How to travel "internationally" around the UK
OK, I know this is a touchy subject. Travel plans are getting cancelled left, right and centre. Local stays are priced through the roof with little to no availability, and for all the travel addicts out there who thrive from new adventures - the most exciting it gets right now is the Amazon delivery arriving on your doorstep.
These four walls are becoming all too familiar, and it's time to switch things up.
But with the Government rules changing so frequently, and living on the edge of constantly updating restrictions, it's so difficult to plan ahead without the anxiety or fear that your plans will fall short.
So here's what I did.
I found some local adventures, with the intention of making me feel like I was on holiday! And it somewhat scratched the travel itch that has been resurfacing.
Kayaking at Rushden Lakes
I'm not sure about you, but water sports and activities are something that I really only associate with being abroad. I've never been the girl to start surfing on the South Coast, or swim around in British lakes...but it seems that things have changed during my lockdown realisations.
In recent years I've become increasingly more at peace spending time in the water and getting comfortable in open water.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that kayaking down the local lake is the same as snorkelling with manta rays in the Maldives, but spending time in nature doesn't only have to be reserved for your travels.
At Rushden Lakes, you can hire a canoe or kayak and spend the day exploring the surrounding areas and relax as you row down the river. And it was the just the little break from reality that we needed!
Netil 360 Rootftop Sauna
A rooftop sauna in the middle of East London! Whattttt?! Honestly, when I heard about it, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect! I've been to plenty of rooftops, and I've been to plenty of saunas - BUT never have I been to a place that combined both! And it turned out to be such an incredible gem.
It has a rustic, warehouse vibe combined with modern touches and beautiful open-air minimalistic decor and the sauna area is on a private part of the rooftop.
Having a private sauna was such a great way to spend quality time with my friends and enjoy views of London whilst relaxing. It's been a while since we've all had the opportunity to catch up, and being pampered was the perfect way to slip back into reality. We dipped in and out of the sauna when we got too hot and drenched ourselves under the cold showers.
Included with our package, we had Prosecco and soft drinks whilst we sat around the fire pit after our sauna experience. We went to the main rooftop area afterwards and enjoyed the views under the sun (before it rained!)
The Crazy Bear Hotel
If you've never heard of this hotel, I'll give you a few words that come to mind instantly:
The vibe is outrageously over the top, colourful and bold and there's no clear theme other than "extra". So of course, I wanted to experience it for myself.
It's been on my bucket list for a while, and with travel plans being so up-in-the-air, I saw this was an opportunity to escape without hopping on a plane.
As you can imagine, it's not cheap. And your girl loves a deal, so I booked through Wowcher. It included a nights stay, a bottle of champagne in the room, a three course dinner in the (deliciousssssss) Thai restaurant for two and breakfast the next morning, as well as access to all of the hotel facilities. All for the price tag of £388. Speaking as someone that has now been - it's totally worth it!
We arrived before check-in and drank too many cocktails by the side of the pool, soaked in the luxury surroundings and indulged in the poolside menu. Before long, we were in the heated pool giggling and splashing about. It felt like we were worlds away, and I loved every second.
The room looked like something out of a French romance novel, all velvet walls and plush furnishings with heavy draped curtains. So if you're wanting spice things up a little, this is the place for it! As gorgeous as the room is, it's worth pointing out that it's not the most practical with lighting - I was trying to find my glasses for ages the next morning!
Even though it was just a short break, it honestly was such a welcome escape from reality and the perfect opportunity to interrupt the working patterns I'd slipped into.
"Post lockdown" thoughts
I feel as though we're in this weird limbo stage at the moment. It's been 18 months since the UK first went in to a national lockdown, and although restrictions have eased, we've still got a long ass way to go.
But, I'm now starting to make plans and juggle my "work from home" life with real life again and it feels so damn good. Going from being the person who used to be on the go 24/7, to now learning to appreciate stillness and "unplanned fun" is a balance that I'm coming to terms with and it's a really exciting time.