Don’t disappoint Dad and make him sad this Father’s Day with yet another pair of socks (yawn). Make this the best 17th June ever – with a bespoke wallet from the Queen’s favourite leather goods maker, Launer. The new Customise at Launer service means you get to design your Dad’s perfect wallet, in size, colour and leather texture, add initials or messages, and gold corners? Absolutely! There’s a whole host of options to choose from – body, gusset, handle, and flap can be individually altered. But, the best bit? You can quickly do this online, and throughout the whole process you get to view how the design looks at every step of the way courtesy of the cool 3-D technology. Easy-as-that. If you are very quick – you can order yours in time for Father’s today. Go Go Go. You know he will LOVE it. And it’s such a nice thank you for being the chief taxi driver, pooper-scooper, BBQ king and the homework helper he is.

From £198


The Eight Credit Card Wallet – fully customisable! We went for a summer tan and orange combo – made from a buttery soft leather and lizard.   

The workmanship and fabric that go into every leather piece made. 

Every style is handmade, a process that requires skilled investment; one piece alone can take up to eight hours on average to make.

Launer factory Launer factory making wallet

The Royal Warrant. To qualify a brand , company or service must supply and charge the member of the Royal Family concerned, or their household, with products and services in significant quantity over a period not less than five years.

Launer factory making wallet

The end result! 

launder bespoke wallet launder bespoke wallet


Well, didn’t I have a lot of misconceptions about cruising… (Bad buffets, coffin dodgers, norovirus and sun-lounger-wars; really didn’t sound like a stylish and fun kind of vacay time to me.) However, my head was turned when I stepped aboard the Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas newly revamped (think £67 million makeover) ship. It was super spacious – so didn’t feel like you’re elbowing your way through the crowds, with plenty of available sunbeds to bask, spaces to sit, Jacuzzi’s with a view and places to feel at one with the ocean. There’s also amazing shopping – think Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren, brilliant beauty brands like L’Occitane and jewels by Pandora and their own high-end bling boutique. The food options were incredible, and I was amazed at how many activities there were to see and do. We sailed from Southampton for a 2-day cruise, but could’ve stayed much longer and headed out to one of their exotic locales.  Here’s my edit of the 5 great things about sailing the high seas…

Bon voyage!

  1. You can actually get fit on the cruise – or at least balance all that eating with some brilliant and fun, heart-pumping action. Try the rock climbing wall, waterslides and aqua park at Splashaway Bay, bounce around on the SkyPadSM for some gravity-defying bungee trampolining, or grab a board and hang ten on the 40-foot-long surf simulator, FlowRider® or simply grab your Nike’s and jog the running track.
  2. The Vitality Fitness Centre and Spa offer traditional classes, like yoga and Pilates to spinning and boot camp or book in for a personal fitness programme. Or unwind with a high-end luxury treatment with all my personal faves – like Elemis leading the way in relaxation.
  3. Ok, so we couldn’t go cruising without talking food. There are the Titanic-style chandelier-d dining rooms that offer brilliant traditionals like a filet or fish, all fantastically cooked and fresh. Izumi Hibachi & Sushi is the Asian room offering Teppanyaki, dishes prepared tableside, along with tempting sushi and sashimi. While Giovanni’s table provides traditional Tuscany dishes – and has that proper authentic Italiano grills, pesce and pasta vibe. While breakfast is an oasis, and really is a case of whatever you like. Plus there’s 24-hour room service for private dining.
  4. If anything like me, you have two highly energetic boys under 5 – then seriously think about the cruise option. There’s no stressful airport run (you have the whole afternoon to board), there’s soo much for them to do, play and explore, they’ll never be bored and, well with ice-cream and juice on tap – it makes for very happy children and happy parents to boot.
  5. For the PM, you can really hit the town… We went to the theatre to watch Grease, (we could’ve been in the West End), plus there’s plenty of wine, fizz and cocktail bar spots, before hitting the casino or club to watch someone like Mark Wright play the decks.


sushi salmon

Amazing Sushi and Sashimi



Sarah ship Royal Caribbean


Looking for a breath of fresh air when it comes to a country house staycation? Lime Wood is a boutique hotel with charm, combined with modern dining options, a serious spa and elegant surroundings.


