Friday, 26 May 2017

Where To Stay In Hamburg - The Heikotel Am Stadtpark

So recently Mr W and I were invited to Hamburg in Germany courtesy of the Come To Hamburg campaign, to promote the city to tourists. Make sure you follow this blog and Fly Drive Explore, our travel the blog to read about our explorations real soon. 

Elbphilharmonie concert hall Hamburg

The hotel we stayed at was the Heikotel am Stadtpark.  This three-star superior hotel is in a peaceful location, in the Winterhude area of Hamburg. 

We arrived after a short flight from London and a 20 mins taxi drive from the airport and were greeted in a warm and friendly way. 

Check-in was super efficient and done in less than 5 minutes. We have travelled a lot recently and this is what we love about the German culture, the super efficient staff.


The room was modern and comfortable and decorated in muted tones of cream, brown and beige. Everything was in excellent condition and not a speck of dust could be seen.

In the bedroom area, there were twin beds put together which is often the custom with Europe. A night light was a great touch if you wanted to read in bed. There was a small lounge area with a table and chairs which was very useful too.

On the bed when we arrived was a cute little bar of chocolate, which was just lovely. I mean who can refuse chocolate?!

If you wanted a snack or drink there was a minibar which you had to pay for and a coffee machine with pods. The price of these was 1 euro each. There was also free bottled water in our room.

The flat screen TV was on a swivel mechanism which was perfect so you could adjust it easily when sitting in the lounge, or move it so you can see it when lying in bed. I think more hotels could do this as it was a genius idea!

The wardrobe area was open for your clothes and a safe, which I feel is essential these days in a hotel was another great touch. 

The bathroom was compact but perfect for our needs, the shower was great, with a decent spray and toiletries - which were branded 'Naturals', were all organic and provided as dispensers attached to the wall.  If you need a conditioner though I recommend you bring one yourself.

Everything in the bathroom was spotless. If I am being particularly picky, I thought the towels were a bit scratchy and could do with replacing but this is me being super critical. They do provide slippers for your stay so that was nice!

Public areas

The corridors were spacious and the lights came on when you walked down the corridor, a great saving energy move by the hotel. 

There is a fitness room with a selection of equipment in excellent condition including treadmills and bikes.

Across the road in another part of the hotel, is a bar which had fair prices and is worth a visit if you fancy a drink after hours of sightseeing.


The breakfast area was light and spacious. 

A continental breakfast was provided with a selection of breads and pastries, 5 different types of yoghurts including Bircher muesli, cereals, fresh fruit and fresh fruit salad, boiled eggs, and scrambled eggs. I was impressed with the three different types of honey!

A selection of cooked meats and cheeses were also provided.

Whenever we go to a different country we look out for the breakfast offering that is particular to that country. In this hotel, we had a selection of potato salad and coleslaw, which I haven't seen in other hotels around the world. 

Little touches took this breakfast out of the standard level, like the various toppings for yogurt and cereals.


The hotel is in a leafy area and in a quiet location, but only 5 minutes walk from the U-Bahn, the underground. It was great to get a good night's sleep every night without any noise from outside.

We used the U-Bahn a number of times and it was incredibly easy to get into the centre of Hamburg - the Rathaus (town hall) being a quick 20 minutes and St Pauli 15 minutes on the U-Bahn. If you wanted to explore the surrounding area the hotel is within a twenty-minute walk from bars and restaurants.

If you are driving to the hotel there is underground parking which is good news for car drivers.


We really liked this hotel. The location was much better than we thought it would be due to the close proximity to the U-Bahn. The rooms were of a good size, with a small seated area, and free water was a nice touch. We were treated to a lovely basket of fruit twice during our stay which was really appreciated. The free wireless Internet was suitable for checking emails and surfing the internet and if you wanted a faster connection there was an option of paying more for faster speeds.

This hotel has won a Tripadvisor Certificate Of Excellence and I can see why. It's a good quality hotel, in a decent location with free breakfast. With rooms from £100 a night I think the Heikotel Am Stadtpark is superb value for money. We really enjoyed our trip to Hamburg, which you can read about soon, as it's a very underrated city. I would have no hesitation in booking this hotel if we ever came back to this city. 

Follow our journey in Hamburg with the #cometohamburg hashtag on Twitter, FB and Instagram.


Heikotel Am Stadtpark
Fl├╝ggestrasse 5,
22303 Hamburg,
Tel: 040 278400

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Top 5 Skin Care Tips For Pregnant Mums

If there is ever a time to pamper yourself, it is during pregnancy. Take a look at these top tips for keeping your skin looking luscious and plump during this special time.

