Friday, 19 January 2018

Choosing A Rug For The Living Room

When it comes to giving your living room a makeover, every little detail is important. The living room is where you’re most likely to host friends and family when they come over, so design is key. Not only this, but the lounge is the room where you will kick back at the end of a long day, so you’ll be wanting a cosy environment too. One piece of furniture that can help you strike that balance is a rug. Rugs complement the decor and give a touch of comfort to the room and it is for this reason that they are a great addition to any home. But how exactly do you pick the right living room rug? 

Patterns and Colours 

Colours and patterns are the things you will be first drawn too since these elements are what let you create themes and reflections of your personality. This is great if you are starting a room from scratch, but if you’re working with an existing decor, your choice will be a bit more limited. Ultimately, you want to rug to work nicely with the room, no matter the aesthetic. Think carefully about existing accessories and furnishings so to best match your rug to the rest of the room. Alternatively, if you’re wanting your rug to be the feature piece in a room you can look at contrasting and bolder colours that will draw the eye.

Patterns are a huge trend right now.  You might be a bit apprehensive of lively colours and patterns, but the truth is that they can help to enhance the decoration of the living room beautifully. As mentioned previously, this is great if you’re wanting the rug to be the centre of attention. If bold colours really aren’t your thing, look instead to softer palettes with quieter patterns that can still add that much-needed depth and dimension to a room without being too loud.

Size and Orientation

In a rugs case, size matters. First, it is really important to measure your room before buying to make sure the rug is going to fit in the living room. There’s nothing worse than ordering a rug that is too big or too small and having to start all over again. The reason size is so important is because it needs to give a feeling of balance to the room. As well as this, the way you place the rug is also equally as important. In open spaces, you need it to have it well centralised, otherwise, the room could look like chaotic and untidy. In smaller rooms or with smaller rugs you have the luxury of using them under coffee tables or desks to highlight a certain aspect of the furniture. 


Another important feature, we often look for that warm and cosy feeling under our feet but on the other hand, we also want something practical and easy to clean. A popular rug material choice is a wool rug. These add comfort and cosiness to the room but are also easy to care for. Similarly, shaggy rugs, which are currently bang on trend, are known for their deep pile length which earns them their name. Shaggy rugs are great for adding that much-needed texture to an otherwise bland room, plus, they are great insulators for your floor. If you’ve got a busy room already, its best to avoid shaggy rugs, as they may drown the room out. 

So there you have it, a small guide to help you choose a good rug that will help you to transform your living room in a cosy cocoon.

*guest post

Thursday, 18 January 2018

How To Use The New York CityPASS

If you are coming to New York especially for the first time, there will be many sights you wish to see and many attractions you wish to visit. Of course, some are free but a number of attractions will ask you to pay for admission. One way to cut down on the cost of this is to buy a New York CityPASS.

A New York CityPASSASS is a ticket you can buy online and at participating attractions, that can save you money. It comes with a booklet that includes prepaid admission to a number of New York attractions. When you want to go to an attraction you use one of the tickets in the book, it's as simple as that. In this modern age, the booklet can be emailed to you too so you can have it on your mobile.

View from the top of the Rockefeller centre otherwise known as Top Of The Rock

With the New York CityPASS, you get admission to

1. The Empire State Building
2. The American Museum Of Natural History
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

You also get admission to the following

4. The Top of the Rock Observation Deck OR Guggenheim Museum
5. The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island OR Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
6. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum OR Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

The cost of the ticket is £96 for adults and £77 for children aged 6 to 17 and they state on the website that you would save 42%, a saving of approximately £70 if all these tickets are bought separately. If your child is under 6 then most but not all attractions featured are free. So there are big savings to be had if you plan to go to a number of these attractions but how does it work in practice? 

