Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Cash for Old Clothes! Creating a more Sustainable Wardrobe with Enviroclothes

This is an advertisement feature with Enviroclothes

What is it about New Year that has me reaching for the feather duster and desperately burying my head into cupboards and drawers? There's something about January that always makes me want to have a huge clear out and having spent the majority of New Year's Day tidying the kitchen I knew that next on my hit list had to be the disaster area that is my bedroom wardrobe. So when Enviroclothes got in touch to ask if I fancied a clear out, I decided to challenge myself to create a more sustainable wardrobe (with the added incentive of getting cash for old clothes) it was my perfect opportunity to get started on a major January tidy.

Cash for Old Clothes!  Creating a more Sustainable Wardrobe with Enviroclothes
Over the last year or so I have learnt a lot about my personal style and how to maintain a more streamlined wardrobe which has seen me buying far less clothes and working hard to choose outfits that compliment my figure and lifestyle. That said, I have still made mistakes and when it came to my yearly clear out I had a few things that desperately needed a new home.

With capsule wardrobes becoming more and more popular it's perhaps no surprise that 350,000 tonnes of clothes find their way into landfill each year - a statistic that I'm sure we can all agree is pretty horrifying. Like many others, I am becoming more and more aware of the effects of my actions so when it comes to clearing out my wardrobe I want to ensure that I am getting rid of clothes in a sustainable way.

Cash for Old Clothes! Sustainable Wardrobe with Enviroclothes


So I was very happy to discover Enviroclothes, a local company who believe that unwanted clothes deserve a second chance at life. Offering the chance for your preloved items to be reloved, Enviroclothes have made getting rid of your clothes environmentally friendly with just a few simple steps. With an added cash incentive to finally tackle the clear out, there really is no excuse not to have a huge tidy.

Step One

Perhaps the most fun part of a clear out is pulling everything out of your wardrobe to discover what you actually have in there. Although it's messy I recommend getting every item off the rail so you can see all of your clothes properly.  It's incredible how many clothes you will find that you'd completed forgotten about. I've now got myself some great new outfits for work, made up entirely of things from my wardrobe that I didn't know I had.

When deciding which items to keep in my closet I made sure that everything I own creates a variety of different outfits, suits my personal style and compliments my lifestyle and then sorted my rail into something a little more manageable with jeans, work outfits, shirts, skirts and tops all sorted together to make life a bit easier.

It is definitely worth taking the time to properly organise your clothes as it is so much easier to get ready in the morning when you can just grab and go. Taking forgotten items like t-shirts out of drawers and into your wardrobe instead means you're more likely to see them and wear them and I try to put as much as I can into my closet rather than my drawers so that I can really see what I'm working with.

Creating a sustainable wardrobe is all about maximising the clothes that you have, taking good care of them to make sure that they last and ensuring that every single item you own you are wearing. Having a good sort out is definitely a great first step in ensuring your wardrobe is working for you and is sustainable.

Sustainable Wardrobe with Enviroclothes


Step Two

Once I'd sorted out everything that I wanted to keep and it was back in my wardrobe I had a good pile of things to pass to Enviroclothes. They accept good quality adult clothes, children's clothes, baby clothes, swimwear, bras, shoes, accessories and stuffed toys. Items that are worn out, damaged or dirty won't be accepted so I made sure that once I'd decided to get rid of somethingI gave it a quick inspection to ask myself if the quality of the item was good enough for someone else to reuse.

Before you get carried away diving into every drawer in your house, it's worth knowing that school uniforms, branded work or sports team uniforms, household textiles and underwear aren't accepted by Enviroclothes.

Step Three

With my pile of unwanted items ready all I needed to do was bag them up.  We had decided to visit the drop off point in Cramlington but they also have points at Team Valley and Durham if those are closer to you.  If you decide to take your bags to one of the drop off points there's no need to book an appointment, just turn up during their opening hours.

If you aren't near a collection point or don't have the time or means to travel you can also book a collection online here.  Simply type in your collection address and then select a pick up date, a 2 hour time slot and an Enviroclothes van will pop round to weigh your bags give you some cash and relieve you of your unwanted items.

Sustainable Wardrobe - Enviroclothes


Step Four

Simon and I had both been through our wardrobes and ended up pulling together two pretty large bags full of unwanted clothes - whether they were too small, no longer practical for our wardrobes or had perhaps never really suited us in the first place, they were all bagged up and we drove them the short way to Cramlington where we parked in one of the handy parking spots right outside the Enviroclothes drop off point.

