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Back from week in France, will be catching up with ratings and adding a few reviews from my travels!

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since 28/07/2006


Hotel Villa Azur, Villeneuve Loubet 25/09/2014

Hotel on the beach

Hotel Villa Azur, Villeneuve Loubet After going to France earlier in the year I decided to go again for a last minute summer break with my Fiancé. We chose to visit the French Riviera and booked return flights to Nice Airport. I had originally intended on staying in Cannes but soon found that the hotels there very vastly overpriced and I could get something much better for the same price just outside of a main city. This is where I discovered Villa Azur which is located on the coast of a town called Villeneuve Loubet which is in-between Nice and Antibes. The hotel is relatively new therefore reviews were limited but I took a chance and booked for 4 nights. Booking I wanted to make the booking through the hotel website and tried to do so, but when you click the reservation button you are instructed to make the reservation and are given a link. I am ok with using but usually prefer to book directly as third party websites have been known for making double bookings etc. found it odd that whilst the hotel had a fully operating website, they could not include an online booking feature.. There are a few room options, the main ones being standard double, deluxe double, standard double sea view and deluxe double sea view. I knew that we needed to go with the sea view since the hotel is built on the beach and I decided to try the standard double since there seemed barely any difference with the deluxe. The room cost us €200 per night which included breakfast. Having researched the Cote ...

Hotel Le A, Paris 21/08/2014

Beautiful hotel in Paris

Hotel Le A, Paris We recently visited Paris for a few nights following a trip to the Pyrenees. I did loads of research of hotels in Paris and found that accommodation in Paris is expensive, particularly if you want a central location. I found Hotel Le’A which is a cute boutique hotel and decided to book. I booked the hotel online using the hotels official website. We paid €220 per night which included breakfast. This was for one of the more basic smaller rooms, the hotel also offers much bigger suites for an additional cost Location The hotel is located on Rue d’Artois which is within the fashion district of Paris and only a 5 minute walk from the middle of Champs-Elysees. The area the hotel is located in felt safe and there are loads of restaurants and shops nearby. We were able to walk to all the main places from the hotel, the Arc de Triomphe is about a 15 minute walk and the Eiffel Tower took about 30 minutes to walk from the hotel. Despite being on a road the hotel is far enough from the main, busy roads to be quiet and the road was easy to cross and fairly quiet traffic wise. The hotel is relatively small, although quite normal by city standards. It is on 6 floors and I think there are about 20-25 rooms in total. The first floor hosts the reception area, a lounge seating area and the breakfast room. From the outside it is very inviting, the entrance and front of the hotel are mainly glass and it looks very modern. When we arrived there was a doorman waiting at the front who ...

114 Faubourg, Paris 30/07/2014

Exciting Dining in Paris

114 Faubourg, Paris We spent a few days in Paris last week after a visit to the Pyrenees. My fiancé had completed a major bike event in France so we were celebrating and decided to treat ourselves to a meal at 114 Faubourg. The restaurant was awarded one Michelin star last year and has been going from strength to strength. We booked the restaurant via our hotel reception, it is definitely worth making a booking as it does get busy and reservations are recommended. Location The restaurant is located inside the Hotel Bristol, well when I say ‘in’ it is literally on the front of the hotel and has its own entrance so you don’t actually need to go in the hotel to enter (which is a shame as I rather fancied having a snoop in the Bristol! The hotel is on Rue du Faubourg which is within the fashion district of Paris and only about a 5 minute walk from the Arc de Triomphe. Inside the restaurant The restaurant is very well laid out, the tables are quite spread out ensuring you don’t feel like you are having your meal with strangers! There are two levels to the restaurant, the top level where you enter is the larger space and also has a bar area where the waiters make the drinks. The bottom level has a few more tables as well as the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs cook. The bottom level didn’t appear to be open when we visited. Whilst it would have been nice to watch the chefs in action I did notice it felt very hot down there so preferred to be sat upstairs. The furnishings are modern ...

