Wednesday, 30 December 2015

New Year, New Design.


I've had this wee blog since July 2011. Over four years. In that time I've had a couple of re-designs, but I've always used the same template and just made small changes over the years. I've been wanting to re-design Lux Life for a long time now, but I didn't have the time to really invest in it, nor did I know exactly what I wanted.



I knew I wanted to keep the typical 'blog' layout rather than a 'magazine' style layout, but with a 'read more' function to make it easier to browse posts, and with a new navigational menu that offers a dropdown menu. After weeks of searching the internet on my commutes, I finally found a template I loved on Etsy.com. It's clean and modern, shows off the content, isn't too fussy, and retains the 'blog' feel while also feeling a little more professional. It also allows me to change things such as fonts and colour schemes very easily through the blogger platform. 

So after spending a couple of days playing around with the design and features on my back-up blog, I finally transferred it all across to this one and it's now live! Unfortunately it doesn't format properly on Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer (the images will look huge and weird)...but seriously, if you're still using either of these browsers you need to get up with the times and download Chrome (or Safari) ASAP.

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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas in the Lake District.


Christmas this year was a quiet one. After work on Wednesday I jumped on the train up to Oxenholme in the Lake District to meet the rest of my family there. My Aunty and Uncle and cousins live up there, and I was pretty excited after not visiting for seven years. Yes. Seven! I was excited for long walks in the mountains, testing out new photography skills, and pub drinks with the ones I love...






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Monday, 28 December 2015

The Christmas Season Round-up.


So I totally missed doing a November roundup as I was so busy, so I thought I'd wrap it up into my December one and have a joint 'Christmas Season' roundup instead. November and December were both pretty crazy - even busier than my busy October! The Christmas Season is always a busy one, but this one even more so. I barely had a free evening to just relax! So, let's get started...

November

November started with the World Travel Market. I took a day off work and went along on the Monday, meeting up with Suze and Jess to explore a bit before we went our separate ways to various meetings. After my trip to Palm Island in September, I met up with the lovely Karen from Tippett PR and James who's the manager of Palm Island and their Antigua sister resort. It was so great to see him again, and they've very kindly invited me to test out their Antigua resort in 2016 - so watch this space!





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Thursday, 24 December 2015

Lansdowne Club Christmas Ball 2015.


This year was my fifth inter-club Christmas ball. In 2011 - my first year - it was held at The Lansdowne Club, and after the past few years of Christmas balls at The Savile Club, The Hurlingham Club, and The Royal Automobile Club, it was the turn of The Lansdowne again this year. I swear each year it just gets better and better, and this may have been the best yet! The theme for the ball was Narnia, and the decorations were absolutely spectacular!

I had two different dress options for the ball, and I didn't decide which one to wear until the day - when my friends gave me a unanimous 'green'. So I ditched the dress that fitted with the theme and opted for my festive green number from ASOS. I felt a bit like a mermaid in it. It was beautiful.


I was staying at The Park Tower in Knightsbridge so I didn't have to drive and could drink as much as I wanted, so after checking in and getting ready I jumped in a taxi just down the road to The Lansdowne. It was so wonderful to see everyone, and the girls and I all had a catch up in the powder room before heading in to the drinks reception.

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Hotel Review: Park Tower, Knightsbridge.


I love a good staycation in London, it always feels so special having a night of luxury in your own city. Earlier this year I had a staycation at The Langham, but this time around I had a night at The Park Tower in Knightsbridge, which is a five star hotel managed by one of my favourite hotels groups - Starwood Resorts. The Park Tower is part of their ultra-luxe hotel arm; The Luxury Collection, which is the same hotel arm as Hotel Imperial, where I stayed in Vienna last year.



Last weekend was the Inter-Club Christmas Ball at the Lansdowne Club, so I headed up to London mid-afternoon and after parking my car just down the road, checked in to my executive room at the Park Tower.


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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Chester at Christmas - A Photo Diary.


I hadn't been up to North Wales to visit my Grandma for around six months, so I thought it was time I headed back up there for a weekend of relaxing. One of my best friends and her daughter, my god-daughter, live up there as well as our parents were (and still are) childhood friends. I went up on the Saturday morning and as the weather was awful, Grandma and I spent the afternoon watching Christmas movies (both the 1947 Miracle on 34th Street, then the 1994 version), before having her homemade beef burgers for dinner and settling down for Strictly. 

The next day on the Sunday I went to my besties house and we drove over to the Grosvenor garden centre so Rosie could see Father Christmas. It was really well done and so cute seeing her face in awe of everything, but I don't think anything could ever beat our Harrods Christmas Grotto experience last year! After seeing Santa we then headed over the border into England to Chester, to have some lunch and see the Christmas markets. 




