As the sun tentatively begins to shine across the UK, the nation slowly coming out of lock down brings another sense of warmth. The promise of travelling to places other than our homes, and the possibilities that this brings.
The strange sense of hibernation has made me long for wide open spaces and nature - the sweet smell of grass after the rain, the sounds of the ocean and the overall blossoming as the seasons shift. How comforting it is to know that the unwavering beauty of nature always remains a constant. Ever growing, ever changing.
Our first trip away this year was one not too far from home and one that we had booked last year. After the dates changed once or twice, we finally made it to Elmley Nature Reserve earlier this week.
Elmley is 3,300 acres of wilderness on an island in North Kent that has wildlife conservation and sustainability at it's heart. As you slowly drive into the reserve it brings such a sense of peace and becomes very hard to believe that you're only 40 miles from London.
There are a few beautiful choices when it comes to overnight stays, including secluded huts, bell tents, a large cottage and individual rooms within a rambling farmhouse.
We booked one of the huts, Vanellus, a cosy, inviting space with lovely homely touches.
The true magic of this place is the landscape - nature as far as the eye can see with wide open skies, small lakes and an abundance of wildlife. Whether you're laying in bed or sitting on the terrace outside, you never miss a moment of this. Waking up to the enchanting views with a tea in hand and homemade pear and almond cake was actual heaven.
It's a place that calls for good food (ordered from the kitchen or prepared outdoors on a little stove top), good wine, endless cups of tea, a great book, hiking boots and forgotten technology.
It's also a place where you can while away the time in an outdoor bath, sipping on cocktails and taking in the serenity.
The most relaxing of places that we'll be sure to return to time and time again.....