Category Archive: Travel

Feb 27 2014

Postcard From: Berwick Lodge Hotel In Bristol

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I am a huge fan of boutique hotels, I love staying somewhere with a touch of character, so when our good friends were getting married at the Berwick Lodge Hotel in Bristol I was excited to stay as it has only 10 suites, each with its own ‘signature’ style.

Of course before we arrived I checked out the hotel’s website, sometimes when places say individual style to each suite it just means a change in wallpaper, when it comes to Berwick Lodge is means that literally everything is different in each suite that before we left we all had to check out each others room. It was hilarious as some of the rooms are so big that we could have all slept in there comfortably.

We were in ‘Ionia’, one of the superior suites located in the eaves of the house and on one of the windiest nights it did sound like we might get blown away at any time, but that all added to the charm of this luxurious stay.

First thing we noticed when we entered the room was how huge the bed was, the hotel claims it is just a super queen size bed, but it felt so much bigger and was so comfortable I slept like a log. But what really wowed me had to be the stunning bathroom with its free-standing claw foot bath, unusual and gorgeous tiling, and the massage shower that was the perfect pick-me-up – oh and every bathroom should have underfloor heating it was lush.

When we arrived the weather was horrible so I didn’t really take notice of the fact we had a balcony, I would have probably blown straight off, but the next day was calm and sunny and it was nice looking out over the incredible garden and seeing across the channel to Wales. I just wish we had more to time to take it all in.

As well as loving our room, it was nice to wander around the 18 acres of garden and woodland, in the summer I bet this place is great to read a book and just relax next to the striking fountain. In February, when it is cold it was just pretty to look at and then retreat back inside the great house with its inviting fireplaces and dramatic chandeliers.

We didn’t have chance to have an evening meal here or afternoon tea, which was a shame as I have heard great things, but I did get to enjoy the blueberry pancakes which were delicious.

If you are after somewhere a little different just outside Bristol and close to the motorway definitely look into this hotel. If you live closer to Bristol that try out the extensive À La Carte menu, the chef was a semi-finalist on MasterChef: The Professionals.

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Berwick Lodge Hotel, Berwick Drive, Bristol BS10 7TD.

Oct 05 2013

Postcard From: Anglesey, Wales – My Top 5 Things To Do

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So I have shared where to stay on the beautiful island of Anglesey in Wales, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge called home for a number of years, now here are my five top things to see and do:

South Stack Lighthouse

This lighthouse on the rugged coast of Anglesey is so close to Ireland that my mobile phone informed me I was in another country – not quite but the views of endless sea and cliffs is a spectacular sight. The lighthouse itself is on an island – 400 steps down, and when you realise that you are more unfit than you are you really can take in the beauty of this landmark attraction. The only problem is that once you are down you have to climb back up – thankfully there are a lot of resting points that I pretended were great spots to snap the horizon!!!

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Beaumaris Castle

Billed as the greatest unfinished masterpiece and the most technically perfect castle, Beaumaris Castle is full of history. This is one of the best Edwardian castles around due to its symmetrical concentric ‘walls within walls’ design and even though it was never finished as money and supplies ran out you can still see that this would have been a beast of a building to attack.

After you’ve climbed the walls, walked the full circle around the castle, and taken in the view head down into the cute town of Beaumaris which has a great selection of cute boutiques and cafes.

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Llynnon Windmill

I am kind of obsessed by windmills, I am not sure why, maybe it is the calm motion or the fact I have always wanted a round room, but if I know one is the area I have to go visit. This mill, built in 1775, is the only working mill in Wales and even with hardly any wind it still managed to rotate its sails around. I really could have sat there for hours watching. As well as still producing its own wholemeal flour using organic wheat it also has a great cafe – the food was delicious – so makes for a perfect rest spot.

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Plas Newydd Country House and Gardens

Overlooking the Menai Strait, this elegant National Trust house not only offers beautiful views but also a gorgeous 1930s restyled interior. As well as admiring the grandeur of the house, Plas Newydd has an exquisite romantic mural by Rex Whistler, which takes up the whole dinning room, but what I loved most about this place though are the gardens and outside space. There is a lot of explore from the ornate terrace gardens filled with wild flowers to the woodland walk along the coast.

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My fifth thing to do in Anglesey isn’t an attraction – just simple to admire the views, the scenery and the tranquil nature of the island. With views of Snowdonia, the Menai Bridge, the Irish Sea and the largest designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Wales there is always something to see from heather-covered cliff tops, cute coastal towns, sandy beaches, and you’ll be surprised by how blue the sea is!!!

Anglesey might not be large but it is beautiful and was the perfect place to take a relaxing short break.

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Want to see the island in 30 seconds? Well check out my HTC Zoe I made of my visit:

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Oct 05 2013

Postcard From: Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel and Spa, Anglesey

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Before the madness of fashion week I headed off to Anglesey, Wales for a mini spa break at the Tre-Ysgawen Hall Hotel and Spa for a spot of relaxation with my boyfriend. This luxury retreat has a touch of the Downton Abbey grandeur, with its mansion exterior, exquisite grand hall filled with a staircase made for Lady Mary to walk down, a grand piano, incredible artwork, and luxurious leather sofas to enjoy a spot of tea on.

