2019 Travel Must Haves

Happy Tuesday my lovelies! The weather has been so good recently so I was spending some time in my garden. I have even planted some colourful plants, can you believe it? Living in the countryside is definitely having a positive effect on me. Nevertheless, today I put together a short ‘2019 Travel Must-haves’ list. My aim was to give you some inspiration on the products worth getting this season. Most of them are a great investment and you will be able to benefit from them throughout a year – not only during the summer.

  1. Gate8 cabin bags and accessories

As a frequent traveller, I wanted to get a new, innovative travel bag that would be suitable for most of the airlines whether I was flying business or economy. Prepare to take off onto a new journey with Gate8. The brand has recently won the Best Travel Product from British Travel Goods & Accessories Association and it has been invited by Etihad, easyJet, Oman Air and Titan Airways to design their crew and pilot luggage so I wanted to check it out. The company vision is to make every journey as hassle-free as possible – be it air, rail or road, business or leisure. I decided to order the Spin MATE Plus. I travel a lot and spend a lot of time in airports and hotels so has this bag passed my test? Oh yes! I absolutely love it!

Spin MATE Plus comes in an upright, hard-wearing ballistic nylon shell and has 5 years guarantee. Its design was planned to make every journey as hassle-free as possible. As you are most likely aware the hand-luggage restrictions vary from airline to airline and Gate8 luggage can help anyone to avoid baggage check-in fees due to its smart design and detachable backpack. This zip-off removable backpack is perfectly sized to store under your seat for take-off and landing or to keep your tech and valuables secure and close to you.

I travelled with RyanAir to Hamburg last week and took Spin MATE Plus with me. I simply removed my backpack before I boarded the plane, put my wallet and laptop inside and took it onto the plane with me avoiding being asked to pay extra for my hand luggage. I was very impressed by it.

What’s more, Spin MATE Plus is super easy to navigate due to its 4, 360° spinner wheels. The inside of the bag, again has been beautifully designed with a netted panel on the left site of the bag and tie-down compression straps to reduce creasing on the right.

You can personalise the bag for no extra cost whilst ordering. Isn’t this great?

Lastly, Gate8 offers a range of handy accessories – I’ve tried their PACKER mate – a handy luggage organiser set that helped my packing to be organised and protected without adding extra weight. In addition, I got Shirt MATE – a perfect shirt carrier & folding board. It’s perfect for when I am travelling on business and need to wear a shirt as it enables me to store up to 5 shirts or trousers almost crease-free. There are some more, very handy accessories and you should definitely check them out yourself.

To discover the whole range and order visit:

https://www.gate8-luggage.co.uk/

Prices range from £15 for accessories to £159 for cabin bags.

     2. Jet candy 

Jet Candy is a new, homeopathic remedy developed to help combat jet lag. It spent over 10 years in development and was launched in Cannes in 2017. For all of you taking any intercontinental flights this summer, you should definitely consider getting it as jet lag catches us all regardless where we are going and in what direction. ‘Don’t take the time zone hit: take Jet Candy.’ Wouldn’t it be great to reset your body clock and enjoy the destinations you are travelling to? Jet Candy helps with fatigue, dehydration, disorientation, mental sharpness and other symptoms associated with the disruption of the circadian rhythms. What’s more, Jet Candy allows the internal body clock to function during long-haul flights. It comes in a practical pill distributor cap and has enough pills for 8 long-haul flights in it.

Available from http://www.jet-candy.com

Price: only £19.99 for 100 pillules.

I love all products featured in this review and if you decide to get anything from my list then I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do 🙂

X

Pauline

Our stay at Regnum Aparthotel & Spa in Bansko, Bulgaria

A few weeks ago, I was in Bulgaria with my husband to resolve some issues with my parent’s holiday home. We spent a few days in Bansko and a couple of days in Sofia. I love travelling to Bulgaria and today I would like to tell you about our stay at the Regnum Apart hotel & Spa in Bansko.

Location:

Regnum Apart hotel & Spa is based in the popular town of Bansko at the foot of the Pirin Mountains, in southwest Bulgaria. It is only a few minutes’ walk from town’s high street on which you can find many nice restaurants, clubs and a gondola. The hotels location is perfect – no matter whether you are in Bansko for skiing, hiking or just passing by.