Pregnancy-Safe Cream, Lotions and Cosmetics

First, you need to understand that anything you rub onto your skin will soak into your body, so when you are pregnant, you need to be confident that any chemical or substance you use won’t harm your baby.

Before use, always check the label to make sure the product is safe to use during pregnancy. If you are not sure, look online or contact the manufacturer for more details.

1 Looking After Intimate Skin Areas

When you are pregnant, your body will go through all kinds of changes. The growing baby will have the lion’s share of nutrients from the food and drink you consume. This means that your skin can suffer, becoming drier and less elastic.

Surging hormones also affect skin and its luminosity. But hormones are also responsible for a leaky bladder. If you struggle to make it to the bathroom on time or your bladder is irritated, small accidental leaks of urine can happen.

Using incontinence pads helps you manage this but skin can become sore. Thankfully, there is a range of incontinence skin care products that can be used in the bath or the shower. Keep a small bottle of soap-free intimate wash solution or a handy pack of wipes in your bag too to help to stay fresh during the day.

2 Increase Your Skin Care Moisturising Routine

Your skin can become dry during pregnancy. This can be as a result of a combination of not being hydrated enough, as well as a change in diet and exercise.

It is important you keep your skin plump and moist as this helps to retain its elasticity. I
f your skin feels dry, invest in a good quality moisturiser. Some pregnant mums find that certain skin areas become drier than others, so make sure you apply lotion liberally in these affected areas. 

Creams for your growing bump are a great idea too as it can help reduce stretch marks, but be careful with skin oils as oil is quite potent and heavily concentrated. Too much oil can penetrate your body and not be good for the baby, so always use a oil that is suitable for pregnancy.

3 Eye Serum Creams

Being pregnant is not always easy and after a few disturbed nights spent trying to get into a comfortable position, you can be more prone to dark shadows and circles.

As well as getting rest during the day, invest in a good quality eye serum that helps to lighten dark shadows and circles. Serums also help to plump up the skin, smoothing out wrinkles giving you a fresher look.

4 Avoid Soap!

Soap can have a drying effect on your skin and, if your skin is also dry and lacklustre during pregnancy, carrying on washing with soap will simply dry it out even more.

Take a trip to the beauty care aisle in your local supermarket or pharmacy and look for a no-soap shower gel or cleanser. They don’t lather up as well as soap, so you won't get a froth of bubbles but after a few washes, you will see just how much better your skin reacts. Many women find herbal or plant based no-soap cleaners work really well. 

If your skin is dry and flaky, consider reducing shower time too as hot water has a drying effect on the skin.

5 Sun Protection

The sun has a drying and ageing effect on the skin. If you find that your skin is dry or more sensitive during pregnancy, shielding it from harmful UV rays is essential.

We should all wear sun protection as standard practice during the summer months in the UK but when you are pregnant, you may find you need to increase your use of it.Choose a facial moisturiser that has UV protection in it and consider applying sunscreen to exposed skin during the day too.

Again, always check that the sun protection creams and lotions are suitable for use during pregnancy. Stay away from those creams that are ‘heavy’, oily creams and heavily scented sun lotions.

The Key to Great Pregnancy Skin? Water

Skin is the organ through which we lose a lot of moisture. As your baby bump grows, your body works harder and can mean an increase in perspiration.

Water is the elixir of life and is essential for maintaining a healthy body, but also for plump, great looking skin. Sipping water throughout the day will keep you hydrated, so get into the habit of always carrying a bottle of water with you.  

Finally, as well as staying hydrated, get plenty of rest and enjoy glowing skin throughout your pregnancy.

HARTMANN Direct supply a range of incontinence skin care products, ideal for use during pregnancy. Combined with pads, they make the perfect combination for managing accidental leaks during pregnancy.

*guest post by Hartmann Direct

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Win Chocolate For Father's Day With Hotel Chocolat Ends 11/06

Are you like me and find it hard to think of what to get a dad that has everything for Father's Day? 

Traditional gifts are a tie, slippers, or a pair of socks - not thrilling I know. Why not get your dad some chocolate for Father's Day? Not any old chocolate though, luxury chocolate from Hotel Chocolat.

Hotel Chocolat is a luxury ethical chocolate brand that I have been a fan of for a while now. They are especially fantastic as they help support cocoa farmers and their communities in Saint Lucia and Ghana. Not a lot of people know that!

