Friday, 16 October 2020

Toasting 25-Years of Friendship at Randall & Aubin.

Recently one of my best friend's and I celebrated our 25-year friendversary! You can read more about our friendship here, but we met in an oversized tyre in the primary school playground and the rest is, well, history. Naturally we had to celebrate, and with Emma moving out of London soon we also needed to toast to her new home. We chose an old favourite for our little celebration, the fabulous Randall & Aubin in Soho for a night of champagne and seafood - can you believe they're almost as old as our friendship!


Thursday, 8 October 2020

Celebrating the end of Summer with Harry's Dolce Vita.

Aftab is one of my favourite blogging friends and he was one of the last people I saw before lockdown. It had been a while since we had a proper catch-up so when Harry's Dolce Vita invited me to review their new cocktails and summer menu I figured it was the perfect opportunity to have a natter and reminisce about our trip to Finland a year ago! Oh, how times have changed. I've been to Harry's a few times in the past (visits I paid for myself) and it's one of my favourite local restaurants so I knew we would have a relaxed stress-free evening with incredible food in a beautiful setting.


Sunday, 27 September 2020

Neverland Comes to Aqua Shard with a Peter Pan Afternoon Tea.

I adore whimsical afternoon teas that take a theme and go wild with it, drawing you into that little quirky world for a couple of hours and giving you an escape from the real world. After a stressful few weeks of house hunting, this week I escaped the everyday and was whisked away to Neverland when I tried out Aqua Shard's Peter Pan afternoon tea offering, and was blown away by the impressive presentation and tasty on-theme treats! Additionally, J.M Barrie gifted the Peter Pan copyright to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in 1929, so for every Peter Pan afternoon tea bought at Aqua Shard, £2 will be donated to GOSH's children’s charity.


Sunday, 23 August 2020

A Post-Lockdown Dinner at Amazonico, Mayfair.

I've been seeing individual friends each week since lockdown ended, slowly seeing them all for the first time in months. It started out as picnics and drinks in the parks, then moved to restaurants at the beginning of July, and finally I plucked up the courage to visit an actual bar with a group of friends at the start of August. Since then I've seen a few groups of friends, but the lovely bunch I saw for our Amazonico dinner last night, I hadn't seen since January when we went to Isabel! We had the best evening, it's a restaurant we'd all been wanting to visit for ages so it felt extra special, and I wanted to share our experience as we were all super impressed!


Thursday, 6 August 2020

Hotel Review: COMO The Treasury Perth.

I first heard about COMO The Treasury back in 2015 when it opened and caused an insane amount of excited chatter in Perth. All of my friends over there were telling me how it was the most expensive hotel in Perth, and after visiting the restaurants and bars inside the Old State building in which COMO The Treasury is housed, they all encouraged me to check it out on my next visit over there! Well, five years later (and despite many visits back home inbetween) I finally got to experience Perth's most expensive hotel. So, was it worth the five year wait? Absolutely.


Sunday, 19 July 2020

Lockdown Dining: Hakkasan at Home.

Lockdown has brought on many challenges over the past few months - restaurants have been closed, jobs have been lost, and some places have sadly closed their doors for good due to the pandemic and enforced business closures. I spent the first two months of lockdown stuck in Devon at my parents place, and although I used that time to up my donations to some local charitable organisations, when I finally did get back to London I was super keen to support local businesses and my favourite eateries!

I've been ordering-in twice a week, and when one of my favourite restaurants got in touch to ask if they could send me some of my favourite dishes (I had tried to order from them the week prior but was sadly 1-mile outside of their 2-mile delivery radius), I naturally said yes!


Sunday, 21 June 2020

Hotel Review: Paramount House Hotel, Sydney.

When I lived in Sydney I was super lucky to work in Surry Hills. It’s one of the trendiest suburbs in Sydney with a wide-variety of bars and cafes, and those quintessential Sydney terraced houses set on leafy tree-lined streets (even to this day I still miss my old Sydney terraced house). The call of the Kookaburra fills the air through the day, Gelato Messina scoop out double-scoops of their homemade gelato, and by night the bars and restaurants are filled and buzzing with people and big fluffy Flying Foxes hang upside down from the trees.

Almost every street in the suburb has a hot new bar on it, but the one thing the suburb has been missing, is a luxury hotel. The only hotels in Surry Hills until recently have been hotels attached to pubs, which, to put it nicely, aren’t particularly ‘nice’. But in 2018 Paramount House Hotel opened with 29 rooms and suites, finally giving visitors a luxury property in Sydney’s coolest neighbourhood. When I visited Sydney back in February I decided to check it out and see what it was like! 

