Weekend mini-breaks, one of the little luxuries I enjoyed quite often before having children. Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam, Marrakech…. Isn’t there something exciting and glamorous about choosing your destination, packing your overnight bag, planning your cutest capsule wardrobe and heading off on an adventure? Just the change of scenery breathes fresh life into me, blowing away the cobwebs, offering me a new outlook and inspiration.
With a mini-break generally only being one or two nights away, I always like to go all out on a luxury hotel because you can’t beat an amazing mattress and indulgent room service that tempt you into never leaving the room, can you? Plus I didn’t get the name Exclusy Lucy for nothing!
Sadly I’ve been a little less ‘jet set’ and more ‘jet lag’ since having the little ones. We don’t get away that often, weekends are full of drama and singing lessons for our budding actress, lots of DIY in our new house and dog walks. What’s more the arrival of Baby Lish has left me pining for one night of decadent, uninterrupted, glorious sleep.
So when I was invited to visit Oxford for the weekend with Tempur to try out a luxury hotel and a night on their king size memory foam mattress with a promise of an amazing night’s sleep, I let out a little squeal and said a big fat YES please. I’d never slept on a memory foam mattress before and was already dreaming of my illusive night of uninterrupted sleep… the big question was, would Baby Lish be up for it too?
After carefully packing my weekend bag, complete with cutest of mum outfits (my new Boden blouse, jeans and flats) we set off for Hawkwell House, arriving just after lunch on Saturday. Hawkwell House is a large boutique hotel set in the village of Iffley in Oxfordshire, 1 mile from Oxford. Smart and clean, the hotel prides itself on being family friendly and offering top quality food at their restaurant Iffley Blue. We checked into our room and the first thing we did was obviously the obligatory mattress test… no, not that kind of test! The kind where you lay flat on your back like a starfish, staring at the ceiling testing the quality of the mattress. Side by side, my partner and I turned to each other with a knowing look… no, not that kind! The look of ‘we could just stay here and sleep all afternoon couldn’t we?’ And boy was it tempting… the mattress felt a little bit like what I imagine it does to sleep in the clouds, you were floating, it was soft but firm, firm but soft and it really was heavenly zzzzz
But Baby Lish started wiggling and our tummies started rumbling so we went to check out Iffley Blue and their pizza menu. After a delicious lunch we ventured into Oxford, the sun was shining so we decided to walk into town which took about 30 mins from the hotel. I couldn’t wait to reach the city centre itself, I’d never been to Oxford and was very keen to see what was on offer.
Oxford is a very beautiful city, with grand architecture and quirky side streets. It is steeped with history and the perfect place for strolling around and soaking up the sights. We live near to Cambridge so we knew that the University colleges would be well worth exploring, camera in hand. If you like photography, like I do, you will be utterly spoilt in Oxford.
After a couple of hours walking, the heavens opened on us and we decided to make a quick getaway back to the hotel in a taxi (Did you know they have London black taxi’s in Oxford?) for some more lounging and relaxation. I’m not ashamed to admit that as soon as our heads hit the memory foam pillows, we were well and truly glued to the bed. We didn’t make it out to dinner, choosing to order room service and enjoying some classic Saturday night tv from the comfort of our king size mattress! Rock and Roll lifestyle of a Mum and Dad.
My night’s sleep was sadly not uninterrupted and Baby Lish did stir a few times (perhaps the new surroundings) but it was made more than bearable by the fact that I was so deliciously comfortable. Perhaps next time I need to take the review opportunity on my own and leave Daddy to hold the fort!
Having read rave reviews, Sunday’s plans were to spend a few hours in the The Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum. After a little bit or searching and walking the long way round (well we didn’t have a map!) we found the museums which are actually neighbours and joined onto each other.
On entering The Natural History Museum you can’t help but take a sharp breath of wonder! Filled with light, the stunning architecture provides a majestic backdrop for a magical exploration of all the creatures of the earth past and present as well as rocks, minerals and fossils. For children and grownups alike, the museum was a delight for the curious. There was a T Rex skeleton, a jaw bone belonging to a whale, a silky soft stuffed black bear and a cabinet full of every size and colour beetle you could imagine and we loved it all!
Through an archway, you were transported from the light into the mysteriously dark Pitt Rivers Museum, housing a collection of weird and wonderful artefacts from around the world. It was crammed to the rafters with fascinating items collected over hundreds of years initially by Mr Pitt Rivers himself and later by the museum. From tiny Chinese shoes and ancient Samurai swords to a giant Totem pole and perfectly preserved Inuit clothing, this museum is not like any I’ve been to before. I honestly could have spent hours and hours reading the labels of each individual item but with the museum closing at 16:30 time was limited, which means I have the perfect excuse to go back. I would recommend these Museums as an absolutely must when visiting Oxford, they are free and a brilliant place to take your children (Sunday is family fun from 14:00 – 16:00 with a whole host of child friendly, imagination sparking activities).
After a full and active day, it was time to return to reality and the comfort of our own, glaringly average bed. Thank you Tempur for inviting us to test out your memory foam mattress, it was a fabulous experience and one we hope to repeat again in the very near future!