Of course, the chocolates are amazing too, made with the best cocoa beans, and with some scrumptious flavours.

If you are ordering from the website everything is beautifully packaged. Delivered in a Hotel Chocolat branded bag and stylishly wrapped in tissue paper it's the finishing touches that make you realise what a quality brand they have. Like the card that comes with the delivery.

Here is a selection of Hotel Chocolat gifts for Father's Day below.
The Fathers Day sleekster £22.50

This large box of chocolates contains a luxury mix of 27 chocolates, from white, milk and dark chocolates to desert style and caramel chocs.
The Father's Day H box £12.50

The H-Box has 14 delicious chocolates that every man will love, including champagne truffles, caramel cheesecake chocolates and more.
Father's Day pocket selection £8

This pocket money selection is small but perfectly formed and contains Billionaire's shortbread to strawberry cheesecake chocolates. 

Cocoa beer £5

If your dad doesn't like chocolate, what about a bottle of cocoa beerThis porter-style ale has yummy notes of roasted cocoa shells.

Father's Day is a great day to treat those amazing men in our lives too. If you don't have your dad in your life, why not treat your father figure? Maybe a teacher that has always had your best interests at heart, your amazing grandad or a family friend that always looks out for you. 

Today on my blog you have the chance to win a Father's Day sleekster from Hotel Chocolat, to gift your dad or father figure. Entry is via the Rafflecopter app below. Good luck!

As listed on The Prizefinder, LoquaxSuper LuckyCompetition Database 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday, 22 May 2017

How To Buy Diamond Jewellery

There are many things to consider when buying a piece of diamond jewellery for yourself or a loved one. You may be spending a considerable amount of money so you want to be sure you buy what is right for you and your pocket.

I used to own a jewellers and have experience in advising customers in what to buy as well as a JET2 qualification in Jewellery Education and Training. In this post, I will consider what you need to take into account when buying a piece of diamond jewellery.

Buy from a reputable source

Firstly it is very important to buy from a reputable source. Buying from a company that adheres to the Kimberley Process ensures that your money does not go to fund arms and conflict in underdeveloped countries. A good jeweller will know where their diamonds are sourced from

I personally prefer buying diamond jewellery from small independent jewellers. By supporting the high street you are putting money back into the local economy. Independent jewellers provide excellent customer service and advice and will go the extra mile to make the customer happy. Look out for the National Association of Goldsmith's mark for jewellers that adhere to a code of practice.  

You may pick up a bargain buying a piece of diamond jewellery second hand but this route should only be taken if you are very experienced in buying diamond jewellery as there are plenty of pitfalls and you don't want to get ripped off.

You can also buy a piece of diamond jewellery online but only go to reputable jewellers which have a high street presence and are members of organisations sich as the National Association of Goldsmiths as mentioned before or the National Association of Jewellers. 

The 4 C's 

Credit: The National Association of Goldsmiths

Diamonds of above a certain size are graded by the 4 C's - Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat.

Cut - A well-cut diamond sparkles well and reflects light. Make the cuts too deep or shallow and the sparkle or its 'fire' will be gone. There are many shapes a diamond can be cut into but the most popular ones are round, emerald princess, marquise and pear shape. 

Colour - the most valuable and sort after colour is white, or should I say colourless. The best colour is graded as D, the worse Z. However, some naturally occurring diamonds with a strong and distinct colour can demand a lot of money as they are rare and are called fancy stones.

Clarity - the clarity of a diamond can greatly affect the price. If you look into a diamond with a jewellers eye glass you can often see inclusions - carbon deposits. The best diamonds are graded IF - Internally Flawless with no carbon deposits to the worse grade of diamonds that are graded Included3.

Carat - the weight and size of a diamond are measured by carat weight. A carat is divided into 100 smaller units and these are called points. If you are looking to buy a half carat ring you will be looking for a ring of 50 points.

There is also a fifth C - or Certification. The best diamonds are certified by an independent gemological lab. The certificate will note the four C's as above. Buying a certified diamond gives reassurance to the quality of the diamond but can also add to the cost.

One of the most recognised laboratories, for example, is the GIA (the Gemological Institute of America)

Type of jewellery

What type of jewellery are you going to buy? Are you looking to buy a diamond ring, earrings, necklace or bracelet? Are you looking to buy it for yourself, for a loved one or as an investment?