Top Of The Rock

Our first stop was the 'Top Of The Rock' or the top of the Rockefeller centre. We were there on a weekday morning in October around 10am. With hindsight, this was a mistake as it was very very busy! Now they say on the website you can use the New York CityPASS to skip many of the queues but here this didn't work. We were told to queue up with everyone. After queuing for what seems to have taken ages but in reality was about 40 minutes, we got to the front, only to be told that there were no tickets available until 1pm. As we were going somewhere we decided to get a ticket for the next day instead. 

The next day we turned up and were shown where to go through security. You have to go through a security scanner similar to the security you go through at the airport although it isn't as strict. Then you are guided to have a photo taken with a fake background showing you on the top of the rock (you can pay for this later).

Next, you wait for the lift and watch a short film about the history of the Rockefeller centre.  About 30 minutes later we were going up in a lift to the top of the building. 

So as you can see there is a lot of waiting around, the view, however, was amazing as you can see from the above photos!

Pros/Cons: If you use a New York CityPASS you have to queue twice here (once to purchase your ticket using your voucher in your booklet) as opposed to booking your ticket online in advance.

American Museum Of Natural History

The next day we decided to visit the American Museum Of Natural History. If you haven't visited you may be aware of this museum as it was the museum featured in the film Night At The Museum with Robin Williams. 

As we entered the building, we came across a queue again. With no obvious way of bypassing this, we queued up with everyone who hadn't obtained a ticket in advance. If you buy a ticket online you scan your ticket with museum staff for admission when you enter the museum.  

We queued here for about 25 minutes and then handed over our vouchers for an admission ticket. Our CityPASS voucher included general admission plus one special exhibition, such as a space show or giant screen film. This would have cost 28$ if we had paid online. 

A point of note here, if you just turn up the admission price is just suggested, however as you need a ticket to get in and you have to go to the ticket desk, it would be very difficult in my opinion not to make a donation.

We really enjoyed the museum. It is different to similar museums in the UK. Scenes are set out in dioramas - three-dimensional full-sized models of the habitat with life-sized models and stuffed animals.  

We did a self-guided Night At The Museum tour which I would highly recommend. We saw the capuchin monkey, the skeleton of Tyrannosaurus Rex and the towering figures from Rapa Nui all featured in the film.  If you download the official app for the museum it also helps orientate yourself to this large museum. We also saw one of the timed space shows (free with the New York CityPASS), which was fabulous if you have an interest in space. 

Pros/Cons: If you have a New York CityPASS, you have to queue to exchange your voucher for a ticket but you do get a special attraction for free such as a space show. 

9/11 Memorial and Museum

There is an option with the ticket to see either the 9/11 Memorial and Museum or the Intrepid Space and Air Museum, we decided to go to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. 

When we arrived we saw the queue outside and were worried about how long it would take to gain admission but here having the New York CityPASS was a godsend as it allowed us to skip the queues quickly! 

The museum, on the site of the World Trade Centre, documents the terrorist attacks of  September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, in New York. It examines the aftermath and also provides a memorial for nearly 3000 people killed in these attacks, and all those who risked their lives to save others. 

It is a very moving museum, made all the more relatable to us as the brother of a friend died in the World Trade Centre attack. Although we didn't know him, seeing his photo really hit home. Over 90 countries had people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 67 were British (the largest terror attack on the British) and over 6000 people were injured.  

If you are wondering if it is suitable for children then there is an area where under 10 years old are not recommended. This area has personal stories related to the attacks and could cause upset to children who may not be able to grasp the enormity of the attacks. To hear actual audio of people reporting and involved in the attacks and to see photos of the aftermath, personal items, like shoes that have been discarded makes it relatable and sobering.

Pros/Cons: You get to skip the long lines for general admission. 


If you are going to see at least four of these attractions it would probably be worth it, but do your sums, go to the individual websites and work out the difference in price. If you are going to see only a couple of attractions I would say instead buy your individual tickets online. 

