Welcome to the Neev Spencer column. Each month, DJ and presenter Neev shares her latest adventures in motherhood.
Before Christmas and the latest lockdown restrictions came into place we managed to get away to the country for a few days of festive fun. As a family that would never have usually considered vacationing in the UK, this past year has been a real eye-opener into some of the country’s most beautiful properties. I had heard the Four Seasons Hampshire is one of most child-friendly hotels and we were excited to check it out for ourselves and to see it in all of its Christmassy glory.
Only an hour’s drive from London, escaping to the country was easier then we had hoped and the ease of packing up the children’s needs but without having to do the airport and aeroplane run is something that may win over holidaying at home for the foreseeable future. Upon driving up the beautiful country lane that brings you to the Four Seasons main house we were taken aback by the stunning Christmas tree and festive decor.
The whole hotel was dressed in pure luxury and just what we all needed to lift our dreary pandemic-affected spirits. We checked into our comfortable room and explored the hotel and it’s 13 real Christmas trees!
The reservation staff were brilliant at arranging all the child and baby amenities for the room with fold-out bed options for bigger kids and large cots for babies. Dinners at the Wild Carrot restaurant were inviting and child friendly without compromising on luxury for the grown-ups. The food was deliciously fresh and the children’s menu was varied with fun activities to keep them entertained at the table. We also enjoyed the famous Afternoon Tea experience in the stunning library which the children absolutely loved and made a lot of mess at.
All staff were ready to help and ease the mealtime experience in any way they could. It was really comforting to look around and see so many other families socially distancing and sharing a common knowledge of how hard eating out can be with little ones!
We spent our days walking in the vast breathtaking grounds of the hotel and even had Genevieve our eldest on a pony for the first time as the Four Seasons offer a memorable up-close equestrian experience with a highly trained expert. Our favourite moments, though, had to be pool time fun at Sharkie’s Reef.
The hotel has a separate child pool play area which is heated to make you feel like you’re on holiday and bursting with every exciting thing a child’s pool area should have. From water slides to fountains we spent hours watching our two little ones splash about and play. To top it all the property installs an ice skating rink during December and we got to experience another first with our eldest as she went ice skating for the first time with her Daddy. Needless to say our time at the Four Seasons Hampshire was exciting, relaxing and just felt like that little bit of luxury we so needed.
Find out more about The Fours Seasons Hampshire re-opening and to book your stay at fourseasons.com/hampshire/.
The Neev Spencer Column: A New Year’s Health Kick
I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable festive time. It seems so odd to think that we are back here in lockdown and the year has started off on such a strange foot. We’ve been busy trying to focus on home improvements because well… we don’t have much else to do!
We have been renovating a play area for Genevieve and Vivienne. I love Kidly’s website, they have such a great selection of playmats, decor and furniture. From stylish mats you can use under your baby’s highchair, to toys for the new playroom it’s a great place for all things kids.
I recently found a great charity that comes and collects old clothes and toys. I waved off five black bags of bits and it felt so good to know it was all going off to someone who could benefit from it all.
We’ve started 2021 in the most positive way we can with lots of fresh starts and healthy focuses. I’ve been focused on my fitness more than ever after such a difficult time trying to maintain baby weight loss through the pandemic. I called upon two of the country’s top experts for advice.
First up, Jess Schuring, an old friend who actually trained me for my wedding. Jess’ approach comes from a place of pure heart, and I love her ethos. It’s not about pushing yourself into oblivion or trying to get somewhere fast, but more a journey into self-love, strength and listening to your body.
I’ve always loved reformer pilates and even though we can’t get into the studios at the moment, her online classes are setting people’s hearts on fire all over the country through such a challenging time. Just carving out a little bit of time for yourself to focus on your body and your personal power is so beneficial when you have to keep up with homeschooling and constant stresses of parenting in lockdown.
Next was an important consultation with leading nutritionist and weight-loss expert, Kim Pearson. Kim first asked me to complete a detailed questionnaire and to keep a food diary. During my initial consultation, Kim did an in-depth review of my health, diet and lifestyle, as well as what I was looking to achieve. She devised a tailored plan that would work around my hectic Mum life. I find that I’m now eating healthy, balanced, easy-to-make meals and I’m enjoying them. I have a treat meal once a week and spend the rest of my time mindfully eating nutritious foods that support my health and weight loss. For anyone that can’t lose weight gained during pregnancies, having a qualified expert review your health and habits and provide personalised advice is so valuable.
Kim introduced me to two brilliant brands Keto Hana and Freesoul Protein. When I am genuinely hungry for a snack, Keto Hana does really yummy low sugar low carb bars and granola. She recommended FreeSoul’s Vegan Protein powder in berry flavour blended into a smoothie with frozen berries, avocado, half a courgette and water or almond milk. This is a great way to start the day so that no matter how busy the kids keep you, you are getting one nutrient-rich dose of goodness a day.
Little Vivienne is now one-and-a-half years old and it’s crazy to think she’s spent the majority of her life thus far indoors! For the cosiest nights and to help her sleep soundly I chose a Baby Mori Sleepsuit. It’s easy to zip baby up in and keeps them snug through the chilly nights. Genevieve, my eldest, just turned four-and-a-half too, and is keeping us all on our toes! The most positive thing for us as a family is how close our girls have become in the past year. All this time together really has been a blessing in so many ways.