Atmosphere:

Regnum Apart hotel & Spa has a classic and sophisticated décor. Its guests can enjoy many common areas such as an outdoor swimming pool, spa, bar, reading room and a large lounging area. All staff members we spoke with were helpful and accommodating.

Room:

We stayed in an Executive deluxe suite which consisted of two rooms, bathroom and a balcony with stunning mountain views. We enjoyed relaxing in our spacious living room with kitchenette which was fully equipped with a kettle all plates, cutlery, mini-fridge, safe box, and oven. We didn’t cook whilst we were there, but it would be handy for anyone who fancy preparing their meals whilst away from home. Our bedroom had a stylish décor and a comfortable with king size bed and a flat-screen TV.
Our bathroom had both shower cabin and bathtub and again was finished to a high standard. A selection of complimentary toiletries was also provided.


My favourite space in the apartment was our balcony – the view was simply stunning and as we were in Bansko in June it was perfect to lounging on with a drink after hiking all day.

F3AAB699-E234-4074-9AF7-E50BFF83EC8A

Overall experience:
We enjoyed our stay in Regnum Apart hotel & Spa and I would recommend it to anyone travelling to Bansko. In addition, the hotel has recently opened its own thermal SPA in a picturesque village of Banya. Regnum Banya Thermal features an outdoor swimming pool with mineral water which is complimentary to use for all hotel guests and can be easily reachable in 10min by a free hotel’s shuttle bus. The SPA has great facilities including a steam room, sauna and if you fancy you can have one of beauty treatments or a massage whilst in there.


The only let down was hotel’s buffet which we decided to try on one of the nights. All food was bland and overpriced for Bulgaria as it was around 20euros per person. It was a canteen quality food which I would not expect in a 5-star hotel.

Website:

For more information and to book visit:
https://www.regnum.bg/en/

Hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

House décor: Time for some blinds

As some of you might know, I moved out of London back in December into a new-build house in the countryside on the outskirts of Colchester. Let’s be honest, moving out of our 2-bed apartment in London to a village in Essex was very exciting but at the same time it took a bit of time to adjust to our new routine involving a long daily commute. Thanks to Netflix and a good coffee from a station cafeteria, I got used to my commute and now I am happily re-established in Essex.

Having said this, our lovely 3 bed house still needs a lot in terms of furnishing, décor etc. In 6 months, we have managed to finish our bedroom and kitchen and slowly we are completing other bits around the house.

This month, we decided to buy some blinds and let me tell you – it wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be. Initially, we thought about using a well known company offering in-home appointment to offer perfect made to measure blinds. Unfortunately, as we have a limited budget we weren’t willing to spend a small fortune for blinds offered thus we looked online for some other providers that could help us.

After a lot of research and browsing quite a few websites selling blinds, we came across ‘Make My Blinds’. The company was founded in 2015 and strives to become the authority in the blind industry.

On their website I discovered a few values which I was impressed by:

  • Made by hand – all blinds are made to your own specification;
  • Attention to detail – all blinds are made by hand and machine to the highest quality;
  • Customer focused – company prides itself in a friendly UK customer service team that is happy to answer any question.

What I found really useful was a hub of knowledge on company’s social media platforms –  YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter providing the most commonly asked questions and answers.

The company offers a range of blinds: wooden, vertical, roller, venetian, skylight, roman and conservatory blinds. We decided to order:

  • Gibson Pewter Vertical blinds for my husband’s study – as he loves gaming and wanted something with a blackout option we selected a darker grey shade that also matches our carpets perfectly. We decided to have the vertical vanes split and bunch evenly on either side using the ‘split’ option which is great as you can control the lighting coming into your room.
  • Real Wood Gloss Daisy venetian blinds for our front kitchen and living room windows. I love this glossy, light bouncing blinds. They are also easy to clean as the dust just slides off.  They are great at controlling the light coming into our home and I really like that they have a long 4-year guarantee.

Order process:

The order process through Make my Blinds website is super user friendly and it enabled us to visualise what we were getting after we inputted sizing information, selected on which side we would like the controls to be in addition to stack side for our vertical blinds. We used a measuring guide which helped us to understand how we should measure the blinds properly to get them sized correctly. The blinds were also much cheaper than what we were quotes by a high street retailer and website states that prices are up to 70% cheaper. What is an additional plus is that you can order free samples and there is a free delivery on orders over £149.

