Before my holiday in Portugal, I spent the night in Windsor in a beautiful hotel which I just have to tell you about.
I’m always on the lookout for cool places to stay just outside of London to get away even for just a day and relax. I’ll share all my favourite places soon but if you haven’t been to Windsor I would highly recommend it.
The whole trip was planned by AccorHotels and I was lucky enough to tour a few of their London ones before hand. The tour started in Euston at the Ibis Euston, when I’m on a budget but still want a nice hotel I always go for an Ibis as I find them to be a great price point and I think I might book another one for a trip I’m considering next month.
However I really fell in love with The Pullman Hotel, I’ve driven past it so many times and had no idea just how beautiful it is inside! Really modern and luxurious as well as located in Kings Cross so in a great location too. We stopped here for some canapes and cocktails and they were really good, it’s a great location for weekend drinks or even work lunch/drinks and the decor is very chic.
For our main dinner we headed to Novotel London Brentford where we had a Moijos in a bag (genius idea!) and a chicken main, again the food was delicious and decor was perfect, maybe not quite as beautiful as The Pullman but not close behind. Location wise it is a little further out near Chiswick but it’s just off the M4 so easy to get to and a great option if you’re looking for a hotel in the area.
Our final stop and where we stayed the night was the Mercury Castle Hotel in Windsor. If you haven’t been to Windsor it’s a really great little town a short drive/train journey from London with things to see and do or also the perfect place to relax. Even if you’re not planning on exploring Windsor and are just looking to relax I’d still highly recommend the Castle hotel, the service was better than in most hotels, decor is perfect for a non-city hotel and I slept amazingly. I had a really lovely evening enjoying a cocktail before just chilling in the super comfy bed.
Breakfast was also amazing, I enjoyed my tea in bed before tucking into my full English breakfast. We even managed to catch the changing of the guards before we left, although it did start to rain heavily!
Can’t wait to visit the Mercury Castle Hotel again and if The Pullman wasn’t so close to my house I’d simply have to book to stay there, such beautiful hotels!
I’ve been back from Berlin for about 6 weeks now, I was only there three days and I am definitely not an expert but I thought I would share my own experiences, which will hopefully help a few of you.
If you’re considering Berlin then I would recommend it for a really inexpensive holiday (if your UK based), it isn’t my favourite place ever but I would go back, especially as the whole trip was so affordable. Flights from London are fairly cheap (mine were around £40 return), we stayed at an inexpensive Holiday Inn and once there most things were quite affordable too.
I’m going to be writing a blog post about how to book/plan a city trip so I am going to keep this very Berlin based.
The metro is super easy to use, download an app or even use Google Maps to find out which train you need to get on. There is an honour system when it comes to the metro so there are no barriers but be sure to buy a ticket and stamp it before getting on the train or you will get a fine.
Although the first day we used the train a fair amount we soon learnt that walking was the best way to see the city, Berlin isn’t a huge city and as long as you have comfy shoes you can walk almost everywhere.
In my opinion three days was the perfect amount of time, we done everything we wanted to and even had some time to relax and chill.
In the winter Berlin is freezing, I wore a hat, thermals and everything else that I could find. Flights are cheaper in winter but bare in mind you’ll need to wrap up warm.
Holiday Inn City Centre
When it came to finding a hotel we went with my trusty inexpensive favourite, Holiday Inn. We stayed in the City Centre one, the location was perfect, not too busy but still within walking distance of almost everything. We had breakfast there which was really convenient and set up our days perfectly. The rooms aren’t huge but they were all we needed and most importantly were clean and comfortable. Of course it isn’t an overly luxe boutique hotel but if you need somewhere to lay your head that won’t break the bank I would highly recommend it!
After arriving just before lunch time and dropping our suitcases at the hotel we headed to Burger Meister, a old public toilet which has now been transformed into a cool burger place. It’s got great reviews on Tripadvisor and I must admit it didn’t disappoint. We each got a burger, shared some fried and it was both ridiculously cheap and delicious.
We then took a stroll to the East Side Gallery which is a 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall, it’s a huge piece of German history and there are some really iconic images on it.
Whilst looking for the Berlin Cathedral we also passed Unter den Linden which is a well known boulevard there but sadly it was under construction so wasn’t as impressive as it probably usually is. We had issues getting to the Berlin Cathedral too as many roads were closed (due to a politician visiting Berlin), although we managed to find it and have a look around the outside the inside was closed and we decided to save this for another visit.
