the rooftop.

This was my favourite area of the hotel by far. One morning – used to getting up early with the kids – I was first up by the pool and had the entire terrace to myself for over an hour as the sun came up.

Another night, after dinner Kelly and I watched the sun go down in the distance from the pool whilst having an after-dinner dip. We were the only ones up there, it really was a million miles away from the stresses of real life.

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The main pool at the Iberostar ibiza

All Inclusive

I’d recommend staying all inclusive. The Agave Buffet restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating is where you will have breakfast, lunch and evening meal.

We had freshly cooked delicious Ibizian, Spanish, Mediterranean and international cuisine. From indoors there’s views over the pool and from outside you can see the sea. It’s here you will also find the wine and beer taps you can help yourself to! The food was lovely.

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You can help yourself to the alcohol!

The hotel also has the SeaSoul Beach Club & Restaurant where the menu is as impressive as the views over the sea. This area is not part of the all inclusive though.

There’s a pool bar by the main pool where I fell in love with Aperol Spritz and was the perfect place to get our cocktails from 10.30am until midnight.

There’s also a second larger outdoor bar – the Es Vedrà Bar, where the evening entertainment takes place with a show every night. Inside there’s the Mastella Lounge Bar where soft drinks, cocktails and long drinks are served from 10:30 to midnight. It’s a great place to enjoy a gin and tonic and listen to the entertainment from afar.

If you’re feeling active there’s also plenty of activities at the hotel including cooking workshops, themed nights and a fitness centre. There’s also a spa with a wide range of treatments if you fancy the ultimate pamper! You really don’t need to leave the hotel grounds if you don’t want to.

Dining at the Iberostar
The food is delicious

Celebrity spotting at Nikki Beach

Just a stones throw from the hotel is Nikki Beach – an exclusive beach club. It’s so close to the hotel we could hear the music from the hotel’s rooftop terrace and decided to treat ourselves to an afternoon out.

It’s a gorgeous beach-front venue which consists of the brand’s signature beach club, restaurant, pool, octagon bar and lifestyle boutique.​ ​

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Nikki Beach knows how to party!

Here you can dine, or hire a bed by the pool. It’s glamorous and lively and a great place for people watching. Nikki Beach really does have that exclusive feel to it and is the place to see and be seen. Think thong bikinis, spraying champagne and beautiful people.

Nikki Beach knows how to party! The music – with the live DJ and saxophonist really did bring an amazing vibe and make you want to dance. The beach club is fun, stylish and with delicious food – but be prepared, it’s not cheap. It’s definitely somewhere you would go for a celebration or a treat – unless you’ve got bags of money!

It was mainly couples at the Iberostar Santa Eulalia, and that’s no surprise, it’s a very romantic hotel and part of the island.

But it was also perfect for our Mumcation. We ate, we drank, we gossipped and we slept. Ibiza does not have to be a “wild party” destination – it can be anything you want it to be.

I don’t visit many places twice because it’s a big wide world out there – but I’d absolutely go back to this hotel – maybe next time with my partner!

We all need time out. To refill that Mumma cup. I came home feeling refreshed, revived, and with more patience for my children. Yes I’d missed them, but I needed that break. Go get it booked!

Look out for offers and deals at the Iberostar, Santa Eulia here.

Although the hotel had everything we needed, it was nice for a change of scenery to really indulge and have a party afternoon. There’s also a good chance of seeing celebrities here!

For us, being in our 30s and not wanting to party into the early hours, an afternoon of drinking, partying and socialising was perfect. We were back at our hotel for our evening meal!

Mumcation perfection

Joanna Lovell and Kelly Taylor on their hotel balcony
Experts say Mums deserve a Mumcation

It was mainly couples at the Iberostar Santa Eulalia, and that’s no surprise, it’s a very romantic hotel and part of the island.

The London hotel you must add to your romantic mini-break list 

But it was also perfect for our Mumcation. We ate, we drank, we gossipped and we slept. Ibiza does not have to be a “wild party” destination – it can be anything you want it to be.

I don’t visit many places twice because it’s a big wide world out there – but I’d absolutely go back to this hotel – maybe next time with my partner!

We all need time out. To refill that Mumma cup. I came home feeling refreshed, revived, and with more patience for my children. Yes I’d missed them, but I needed that break. Go get it booked!

