mini breaks

I love visiting New York. Central Park. The shopping. The swanky bars and Brooklyn. Oh, Brooklyn. You have a piece in my heart, you really do. But late last year, we did something I'm going to admit to you now. I'm oddly proud of it too, which might seem distasteful. Ok, here goes.
A destination dubbed the Granite City or the Oil Capital of Europe might not be the first place you'd think about visiting, but whether you're after a weekend of art and culture or a romp in the Glens, Aberdeen is well worth a visit
On the borders of Windsor Great Park, less than an hour from London, Coworth Park, a luxurious Georgian country house hotel, was the ideal base for our hiking and history mini-break. And, if we'd been in the mood for a horsey weekend, there's an equestrian centre on site where we could have arranged an escorted horseback ride or lessons. Or just up the road is the famous, 300 year-old Ascot Racecourse.
My recent visit to Obidos, a gorgeous walled medieval town just north of Lisbon, is also right in the heart of Rocha pear country. This particular pear variety (there are over 3,000 worldwide) was named after Pedro António Rocha, a nineteenth-century farmer and is one of Portugal's major exports.
It's always the same. One sniff of summer - in this case, a few mildly warm days back in April - and I'm planning my holiday. And the way I plan? By watching movies.
Low prices and cheap beer have made Prague a hen and stag magnet but don't let that put you off visiting a city perhaps even more captivating than Paris.
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to have a weekend in the countryside booked in with my husband Steve. We took half a day off work on a Friday and caught the train to Kingham in The Cotswolds, which is less than an hour and a half outside London.
The downside of a mini-break with your little sister is that there is no sex. The upsides are that you can only pack one set of clothes (in my case, three jumpers, and no change of socks) and still have an absolutely lovely time.
In the words of the very wise Bridget Jones, "A mini-break means true love" - so if you're trying to sweep someone special off their feet then a weekend away is the way to go.
After recently visiting some excellent hotel spas in London (Four Seasons, Bulgari, St Pancras and Cafe Royal), I decided to travel slightly further afield to find luxury countryside spa hotels with an interesting history.