The House Ribeira Hotel in Porto, Portugal

Last week, I was with my husband in Portugal for 4 days. This time we visited a picturesque city of Porto and stayed at the trendy House Ribeira Hotel which was transformed into a modern hotel from an abandoned ballet school and theatre.

Atmosphere:

As soon as we entered this trendy, boutique hotel we felt welcomed and the front desk staff were extremely accommodating. As we had a very early morning flight and arrived at the hotel at 10a.m., we dropped our bags and took some advice from the receptionist who recommended for us to take one of the bus tours. When we came back to hotel, around 5p.m. on that day we were welcomed with a glass of Port wine whilst filling in the paperwork-a really nice touch that made us feel appreciated and welcomed.

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The hotel is addressed to a modern, urban audience that seeks not only a great place to stay during their travels but also the authenticity of this marvellous city.

Location:

The House Ribeira Hotel is superbly situated in the centre of Porto’s downtown area. The river is only a minute away by foot and there are lots of restaurants and cafes nearby. The nearest station (Sao Bento) is only 700m away. The main square is only around 15 minutes walk from the hotel and the shopping district and the famous Rue Santa Caterina street is around 10 min walk from the hotel.  Most other key attractions (i.e. Alfandega do Porto, Luis I Bridge, Port Wine Cellars, Palacio da Bosa) are within walking distance making it a perfect place to stay whilst in Porto.

The Francisco Sa Carneiro Airport airport is around 20-30 min from the hotel and the taxi costs around 30-40 Euros.

Facilities:

The House Ribeira Hotel has only 56 rooms spread over 6 floors. The hotel’s design is meant to make you ‘feel like home’.

This theme is visible everywhere, starting from the reception, moving to the bar and breakfast area and ending in the rooms. If you like a modern, funky look then you will love the sitting in one of the multifunctional areas located at the opposite sides of the reception.

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They are furnished with a mix of bench seating, with some interesting cushions and colourful stools, which create a modern, vibrant and colourful look.

Next to reception, there is an open refrigerator stocking a selection of 24/7 ‘grab and go’ packaged sandwiches, snacks and fruit juices. Nice when you just need to get a quick snack on the go.

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Daily breakfast service is available from 7:30a.m.-11a.m. and the cafeteria is open from 1p.m. -11p.m.

Room:

We stayed in a premium room located on the forth floor . Our room was equipped with a private bathroom, interactive TV,  mini bar with a selection of soft drinks and wine, safe, air conditioning. There was a free Wi-Fi available throughout the property. Our bed was comfortable and the room had a simple, modern design. There was a walk in wardrobe as well as study desk with 2 chairs.

Our bathroom had a contemporary, open-plan design with glass-panelled toilet and shower cubicles. Some basic toiletries were provided.

Overall experience:

Although, we were in Porto for only 3 nights, we had a great stay at the House Ribeira Hotel. The hotel has a perfect location, staff was extremely friendly and our room was comfortable and  modern. I would definitely recommend it to any travellers who enjoy chic looking surroundings and like to feel like home whilst away.

If you consider visiting Porto then you can book your stay at The House Ribeira hotel through Booking.com. In addition, if you book your accommodation via this referral link, you’ll get £20 in cash.

Address:

Rua do Infante D. Henrique 26,

4050-492 Porto,

Portugal

Website:

http://www.shotels.pt/thehouse/home

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

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Bank Holiday stay at Fishmore Hall Hotel in Ludlow, UK

2 weeks ago, we decided to travel to Shropshire for an extended Bank Holiday weekend.  We left London during the early afternoon and after a few hours drive we arrived at Fishmore Hall hotel in Ludlow.

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Atmosphere:

Fishmore Hall has a very informal atmosphere and from the moment we stepped in to check-in until the moment we checked-out we felt welcomed. All the staff were friendly and professional.

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Location:

Fishmore Hall is situated in Shropshire, around a 3 hour drive from London on the outskirts of Ludlow. The town is well-known for its food festival, interesting shops and historic castle. It is a great holiday destination with many walking trails and sightseeing opportunities to meet the demands of even the most demanding travellers.

