Greetings from paradise!

As you may remember from my post from a few months ago, I’m the lucky girl who gets to travel around Wales in June to test the Welsh welcome! I’ll be travelling Wales from the end of May to early July, and I’m still as excited as I was the day they told me I’d been picked for the part!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to check in with you all, let you know what I’ve been up to since the last time I was here, and tell you about my upcoming plans. If you’re worried about missing out and want to make sure you’re always in the loop, please follow me on Instagram @fjordsandbeaches! Do make sure to also follow @welshrarebitshotels, as I’ll be using both accounts during my Welsh adventure!

After a lovely Christmas with my family, I spent January in Norway. I made sure I saw my friends and family a lot, and ended the month with a big party to celebrate my birthday and to say goodbye to everyone. Once February came around I jumped on a plane to Indonesia, and I’ve been living it up in Bali for the past month and a half.

Here in Bali I’ve been working a lot on Fjords and Beaches and my freelance writing, and of course making sure to explore the area and surrounding island. The photo above is from Nusa Penida, a neighbouring island – and a bucket list destination for me!

My last few weeks in Bali (I’m here until early April) will be spent working some more, exploring even more, doing some diving in neighbouring islands Nusa Lembongan and Gili Air, and making sure my tan is as good as it gets before I head to my next destination!

Come April I’ll hop on another flight and head Down Under. I can’t wait to get back to Australia, and will spend 7 weeks there. I’ll be staying with a close friend, who I am really excited to see again. I’ll even spend Norway’s Constitution day in Australia (17th of May), so make sure to think of me that day!

A little over a week later I’ll finally be on my way back to the UK and my second home. I land in London on a Friday, and after a weekend there (where you are bound to find me at the nearest Nando’s – oh, how I miss it!), I’ll be boarding that train to Wales!

May 28th it all kicks off, and the adventure starts in Cardiff. Make sure to stay tuned!


Stays With a Story

A memorable holiday is about so much more than comfortable accommodation and good food – to be really fantastic, a getaway destination should have a story to tell. If you’re seeking a Welsh adventure with a difference, read on for some inspiration…

Laugharne and Dylan Thomas

If you’re a fan of the Welsh poets there’s a good chance you know about the significance of Laugharne – and in particular the gorgeous boathouse where Dylan Thomas spent the last four years of his life. Situated on the Taf estuary, this iconic literary setting is open to visitors year-round, allowing fans of Thomas to wander through the very rooms where his great works were created. For the ultimate getaway, check into The Corran Resort & Spa, a luxury hotel with an award-winning restaurant that’s just a ten-minute drive south of the Boathouse.

St Davids and the Patron Saint of Wales

The picturesque city of St Davids can be found on Wales’ southwest coast, and is most famous for its 12th century cathedral. What makes this seaside setting significant is the fact that it was the birthplace of Wales’ patron saint, David. As with many saints, David’s life was composed of a long list of miracles, including the restoration of a blind monk’s sight. He also founded the Menevia monastery on the very ground where St Davids Cathedral now sits. Another upside to visiting St Davids is the availability of fantastic luxury accommodation, including Warpool Court and Twr y Felin Hotel.

Portmeirion and The Prisoner

There are many things that make the village of Portmeirion an unusual holiday destination. Built between 1925 and 1975 by Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, this waterside toy town was constructed in the style of an Italian village, and is notable for its lush gardens and colourful houses. TV fans primarily associate Portmeirion with being the setting for The Prisoner, a series which saw Patrick McGoohan seeking to escape an eerily idyllic coastal resort known only as The Village. Today Portmeirion still hosts annual Prisoner fan conventions – although it’s also a gorgeous getaway for architecture enthusiasts and beach lovers.

The Hand at Llanarmon

Passing by The Hand, you might not suspect that this cosy rural pub and spa hotel has a story to tell – but with a little knowledge of the surrounding region’s history, all becomes clear. This award-winning hotel is named for the Myddleton family, who once occupied nearby Chirk Castle. Legend tells that the bright red hand on their coat of arms was inspired by grisly act of self-mutilation, carried out by one of the Myddleton sons in a bid to win a challenge set by his father. Today the legacy of the family lives on, not only at Chirk Castle but at The Hand, which boasts an impressive wooden sculpture of an open palm outside the front. If that’s not reason enough to visit The Hand, poetry enthusiasts may also be pleased to learn that Llanarmon was once the home of John Ceiriog Hughes.

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Wales’ most romantic honeymoon hotspots

While many of us dream of jetting off to tropical climes for our honeymoon, there’s a lot to be said for staying a little closer to home. Save on expensive travel, spare yourself the jet lag and mosquito bites, and enjoy a truly relaxing honeymoon break in one of these gorgeous Welsh venues.

Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa

You’ll find Lake Vyrnwy nestling at the southeastern fringes of Snowdonia. A reservoir first constructed in the 1880s, this manmade lake is now a nature reserve famed for its rare bird species. Make the trip to this undisturbed part of Wales and you’ll be able to enjoy a one-of-a-kind honeymoon experience at the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa. Stay at this award-winning country house hotel and you can indulge in fine dining at the Tower Restaurant, relax in the Elemis spa – which is famous for its jacuzzi-with-a-view – and sign up for outdoor activities, such as clay pigeon shooting and fly-fishing. After a long day exploring the wilderness (or relaxing in the spa) you can enjoy a well-earned drink at The Last Grouse pub.

Plas Bodegroes

Just northwest of Pwllheli on the Llyn Peninsula you’ll find Plas Bodegroes, a hotel styled as a “restaurant with rooms”. The property extends across five secluded acres, and centres around a charming country house boasting 10 en-suite rooms and gorgeously kept private gardens. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant – which held a Michelin star between 1991 and 2008 – is a key draw for many visitors. With a menu boasting Welsh Black beef, saltmarsh lamb, and other locally sourced ingredients, it’s the ideal spot for foodie couples.

The Cawdor

For newlyweds who want to combine the quaint charm of a rural hotel with the convenience of a city break, there’s The Cawdor. Situated in the picturesque town of Llandeilo, it’s fantastically easy to access by train. Housed in a refurbished Georgian building, The Cawdor puts a modern twist on its original features, combining contemporary luxury with old world charm. You can enjoy fine cuisine in the Cawdor Dining Room, sip drinks or sample afternoon tea at the hotel bar, or simply relax in the comfort of your room – which comes complete with Myddfai toiletries. Top activities for the area include a wander around colourful Llandeilo, a visit to neighbouring Dinefwr Castle, and a trip to Aberglasney Gardens, which you can reach on the bus.

Grove of Narberth

The Grove of Narberth is another secluded country house perfect for honeymooners. Set in the heart of Pembrokeshire it’s known for its beautiful grounds, stunning views and excellent food. All the rooms look out onto gardens or countryside, and are spread out amongst the main house and several smaller cottages. Food can be enjoyed in the main restaurant, lounge & bar, or on the sunny terrace – and if you’re venturing out of the hotel for lunch, you can take along a picnic hamper. For ultimate relaxation and privacy, enjoy an in-room spa treatment, or a private dining experience with your other half. Perhaps best of all, the hotel welcomes well-behaved dogs, which means it’s perfect for newlyweds looking to bring a furry friend!

Quirky spa treatments to try this year

Come January 1st, most of us have written out a list of New Year’s resolutions packed with positive, healthy changes we can make to our lifestyles. But what’s easy to forget, in the rush to stock up on kale and hunt down a new gym, is that the best way to become happier and healthier in the long-term is to indulge yourself every once in a while.

Book yourself in for one of the quirky spa treatments listed below, and you can strike the perfect balance between treating your body like a temple, and enjoying some well-deserved me-time!

Cosy Detoxing Clay Cocoon, Peterstone Court

Peterstone Court Spa luxury hotel pamper treatment

A Georgian manor house that nestles in the rolling green hills of the Brecon Beacons, Peterstone Court is the ideal rural retreat. The real highlight here is the spa, which is housed in the vaulted caverns beneath the hotel and boasts a captivating yet relaxed ambience.

Top of the list for quirky treatments here is the Cosy Detoxing Clay Cocoon: a 75-minute head-to-toe treatment that incorporates an orange and lime exfoliation, a warm body cocoon, and a head massage. For the finishing touch, you’ll receive a light all-over coconut oil massage, guaranteed to delight your skin!

The Power Breakfast Facial, Lake Country House Hotel & Spa

Lake Country House and Spa treatment

Lake Country House & Spa is located just outside Llangammarch Wells in Powys, and boasts a variety of fantastic spa treatments. Our favourite is the signature Power Breakfast Facial, which (you’ve guessed it) is inspired by some ingredients you’d more commonly find in your kitchen.

This speedy 30-minute facial is ideal for go-getters who want to kick-start the day. Tailored to all skin types, the Power Breakfast Facial consists of a revitalising power cleanse, mask and massage. The only downside? With oats, honey and fruit juice on the list of ingredients you might find yourself getting a little peckish…

Anglesey Sea Salt Treatments, Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel & Spa

Tre-Ysgawen Hall and Spa luxury hotel spa treatment

The Isle of Anglesey is the jewel of Wales’ northwest coast, famed for its beaches, ruins and – most famous of all – Hâlen Mon sea salt. When you pay a visit to the island’s Tre-Ysgawen Hall you’ll be able to enjoy a truly unique sea salt experience. Visit their spa and you can relax in their one-of-a-kind salt inhalation room, which was built in partnership with Hâlen Mon.