We then walked towards the Neptune Fountain, the base of the Berlin TV Tower and AlexanderPlatz. We didn’t go into Berlin TV Tower and I wouldn’t really say these are a must-see but nice for a quick look around. We did then make a cheeky stop at Ritter Sport Bunte Schokowelt, which is a fun chocolate shop (think the German M&M world) and naturally we bought some chocolates for family members (& ourselves.)
After warming up in the hotel we went to dinner at Vapianos Potsdam Platz, although it’s a chain and we try not to eat at chains when abroad neither of us had ever been to Vapianos and since it originally started in Germany we thought it was okay. It was a fairly short walk from our hotel and gave us the opportunity to see Potsdam Platz at night, plus the pasta was delicious!
We started day two quite early, having had breakfast at the hotel and realising that most museums didn’t open until 10am we headed to Check Point Charlie. It was originally a point crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin during the cold war, it’s now just a photo opportunity and overly touristy. It’s worth walking past but I do wish that the men dressed in army uniforms weren’t there as it almost seems a little disrespectful.
Just round the corner from Check Point Charlie we accidentally stumbled upon Trabi World which is house to lots of Trabi Cars, which were the most common vehicles in East Berlin. We didn’t rent one this time but I think I probably would the next time I go back, for us it was just a fun places to walk past and take a few photos. If you do visit, make the most of their photobooth, it’s only a few euros and a nice token of Berlin.
We then started our museum visits at Topography of Terror, an outdoor and indoor history museum. I’ll admit that I was a little overwhelmed by this museum, there was a lot of writing and a lot of photos to get through but it is very informative. Our next stop was the Holocaust Memorial which is worth a visit and doesn’t take too long to explore, we didn’t realise that there is a free museum underground so that’s worth noting as it’s suppose to very engaging and touching.
It was then a short walk to Brandeburg Gate, it’s a touristy sight but also a great piece of history so worth a look. We were planning to also visit the Reichstag Building day two but discovered you had to pre-book tickets so instead spent an hour queuing to book a ticket for the following day.
Lunch was at Treffpunkt Berlin which is apparently a German classic, I would probably skip this, it was very average tasting and a little greasy for my taste.
Our next stop was the Palace of Tears which was once the train station border crossing, it was probably one of the most interesting places we visited and I’d recommend the audio tour if you have the time. We followed this with a train to the Berlin Wall Memorial which is worth a look but we didn’t spend too much time here but partly because it was so cold and started to snow.
Also up there with the most interesting places was the Jewish Museum, it’s different to the other ones we visited and more like a traditional museum you would see in London. It was a really educational, thought-provoking museum with lots of rooms and things to see and do.
For dinner we faced the Mustafa Kebab queue which I’ve heard can be hours long! We were lucky it was a really cold night so the queue was a little shorter and we only waited an hour or so. Rumour has it that these are the best kebabs ever and I’ll admit they were pretty good although I am not a kebab connoisseur. As you can imagine it’s super cheap and there also isn’t anywhere to sit as it’s a street stand not a restaurant but still worth queuing for!
Our final day in Berlin was a pretty relaxed one, we had booked tickets for the Reichstag building the day before but I would really recommend doing this online as you’re unable to book tickets for the same day and the queue to book for the following day was long (and cold!). It’s free to get in so I would definitely recommend visiting it and even listening to the audio tour. The audio tour gives you a great overview of Berlin’s history and architecture plus the view is beautiful!
We ended our trip by buying a few fridge magnets as a souvenir and chilling in a cute little coffee shop.
I’m off to Rome tomorrow so I would love any tips and recommendations in the comments. Also follow me on Snapchat for live updates from Italy, username: alittleobsessed
Last week I attended the Gillette Venus event where I tried Yoga for the first time, dined at Circus and got to stay at the most beautiful hotel. The whole event was for the launch of their new razor, the Gillette Venus Swirl Contour and we simply only went to the hotel to lay our heads as there was little time for much more but it was so beautiful I couldn’t help but share it.
