There was a time when a weekend away with mates would mean the booze to food ratio was heavily weighted towards the former. Those weekends in your early 20s aren’t the most relaxing of times and you generally return to work looking pale-faced and wan in need of a week off in The Bahamas to recover.
As I edge into my late thirties, the mini break has pulled a full 180. It’s become a glorious time of relaxation, solid chats, good wine (well, the stuff that isn’t paint stripper) and rest – there is no shame in saying “I’m heading to bed” around 10pm in your favourite Primark unicorn pyjamas.
Cue the ultimate sanctuary for this relatively sluggish activity to take place: Boheme Stawley through Unique Home Stays.
This gargantuan rustic barn sleeps 20 people in total, has a 15m indoor swimming pool and it’s own rowing boat and lake – think Pride & Prejudice meets Fortnum & Mason; if they did homes. It’s all crisp white Egyptian cotton sheets, projector screen cinema-style TV viewing and acres of grounds to go for a ‘quick turn’ if you’ve hit the rioja a little hard the night before.
Bonus ball: the rooms are all pretty much identical so there’s no scrapping over the master suite or any latecomers having to shoe-horn themselves into a veritable broom cupboard. Oh and you can pick fresh berries from the nearby hedges for a heart crumble as more than 27 species of bird flit about. Happy, happy wholesome times.
There were ten of us in total who had seen each other sporadically over the last year but craved a full-on catch up overlooking the Somerset countryside. And that is what we got – the full girlie catch-up with rolling British countryside to boot.
From early morning yoga sessions in the courtyard to home-cooked Indian food from our mate Hersha (@cookwithalittleindian) it was the perfect mid-week escape to unwind, relax and actually finding out where all of our heads were at instead of the quick ‘you ok?’ over a manic coffee as you wipe drool from your baby’s mouth.
Even if you want to bring the kids with you, it’s the perfect spot with stairgates in position and a dedicated ‘fairy walk’ for them to go on around the grounds.
As I hit 8 months pregnant, it was also a brilliant chance to take a moment to enjoy having my coffee hot, talking without a knackered eye-twitch and sleep – somewhat ironically – like a baby.
Book Boheme Stawley through Unique Home Stays here. Mid-week escapes are perfect for girlie catch ups, baby showers or simply getting away with mates when everyone else is stuck in the office.