Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Travel Tuesday - Looking back on my birthday night away.

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.

St Denys Church Northmoor

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.

Hawfinch Hunters at Northmoor

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!

Chief and I at Northmoor

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!

The Red Lion at Northmoor

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.

The Red Lion at Northmoor 

  The Red Lion at Northmoor The Red Lion at Northmoor
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. 

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

The view of the old college barge from our bedroom window.

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames
Our room
Our room

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

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.

Mirror Selfie 
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.
  Evening meal at The Oxford De Vere Hotel Evening meal at The Oxford De Vere Hotel
The Crusader Bar where we ate upstairs.

The Oxford De Vere Hotel, Sandford-on-Thames

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.

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

Looking back towards where our room was.
Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

Oxford De Vere Hotel - Sandford on Thames

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!


  1. Isn't it just lovely when a little break away works out so well! It does all look rather nice. In contrast, we had a one night stay in London last weekend to visit the Chelsea Flower Show (my husband has always wanted to go and it was a huge treat) and the hotel was just awful. We looked online a lot, read reviews, and absolutely could not believe how terrible it was. Sadly we had paid in advance or we would just have left. xx

    1. I think London Hotels are often a disappointment compared to the price you pay at other places. The rooms seems so small too. I have never been to Chelsea but always wanted to go too!

  2. so glad you had a lovely time away for your birthday, it did look lovely and i'm sure would be even better in the summer. As for Blogger they have made changes to the comments section and this is causing all sorts of problems for people. xx

    1. I didn't know that about Blogger - what a pain. I am not getting notified by email about any comments and there is nothing to say the email notification is switched off!

    2. apparently if you write a blog post, and comment on your own blog and tick the box to be notified of other comments, you will be notified. It is to do with the new data protection stuff and retaining stuff I think.

  3. I just love Oxfordshire hotels, the warm honeyed Cotswold stone is always so inviting. And like yourself, I often find spa changing rooms cold. Why do they do that?
    I was told, of you comment on your own blog and tick the box to be notified of further comments, they will come to you. Apparently it is all to do with the new GPDR (?) legislation about retention of data. Apparently. Pain in the butt.

    1. I don't think I'd ever found a spa changing room this hot. I was shivering in my towel when another lady came in and said - you get used to how cold it is after a while. I guess she was a regular. I don't think I'd ever get used to that!

      It's painful because I missed this comment because I had no notification of it! I mean if we've already told blogger to send us comments from our blog why doesn't it do it - GDPR or not!


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