The Enviroclothes kiosk was really welcoming and the ladies serving us were lovely - we had a good natter about some of the clothes that we had brought with us (I suddenly spotted that Simon had included a shirt that he'd worn on our first date so that was quite a talking point!) Everything was really tidy, clean and well organised so the whole process only took a few minutes.

Capsule Wardrobe - Enviroclothes


All of our items were checked before being placed into a large container on the scales. In a matter of minutes everything had been weighed and sorted and we were being handed over our cash. Enviroclothes buy your clothes for 40p per kg and pay you on the spot for your items. We were really chuffed to be going home £6.90 richer and with a much more manageable wardrobe.

As well as earning yourself a little extra cash there is also the option to donate all or part of your money to local charity North East Hearts With Goals who place life saving defibrillators into schools, colleges and sports clubs across the region.

Enviroclothes North East
Going into the New Year with a tidy wardrobe really is the best feeling, getting ready in the morning without having to hunt through a pile of unwanted clothes makes everything far easier and it's incredible how having a tidy space can make so many other areas of your life seem so much more manageable.

If you're planning your own clear out and want even more pence for your kg, Enviroclothes are offering New Girl in Toon readers a special promotion - quote "NEWGIRLINTOON50" to receive 50p per kg up to 11 February 2020.

I'm going into 2020 with just the clothes that I love and I LOVE that!

Enviroclothes North East Clothes Dontation


Find Enviroclothes at:

Durham: Arnison Retail Park (next to KFC), DH1 5GB
Gateshead: Retail World, Team Valley (Outside Next) NE11 0BD
Cramlington: Manor Walks (outside Gala Bingo), Forum Way, NE23 6UY

All units are open Monday to Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm and on Sundays 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.

To get 50p per kg for your clothes quote "NEWGIRLINTOON50"

enviroclothes.co.uk/

0191 265 5551

This is a sponsored feature with Enviroclothes. 
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Wednesday, 15 January 2020

A Weekend with the Girls at Ramside Hall and Spa

This is an advertisement feature with Ramside Hall

Whilst New Year can mean a fresh new start and positive vibes I can't be the only person that sometimes wakes up in January feeling a little frazzled and like I need a break to recover from Christmas? With our nearest and dearest spread across the country Simon and I spend a lot of our Festive break between families with very little time at home to recharge. So when the opportunity came along to spend a post-Christmas weekend with the girls at Ramside Hall I packed a case and kissed my husband goodbye without hesitation.  A luxury weekend escape with plenty of gossip and some relaxing in the spa was just what I needed to start my January in the right way.

With my addiction to luxury hotels in the North East you may be surprised to hear that I'm not really overly familiar with Ramside Hall and have only ever visited once before for an afternoon in the spa - this was going to be my first overnight stay at County Durham's most famous luxury hotel. A proper nose round with a room for the night was long overdue and I couldn't wait for my first proper Ramside Hall experience.

A Weekend with the Girls at Ramside Hall and Spa


Staying at Ramside Hall

Ramside Hall is the only Silver Awarded AA Rated and 4 Star Spa in Durham, making it a pretty special place to spend time. A highly sought after wedding venue with championship golf courses, beautiful spa and home to perhaps the best steak in the North East, Ramside has a lot of accolades to its name and is a great spot to celebrate any occasion. Ideally located on the outskirts of Durham the hotel has 127 luxuriously furnished bedrooms and suites, 350 acres of grounds and a state of the art gym.

If all that wasn't enough to make you want to pay them a visit, their brand new luxury treehouses are set to become the best North East getaway with the luxury suites offering opulent decor, incredible views and the perfect escape. Their current offer has got me heavily hinting to my husband with a romantic night in a one bedroom luxury Treehouse including chocolate, champagne and breakfast for £499.00 (I really hope he's reading this!)  If you don't believe me then check them out for yourself here - aren't they dreamy?

Ramside Hall Treehouse


The drive down to Ramside Hall from my home in Newcastle was simple and with a lot of free parking at the hotel, arrival was effortless. I couldn't believe my eyes once we'd unpacked the car and made our way to reception - the queue for 3:00 pm check in was out of the door, I'd never seen anything like it.  Seems a lot of other people were in need of a luxurious January break!

Check in was very efficient and speedy and before we knew it we were excitedly making our way to our rooms. Having never seen any of the bedrooms at Ramside Hall before I couldn't wait to see my home for the night.

