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Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Favourite things to do when staying in a luxury hotel

I`ve developed a mini ritual for luxury breaks which I`m sure it`s perfectly normal (at least I hope so). There are just a few little joys that just seem better in a luxury hotel.

1. Order a club sandwich from room service
The only time I eat a club sandwich is when I`m in holiday and I`m staying in a nice hotel. It`s just something about hotel club sandwiches especially when you wake up in the middle of the night due to jet lag that`s absolutely irresistible to me. And I`m always slightly upset if I don`t see it in the room service menu.
best hotel buffet breakfast
The pastry section of the Shangri La Tokyo breakfast buffet.

2. Waking up to a delicious buffet breakfast each morning
I LOVE hotel breakfasts. No matter how late I`ve stayed the night before or how sleepy I am, I always make sure I wake up in time for breakfast. The best breakfasts I`ve had in holiday were either the ones at a few 5 stars hotels or the ones at B&Bs where the hosts prepares the breakfast for you and gives you that homely feel. I`m so serious about this that before booking any accommodation I make sure I check the reviews for the breakfast.
four seasons marrakech pool
Still my favourite swimming pool so far: Four Seasons Resort Marrakech

3. Take a swim in the pool & use the free spa facilities
Most 5 star hotels will allow free use of their pool and spa facilities.  This is great especially if you`ve had a busy day sightseeing and you want to relax a bit before going to bed. My boyfriend loves hotels with steam room and plunge pool. I`m happy with just a pool opened at night.
luxury hotel toiletries
Oscar de La Renta toiletries at The Peninsula Bangkok. The body lotion smelled amazing!

4. Using (and maybe taking home) the nice toiletries 
Some hotels just do toiletries really well. Plus I just love those little bottles. I might have taken home a few of them but don`t tell anyone.
luxury hotel must dos
The Peninsula Bangkok bathtub with tv screen
 
5. Take a great bath or shower
Bathrooms in London flats are tiny and uninspiring so I love the idea of having a huge bathroom when in holiday. I`m slowly making a list in my head of the best hotel bathrooms I`ve experienced. My favourite bathtub so far must have been the one at The Peninsula in Bangkok which had a TV screen and my favourite shower is the one from the Shangri La in Tokyo.

What`s your favourite thing to do when staying in a luxury hotel?

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

How to find the best local restaurants while travelling

how to find the best local restaurants while travelling
Lucky find in Mallorca, this place had delicious, fresh seafood and breathtaking views - Ca`s Padro March

1. Research blogger reviews of local restaurants or area guides
This is one of my pre travel must dos. I prefer researching local bloggers guides or travel bloggers guides that have been to the area as I find their reviews more trustworthy than online magazines that just recycle articles and tips from other sites.

2. Don`t trust over positive review sites
Sites like Tripadvisor although great for finding hidden gems can also be filled with spammy reviews especially for very touristic destinations like Venice, Paris, Rome. Usually if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is. Always make sure to double check the restaurants you find on review sites on other sites.
how to find the best local restaurants while travelling
Issaya Siamese Club, Bangkok - I love when food tastes as good as it looks

3. Ask suggestions from friends/ family that have visited the area
A no brainer! If you`re lucky to have had friends or family that have visited the area and tried local restaurants then it`s good to hear their opinion, even if it`s just for places you should avoid.

4. Stay away from restaurants offering "tourist menus"
The most common scam of all but still so easy to fall into especially when you`re tired and hungry. Anywhere you find tourist menus translated in 5 different languages then most likely the food won`t be very good and extremely overpriced. Usually these types of restaurants are in large squares or near the popular tourist attractions.

5. Ask for recommendations from your host, hotel concierge or locals
As a rule of thumb if you`re staying in a hotel it`s good not to go with the first recommendation they give you as that`s usually the one that they have to promote. The more recommendations they give you the more likely you`re gonna find in there a few really good local restaurants.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Today`s Outfit: A Red Dress in Sicily

red dress outfit
red dress outfit
red dress outfit
red dress outfit
red dress outfit
(Topshop crochet red dress, Zara flats, Asos bag)

This is the last outfit from Sicily before we came back home. We spent most of our trip in the beautiful town of Taormina which is pretty busy this time of the year and with good reason as it`s a small, cute town, up on the hill overlooking the sea. The streets are colourful and the food is delicious anywhere you go. I feel like Sicily definitely felt like our last days of summer before autumn settled in. This week it`s been rainy and cold in London and summer feels million miles away. The good thing about fall though is of course fall fashion which is definitely my favourite, just thinking of all the layering and all the amazing jackets & coats gets me all warm and fuzzy inside.

How are you spending your last days of summer?
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Monday, 18 August 2014

Top 10 London restaurants with cool interior design

1. Berners Tavern, contemporary British menu, Oxford Circus. Read my full restaurant review
Berners Tavern remains number 1 in my heart for design as the minute you step in your mind is completely blown away. The ceiling is spectacular with those big chandeliers that make you feel you`re transported somewhere in the glamour days of Vienna.