As opposed to just turning up at the attraction and not buying your ticket in advance the New York CityPASS can save you queuing at some attractions.  An example of this is that when we went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum we bypassed the long ticket queue. This does not work in all locations though and ticket lines at the Top Of The Rock were especially long.

pin for later

You also get some extras with the New York CityPASS. At the Empire State Building, you get admission but also a return for the same day. This would be great to see the Empire State Building at sunset. At the Natural History Museum you also a ticket to a special timed attraction, such as a space show. 

I think the New York CityPASS is a good option if you are seeing a number of attractions and can save you money, but as always do the calculations yourself first to see if it is worth it for you.

*We were gifted New York CityPASS tickets for an honest review

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Jewellery Essentials You Need For 2018

The new year is here and that means there’s a whole 12 months ahead of us full of new styles and a fresh approach to fashion. With many high street stores and fashion powerhouses already looking towards spring styles, perhaps it’s time you took a look at your own collection of clothes and accessories ready for the upcoming seasons.

No wardrobe is complete without a set of accessories, perfectly offsetting any outfit and adding some glamour to even the simplest of garments. A good pair of earrings or an eye-catching bracelet can completely transform your look, and now is the perfect time for investing in those jewellery essentials and adding them to your 2018 wardrobe. So, if you’re hoping to kick off your jewellery collections with some of the most essential pieces in 2018, look no further. Here are just some of the jewellery essentials that should have a place in your wardrobe.

Charm Bracelet 

One of the easiest pieces of jewellery to wear, a charm bracelet can ensure your personality shines through while adding a perfect amount of arm candy to your outfit. Dainty but striking, wear your bracelet with as little as one charm or build them up; it’s a piece of jewellery that can tell a story. If your personal style is minimalistic, a charm bracelet can match your existing watch to create a carefully put-together look; if you’re a little more adventurous, choose a gold charm on a silver bracelet that stands out.

Charms can often symbolise different things; the shamrock for good luck, angel wings for protection or a heart for love. With this in mind, your charm bracelet can be a special piece that you wear daily as a reminder. Making it a staple part of your jewellery collection, charm bracelets are both versatile and beautiful.

Stacking Rings

Rings that can be worn every day have become increasingly popular; just as you’d put on your jeans every day, girls up and down the country are putting on a stack of rings to highlight their personality and add extra style to their outfits.

There are hundreds of designs to choose from and they are a very simple addition to your wardrobe. Whether you opt for simple gold or silver bands, or something a bit more ornate is down to your personal preference. Many choose to wear a plain band alongside a ring set with a gemstone or charm for extra effect, while others will wear a single ring on multiple fingers for a dazzling look.

Of course, there are also more traditional rings that you can wear every day such as signet rings or even mood rings.

Hoop Earrings

Accessorising is an important part of any outfit; look at award ceremonies and celebrities arriving on chat shows or photoshoots. It isn’t just about the clothes! Hoop earrings can offer a little something extra, and they’re great if you’ve got long hair that usually hides your smaller stud earrings.

From the smallest, most understated hoops to the biggest, they are an eye-catching accessory to add to your outfit and they go with everything. If you’re feeling particularly stylish, some hoops are designed with a small charm dangling off them for a unique look.

So here are some jewellery essentials I think you should have in your wardrobe. Let me know what you think!

*PR collaboration

Monday, 15 January 2018

5 Quirky Things To Do In London

If you visit London on a regular basis and are getting tired of the usual tourist spots, you have teenagers who like doing weird stuff or you just like doing unusual and quirky things, then this guide to my 5 quirky things to do in London may be just what you are looking for. Enjoy!

Explore mummification at the British Museum

The British Museum is a fabulous museum and has an interesting collection of items related to Egypt, Egyptian death and afterlife. In fact, it's the largest collection of Egyptian artefacts outside of Egypt.  Explore mummification, magic, rituals, coffins, masks and items designed to be buried with the deceased. Entrance to the museum is free but a donation of £5 is welcomed.