Look out for offers and deals at the Iberostar, Santa Eulia here.

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Mansio Suites Leeds – Why staying in an apartment is better than a hotel

Mansio Suites, Leeds

Choosing a serviced apartment over a hotel is fast becoming a preferred on-trend choice when booking a mini-break.

And having stayed at the luxurious Mansio Suites apartments in Leeds – I can see why. You get more space, privacy, and they really are like a home away from home.

Staying in an apartment was a concept first geared towards business travellers but increasingly is being used by holidaymakers as a base for city breaks.

Essentially, a serviced apartment – known as an aparthotel is like any other holiday apartment, with one or more bedrooms, but you get the extra little luxuries that are usually found in hotels, such as toiletries, fresh linen and room cleaning.

Here’s some reasons why you might choose an apartment over a hotel:

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  • You are charged per apartment, opposed to per room – so often you can get a cheaper deal if there’s a few of you.
  • You will save money. If you’re staying in a hotel you might get room service, take drinks and snacks from the mini bar, and spend a fortune in the hotel bar. If you stay in an apartment you can take drinks to chill in the fridge, you can cook if you want to, and take your own snacks, and breakfast for the next day – saving you a fortune.
  • You have your own space – an apartment will have a lounge/diner area, a fully equipped kitchen and a separate bedroom.
  • They’re better for hosting – if you’re travelling with a group of friends you can meet up in one apartment with space and sofas, instead of crowding around a hotel bed.

Why the Royal London Lancaster Hotel should be on your to-do list 

Mansio Suites have two locations in Leeds, and we chose a one-bedroom apartment at Mansio Basinghall – which opened two years ago in a lovingly restored Victorian building.

They’re located right in the centre of Leeds, within a short walk of the train station and also a stone’s throw from the Albion Street car park if you’re taking the car.

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The spotlessly clean apartments have been decorated to a high standard, and feel “expensive.” Interiors are contemporary and stylish and just ooze an upmarket feel.

There’s a 24-hour reception and a cosy lobby area. Staff were friendly and helpful and knowledgeable about the local area.

The amazing new ROOFTOP spa in Yorkshire 

The apartments range from studios to two bedroom apartments. The bedrooms are sumptuous with a super king bed and the bathroom was spacious with Molton Brown toiletries and a rainfall shower. Fluffy bathrobes and slippers were also included so you really can make yourself at home.

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The apartment had everything we could have needed and more, from and smart TV with Netflix and a Nespresso Coffee machine to complimentary WIFI.

It certainly made a fabulous change to staying in a hotel.

Rockliffe Hall – so much more than just a spa 

 

Why the Royal London Lancaster Hotel needs to be on your list for 2018

There can’t be many hotels in London which guarantee a “far-reaching” view across the capital from every bedroom, but at The Royal London Lancaster that comes as standard.

Due to the fact there aren’t any guest rooms or suites lower than the first floor, and with its perfect central location overlooking Hyde Park, the bedroom views are spectacular.

The 18-storey hotel, which opened as one of the most chic hotels in London in 1967, reopened 50 years later, last November, following a massive £80m renovation to once again be one of the most stylish hotels in the capital.

Rooms with a view

2. Park Suite View - Royal Lancaster London

All 411 charming rooms and suites have been renovated and there are different types to suit all needs, from the classic double room at £219 per night to suites with their own living and dining areas.

Every room has bath robes, slippers, The White Company toiletries, waterfall showers and underfloor heating in the bathrooms.

We got the chance to look around the hotel and I was amazed by the views, and how quite it is once in your room, looking out over a busy, noisy capital city.

Stylish and finest Hyde Park hotel

Royal Lancaster London - Exterior

As soon as you step into the opulent lobby you know you’ve entered somewhere a little bit special. The showpiece is a palatial sweeping staircase, made of white Carrara marble, which wraps around to the first floor.

The hotel was built in the swinging Sixties so, externally – apart from its new stunning entrance façade – the hotel remains a Sixties tower block.

But that retro feel has somehow been captured inside in style with luxury golds and sumptuous browns.

Every part of the renovation has been thoroughly thought out. Even the carpets with their subtle Sixties design.

Our room, on the fifth floor had extensive views out over the city in all its glory. At night we didn’t want to close our blinds because it was such an amazing sight.