 

The beautiful view of Brown Clee Hill and Titterstone Clee Hill can be enjoyed from some of the hotel’s bedrooms or its garden. We spent a romantic afternoon overlooking the fields and rolling hills whilst having a few drinks in the hotels relaxation area located in its gardens.

Dining in an elegant atmosphere may be enjoyed in the restaurant at Fishmore Hall, with views across the beautiful countryside through the large French windows. Afternoon Tea upon arrival may be arranged.
Within close proximity to the hotel are activities ranging from golf to fishing and horse riding. Fishmore Hall is just 1 miles from Ludlow, famous for its food festival, restaurants, shops and historic castle.

Facilities:

Fishmore Hall Hotel has been awarded 3 red star status by the AA. Red Star hotels represent the most outstanding examples in each star category and signify the best in the British Isles.

Forelles Fine Dinning restaurant offers classically based modern British cuisine and welcomes both residents and non-residents who can choose from 2 A La Carte Menus. We decided to have our dinners in there and we weren’t disappointed – both menus were delicious. For guests looking for a more relaxed dining experience, light meals and snacks are available in the elegant setting of the Brasserie. In addition, guests can enjoy a Classic Afternoon Tea which was recommended as one of the best afternoon teas in Shropshire.

 

All visitors can also relax at the guest lounge with and have a drink at the bar which offers a nice selection of drinks and cocktails.

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If, like me, you enjoy having a moment to yourself and a bit of pampering then you will love that the Fishmore Hall Hotel has a luxurious spa – SPA SHELL- overlooking the Shropshire hills.

 

The SPA SHELL features a sauna, steam room, and an outdoor whirlpool. A range of prestigious Elemis treatments and massages are available.

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I decided to have Elemis Garden of England Rose Massage whilst my husband had a classic Full Body Massage. We both really enjoyed the spa facilities and our massages.

 

Room:

Fishmore Hall Hotel is a privately-owned boutique hotel that offers a plenty of rooms to choose from. We stayed in the Executive room (no. 5) which was deeply comfortable, elegant and sexy.

It had a flat screen TV and a very comfortable king-size bed. In addition, there was a desk, table and chairs, and a complimentary Wi-Fi. Our mini bar was stocked up with some local goodies and some complimentary milk and water were given.

 

Our bathroom was spacious and walk in shower as well as a separate bath. Some soft towels, bath robes and slippers were provided. The bathroom was equipped with a selection of exclusive Elemis toiletries.

 

Overall experience:

Although, we stayed only for 2 nights, we had a very relaxing time at Fishmore Hall Hotel. It is a place where you could be assured of being personally pampered in beautiful rural surroundings in a modern SPA, in addition to being able to unwind in peace and quiet whilst admiring the surrounding nature. What’s more, if you are a bit of a foodie then the hotel’s restaurant will definitely meet your expectations as it offers excellent locally-sourced food.

 

If you consider visiting Ludlow then you can book your stay at Fishmore Hall through Booking.com. In addition, if you book your accommodation via this referral link, you’ll get £20 in cash.

Address:

Fishmore Road
Ludlow
Shropshire
SY8 3DP

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

CAKE Restaurant Payment app

Do you live or work in central London? If you do then I would like to tell you about CAKE – the new payment application for Londoners. I decided to give it a go as I go out regularly and the application promises to make it easier to enjoy London’s best restaurants and bars.

You can pay or split your bill all in one app.

Firstly, you can plan where to eat by browsing the places nearby or see a full list of places where you can pay with the app when you tap ‘Explore’.

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As soon as you are sure where you would like to go for your meal or drinks you can contact the venue to request a table.

There is a good selection of restaurants and bars to choose from. Some of the restaurants that CAKE collaborates with are:

  • Rum Kitchen
  • Bunga Bunga
  • Tonteria
  • Lima
  • 100 Kensington
  • Aroma Italia
  • Bar American

As my husband loves Indian food, on Tuesday we decided to book a table at Cinnamon Bazaar located in Covent Garden.

The experience:

After we had our meal at Cinnamon Bazaar we let our server know that we wanted to pay with CAKE. The payment was simple-when I opened a tab in the app and showed my reference number to my waiter who then connected my bill to the app. The payment amount owed was shown in the app and when I approved it the payment was made. There was also an option to split a bill with other dinners which would be really handy if you went out with friends.

