The Summer this year wasn't great and with that in mind I feel as if everyone is determined to have the most amazing Christmas ever !
Andrew's birthday falls on the 3rd of December and we decided to have a little mini-break to celebrate.
It needed to be somewhere easy to get to and also quite healthy with great food and a good gym for him. I love nothing more than a good spa and thankfully we found somewhere that ticked all the boxes.
We checked in to the Fota Island Resort in Cork. Immediately as you arrive in the door there is a fabulous sense of warmth and luxury and also amazing Christmas decorations!
Waking up on Thursday the heavens had opened up and it was pouring rain. After a lie in we had breakfast late enough, they serve until 10 am. We possibly arrived 5 minutes before 10 but it wasn't a problem. One thing that really impressed me was the extensive gluten free cereals and options. I have not been classified as a coeliac but if there is a gluten free option available in terms of breads and cereals or pasta I will usually go for it as I find I digest it better.
Throughout Thursday it rained incessantly. I kind of liked this as it gave us the excuse to stay in and enjoy the comforts of the hotel.
In some ways it was a pity as being based on a golf course the grounds are exceptionally vast and there are lovely trails to walk or run and explore. But the gym is really good and the spa has so many different pools as well as a steam room and relaxation areas so there was plenty to do.
Even though it's more for Children we went to the on-site Christmas showcase called Wish. This is a whole Santa's Grotto and Christmas wonderland experience with loads of actors as elves completely in character. There are different areas of Santa's workshop, you meet Mrs. Claus, the elves and the whole thing is an amazing experience and an absolute must for anyone with kids. It also has a Christmas market which we loved.
We were eating dinner in the hotel that evening. I love getting all dressed up and wore this Matthew Williamson dress I picked up in TK Maxx. I added a faux fur jacket picked up second hand from Enable Ireland. I loved this look and will definitely wear it again. I also filmed a Christmas beauty Favourites all dressed up just before dinner which will be up next week.
The evening menu is exceptional. I feel sometimes hotel restaurants can disappoint but here certainly didn't. To start with I had salmon that was beautifully fresh and had been cured in beetroot. As a main I had hake with celeriac gratin which was equally delicious. Celeriac gratin tasted like potato gratin but I feel it might be healthier - it was delicious either way!
For dessert we shared a chocolate fondant which had incredible meringue on the side.
We went for a little wander outside to walk off dinner afterwards. So, so much effort has been put into decorating every area and it's really magical.
The next morning wanting to stretch things out as long as possible after checking out we sat in the foyer with tea in front of the fire enjoying the comfort and all the papers. Here is truly a place where you can switch off and relax.
When we finally decided to leave we drove into Cork for a few hours to wander about. We had a delicious, super healthy lunch in Orso Kitchen which was recommended by someone on my instagram (thank you!)
After lunch we went to The English Market for a wander. It's really amazing and a must see for any food lovers. There is an abundance of fresh fish, bakeries, chocolatiers, butchers and vegetable stalls.
We had such a wonderful time in Cork and returned feeling refreshed and ready for the Christmas season to be in full swing!
For more information on Fota Island Resort their website is www.fotaisland.ie
If you go before Christmas you must check out Wish!