I adore Chester and hadn't been for a couple of years. It's such a beautiful town and I have so many lovely memories of exploring the Roman ruins and the city as a child. It's a really great place to go for a few hours shopping, and there are lots of restaurants and cafes too. It's got a bit of everything really!


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Monday, 14 December 2015

Top Luxury Winter Skincare Products.


It's been a long time since I did a beauty post, and there are a few products I've been loving lately, so I thought I'd do a roundup post on them. I'm not one of these people who religiously uses the same products over and over again for months or years at a time (apart from my eczema miracle cream), as I tend to get bored with the scent and consistency/feel of them on my skin. So I like to mix and match, changing my routine monthly and alternating between product sets.



Luxury Winter Skincare Products for Sensitive Skin


The past few months I've been using Ah Skincare products, Liz Earle products, and Sönd Skincare products. It's really important to me that all my skincare products are suitable for my eczema-prone super sensitive skin, especially as I tend to react to things like talc and SLS's, which flare up my eye eczema. They also have to be super moisturising as my skin gets so dry. So, without further ado, let's get started!


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Sunday, 13 December 2015

The Olivia Burton Wonderland Watch.


My brother and I have a little obsession with watches. I'm not entirely sure why, but both of us have a vast collection of them. All different shapes and sizes, different brands and materials. I didn't particularly like the Michael Kors watches that were all the rage a couple of years ago (I instead opted for a smaller Marc Jacobs one - large faces just don't suit my small wrists), but I'm completely in love with the current fashion obsession with Olivia Burton watches.

Olivia Burton Wonderland Watch Grey and Gold


I haven't done a fashion-y post for months, but there's a local boutique shop near me in Surrey called Hengelo, who stock a really good selection of Olivia Burton London watches (as well as other great brands such as Gandys Flip Flops, Tatty Devine and Parka), that I just had to tell you about - supporting local businesses and boutiques is so important. After deciding on the Olivia Burton Wonderland Grey & Gold Watch, within a few days it was on my wrist and I've barely taken it off since.


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Friday, 11 December 2015

Luxury Italian at Bocconcino, Mayfair.


A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of dining at Bocconcino with some of my favourite fellow foodie bloggers! A new Italian restaurant in Mayfair, it's just round the corner from my private members club, so the perfect location for me. The lovely Andrea had kindly invited myself, Angie, and Lauren to dinner, and after settling down with champagne and wine, we all became engrossed in conversation about twitter, pinterest, blog layouts, travel plans, and everything else blog-related!


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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Experiencing the HKK Duck & Champagne Menu.


As you already know I adore the Hakkasan Group of restaurants. My love of Sake no Hana, Hakkasan, and Yauatcha has been thoroughly documented over the years, and so it seemed right to finally experience the jewel in the group's crown - the ultra-luxe Michelin starred HKK. 

Henry and I went along one  Saturday to try out the new Duck & Champagne Menu at HKK. It feels very different to the other restaurants, in fact all of them feel different, and I love that. You know that no matter which one you dine at you'll get incredible food and even better service, yet they each have their own personality. HKK is slick and sophisticated, it feels more contemporary than the other restaurants, which I guess suits the city workers nearby.



The Peking Duck is HKK's signature dish, and so I feel we had the right experience dining on the Duck & Champagne menu. From start to finish everything was perfect. The light and airy restaurant was perfect for catching up and giggling over glasses of Louis Roederer Champagne (you get half a bottle included in the price of the menu - £49 each), and the duck perfect for filling our rumbling bellies and dulling the effect of the bubbles.


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Monday, 7 December 2015

Kraków, Poland - Wawel Cathedral.


On our very last morning in Kraków we awoke to clear blue skies and sunshine! We'd walked up to Wawel Cathedral the previous day but it was cold and gloomy and we got there just minutes after the Cathedral closed. So on our last morning we decided to arise early and head back up to Wawel (just a 5min walk from our hotel), to finally see this stunning 900-year-old Cathedral. It's steeped in history, and Pope John Paul II (then Karol Wojtyla) was even ordained as a priest there in 1946!



It was worth the early start.


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Friday, 4 December 2015

Kraków, Poland - Wieliczka Salt Mine.


I've visited a lot of underground caves and mines over the years, but this was without a doubt the most spectacular. Wieliczka Salt Mine is famous for its underground church, with every sculpture and chandelier carved out of salt. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, if you have the time it's well worth a half day trip from Krakow.

