Spain has to be my go-to location for a quick summer break; flights are affordable and short- plus the sun is almost shining- what’s not to like?!

So when Jess (from Cocoa Chelsea) and I decided we needed a little bit of sunshine, that’s exactly where we headed!

We stayed at the Kempinski Bahia Hotel in Estepona, Malaga, a beautiful 5-star hotel right on the southern coast of Spain. Our room was perfect; terrace, living room, huge wardrobe area, bath tub, shower and most importantly, a beautiful view over the sea. It did have a glass bathroom door, meaning one of us had to sit in the living room the whole time as the other one showered but, we worked around it and it’d be okay if you were going with your partner.

We were only there four days but it would be a great room to spend 10 days in, it was so homely but yet a large room and the hotel is the perfect place to relax. It’s also pretty well priced for a 5-star hotel with prices starting at £178 a night. Although, I would recommend asking for a more modern room if you like the look of my photos as some are more traditionally European.

All rooms come with breakfast which Jess and I had everyday. There’s a good variety of hot and cold food, as well as an omelette station and a children’s breakfast area with the cutest cakes. I went for eggs everyday as I do back home but the juices were great and I did have a cheeky cake or two as I simply couldn’t resist!

The hotel has a great gym and spa, although I didn’t quite make it to the gym (but did take a yoga class!). I definitely made it to the spa. They have some great treatments but nothing will ever beat a full body massage for me! I also had the Bastien Gonzalez Pedicure which was a great intensive pedi (but no polish).The reason I was there was basically to top up my tan so naturally the pool area was very important to me. It was super quiet, clean and didn’t feel even a little crowded which is great if you just want to relax! However, if you want to glam up your day there is also a Moet & Chandon Pool (Pool by Moet) at the hotel, where you can sip champagne whilst relaxing on a sun bed.
Since I don’t like to stay in a hotel for too long we did check out the Puro Beach club, Malaga, which is a short walk along the beach and I’d highly recommend doing so. We spent a lovely day there, it wasn’t too party-ish on the day we went and there was a really great vibe. It isn’t too expensive for a beach club and far less intimidating and more chilled than most beach clubs. We also booked another full body massage (massively spoilt!), drank cocktails and had the most amazing sushi for lunch! I actually think this was my favourite day, the pool is beautiful as it everything else.

The beach club is in Laguna Village which is also a great place for lunch/dinner if you don’t want to eat at the hotel but also just want a short walk.




Most of the nights, Jess and I had dinner at the restaurants and the food is great, there isn’t a huge selection but we tried two of the restaurants. We had an amazing steak and beautiful wine at Alminar Wine & Steak House but my favourite was probably La Cabana Del Mar, we got to eat by the sea and the food was amazing! We really wanted to explore the town of Estepona so headed in at dusk for a little walk and some paella for dinner. We did walk but it’s a long walk. I’d recommend opting for a cab which is what we done on the way home as it’s under 10 Euros and a really short drive. It’s a really traditionally Spanish town, with friendly locals, adorable roads and delicious food. We had dinner there in a local restaurant and the paella was exactly what I wanted!
Overall, it was the perfect mini break and I’d highly recommend it if you don’t want to go too far and just want to relax in a beautiful hotel.

A huge thanks to Kempinski Bahia for having us and for spoiling us over the four days!

Check out the Kempinski Bahia website here and the Puro Beach Club here it’s the perfect getaway if you still don’t have summer plans.


I’ve been back from Madeira almost two weeks now and I’m already missing it.

It was my fifth time there, as Michael has family on the island but I think I was starting to take it for granted;  however this time round I explored it with new eyes and fell in love all over again. I’ll do an in-depth guide soon but for now, I want to share my lovely afternoon at the Reid’s Palace for afternoon tea.

Michael had been paragliding in the early afternoon and after getting a little sunburnt watching him, we headed across the island to Funchal. I’d spotted Reid’s Palace before as it’s a beautiful pink building and seeing as I love an afternoon tea, it was the perfect opportunity to visit.