The hotel is Coworth park in Ascot, part of the Dorchester hotels, it is a five star country house hotel and spa- fancy huh? It’s only a 45 minute drive from London but once you’re there is really does feel like you’re in the middle of the countryside. We arrived after 10PM so were shown to our hotel rooms to unwind and get some sleep. The rooms are beautiful; four poster beds, desk area and the most Instagramable bathrooms. It’s modern, classic and luxurious all at the same time, exactly what I would expect from the Dorchester group.
I had looked into the hotel a little before arriving and I had spotted the copper bathtubs on Instagram so I squealed when I saw that my room had one. Naturally I couldn’t resist; I grabbed a magazine from the room and ran myself a bubble bath where I also tried out my new Venus Swirl Contour.
After a relaxing bath I made my way to bed and had a small falling out with the TV which kept spinning round instead of going on- turns out I was using the wrong remote. I spent so long in the bath that I didn’t quite get enough sleep but was thankful for just how wide and comfortable the bed was!
I had my favourite, Eggs Royale for breakfast and I can honestly say it was the best I have ever had, I ate every last bit and it was worth getting up 20 minutes early for them.
We then drove to the Gillette Research & Development lab to learn all about razors which turned out to be far more interesting than I ever expected. They watch people shave their legs, underarms and face on a daily basis and they start working on razors up to 15 years before they even come out! I have a vlog coming soon about the day so keep an eye out for that.
If you’re looking for a little treat (it isn’t cheap) or are celebrating an anniversary I would highly recommend Coworth Park, it has to be one of the nicest hotels I have stayed at!
I’ve been trying to get away for a relaxing weekend since the end of August but life keeps getting in the way and I haven’t really been able to squeeze in a long drive or train journey so when The Marriott Bexleyheath asked if I wanted to come down for a bit of pampering and an evening away I of course said yes.
I really know nothing about the area but that really not why I chose to stay there, I chose to stay there because it’s a reasonable drive away and because I knew that I would spend the time relaxing instead of exploring the area which is what I usually do when I go away.
It was easy to get there and when I did, I changed into my robe and I made full use of their great spa! Most excitingly I had an incredible back, neck and shoulder massage as well as a fab Decleor Express Facial! The spa has a steam room, pool, gym and sauna as well as some treatment rooms offering the usual you would expect from a spa. It was all really relaxing, the massage was one of the best I’ve had in a while and my skin looked really healthy and glowing after the facial too!
It was great to then be able to pop into my room and spend the rest of the evening eating, watching TV and relaxing. I even had a long soak with my Neals Yard Bath Oil which I’d packed and which left me even more incredibly chilled.
It feels like a life time ago already but it was only last month that I was in Madeira. If you don’t know too much about Madeira it’s an island which is part of Portugal, but actually more off the coast of Morocco than of Portugal. I’ve been there a few times as my boyfriend’s family are originally from there and since his parents have a house there it’s a nice place for an easy and fairly affordable holiday. Although the tourists there are usually a fair bit older it’s actually a beautiful island and we always have a great time; consume far too much food and usually have some fabulous weather too.
I’ve done most of the touristy things in the past but there were a few things we never got round to ticking of the list. We went up to visit Pico Do Arieiro which involves is a bit of a scary but enjoyable (and safe) drive. It’s Madeira’s third highest peak which leaves you above the clouds and is potentially my favourite place in Madeira!
Another place I discovered this year was Santa Catarina Park, a fairly small but truly beautiful and free to visit park. We ended up here after visiting the CR7 museum (not my cup of tea), it was a really warm day but the perfect place to relax and have a leisurely stroll.
We also stayed a few days at the Porto Mare hotel and I’m so glad we did! The room we had was amazing: large sitting room, a good size kitchen, a perfect bathroom, balcony and a huge comfy bed. We spend the whole day by the pool, drinking cocktails, relaxing on our pool floats and playing games. We made the most out of the pool loungers and inside pool, although we didn’t get round to trying the outdoor hot tub.
For dinner we went to Kyoto Da Ilha which we were recommended to by some of Mike’s family. They serve some of the best sushi I’ve ever had, in a beautiful location too. It’s a little expensive compared to other restaurants out there but pretty cheap for sushi. I think this has joined O Lagar with being my favourite restaurant in Madeira.
The following day, after a great nights sleep at Porto Mare, we had a great breakfast outside in the hotel’s gardens where we had choice from a huge breakfast spread and then went on to enjoy the pool some more. We had such a lovely stay that I hope to be able to book there again for the next time we go.