Ramside Hall - Premier Double Bedroom


My Room at Ramside Hall

With five of us visiting Ramside Hall for our girls weekend we booked rooms next door to each other which was perfect for our stay as it meant we could easily run back and forward to see each other and use one room for our gossip sessions. It has been so many years since I've been away with the girls and honestly if you get the chance to leave your husband, partner and kids at home and escape I highly recommend planning a weekend like this - it's good for the soul!

I was the one lucky enough to have a room all to myself which meant experiencing an incredible Premier Double bedroom for one. Based in the new wing of the hotel, the rooms are stunning and offer snuggly dressing gowns, ESPA products, huge luxury bathrooms with mammoth walk in showers and a Superking Bed.

Ramside Hall - Premier Double Bathroom


Running about my new home like the Princess I was born to be I couldn't believe how huge the room was, definitely one of the largest double rooms I have ever stayed in and with so many fantastic extras. The complimentary fruit platter went down a treat and I was so taken with the cups and saucers I had to look them up to see where I could purchase some for myself.

Ramside Hall - Premier Double
It would have been all too easy to just spend an entire afternoon enjoying the luxuries of my bedroom, the room service menu serve lunch and dinner from 12 noon until 10:00 pm or if you really want to be pampered you can enjoy a blow dry from the comfort of your own room from £25.00.  Living the dream!

On this visit I had to avoid the urge to jump straight into my PJs and snuggle up in my giant bed - we had somewhere important to be, but believe me next time I visit Ramside Hall I am going to spend hours and hours hiding away in my room - it would be a truly amazing way to enjoy an afternoon.

Ramside Hall - Premier Double Room

Disco Party Nights at Ramside Hall

Wanting to let our hair down we planned our stay at Ramside Hall on a Disco Party Night, part of their amazing events schedule, we enjoyed a night of tunes from the 70's, 80's, 90's, Noughties and Now. Party Nights are held throughout the year at Ramside Hall and the Disco Nights cost £14.95 for a two course meal and disco.

Making our way to our allocated table we were delighted to find ourselves right next to the dance floor - the prime spot for people watching and DJ requests.  Before we could get our dancing shoes on it was time for the food and, we all tucked into a delicious chicken dish followed by a zingy lemon tart. Before our meals had arrived we'd been discussing how food at these type of events isn't always great, but we were soon made to eat our words - we honestly couldn't fault a thing. Service was super speedy, the food was hot and really great quality.

Perhaps my favourite part of the night though was the bar, as a huge ginthusiast I was so impressed with the variety of gins they had on offer, a glass of Malfy Blood Orange Gin & Tonic only set me back £6.60 and the "help yourself" garnish shelf was my idea of heaven. I love being creative with my G &Ts so creating myself some perfect drinks during the night was so much fun.

Ramside Hall - Disco Party Night


Of course, if you don't fancy a Party Night and prefer a quieter evening at Ramside Hall there are also some amazing dining experiences at the hotel and I am very keen to visit the Rib Room Steakhouse and Grill on my next visit.  Serving up Premium Steaks from Durham Farms, Lobster, Halibut and some incredible looking Specials - I can't believe I'm yet to visit!

Ramside Spa

Despite a pretty late night we set alarms the following morning because we were so keen to get ourselves to the spa. As a hotel guest you can enjoy complimentary access to some of the facilities from check in until check out during your stay. The free for guest facilities are all fabulous and offer plenty of space to sit and chill.

However, if you want the very best Ramside Spa experience I highly recommend booking yourself on a spa residential or day package so that you can access the Thermal Suites, Hydrotherapy Pool, Spa Garden and Outdoor Heated Bubble Pool because these beautiful facilities really do make Ramside one of the very best spas in the North East (and are the reason I have become obsessed)

Ramside Spa


They say its the simple things in life that give you the most pleasure and there are two very simple things about Ramside that make it one of my favourite spas in the region - rather than handing you slippers when you arrive (soggy slippers in spas are one of my biggest pet peeves) you get flip flops which are so much more practical (honestly, why don't all spas have them?) and access in and out of the spa is with a wrist band that you use to open all the doors - hands free and no worry of losing any keys!  Bliss!

The part of Ramside Spa that I am beyond obsessed with is definitely the Outdoor Bubble Pool, on my very first visit last Summer I was very lucky to experience a really hot sunny day and we spent a blissful afternoon lounging in the sunshine - heaven!  The Bubble Pool is pretty big meaning that you don't often need to "wait your turn" and there's plenty of room for everyone to chill out.