Installation:

I will be honest and admit that we didn’t install the blinds ourselves – firstly because we simply do not have time as we get home late and secondly, we are not really good in DYI. However, if you wish to install the blinds yourselves then Make My Blinds has a great knowledge hub helping you to do that for all different kinds of blinds.

Verdict:

I loved how easy the whole order process was and the website and it’s guides were great help for us as we did not have an idea from where to start. I would recommend ‘Make my Blinds’ to anyone who wishes to purchase high quality, beautifully finished blinds build to their specifications at a very competitive prices.

X

Pauline

Dinner at Oliver’s restaurant in The Woburn Hotel

A couple of weeks ago, I travelled to Woburn with my husband. We stayed at The Woburn Hotel and as we are both massive foodies, we decided to visit ‘Olivier’s’ – 2 AA Rosette restaurant.
Olivier’s Restaurant is recognised to be one of the finest restaurants in Bedfordshire in addition to maintaining its 2 AA Rosettes for 11 years it has won multiple awards most recently “Best Restaurant in Bedfordshire” at the Bedfordshire Business SME Awards held in May.

Location:
Olivier’s Restaurant is based at The Woburn Hotel, which is perfectly located in the heart of Georgian village of Woburn, at the gateway to the historic Woburn Abbey Estate. It is easily reachable from London, Milton Keynes and the surrounding Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire areas.

Atmosphere:
Olivier’s Restaurant has a modern, stylish décor following its recent refurbishment. Guests can enjoy a relaxed setting whilst having some of the best of English and continental dining prepared by talented chefs under the supervision of Olivier Bertho.
Our table was attended by two waiters – Sergio and Mateusz. They both made us feel welcomed and relaxed whilst being attentive and polite.

The menu:
Olivier’s Restaurant offers its dinners a few menus to choose from – A La Carte, Sunday, Lunch, Children and Afternoon Tea. Each of the menus offers dishes that were created by its talented chefs who all have a real passion for good quality food. Due to Oliver Bertho’s french heritage and his experience in quality restaurants the dishes combine classic French and English influences to create signature dishes. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally to make the most of seasonal ingredients.
We had an afternoon tea on Friday in The Repton Room when we arrived at The Woburn Hotel, which we really enjoyed. Having said that, today I would like to tell you about our dining experience when we decided to dine from the A La Carte menu.

Starters:
For my starter, I had some pan-fried scallops with a crispy chicken skin, sweetcorn purée and black pudding crumb. I love scallops and they were simply delectable.

469ED4CF-5AA4-4036-AD71-A7062EFC371E
My husband had a lovely home smoked duck breast with pickled berries served over some green asparagus salad. He really enjoyed it and finished it in no time.

Duck Salad

Mains:
For my main, I decided to order a ginger glazed salmon fillet with sesame and bean salad accompanied by some wasabi mayonnaise. The dish was luscious.

Salmon SC
My husband had a beef fillet with honey roasted baby shallots, pea purée, crispy bacon and buttered baby vegetables. The dish was cooked to perfection.

Beef fillet

Desserts:
I have a very bad sweet tooth and always look forward to having the last course. Whilst dinning at Oliver’s Restaurant, I decided to have a strawberry bavarois with a crème brûlée glaze, lemon curd, shortbread and meringue drops, which was fabulous. My dessert not only looked amazing, but it was also mouth-watering.
My husband ordered a cheese board served with homemade green tomato chutney and traditional sides, which he enjoyed with our leftover wine.

Overall experience:
If you love great food and faultless service, then I would definitely recommend booking a meal at Olivier’s Restaurant. It is perfect for special occasions or if you just want to treat yourself to a remarkable dining experience.

Website:
For more information and to book visit:
https://www.thewoburnhotel.co.uk/oliviers-restaurant-bedfordshire/

Address:
1 George Street,
Woburn,
Bedfordshire,
MK17 9PX

Hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

Birthday celebrations at The Woburn hotel

Someone wise once said that as you grow older, you learn to understand life a little better… I turned 34 a couple of weeks ago and as I love relaxing, being surrounded by nature and animals, we’ve decided to travel to the picturesque Georgian village of Woburn in Bedfordshire to celebrate it. We’ve stayed in ‘The Woburn Hotel’ – an award winning, 4 AA star hotel.