Paramount House Hotel Sydney Review


Monday, 1 June 2020

5 Reasons I've Fallen in Love With North Devon.

This month I've been invited to co-host the monthly Travel Link-Up, and we're talking about home, which is you all know by now is something I've spoken about regularly given my constant moving around. I've frequently told you about my second home of Australia (even writing about Perth for a Travel Link-Up back in 2015), and so this time I wanted to tell you more about my home in England.

For most of my life that home was in the pretty market-town of Guildford in Surrey. We moved there when I was 2-years-old, and apart from my four years spent in Australia, my family didn't move away from Guildford permanently until last year. These days, my family home is on the border of North Devon and Cornwall, and although I spend most of the year at my home in London, I wanted to tell you all about our new family home and why I've fallen in love with it!


Thursday, 26 March 2020

Always a Travel Writer: A Guide to Perth by 16-year-old Me.

With the Coronavirus outbreak forcing us all indoors, I've been doing very life-adminy tasks in my spare time. One of these has been sorting out my multitude of external hard drives containing precious photos and videos from the past almost fifteen years of my life (yep, some of the files I've kept since I was 14 years old). Anyway, I was sorting through a folder the other day and stumbled across a word doc simply titled 'article'. I clicked open wondering what it was, and was shocked to find 'Perth: The best places to shop, eat, surf, beach, swim etc', that I had written on 3rd October 2007 - a month after I started high school there.

Me in the Australian bush in 2007

As a teenager I used to write random stories and articles all the time just for fun with no intention of ever publishing them anywhere, and as I had moved to Perth mere weeks before it was written, I guess I thought I would write a guide to Perth, that then stayed hidden away and forgotten about for 13 years. Well, it's hidden away no more! I've decided to make 16-year-old me very happy, and publish it here on my travel blog (as a 16-year-old I NEVER thought I would have a travel blog someday, let alone write pieces about Perth for big publications like Red Magazine!).

The grammar isn't perfect, the spelling isn't perfect. But I really wanted to publish it without editing it, so please excuse the errors. It made me laugh reading it and seeing what was popular back in 2007 (Uggs for example). I also clearly only had one thing on my mind: Australian men, haha! Also, I was clearly always destined to go into a career in writing and SEO (how funny that I managed Tourism Australia's Global SEO account for 18 months), because the entire article is SEO optimised with clear headings and subheadings!

Me at the top of our road in 2007

So without further ado, here is a Guide to Perth, written by 16-year-old me in October 2007...

Perth: The best places to shop, eat, surf, beach, swim etc.

I started coming to Australia when I was 7 years old, nearly 10 years ago now. I don’t remember much from that first experience, and what I do remember is now unimportant as the country has changed so much. Lets just say, it has grown and adapted to the modern world! I’ve never actually been outside Western Australia, but have been all up and down the west coast. I moved to Perth, WA, 5 weeks ago, and have settled in with the way of life nicely! The people are great, the beaches are great, the guys are hot and the weather is fantastic. Last Saturday it reached up to a high of 30 degrees C, and it’s only the beginning of spring here. 

We had the chance to move here a few years ago, when I was 13, but at that age I wasn’t ready, I was only just finding my feet in Secondary school and had all the usual questions running through my head, ‘What if we don’t come back!’ ‘What if everyone forgets me’ ‘What if no one in Australia likes me!’ So we didn’t. But last year, I felt I was finally ready for something new. A new way of life, new people, new friendships, a new experience. The type of experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and hopefully never regret! 

We visited Aussie land in Easter 07 to look for schools. I didn’t like the idea of going to an all girls school (what on earth is the point of moving to Australia, if you’re not going to meet Aussie guys!?) so eventually we decided on the Catholic co-ed one at Mt Claremont, it was my perfect school! It felt right, I felt the warm vibes you feel when you’re looking at houses and you know you’ve found the right one, I felt at ease, comfortable, as if it was meant to be. 

As we said goodbye to family and friends and boarded the plane, I was unsure if we were doing the right thing. But in my heart I knew we were, after all it was only for 2 years, it wasn’t forever. When we touched down at Perth airport, I could feel my heart warm with excitement, and couldn’t wait to find our own house and start school, yes that’s right; I couldn’t wait to start school!! I actually WANTED to start school! 