Ramside Hall Spa


When we weren't in the Spa Garden enjoying the Bubble Pool we were snoozing pool side, helping ourselves to the pile of magazines and loving life with the complimentary juice shots that were coming round.  There are some really amazing little extras at Ramside Spa and as well as trays of juice shots, you'll also be treated to some complimentary nibbles poolside if you're lucky.

Ramside Hall Spa County Durham
With five pools to choose from at Ramside Spa, there's plenty of space for guests to spread out and I'd say that the spa has the most amount of loungers I have ever seen - despite visiting on a weekend there was plenty of room and available seats with everyone getting to enjoy the experience.  If you love to swim the 25 metre swimming pool will impress or if you prefer to just relax the Hydrotherapy Pool has swan necks and massage jets.

If all that wasn't enough, I have something amazing that I have to share with you, and it's what makes Ramside Spa truly unique in the North East.

They have a private balcony Infinity Pool!

Ramside Hall Spa - Infinity Pool


Available for private hire only you can enjoy uninterrupted chill out time in your very own pool offering great views over the Ramside Hall Estate and the ultimate spa selfie opportunity (if, like me, you are a little Instagram obsessed).

I have never seen anything like this in any other spa in the North East and it is yet another thing that makes the spa at Ramside Hall so special, the private Infinity Pool is the ultimate luxury spa experience and available for only £15.00 per person for an hour it is well worth booking yourself in.

Ramside Hall and Spa - Infinity Pool
If you are feeling a little bit "extra" you can also arrange to have a selection of nibbles from Ramside Spa's tasty restaurant Fusion who serve traditional recipes from South East Asia - with our own private lounge area perfect for relaxing we had a great spread with a Deluxe Fusion Platter which included Honey Ribs, Thai Fish Cakes and Tempura of King Prawns.  Private hire of the Infinity Pool would be a great idea for a hen weekend or birthday and you can also order bottles of Prosecco or even a Gin Tree to enjoy poolside.

A Weekend with the Girls at Ramside Hall and Spa - Infinity Pool


I enjoyed myself so much at the Infinity Pool I will definitely be booking it again for my next visit to Ramside Spa, it's such a great way to make your spa visit extra special.

We had such an amazing overnight stay at Ramside Hall and it was over far too fast. As you can imagine since returning home I have been chatting to Simon non stop about having a romantic break in a new treehouse, enjoying a meal at the Rib Room or booking ourselves a spa day.  I can't wait to return and introduce my husband to this incredible place!

Weekend with the Girls at Ramside Hall and Spa
 Find Ramside Hall at:

Carville
Durham
DH1 1TD

ramsidehallhotel.co.uk/

0191 386 5282

We received a complimentary overnight stay including Disco Party Night, Spa Access and Private Infinity Pool with Platter and Prosecco in exchange for this honest review. 
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Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Glamping in a Treehouse - Our Adventure at Wild Northumbrian

My greatest joy in life is escaping to the great outdoors and losing myself in the beautiful countryside of Northumberland. No matter the weather, time of year or temperature nothing beats forgetting about real life for a few hours and enjoying the incredible rolling hills, coastal views and woodlands of my favourite county. If it involves a night away glamping at the incredible Wild Northumbrian even better.



Now when you're planning a great Winter escape, camping in a yurt might not immediately spring to mind, but I'm hoping sharing our recent trip with you will show you how great it is to be off-grid at this time of year, because believe me, wild glamping in the Winter months is such a beautifully cosy experience and the perfect way to banish the January blues and start off the New Year in the best possible way.

We first stumbled upon Wild Northumbrian a couple of years ago when we were invited to a Bat and Pizza Evening hosted by Wild Intrigue. The most picturesque campsite with a difference, I was instantly smitten and have spent a lot of time since trying to convince my indoor loving husband to entertain the idea of staying for the night.  It was quite different to any other camping site I'd seen before and I was desperate to experience it properly for myself.



Working with the landscape, wildlife and local community to create a truly unique glamping site, Wild Northumbrian is the perfect way to escape the trappings of modern day living and truly switch off. Unplugged and off-grid surrounded by incredible views and nature, their 25 acre site was just made for adults and children alike to run free and create the most special memories.

