January Sales: My Picks

30 December 2016

I make it no secret that I enjoy the finer things in life, and that I'm a bit of a shopaholic. However, my budget unfortunately doesn't stretch as far as I'd maybe like it to, so the sales are my saviour. Say what you like about sale shoppers (I used to work in Next, so believe me when I say: I've seen the worst of them), but it's personally something I'm unashamed of. Sale shopping allows me to look the way I want to, dressed in the brands I'd like to be dressed in...all whilst being able to pay my extortionate rent. 

Sale shopping can be daunting though...where to look? Is it a good deal? Would I even want this if it wasn't on sale?...the list goes on. So today I've rounded up some of my top sales picks - happy shopping!

The Ultimate Paris Guide

29 December 2016

Ahh Paris, the city of lights, how I love you. This blog post has taken me a while to publish (I returned from my trip over a month ago now - how time flies!), but I wanted to make sure I got it right. To me, like many across the globe, Paris is a very special city - there's just something about it - and I didn't feel that I'd be doing it, or any of you, justice if I rushed through a guide to the city. 

Top 10 Travel Moments of 2016

28 December 2016

2016 has been a year of change for me, full of some of the best times, and some of the worst. I started the year stuck in a rut, completely unhappy at where my life had taken me and generally down in the dumps. Unwilling to just sulk and hope my life worked itself out, I threw myself into my work, finally took the plunge and changed my blog direction, leaving me feeling a whole lot happier at the end of the year. 2016 was also the year I thew myself into travel, which is how 'Sail Away' came about really, so what better way to end the year, than by recapping some of my travel highlights. So, in no particular order...

1. Learning to sail.

This isn't something I thought I'd be doing this year, but in June we sailed to Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It was torrential rain the whole way through, but even that didn't spoil the fun! So much so, that we're looking at sailing again this year. 

2. Shooting machine guns in Las Vegas.

Again, not something I'd have imagined myself doing this year, and definitely not one for everyone, but if you don't mind playing with guns (in a safe & controlled environment - they don't just let you loose in the desert!) then I'd definitely recommend a visit - it's something I'll remember forever. 

3. Looking out over the Grand Canyon in Arizona. 

Visiting the Grand Canyon is something that's been on my bucket list for so long, and this year I was finally able to make that dream a reality. Looking out over the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, and reminded me of just how small we really are - a truly unforgettable experience.

4. Spending the night at a traditional arabic camp in Dubai.

This is something I've done before, but I wanted to show my friend who I was travelling with just how magical it can be. When you think of Dubai you often think of the flashy lights and super yachts, but taking the time to visit old Dubai is something truly wonderful. 

5. Eating French food in Paris.

Paris is somewhere that I've wanted to visit for my entire life, and with it being so close to the UK, it's a wonder I'd never been before! Eating French food in a little parisian restaurant was the dream, and I can't wait to return one day.

6. Winning on the slots in Las Vegas.

My trip to Las Vegas was one of my favourites this year, and in true Vegas style, of course I had a go at the slots...in fact, I had more than a go - I won! Okay, so it may have only been $180 but still, I felt like a millionaire when those bells started ringing!

7. Watching the world go by at the top of the Burj Khalifa.

The viewing platform at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is another thing which reminded me of just how small we all are. I've been to viewing platforms before, but nothing compares to the Burj Khalifa, I've never seen giant sky scrapers look so teeny!

8. Gazing up at the Eiffel Tower. 

As I said, Paris has been on my mind for years. Sitting on the platform at the Trocadero, gazing up at the magnificent Tour Eiffel, I felt like all of my dreams had come true - there's something so magical about Paris, and this view captured that magic perfectly.

9. Pumpkin picking in Surrey. 

Okay so maybe I didn't have to travel too far for this one, but I'd still like to include it as it was so much fun. This year we did the cliche 'blogger thing' and headed to the Pumpkin Patch on Halloween, and we had a great time so I'll definitely be doing it again this year!

10. Flying Business Class with British Airways.

This last one technically isn't about the destination, more the journey. I recently flew business class with British Airways (to Munich and back in a day!) and it was such a dream. I'm always in the cheap seats right at the back of the plane, so being able to experience business was such a treat! 

5 Cocktails to ring in the New Year

27 December 2016

Whether you're planning a cosy night in with your loved ones, or you're the hostess with the mostest this year, these fun cocktails will add a little sparkle to your celebrations, and make this New Years Eve one to remember. So today, in preparation for the big day, I'll be sharing my favourite cocktails to compliment the perfect NYE party.

1. French Pear Martini | Recipe Here

If you're looking for sophistication and elegance this New Years, then look no further than the French Pear Martini - sure to be a crowd pleaser!

2. Raspberry Pink Champagne Floats | Recipe Here

These raspberry pink champagne floats create a sweet mix of fruity and bubbly - refreshing, fabulous and super easy! Champagne isn't always for everyone, but the addition of raspberry sorbet sweetens the taste, making it much easier to drink (so be careful!).