Cloud 23, Manchester 15/07/2014

Afternoon tea in the clouds

Cloud 23, Manchester A couple of weeks ago was my friend’s birthday and rather than the usual nights out we decided to do something different and try afternoon tea in Manchester (perhaps were getting old?!) . While searching for somewhere we came across Cloud 23 a bar on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Hotel in Manchester with fabulous views over the city. Booking I had been to the bar before a few years back but in the evening for drinks but had never gone again. Its not really somewhere you can just turn up to as the queue is huge due to a busy guest list. Usually bookings for weekend have to be made months in advance, luckily we were 2 months in advance and managed to book the afternoon tea in one of the latest slots at 17:00. I made the booking online which was an easy process and I got a confirmation email back. I was pleased to find that I didn’t have to make any kind of payment for the booking which was 4 people. Perhaps in a larger group I may have needed to pay a deposit though. The booking form had a special requests section so I threw in there that it was my friend’s birthday. I knew she wouldn’t want a fuss but nothing actually came of me mentioning her birthday, not even a balloon at the table, so I’m not sure if they pay much attention to the requests box, either that or I needed to be more specific about what I expected. Location The hotel is located on Deansgate in Manchester city centre. It is about a 10-15 minute walk from Deansgate train station. You can’t really miss the ...

Stanley House Hotel and Spa, Mellor 03/07/2014

Relaxing Spa Break

Stanley House Hotel and Spa, Mellor Stanley House is a spa and hotel situated in Mellor, Lancashire. I went here with my Mum in March 2014 for a spa break. I found it online while searching for nice spa hotels nearby. The hotel is in a rural area with land and fields stretching around it which suits a relaxing break. It was easy to find with a Satnav. There are a few packages on offer and we went for “Escape for the Night” which costs £135 per person and includes access to the spa, a 30 minute treatment, 3 course dinner at the restaurant, one night stay in the hotel and breakfast. I thought this was really good value and meant we would only need to pay for drinks once we were there. The Spa I was slightly surprised to find that the package only included access to the spa for 2-3 hours. I’ve never had a time limit before, however the girl on reception explained that when the spa is quiet they aren’t strict with this rule and we could stay as long as we liked. I began to understand when we entered the spa area, it is quite a small space in comparison to other spas I have visited. However it is an amazing space! The majority of the spa walls are floor to ceiling glass which gave it a natural airy feel and provided beautiful views over the countryside. This was really unusual, most other spas I’ve been to don’t have any windows which can be slightly claustrophobic and is a shame if it is a sunny day. I liked being able to see outside and enjoy the views while relaxing. The pool is relatively small but a nice ...

Titanic Spa Hotel, Huddersfield 24/06/2014

Luxury spa break with a few flaws

Titanic Spa Hotel, Huddersfield I’ve wanted to visit Titanic Spa for a while after hearing good things about it, but it took a while to actually get there as every time I tried to book they were already full – which was a good sign. I eventually went last weekend (20-21 June 2014) for a spa break with my Mum. We booked the Fabulous Fridays spa break which includes full access to the spa facilities for the day, a 55 minute treatment, light lunch, 2 course evening meal and an overnight stay in one of the apartments. This cost £129 each which I thought sounded very reasonable for what we got. I booked the break over the phone which turned out to be quick and easy. I would have preferred to book online but there was no option for this. When we checked in at the spa we were given an itinerary. This laid out the time we would eat lunch, receive our treatments and have our evening meal. We hadn’t been asked when we wanted any of the above and were shocked to see our evening meal was scheduled for 18:30! We both tend to eat tea at 21:00 ish usually so this wasn’t ideal. We immediately voiced out concern and the receptionist checked with the bistro if our time slot could be moved but we were told no later times were available. They then put our names down to be moved however they were never able to move the reservation. Apparently this is how things work at Titanic, even if you ring before arrival and specify what time you want your evening meal they won’t confirm this and you won’t find out until the day. So ...