If you are buying a piece of jewellery for a loved one, think how it would fit into her lifestyle. Maybe she loves eating out and going on holiday, places where she can show off her jewellery, or maybe she likes small understated pieces of jewellery. Think about the jewellery she currently wears, and her own personal style and ask yourself, would she wear it?

Classic items of jewellery, such as a diamond solitaire ring, round brilliant cut diamond earrings or a diamond tennis bracelet are items every woman should have in their jewellery box. If cost is an issue consider buying a piece of jewellery with a cluster of smaller diamonds as this will be cheaper than a larger single stone. 

When thinking to buy as an investment then classic diamonds of a 1 carat single stone of the highest quality you can afford would be the easiest to sell in the future than something more unique and of course always buy the highest quality you can.

Metal choice

A traditional choice is a yellow gold, whilst white gold, palladium or platinum are the modern alternatives. Rose gold has a rich rose hue due to copper deposits in the alloy and is currently very fashionable.

The cheapest gold is 9ct gold, then 14ct gold, 18ct gold then 22ct gold. Gold is ultimately yellow and has to be mixed with a white metal alloy and coated with rhodium to make it white and to keep its shine. 

Platinum is the purest metal you can buy for jewellery, it is strong and stays true white so it is said to be the best metal in which to set diamonds. It is also the rarest and thus the most expensive precious metal you can buy. Palladium is the family of platinum but is much cheaper and less rare, it can have a slightly 'gunmetal grey' colour. 

Pin for later

When you are buying for a loved one, look at the jewellery she wears and the jewellery in her jewellery box to ascertain what colour metal she wears and go for that. If you are buying for an investment, buy the best you can afford, which is platinum, then 18ct gold. 

I hope you like this brief guide on buying diamond jewellery. There are masses of information out there, so I have just touched on some points. Good luck in buying and let me know how you get on.
*PR collaboration

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Kaya Jewellery Competition Ends 11/06

Kaya Jewellery is a jewellery website I have recently come across. Their jewellery is aimed at mums everywhere and celebrates the special bond between mum and child. 

Founded by Dutch mum Tanja, you can see the company have really thought about what mums want. The jewellery is made of quality items - silver, precious stones, and pearls and designed to celebrate special moments like birthdays, weddings, christenings. 

They also have a range of jewellery for little girls and babies as well as unisex jewellery such as crosses for holy communion and baby bracelets as well as section of jewellery for best friends. 

Here are some of my favourite items below:-

Silver three generation 'Forever' set

This beautiful necklace set is made for three generations of the same family - grandmother, mother and daughter. Made of silver and studded with cubic zirconia so they sparkle beautifully in the light, the necklaces can be adjusted for size and each necklace comes in a pink silk jewellery pouch, so perfect to give as a gift. What amazes me is the price here, at £77.90 these necklaces are a real bargain.

Silver mum and me 'connected' bracelets

These sterling silver mother and daughter bracelet represent  'You are loved for Infinity'. Available in two sizes for children and rhodium plated to keep its shine, you can choose for these to be delivered in beautiful pouches or gorgeous little boxes. At £44.90 for two these bracelets are again very affordable and would make a great gift.

Everything on the Kaya Jewellery website is, as you can see above really affordable, yet they don't skimp on quality.  I was extremely pleased to hear that they support British craftsmen and women as all the jewellery is made in the UK too. Everything is also delivered free of charge and with free gift wrapping, you can see that they put their customer at the heart of their business.

Tanja with her children

One thing that the owner Tanja does is give a percentage of their profit to charity and last year Kaya Jewellery donated over £5000 to pay for the education of 16 children in Gambia. Something that they do not have to do so I applaud them for this.

Today on my blog I am giving you the chance of winning one of two prizes of a £40 gift voucher to spend on the Kaya Jewellery website. Entry is easy through the Gleam app below. Just enter your details and off you go. Good luck and if you want, don't forget to check out my other competitions when you are here. 

Win one of two £40 vouchers for Kaya Jewellery

As listed on The Prizefinder, LoquaxSuper LuckyCompetition Database

Friday, 19 May 2017

A Stay In A Kensington Apartment London with FG Properties

London is an expensive city to stay. It's also known for its small hotel rooms. So recently when I was invited to try out a central London apartment with FG Properties I was delighted.  

FG Properties have a range of London and Paris apartments to rent by the week or the day. The apartment we were invited to review is situated in Bina Gardens Kensington, just 10 to 15 minutes walk from the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum and a few minutes walk from Gloucester Road Tube station. With some lovely cafes and restaurants right on your doorstep too, it really is a fabulous location.

