A Night at the Ned, London

18 September 2019


Following my little staycation at The Artist's Residence in London, I told myself I really must do it again...so I did! Last week I was fortunate enough to stay in The Ned in London for a night which was just too dreamy not to share. 

The Ned is one of my favourite places to go for dinner and drinks anyway, so to get to stay the night was just the ultimate dream come true. As it's a private members club {and I don't have a membership} I often don't get to see most of the hotel including it's amazing roof bar and vault bar, however, if you're staying in one of the larger rooms you get access to these areas which I was just so excited about.

The view from our private terrace!
For a little bit of background in case you didn't know, the Ned is located in an old bank and has kept all of it's original features. All of the restaurants are located in the old banking hall, and all of the rooms are different sizes/designs, etc in keeping with how the original building is set out. The suite we stayed in was the Duplex Suite, which spans two floors and comes with access to the Ned's Club Downstairs and the Ned's Club Upstairs - winning!




The ground floor of the suite comes complete with a large bar, a dining table for 6, it's own private terrace with views over Princes Street and the Bank of England - which was so dreamy on a warm September night! Upstairs, you'll find a king sized bed with a roll top bath perfectly positioned at the end, complete with Cowshed goodies and the dreamiest of bathrooms 😍. It's the most luxurious room I've ever (and probably will ever) stay in, I honestly didn't want to leave!



The room has everything you could think of included - hairdryers, straighteners, chargers, plug adaptors, umbrellas...no detail hasn't been thought of. You can even order from the Net-A-Porter catalogue and they'll deliver it to you in an hour if you've forgotten anything! The bathroom also comes completely stocked with anything you could possibly need, and it's all Cowshed branded too so you know you're onto a winner!




After we'd finished working for the day, we headed upstairs to Ned's Club Upstairs for some sunset drinks..and what a sunset we were greeted with! We managed to bag two chairs right next to the pool with spectacular views of the sun setting behind St Paul's - it was the perfect spot for an after work cocktail and a bit of a catch up.

We weren't blown away with the menu at either of the Ned's Club restaurants and fancied a bit of pasta, so after we'd finished our drinks and the sun had set we headed back to the main banking hall where all of the restaurants are located. It was heaving which we didn't expect considering it was a Tuesday, and it was a very different crowd to what you'd find at the weekend, but the atmosphere was great. We headed to Cecconi's, the Italian restaurant for some wine and carbs, which was the perfect end to the night.

After we'd filled ourselves up we retired back to our suite and nodded off in one of the comfiest beds I've ever slept in...we even checked where they bought the sheets from so we could recreate the softness at home! Considering the hotel is located right in the heart of the city, it was completely silent while we slept...you couldn't hear a peep and the curtains blocked out all of the light pollution which Londoners are constantly having to sleep through - it was dreamy! I never sleep through the night at home because of all of the light and noise, but this time I slept right through until my alarm went off at 6.30am. The curtains even open with a remote control so you don't even have to leave your bed, so extra!



Having woken up feeling completely refreshed, we headed down to the spa for an early morning swim and sauna before work. As we stayed in the week and headed to the pool at peak 'before work' time, it was pretty busy so I think if you had time to go for a swim during the day or at the weekend, it would probably be more of a relaxing experience but it was still a lovely way to start the day...and the cowshed products in the changing rooms were a lovely little added extra! We quickly got ready and headed back up to the room where we had breakfast delivered to our door (who do we think we are?!). I went for poached eggs on toasted sourdough, and let me tell you...they were the best eggs and toast I've had in ages - I definitely need to start investing in Clarence Court eggs at home!

We did have to start work at 8.30am, so we packed up and headed home which was a heartbreaking after such a lovely stay (not quite as heartbreaking as the £85 a night room charge on top of what we'd payed for the room) but I'm sure I'll be back soon!

xo Becky 

Three Days in Toronto

24 July 2019


As I sit writing this blog post we're currently in the middle of a heatwave here in the UK...I've set up shop in a shady spot in my garden with an ice lolly so for now I'm loving this weather {not so much when trying to sleep or commute!}. All of the heat got me reminiscing on my recent travels and I realised that I'd never shared most of my trip, only the few days we spent in Nashville which you can read about here

Before we headed down to Nashville, we travelled from London to Toronto for two days in the city and one day in Niagara, so today I thought I'd share some of my favourite bits of Toronto. I won't share our entire weekend itinerary as to be honest, we were quite jet lagged, it rained solidly for one of the days so we couldn't see the CNN tower and spent hours trying to retrieve my misplaced passport...so these are the good bits 😂


We started off our trip with a little visit to Mildred's Temple Kitchen for Sunday brunch, which had come highly recommended to me. They don't take reservations and it's very popular with the locals, so expect a little queue...but let me tell you, it is so worth the wait. I wen't for the Blueberry Pancakes which have been named as the best pancakes in Toronto, and while I've not tried them all {I'd be the size of a whale!}, I wouldn't disagree with that name - they were divine. They're a cross between a pancake and a scone/cake sort of thing, and come topped with so much fresh cream and blueberry compote...it's quite a large portion but the good news is that Midred's have just added a single pancake on as a side dish - so definitely get that if something else on the menu takes your fancy, you won't regret it! 



