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

Harry Potter locations

10 of the Best Harry Potter Locations Around the World

It’s safe to say that I’m a little bit of a Harry Potter geek.  Okay, I’m a lot of a Harry Potter geek.  I’ve read the books countless times, I can quote all the films, I have a wardrobe full of HP clothes, I’ve been sorted into my house on Pottermore (I got Hufflepuff.  I wasn’t happy), and I love playing with my wand.  No that isn’t a euphemism, that’s just how much of a geek I am that I actually have a magic wand.  And it’s obviously the Elder Wand because I love you Dumbley-dore.

If I’ve already completely lost you and you’re not a fellow Potterhead then I’m afraid we can’t be friends and I will use said wand against you.  But for you Muggles who do often dream of living in the Harry Potter fantasy world, there are plenty of places you can visit to pretend it’s real (it totally is real – I got my Hogwarts acceptance letter and everything).

So for all you Potterheads out there, here are some of the best locations around the world that really bring the stories we all know and love to life.

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Bob Bob Ricard

An Anniversary Celebration at Bob Bob Ricard

It was our 8 year wedding anniversary last weekend (yes that does make me feel very old!) and we wanted to celebrate the occasion somewhere special.  I had the perfect place in mind – Bob Bob Ricard, a glamorous restaurant in Soho serving up a luxury English and Russian menu.  Okay, in all honesty I really wanted to go here for the famous “Press for Champagne” button that every table has, making it the restaurant that pours the most champagne in the whole of the UK.  But silly me had left it till the last minute and being a Saturday night meant there were only super early or ridiculously late times still available for dinner.  Thankfully, with lots of patience and perseverance, I managed to grab ourselves a cancellation at a reasonable time.

Bob Bob Ricard is a far cry from the little quirky independent restaurants we usually eat at.  Mr Ayla’s reaction to the sparkly gold exterior and well dressed doormen as we walked past a couple of months ago was something along the lines of “That’s somewhere we would NEVER go”.  Clearly he had underestimated how much I wanted to press that button.

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Mayfield Lavender

A Floral Fantasy at Mayfield Lavender

I have always been a self-confessed girly girl; I like pretty, pink, sparkly things, I always wear a bit of mascara, and everything Disney makes me happy.  But when it comes to flowers, supposedly one of the most romantic gifts for us gals, I am just not impressed.  Mr Ayla knows that I would rather be treated to a book over a bunch of roses because, while they may be beautiful, what’s the point when they just die?!

Lately however, I seem to have taken a liking for all sorts of beautiful bright flowers.  Not the ones that I can quickly kill off at home, but those I can visit in abundance and know that they will still be blossoming long after I’ve left.  We had some Adventures in Kent’s Bluebell Woods earlier in the year and this weekend we visited Mayfield Lavender Farm in Surrey where 25 acres of bright lavender blossom over the summer months.

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Windfalls Boutique Hotel

Pre-Holiday Luxury at Windfalls Boutique Hotel

Staying at an airport hotel seems to have become my favourite way to start off a holiday, especially when we have to get up at a ridiculously early hour for our flight. Not only does it make the start of a trip so much less stressful but it also means we can technically start the trip a day early!

As soon as I came across Windfalls Boutique Hotel, a small luxury guest house just a short drive from Gatwick Airport, I knew this was where I wanted to stay the night before our trip to Gibraltar. Each of the five rooms looked like pure luxury decorated in calming colours with huge four poster beds. It looked like the perfect place to start off our relaxing break.

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Cocktails in the City

Delectable Cocktails, Fun and Games at Cocktails in the City

If you noticed me going slightly bonkers over National Piña Colada Day a couple of weeks ago then you’ll know how strong my desire of a good cocktail is. Whether I’m sipping one on an exotic beach somewhere in the world or dressed up to the nines in a fancy London cocktail bar, you can pretty much guarantee that I’ll have a cocktail in my hand.  Or even both hands on some occasions.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to win a pair of tickets to Cocktails in the City, a mini cocktail festival where a selection of London’s best bars serve up this season’s most delectable drinks along with some mouth-watering street food, funky music, and fun and games.

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Afternoon tea bus tour London

An Afternoon Tea Bus Tour of London

I’m a born and bred Londoner so it’s only natural that I should love the quintessentially English occasion of afternoon tea. Afternoon teas with a twist especially take my fancy like the burgerlicious tea we demolished at BRGR.CO or the fun cocktail making afternoon tea at Hush. So when I heard about the tea by BB Bakery that is set on an old double-decker red bus and takes guests on a sightseeing tour of London while they eat, well you can only imagine how excited I was.

I boarded the bus with fellow blogger ladies Shikha and Char and we took our seats on the top deck where the tables were beautifully laid out with tiered trays of finger sandwiches, mini turkey salad rolls and mini quiches. After the obligatory foodie snaps, we delved straight into the savoury tier which went down a treat.  I loved that they provided something different to just the normal sandwiches that most afternoon teas serve.

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The Medieval Banquet review

An Evening of Festivities at the Medieval Banquet

Feasting with Henry VIII and his royal subjects was not how I ever envisioned spending an evening. But a couple of weeks ago, in the historic area of St Katharine Docks , we did just that. A four course meal, unlimited red wine and ale, and entertainment fit for a king awaited us at the Medieval Banquet.

We were led underground, past coats of armour and a wall lined with swords, into the depths of the Banquet, where rows upon rows of long tables were waiting to be filled. We took our seats next to where all the action would be, hoping that the other people joining our table were in the mood for a fun evening.

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My Foodie Addiction

Hi. I’m Ayla. And I have a foodie addiction.

A completely out of control, amazingly delicious addiction, and I thought it was about time I shared it with you (in case you didn’t already know).

I don’t just mean that I like eating. There’s a difference between being a foodie and just being a plain and simple eater (or, in other words, a pig) and, although Mr Ayla may disagree, I like to think I fall into the former category.

Food is such an important part of a country’s culture, and so dishes to try and places to eat are always one of the first things I research whenever I travel. I love exploring local delicacies and I’m always on the hunt for great foodie finds.  And when I find it I savour every bite.

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