First impressions were great.  A small hallway lead into a large living room. The apartment smelt fresh and clean and looked amazing. High ceilings and big windows made the room light and airy and the room was beautifully decorated. 

We were met at the apartment by Charlotte, from City Relay the management company and shown around. A bottle of wine and chocolates added that personal touch and were much appreciated.  They certainly know how to treat their customers.

The decor was classic with some retro touches. 

I really liked the wall art, from New York, Paris and London prints, to a photo of Sean Connery looking rather suave and even a French Castrol oil poster. 

Attention to detail like this makes the apartment feel extra special.

A corner sofa was in the centre of the room and big enough to seat 4 comfortably and the dining table seated 6. The sofa was super comfy and could be used as an extra place to sleep if needed.

Two further chairs and a wooden desk were also in the room, as well as a large flat screen TV, a bookcase, coat rack and mirror.

The quality of the furnishings could not be denied. I loved the really fabulous solid wood desk.

Next to the living room was the bathroom, which included a bath, shower and toilet. Although the shower wasn't a power shower is was very effective. It's always nice to have a bathroom with a shower and a bath, as Mr W is a shower person and I love a good soak! 

The bedroom was decorated in muted tones of cream and beige - so relaxing. There was a double bed, made up and two bedside tables with lights. A large fitted wardrobe was big enough for all Mr W's clothes and mine too, which is a first! 

The kitchen was well appointed with a washing machine, gas cooker, fridge freezer, dishwasher and microwave. If you wanted to cook a simple meal, you would have everything you need. 

With all FG Properties, they like to go above and beyond what you get in a normal rental apartment. Of course, everything is exceptionally clean but to add the 'hotelesque' feel complimentary toiletries, towels and bed linen were also provided. Tea, coffee, sugar and sachets of milk were a great touch and there were enough to tide you over for a couple of days. A selection of magazines, tourist information and a map were provided and these items were extremely useful. London is such a big city and up-to-date information on 'what's on' is essential if you are exploring.

This is the second FG Properties apartment we've stayed in and cannot recommend the apartments highly enough. With prices from £79 a night you are getting a high standard of spacious and comfortable accommodation, in fantastic city centre locations. The properties are managed by City Relay who are based in Earl's Court. This dedicated professional team are your contact for any queries and advice and the office is open 9 am to 10 pm, so that is always good to know.

Highly recommended.

* We were guests of FG Properties but all words and opinions are my own


Thursday, 18 May 2017

How to Measure Your Ring Size

So, you've seen that beautiful ring in store or online and want it badly. Maybe it's a cocktail ring for that chic party, a silver ring for everyday wear or a beautiful precious engagement or wedding ring. Perhaps you just love rings and want to add to your gold or silver jewellery collection. The important thing is, you need your ring size.

Now you can measure your ring size at home but it's always best to get it double checked at a reputable jeweller as your ring size can vary due to a number of factors. 

Here are some things to take into consideration when measuring your ring size. 

Measuring your ring size at home

Many people will try the method of cutting a thin strip of paper, wrapping the paper around the finger, making a mark and then measuring with a ruler. This way you can find out your size in millimetres then convert into the more recognisable size using a guide. This way supplies you with a good starting point, however, consideration should be given to the design of the piece.

The size of the band

The size of the band or the shank width can make a difference to the size of the ring. Wide bands will grip your finger more and make it feel tighter. A jeweller will have different width ring gauges so you need to tell them what width of ring you are looking to be measured for. The greater the width of the ring, the bigger size you will generally need.

The temperature of your fingers

In the morning your fingers are general cooler and warm up during the day. This affects the size of your fingers as they will swell slightly. 
Also if you exercise, your fingers can also swell. It is always best, therefore, to get your ring size measured later in the day and after your body has cooled down from any exercise.  This can be the difference of a half to one whole size. Bare in mind you don't want your rings to be too tight in the summer months too.

Large cocktail rings

If you have a ring that is heavy on top you may want to go for a snugger fit, as this can minimise and reduce spinning. A well-fitted ring sits neatly, doesn't move around too much but still has 'wiggle' movement to remove over the knuckle if needed.

An existing ring

If you have a well-loved ring that you know already fits and is of a similar design and width you can also have this measured on a jewellery ‘ring stick’ otherwise know as a mandrel sizing tool. This is a great way to get an accurate reading and is a brilliant way to surprise a loved one as well!

Pin for later 

So these are things you need to think about when you need to measure your ring size, I hope you have found this article useful.

*PR collaboration
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