The Magic Of Corfu Holiday Palace

Nestled within copious amounts of luscious eucalyptus and cypress trees, the Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel is beyond extraordinary for summer, because undoubtedly, there is nowhere quite like Greece in summer. Crystal waters caress cultivated landscapes, overlooking the famous Pontikonissi island, this hotel has so much to offer. Family friendly but also quiet and romantic for couples, it was truly a magical experience for my first time in Corfu.

Greek hospitality is prevalent throughout the entire hotel, lots of helpful staff, a willingness to engage with you and assist you to ensure you have the most spectacular time on your holiday. The views are incredible, watching the sunset on the balcony of the Eptanissa restaurant whilst sipping on fine wine and indulging in a plethora of delicious cuisines, full of flavour, plentiful and a vast array of choice for all pallets. Choose the pool or the sea, both are brilliant and on hand for an incredibly relaxing day. There are plenty of things to see in the area, a twenty minute drive into Corfu town, where you can envelop yourself within the history of the city, or take a short boat trip to Pontikonissi for lovely views, the beautiful monastery, a tiny charming place to visit.


Food & Drink

The hotel itself is home to four restaurants, Kukutsi Sushi restaurant, a wonderful place to nibble on delicious Asian cuisine, whilst enjoying the panoramic views of the Ionian. Brachera beach bar is the ultimate snack bar for those long summer afternoons at the beach, Almira pool restaurant is full of delicious snacks for pool days, and the incredible Eptanissa restaurant, a buffet style restaurant where residents can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner, with fresh foods, salads, meats and more! Each and every single night there were new treats, with some old favourites and a delightful choice of desserts. The hotel also is home to the Kefi bar, home to good alcohol, times to socialise with friends whilst being entertained by traditional and modern music; every hour of the day, there's somewhere to relax!


There are so many different style rooms in the hotel for different budgets, making this a real resort. Bungalows, rooms with private pools, sea view rooms, or lake view rooms, where you can watch aeroplanes all day long, with spectacular views. Corfu town is only a fifteen minute bus ride away, explore the old town, great food, shops, boat rides and seaside restaurants, it is a stunning place for a summer holiday and highly recommend!


For more information on Corfu Holiday Palace click here! Now is most definitely the best time to make the most summer and book a holiday to remember. I also always use Welcome Pickups for airport transfers they are convenient and well priced.


*This is not a collaborative post. 

The Doncaster Diaries: Nature In The Suburbs

Sometimes the best parts about the spring/summer season, is getting out of the city. The hustle and bustle and thrill of the busy city centres is great, but sometimes, it's nice to escape and take a wander into the depths of the countryside, to clear your mind, get in that vital exercise, or maybe just to walk your dog. Doncaster has some lovely park land and their famous Potteric Carr Nature Reserve which makes for the ultimate Sunday spot. Let's take a little peek at what Doncaster has to offer in the suburbs and how you can get a taste of that beautiful Yorkshire air! Did you know that walking just an hour a day can reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke, so there is no better excuse than getting outside and seeing what the world around you has to offer. Let's begin with some of Doncaster's most treasured nature spots.

Fun Fact: Yorkshire Wildlife Park is Britain's first walk-through Safari!  

Potteric Carr: Calandar

Nature Reserves/Walks 

For those beautiful summer evenings, there is only one place for it. Doncaster is incredibly proud of Potteric Carr and rightly so. There's something for everyone. Not only does it boast beautiful views, lakes and walks, there is plenty of nature to soak up. Birds are free in their natural habitat here, and you're more than likely to spot bitterns and marsh harriers. It's brilliant for families and children to experience nature first hand, and be on the look out for butterflies and wildflowers, it is at its most beautiful this time of the year. For entry, the price per adult is £4.50 which allows you access all over the parkland, but access to the visitor centre and cafe is free. Plenty of little walk ways, will make you feel as if you're in the depths of a forest, it's the perfect escape from traffic and busy lives. Next to look at is Thorpe Marsh Nature Reserve, with plenty of lakes, small woodland areas and full of farm animals grazing in the fields beyond, and all the incredible birds that love to nestle into the woodland. Dogs are allowed here, on a lead and entry is free. Thirdly is Sprotborough Flash Nature Reserve, another local parkland, listen to the sound of sheep, the trickle of the gentle waters of the river Don and enjoy the fresh air. This is a quieter alternative by the river, which is a little less cultivated but still full of immense charm!

Fun Fact: Queen Victoria had her own private bathroom built for her at the Mansion House when she visited Doncaster! 