Camping at Wild Northumbrian makes a great adventure for everyone and if you love to share your adventures with your dog then this is one of the few glamping sites in the area that welcomes four legged furry friends!  If your little ones are great adventurers then it's also a brilliant place to bring kids who will love running wild in the countryside and cooking on the camp fire.  It's also quite the spot if you happen to be visiting for a special occasion with the loveliest little hampers available to help you celebrate which can include champagne and flowers for a romantic moment or a startgazers picnic for a night under the stars.



Although staying at Wild Northumbrian does feel like a proper wild experience there are some great facilities to make your stay that little bit more comfortable if you like your creature comforts. Although there are outdoor compost toilets and an outdoor shower available, at the main site you will also find a little communal kitchen area complete with plug sockets to charge your phone, microwaves, fridges and washing facilities as well as indoor toilets and showers. The kitchen is a great place to spread out if you're wanting to prep food and also fantastic if you want to get chatting to some likeminded glampers, I met some really lovely people on my visits.

Each hut lies in its own secluded location with seven to choose from - Swallow Hut the cutest little wooden cabin sleeps four and is the closest to the camp's facilities or if you prefer a more wild experience Tod Yurt is nestled away overlooking the River Tarset with views over the valley and has a compost loo and incredible outside shower.  For the romantics Corbie Shepherd Hut will be your perfect choice with its outdoor wood fired hot tub in a secluded position below the Scots Pine trees.



Our home for the night was the Houlet Yurt, a little different to the other accommodation around the site and something truly special, our Yurt was the most beautiful little tree house sitting above Brierhill Sike where you can enjoy a Wild Northumbrian experience like no other. Climbing the wooden steps up to our home we were living amongst the trees with our very own private stargazing platform.

Opening the door to our treehouse for the first time I was overjoyed at how beautiful it was inside. The wood burning stove was already lit to welcome us and I couldn't believe how toasty it was once we were in with the door shut, the perfect little cosy home for two and a great chance to shut ourselves away from the world for a rare moment of peace and quiet.



Furnished with beautiful reclaimed furniture we had everything that we needed for a comfortable night away including an abundance of tea light holders, lanterns and candlesticks to give our treehouse the most welcoming glow.



My favourite part of our treehouse was the Birch Tree bed which was easily the most beautiful bed I have ever seen. What a special place to spend the night. Covered in fairylights and sitting pretty under a candle chandelier can you imagine a more romantic place to spend a night?

Perfectly cosy, Houlet is great for the Winter months - snuggle up by the wood burning stove, play a few board games, read a magazine by candle light or simply curl up with your other half and discuss those important things that real life just never gives you time for. Of course if you are lucky enough to visit Wild Northumbrian in the Summer months there's also plenty to discover outside Houlet with a ground level fire pit with a seating area and a hammock under the shade of the yurt for those sunny days.



With my husband not exactly the adventuring type, we had to do a bit of a compromise on our visit and I promised him an evening in the pub rather than making our own tea out in the wilds. One day I will convince him to give campfire cooking a go, but on this occasion I happily booked us a table at nearby pub, The Pheasant Inn who do really delicious dishes with their pies being particularly good. If you prefer a pub without a drive then The Hollybush Inn is only a 15 minute walk away from Wild Northumbrian.

After our pub grub we returned to Houlet under cover of darkness allowing ourselves a quick visit to the indoor loos (yes we really are the Prince and Princess of Glamping!) before tucking ourselves in for the night.



Although Houlet certainly wasn't uncomfortably cold it's definitely worth packing a few layers of clothes if you are staying over in the Winter months. In my knee high wooly socks. thick tracksuit and bobble hat (yes, I slept in a bobble hat) I was so snug under the duvet and although my face did feel a little cold when I woke up in the morning I had a really comfortable night's sleep and would happily glamp at Wild Northumbrian in the cold Winter months again.

It felt like our adventure was over as soon as it had begun and I honestly can't wait to return to Wild Northumbrian some time, I'd love to tick all of the yurts off my list and that sounds like the kind of challenge that I would happily accept.



What you need to know:
  • there is a 10% discount for couples when two people are sharing (select YURT COUPLES option when booking) and a 20% discount to single parents - use SINGLEPARENT discount code when booking
  • Ensure to have a copy of the directions when you travel to Wild Northumbrian for the first time - it isn't the easiest place to find on your first attempt and there is very limited phone signal in the area.
  • All yurts and huts are dog friendly 
Find Wild Northumbrian at:

Thorneyburn Old Rectory
Tarset
Hexham
NE48 1NZ

01669 650 166

wildnorthumbrian.co.uk/

We were treated to a complimentary overnight stay at Wild Northumbrian.
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