Play I-Zombie at the Novelty Automation Museum

The Novelty Automation Museum houses a number of satirical homemade arcade machines. It's owner and creator Tim Hunkin has designed some fun, modern and downright weird games such as I-Zombie where you dodge phone obsessed zombies and find out if you are one too. We enjoyed Test Your Nerve where you had to put your hand in a dogs cage and see how long you would leave it there before you lost your nerve to an angry and slobbering dog. Don't worry the dog was a model! For £20 you can do all the games. Allow an hour for a visit.

Stare at a jar of moles in the Grant Museum of Zoology

The Grant Museum of Zoology is a natural history museum that is part of University College London. This free to enter museum based in one room is fascinating for teenagers (and adults). It's one of the oldest natural history museums in the UK and is full of skeletons and animal specimens including dodo bones, a Quagga skeleton - one of the rarest in the world and various preserved animals such as giant centipedes, bats and a jar of moles. This museum is certainly worth an hour of your time and, I think I had better say this, don't visit if you are squeamish!

Sit looking at plants and a view in the Sky Garden

The Sky Garden is a large domed garden dedicated to three stories of public gardens. With an observation deck, open-air terrace with natural ventilation (bring a coat as it can be cold), bar and two restaurants, it's a cool place to visit to have a wonderful view over London. If you want to eat in one of the restaurants book 30 days in advance or you may not get in, and if you want to come and have a great view and a drink in the bar, free tickets are released a week at a time. 

Follow in the footsteps of the Prime Minister and the Queen at the Houses Of Parliment

The Houses Of Parliment is an iconic London landmark but did you know you could take a tour behind the scenes? You can find out how Parliament works as you travel through the Commons Chamber and the Lords Chamber, follow in the footsteps of the Queen at the State Opening and be inspired by Westminster Hall which is almost 1000 years old. Prices are from £25 per adult. There are also family tours aimed at children 7 to 12 and all kids go free!

Pin for later

Other quirky things to do include visiting the eclectic modern art at the Tate Modern, take a trip with a breathtaking view on the Emirates Skyline, getting scared by the undead at the London Dungeon and see oddballs debating at Speakers Corner Hyde Park. 

For further inspiration for London Itineraries check out this link. Have you visited any of these attractions? Do you know any quirky places to visit in London?

*PR collaboration 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

5 Retro Products Making A Comeback

The 20th and 21st centuries have been the most technologically advanced ever. If you were to say to someone 300 years ago that we would have planes flying in the air, cars driving on the road, boxes that we watched moving pictures on and devices that we could call someone on with no wires, they’d be astounded. Let’s not even get started on the internet or games consoles - there is so much that has happened in the last 100 or so years, it is hard to believe and I doubt people from 300 years ago would believe it at all, don’t you?

We all know that technology today is fantastic but have you noticed that devices of yesteryear are starting to make a comeback? It seems our passion for nostalgia is filtering through into our buying habits and we are seeing popular products from decades ago being bought and used in our households.

So what retro products have I seen making a comeback?


Turntables were extremely popular back in the Seventies and now this retro product is making a massive comeback. Of course, these turntables have been modernised a little for today’s buyers with features such as Bluetooth and USB functionality but it is clear to see that the passion for them from the Seventies hasn’t waned and they are still as popular as ever.


As you would expect, vinyl records are also making a comeback so we can play them on our turntables. Many people still have their collections from years ago and can now add to their collection once more! Of course, vinyl records have still been produced in recent times but were nowhere near as popular as they are once again - do you own any vinyl records?

Polaroid Cameras

Polaroid cameras also seem to be making their way back to buyer’s hearts. As well as the branded items, you have the similar items from other brands such as the Instax. These are perhaps the most popular photography products on the market right now and it is easy to see why - who doesn’t love instant photography?

Nokia 3310

Who remembers their first mobile phone - and how many of us owned a 3310? Nokia know just how popular this model was and not too long ago released a new 3310 for those wishing for the phones of yesteryear and introducing a whole new generation to Snake - perhaps the greatest game on the planet, right?