Think amazing gourmet experiences, courtesy of Angela Hartnett and Lime Wood’s Luke Holder, the Hartnett Holder & Co dining. It’s completely informal (Gasp! Children are allowed). And the menu is a nod to Italian Trattoria and British, with an emphasis on locally produced ingredients. Their mantra is; It’s about chefs’ home-cooked food not chefs’ food cooked for restaurants. Both Angela and Luke are famed for their informal, grounded style of cooking and their respect for local produce.


The rooms are brimming with Bamford toiletries and a well-stocked stash of treats in the pantry. Plus, there is complimentary Wi-Fi, fluffy robes and plenty of towels, Kingsize beds and an open fire that you can either start for yourself, (Mr {ODE} came over all caveman) or probably the safest option – you can call someone over to assist. Enough said about that.


The spa concentrates on the best of holistic and Ayurvedic therapies and offers rooftop yoga in the herb garden, Technogym equipment, Matt Roberts training,  plus indoor and outdoor pools, and steam and saunas with a view of the forest. I tried a Tri-Dosha Facial, and was polished with a scrub that’s packed with forty-three Ayurvedic herbs, including kutki, known to reduce skin toxins, and fitkari to cleanse the skin of impurities, to gently coax out any underlying blemishes. Followed by hydrating masks, creams and a facial oil with evening primrose, frankincense, rose geranium, that’s nicknamed ‘Happiness in a bottle’ and I concur, happiness is an understatement. My skin was left glowing for days afterwards.




It has been said, that beer has the real ability to bring people together. So when you chuck in Pimms, Prosecco, delicious food and live music into the mix – you know it’s going to be one helluva street party.

Faversham Hop Festival has been going for 27 years, and the hop gardens date back to circa 1599. So let’s just say the Faversham lot – have brewing in their blood.

Not one to miss out on a party, Mr {ODE}, the children and I, got ourselves ready to go. I got into the full-on festival mode by accessorizing the Haute Hippie with a traditional hop crown. And feeling ever-so-slightly bridal, we all hit the town.

Or let’s just say… the town hit us. A buzz is an understatement. In hindsight, we totally wished we’d left the Bugaboo at home. But we had a little tipple from the Mighty Fine Things stall, (I usually stockpile their stuff from Macknades Fine Foods,) and got into the swing of things. There were three different stages, all playing live music, foodie stalls selling everything from fine cheeses, to authentic Indian, designer donuts, perky fruit, and veg, along with Kent based jams, honey and things in nice bottles and jars. We tried a RAD burger, which was divine. Their tagline is proper juicy burgers. Think chargrilled yumminess, rather than the balls-and-bones burger van norm.  Something to do with their free-range meat, locally sourced salads and love.

There were also antique offerings, interior bits and like a zillion different beers (Mr {ODE} had thought he had died and gone to Heaven.) To sum it up, it was a crazy fun vibe to our usually quiet and quaint chocolate box town.

Will return next year – but possibly without the children!




For more information, click here.

Bantham Beach

Sarah at Bantham Beach

I grew up in Devon, and with pride, can say it has some vast stretches of coastline, swathes of greenery and acres of woodlands; the kind that Disney movies are made. You know, birds a tweeting and squirrels a jumping. Admittedly, it also has its downsides too – the weather can be pretty pants, and gourmet might be considered a Mr. Whippy or pie&pint combo.

However, something has happened recently; there’s been a shift from kiss-me-quick merchandise and sticks of rock. We were mightily impressed with a recent trip to Bantham Beach. Nestled at the mouth of the river Avon, with a shallow sandy bay and a view out towards Burgh Island, and the iconic Art Deco, Burgh Island Hotel, (second home of Agatha Christie and Noel Coward). Bantham also has the bonus of PROSECCO, wine, artisan beers, posh ice-cream, macaroons, a gastro bus, proper coffee and sells Orlebar Brown, clothing and pretty flowers and interior accessories by Weaver Green. The children loved paddling in the shallow bays and the little pools that form when the tide has gone out. The other half bought some nice new trunks and well, after a sweaty start of getting the kids to the beach (that’s a whole other post), I managed a little ‘me’ time with a glass of fizz. So cheers to beautiful Bantham, we will be sure to return.


Bantham Beach Gastro bus Bantham Beach Gastro Bus