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Lover: January Blues Buster #2: Escape the city to eat jam and look at boats and feel lovely

Apparently, the most depressing week in January is the last one, and the most depressing day specifically is that last Monday - just before payday, everyone is poor from the holidays, yet the glisten of Christmas has completely dulled to a distant memory, and you are very far away from either Christmas, or even the summer coming round again.

Whilst I can see why that week of January has it’s cons, for me personally, this week is the week of the year I struggle with the most. To have to work for the first time in yonks for 5 straight days in a row, without even a long prosecco “it’s Christmas time” lunch or an office cheese board to get me through the 9-5 is pretty tricky for me. I think the most depressing day is the Sunday beforehand, as the suspense of a full working week is probably worse than actually doing it. When it comes to it, running around in a frenzy at work isn’t really that bad as you are all too frenzied to realise, damn it it is 2pm and I am only half way through my working day and not at home in my pjs eating quality street, having just woken up. Rats.

Anyhoo, to avoid the last-weekend-before-it-is-officially-the-end-of-Christmas-and-you-are-going-back-to-work dread, I decided to drag Will an hour or so’s drive further east, to somewhere deep down by the Essex coast. I am not gonna lie, the place exactly I chose was more based on the fact that I found a good deal on Secret Escapes, and it was somewhere Will and I could agree on, as apparently he honestly didn’t enjoy that facial he once had, and therefore refused to go to some of their wonderful spas they always have on offer. (He totally did love that facial, I will break him soon).

We went to Henbridge Basin, near Maldon, a town which comes alive in the summer when Londoners flock to nearby Osea island for what seems to be basically the Hamptons of the UK, but in the winter Henbridge is pretty sleepy and quiet.

It is set on the estuary going out to the sea, which is surrounded by a couple of pretty pubs, and lots of boats caught on the sand by the tide. It is also right near Tiptree, where Tiptree jam comes from, so after mooching around in the estuary-side pubs and walking on the front for an hour or 2, I went to the Tiptree tea rooms, right on the water’s edge for a cream tea with their famous jam.

A new year's resolution idea from Tiptree...

Every jam flavour any jam lover would ever want...I went with rhubarb and ginger. YUM.

We stayed in Le Bouchon Brasserie, in a tiny little beautifully decorated room with tulips in it, and drank (several too many) cocktails in their own little cocktail bar and had a really scrummy 3 course meal in their restaurant.

Lobster ravioli and champagne to start? Don't mind if I do...

 I am not gonna lie, there aren’t zillions of tourist attractions in Henbridge which mean you should cancel your 3 week trip to Thailand and book your holiday there instead, but for an overnight trip, so close to London, it does make a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. I for one, am really loving little English countryside trips at the moment. I’ve always been one to spend all my money going to far flung places, which I don’t want to stop doing, but recently – since visiting Hay-on-Wye and Whitstable last year, and loving them both - I’ve started to think I should start earning more money (/increase my overdraft) so I can spend some on little trips to discover new corners of the country I’ve lived in all my life. 

Getting out of London reminds me that the world does not begin and end with London, which I think is a worthwhile lesson it is easy to forget when you’ve lived here too long. But more importantly, I just love being closer to nature. Ok so maybe not nature nature, I don’t mean a tent in the middle of nowhere with no people or mobile phone signal about, but anywhere is more natural than Bethnal Green road, E2. It makes me feel relaxed and refreshed, and sort of all nationalistic and wanting to break out into the chorus of Jerusalem (in a “how lucky I am to live in a country with so many beautiful fields and rivers and seas and seasons” not in a BNP or UKIP way just to clarify).

Being in the great outdoors makes me feel all lovely and insignificant and yet significant at the same time. Being in London you are used to looking around and everything you see has been made by a man or woman, and that is interesting and important, but when you look across a field with the sunsetting, or you look out to the horizon at the end of the sea it makes you realise how much more there is to this world than just people, and how small our part is in it, in a good way I think. It made me realise in 2015, one of my resolutions will be to escape London a little more often.

Beautiful on even the greyest of grey days.

So how much will it cost you for a break like this one?

I wouldn’t say Will and I really did this on the cheap in the end, as after a glass of wine and 2 cocktails on tummies only lined with scones and jam, going all out on the steak front in the restaurant seemed like a good plan.  This is how much we spent, but of course, you can definitely do it a lot cheaper than this! Nonetheless £130 each I don't think is too much for a weekend of relaxation and yummy food, and I could quite easily spend on a weekend going out in London if I wasn't watching too carefully...

Another post about the loveliness some spots in the UK outside of London - my first ever one! Loner: Go to a Literary Festival 

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