On my first day I met some of the kindest and most welcoming people I have ever met, everyone was fascinated by me, and for some reason they all loved my accent and kept asking me to say Scone, because I say it Scone where as they say it as if it were spelt, Scon, if you get what I mean! I felt settled after the first couple of days, and loved every minute of meeting new people and learning about their way of life. They taught me about the best places to shop, eat, surf, beach, swim etc etc. 


The town of Subiaco (north of the river) and ‘Garden City’ in Booragoon (south of the river) are the best places to shop, with the little boutique shops in Subi, and the department stores housing the usual designer gear in Garden City (note to self; must buy those ultra cool ‘Bonds’ fashion underwear in Myer and David Jones). 


Subiaco and Fremantle are the best places to eat, with their little cafes and smart restaurants. Fremantle has a really good brewery restaurant called ‘Little Creatures’ where all the gap year students tend to eat, drink and work. I also found two incredible little cafes, one on Floreat beach and one on City Beach, both overlooking the crystal clear ocean and golden sands. If you ever get the chance to go to City Beach café, I advise the giant Silk Chocolate Truffles, heaven! 


Trigg beach and Scarborough beach are the best places to surf! Before you jump to conclusions, don’t panic! Scarborough beach is nothing like the English Scarborough beach, this Scarborough beach is pure heaven, complete with the perfect beach lifestyle and hot surfers to go with it! 

Places to go

Rottnest Island is a must see, even if it’s just a day trip! The best beach there is Fays bay, but watch out for sand flies around midday, they can give some pretty nasty bites! On Rotto they have Quokkas, which are little marsupial animals that come out in mass at night and are very tame so you can easily go up (if you’re gentle and quiet) and pet them. If you go up by the lighthouse at night you can see the Milky Way, which is pretty spectacular, make sure to use a very slow shutter speed on your camera though, and make sure to take a small tripod if you want a good photo of this rare view.

Along the West coast, are Karri Valley (where the Gloucester tree is) , Albany (both down south) and Coral Bay (up north). Driving across Australia is fascinating, whether it’s counting dead Kangaroos along the side of the road, stopping off in a little old colonial town that seems like a horror movie when you step back in time, or driving through bush fires. It’s the little things like that that you remember and treasure. 

Coral Bay is incredible, you can walk out to the coral, and all you need is a snorkel and mask on you head and you’ll be swimming with the fish in no time! Just watch out for the snapper’s though, they tend to go for your fingers and toes! Various people I know have actually said that they prefer Coral Bay to the Great Barrier Reef, because of the difference between how long it takes to actually get out to the coral reef. 

Now, Karri Valley and Albany are way down south, and on the way to these places, if you drive through the red dirt tracks and through the farms and homestead then you can easily pick up a pair of REAL UGGS, for less than $150 AUD (around £65)!! Everyone say YAY!! Uggs actually originate from WA, and so therefore the only real ones available in the world, are the ones actually from WA. So basically the ones you buy off the sheep farms. 

In Karri Valley you have the Gloucester tree, which is the tallest tree in WA, I think…! You can climb up it, and when you reach the top you get a certificate (you may now be saying ‘oooo a certificate, yippee’ but every certificate helps in life ya know!). Also at dusk you can drive around and see Kangaroos ‘boxing’ in the fields. 

Albany is breathtaking, literally! It’s fairly small, but it’s beautiful! One of the best beaches there is Goode Beach, white sand and turquoise ocean. There are also various vineyards you can visit and take tours and go wine tasting. 


Don’t make a fool out of yourself by thinking Woopwoop is a real place!! It is not! It is a word they use for ‘In the middle of nowhere’! Also out here they call flip-flops, ‘thongs’ so if you see, ‘no thongs’ on the outside of a café/restaurant it means, no flip-flops! 

Travelling, Sport, Helpful tips and Wildlife

If you’re travelling round Australia you might find Route 1 useful! It goes all the way round (just cutting off a little bit somewhere)…and back again! Also don’t be afraid of the wildlife, I have never seen any snakes or sharks, and the spiders are fine as long as you don’t touch them or disturb them! 

If you like sea life, you can swim with wild dolphins at Rockingham and also go diving etc at Coral Bay and round Rottnest. Go to Trigg beach for surf lessons and DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT leave your shoes outside at night (unless they’re flip-flops)!! If you do something very nasty and dangerous will crawl into it and in the morning you will get a nasty surprise when you put your foot into the shoe! Food and drink are generally cheaper out here, and so are some items of clothing depending where you go. Trips and activities are also much cheaper than what they would be in the UK. 