2. Grain Store, modern European with focus on vegetarian dishes, King`s Cross. Read my review here
I love industrial designs and this one from Grain Store is one of the coolest I`ve seen. Another plus is the open kitchen which means you get to see the chefs in action.
Image from blog.visitlondon.com 

3. Dabbous, Modern European, Fitzrovia
Although the place is pretty small , Dabbous is definitely the cool kid on the block in Fitzrovia.
Image source: designfront.co.uk

4. Duck & Waffle, European/ British, Liverpool Street. Read my restaurant review here.
Best thing about Duck & Waffle is its amazing view over East London. A great place to go for breakfast or early dinner to catch the sunset.
Image source: duckandwaffle.com



5. Hakkasan, Modern Chinese, Hanway Place. Read my Hakkasan review here.
Dark, mysterious, with oriental touches, Hakkasan interior is definitely a crowd pleaser. Another restaurant with a similar design is Yautcha which is part of the same group as Hakkasan.
Image source: hakkasan.com

6. The Dock Kitchen, Experimental, Ladbroke Grove
And yet another industrial designed interior. I can`t help it, this place looks amazing.
Image source: thedeliciouslondoneateasy.wordpress.com

7. The Folly, Modern European & British, Monument
There are interesting, colourful elements everywhere you look in this restaurant. Feels more sometimes like you`re dining inside an art exhibition.
Image source: thefollybar.co.uk

8. Plum & Spilt Milk, British cuisine, Kings Cross
Loving the lights, arm chairs, and sofas in this restaurant.
Image source: theguardian.com

9. Nopi, Middle Eastern, Soho. Read my full review of Nopi here.
A favourite for both the food, cocktails and interior. Everything looks very light and airy.
Image source: harpersbazaar.co.uk

10. Hoi Polloi, Modern Brasserie, Shoreditch. Read my experience at Hoi Polloi restaurant here.
As soon as you step in you feel more like in New York than London, huge space and minimalist decor. Love the idea of transforming the menu into a mini newspaper.
 Image source: theguardian.com
Image source: capdevila.co.uk

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Friday, 15 August 2014

A Wong Restaurant Review

A few weeks ago my boyfriend and I went for dinner at A Wong in Victoria, a restaurant focused on Chinese cuisine but with a modern twist. Chinese cuisine is one of those cuisines where it`s particularly hard to reinterpret it as most people prefer the homely feel the traditional dishes have. A Wong has definitely managed to keep the flavour of traditional recipes while still making you feel like you`re sampling something new and exciting.
 
Beef with oyster sauce (12/20) was one of my partner`s favourite.
a wong restaurant review
Monk fish cheeks (14/20) were definitely my favourite of all the dishes we`ve had. Also loved the sweetness of pomegranate.  
a wong restaurant review
Chicken with cashew nuts (10/20) was ok but not my favourite as I found the chicken a bit dry.
a wong restaurant review
Jellyfish (12/20) was very light with bits of crunchiness and spice. Another favourite!
a wong restaurant review
Overall rating: 12/20
Price: £££
A. Wong on Urbanspoon
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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Today`s Outfit: The Boho Dress

boho dress
boho dress outfit
boho dress style
boho dress
boho dress
boho dress styling
(Boho dress from Tokyo, Zara shoes, Asos bag)

First outfit post from my trip to Sicily. We`ve only stayed there for 4 days which was way too short for exploring this beautiful island as there is so much to see and do, so hopefully we`ll go back at some point to explore some of the other areas as well. The weather was amazing, the host actually told us we were lucky as usually the temperatures in August in Sicily rise to 40 degrees but this year it was slightly milder to around 30 degrees. It was very much a lazy holiday that evolved around sleeping, eating, and swimming. The food in Italy is always so good that it`s pretty hard, if not impossible, to have a bad meal there. And the best way of covering up all those delicious pasta dishes is of course by wearing loose, comfortable dresses like this one :). I bought this dress from Tokyo in May from one of their many cute boutiques but the weather was never warm enough to wear it in UK so it had to wait till August and our trip to Sicily to get its first wear.
The embroidery kinda reminds me of the traditional blouses people wear in Romania for celebration moments which I`ve always loved so I was pretty excited to find this dress in a shop all across the world in Japan.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Today`s Outfit: Styling the Chanel Bag

styling chanel bag
styling chanel bag
styling chanel bag
styling chanel bag
styling chanel bag
(H&M striped top, Mango skirt, Converse shoes, Chanel bag, Marc Jacobs watch)

I`ve taken a bit of a break from blogging in the last few weeks but it`s always great to get back to this little space that has been one of my passions for so long.
We took these photos just a few days back as we were enjoying some great summer weather in London and finally took out for a spin my new Chanel bag that I got in Tokyo. Hopefully this is just one of the many Chanels that will follow :). Tokyo is one of the best places to shop for designer items as you can get such great bargains. I strolled around the shop for 2 days in a row, constantly contemplating whether I should buy it or not, to the point that I even started dreaming of holding it in my hands or having nightmares about being bankrupt. At this stage I pretty much knew I just need to take the plunge and buy it and so I returned for the 3rd day, sweaty palms, holding tight my card before giving it to the sales woman that rapidly swiped it without the blink of an eye (I`m guessing she`s done this many times before). The good thing is I am now the proud owner of a beautiful Chanel bag, the bad thing is now I have to eat beans for the next 5 years. Would I do it again? hell yes!
Now in terms of styling it I always loved the mix of designer pieces with high street or vintage items, or adding a bit of luxury to an otherwise casual outfit which is why I paired it with this new Mango skirt I love (such a great hippie print!) and my old, faithful and slightly dirty Converse (raise your hand if you`re the same as me and believe that Converse should never be washed). Can`t wait to style it next time with a little black dress.
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