Soap & Glory Whipped Clean Shower Butter 24/06/2014

Shower in a Dessert

Soap & Glory Whipped Clean Shower Butter I love Soap & Glory products so thought I would give this one a try. It caught my eye as its described as a ‘shower butter’ which sounded a bit different. Price & Packaging I was shocked to see the 250ml bottle cost £8.00!! Luckily there was a 3 for 2 offer on at Boots so it technically worked out a bit cheaper. The bottle is really nice, it is a fairly standard shape squeezy bottle with the cap at the bottom meaning it’s easy to get out. The bottle is cream and pale pink, it looks really girly and cute and looks great in the bathroom. It sounds silly but the packaging of these products is so nice it really does make using the product more enjoyable. My Experience The first thing I noticed was how thick and luxurious the shower butter is when it comes out the tube. I wouldn’t actually say it is like butter, it is a bit thinner than that and it actually looks just like clotted cream in colour and texture. It looks edible! The smell is absolutely gorgeous, it smells like cream with a lovely nutty sweet fragrance to it. The flavours in the butter are pistachio, almond and vanilla and all these flavours really come out when you’re using it. The smell is quite strong but not overpowering and I can still smell it on my skin when I get out of the shower. The butter lathers up really well, the first time I used it I squeezed out quite a bit of it but found I had used far too much. You actually only have to use a tiny bit and it lathers up so well and goes a long way. Therefore ...

Dharma Hotel, Rome 17/06/2014

Excellent Hotel in Rome

Dharma Hotel, Rome I stayed at Dharma Hotel in May 2014 on a 4 night holiday to Rome with my fiancé. When researching where to stay I noticed straight away that accommodation in Rome is very expensive, particularly if you want to be within walking distance of the main sights. I eventually narrowed it down to a few hotels which were reasonably priced (in context) and my style, of which Dharma was my favourite. Booking I booked our room direct with the hotel using their official website. This was quick and easy and I received a confirmation email shortly afterwards. We stayed in the hotel for 4 nights and room averaged €200 per night. A few weeks before our arrival the hotel sent an informative email including details of trips we could pre-book and asking if we would like to pre-book a taxi from the airport. It was nice to get this email which demonstrated good customer service. Location Dharma Hotel is located on a road in Rome city centre called Via Torino. It is not a main road so no traffic or constant vehicle passing outside. It is within easy walking distance of the majority of the major sights in Rome. We were able to walk to the Colloseum, Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountains, Villa Borghese Gardens and the Pantheon. None of the latter took more than 30 minutes of walking. We tended to walk at a leisurely pace anyway to take in the buildings and scenery around us. The only time we needed to use public transport was to visit Vatican City. We took the underground for this which I would ...

Soap & Glory Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash 13/01/2014

Gorgeous fresh smelling shower foam

Soap & Glory Soap and Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash I’ve already got the Sugar Crush body scrub which I love, especially the smell, so I thought I would give the matching body wash a try. Price & Packaging The 500ml bottle of this shower gel costs £6.50 in Boots which is fairly reasonable (by Soap & Glory standards) for such a big bottle. It is in a large pale pink bottle with white, black and line green writing on the front. It looks bold and fun and looks great in the bathroom. It has a squirty top so is easy to use and you can get just the right amount out. The only trouble will be that it might be hard to use up as it gets empty as the squirter doesnt always get the last bits. My Experience The fragrance was the main reason I bought this shower gel and it didn’t disappoint. It is a really fresh but sweet smell which is made up of limes, sparkling lemon, vanilla musk and coconut oil. It is fruity but also has the sweet musk smell coming through and reminds me of Refresher sweets! The smell is strong which is a good thing as I love it and I can still smell it on my skin after drying off. Somehow it doesn't smell quite the same as the sugar crush body scrub though and isn't quite as sweet but its still nice all the same. Because it is quite heavily fragranced it may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin and definitely shouldn’t be used on broken skin. The gel is quite thick and clear in colour. It foams up really easily although I’ve found I need to use a bit more than with other S&G products so it may not last ...