The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a 16-bit home video game console which was developed by Nintendo in 1990 in Japan. Have you recently noticed it back on the market? This is perhaps one of the most popular gaming systems of all time so it is no wonder Nintendo released it once again for a whole new generation of gamers to enjoy - and some old gamers to relive past glory.

Did you own any of these products back in the day and are you planning on picking them up now they’re popular once again?

*PR collaboration

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Luxury Games Rooms That Will Leave You Amazed

For the person who has everything, why not have a games room in your home? Rather than just have an Xbox and a gaming chair, really go to town on the luxury theme, having a snooker table, poker table or arcade games can really appeal to all level of gamers. There is a wide range of amazing products available that can really add to the room and create a great atmosphere.

Unwinding from school or work is essential for future performance and productivity. Indulging in games in a luxury environment can be a great stress reliever and help relieve the strains of day to day life.  Also providing a communal space for family members to partake in games and activities will provide the platform for stronger camaraderie and togetherness as well as helping children to learn about rules, taking turns and working together. 

Check out images of games rooms on Houzz, showcasing a selection of dynamic and creative gaming rooms that have strong and appealing designs. Whether you reside in a large bedroomed house or a small studio flat, there are lots of fun and imaginative ways to incorporate gaming devices in a stylish fashion. 

When you are looking at a choice of games as well as incorporating a games console, think about snooker or pool tables, board games, air hockey and more. Add a retro feel with a jukebox, and ensure you have a small fridge or cooler to keep your drinks and snacks fresh.

Space may be at a premium so compromising on your already existing space has now been alleviated by a range of clever luxury convertible snooker tables for sale at Hamilton Billiards. The designs allow people to dine, as well as converting into a pool table at the end of the day. This concept is proving popular and could be the strong and practical focal point for your gaming themed room.

If you’re suddenly feeling flush, then their crowning glory is the full-sized iron turned leg table by Harris, currently priced at £35,000. The Victorian design is extremely rare and boasts 24-carat gold figuring embellishments as well as dynamic mahogany cushions. 

To make your new gaming room really stand out you need to ensure you are using products that are both reliable and of a quality design. There is a wide range of accessories at Ironmongery Experts for adding that quality finishing touch to your games room.

If you want to check out more posts on how to create a sophisticated and stylish games room, this post on 
Fashion And Style Police will give you more ideas.

Having a games room in your home can really benefit the whole family and can strengthen bonds as well as being great for escapism and stress relief. Why not invest some time and money in a games room and reap the rewards in 2018.

* Guest post

Friday, 12 January 2018

Budget Vs Luxury Travel - Tips To Make A Budget Experience More Luxurious

Being able to travel is a luxury many of us in the western world take for granted. Flights are so cheap these days and with a quick hop onboard a flight or a boat you can be transported to a new country in no time.

But what type of traveller are you, are you a luxury traveller or a budget traveller, or somewhere inbetween? You may not compromise on luxury hotels but don't mind flying in economy, or do you prefer to stay in hostels but love spending money on food?

To address what type of traveller you are I think we need to break it down. The important thing is what actually matters to you and what experiences do you prefer to pay for?


upper class on Virgin Atlantic on the Dreamliner

For example, you may be happy to pay for cheap flights yet on the other hand the extra legroom, improved food and attentive service may mean you prefer a premium economy, upper class or business class service. A case in point, is that I am happy to pay for extra legroom on the plane as I am a nervous flyer and feel more comfortable with the extra space. Flying to Boston upper class on Virgin Atlantic was amazing and something I would definitely repeat if I had the money again. Alternatively you may feel that you would rather fly economy and then have more spending money when you get to your destination. 

If you fly economy on long haul there are some things that can do to make the experience more luxurious.