I didn't find that there was a whole lot to do in Toronto apart from shop, eat and drink...which is exactly what we did! Our hotel was downtown right by the Eton Centre so a little browse around the shops was hard to avoid. We knew we were heading to the USA after Canada and the exchange rate is a little more favourable in Canada, so we did the bulk of our shopping there...hellooooo new leather jacket 👌🏻


If you're in Toronto and looking for a coffee stop, the city is packed with cute brunch spots, but if you're doing it for the 'gram then you can't miss Dineen Outpost...just look at the floor, and the coffee is pretty good too! ☺️

In the evening before dinner, we headed down to the ferry terminal to get on a ferry over to Toronto Island. If you're looking for an amazing view of the Toronto skyline {CNN tower included!}, then Toronto Island is the place to take that snap or just have a stroll around the park and watch the sunset. The ferry can get pretty busy in the summer though, so watch out for that. 

After we'd watched the sunset and it had started to get a little chilly, we headed back into the city for dinner at Hibachi, a Teppanyaki restaurant in the Thompson Hotel. The food was great, and having your dinner cooked and set on fire in front of you added a bit of theatre to the occasion - I'm not normally the biggest fan of Asian food but the scallops and chicken noodles were amazing.


On our final day in Canada, we hired a car and headed down to Niagara Falls, which is about an hour and a half away from the city. After picking up the car from the airport we started the drive which of course involved a little pitstop at Tim Hortons {how Canadian of us!}. When we arrived we hopped out of the car and were blown away by the view - The falls are something I've always wanted to visit and the view was just breathtaking, definitely worth the drive if you find yourself in Toronto! 


We walked along the edge of the falls, stopped for a quick photo and took in the view, before heading down to jump on one of the boats that take you right into the falls which was so exciting! We were given some rather fetching red rain ponchos which caused a lot of giggles...but we were so thankful for them later. Being a little pessimistic, I thought that the boat would take us kind of close but not actually into the falls, and how wrong I was...The boat took us right into the falls and we got absolutely soaked, it was like having someone pour buckets of water over you constantly with no break 😂. It was so worth it though to tick that experience off my bucket list, and it only took 3 days for my denim jacket to dry! 



After we'd been on the boat, we picked up some tourist bits {magnets, keyrings, some ice wine that they make out in Niagara} and headed for lunch at one of the restaurants overlooking the falls. The restaurant wasn't anything to write home about, but the view was spectacular! Niagara Falls was my favourite part of Canada and I'm so glad I was lucky enough to see it on this trip! However after we'd been around the falls, we had to head back to Toronto to pick up my misplaced passport...but the less said about that the better! 

xo Becky 

How To Spend 2 Days in Nashville

3 July 2019


If you follow me on Instagram {if you don't - it's @beckyderby} then you'll have seen that I recently took a little trip to Nashville, or music city as it's affectionately known. As a big lover of country music, Nashville has been on my bucket list for quite some time and it did not disappoint. It's such a cool city, and unlike anywhere else I've ever visited, and it's also a city I'd definitely visit again - so not a one hit wonder. 

Where to Stay


If you're heading to Nashville, you're going to want to be fairly close to Broadway or Honkey Tonk Row, it's where all of the nightlife is and worth staying close by so you can walk home after a night in town. We stayed in the Bobby Hotel, and I couldn't have been more impressed - it's probably one of my favourite city hotels I've ever stayed in. 



Everything about the hotel is stunning, as you come in you're greeted by a modern lobby with a country twist, which stems through the entire hotel's decor. The hotel also has Sacha, the hotel dog - the cutest rescue dog who wanders around the lobby to greet the hotels guests. 

The rooms are huge, as is the bathroom {it was probably bigger than my room in London!}, the beds are so comfy and you don't hear a peep from the rest of the hotel or the street outside so you're guaranteed a decent nights sleep. 


The hotel also has an amazing rooftop bar, complete with pool, cabanas for the summer, a live music stage and a 1956 retrofitted Greyhound bus, with lounge seating in the back and a driver’s seat at the edge of the building overlooking 4th Avenue. It's the perfect place to start your night, or spend the whole night there before wandering back to your room. 

Another great option if you're looking for a similar vibe is the Noelle, it's very upmarket, very cool and just a stone's throw away from Broadway.  