3. Sparkling Sake and Cranberry Punch | Recipe Here

This sparkling cranberry punch is perfect for a crowd. It's an easy and effervescent sip that combines the cold, crisp character of sake with the delicate, bubbly sweetness of elderflower soda.

4. Jingle Juice | Recipe Here

Again, if you're entertaining a crowd, this is the perfect drink. It's warming yet refreshing and perfect for the occasion.

5. The Bramble | Recipe Here

The Bramble is a classic, and something I find always goes down well at parties - light, refreshing and perfect for entertaining.

Happy New Year, however you're celebrating!


A Christmas Shindig in London

20 December 2016

Tomorrow I'm heading out of London for the final time this year, but not before one final Christmas shindig with my adopted family here in London town...

After deliberating for weeks on how best to celebrate Christmas in London before we all head home for the holidays, we decided on a traditional Christmas Day, complete with a turkey dinner, presents, drinking and of course, some games! 

The table was set with a white and gold theme, to match our living room, and adorned with the most adorable dining accessories from Paperchase. Paperchase have some of the cutest Christmas decorations this year, and we couldn't resist picking up their felt table scatter (the gingerbread men are the cutest!), 'peace, love and mince pies' napkins, these 'fire glowing, champagne flowing' coasters and the most adorable mince pie plates! The whole house loved them and they really helped set the scene. 

Whilst Christmas music was playing, we all joined in to cook a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings, before sitting down to devour every last bit - it was so delicious we all went in for seconds before heading straight into a food coma!

After dinner, we sat around and played charades, talked about the year we've just spent together and some of the memories we share...our sailing trip to Cowes, various family dinners and of course Halloween movie nights which are burned into my memory. After we'd drank our way through a few bottles of Prosecco (it's tradition...), we played 'Cards Against Humanity' (not one for the easily offended) and eventually took ourselves to bed to sleep off the copious amounts of food and drink. 

The evening was perfect, and it was the most special way to round off what has been a great year with my adopted London family. 

Merry Christmas x

Alpine Dining in the City

5 December 2016

When it comes to festive fun, London get's it right year after year. However, instead of telling you all about the obvious ones...Winter Wonderland, Ice Skating at Somerset House, etc...I thought I'd tell you about our very own Alpine Lodge, located right in the heart of the city. There's a few of these dotted around London, Dalloway Terrace being the obvious choice, however around this time of the year they're more often than not completely packed out...honestly, try getting a reservation for a Friday or Saturday - completely impossible! 

Which brings me to my hidden alpine secret - Lodge D'Argent. Lodge D'Argent is the festive version of the restaurant, Coq D'Argent, and trust me when I say, it's complete festive goals! The restaurant is located right next to Bank station, on the roof terrace of 1 Poultry, so perfect for an after work treat. 

For the festive season, the bar and terrace area of the restaurant have been completely transformed into your typical alpine lodge - perfect for giving you all of the Christmas feels! The sheepskin blankets and patio heaters are on hand to keep you toasty while you indulge in one of their signature festive cocktails and take in the dreamy city views. 

The restaurant is located inside, and is unfortunately not lodge themed, but perfect all the same. It is quite pricey, which reflects the quality of the food, but if you're on more of a budget then I'd recommend heading over on a Sunday to take full advantage of their brunch menu. On Sundays, you can get two courses for £26 or 3 courses for £29. As the price difference was so teeny, we decided to go all out with the full three course brunch - which was absolutely divine. For starters I indulged in the most delicious black truffle and ricotta tortellini, followed by Croque Madame, and I couldn't resist the creme brûlée to finish. 

If you're looking for some festive fun and exquisite dining, then I'd definitely recommend heading over to Lodge D'Argent - and if you're into your city views, then head over at night as they've got a lovely view of the gherkin! 

Postcards from Paris - Day 3

4 December 2016

On our third and final day in Paris, we had a lot of things we still wanted to see. Eager to cram in as much as possible, we headed out bright and early (after a quick pitstop at Starbucks to caffinate), taking the metro back to the Trocadero. 

Although we'd been the night before, we still wanted to see the Eiffel Tower in all of it's glory during sunlight, and the Trocadero really is the best place to take it all in. It turns out that Sunday morning is a great time to visit, as the crowds are much less and the sun created the most beautiful haze over the monument. 

After we'd spent way longer than anticipated at the Trocadero, we headed down to Rue Cambon for brunch at the Frog Hop House. The Frog Hop House is perfect if you want an easy, boozy brunch - which was exactly what we were looking for. I wen't for the halloumi and eggs...and a Piña Colada...as you do. The food was delicious and the staff were so friendly, it was the perfect way to start off our Sunday. 

Whilst we were in the area, we headed to Chanel at 31, Rue Cambon. Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel's story is always one I've admired - how she broke convention with her classic and free-from-constraint designs, reflecting the way she lived her life - so to visit her first store, is something that I'll cherish forever. Much like her designs, the store is simple and understated - and of course, monochrome. 