Location:

‘The Woburn Hotel’ is perfectly located in the heart of Woburn village, in the historic Woburn Abbey Estate that is home of the 15th Duke of Bedford. It can be easily reached from London (~1 hour), Milton Keynes (~20minutes) and in about 30 minutes from Luton Airport.
If being surrounded by nature and animals appeals to you then the hotel’s location should exceed your expectations as it a stone throw away from Woburn Safari Park and Woburn Abbey and Gardens. We visited all of these attractions on Saturday and I really enjoyed our drive through Woburn Safari Park which has over 1,000 wild animals roaming in 300 acres of beautiful parkland. Following from that we discovered an amazing deer park and visited Woburn Abbey which has been home to the Dukes of Bedford for nearly 400 years. In addition, if romantic walks around the gardens are of interest to you then you will be able to explore the 28 acres of award-winning, Humphry Repton inspired, Woburn Abbey Gardens.

Service:

As soon as we entered the hotel, we were welcomed by a very helpful and professional receptionist. He was really approachable and handed us our tickets to Woburn Safari park, which we were going to visit the day-after. He also provided us with some leaflets about the village. Once we checked in, we dropped our bags at our cottage, and we went straight to our afternoon tea. We found all hotel staff at reception and restaurant extremely attentive and friendly.

Rooms:

The Woburn Hotel offers its guests a selection of rooms to choose from in the main hotel ranging from double standard rooms to Abbey rooms to suites in addition to one of seven lovely cottages adjacent to the hotel to suit all budgets. All rooms have stylish décor providing you with everything you need for a relaxing stay. We stayed in a lovely, two storey cottage with a mezzanine floor called – ‘Wispers’ which was overlooking the hotel and its front garden. Each of the cottages have been designed to reflect their connection to the Russell family. The cottage we stayed in was named after an Estate in Sussex, which was purchased by the 11th Duke of Bedford for his wife, Mary back in 1927.

Our cottage featured a comfortable bed, luxury linen, safe, a TV and a telephone.

In addition, there were tea and coffee making facilities a selection of delicious complimentary chocolates, which were freshly prepared for us and waiting for us on our arrival.

6316A070-1AB4-490E-9406-8FEFFC5C5758

The cottage was perfect to celebrate my birthday and relaxing in after our adventures with its separate, large lounging area.

0D966D73-D9A1-4241-B1B6-082431D78C9E

Our en-suite bathroom had a classic décor. A selection of The White Company bath toiletries was also provided. In addition, some soft towels, slippers and soft bath gowns were available – perfect for lounging in before and after our sightseeing.

AFCAB7F4-CA3E-4A9C-AF5C-B05D21D2B78E

Facilities:

In addition to some charming rooms, hotel features the drawing room, The Tavistock bar, The Repton Room and 2 AA Rosette restaurant – Olivier’s.

The restaurant offers its dinners some of the best Bedfordshire cuisine. A Polish waiter, which assisted us – Mateusz made our stay extremely memorable by always being chatty and professional.

The hotel also has a lovely patio where its visitors can enjoy a drink or a snack.
Breakfast is offered in the main restaurant and provides a selection of made to order dishes.

Overall experience:

The Woburn hotel is perfectly located just steps away from Woburn Safari Park, Woburn Golf Club and estates. If you have a special occasion coming up, then the hotel offers a range of escapes to choose from. We loved the hotel’s charming accommodation, which being part of the Woburn Estate helped us to create lots of unforgettable moments in the English countryside. In addition, the service was faultless so I would recommend this hotel to anyone who plans to travel to travel to Woburn or surrounding areas.
I would love to stay in this hotel again one day!

Website:

For more information and to book visit:
https://www.thewoburnhotel.co.uk/

Address:
1 George Street,
Woburn,
Bedfordshire,
MK17 9PX

Hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

The Adagio London Brentford, UK

Two weeks ago, I was invited the opening of the first ever Adagio Aparthotel in London Brentford. I’ve previously stayed in Adagio Aparthotel with my mum in Nice in France and I really enjoyed it so I was really looking forward to discovering what Adagio has to offer in London.

B9B2E5BE-8EFE-4D12-9D36-8F39A8F0F808

Location:

The Adagio Aparthotel Brentford provides good links with Central London so it’s great for both business and leisure travellers. It is also located close to London Heathrow airport and within a mile of Kew Gardens. The closest tube station is 10minutes walk from the aparthotel.