For a more hands-on treatment, try the Anglesey Salt Polish Relaxer, a full body exfoliation and massage that will leave you glowing from head to toe.

Darjeeling Green Tea & Ginger Detox, Holm House

Holm House luxury hotel Cardiff green tea detox spa treatment

Penarth’s Holm House is known for its sea views and fine dining – but we’re most excited about trying this establishment’s spa. Countless luxury treatments are offered, but the quirkiest and most appealing of the bunch is the Darjeeling Green Tea & Ginger Detox. Lay back and relax for 55 minutes as your skin receives an intensely revitalising treatment. Green tea and ginger salts are used to activate microcirculation, while a lower body detox wrap and lymphatic massage help to target problem areas. Sign us up!

From the fjords of Flåm to the summit of Snowdon

Shwmae and hei from Norway! In case you’ve missed it, something very special will be happening this coming spring/summer. Yours truly will be visiting Wales with the Welsh Rarebits Collection in order to stay at the amazing hotels in the Collection, sample some of the best food Wales has to offer, and really experience the fantastic Welsh ‘Croeso’!

You may be wondering who ‘yours truly’ actually is, and if so, this post is for you!

My name is Lisa, and I am a 26-year old travel blogger and freelance writer from Norway. The main things you need to know about me is that I’m a Slytherin, I’m obsessed with diving and the ocean, and that I lived in Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire for a year as an exchange student when I was 17/18.

Now, almost 10 years later; I’m coming back!

At 17 I fell in love with Wales. I knew nothing about the country before moving to Saundersfoot for my exchange year (sorry!), but it didn’t take me long to realise that Wales is one of my absolute favourite countries in the world. From the accents to the daffodil, from Gavin & Stacey to Leigh Halfpenny, I was sold. I’ve since been back several times, and I’m always sad to leave.

This is why I was extremely excited when the opportunity to travel across Wales with the Welsh Rarebits Collection came about!

Let’s rewind to the beginning of this adventure to see how it all started. A few months ago, the Welsh Rarebits Collection advertised this opportunity as ‘the best job in the world’ on their website. It didn’t take long until the opening was shared in countless Facebook groups and blogger communities I was in. Some of my friends tagged me in it knowing how much I love Wales and told me I was perfect for it.

The application was simple; a 1-minute video introducing yourself and your fit for the part. So, I decided to go for it! After all, I’ve got 9 years’ experience in travel writing through my blog Fjords and Beaches, some useful social media skills, AND I love the country. In addition to this I have worked in the hospitality field in my village in Norway (where we welcome over 1 million travellers a year), so if anyone should be testing the Welsh welcome, it should be me!

I grabbed my iPhone, and after a few failed attempts (raise your hand if you actually enjoy hearing your own voice), I had a 1-minute video of me where I didn’t sound like a complete idiot explaining these reasons why I was the best candidate. For extra effect I shot the video standing with the beautiful fjords of Norway in the background, and I think it added a little extra something to the application.

I then sent off my application and forgot all about it. I started planning the rest of my adventures for 2018, and as time passed I figured I simply didn’t get it. You have no idea how excited I was two months later when I got a call telling me that I was invited to Wales by the Welsh Rarebits Collection!

As for the plans I’ve made, I’ll be taking a rather interesting route before I make it to Wales. In February I’m heading to Bali, where I’ll be staying for two months. From there I’ll be travelling to Australia, where I also get to spend a month or two. So I’m planning on being nicely tanned by the time I visit Wales in May 2018.

I’m currently at home in Norway, waiting patiently for Christmas, and am super excited to start planning my trip to Wales next year. I’ll be travelling around Wales for at least 30 days, staying in 30 different hotels from the Collection. As someone who loves any excuse to stay in a hotel, this is the perfect trip! Luckily, I have a job I can take with me wherever I travel, and enjoying the Welsh welcome while writing about my adventures couldn’t be a better way to spend a month.

So, make sure to keep a look out on the Welsh Rarebits social media channels, as well as mine, when May comes around! I’ll be taking Wales by storm and can’t wait to share the adventure with you all through weekly blog posts and daily social media posts!

Follow along: Welsh Rarebits Instagram & Facebook – Fjords and Beaches blog, Instagram & Facebook