Parks

There are a lot of parks in Doncaster. In fact, there are 19 in and around the city and you can scroll further down to see what they are all called! Askern Boating Lake is popular with water sports lovers,  there is lots to do and a good range of play facilities, so who said you needed to trek all the way to the Italian Lakes to have some fun boating! Each park offers something a little different. Let's highlight a couple to see what else Doncaster has to offer. Sandall Park in Wheatley, is brilliant for joggers and runners. Westfield Park is a brilliant stop for kids, Bentley Park, complete with a bandstand, is a beautiful picturesque park with a huge amount of history to digest. The Bentley Pavilion is an attraction in itself and offer many events round the year, one worth looking at! It is most certainly one for the Instagram feed.

Fun Fact: King John stayed at Coinsbrough Castle in 1201!!! 

Bentley Park, Donaster Council
For all the tourist information you could possibly need, head over to Visit Doncaster! There really is so many outdoor activities to do in the city, I have been pleasantly surprised when on my quest! There has been surprises around every corner. Picnics are definitely on the agenda I'd say, with all this lush green around. Doncaster itself is surrounded by stunning Yorkshire countryside, so if you're not much of a shopper and you find cities too anxiety-inducing, then Doncaster has plenty of wonderful outdoor spots to go to!! Did you also know that spending an hour out in the fresh air can aid digestion and strengthen your immune system? Brilliant to know! Doncaster is ready and waiting for you!

All the parks you can visit in the city! 




*This was a collaborative post with Visit Doncaster 

The Doncaster Diaries: Where To Eat & Stay

We all love to indulge every now and again in some good food. I've been exploring Doncaster this month and next on the list is where to eat and stay. Doncaster makes for a perfect weekend getaway with the girls or with your mum and tasting some of the best cuisine that the city has to offer is a must! Let's take a peek at where is good to eat and drink and where to stay whilst you're in town!



Food

You'd be surprised just how many different types of cuisine Doncaster has to offer. Of course the good old fashioned English pubs and cuisine is prevalent, but there are a lot of another countries tastes to try. Take a trip to Mexico with Cactus Jacks [18 Hall Gate, Doncaster 4****], for a cosy evening with drinks and good Mexican food, a taste of the south right on the hughstreet! Take a trip to Italy to La Rustica Restaurant [5 Nether Hall Road, Doncaster 4****] or Zammuto Steak House & Grill [11 Nether Hall Road, Doncaster 4****] for pizzas, good wine! Next is a traditional restaurant serving authentic Turkish food, Lalezar [78-80 Laith Street, Doncaster 4****] with their signature meze dishes! For some Spanish food, you can drink Sangria to your heart's content at El Torero [Fraser House, Nether Hall Road 4****], this place is a brilliant spot for a few evening drinks, with plush interiors and stylish lighting, this spot is brilliant for Friday evenings.

Cafe Bar Concerto 
For a more traditional taste of true Yorkshire, then it just has to be fish and chips at Whitby's Fish & Chip Restaurant [The Old Fire Station, Leicester Avenue 4****] for some British cuisine, copious amounts of tartar sauce and crispy battered fish, the way the Yorkshire folk love it! There is also Miller & Carter Steakhouse [329 Bawtry Road 4****] a renowned steakhouse that is well priced incredible food, brilliant for families. For a little taste of elegance, then the Cafe Bar Concerto Restaurant [Bennetthorpe, Doncaster 5*****] is a beautiful classy eatery, for fine dining, chandeliers, classic mahogany furniture and a perfect spot for a glass of merlot. If you're feeling fancy, then its a definite must that you go check out the afternoon tea at Mansion House Doncaster [45 High Street 4****] for that ultra regal feel in the city; the Mansion House boasts beautiful interiors that you won't want to miss!

Mansion House (Country Life)
Bars/Clubs 

Doncaster certainly has some nightlife to offer. Head down to Doncaster with the girls on a Saturday and make the most of great bars at competitive prices, the town centre is easily accessible from the train station making it a great place for an evening. The Doncaster Warehouse [27 North Bridge Road] is probably more for the younger crowd, or students who love to dance the night away or take a look at Secrets Nightclub [19-23 Lazarus Court], a snazzy club with live music, cocktails and outdoor seating is available for those long warm summer nights! For bars and a more relaxed atmosphere for a glass of vino, Relish Bar & Grill [19 E Laith Gate 4****] and The Salutation [14 S Parade, 4****]. Make the most of what the city centre has to offer and make some memories!

