London Gatwick airport parking

Airport Parking Made Easy with Purple Parking

Airport parking is never something that is high on my radar when booking a trip.  I’m much more interested in researching our new destination, scoping out sights off the beaten track and the best viewpoints in the city, or finding a cosy airport hotel to stay in before an early morning flight.  So usually we simply opt for one of the cheaper parking options.  Yes, the car parks always seem to be down the most difficult to find country lanes and there is the annoyance of a 15/20 minute bus ride to the airport, but I would rather save that extra bit of money for eating as much of the local food as I can once we’ve left London (and our car) behind.

But on our recent trip to Turkey, we tried out the meet and greet service at Gatwick airport courtesy of Purple Parking and I think it may have just swayed me into paying that little bit extra in the future.

There was no bickering as we tried to figure out where the car park was, no checking the car in, no waiting around for the next shuttle bus and no extra journey to the airport.  We simply drove straight to the drop off point right outside Gatwick’s south terminal and, with a quick phone call to Purple Parking to let them know we were there, a few minutes later a friendly chauffeur came to meet us, checked our details and then whisked our car away.

London Gatwick airport parking

I was left thinking that surely there was something else we needed to do.  But nope – it really was as easy as that and we wandered the few steps into the airport without any stress or worry and, least of all, not a single bit of rushing about.

London Gatwick airport parking

After a sunny and relaxing break in Turkey, returning to the airport would have been nice and easy if it hadn’t been for someone (not mentioning any names – but it wasn’t me) leaving our tablet in security on the way out.  This meant that when we arrived back at Gatwick airport just after midnight, we had the hassle of changing terminals and making our way to lost property (and paying a ridiculous £20 lost property admin fee in the process).

With a quick phone call, Purple Parking were extremely helpful in meeting us with the car at whichever terminal was easiest for us and, just a few minutes later, we could see the Purple Parking chauffeur in his snazzy purple jacket along with our car already sitting and waiting for us as soon as we stepped out of the airport doors.

London Gatwick airport parking

At this time of the morning when I had to be up for work in six hours, we were so grateful that there was no waiting around for a shuttle bus and hauling our bags about, no bus ride full of crying children and tired adults, and no having to wait in line to collect the keys to our car.  This was by far the easiest and most convenient airport parking we have ever had and, as the Purple Parking representative handed our keys over to us, it couldn’t have been any more welcome.

Have you tried a handy meet and greet airport parking? Let me know what you thought in the comments below or at:

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Big thanks to Purple Parking for taking care of our car while we were off relaxing on holiday!

Need an airport hotel?  Take a look at my favourites at Gatwick airport:

The Perfect Way to Start a Holiday: Bloc Hotel Gatwick

Smart Luxury at Yotel London Gatwick

Mister Lasagna review

A Lasagna Feast at Mister Lasagna, London

When your favourite cuisine in the whole world is Italian and a new restaurant opens up in London dedicated to everything that is lasagna, it only makes sense to try it out as soon as possible.  With 21 different types of lasagna on the menu (yes, you read that right – 21 different types of lasagna!), Mister Lasagna opened up in Soho just over a month ago and has already become so popular that they’re opening up a second restaurant soon.

A very casual but cosy restaurant, Mister Lasagna is the place to go for a quick, easy meal and, considering it’s in such a popular part of Central London, the prices are extremely affordable, but that doesn’t mean that they scrimp on the taste.  With a counter to select your dishes from at the front of the restaurant (cue lots of temptation as you drool at the food in front of you) and several quiet tables at the back, it’s a cosy little place for a tasty lunch or for a relaxed meal after work.

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What to do in London

Latest London Adventures

The desire to get on a plane and step foot in a different country is currently taking over my every thought.  I haven’t been away since our trip to France back in December and although I love a staycation, our weekend break in Brighton just does not count.  I know I may sound greedy but I’m sure most of you travellers out there will agree with me – travel is like a drug and right now I am having some massive withdrawal symptoms.

So the thought of our impending American adventure next week is like the light at the end of a very long very dark tunnel.

But I’m not one to sit around at home just waiting for something exciting to happen, so in the meantime I’ve kept myself busy by becoming a tourist in my own city and exploring more of London.  I often take for granted the fact that I live in such a fantastic city but it’s little adventures like these that make me remember how great London really is.

So I’ve put together a little itinerary of some of our latest explorations over the past few weeks that would make for a fun weekend in London.

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A weekend in Brighton

A Valentine’s Weekend in Brighton

Apart from family trips when I was little, as well as the odd night out in my slightly wilder days of partying and actually being able to cope with a hangover, Brighton is somewhere that I haven’t really seen in years.  So when my mum gave us a Segway experience voucher for Christmas, we decided to spend Valentine’s weekend trying out this new adventure near Brighton and then spending the rest of the weekend exploring the city.