What to do - Day 1


On day 1 it's likely that you'll be a little tired and jet lagged if you've travelled as far as we did, so you'll need to fuel up for the day. Cafe Bobby at the Bobby Hotel is amazing {and really instagrammable too!}, I had the best avocado toast I've ever had...if you can even call it that, it was loaded up with so many extras that the avocado wasn't even the show stealer of this dish. They also do great coffee, so the ideal start to the day! 



After breakfast, jump in an Uber and head down to 12th South - one of the Nashville suburbs. 12th South is a lovely area and is perfect for tracking down Nashville's famous murals. Here you'll find the 'Nashville Looks Good On You', 'I Believe in Nashville' and 'Looking Pretty Music City' murals, which make the perfect photo opportunity! It's also a free activity...bonus! There's also the prettiest flower truck, lots of cute shops...including Draper James, a must-visit if you're in Nashville for the weekend. It's very twee, and perfect for picking up a more upmarket souvenir of your time in the city {and they also do amazing sweet tea!}. 


After you're done shopping and mural hunting, you need to head to the Five Daughters Bakery just off 12th South...their donuts are out of this world and the cafe itself is just too cute. I went for the Strawberry Shortcake donut and still think about it to this day. 


After you've visited Five Daughters, you probably won't need lunch {I was honestly full until around 8pm!} so instead head back downtown and take a walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge for a great view of the Nashville skyline...and to walk off your donut!


Photo from Dame Traveler
When you're ready for dinner, head down to the river for a bite to eat at Liberty Common. We unfortunately didn't make it here but it was high on our list. The restaurant is so pretty, and the french-american inspired food looks to die for, as do the cocktails! 

For after dinner drinks, head back downtown to Rare Bird, the rooftop bar on top of the Noelle Hotel. It has the best rooftop views of the city and an ultra cool vibe {and really comfy outdoor sofas}...although a word to the wise, their Pimms Cup is basically an alcoholic Pret Ginger Shot! 



What to do - Day 2 

On day 2 we treated ourselves to a lie in and skipped the bigger breakfast in favour of a pastry from Starbucks, but if you're looking for a great brunch spot, Cafe Roze comes highly recommended...and perfect if you like a little pink decor! 

Day two for us was fully dedicated to country music, although you can't really escape it wherever you are in Nashville! First we headed to the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame. If you're really into your country music and old school country, then you'll find this really interesting. Personally, it focussed too much on the country music roots for me and I'd have preferred a little more on the modern country stars and how they're influencing country music right now, but it was still really interesting to take a look inside Elvis' car and whatnot...I would say however that the museum could benefit from playing a little music! We then visited the Johnny Cash museum, and although it's only about one country singer we found it much more engaging and it had a better atmosphere - so definitely do both if you can! 

After you've finished learning in the museums, head down to Pinewood Social for a spot of lunch, drinks and a little bowling. We never made it here, but it was on our list and comes highly recommended by the locals! 


In the afternoon, we headed back to Broadway where the tourist activities continued...this time trying on cowboy boots and hats! I didn't end up buying any as they were very pricey {and I'd never wear them back in the UK} but I did have my eye on these blue fringed ones...so cool! We also popped into some record shops and souvenir shops to pick up a magnet for the fridge - a must on every trip. 


If you're looking for the traditional Nashville experience, for dinner you need to head down to Hattie B's Hot Chicken - the dish Nashville is famous for. After dinner, head back down to Broadway for a night of Honkey Tonk hopping which is so much fun! We spent most of our time in Dierks Bentley's Whisky Row as we heard they had the best band playing, and it didn't disappoint. 

So there you have it, two whole days in Nashville! I had the best time in Nashville, and I'd definitely go back again for a party weekend or even just for another look around, so definitely one to consider for your next American city break! 

xo Becky 


Simple Chocolate Chunk Cookies

27 May 2019


There's nothing better than taking a break with a cup of tea and a warm, gooey cookie, and that's exactly what I've been spending my bank holiday doing...It's been a little while since I've been baking, and even longer since I've shared a recipe on here, so today I thought I'd jump back online {and into the kitchen} to share my super simple chocolate chunk cookie recipe. Without further ado...


Ingredients:

115g Salted Butter 
200g Flour 
115g Caster Sugar
50g Brown Sugar 
115g Chocolate Chips {I use a mixture of chunks and chips}
1/4 teaspoon Salt 
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda 
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract 


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180° and line two baking trays with grease proof paper. 

2. Place the butter into a microwave safe bowl and pop into the microwave for about a minute, until the butter has completely melted. 

3. Combine the melted butter, caster sugar and white sugar in a mixing bowl until a creamy mixture is formed. 

4. Add in the vanilla extract and egg and mix until the egg is only just combined {any more than this and the egg will be too stiff for the mixture}. 