Overall experience:

I really enjoyed using CAKE app as it gives anyone opportunity to browse and pay for your meal at many local cafes and restaurants. In addition, the app offers you the possibility to quickly split your bill if you decide to use it while out with your friends.

Hope you enjoyed reading this review!

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Pauline

Henley Royal Regatta, Henley-on-Thames

I have recently experienced Henley Royal Regatta with my colleagues.

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If you are keen on watching some exciting rowing events then Henley Royal Regatta is definitely an event you should attend. It is held annually on the River Thames in the picturesque town of Henley-on-Thames.

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It has a long tradition dating back to 1839 and the event lasts for five days (Wednesday to Sunday) ending normally on the first weekend in July.

The races are over a course of 1 mile and many home and international teams compete in it every year. The regatta pre-dates both national or international rowing organisation and it has its own rules.

We were lucky to be invited to join the Royal Stewards Enclosure.

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It is situated on the Berkshire bank, opposite the Finish Line and reserved for Members and their Guests. Stuarts are responsible for organising the event and in many cases are former rowers themselves. The Stewards Enclosure has a very strict dress code. A lounge suit or jacket with flannels and a tie or cravat is required for men and dresses and skirts (hemlines beneath the knee) are required for women.

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The regatta is known to be one of the most prestigious events of the English social season and lots of celebrities visit the Royal Stewards Enclosure yearly. Some of my colleagues saw George Clooney who lives not far from Henley enjoying the event.

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We had a lovely day out as a team. As the weather was amazing it was really relaxing and whilst I was sipping my Champagne I almost forgot that I was at the work event!

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I would definitely recommend attending but be careful what you wear as if you do not meet the strict dress code, you’ll be turned away.

Hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

 

 

Ross & Ross – Wedding Anniversary Foodie Gift Idea

It is our first wedding anniversary next week. My husband is a git of a computer geek so he requested some vouchers so he can buy a new gaming equipment. I wanted to also get him something he can enjoy straight away and as both myself and my husband are massive foodies I decided to get him The XL Man Box from Ross and Ross.

Company:

Ross & Ross is a small, multi award winning fine food company based in the Cotswolds. It specializes in Wedding & Event Catering and Handmade British food gifts. The company has just won 2 stars in The Great Taste Awards for their BBQ Salt and The Cotswold Pig-the beer that goes into a lot of the hampers. In addition, Ross and Ross won some other awards including:

  • Winner of ‘Gift of the Year’ Food & Drink Award 2017 (Homemade Curing Kit, Salmon)
  • Finalists of Best Independent Retailer Award at the Cotswold Life Food & Drink Awards 2017

The owners Ross Bearman and Ross Whitmill share a passion for great British food. They have worked in the fine food industry for over 15 years. Their website offers a range of fine-food gift boxes and last year they expanded the popular Man Box collection to include a cider variety in addition to launching The Homemade Curing Kit.

Who are the boxes for?

The boxes are suitable for any male that enjoy a quality food and beverage. Ross & Ross range ranges from themed Father’s Day and Wedding boxes (for Ushers, Best Man, Father of the Bride) to generic boxes suitable for any occasion.

I decided to get my husband The XL Man Box described on the website as:

‘It’s BIG, it’s spicy and totally separates the men from the boys.’

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The XL Man Box contains:

  • Premium Cotswold Lager, 5.0% 330ml Made by The Cotswold Brewing Co, Bourton on the Water. A smooth, subtle lager with a soft, fruity flavour. Additive free, preservative free and unpasteurised for the freshest, truest possible taste.
  • Cotswold Pig Ale, 4.4%, 500ml Made by Stratford-upon-Avon Brewery
  • British Charcuterie 100g – Original Salami Made by the Cotswold Curer, Cirencester. Artisan producer of salami and chorizo made from locally sourced free range pork in the Cotswolds.
  • British Charcuterie 100g – Spicy Chorizo Made by the Cotswold Curer, Cirencester. Artisan producer of salami and chorizo made from locally sourced free range pork in the Cotswolds.
  • Mr Trotter’s Great British Crackling – Original 60g Pork Scratchings made from 100% prime British pork skin from the finest British pigs.
  • Mr Trotter’s Great British Crackling – Jalapeno Chilli 60g Pork Scratchings made from 100% prime British pork skin from the finest British pigs.
  • Plum Chutney 115g jar Slow cooked Cotswold plums with spices and apples. A great all-rounder for cheeses and terrines.

