As I haven't blogged for so long there is plenty for me to share with you, like my birthday night away back in January of this year.
Chief and I like to get away for a night when it's my birthday and like I've mentioned before he's coming down from Middlesbrough and doesn't normally get more than three nights, so it limits our options for travel further afield.
The last couple of years we've stayed at the same hotel, but the last time we went I really wasn't happy with the spa and the ambiance and even though I did email the hotel manager and he suggested if we stayed again he'd 'make it up to us', I didn't want to stay there again any time soon. Not when there are other places to try.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. We had half a day to kill before we could check into the hotel we did book and as Hawfinches had been spotted regularly at Northmoor Church yard, I suggested to Chief we did a bit of bird spotting. Chief was a little surprised at the suggestion as being my birthday he thought I'd take advantage and want to do something less bird related and more girlie.
We saw hawfinches the minute we walked into the church yard, but hung around for a few hours to get some half decent photos. They were on the move all the while.
Word had spread about the Hawfinches and there was quite a little group of people hoping to add them to their bird list.
Chief hates having his picture taken and I've agreed not to share his picture on social media. I think I can just about get away with this rare couple shot though!
We had a little stroll around Northmoor and thought we'd try the pub next door to the church yard. What a gem we found in The Red Lion!
Despite the bright sunshine it was freezing so the chance to thaw out in front of the roaring fire in the pub was perfect. I think we scoffed our food too quickly for me to get the usual foodie shot. We opted for the sandwiches - they make bread freshly each day. The staff were so friendly and welcoming.
By the time we'd finished lunch we headed for the Oxford Thames De Vere at Sandford on Thames in Oxfordshire. We'd not even visited the hotel before, let alone stayed.
The view of the old college barge from our bedroom window.
I managed to drag Chief down to the spa. Often he doesn't fancy it and I go alone. It was a relatively small pool, but we had it pretty much to ourselves. There was a jacuzzi and the usual steam room/sauna. The only thing I didn't like was the changing room was freezing. It was the coldest part of the hotel and given I was roasting through dinner in the bar, I was a bit surprised the spa was so cold. I ended up dressing super quickly and going back to our room for a shower.
In the evening we decided to eat at the hotel. We opted to eat in the bar as the restaurant menu was quite fancy and neither of us were that hungry. There was quite a wait for the bar food, but we were in no hurry and it was lovely when it came. We sat upstairs in the Crusader bar and had it to ourselves. There wasn't much of a dessert menu in the bar - two options in fact - the chefs dessert of the day or fruit salad. I opted for fruit salad.
The Crusader Bar where we ate upstairs.
We both slept really well in our super comfy bed and then after breakfast took a stroll around the grounds. It came onto rain so we had to cut our stroll short. We both said the venue would be lovely in the summer, when you can make the most of the river side setting.
Looking back towards where our room was.
So that was my birthday night away. We'd definitely return to this hotel if looking for one in this area.
Ps. For some reason blogger isn't sending me comments made by email and responding has pretty much been done by replying on the blog. Hopefully blogger will sort itself out soon, so I can email people back properly!