Facilities:

Adagio Aparthotel Brentford offers all the comforts of home whilst you are away. The hotel features 100 apartments (a mixture of studios and one-bedroom apartments), virtual concierge, fitness centre, laundry facilities, open hot-desk work area next to reception and a restaurant where you can grab a breakfast or a drink from.

Aparthotels Adagio London Brentford’s design takes inspiration from its urban surroundings with a modern feel. All Adagio aparthotels aim to provide open areas where guests can work and meet, perhaps even take part in one of their spontaneous cooking sessions all within Adagios comfortable setting.

As soon as you enter, you are welcomed by friendly receptionists and beautiful, contemporary surroundings.

Room:

We stayed in a beautiful apartment located on the seventh floor. Our apartment had a fully-equipped kitchen, air conditioning, living area with flat screen smart TV, free WIFI and telephone. We also had a spacious bathroom with complimentary Malin + Goez toiletries.

The living area of the apartment consisted also had a large and comfortable bed so we slept very well.

We also had a large terrace featuring the panoramic views of London where the guests could enjoy a drink or sit down and relax with a good book.

Overall experience:

The hotel staff believe that ‘home is not a place, it is a feeling’ and they try to create a friendly, open surroundings for its guests. Although, we stayed at the Adagio Aparthotel Brentford only for 1 night, we had a great time. The hotel has everything that’s needed whilst away from home and I will definitely stay in Adagio Aparthotels in the future.

Address:

Key Eye Tower

Ealing Rd

Brentford TW8 0FL

Website:

https://www.adagio-city.com

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

Lunch at Cantine Milano in Milan, Italy

On the last day of my trip to Milan, we had our lunch at Cantine Milano which is the first Italian Restaurant with wine shop. The concept for Cantine Milano was born from a passion for wine and the love of good food. All the wines displayed in the restaurant can be tasted and purchased.

Location:

Cantine Milano is located within the Isola district and overlooks Via Traú. The restaurant is only a 5-minutes walk from Zara tube station and is easily reachable from the centre of Milan.

F320CDDA-BE38-4BE9-8EEE-760E4E5071A4

Atmosphere:

The restaurant has a charming and exclusive décor and the entire dining area as well as the cocktail bar (which counter is entirely made of marble) are surrounded by a unique atmosphere created by the play of lights on the glasses and the dark walls. In addition, Cantine Milano has a private dining room and a spectacular open wine cellar downstairs.

The menu:

Cantine Milano accommodates great Mediterranean cuisine and fine wines with over 300 national and international labels to choose from. All dishes are created following the Apulian recipes and freshly made from high-quality locally sourced ingredients.

Starters:

For my starter, I had some roasted octopus on fondue with cheese, pepper and crispy leek. The dish was flavoursome.

My husband had a trio of mini tartare with tuna, yellowtail and salmon which he enjoyed.

75DDC9A7-7D93-473A-AF21-86120A94D0F4

First Course:

For our Primi (First Course that Italians normally have before a main) we had a couple of dishes to share. I ordered some Gnocchetti (home made potatoes pasta) with cheese and pepper fondue, crispy bacon and parmesan waffle. My husband had some Spaghettoni pasta with raw and cooked crustacean with red bisque and purple potatoes. Both dishes were appetising.

Mains:

For my main, I decided to have some Tataki of tuna in black sesame crust with citrus soy sauce. This Asian-inspired dish was simply phenomenal.

BD99C34A-AFE0-44D6-9CC3-DF1172FEC4C8

My husband had some beef with cheese, cognac with green pepper, potatoes and spinach which was delectable.

7949E365-2C79-4679-8BDF-C65E9F1C855A

Desserts:

My husband decided to skip his dessert but I ordered some tiramisu which was mouth-watering and had a perfect, light consistency. Everything I had was tasty but it was my favourite dish.

389636EA-4FAF-4561-95D3-D0E438D046F7

Overall experience:

Our last meal in Milan in Cantine Milano was definitely my favourite and this restaurant is definitely a hidden-gem. From the beginning of my meal until my dessert, everything I ordered was cooked to perfection. In addition, the service was friendly and attentive which is always appreciated. I would definitely recommend anyone who loves good food and wine to visit Cantine Milano next time they are around.

Website:

For more information and to book visit:

https://www.cantinemilano.com/

Address:

Via Traù 1

20159 Milano

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline