Surprising New Year’s Resolutions… One Month Early!

Cartwheeling in Halkidiki, Greece

Get this! It’s only November, but I’ve already set a New Year’s resolution. Yes me, who never usually bothers, knowing there’s no way I’ll stick to it. Oh and guess what, a few weeks in and I’ve actually stuck to it so far.

Last year was all about big, brave adventures in Mexico, Central America and Cuba. Not only was it a break from reality, it was a big change. I went partly to tick off that old cliche and ‘find myself’… but actually what I found was far more exciting!

Pacaya Volcano
Pacaya Volcano, Guatemala

This year has been all about Europe and breaks closer to home. It’s been great to explore countries I’d never stepped foot in before (Lithuania, Estonia and Turkey to name a few) and return to others for further exploration (including Greece, Spain and Morocco).

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REVIEW: The Spa at Dolphin Square

The Spa Dolphin Square London

Time for a review of The Spa at Dolphin Square.

Days don’t come more grey than this particular September Monday. Torrential rain. Chilly breeze. Chaos on the roads. Abandoned umbrellas strewn along the pavements. My heart was racing as I ran from Pimlico tube.

So it seemed fitting that moments later I was tucked away inside one of London’s most serene places: The Spa at Dolphin Square.

Dolphin Square is a Pimlico institution. Completed in the 1930s it’s been home to a number of famous residents, including lots of politicians (due to its proximity to Westminster). During WW2 it was General de Gaulle’s HQ, and a hospital. These days though, it’s mostly residential – almost like university halls for grown ups. On site: a bar and restaurant, café, shop, leisure centre with pool, and The Spa.

On arrival, I was impressed with the air of calm, and the beautiful waiting area. Small Moroccan tables, pretty lanterns, a terracotta, brown and red colour scheme and ornate mahogany doors transported me to somewhere deep in the Atlas Mountains.

The Spa Dolphin Square LondonOnce I’d filled in the medical questionnaire I was given a tour of the facilities, and provided with a locker, robe and flip flops.

The Spa Dolphin Square

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REVIEW: The Old Orchard, Harefield, Middlesex

The Old Orchard Pub Exterior

Checking out The Old Orchard pub in Harefield.

“Well the view’s not bad… I wonder what the food’s like?”

My words as we wandered into The Old Orchard pub after an hour and a half walking along the nearby canal towpath. It’s located in Harefield – an area of outstanding natural beauty, with locks, small cottages, decorated narrow boats and flowers everywhere. We visited on a bright, sunny April afternoon, and we had certainly worked up quite an appetite!

The Old Orchard The Old Orchard

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REVIEW: The Artichoke, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England

The Artichoke in Amersham is Michelin starred dining, without the Michelin star – or the impossible booking procedure.

**I returned to The Artichoke for dinner more recently for a special anniversary dinner. I’d recommend clicking through to read my latest review here. **

Wanderlust Chloe The Artichoke9

The restaurant sits in the heart of a beautiful old town high street, which is full of luxury delis, old-fashioned pubs and a few standard chain restaurants. Without being pretentious, it is easily the best restaurant in the area.

Wanderlust Chloe The Artichoke8
Serving refined Modern European cuisine, the food is creative, delicious and stunning to look at. On my visit, I sampled the Lunch Tasting Menu – a £38 five course menu. I chose to accompany it with the £18 wine flight.

Wanderlust Chloe The Artichoke2The meal started with an amuse bouche which was a small spoonful packed full of complex flavours. Roasted salsify, toasted hazelnut soil, chervil emulsion, truffle gel and sweet cicely… all in one delicious mouthful! The freshly baked rolls containing salty ham were also heavenly.

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