Making memories... 















Where To Stay 

If you're looking for a lovely hotel in the city, then you don't have to look far. Just recently, the Hilton Garden Inn just opened a brand new hotel next to the Racecourse, with a bar, and ultra modern rooms with modern facilities, right in the heart of the city and in the surrounding area. Needless to say, Doncaster has both the city at its core and sprawling countryside full of beautiful walk ways and parkland. Whether you want a central spot, or a more rural retreat, we will take a look at what Doncaster has to offer. Also in the city centre is the Earl of Doncaster, a regal and enchanting hotel with elegant bedrooms and plenty of style.

Hilton Garden Inn Doncaster 
It is also important to point out that Doncaster is even easily accessible by air! Doncaster Sheffield Airport is a fast growing airport with flights across Europe, it is easier than ever to take advantage of Doncaster's beauty! Welcome Pickups are a great choice for airport transfers!

*This post was written in collaboration with Visit Doncaster 

Dakota Deluxe - Lunch Date

I am a huge fan of the Dakota Deluxe in Leeds. I was lucky to stay the night last year and was blown away by the style, hospitality and charm of this place. It’s quiet, cosy, dark and stylish, and I had to take advantage of checking out their new Market Menu for lunch. Brilliant for people wanting to dine in their lunch hour, you can have a three course meal in one hour with colleagues or friends, and sample some delightful culinary treats!



The menu was delightful; varied and well priced. Three courses for £20 is incredibly well priced for a city centre restaurant and this is a relaxing chilled zone that is away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I brought my mum along for a little post birthday lunch, and we both were very impressed. We were served by the lovely Sofia who was attentive and welcoming. We received some bread with a tomato and goats cheese sauce which was such a different twist for a bread dish and really heated plain butter. I opted for the chicken samosa, lightly fried, with mint yogurt sauce. Delicious and not too filling for main. I chose a gnocchi main because I haven’t had it in so long and felt that I had to try it out here and it didn't disappoint. It was a lovely texture, complete with a delicate pesto sauce which was not too rich and sun blushed tomatoes for an extra zing. Very filling also! The dessert was a complete delight, it was a take on an eton mess but with mango! It was perfect for spring and although I am not alwyas a fan of meringue, this was so good, the cardamom cream made it really sweet and creamy and not sickly at all.











They offer a range of side orders too as you can see below from their menu and wines and coffees, which makes it fantastic choice for lunchtime diners. Dakota Deluxe pride themselves on brilliant customer service and also above the restaurant is a bar which is perfect for a drink afterwards. The menu was incredibly well thought through and each dish was incredibly fresh, tasty and attention to detail with the presentation which makes such a difference!

*This experience was gifted by Dakota Deluxe but all opinions are my own.

The Doncaster Diaries: The Heart Of The City

Doncaster is a vibrant city with a lot to offer. It had never been a place I'd thought to visit before, but my first trip there last year to the new Hilton Garden Inn was definitely my first taste of seeing how far this city has come and the huge developments constantly evolving to make this city even more appealing. The city has a very Victorian feel, many of the buildings are of this era, which makes it intriguing when you just take the time to look up and see the architecture. The other great thing about Doncaster is that not only is it a city, full of shops, restaurants and nightlife, but in less than ten minutes, you're surrounded by the Yorkshire countryside, which for me is a huge appeal. It's lovely to have the best of both worlds, it makes the city feel incredibly spacious. I'd love to talk to you in this Blog about the city centre, to discover the hidden gems in the heart of the city, from the moment you step off the train! From shopping, to food and places of interest, and the most Instagrammable spots you probably never knew existed... it's time to discover Doncaster!


Shops

Doncaster has a huge shopping centre Frenchgate, the main attraction for shoppers, but there are plenty of high street names you'll find, and better still, they have incredible value markets, it's one of the things Doncaster is famous for, amazing finds at great prices, and of course, lots of independent shops. Parts of Doncaster have a high street feel, almost like a village or small town, so there's a mix for those who prefer to be in the shopping centres and those who like the more quiet high street shops. Some of the shops you can find at Frenchgate and surrounding areas are: Topshop, Miss Selfridge, (scroll down to see some of the outfits I picked up on my latest shopping trip!), Primark, Amon, Debenhams, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, Lovisa, New Look, Next, Pandora, River Island, Quiz and plenty more. Of course there is the new Wool Market to check out for some exciting fashion finds, and the best part about it is that everything is within walking distance. Not only that, but along the way, you'll find plenty of stalls that sell so many things, flowers seem to be a really big thing in Doncaster, for every occasion at really good prices, so it is no surprise that they take their Doncaster In Bloom competition very seriously. This year there's a new category too, "Community Champions", so I'd highly recommend keeping your eye open for this through summer!




Also, a stone throw away and just a little out of the city centre is the lovely Lakeside Shopping Centre. In a picturesque little part of Doncaster, this outlet has some incredible deals! Last time I visited I picked up a Lipsy dress in Next from £68 to £19; read more about my trip to Lakeside here. I picked up a lovely little purchase from Roman which you can find at Lakeside!

Roman Clothing - Lakeside Village Doncaster 
Jacket from Roman - Doncaster Lakeside

Places To See For All 

One of Doncaster's most famous spots is of course the famous Doncaster Racecourse. Just last year they opened up a beautiful new hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, which is a great place to stay with stunning views of the course, a trendy, modern bar with beautiful rose gold interiors (blogger's dream) and brand new modern rooms! The Racecourse, on Leger Way, has a history of over four hundred years, and also boasts an impressive exhibition centre, and plenty of featured events. Some upcoming events include Gin and Prosecco Race on April 26, and in May, Jess Glynne live on May 18th after the race!

The Doncaster Rovers are the city's sporting heroes. They are based at the famous Keepmoat Stadium and you can buy tickets through their website if you're wanting to catch a game whilst you're in the city!

Brodsworth Hall & Gardens is a beautiful hall is a Grade I listed building and really epitomises Yorkshire beauty. Shaping the beautiful landscaped parks, this beautiful hall is a Georgian country house with stunning gardens full of delightful colourful flowers, well worth a visit for those who enjoy history! It also boasts a lovely tearoom!



Potteric Carr Nature Reserve is one for the outdoor lovers! Perfect for dog walkers, explorers, picnics and plenty of nature to feast your eyes on. With animals for children to enjoy and lots of walks and ponds, this is a lovely summer spot and with the light nights upon us, it's brilliant to take advantage of them. You can also grab a coffee at the cafe on site. A really great one for walkers and outdoors people who love tackling winding trails and woodland!

Other museum and interesting places include, Ashworth Barracks, The Vulcan Experience, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Yorkshire Wildlife Park and South Yorkshire Aircraft Museum.

Instagrammable Spots

Not only are these areas full of beautiful architecture, but they also hold a history that is incredibly meaningful for the city. England is famous for its grim grey buildings, but add a take a stroll through Doncaster and you're definitely going to find accents of gold, blue dome tops, stained glass windows and much more! There are some incredibly majestic buildings in the city, with intricate design and colour, it really highlights some of the best of British and we're about to find out where they all are!

Doncaster Mansion House - a historical landmark situated on High Street, this building is open every day and offers afternoon teas! Such a regal feel and the beauty of this building is plain to see.

Doncaster Mansion House
Doncaster Minster - yes, just like York, Doncaster also has a Minster and its stained glass windows are absolutely breathtaking. Full of colour and intricate art, the Minster is definitely worth a visit for photos!



Baxter Gate/High Street - in the centre of town, you'll see what is now the HSBC bank, but when you take a close look at the architecture, it's truly dazzling. There are often flower stalls and sellers outside which make this spot incredibly Instagrammable! The whole street is full of unique buildings!

Powerhouse Christ Church - this is a very imposing but beautiful looking church right in the centre of town. A brilliant place for aspiring photographers to practice their skills, especially when the ominous skies shroud the spires!

The Wool Market - you can read Part One of the Doncaster Diaries here, where I talk all about the new wool market. There are lots of spots inside and outside to grab your photos for the gram. With lovely eatery stalls with pretty design, this is a must see if you're going to the city.

The Corn Exchange - this building is just opposite the new wool market and it's a very intriguing spot. The square is vibrant and the building itself looks incredible royal - it is known as the jewel in the crown for Doncaster's market scene!

Look out for the next part of the Doncaster Diaries when we are exploring where to eat and where to stay!

*This is a collaborative post with Visit Doncaster 



Ways To Spruce Up Your Spare Room

If you are lucky enough to have additional space in your house such as a spare room (or even two) then it can often be difficult deciding what to do with it. More often than not, the spare room doesn’t have any particular use, and it is in fact, just that. Spare. Filled with odd bits and bobs that have no proper home, ceiling high ironing piles that you like to close the door and forget about and that hoover that broke three years ago. So if you’re guilty of treating the spare room more like a tip than a living space, then here are some ideas that might inspire you to transform that space into something a little more useful.

