Life • September 17, 2015

A Weekend in the Cotswolds with Hertz.

When I was pregnant with Mads, myself and Mr E went to the Cotswolds as a ‘last’ weekend away just the two of us. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel in the middle of the countryside and visited a few picture perfect quaint English villages. We had such a great time and it was one of those places that had been on our list to revisit with our girls for a fair few years now.

A few weeks ago an email landed in my inbox from Hertz, asking if we would like to hire one of their cars and head down to the Cotswolds for a family weekend. We of course jumped at the chance, and were really looking forward to revisiting the places we went when I was heavily pregnant with Mads. So on Friday afternoon we headed to our local Hertz office to pick up our car, ready to go on an adventure together. Having registered for the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards programme before we travelled, our pick up process was quick and easy and soon we were on our way with compulsory long car journey Jelly Babies at the ready!

The place we were staying, Norman Cottage, was in an absolutely perfect location for exploring the Cotswolds. Just a few miles outside of the city of Cheltenham, but in the pretty village of Andoversford, it meant that we had both city and countryside on our doorstep. A little three bedroom cottage, newly built but with beautiful Cotswold Stone, it was like a home from home and we immediately felt comfortable there. The girls were super excited as we let them stay in the same bed, and we arrived, made ourselves at home and then headed into Cheltenham for some dinner.

Sadly I wasn’t actually feeling too well at the weekend, a combination of a bit of a sickness bug and also over tiredness, which meant that we didn’t do as much as we liked. However we did do a bit of exploring, and that plus a combination of quality lazy family time meant that we had a really lovely weekend.

Here is our brief but happy weekend in photos…

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Our beautiful cottage. It was immaculate inside, really new but still had character.

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Our first stop on Saturday morning was to the stunningly beautiful Bourton-on-the-Water. We had been here previously when we were pregnant with Mads and I was excited to revisit it with the girls.

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Bourton-on-the-Water has been nicknamed ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ due to the fact that it has a beautiful river running through it and lots of bridges. It’s chock full of visitors but utterly quaint so you can forgive it.

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We loved wandering along the river, looking at the ducks and taking in the sheer beauty of it all.

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The river is literally a couple of feet deep so in the summer it’s perfect for paddling- I have only ever visited The Cotswolds during winter, but I would love to go back and take a picnic. My friend Jess recently visited in the summer and it looks beautiful.

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Those two little dogs in the photos were sitting on the bed in the cottage we were staying in. They were desperate to take them out but I had to watch them constantly all day to make sure they didn’t lose them!

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Duck spotting.

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There are so many beautiful shops, tea rooms and pubs in the village, visitors are really spoilt for choice and you could easily spend a day there.

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I loved this cute retro ice cream van.

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There were lots of Chinese tourists visiting and for some reason they loved taking photos of the girls. It was a little surreal but as they were stood against this tree, a few of them came up and asked if they could take their picture. I presume it’s because they are blond, little English girls!

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We stopped off for a cake in a little tea room, where Mads had a donut, Mr E had a cake, LL had ice cream and I just had to have a scone. Mr E tells me you know you are getting old when you enjoy a scone but they are just so yummy!

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The whole village is beautiful so I definitely recommend a visit if you are ever down that way.

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After our trip to Bourton-on-the-Water in the morning, we headed back to our cottage for a little nap, mainly because the girls got up at 6am and were pretty tired and grumpy. We relaxed for a couple of hours before heading back into Cheltenham for some early dinner. We went for dinner at Revolution, most people know them from being a bar chain (oh I miss those days- back in the day Mr E used to manage a couple of their venues) but actually they are really child friendly too which is bizarre, so we always try and go to one if there is one in the town or city we are in.

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After dinner we headed to a really pretty, large park in Cheltenham city centre in an area called Montpellier. Montpellier is a upmarket district, full of trendy restaurants and unique boutiques and we loved having a wander round. The park is also well worth a look for burning off steam and running about.

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There was a really lovely little playground in there which we spent a good hour in as the sun was setting.

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Happy ladies on the swings.

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I’ve never met a little girl that likes swings as much as this one. Obviously all children love swings but she is OBSESSED.

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Chilling.

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Golden afternoon light = my favourite.

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I love the way that they are with each other. I thought that LL would be mine as Mads is such a Daddy’s girl, but she has gone over to the dark side too! We headed home after a while in the park and snuggled under a blanket, as a treat we let the girls stay up to watch X Factor. Mads loved it, even though LL had no clue what was going on.

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The next morning it was time to head home as we didn’t want to be too late back as Mads was tired from her first week of school. But we did have time to head into Stow-on-the-Wold for a wander and a cake. Stow-on-the-Wold is another gorgeous little town, I wouldn’t say it as picturesque as Bourton-on-the-Water but there’s more to do there. cotswolds15t

They are such a little double act at the moment. We had been to Stow-on-the-Wold previously and I remember sitting in a pub and having a roast dinner, while discussing our future arrival (Mads) who was due the following month. It was funny coming back with not one, but two crazy little ladies.

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Because it’s us and we never need a reason to have a cake, we went to the gorgeous Little Stocks Coffee Shop. It was lovely and part of a pub and hotel called The Old Stocks Inn. The coffee shop was really stylish so I can only imagine that the rooms are stunning.

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We were spoilt for choice with cakes and pastries.

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Mr E and I shared this Victoria Sponge cake, but Mads decided she wanted her own one. It was huge and needless to say she couldn’t finish it off!

cotswolds15za  My little loves perfectly matching the decor!

Then it was time to head off on the journey home. Although we didn’t do a great deal, we still had a lovely time in the Cotswolds and to be honest it was just what we needed. We were all a little tired and drained from a busy week during Mads first week of school so it was nice just to relax and enjoy each others company in a beautiful location. There was lots of relaxing, lots of eating and lots of family time- you can’t get better than that!

 

 

NB: We worked in collaboration with Hertz- they very kindly gave us a car for the weekend and sent us to The Cotswolds. All opinions, words and content are entirely my own, plus they had no say in what we got up to while we were there!

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