Gravity, 2013 (DVD) 04/12/2013

Horrifying but fabulous

Gravity, 2013 (DVD) When I first saw the trailer for Gravity I thought I didn’t fancy it because I’m not a great fan of Sandra Bullock…it’s not that she isn’t a good actress, there is just something about her that I find…annoying! But hype started to build up and people were recommending the film to me, even the critics on Rotten Tomatoes loved it, so I decided to go and see what all the fuss is about. The film was released in the UK on Friday 08 November 2013 and is directed and written by Alfonso Cuaron. Plot The film is about two astronauts Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) who survive a catastrophic incident in space in which their shuttle is struck by debris resultant of a missile strike directed at another satellite. All others on board the shuttle are killed leaving just Dr Stone and Matt. Dr Stone is on her first space mission, whereas Matt is an experienced astronaut on his final mission. The film follows their struggle to survive without communication with ground crew and ultimately their fight to get back to Earth safely. My Opinion The film is very hard hitting. It gives us a short intro showing the astronauts enjoying their mission and introducing us to the characters but very quickly things start to happen and the audience is thrown into the drama and horror of the situation. It really is horrific and you feel like you are right there. We are made very aware that Dr Stone is nervous on her first space mission and the film really allows you to ...

Gusto, Quinta do Lago 08/11/2013

Unique Fine Dining Experience

Gusto, Quinta do Lago Gusto is a fine dining restaurant located inside the Hilton Conrad Hotel in the Quinta do Lago area of Algarve. The restaurant is open to all, including those not staying in the hotel. Location/Parking As I’ve already mentioned the restaurant is located within the Hilton Carlson Hotel which is in Quinta do Lago, Algarve. The hotel is located near the Quinta Shopping area of the resort therefore not too far in. There is no public transport within the resort therefore a hire car or taxi would be required to access the hotel, unless you are within walking distance. The restaurant is on the ground level of the hotel and staff will guide you to it from the lobby. If you do drive to the restaurant free parking is available onsite. Booking It is possible to book a table online direct from the restaurant website (see bottom of review). However we booked at the very last minute and for that reason had to do this over the phone. It was easy to call the restaurant and they were helpful on the phone and confirmed the booking straight away. Bar Area We were given the option to sit in the bar area before going to our table so we opted for this. The bar area is very large (almost as large as the restaurant) with a large bar including a walk-in glass wine chiller. There were plenty of areas to sit so we found a table and started to look at the menu. There was a vast selection of wines, we decided we wanted Rose and there were several choices. The waiters appeared to be serving to ...

Aqua Blu Hotel, Lambi 18/09/2013

Beautiful Boutique Hotel

Aqua Blu Hotel, Lambi I stayed at Aqua Blu hotel for 7 nights from 01 September 2013 with my boyfriend. I wanted a modern boutique hotel close to Kos Town and I found a few options but Aqua Blu was my favourite. It only opened in 2012 yet already had very positive reviews online. The hotel is for adults only and is located in Lambi which is close to Kos town and is a relatively small hotel which also has a spa and restaurant. Booking & Prices I booked the hotel using the official website. I booked a Deluxe Sea View Suite which cost €1,500 for bed and breakfast for the 7 nights when booked in March. This was one of the more expensive rooms in the hotel and there were various different suites available with corresponding prices. I’m aware that this is very expensive, particularly in Europe. However it seemed to be the common price in Kos for 4/5 star boutique accommodation. Location Aqua Blu is located in Lambi which is a small village around 1 mile from Kos Town. The hotel is situated just off the main road and Lambi beach is opposite (across the road). The main road was very quiet (except for Saturday evening when it became a bit busier). From the hotel it is possible to walk to Kos Town which housed many restaurants and bars, as well as being the location of many interesting ruins, castle walls and the odeon. Most other towns were out of walking distance and would require a car/bike to get to. We rented a quad bike for one day via the hotel reception desk. We didn’t go as far as we planned ...

Mandarin Bar, Las Vegas 19/08/2013

Excellent drinks & view - but make sure you get your change!!