Photo courtesy: Pinterest

A Gym 
Ok, I’m not talking a state of the art studio filled with all singing, all dancing equipment, but the popularity of home workouts are on the rise and are also extremely accessible from all kinds of fitness Youtube channels. Why not empty the space out, add a few yoga mats, dumbbells or kettlebells, a skipping rope and maybe an exercise bike and you have your very own makeshift studio. Shut the door, turn up the speakers and get that heart rate going. This doesn’t have to cost a lot and will probably save you more money than a gym membership in the long run!

An Office
Ok, this isn’t a very creative concept because a lot of people have home offices in the spare room, but if you do work from home or need a space where you can concentrate, it is vital that you create a productive workspace. An old desk chair and computer isn’t exactly motivational. Ensure your office space is painted in light colours, has a lot of natural light but also the right lighting when working after dark. A comfy desk chair with the correct back support is essential and I found a lovely one over at LionsHome. Desk organisers are also great for ensuring that your workload doesn’t get on top of you – working in a clutter-free space is far more effective.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay
A Pet Room
This might sound a little ridiculous at first, but if you have your pet’s beds in the kitchen and find yourself falling over them/not wanting to go downstairs for fear of waking them up to wreak havoc, then why not transform your spare room into a calm, safe place for your pets to sleep? There is plenty of advice available online about how to successfully create a relaxing and playful space for your animals and it will probably do them good to have a space they can associate as their own - not to mention you being able to enjoy a hair-free carpet!


Walk-in Wardrobe 

Unleash your inner Kim K and turn that spare bedroom into a closet. Although walk-in wardrobes are usually associated with A-listers, it doesn’t have to be expensive to overhaul an otherwise empty space into somewhere you can store, clothes, coats and jackets, shoes and accessories. LionsHome{link to specific page} have some excellent shoe racks and clothes rails that can be strategically placed around the room to make storing your clothing a decorative venture. Walking into a room with your clothes and accessories all on display might make finding something to wear that little bit easier!

*This is a collaborative post

The Doncaster Diaries: Doncaster Art Fair & Art In The City

The one event that really symbolised Doncaster's diversity and art scene, was the very successful Doncaster Art Fair. Run by local talent, Chinwe Russell, the event aims to showcase the work of Yorkshire artists and designers, at specific locations across the city. It's a celebration of the creativity and Yorkshire hospitality, it's incredible for the public to be able to meet and greet the artists and buy directly if they should wish. This is the third edition of the fair and all times have proven to be incredibly popular. March 31st saw many people flock to the locations across the city to see what this fair had to offer. You can find many photos of the 50+ exhibiting artists below.  The locations were: The Rum Rooms, The Magdalen, Marketplace Alehouse.

The Art

The art is a real eclectic mix of classic and contemporary with plenty of colours and styles for every taste. It is an encouraging event for artists and locals to see the type of art that the city is producing and exposing them to new exciting pieces! A lot are inspired by oil or water colour paintings but there were also a delightful mix of monochrome prints, lots of nature inspired pieces with dazzling colours and a lot being the epitome of Yorkshire beauty!

Photos: Chinwe Russel @DoncasterArtFair





With a relaxing atmosphere and a leisurely stroll around the exhibitions, you can see many of the artists work on display. A welcoming fair, with plenty to do and refreshments also. Here are some of the featured artists:










Finding Art In Doncaster 

Doncaster has much art to offer, the famous Doncaster Art Gallery and Museum offers many exciting exhibitions, currently After The Coal Dust until April 21, which is a free exhibition which looks at an intriguing collection of black and white photographs of post-industrial towns in the region, by a local couple, John and Bridget Gill and their daughter Freya, capturing life and communities including the hardships and history of the coal mining industry. It highlights what has been left behind following the closure of the mine, showing raw and real images. Then following on from this, towards June, the museum will host Terence Bennett's work, and his passion for landscape art including spanning over sixty years of ever changing industrial landscape in the region.

Doncaster Community Arts is another incredible asset to the city, which features an award winning team of artists, musicians and performers who deliver creative programmes to local people, young and old, which is based at The Point in Doncaster. A place to create and share art, this inspiring place is helping improve the lives of residents. Art is booming in Doncaster and it's just another reason to visit the city and experience it for yourself!

Doncaster is ready and waiting!


*This was a collaborative post with Visit Doncaster