If you live in the city, you probably spend much of your time juggling a busy job with an equally busy social life. But sometimes this 'work hard, play hard' mentality can leave the body and mind feeling drained and out of sync. The perfect antidote? A relaxing weekend in the country with friends.
Whether you fancy an outdoorsy trip full of walks and adventures, or cosy nights spent curled up in front of the fire with a good book, a dose of country air is sure to make you feel revived and ready for anything.
But what to pack for a break in the rolling hills? First of all, you'll need a great pair of boots to take on the terrain in style. Clarks' new Trace collection has a style for every alfresco eventuality - from flat, chunky-soled lace-ups, to block-heeled ankle boots in apple-tanned leather and suede, each is designed to age with grace and take on the character of its owner.
Read on for what else you need for the perfect weekend retreat…
Get out and explore
Feel ready for an adventure? Grab a map, plan your route and enjoy your surroundings in all of their glory. You'll need plenty of layers, plus those all-important boots to help you tackle everything from rainy pathways to steep hills.
A cosy cable-knit jumper is essential, plus an all-weather jacket that will keep you dry during impromptu showers – without leaving you too hot and sticky. Complete the look with a pair of slim-leg jeans, rolled at the cuffs, and a chunky flat boot to keep your feet dry and comfy. Finally, pack a bobble hat and gloves in case the weather turns colder, and don't forget a picnic full of energy boosting foods.
Get cosy indoors
After a day of invigorating fresh air, you'll be ready for a relaxing evening indoors with your feet up – preferably in front of a roaring fire. Why not cook up something delicious and heart-warming and, if holidaying with friends, follow with an evening of good old-fashioned games and music.
Take style inspo from Cameron Diaz in The Holiday and lounge around in sumptuous knitwear and the cosiest socks you can find. Think a cream cashmere roll-neck jumper with pair of drawstring joggers in a soft jersey fabric. The result? A super warm yet effortlessly chic outfit that will make your weekend feel like a true luxury. You'll also be prepared for any handsome Jude Law types arriving at your door.
Take a digital detox
While quaint cottages and scenic countryside are irresistible Instagram fodder, why not use your escape to the country as an excuse for a digital detox? You may not even realise it, but constant WhatsApp messages and social media updates can quietly stress you out, so you may be surprised at how even a short break improves your wellbeing. If a total digital ban feels too much, try going half way by putting all of your phones in a bowl from 6pm, leaving more time for fun and gossiping.
Use this time to get back to the things you really love like reading, cooking, photography and painting, and see how happier and lighter you start to feel. Look to your natural surroundings for endless inspiration, from the beautiful landscapes to the wildlife and even the architecture. You never know, you may even keep up your new digital-free hobbies when you get back home.
Nourish your skin
A day of outdoor pursuits will leave your mind feeling clearer, but the wind, rain and even sunshine can take its toll on your complexion. Make sure that before you head out for the day, you shield your skin from UV rays with high SPF 50+ sun protection, and follow with a touch of tinted moisturiser for a natural, long-lasting glow.
In the evening, it's a good idea to replenish your skin with nourishment and moisture. First, prep your skin with a gentle cleanser, taking the time to remove it gently with a hot cloth, before patting dry and preparing for the real treat: a face mask. Whether you go for a hydrating sheet mask, or an exfoliating clay formula, this step is the perfect way to give your skin a little extra love. Finally, apply a touch of nourishing night cream to wake up beautiful and ready for the day ahead.
Find the perfect alfresco footwear with Clarks' new Trace collection