Mandarin Bar, Las Vegas I went to Mandarin Bar in June 2013 whilst on holiday in Vegas with my Mum. Whilst searching for hotels in Vegas I came across the Mandarin Oriental Hotel which was rated #1 in Vegas on Tripadvisor. It looked amazing but I soon realised it was well out my, and probably most peoples, price range. However I did notice there was a Bar open to the public within the hotel and kept it in mind. When we were in Vegas we were walking past the Mandarin Oriental and decided to look inside and find out more about the Mandarin Bar. We discovered that the Bar is located on the 23rd floor of the hotel and the walls are all glass offering a stunning view over the city. Reservations/Entry/Opening Times The bar is open from 5pm-1am during the week and 4.30pm-2am on weekends. At the time we popped in the hotel the bar wasn’t open so we enquired at the hotel lobby about whether it was worth making a reservation for the bar that evening (Monday). We were assured that it would be fine since we were aiming to arrive at 18:00 there would be no problem with getting a table. We went to the bar that night at 18:00 as planned and were immediately asked if we had made a reservation. I said no and mentioned that we had enquired about this earlier and were told it wasn’t necessary. The waitress looked concerned and seemed to be checking the electronic system for a while. Eventually she said she could seat us at a table but that it had actually been reserved and we might have to move on when the party ...

Hyde Bellagio Bar & Nightclub, Las Vegas 08/08/2013

An evening with the Bellagio Fountains

Hyde Bellagio Bar & Nightclub, Las Vegas I went to Hyde Bar during my holiday to Las Vegas with my Mum. It is located inside the Bellagio Hotel. We stayed in Vdara Hotel which is close to Bellagio and our journey to the main strip involved walking through the Bellagio and that was where we spotted Hyde Bar. Reservations/Entry/Opening Times We checked the website and found that it was suggested that a reservation was made to guarantee entry and a table. However it was our final night in Vegas and we thought we would chance just turning up to see what happens. We arrived early at 18:30ish and were seen straight to a nice table in the outside area. I think reservations are only really required when arriving after 19:00 (it got busier around this time) or on weekend nights. We got in the bar for free as they only start charging at 10pm when it becomes a nightclub ($20 for women, $30 for men). The website specifies a dress code of ‘upscale fashionable attire’ which sounded a bit pretentious… We were dressed up so didn’t have a problem, however I don’t think they take the dress code too seriously until later on in the evening. The bar is open every night and starts at 17:00 and closes at 04:00am. Location/Building From inside the Bellagio the Hyde Bar isn’t actually visible and you can only see a doorway which is quite mysterious. However once you go through the door and down a corridor you reach the bar which is a large open space directly in front of and overlooking the water in which the Bellagio Fountains take ...

The Wolverine 05/08/2013

"Eternity can be a curse"

The Wolverine To be honest I’ve never been a massive fan of X-Men and mainly saw this because my boyfriend wanted to! I’ve already watched X-Men origins Wolverine a few times and you do ideally need to have seen that before watching this on to understand his background. The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold and it was released to UK cinemas on 25th July. The film is produced by Marvel. Plot The film starts with Logan (Hugh Jackman) living alone in the Canadian woodland. He is clearly depressed and is suffering from nightmares and hallucinations about the deceased Jean Grey. Out of nowhere appears Yukio who is also a mutant and has been sent by her dying Grandfather Yashida, who is the owner of massive Japanese technology company Yashida. It transpires that Logan rescued Yashida from a nuclear bomb in WW2 and has always felt as though he owes him. Logan goes to Japan and meets the terminally ill Yashida who offers him a release from his immortality (which Logan is now viewing as a curse) and says he has found a way that he can remove Logan’s healing gift from him and transfer it to his own busy, thus allowing Logan to die as a normal man. Logan refuses immediately and decides to leave Japan. However before he leaves Yashida dies a natural death and Logan stays for the funeral. During the funeral Japanese gangsters raid and try to take Yashidas’ eldest granddaughter Mariko. Logan helps fight off the men and manages to rescue the girl and escape to safety. It transpires that Mariko ...
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