After an afternoon of fun whizzing our way through the woods on our Segways, with me desperately trying to avoid tree trunks while attempting to keep up with Mr Ayla, we made our way down to the seaside.  Thankfully we didn’t have too much mud to wash off ourselves before heading out for dinner where, for once, I didn’t take a single photo of our food.  Shock horror I know!  But it was Valentine’s weekend and we just wanted to enjoy our meal for a change.  (I think Mr Ayla was rather happy that he was able to eat his food while it was still hot without all my photo taking!) 

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Hiking in the Cinque Terre

My Favourite Travel Memories from 2015

As 2015 comes to an end and we look back on a year of fabulous adventures, and onto 2016 which will hopefully be filled with many more, I know you’re already thinking “oh no, not another New Year round up post!”.  So okay, I may be doing a total cliche here but I figured that this year has been a pretty awesome one so I simply couldn’t resist.  Plus, Mr Ayla is adamantly refusing to go on as many trips next year (oops my finger must have accidently slipped and hit enter to book those flights!!) so all I can do is look back on some of my favourite memories from this year.

Despite having a full time job I’ve managed to squeeze in plenty of adventures, from long haul relaxing holidays to short city breaks closer to home; trips with both family and friends; sightseeing holidays, hiking trips, beach breaks and everything in between.  While we may not have anything planned for next year (yet) these are some of my favourite travel memories from 2015, and some of these places have very quickly worked their way to the top of my favourite ever destinations.

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A weekend in the New Forest

Weekend Adventures in the New Forest

Proving he can be a romantic when he wants to, Mr Ayla surprised me last month with a weekend in the New Forest, a beautiful area of natural woodland and wildlife and a part of the UK that we had not yet explored. An easy 2.5 hour drive from London, the busy roads gradually turned into quiet country lanes with high trees stretching into the distance and wild ponies munching grass by the side of the road.  Every now and then we would pass a quaint little village or country pub – the sort of place where you can imagine everyone knowing each other. It was so peaceful and serene and we knew straight away that we would love it here.

Our first night we stayed at Eastclose Country House Hotel, a beautiful place that is said to have been the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland. Waking up in the pretty white Georgian building and looking outside, I could just imagine the White Rabbit dashing behind the giant tree and down a hole in the grassy garden!

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Where to stay in New Forest

Rustic Charm in the New Forest at Cottage Lodge

As we pulled into the drive of our home for the night in the New Forest, we knew within seconds that we were going to love this place.  Set in the little village of Brockenhurst, surrounded by woodland and wildlife all around, the white building of Cottage Lodge with its bright yellow door looked adorably cute.

We even had our own reserved parking sign that had me feeling like Beyonce.  (Okay, so I wasn’t the only guest with my own little sign but it still made me feel pretty special anyway.)

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Cocktail bar London

Cocktails and Canapés at the Polo Bar, Westbury Hotel

This week I’m taking an unexpected break from all my musings and posts on Marrakech to tell you about a wonderful evening we had last weekend when the Polo Bar at the Westbury Hotel invited us along for some cocktails and nibbles.  It’s not often that Mr Ayla and I get the chance to have an evening out together in London but when we do get the opportunity we always like to do something a bit different.  Heading to the Westbury Hotel in London’s plush Mayfair, with Christmas lights already twinkling in the streets around us, the evening was definitely one to remember despite all the cocktails that were to come!

As soon as we stepped into the warmth of the bar we felt so welcomed by both Elias the manager and Salvatore who would be our host for the evening.  It’s quite a classy and sophisticated place, yet it still had a lovely relaxed atmosphere, and we sank back into our cosy chairs in the corner and did some people watching while the Swarovski crystal decorations made the dimly lit room sparkle.

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Yotel Gatwick

Smart Luxury at Yotel London Gatwick

Our recent flight to Marrakech was at the hideously early time of 5.45am and when you have to take into account driving to the airport, checking in and going through security, let alone the fact that I’m a totally bad traveller and leave packing till the very last minute, there would have been no point in even going to bed the night before.

So we decided to stay at Yotel, a traveller friendly hotel right in Gatwick airport’s south terminal.  You cannot get any closer to check in, being literally 20 seconds from the check in desk and airport security, meaning we could get much more sleep and not start our trip all bleary-eyed and tired.

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chocolate afternoon tea London

Chic Chocoholic Afternoon Tea at Flemings Mayfair

Afternoon tea is tempting enough as it is, but when all things chocolatey are thrown into the mix, well how could I resist? My mum’s birthday was just the excuse I needed – birthday present for mum, chocolate for both of us. It’s a win win situation.

After a thorough search of all the chocolate afternoon teas that London has to offer, Flemings Mayfair seemed like the best choice purely because of the scrumptious looking array of chocolate coated desserts they provided AND chocolate scones.  Not just plain scones with chocolate chips, but proper full on chocolate scones.  I just had to give these a try. Continue reading