Reid’s Palace is so unlike most of the other hotels on the island, it has quite a British feel so it, which I actually love, especially as it’s very much a luxury hotel. Back to the afternoon tea. Although I love afternoon tea, this was actually Michael’s first and it was a spectacular first. Afternoon tea is served on the most beautiful terrace, with an amazing sea view- unlike any other afternoon tea I have ever experienced. The tea list was extensive – which was convenient as Michael hates tea- I’ll admit he added a stupid amount of sugar but actually enjoyed the tea (or at least the sugar.)

The standard afternoon tea comes with (as you would expect) delicious sandwiches, scones and cakes, all sourced locally. It was the perfect amount of luxury: a good classic afternoon tea, in a beautiful location but nothing too showy.

The waiters were all very friendly and we may have taken them up on their offer to refill a few of the sandwiches and scones – they were just that good!
Probably one of my favourite afternoon teas ever; the setting really made it a wonderful experience.
After an hour of enjoying the view and the delicious food, we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the hotel. My favourite part was the hall which housed all the photos and history of the hotel – I didn’t photograph it but it you ever visit, I would highly recommend spending half-an-hour exploring. It was amazing to see all the iconic figures that have stayed at the hotel over the years and how the hotel has developed- the hotel is 125 years old and with the incredible history to prove it.

We explored the suites, inspired by both England and Portugal, the outdoor area, the spa and the sea area, where visitors use to dock when visiting the hotel when it first opened. If you’re ever in Madeira I can’t recommend Reid’s Palace enough; I haven’t stayed the night but I would imagine it’s a dream. If it’s a little out of your price range then I would recommend at least popping in for afternoon tea. It’s pretty affordable, especially compared to London prices.

I’ll be back soon for another serving of tea.

ps. If you are visiting in the summer months, remember men have to wear long trousers for the afternoon tea, Michael went wearing smart shorts and had to return to the car where he luckily had a pair of trousers or the hotel would have had to lend him a pair.

Amsterdam was never high on my list of cities to visit as, growing up, I assumed it was the place you went if you smoke (which I don’t) but I was so wrong. It’s filled with beautiful scenery, friendly people and the cutest restaurants and shops.

I visited Amsterdam in February and it was cold but the weather was beautiful – I really want to go back in the summer. I think it would be the perfect city to spend a weekend in July. We spent hours walking, exploring the little streets, watching people balance ladders on their bicycles and falling in love with the quirks of the city.

I believe that most cities can be done in three days, which is exactly the amount of time we spent in Amsterdam, long enough to fall in love with a city but short enough to have an excuse to go back. February was cold but we were really lucky with the weather – beautiful blue skies the whole time! Whilst booking, the hardest part was finding good accommodation that was affordable, especially as we needed a triple room. I am a little picky about accommodation: I know you don’t spend that much time in your room but I like modern hotels which are clean and in the centre of the city so we can do as much walking as possible.

I ended up booking the Ibis Amsterdam Central which was fine – nothing more and nothing less – just fine. Pretty clean, but a little dusty and with more of a dorm feel than a hotel feel. I think this is because Amsterdam is so popular with large, often young, groups of people. Next time I think I’ll book an AirBnB as I’ve heard you can find some real gems.

That said, Ibis Amsterdam Central was the perfect location and we walked everywhere! (oh, and the boat)

If I recommend one thing to do in Amsterdam it would be a canal tour: it’s a great relaxing and informative way to see the city. The ticket we bought was 24hours so we ended up using it as a mode of transport on the last day when we weren’t in a rush, which was a bonus. It’s Hop-on, Hop-Off isn’t too expensive and passes all the main sights.

Whilst abroad I am a museum goer and Amsterdam has quite a few to offer: I would highly recommend the Anne Frank Museum, which is very popular so always has a long queue. The museum closes at 7PM most days and at 9PM on Saturday. I’d recommend either queuing for opening time or towards the end of the day but you should still expect to queue for a few hours (you can prebook a while in advance too). Queue aside, it’s a very touching museum, very engaging and I would highly recommend visiting!