I was really impressed to find a “handy phone” in our room, which guests can take out into London with them and enjoy free calls.

Spoilt for choice with food

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There are three options for dining, including The Park Restaurant, Island Grill or Nipa Thai. Knowing the hotel’s owner is Thai, it felt an obvious choice to try authentic cuisine.

The restaurant has an all-female kitchen team to keep in tune with Thai dining tradition and provides a sophisticated Thai ambience. The welcome was warm and the menu is extensive.

The staff were kind and attentive and open to making little changes to take your meal from delicious, to perfection.

The place to be seen

Hyde Lobby Bar at Royal Lancaster London 1

One of my favourite areas of the hotel is the elegant Hyde Lobby Bar, which serves cocktails, coffee and light cuisine throughout the day.

The cocktail menu has been meticulously created and includes signature cocktails to reflect the hotel. The Italian Job cocktail is made with Beefeater 24 gin, Martini Rosso, Campari and Aperol and is a salute to the original 1968 Italian Job film, which included scenes filmed in front of the hotel.

For a touch of extra indulgence, the hotel has created its own aromatic Royal Lancaster gin, which is served in the bar’s speciality gin martini.

As we relaxed with our delicious nibbles and tasty gins we felt a world away from the buzzing reception area we overlooked. It definitely feels like a prime spot to “see and be seen” in London and is worth a visit even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.

Breakfast in bed

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The next morning our breakfast was wheeled into our room on a lovely round table, allowing us to eat casually in our robes, overlooking Hyde Park. It really doesn’t get much better.

If you’re looking for somewhere special, this hotel should be on your list of places to visit in 2018.

The Royal London Lancaster Hotel is located right next to the Lancaster Gate tube station.

Visit the website here for more information and to book.

Rockliffe Hall, Darlington #metime

IT WAS the luxurious award-winning spa that first tempted me to visit Rockliffe Hall.

Yet since returning from an outstanding weekend at the country retreat, it’s actually the culinary journey we experienced that I’ve talked non-stop about.

As truly delightful as the spa was at the five-star golf and spa hotel in County Durham, it was the stand-out exquisite food in the Orangery Restaurant that blew us away.

The food

The 3AA rosette restaurant in the 18th-century Old Hall of the hotel is the flagship restaurant of three at the hotel.

The restaurant is described as informal luxury – it’s fine dining, but it wasn’t too stuffy.

All the while, a pianist played in the background and it was some three hours later before we retired to the cocktail bar.

For me, it was the highlight of the trip, followed closely by the spa experience, which was the perfect environment to relax.

 

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The Spa

Here you will find a 20m pool surrounded by comfortable seating, heat rooms, a beautiful hydro pool and an outdoor hot tub.

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View from my lounger

I indulged in one of the newest treatments – a neom wellbeing treatment, which includes meditation, Shiatsu, Thai massage and reflexology.

For 60 minutes, I was able to drift away while the therapist worked her magic with a candle oil that was drizzled over my body.

The icing on the cake though was our two-hour session in the Spa Garden, which was just something else.

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Indoors, there are heated relaxation loungers, a glass-fronted sauna, and fire pit with seating looking out over the two hot pools outside, including an infinity edge pool and a warm Jacuzzi.

Despite it being January, I found myself swimming outdoors in the steaming hot pool, overlooking the rolling countryside.

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Anywhere where you can enjoy a Mojito with lunch in your robe gets my vote.

 

The Hotel

Set in 375 acres of grounds, the hotel is one of a kind – it really is luxury at its best.

It was a country retreat we didn’t need to leave all weekend.

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The Room

We stayed in a room in the new hall, complete with mood lighting, a walk-in monsoon shower and a separate bath with its own TV. The room was very spacious, modern, luxurious and spotlessly clean.

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We had a balcony overlooking the grounds and golf course.

However, the sumptuous bed stole the show – it was absolute heaven.

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Without a doubt, this hotel is deserving of its five stars.

You can also get married at the hotel. One can only imagine how amazing a wedding at Rockliffe Hall would be.

We left after our stay feeling wonderfully relaxed and revived.

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The perfect breakfast, and view

I feel lucky to have discovered this wonderful retreat which has now firmly made it onto my wish list of places to revisit.

 

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