5. Add in the flour, baking soda and salt until the mixture forms a dough type texture and is very slightly crumbly. You should be able to pick up the mixture and mould it with your hands without it sticking - if the mixture is too wet, add in a few tablespoons of flour at a time until the right consistency is reached. 

6. Add in the chocolate chips or whatever you're planning on adding to the recipe {I love adding m&ms as a twist!} and mix into the dough with your hands. 

7. Once everything is properly combined, roll the dough into 12 separate balls {or less if you want giant cookies!} and place each ball on a baking sheet, leaving plenty of room inbetween. 

8. Pop into the preheated oven for 9-11 mins and no longer. Even if the cookies are still extremely soft and pale when the timer is finished, still take them out - if you over bake them they won't be soft in the middle, and the cookies will firm up slightly as they cool. 

9. Leave the cookies to cool on the baking trays for 30-40 mins, then enjoy! 


And there you have it, my super simple cookie recipe! Feel free to customise with different sweets, chocolates, fruit, etc and if you do, be sure to let me know of any winning combinations so I can try them out myself! ☺️

xo Becky 

A Night at the Artists Residence, London

16 May 2019


It's not often that I find myself staying in hotels in London, seeing as it's my home city and there never seems much point when I could just hop on the tube home...but I recently had the pleasure of staying at The Artists Residence in Pimlico and let me tell you, it was the dream little staycation.

It may seem a little excessive to stay in a hotel only 30 minutes from my home, but when you live in a house share with what seems like half of London at times, it's so nice just to get out of the house for a little luxurious night away...no fighting over the kitchen, the tv remote, slamming doors in the middle of the night...it was bliss {and probably the best night's sleep I've had in weeks}


As I mentioned, The Artists Residence is located in Pimlico, just a ten minute walk from Victoria. It's the perfect location if you're wanting a chilled weekend, as there's lots of restaurants around Victoria but it's not exactly the party capital of London {Timmy Green is one of my favourites for brunch/lunch}. For dinner we walked down the road to Franco Manca as we'd both had pretty tough weeks and just wanted something quick and easy, so we could begin our night of pampering.


After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to settle in for the night with face masks, prosecco, snacks and a movie - it was the perfect way to relax after a long week. As the hotel is located on a pretty quiet street, we had the best nights sleep. The boutique feel of the hotel meant that there was nobody walking past our room in the middle of the night, barely any traffic to wake us up and the bed was one of the comfiest I've ever slept in. I'm pretty particular about having comfy pillows...and this place nailed it 👌🏻.


In the morning {after my first full 8 hours of sleep in forever}, we treated ourselves to a dreamy little breakfast in bed before packing up and checking out...and pinching a few of the free sweets on the way 🤗.



If you're on the hunt for a little slice of understated luxury for a London getaway, I'd really recommend The Artists Residence, and I'll definitely be looking into their other locations in Cornwall and Brighton {and their new hotel opening up in Bristol}.

xo Becky

Brilliant Blossoms with Jo Malone

29 March 2019


If you follow me on Instagram, then I'm sure you've seen that earlier this week I attended the launch of the newest Jo Malone collection, Brilliant Blossoms. Being invited to this event was a dream come true for me, so I wanted to document the day on this blog before I forget any of the details! And of course, I took so many photos of their stunning installations that I just had to share them! 



The day started at around 1pm when we arrived at  Victoria House just off Bloomsbury Square {one of my favourite areas in London}. We were lead through a dark tunnel and through a heavy black curtain into a floral wonderland, set up ready for lunch. Before lunch there was time to mingle, take it all in and of course, discover the new scents - each one of them housed in their own scented booth with their matching flowers hanging from the celling. 


We then found our places at the lunch table, and listened to a short introduction to the newest blossom fragrance - Frangipani Flower, which smells incredible. The whole blossoms collection is stunning, but I think Frangipani Flower may be my new favourite, quickly followed by Orange Blossom. 

Lunch was served and was divine, we had goats cheese and beetroot ravioli followed by lemon curd posset...served in a frozen lemon which I got a little too excited about! 🍋 After lunch, and a few more rhubarb lemonades, we were guided through to another room, and just when we thought Jo Malone had outdone themselves, we walked into a room with an actual tree hanging from the ceiling! 




In the workshops room we were taught how to design and make our own flower crowns, which was so much fun! I laughed my way through the whole workshop, as honestly I am not the worlds best flower crown maker...mine was definitely more of a fascinator, maybe one for Ascot 😂. After we'd made our flower crowns we moved on to the paint marbling station and marble painted our own Jo Malone boxes to keep our flower crowns in. I went for a pink and yellow theme and the whole process was so relaxing...the perfect way to finish the day. 


As I said before, being able to attend this event was a dream come true for me...and one which may never repeat itself so I wanted to lap up every minute and took photos of every single thing in every room 😂...so sorry for the spam, I was just so excited! 

xo Becky 

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