Valentine’s Day is fast approaching (wahhhhh!). I always find it a tricky one to plan for, do you? I’m not massively keen on sitting in a restaurant along with a million other couples, gazing into each other’s eyes (Naff) playing romance-by-rote, being handed a soggy rose (Naff. And if you’re gonna do it, get me 24 will you?)… Red underwear? Double naff (and also a bit Kat Slater). Chocolate? Unoriginal (but edible at least).
So if you’re like me, and looking for something a bit less cringe/traditional and a bit more fun, here are some alternative, non-cheesy Valentine’s ideas that will help you feel the love…
Clifftop walk and stay at the White Cliffs Hotel, Dover
There is something so stirring and stunning about the Dover coastline – the raw natural beauty of those majestic white cliffs gets me every time.
Quite frankly the only thing likely to entice me outside at this time of year is a cosy Kent pub, roaring fire and good old Sunday roast. Sometimes we squeeze in a quick walk first (if we’re feeling particularly game and I’m wearing the prerequisite double-sock-layer-system). Afterwards we seek out the ultimate reward – mouth-watering meats, glorious gravy, yummy Yorkshires and all the trimmings. Here’s my pick of some of the best pubs (which happen to have great walks near by) to try:
Kings Head, Wye
There’s a lot to love about the King’s Head.
I’ve been keen to have a nosey around the much anticipated One Warwick Park Hotel in Tunbridge Wells since it opened in June. Sadly the launch party, which I was lucky enough to have been invited to, clashed with the Muddy Awards drinks (the highlight of my calendar, obvs!) so I couldn’t go. But actually to get a true measure of any place you can’t just see it at a launch night – no, you have to arrive screeching through the door 10 mins late because your dental appointment over-ran, followed by a long work call you couldn’t cut short and then total ineptitude about parking your car.
Jo Killick and Kelly Randolph are the freelance fashion stylists, marketeers and creative brains behind the You, Me & The Dream luxury beach towels.
For these working Mums going on holiday to exotic destinations to take photos of their range is practically a must. But where do the pair hang out when they are closer to home? From boutiques and beach getaways to the best spot for a coffee – lean in while they spill the beans…
The Fine Grind, Tunbridge Wells
Jo says: ‘This is a hip new coffee shop down the bottom of the High Street in Tunny Wells.
Sometimes I come across stuff that’s so cool that I get a bit overexcited. Pour myself a large glass of wine, refill for politeness’ sake and then shout something like OMG CHECK THIS OUT!!! from the top of my fingertips (this being the computer and all). This post from the fabulously, brilliant Hero Brown, founder of Muddy Stilettos over in Bucks / Oxon is just one of those things. Read on and you’ll see what I mean.
It was bound to happen. We could never keep Tom or his filming locations to ourselves I suppose. Humph. At a cost of £3 million per episode BBC1’s espionage thriller The Night Manager (final episode on Easter Sunday!) certainly flits around some stunning locations: Mallorca, Marrakech, Madrid, Monaco, Zermatt, and uh, Devon… oh don’t you start, I know it’s very pretty!
Prestige Holidays is one of the first travel companies to pick up on the stunning places featured on the island of Mallorca where a lot of the pivotal scenes were filmed, and realise we’d all want a piece of the action.
In I float, a vision of loveliness, wearing my flounciest, bouffiest sparkly fairy dress, waving my magic wand – brrrrrrriiing! – giving you the chance to win the kind of prize I’d sell Prince Charming for.
Stoke Park is the hotel where Bridget Jones romped on the four poster with Daniel Carver; where Daniel Craig acted his ears off in Layercake; where James Bond played golf in Goldfinger.