This place is like stepping back in time with its traditional feel and elegant touches, huge rooms, gilded wallpaper, a library, and more clocks than I have ever seen before from ornate mantel clocks to a huge grandfather clock at the top of the stairs.

The outside of the hotel was just as exquisite with tranquil grounds filled with interesting sculptures that lit up at night to gorgeous flowers and even palm trees, which looked amazing in the sun. It really is the most beautiful location for a spa.

As well as possessing all the traditional elegance of a country mansion house this four star hotel also has all the modern comforts – with great size rooms, a spa with a thermal suite and a great selection of holistic and beauty treatments by Decleor and Guinot, as well as two restaurants – a fine dining experience and a more relaxed bistro, the hotel also offers a great afternoon tea.

If you are after a hotel with a touch of elegance, a tranquil location, but great amenities then you have to try the Tre-Ysgawen Hall – it really did act as the perfect base to explore the tiny island of Anglesey.

To show off all elements of my stay I have put together a short video on my HTC One:

Want to know what to do while you are on Anglesey? Well stay tuned for my second blog on my five things to do!!! 

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Tre-Ysgawen Hall Country House Hotel and Spa, Llangefni, Anglesey, LL77 7UR. Tel: 01248 750750.

Aug 13 2013

Postcard From: The Grove Hotel In Herfordshire

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A couple of weeks ago I was treated to a night away at the luxury hotel The Grove, a golf, spa and beach resort in the Hertfordshire countryside by Lee Cooper, and I loved my relaxing break so much that I thought I would share some pictures I took.

As a five-star hotel you would expect The Grove to be fancy, and it is, but what surprised me the most was just how friendly the resort was, and how even though it is huge with more than 200 room it felt boutique in its quirky appearance with art installations in the corridors of cows, rubber ducks and even feathers – and its picturesque location really made my overnight stay feel like days it was so relaxing.

Located just 30 minutes outside London, this hotel is a perfect hideaway to recharge your batteries, and with 300 acres to explore you will definitely find a quiet spot to relax. What I loved about this hotel, other than the amazing service and gorgeous room, had to be the incredible gardens, pieces of art dotty around the estate, and the fact that it has an urban beach complete with volleyball, an outside swimming pool, lawn croquet and table tennis all hidden behind the walled garden.

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There is something special about The Grove, they really have thought of everything from making the rooms feel homely complete with arm chair, a large TV and a desk for doing work, stocking up the bathroom with cosmetics from The White Company, and even coming into my room to turn down my bed and put a pair of slippers out – which was a lovely touch after a long day.

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It is the grounds of this hotel which I enjoyed the most, it was lovely to walk around the well-kept gardens, the lovely water installations, and be surprised by random pieces of art including a sculpture made out of recycling, a metal skeleton figure, and a gorgeous glass tree that looked simply divine in the sunshine.

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As well as taking walks around the grounds, I also enjoyed the facilities at the Sequoia Spa, which has an extensive treatment menu using ESPA products. As I was driving back soon after my appointment I didn’t want to go for a uber-relaxing massage or a facial, I will definitely have to go back to experience those, instead I went for a luxury pedicure complete with a leg message, which was the perfect end to a night away.

Granted this isn’t a cheap break, rooms are around the £300 price bracket per night, but if you are after a relaxing hideaway close to London with someone to walk, enjoy the picturesque views, maybe enjoy a round of golf or even indulge in a spa treatment or two I would most certainly recommend it as a luxury treat.

I think I will have to try and find an excuse to go back as I would love to try their afternoon tea – I heard only good things while I was there but didn’t have the chance to taste for myself.

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For more pictures of my stay at The Grove, Hertfordshire head on over to my Facebook page.

**Fashionista Barbie was a guest of Lee Cooper**

[Pics: all by me, Fashionista Barbie]

Jun 25 2013

Afternoon Tea: The Midland Hotel, Morecambe

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I adore the Art Deco era, whether it is in fashion, art or architecture, and one of the best things about the sleepy North West seaside town of Morecambe, that my Mum now lives in, has to be the Art Deco features along the seafront, in particular the gorgeously restored, The Midland Hotel.

A while back when visiting my Mum, and while the sun was shining, we decided to take a walk along the promenade, take some pictures and enjoy afternoon tea at The Midland Hotel’s Sun Terrace Restaurant, which looks out across Morecambe bay.

I love an afternoon tea that masters the fine line between traditional and modern and I think The Midland does that really well. Priced at only £16.50 for the traditional afternoon tea, it is not only excellent value but absolutely delicious. It comes with a selection of finger sandwiches, which for veggies like Mum and I was egg mayonnaise and watercress and cucumber and cream cheese, this was followed up with a gorgeous platter of cakes including a glazed fruit tart, a chocolate éclair and a piece of carrot cake. Finishing off the afternoon tea were some of the best scones I have ever tasted, which were made even nicer with lashings of clotted cream and strawberry jam.