Wieliczka Salt Mine Chapel Krakow Poland

Claire and I had already decided that we didn't want to visit Auschwitz, neither of us felt emotionally ready for such an excursion, and Claire had family who died there. We did want to do a trip outside of Krakow though, so after speaking to my Uncle we decided on Wieliczka Salt Mine. He raved about it and after looking at photos online we were sold.

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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

A Luxury Polish Dinner at Copernicus, Kraków.


Located on Kraków's oldest street, is a complete gem of a restaurant with a brilliant luxury tasting menu. Kraków doesn't have any Michelin starred restaurants, however with talented chef Marcin Filipkiewicz at the helm, Copernicus has won numerous awards, and is recommended by the Michelin guide each year. Copernicus Restaurant is housed within the luxury Copernicus Hotel, and although fairly small (booking is recommended), the interior is beautiful, with original 15th century frescoes and a renaissance ceiling.

Hotel Copernicus Restaurant Krakow Poland


Claire and I had already decided we wanted to dine at one of Kraków's top restaurants, so after going through the shortlist we decided on Copernicus mainly due to the location (right by Wawel Castle and just 5mins from our hotel) and also because the current menu on offer just looked too good to resist.

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Monday, 30 November 2015

Kraków, Poland - Main Square & Jewish Quarter.


Claire and I have been wanting to go for a weekend break together for ages. We decided to finally just do it, and after comparing both of our 'to-go-to' lists, Kraków in Poland was on both of them, so we booked that it that very same week and then last Saturday hopped on the plane to Eastern Europe.

Exploring Krakow's main square and jewish quarter in Poland


The flight was only about 2 hours long, and as it was only 6am I promptly fell asleep as soon as we took off, and didn't wake up again until we landed. We walked off the plane to be hit in the face with icy cold air. After getting through immigration quickly we jumped in a taxi and headed to The Sheraton Kraków Hotel. It was a typical American five-star hotel, it felt quite business-y, but the staff were amazing and allowed us to check into our Club Level room at 10am. We had a lovely view over the river!


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Sunday, 29 November 2015

Ice-Skating at Somerset House 2015.


Every year for the past few years I've gone ice-skating at Somerset House in London. It's basically a tradition now. Each year I say I'll try out one of the other London ice rinks, then I always end up going back to Somerset House. I really do love it, it's always so much fun. Heck, I've even done 'ice-reeling' with a group of friends in the middle of the rink, and last year Edd and I went ice-skating there with Google.


This year I was invited along by Somerset House in partnership with Fortnum & Mason. I took Dan along with me, he loves telling everyone about my blog (cringe) and has been on it a fair amount over the past year or two. He reviewed Sake no Hana's Sakura menu with me back in April, and as I hadn't seen him for a coupla weeks since Halloween, I thought it was time he came to something else.

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Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Ninth, Fitzrovia.


Hey y'all. This is a hella lazy post because it's 10pm and I'm drunk on three cocktails and I don't *really* have time to blog at the moment because life is pretty crazy and all. But anyway, this restaurant is too good not to tell you about, and looking at the photos made me all hungry and shit again, so I sorta feel like I need to write about it RIGHT NOW.



The Ninth is awesome. Claire and I went last Friday before our trip to Poland, and we absolutely loved it! It's located right on Charlotte Street (aka, foodie heaven in London), and is the very first restaurant from Jun Tanaka, who's worked for the likes of Le Gavroche, Marco Pierre White, and The Square.


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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Ping Pong at BOUNCE Shoreditch.


I effing love ping pong, we even have a table tennis table at home. As kids the highlight of any holiday was my brother and I playing table tennis together - we play it like normal tennis, so it's super fun (for us, not for anyone around us). I first went to BOUNCE in Holborn last year with work, and had the best time, so I was pretty excited to go check out the new BOUNCE ping pong in Shoreditch.


As many of you know I only go to Shoreditch for one reason; food. So it was kind of a big thing for me to go, and my boss was super impressed with me, especially as this was the very first time I've ever been to Shoreditch and not cried/burst into tears spontaneously on the street (I always get lost then panic and freak out, okay). I proudly went into work the next day and announced it, and they all humored me because they're nice like that.


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Monday, 23 November 2015

ATP Tennis World Tour with Emirates.


I have been a frequent flyer with Emirates for nearly eight years. For three years after I moved back to England from Australia, I would fly back to Perth twice a year with Emirates. As a seventeen year old girl travelling over 8000 miles across the world all alone, they made me feel safe. Their planes were a welcome comfort and the lounge in Dubai a little haven for me to shower and eat cakes before the connecting flight to Perth. Not to mention their business class is out of this world amazing. These days I only fly with them once a year, but I still love them just as much.




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Friday, 20 November 2015

Chotto Matte, Soho.