  • Take noise cancelling headphones.
  • Pack some toiletries to pamper yourself on the plane.
  • Buy some luxury foodie treats in duty free.
  • Take a good travel pillow, slipper socks and lightweight blanket to make you feel more comfortable.
  • Download your favourite movies to your laptop or portable device so you can watch on the plane, especially a good idea if you do not have an entertainment system available or you have to pay for it.


Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees Lake Maggiore Italy

Luxury hotels in popular tourist destinations can be very expensive. Personally we enjoy staying in luxury hotels but ones where we still feel we are getting value for money for. For example, some hotels will give you breakfast in with the rate if you book direct through them and not a third party. A trend I have noticed is that some boutique hotels will offer snacks and wine in the night compliementary too. A way to save money if there are more than two of you, could be to book an apartment, where you will get more space than a standard hotel room, and often at a similar price.

To save money here are some things you should take into consideration when booking a luxury hotel.

  • Travel in low season as prices are often cheaper.
  • Stay in a luxury hotel slightly further out from the main attractions as prices will be more competitive.
  • Check that you are getting extras such as a free breakfast, coffee and tea or snacks and wine in the evening.
  • Use comparison sites to look for hotels, but then consider booking direct as you may get extra perks such as free wi-fi or breakfast.
Eating out

Gabriel Kreuther - 1 Michelin star restaurant in New York

Eating out can be relatively cheap if you know the spots the locals go. However you may want to go to that cool roof top bar or Michelin star restaurant that you don't get the chance to visit everyday. Think about how important it is to you to have that gourmet food or expensive cocktail or would you rather save money eating in simple restaurant, cafes or bars.

To save money eating and drinking out here are some things you could consider.

  • If you want to go to a special restaurant with gourmet food, consider going at lunchtime when most have cheaper menus. We did this in a Michelin star restaurant in New York and saved a fortune.
  • Check out TripAdvisor and Yelp for reviews, and ask the hotel staff for recommendations for good quality food that won't break the bank. 
  • Make use of hotels 'Happy Hours' for cocktails and cut priced alchoholic drinks.
  • Drink locally produced alcohol which will be cheaper than imported drinks.
  • Check restaurant and special deal websites like Groupon as you may get money off vouchers or cut priced deals. Restaurants in the US are particularly good at taking money off vouchers.
Car Hire

Car hire prices can vary a lot depending on the age of the driver, the size of car, the type of car and if you are driving through borders and countries.

To save money on car hire consider the following.

  • How far are you travelling? If you are hiring a car for the day you could get away with a smaller car but if you are planning a road trip a more comfortable car would be preferable.
  • Get the smallest size car in the most comfortable category you can. 
  • When only a large car will do, don't forget to use price comparison sites for the best deal in car hire such as Dealcheker.
  • Consider a higher excess to reduce price, but only do this carefully, weigh up the roads you are driving on and any hazards you may encounter.
  • A local car hire company may offer cheaper prices but there is something to be said for going with a company you can trust and has an international reputation to uphold.

Dealchecker a comparison site that lets you save money on travel, have looked at research into budget vs luxury travel and as you can see below, the savings are staggering. Even if you do have the money to book a luxury hotel and premium flight service you may just want to save the money to spend on something else - like more travelling!

Let me know, are you a budget traveller, luxury traveller or somewhere in between? What do you like spending money on, whilst on vacation?

*PR Collaboration


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Win a Designer Jewellery Set From Fei Liu Fine Jewellery Ends 06/02

Fei Liu Fine Jewellery is a designer jewellery brand I came across a few years ago at a jewellery show. The eye-catching, feminine designs were slightly different to everything you saw on the high street but the jewellery was still very wearable and pretty. This was a jewellery brand to watch, I just knew it.

Serenity pendant 18ct rose gold on silver vermeil £115

At the heart of the brand is award-winning jewellery designer Fei Liu. Combining his love for gemstones and art, Liu chose to study a degree at Birmingham’s prestigious School of Jewellery. After completing his BA (Honours) in Jewellery and Silversmithing, he went on to create his own brand called Fei Liu Jewellery.

