Friday, 12 May 2017

Follow Me To: Cheltenham with Kate & Tom's (Review)

Hey Owlets,

You always say that you enjoy more photo-heavy posts, which is just as well because I've got somewhere stunning to share with you today and I think you'll be saying be careful what you wish for after this. If you're a blogger, you will understand the feeling of opening a promising email to find another scam or marketing bulletin thinly veiled as a "blogger opportunity" while you look longingly at YouTubers with millions of followers being whisked away on press trips. So when an email inviting me and eight friends for a holiday in Cheltenham landed in my inbox last month, my jaw hit the floor (especially as I don't even think I know enough people to fill this house).

Kate and Tom's are a luxury holiday home rental service - think Air B'nB, but exclusively for affordable luxe houses rather than sketchy house shares. We stayed midweek which would've cost £1500, which is £166 each if there's nine people sharing the house which I don't think is too bad. So, two weeks ago I packed a suitcase and headed to Bristol Parkway station (I think that photo sums up how excited I was). Now, I'll be honest with you. All I'd seen of Cheltenham previously was near the uni when I went for an interview and I wasn't overly impressed so I couldn't work out why anyone wanted to stay there.... oh how wrong I was. 

Photo: Kate & Tom's
This beautiful view is looking at Montpellier Terrace where our house was, from across the beautiful Montpellier Gardens. As soon as I arrived I was ready to eat my words. I'm actually annoyed I didn't do more prior research as I don't think I made the most of my time at the house although I did have a really relaxing few days. While we were there, Cheltenham Jazz Festival was on in the gardens and, while I didn't get chance to go,  we were so close that you could hear it in the house, which I loved.

I got to Cheltenham before my friends and met the home owner who showed me around the house - I think throughout our entire conversation the only thing I managed to say was "Oh my gosh" repeatedly while my mouth hung open. I've never been anywhere quite like it - wherever you stood you were never more than 5 feet from something Instagrammable. In fact I was so distracted that after the owner left I spent 15 minutes looking for the WiFi password because I wasn't paying attention when he told me. 

Photo: Kate & Tom's 

Having located the Wifi (which was probably the only thing I had to complain about - the house was so huge the WiFi didn't reach!) I started exploring. The first task, of course, was to select my bedroom. Honestly, I would've been happy to stay in any of the bedrooms as they were all stunning, but seeing as I was the only person sharing a bed I felt that warranted the room with the four-poster. I feel like I look just a little bit smug in that photo. I was slightly jealous that our bathroom was a lot smaller than the others, but it was still really high quality. However, it was sad to see that there was quite a big scrape on the floor because the door wasn't high enough. In a house this incredible, it was sad to see damage that could have easily been remedied.

Photo: Kate & Tom's
One of the things that stood out to me is that the house was advertised as catering for nine adults but the fifth bedroom was a single room which was set up more like a child's bedroom and I don't think it would've been very comfortable for an adult staying in there so that's definitely something to keep in mind when booking.

I really want to say that I went out exploring, but I'll be honest - the house was so amazing that I spent the entire afternoon wandering around and sitting in every room for a while before I got something to eat and led on the bed scrolling through Instagram until the others arrived. In hindsight I wish I'd realised how close to everything I was, because if I had I would've gone out for a walk.

Once my friends arrived I showed them around the house, we picked our rooms and went down to the local shop. We were planning to go out for dinner, but in the end we were so excited about having such an incredible kitchen that we chose to cook instead. Two of our friends were Norwegian, I love anything Spanish and one of us was vegan so we all cooked what we loved and helped ourselves.

I think just as much as we were excited to use the kitchen, we were trying to find an excuse to sit at the table under the antler chandelier.

Throughout our entire stay, we all kept saying how amazing it was that everything was different but worked well together. There were hats everywhere, old lightbulb lamps, owls and glass specimen jars and the bedrooms looked lived in with little touches everywhere. My friend Sandra actually walked into my room and said "Why do you need this much jewellery for three days?" and was shocked when I said it wasn't mine. I would've loved it if they had an honesty box where you could buy the pieces of jewellery. There was a bracelet with small glass beads and painted roses that I wore out on the second day, and being able to keep that as a keepsake of our holiday would've been a lovely addition.

We'd planned to go out for a day trip on our second day there but in all honesty the bed was too comfortable and all of us overslept. Adam had to go home as he had work in the evening so Adam, Sandra and I went out to explore the area around the house. We walked through Montpellier Gardens and down to the shops on the Promenade. I actually didn't realise how close we were to the centre of Cheltenham. One right turn off of the Promenade and you're one street away from Regents Arcade which backs onto the main high street. We didn't have long until Adam had to get his train home, but we found some lovely shops and a really nice bakery. We spent most of our time on the Promenade as we'd seen the town centre before but I think if you're going to Cheltenham for the first time then I'd recommend doing the same, as the Promenade was hands down the most beautiful part and had the most unique shops, while the high street had all the usual chain shops that you can find anywhere.

In the afternoon, Adam left and we had bit of spare time before going to the jazz festival. I planned to go back out for a bit more of a wander but out of nowhere the heavens opened and it got freezing, so I decided to stay in and write my latest travel post (have you seen my trip to Penarth yet? I was writing that in this picture). The reason I took this photo was because I threw on a jumper and when Sandra walked into the lounge they laughed because I'd started to blend in with the decor. As I said - in this house you're never more than 5 feet from something Instagrammable.

On the last day we all went full blogger. We had to check out by 11am so we all got up and spent the whole morning photographing and filming in every room in the house and stock piling Instagram photos. After that we got into the car, had a drive/wander around Cheltenham then drove home via having lunch out. It's been two weeks and I'm still having holiday withdrawal symptoms. I thought I would leave you with this amusing titbit - on the last day while I was packing I noticed the bed held away from the wall by a stack of books - I'll leave your imagination to work out what that's for.

I just want to say a massive thank you to Kate and Tom's for inviting me and my friends for this amazing holiday. Two weeks before deadline I really needed a break, let alone one as incredible as this and it was great to get to explore somewhere new. Let me know where you think I should explore next in the comments below.

Love and Feathers, 
 The Owlet 💜 

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