Prices:

All Ross & Ross boxes are reasonably priced and offer a great selection of gifts ranging from £20-40.

Please refer to the website for more details.

X

Pauline

Another summer ball with my family

A few weeks ago, we was invited by my father-in-law to attend a summer ball at Porters Park Golf Club which is located in Hertfordshire.

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As I was attending a different event during the day we arrived just in time for a champagne reception. It was nice catching up to my in-laws and shortly after we were invited to take our seats in the beautifully decorated marquee.

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There were around 180 golf club members and their guests present during the evening.

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The event begun with some speeches. Soon after, whilst sipping some white wine, we were listening to the awards granted to the best players. Subsequently, we were served a 3-courses dinner. There was a live entertainment provided by performers from the Déjà vu band. We all had the opportunity to show our best moves on the dance floor while enjoying the iconic songs from 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Even my husband who doesn’t like dancing, joined me on a dance-floor.

Summer Ball Menu included:

Starter – Sea Trout & Asparagus

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The starter was delicious and the sea trout was roasted until crisp with lemon thyme. It was served with some steamed buttered asparagus, warmed new potatoes and grilled baby tomatoes.

Main – Rosemary Roast Lamp Rump

I really enjoyed the main -a prime rump of lamb cooked with fresh rosemary till just pink. It was served alongside a rich cream & garlic dauphinouse, baby summer vegetables, a mint and some red wine sauce.

Dessert – Trio of Desserts

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Desserts are always my favorite part of any meal. During the summer ball we received 3 mini desserts – blackcurrant & vanilla cheesecake, mini chocolate pot and summer berries with a sweet coulis.

Dress Code:

Dress Code for the event was black tie so I decided to wear one of my ball-gowns from COAST paired with some Jenny Peckham’s hills.

To sum up, we both had a great evening of fine dining and dancing. Where shall we go next?

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline

De Vere Wokefield Estate, UK

I travel on business a lot and a couple of weeks ago, I stayed at De Vere Wokefield Estate.

Location:

De Vere Wokefield Estate is located 25 minutes drive from the Reading train station or 40 minutes drive from Heathrow Airport. It is set inside of a golf course in 250 acres of Berkshire parkland.

DE VERE WOKEFIELD ESTATE entrance

Facilities:

De Vere Wokefield Estate has a 24-hours reception and a Business Centre.

DE VERE WOKEFIELD ESTATE reception

Wi-Fi is available at no extra charge. The hotel caters for both business and personal events from weddings to meetings and team-building exercises. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and a room service.

The restaurant serves a nice selection of buffet items for breakfast and dinner. The bar offers a nice selection of gourmet food but I wouldn’t advise to eat in there. Firstly, the service was extremely slow-I was waiting for my steak for 2 hours… Secondly, I was disappointed with the bar staff as they should have at least warned me and my colleague about the waiting time before we ordered. Food was reasonably priced but my steak was really solid and I ended up only having half of it.

In addition, if you like playing golf then De Vere Wokefield Estate is surrounded by an 18-hole championship golf course with 9 lakes. You can also buy some professional golf merchandise on-site.

Room:

De Vere Wokefield Estate offers rooms in either the sleek Executive Centre or in the elegant Mansion House. I stayed at the Executive Centre. My room had a  modern, stylish decor. My king-size bed was comfortable and room also had a study desk and a large TV.

DE VERE WOKEFIELD ESTATE bed

The bathroom had a simple décor – bath, shower, hairdryer and toiletries were available.

Overall:

De Vere Wokefield Estate is a great place to unwind after a day of work or during the weekend. If you travel to Reading on business then I would definitely recommend it as it is much nicer then most hotels based in the city centre. 

Address:

Goodboys Lane, Reading
RG7 3AE

I hope you enjoyed reading this review!

X

Pauline