 We also went to the Heineken Museum, which I probably wouldn’t recommend – it’s average at a push.  The Sex Museum is pretty inexpensive, so worth visiting since it’s Amsterdam! We didn’t visit the Van Gogh museum – which I now regret – but I guess that’s something to do next time.

Although it was winter, we took the boat to Vondel park and it was a great way to spend a sunny winters day – I can imagine it’s even more beautiful in the summer. We didn’t rent a bike but if that is something you want to do, then Vondel park seems like a great place to do it. But generally, I would say Amsterdam is the perfect place to cycle or stroll around, just taking in the beautiful neighbourhoods.



Where to eat
Hema: If you want a super cheap but nice breakfast then Hema is the place for you. We went more for the gimmick of being able to get a breakfast for 2 Euros. It comes with an omelette baguette, a croissant with Jam, a coffee and an orange juice.

Burgerlijk: we visited here for lunch and it was a nice walk away from our hotel. Although it did get a little busy, we went early and were seen to straight away. We ordered fries and burger which were super yummy, although I’ll admit I think they’re ketchup may be home made and not quite to my taste.

The Pancake Bakery: I seem to be one of the few people that doesn’t love pancakes but we went for breakfast nonetheless and we were quite lucky to get a table straight away. If you love pancakes this is the place for you – even if you’re weird like me and aren’t crazy about pancakes – they were still quite delicious and, of course, I went for the bacon ones.

Vapianos: A boring option but always a failsafe. Wasn’t too busy and the food is always good no matter what country I visit them in.

Overall, I loved Amsterdam. If you’re unsure it’s for you, I’d still go. It’s very quick and cheap to get to from England and it has this free-spirited charm which I fell in love with.

8 3
7
I love being from London but most of the family I have in the UK are also from London which means I rarely get the luxury of escaping to the country for the weekend but last month we did just that.

We drove down to Axminster on Friday evening and checked into our lodge at the Hawkchurch Resort & Spa. The drive was actually not too bad from London and the lodge was really nice! Neither Michael or I had ever stayed in a lodge but it was really beautiful and the perfect place to spend the weekend. We had a large kitchen/living room/dinning room area, a nice bedroom with a huge bed, two bathrooms and even a hot tub!

We arrived pretty late on in the day as Michael had work until a little later and we made the rooky mistake of thinking we could get dinner at 9.30PM as you can in London but luckily there was a Tesco not too far and we had a quick make-shift dinner.

5 6 9 4
The following morning I discovered that the internet is currently not as good as I’d hoped (something that they’re working on) but it was actually the perfect excuse to switch off. We played board-games which Hawkchurch Lodge kindly provides, went on walks by the sea, cooked and chilled in the Hot Tub.

Sunday afternoon we headed out for lunch and I must admit we failed at this a little, we really wanted to visit The Tytherleigh Arms but didn’t realise we needed to pre-book but I will definitely check it out next time we’re in the area.
2 1 10 11 12
We then drove back on Monday morning and were back in London after two hours, feeling far more relaxed and having really enjoyed some country air!

I was surprised by how much I feel in love with Hawkchruch Resort & Spa, it was the perfect way to spend a weekend in England and I’m already planning to book and go back. They’re part of Darwin Escapes and there are lodges up and down the country so I may actually check out one of the other locations but I can’t recommend Hawkchurch Resort & Spa enough.

I’m always hunting new places, not too far from London to explore over the weekend.

Would love to hear your recommendations in the comments!

hotel-windor-bed
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.
hotel-pullman-hats
hotel-pullman-cocktails
hotel-the-pullmans-food
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.
hotel-novotel-moijito-in-bag
hotel-novotel
hotel-novotel-chicken
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.
hotel-windor
hotel-windsor-castle-room
hotel-windor-castle-breakfast-bed
hotel-windsor-castle
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!