Shooting star silver blue topaz choker £650

Combining the aesthetics and design of his Eastern heritage with his experience of living in a Western culture, his jewellery is visually creative and unique. A philosophy, which has gained his brand a number of awards including 2016 Finalist Jewellery Designer of the Year and 2015 International Jewellery London Editor’s Choice Awards for Visual Impact.

With luxury fine jewellery at its core, Fei Liu now designs a range of collections in platinum, gold and silver and a bespoke service second to none. 
Snowdrop pearl ring silver with cubic zirconia £90

Today, Fei Liu continues to find success both in China and in Britain. His jewellery is retailed in over 70 boutiques throughout the UK, France and China, along with having had work exhibited in world- famous department stores Liberty and Harrods.

Whispering hollow teardrop pendant in black rhodium with purple amethyst 18ct white gold £1625

His jewellery has also been worn by celebs around the world including X Factor judge and singer Danni Minogue, Girls Aloud singer Kimberly Walsh and Britain's Got Talent judge and actor Amanda Holden. 

Serenity earrings 18ct rose gold on silver vermeil £115

My favourite jewellery pieces from the Fei Liu Fine Jewellery website are shown on this page.

I particularly love the Serenity range. The design has a beautiful flowing organic shape, based on the flow and curves of incense smoke. Incense has been used for centuries to promote a calm and tranquil environment, and Fei Liu has translated this perfectly into the jewellery design.

Cascade mini bracelet in silver rhodium vermeil £125

Another range which is visually stunning is the Cascade range. Cascade is a delicate but intricate design inspired by running water. Each piece from the range is studded with pave set cubic zirconia to imitate the sparkle of water. How gorgeous is this bracelet above? 

But enough talking, let's tell you about a great discount I can offer you just in time for Valentines Day and also about the chance to win the beautiful Serenity rose gold vermeil necklace and earring set featured on this page worth £230.

Firstly, to get an amazing 30% discount on Fei Liu Fine Jewellery enter the code MELLISSA into the checkout when making an order, but be quick, as this offer ends on the 28/02/2018.

Secondly, to win the gorgeous Serenity necklace in rose gold vermeil worth £115 and matching earrings also worth £115, pop over to the Fei Liu Fine Jewellery website to find your favourite item and then enter the competition on the app below. If you love the jewellery as much as me, why not bookmark this page and enter every day on Twitter. 

Good luck!

Win a jewellery set with Fei Liu jewellery

Monday, 8 January 2018

Hotel Baseler Hof Hamburg Review

Right in the middle of Hamburg is the four-star Hotel Baseler Hof. This privately owned, family-run hotel is in the traditional style, a short walk from the beautiful town hall called The Rathaus, and close to the Alster lake.

I stayed there recently as part of the Come To Hamburg scheme, where bloggers are invited to Hamburg to see what this vibrant city has to offer and to write about it for their readers.

Check-in at Hotel Baseler Hof was super quick and efficient. I've always found this when I have visited Germany and this hotel was no exception. The manager and reception staff were really friendly and we were given free tickets to use on public transport for three days with our booking. This is a great perk of staying here and all guests are given this benefit, which is a fabulous touch.

Our room was on the 6th floor and was a corner room, with a partial view of the Alster lake. We were really pleased with the room, it was clean, bright and well appointed. It was nice not to see a carpet for a change, as I think it is always difficult to make it super clean in a hotel. 

The bed was two singles put together, which is often the way in some parts of Europe. This never bothers me, as Mr W usually stays on his side, something he rarely does when we have a double bed!

The bathroom was exceptionally clean and consisted of a sink, shower and toilet. Body wash was provided, a magnifying mirror and small hairdryer.  If you want conditioner I would bring your own. 

Black and white wall and floor tiles kept the design simple and chic.