After we'd finished admiring the beauty of Chanel on 31, Rue Cambon, we headed down the road to the Place Vendôme to admire the infamous blue Chanel door. Made famous by Instagram, I sure as hell wasn't going to miss my Chanel moment. The whole of the Place Vendôme is stunning, and incredibly festive. All of the designer stores have the famous parisian doors, festive window displays and the two Christmas trees which sit triumphantly in the middle of the square are understated and beautiful. 

We then took a stroll down the road to pick up some souvenirs from our trip. I like to pick up at least one little souvenir from each place I visit, to remember my time, and so that my home is decorated with a little piece of the world I've travelled - it brings back lovely memories and keeps me thinking about the happy times. We then wandered down to one of my favourite places in Paris, the Palais Royal. 

After we'd finished wandering the grounds of the Palais Royal, it was sadly time to head back to the hotel and collect our cases. We headed back to Charles De Gaulle Airport for our flight to Heathrow and that unfortunately marked the end of our trip. I had a wonderful time in Paris and it was a trip I'll never forget. It's true what they say, à paris la vie est belle. 

Postcards from Paris - Day 2

3 December 2016

On day 2 in Paris, we were still suitcase-less and it was really starting to take it's toll. We'd had to sleep in our clothes, with no toiletries and what was supposed to be a fashion-filled girly weekend was turning into something much less stylish. Determined to not let this completely ruin our weekend, we all swapped coats (that's a new outfit, right?), threw on our sunglasses and hit the streets of Paris for our second day. 

First thing on the agenda was definitely breakfast. We'd initially planned to travel up to the Sacre Coeur that morning and to grab breakfast while we were up there, but unfortunately we needed to spend the morning shopping for necessities and new clothes in case our suitcase never turned up. Instead, we headed down the road from our hotel to the Galleries Lafayette and dived into a teeny french café. The café was your typical French bistro, serving up everything from croissants to croque madame to delight your tastebuds...and of course, wine. All three of us opted for the Croque Madame (cheese, eggs and bread?! yes please.) and a much needed coffee. Feeling a lot better after breakfast, we hit Sephora and the Galleries Lafayette and came out with a whole new outfit and toiletries to change into. 

After shopping we headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower and outfit change. As we got back to the hotel we found that our case had just arrived (at around 3pm) so we decided we would spend a bit of time at the hotel doing our hair and makeup, and generally making ourselves feel human again. 

Leaving the hotel feeling refreshed, we headed to the Place de la Concorde. The Place de la Concorde is located in the city's eighth arrondissement at the eastern end of the Champs-Elysées, and is the largest public square in the city. More importantly though, it's home to the famous fountain in the Devil Wears Prada. The Devil Wears Prada is one of my all time favourite feel-good films, and the fountain scene happens to be my favourite, so I felt incredibly lucky to be able to see it for myself. 

The site also has historical significance, as an important part of the French Revolution. During the French Revolution the statue of Louis XV of France was torn down and the area was renamed Place de la Révolution. The new revolutionary government erected the guillotine in the square, and it was there that King Louis XVI was executed in 1793. Other important historical figures were also guillotined on the site, often in front of cheering crowds, such as Marie Antoinette, Princess Elisabeth of France, Georges Danton and Olympe de Gouges. Standing in the square now, it's hard to think that such horror occurred there back in the 1700s. 

After we'd finished at the Place de la Concorde, we headed to the infamous Angelia Paris to warm up with some hot chocolate and cake. When we were planning our weekend, we knew that a trip to Angelina was an absolute must. Frequented by Coco Chanel herself, their restaurant has become famous across the globe and their hot chocolate is to die for - The famous african hot chocolate is composed of three carefully selected kinds of African cocoa sourced from Niger, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, and is unlike anything I've ever tasted. 

The restaurant itself is beautiful, with it's typical french interiors and friendly staff, and the cakes are out of this world. Never one to shy away from a chocolate overload, I chose the 'Vienne'. As a reminder of the company's Austrian origins, the chefs have given the traditional chocolate Viennese pastry a new twist for the festive season - offering an alliance of three chocolates, worked in several different ways. It was delicious and if you're passing by any of their stores you have to give this a go!

It was dark by the time we left Angelina (the one bad thing about winter in Paris - the sun goes down at around 4pm!) so we headed to the Trocadero to take in the sparkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel Tower is one of my favourite monuments in the world, so to see it sparkling away right in-front of me was so special. The Eiffel Tower lights up every night, but on the hour, it switches on its sparkling lights for the prettiest of light shows. We waited a whole hour in the cold to see the lights twinkle, and it was so worth it - one of the highlights of my trip. 

After we were finished at the Eiffel Tower, we headed back to the hotel to prepare for dinner at A la Cloche d'Or, a french restaurant located right next to the Moulin Rouge. As the Parisians do, we headed out for dinner late and went fully French with our meal choices. First we had escargot and the best baked camembert I've ever had, followed by a selection of French meat dishes ad to round off we indulged in a trio of sorbet. The food was amazing and the restaurant had such a lovely atmosphere, I'd definitely recommend for anyone looking for a French feast in Paris!

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