September marked twenty years since I met my best friend. Twenty years of memories, twenty years of sharing life's moments; both happy and heartbreaking. Naturally it seemed only right to celebrate like you would any other anniversary or birthday, so we decided to go to Nikkei cuisine restaurant, Chotto Matte, in Soho. I'd previously been for the launch of their tostaditas menu, but had never eaten an actual meal there, so was super excited to try it!



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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

St Moritz Ski Bar at The Goring.


The Goring has a long and established history, being one of the most luxurious hotels in London. With a Michelin-starred restaurant and award-winning afternoon tea, The Goring was also the place Kate Middleton chose to spend the night before her wedding to Prince William in 2011. It's also the only hotel in London that is still owned and run by the family that built it!



Having been privately owned by the same family for over 100 years, The Goring have decided to spice things up a bit this winter by opening a pop-up bar in collaboration with another iconic family-owned hotel, Badrutt’s Palace in St Moritz. The reason behind the partnership is because Jeremy Goring, the fourth member of his family to run the luxury Belgravia hotel, recently unearthed two vintage photos of his great-grandfather and grandfather on the slopes of St Moritz, and was inspired to bring their favourite skiing spot to the family’s hotel this winter.



Last week Dr J and I headed to to Belgravia to check out The Goring's St Moritz Ski Bar. It had been a while since I'd last been to The Goring, and as soon as I stepped inside the lobby I was reminded why I love London. The history and beauty of these grand old hotels that make you feel as though you're stepping back in time. 


We walked through the bar and out to the back terrace where the pop-up is located. It was all warm and cosy, with sheepskin throws, heaters, candles, and classic jazz softly playing. The atmosphere was a sort of content happiness, with groups of friends and couples sipping on cocktails and mulled wine and just enjoying the evening, the sound of laughter erupting every so often.





The award-winning barman from Badrutt Palace, Andrea Delvo, had been flown in to launch the pop-up, and he created some really exceptional cocktails for us. There are four cocktails from the Badrutt Palace on the menu, and we decided to have two each to cover all of them. I absolutely loved both of mine; the signature cocktail and the absinthe based one.








We also had a selection of canapes, some triple cooked chips, and pate with brioche bread. Everything was delicious! 



Even Dr J was impressed, and he is a very difficult one to please. Trust me on this one. At my 21st birthday he complained that not enough men were wearing tailored suits in the RAC. He's appeared a few times on the blog, but as it's been such a long time he insisted I take a 'candid' photo of him staring into the distance to include in the post...I swear he's worse than us girls at times.



We had a really lovely evening drinking delicious cocktails, eating yummy food, and having a long overdue catch up. Due to Dr J working away in Cambridge for most of the year, hardly any of us have seen him in 2015, so it was really nice to hear what he's been up to. He works in cancer research so he's a bit of an interesting one.



If you're in need of a little bit of St Moritz but can't get to the slopes, head to the St Moritz Bar at The Goring. It's festive and wonderful and a really cosy place for cocktails, mulled wine, and good bar food. There's no need to book, just show up and nab a table!

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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

One of Those Nights - Tape London.


I wasn't going to blog this, I tend to avoid blogging about events and nights out too much as they never get much engagement or views, but then I remember why I started this blog. I started it to document my life so in the future I could look back and have a sort of (censored) diary. Sometimes it's not just about writing for your audience and trying to get the most pageviews, sometimes you have to write for you as well.



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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Mole Taco Bar, Marylebone.


I know I know. I'm really on it at the moment with these Marylebone based restaurants. You may as well just call me an expert now. Mole Taco Bar isn't that new, it opened back in the summer after my favourite Greek restaurant, Ergon, closed down. Mole replaced it, and despite wanting to hate it, I actually really love it.



I first went with colleagues to test it out, and loved it so much I told Claire (who adores Mexican food) that she had to come with me so I could blog it. The decor is really cool, with brightly coloured wall prints and skulls dotted along the bar. 





We decided to sit up at the bar, and ordered so much food that we struggled to fit it all on the Table!



As before everything was delicious. Mole has had very mixed reviews since it opened, but I think there are some really great choices and all of the ones I've had have been superb. One thing to note is that due to the tapas style nature of the restaurant and dishes, it is quite pricey (around £40 each with one cocktail). 


To be completely honest I'm a terrible blogger and can't remember everything we had (those pisco sours are STRONG), so I'm just going to show you! I've tried almost everything on the menu by now though and everything I've had has been incredible.












I really do love Mole Taco Bar, and if you're wanting Mexican food that's a little more special than Wahaca, I can't recommend Mole enough. Also, pisco sours.

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Molé Taco Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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