Back in the lounge area, tea and coffee making facilities were provided and a basket of fruit was a welcomed touch courtesy of the hotel. The tea had an interesting selection from Asaam to Darjeeling and even Rooibos vanilla tea. 

A small flat screen TV, a CD player, minibar, in-room safe and chair and desk were also in the room. 

The only English channel we could find was BBC News, however, so if you have kids consider bringing something to entertain them like a tablet with movies or games downloaded.

A selection of fiction books was available in the room and is a nice surprise (if you can read German).

That night we slept well in the comfy beds, and liked the fact that the beds were not too hard or too soft so Goldilocks would have been really pleased! So down to breakfast...

Breakfast was great. A selection of meats and cheeses, smoked salmon, fresh fruit salad, yoghurts, homemade Bircher muesli and other cereals were included.  Hot items such as hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages were also available.  It's always interesting to see the items at breakfast we don't have in a UK hotel and herring salad and potato salad were featured here. 

A variety of juices, coffee and an impressive selection of tea was also available as well as cows milk and soya milk. My only comment would be that it would have been nice to have fresh juice instead of longlife juice.

Fruit tea and herbal tea, loose and in tea bags were available, as well as Assam tea, the nearest to English Breakfast tea. 

Croissants and a mouthwatering selection of cakes were also available and looked really fresh.

A selection of cereals included cornflakes, chocolate pops and three types of muesli as well as freshly made Bircher muesli that I had every day. Delicious!

If you are a meat fiend like my son, you will appreciate the sausages and super crispy streaky bacon, similar to the style they have in the US, deep fried and crunchy. 

So you can see there is a wide choice of options for most people for breakfast, both healthy and not so healthy.

So after breakfast, I went on a wander of the other facilities in the hotel. There is a small gym with a few different exercise machines, towels and changing facilities. The hotel also has a sauna which you can use to relax in.

Next, to the reception, there was a large lounge and bar area, where you can order wine, beers, spirits, cocktails and tea, coffee and soft drinks. 

I can recommend the hot chocolate which was delicious and came with scrumptious little biscuits. 

Little touches in the lounge were lovely, like a chess set to play with, a bowl full of fruit and nuts and a selection of local magazines.

In the hotel, there is the main restaurant as well as a bistro and wine bar. The main restaurant serves classic German dishes such as Hamburg fish with mustard sauce and fried potatoes and homemade bratwurst with apple sour cabbage and mash. 

Main courses were priced roughly from 15 to 30 Euros. We didn't have the chance to try the food as the restaurant was closed on our first night (Sunday) and we had reservations for the other nights, but the menu online looked enticing. 

The Hotel Baseler Hof is a well-situated hotel in the centre of Hamburg a short 10-minute walk from the Rathaus area. The hotel staff were friendly, efficient, and very helpful. Room prices were from 81 euros for a single room to 146 euros for the superior room we had. Suites are also available from 200 euros per night.

We enjoyed our stay at the Hotel Baseler Hof and were particularly impressed with how super clean the rooms were and the lovely buffet breakfast. The lounge area was also cosy and a nice respite from the December cold weather at the end of the night. We had a few cocktails and hot chocolates in the lounge and it was a lovely place to chill.

The Rathaus Hamburg

A big plus point was the excellent location, and with two of the best Christmas markets, around the Alster Lake and the Rathaus, a short walk away as well as many shops and restaurants on your doorstep it was perfectly located. 

One of the many 15 Christmas markets in Hamburg. This one is a five-minute walk

If you want to see more, check out the video below from the travel blog and YouTube channel Fly Drive Explore that I create with my husband. 

We both said we would be very happy to stay here again. The Hotel Baseler Hof in Hamburg is a traditional four-star hotel, in a great location, with efficient pleasant staff and a decent breakfast.  Recommended.

Hotel Baseler Hof  
Esplanade 11
Tel. 040 - 35 90 60 

*We were guests of Come To Hamburg

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