Most of all HAVE FUN, and don’t worry about dangers the whole time, coz it’ll ruin your trip, just be sensible when it comes to the wildlife. Perth city is only worth a day’s visit, it’s only really one street and just has a Myer (department store) and souvenir shops. Kings park is a great place to go for picnics and a BBQ on the beach is compulsory for all visitors out here, big lol! Also you can visit the football (Aussie Rules) stadium in Subiaco, which is home to the AFL 2006 premieres team, West Coast Eagles.

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Sunday, 8 March 2020

Luxury in 24 Hours: Bahrain.

When I returned to Dubai in October, I decided to tie-in my trip with another country nearby. I'd already visited Oman and Qatar, so next on the list was Bahrain! The Kingdom of Bahrain is a tiny island nation in the Persian Gulf, and is actually an archipelago. The capital city of Manama has seen a huge amount of construction work over the past few years, but has a lot to offer visitors and there are some beautiful and interesting sights in the surrounding area. I had the best time and absolutely loved my short time visiting Bahrain as a solo female traveller, so wanted to share how you too can have an incredible 24 hours in the city, whether you're a solo traveller or not.


Sunday, 9 February 2020

Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain.

Whenever I travel solo I like to stick to hotels I trust, and hotels I know will take good care of me. Having been a Marriott member for a number of years I’ve stayed at their properties all over the world, and therefore they are my go-to choice when travelling alone! When I decided to tag Bahrain onto my Dubai trip last October, I didn't really know too much about the island or main city of Manama, so I booked in at the Ritz-Carlton and ended up having the best little solo trip!


Thursday, 6 February 2020

Luxy Flies Luxair to Luxembourg for a Weekend City Break.

I've wanted to visit Luxembourg for years, mostly because its airport abbreviation is 'Lux', which is my surname, but also because I'd heard so many great things about this tiny but adorable city. Jasiminne - who, along with many of my other friends, has fondly referred to me as 'Luxy' since our friendship began - and I decided to take a little autumnal trip and there was much excitement when we arrived at the airport and my Luxair boarding pass was printed with my surname 'Lux' next to 'Lux Air' and 'Lux' airport as the destination haha. Naturally Jasiminne took plenty of photos of me with the plane! 


Sunday, 2 February 2020

Seven Park Place by William Drabble.

This year has been a little tough (I know, it's only February). So recently when I was in the throes of a never-ending cold, I needed cheering up and my best-guy-friend Edd - as always - was the man for the job. Thankfully we had dinner booked at the newly re-opened and refurbished Seven Park Place, which proved to be the perfect antidote with its incredible food and beautiful dining space!


Thursday, 23 January 2020

A Winter Weekend in Nice, France.

Back in December a big group of friends and I headed to Nice for a winter weekend! Our reason for choosing Nice was because we had a lunchtime restaurant reservation at the Best Restaurant in the World for 2019. A few people just flew in for the day, but a bunch of us stayed there for the whole weekend to make the most of some winter sunshine. It was my second time in Nice, and it turned out to be the perfect winter getaway and was absolutely dreamy in every way possible.

Spending a winter weekend in Nice France


Thursday, 16 January 2020

Dining at Mirazur: The Best Restaurant in the World 2019.

After dining at Osteria Francescana in December 2018 with a group of nine friends, we *somehow* managed to keep to our promise of starting a new tradition and visiting the World's 50 Best, 'Best Restaurant in the World' each year. The list comes out each June, and as soon as it was announced in June 2019 that Mirazur was the new Number One, Sid booked a table that very day and once again we were spending a dreary first weekend of December dining at the World's Best Restaurant!


Thursday, 9 January 2020

La Traviata at the Royal Opera House.

Verdi’s eternally popular opera, La traviata, returned to the Royal Opera House in December 2019, and with Christmas almost upon us CMK and I went to opening night so I could finally experience an opera that wasn't a five-hour long epic Wagner. La traviata is the perfect opera for newbies or anyone who isn't really 'into' opera. Personally I'm more of a ballet gal and go to see Giselle, Romeo & Juliet, Sleeping Beauty, and Swan Lake whenever they're on, but when it comes to opera I tend to stick to Wagner (I still cry at Tannhauser's overture), or the likes of Porgy & Bess. So, let me tell you a little more about La traviata, and why you HAVE to see it...

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