But afternoon tea is much more than just the food, the service, the setting, the crockery and the tea selection really plays a big part and The Midland completely won me over. From the traditional bone china to the seaside view, everything about this afternoon tea was luxurious, and was topped off nicely with one of the best Earl Grey teas I have ever tasted.

I would totally recommend the afternoon tea if you are in the Morecambe area, and I hope one day I get to stay in the hotel as I would love to see inside one of their luxurious suites!!!

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Originally opened in the 1930s, The Midland Hotel stood in ruins for a number of years until development company Urban Splash lovingly restored it to its former glory and added a few modern touches to the Art Deco hotel and re-opened it in 2008.

There are a number of special elements to the design of this building that I adore, from the decadent seahorses standing tall at the front of the building to Eric Gill’s Neptune and Triton Medallion peering down from the top of the spiral staircase. It is because of buildings like this, designed by architect Oliver Hill that makes me love architecture; I just love how he designed this curving hotel to complement the prom, allowing guests to look out over the bay. They really don’t make buildings like this anymore.

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May 31 2013

Seaside Style: Bank Holiday Day Trip To Felixstowe

Felixstowe my style 14 Seaside Style: Bank Holiday Day Trip To Felixstowe %tagWhat are Bank Holidays for if not a trip to the seaside, especially when it is sunny, and a chance to top up on ice-cream, candy floss, make sandcastles and play in the arcades. My boyfriend and I like a day trip, and living near Cambridge means we have a lot of gorgeous coastline in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex, which isn’t that far away in the car.

Over the years we have done a lot of the beaches in Norfolk including Hunstanton and Cromer so this Bank Holiday we thought we would give Suffolk a try and head on over to Felixstowe, a seaside town we both hadn’t been to before.

Quieter than say Blackpool and Brighton, there is a charm about Felixstowe with its colourful beach huts, sea front gardens and miles of beach to stroll down while eating an ice cream. And in the sunshine this was such a great day for testing out my new Canon 650d camera and having my style snaps taken by some palm trees makes it look somewhere tropical and warm.

What did you do this Bank Holiday?

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My Style: Oh La La Tee, Zoe Karssen (similar one) // Hudson Jeans Bacara in Vancouver, Jeanography (c/o) // Straw bag, Cath Kidston, (similar one) // Gladiator flats, F&F for Tescos // Silver bracelet stack, New Look // Tiffany’s bracelet // Glasses, Retro54 // Orange wrap watch, Guess // shot with Canon 650d //

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May 31 2013

Postcard From Manchester: Afternoon Tea At The Lowry Hotel

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Last week, my Mum and I were in Manchester for a spot of shopping, a concert and an early birthday celebration **haven’t you heard it is my birthday on Sunday**, and we decided to check out the afternoon tea offering at The Lowry Hotel, a fancy five-star hotel overlooking the River Irwell.

We were hoping for a spot of sun so we could eat out on the terrace at the River Bar and Restaurant but no such luck, Manchester is known for its rain but last week was also a very windy affair, so we decided a booth inside would be more comfortable.

Priced from £22.50 per person, the hotel’s afternoon tea is very reasonable compared to London prices, and it doesn’t lack on the quality, choice, presentation or service. We went for the traditional afternoon tea which came presented on a gorgeous Art Deco-style three-tier stand, filled with warm apple and cinnamon scones, a delicious rhubarb fool, a pistachio macaroon, and a couple of chocolate treats. They were the perfect accompaniment to our egg and watercress, cucumber and cream cheese, and Lancashire cheese and chutney finger sandwiches.

As well as being a lover of the sweet treats I am a huge tea drinker and The Lowry Hotel offers a great range of Jing loose teas from the traditional earl grey and morning blend to fruit infusions and green tea, but we decided to go for the Afternoon Blend, a refreshing Assam and Darjeeling mix.

I have been to a number of afternoon tea’s recently from the novelty to the traditional and what I loved about The Lowry Hotel is that it has a modern twist on old traditions, with one of the highlights being the apple and cinnamon scones, which tasted heavenly topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam. I find that it isn’t just the great food and tea choice that makes a great afternoon tea but also the service, which was hands down amazing, the staff were well versed in their teas, described each cake to perfection, and were attentive to our needs for offering us more tea and clean plates. It made the whole afternoon relaxed and fun and allowed my Mum and I to catch-up.

I haven’t had afternoon tea or stayed in a Rocco Forte Hotels before but I most certainly will be checking out their other locations in the future after this wonderful experience and if you are looking for somewhere special in Manchester I would most certainly recommend it as the restaurant was fantastic. I have also heard great things about the hotel’s spa as well, which I have added to my list of things to do next time I go home to Manchester.

Are you a lover of afternoon tea? Do let me know in the comments field below your favourite spot for afternoon tea in the UK and I will try and check it out.

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