Saturday, 27 September 2014

TRAVEL: PARIS DAY 1


Day one of Paris consisted of: Arriving in Paris via the Eurostar (full post here), checking into my hotel around 3pm followed by an hour long stroll down to the Arc De Triomphe, I then wandered along the Champs Elysees - paying a visit to the mothership Sephora, as well as browsing in Zara, H&M and several other shops before stopping by Laduree to take in the beautiful displays.

I walked from the Champs Elysees up to the Sacre Coeur in Monmartre to watch the sunset and take in the breathtaking views. My first evening was rounded off with some homemade Lasagne and a glass of wine in a cute French restaurant. I then headed back to my hotel for a long soak in a hot bubble bath followed by reading my kindle in bed with some M&S's... perfect!

Highlights: That feeling of travelling alone and knowing that you're more than capable of doing it by yourself, walking along the Parisian streets in the sunshine lost in your own thoughts, watching the sun start to set over Paris from the Sacre Coeur, wondering along the Champs Elysees with not a care in the world and just generally exploring a beautiful city.

Lowlights: Underestimating Primark sandals (for roughly 15 miles of walking)... ouch!

Stay tuned for what I got up to on my second day in Paris tomorrow!


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Thursday, 25 September 2014

LIFESTYLE: CREATING AN OFFICE SPACE


Last week I did a post on my bedroom refresh for Autumn (here in case you missed it) and really enjoyed posted about more lifestyle/interiors so I've decided to do another post but this time on creating an office space. My office space is within my bedroom so it's important for me to have a separate area where I can settle down to work without my brain thinking it's time for sleeping/watching Youtube and midnight snacks! I wanted my office space to be really clear and not too cluttered (bar the Reese's peanut butter) as it's nice to see where everything is placed and it makes me feel more at ease when working if my desk is clear (a clear desk equals a clear mind and all that jazz!).

The most important part of my creative space is an office desk - I got this Habitat Quint laptop desk from Argos and I love it! It has a roll out section which I can pull out and place my laptop on there, it's also really spacious and has a drawer next to it where I keep all my current magazines, notebooks and organisers (I do love me some stationary!). I wanted to have a white desk as most of my bedroom is white - my room is fairly small in size so I thought this helped the room look bigger. I went for pops of colour in bronze and turquoise as it's nice to have a splash of colour in there. I'm going to be creating a feature wall above my desk full of my favourite quotes and prints, but more on that soon...

What do you think of my office space? Do you keep you work space separate too?


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TRAVEL: MY FIRST TRIP ON THE EUROSTAR

Eurostar
As I mentioned in my previous post I recently headed off to Paris on my own for a few days (full post on my trip and what I got up to coming tomorrow so keep an eye out for that). As well as being my first solo trip, it was also my first time on the Eurostar, a lot of my friends and family have previously travelled on the Eurostar but it was just something that I'd never gotten around too. As I was travelling on my own I thought it would be easier to travel to Paris via train rather than fly, and I was not wrong! I arrived in Paris in just over two hours after a super easy check in and boarding process, plus you get extra baggage when travelling via Eurostar rather than by plain (which my makeup bag and clothes allowance was jumping for joy at!).

My train left Kings Cross just after 10 so I stayed in London the night before so I could get a good night sleep and breakfast before my journey. When I arrived at the station it was a little daunting as the station is so huge, however the Eurostar gates are so clearly sign posted it's fool proof. I checked in (you only have to be there half an hour before which is so handy) and found a seat in the waiting area, internally squealing a little bit that I was off on my first solo trip. 

On the way to Paris I experienced the 'Standard Premier' class (fares start from £189 return) - you definitely get what you pay for when it comes to upgrading from standard. I had a big roomy seat with a foot rest, a charging point so I could charge my phone on the way there, I had a table so I could set up my laptop and crack on with some work for the two hours. You also get a selection of magazines and a light meal during the journey too - it was such a comfy, pleasurable journey and I was arriving in Paris in no time. 

Returning home to London I travelled in the 'Standard' class and I have to say it was great to experience travelling in both classes so I could get a feel for the value of the journey. Standard return fares start from £69 which I think is incredible value, the seats are smaller but still comfortable (similar to a national rail service), on the way back I didn't have a plug socket or any refreshments but I'd eaten dinner before boarding so this wasn't an issue for me. 

I would definitely recommend travelling in the standard premier if you have the extra money to spare as you will always have a more comfortable journey but there is quite a price difference, if I was to return I think I would book a standard ticket as it's such great value and the journey is just over two hours so it's not long enough to really make a difference in my eyes as my journey to work everyday is around an hour and a half. 

I absolutely loved travelling to Paris via Eurostar as it was just so easy and convenient, I will definitely be using the service again (I'm already planning my next trip to Paris with Rob so we can experience the city together!). Eurostar operates up to 18 daily services from St Pancras so there is always a convenient time to travel to fit around your plans, you can purchase tickets from Eurostar.com.

Have you travelled on the Eurostar before? 

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*A huge thank you to Eurostar for providing travel during my Paris trip, all opinions are honest and my own.
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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

LIFESTYLE: AN OVERNIGHT STAY AT THE CHARING CROSS HOTEL, LONDON


A few weeks ago I took of on my first solo adventure to Paris (more on that to come this week!), I had a failry early start to catch the Eurostar so I decided it would be easier to stay in London the night before rather than rushing around and worrying about delayed trains in the morning. The hotel is located smack bang in the middle of soho (directly above Charing Cross station funnily enough - although don't worry about train nose as I didn't hear a thing!) and is a great central location for any London stay.

I arrived at the hotel just after 6pm and checked in - the staff were so friendly and welcoming and they whisked my bags straight off to my room whilst I had a nosy around the hotel. The lobby area was really plush with a slight quirky twist (think a telephone box filled with a giant bucket of champagne... impressive eh?!). After I had checked in I unpacked my outfit for the next morning so I was all ready to head to Kings Cross, I run a hot bubble bath and flipped open my laptop to catch up on some emails and blogging.

After blogging and reading my book in the bath (so relaxing!) I settled into the worlds comfiest bed ever and caught up on some TV before getting an early night. In the morning I headed down for breakfast, I have to admit it always feels a little strange going for breakfast on your own in a hotel but I soon got over it when I saw the amazing array of food on display. I went for granola with yoghurt, some fresh fruit and a croissant (felt almost obliged to indulge as I was off to Paris for the next few days, non?). The breakfast was delicious an soon after I checked out of my hotel and headed for the Eurostar, my night at the hotel was an amazing start to my first solo trip away!

I've stayed in a hotel on my own a few times and I have to admit... I love it! It's so nice to kick back and have some 'me' time in peace, I'm talking face masks, hair treatments, tanning sessions, catching up on the latest glossy mags, it's just so relaxing and I can't think of anywhere I'd rather spend my evening than the Charing Cross Hotel - it was a truly exceptional stay at the hotel!

Have you stayed at the Charing Cross Hotel before? Did you enjoy the experience as much as I did?


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*Thank you to the Charing Cross Hotel and Guoman for helping to arrange my stay
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