Somerset is my London antidote.
I love living in London, I really do... but sometimes I just want to escape the city scrapers and pavement and head out into country side. What better excuse could I have asked for, but to spend a weekend away with friends in one of Britain's most beautiful cities?!
I booked a cosy cottage (with a fireplace!) on AirBnb to celebrate my 24th birthday. My boyfriend and I took the train a bit earlier to start the birthday preparations and as soon as we stepped off the train into the damp Spring air, we knew we were in for a treat. We took a taxi to Tesco and left the meter running as we frantically ran around, grabbing booze and food left right and center! We stocked up the fridge, connected up our Sonos speakers and daydreamed about what it would be like to live like this forever.
I got a knock on the door around midnight and opened it to find all my friends singing happy birthday with a cake under the starry sky. It was one of those moments I wish I could relive :) The rest of the night was spent playing drinking games and the night escalated from there as you can imagine!
We all woke up feeling slightly fragile, but thrilled to be out in the country side, so we decided the best hangover cure would be to stroll out and explore the grounds of the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty-and yes, that is actually what it is called!
Our walk started off on a bit of a shaky foot and we had to stop a Royal Mail truck to help us find our bearings... it was pretty obvious that we didn't exactly fit in... We did eventually find a Public Footpath... but it definitely led us into the completely wrong direction! We ended up in a swamp and it felt like we had been dropped into one of those weird Japanese game shows and had to be extremely careful not to face plant into the mud. Watching everyone trying to hop across these little swampy islands was priceless. :)
We made friends with a few sheep along the way (best friends in some cases) and stood watching the horses gallop around the fields. Eventually our rumbling stomachs brought us back to reality and we were on a mission to find civilisation and the closest chip shop!
We eventually made it through the wilderness and arrived to Uppotery-the "Best Kept Village" in Devon! This is an annual country competition in the United Kingdom, where judges award prizes to the most tidy, typical and well cared for village. One of the criteria is "evidence of community spirit" and "usefulness of village map." How cute!
It didn't take long for us to find this quaint English pub and after four hours of walking, obviously this monstrosity had to happen...
On our way back home we stumbled across Arla diary cows! We spoke to the woman who ran the farm and bombarded her with questions for a good 20 minutes until we couldn't think of anything more to ask. Did you know that these cows produce up to 50 litres of milk a day!? My mind was blown!
As soon as we got home we brewed some tea, lit up the fireplace and started the dinner preparations. We even started our own little potato peeling club by the fire and the stew cooking club in the kitchen very jealous! We made an incredible slow cooked beef and vegetable red wine stew with mash potatoes. A good hearty country side meal!
If you're looking for a little break away from the city, Somerset and Devon are always a winner.
It was pretty amazing completely switching off from technology and savouring each other's company cooking together, chatting and playing countless rounds of UNO and charades.
Fresh air, a drop of sunshine and belly loads of laughs with people you love. There’s no better medicine for the soul.