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Beginner Photography Tips

Beginner Photography Tips

I created a new page on my blog dedicated to How To’s type of posts where I will be sharing everything I know about running your blog and business. So welcome to my first post about begginer photography tips.

Photography is a beautiful form of artistic expression and a fantastic way to express your creativity. Now before you switch off and think, I’m not creative, let me stop you right there and tell you that’s precisely what I felt myself, and with a lot of practice I have finally accepted that I’m a creative. I finally have enough confidence to share everything I know to help you live a location independent lifestyle. My favourite thing about running my own business is that I can work from anywhere as I have built transferable skills such as photography. Therefore I wanted to reach you beginner photography tips.

Here are my best five tips that will help you switch from basic to professional looking photos.

Shoot Raw

Shooting raw means that your camera will capture enough data when taking a photo to allow your photo to be more exciting and have more texture and depth. Shooting raw does take up more space on your memory card, but at the same time, it will teach you how to shoot better quality photos and less of — quality over quantity. In my photography guide to beginners, I share how you can shoot raw images on your Smartphone, so you practice this even before you invest in an expensive DSLR.

Beginner Photography Tips

Lighting

Now I pretty sure this is not the first time you hear that light can make or break your photo and I wanted to teach you two basic lighting concepts which are position and strength of the light source.

Let’s assume we are shooting outdoors and the sun is our light source. When it comes to position the light source can be positioned to the front, side and the back of the subject all of which provide different effects to your photos. Since we are at a beginner stage lets assume we are shooting with the light source positioned at the front of a subject.

The second thing to bear in mind is the strength of the light source, and this can be soft and hard light. A soft light will make the subject looked polished, and it will remove all the blemishes and lines on your face (win-win) even though soft light is produced by a larger light source such as the sun, its good to remember that this is mainly the case during golden hours (sunrise and sunset) and cloudy days. Shooting in the middle of the day on a sunny afternoon will turn the sun into a hard light source, and it may cast shadows on your subject, so it’s important to bear in mind when deciding on when to shoot.

Beginner Photography Tips

Exposure

Exposure consists of 3 parts shutter speed, aperture and ISO. I go in great detail about this in my photography guide to beginners but to recap, please continue reading.

The aperture affects the amount of light that enters your camera, therefore, determining the brightness of your photo and it’s measured in with an f/stop scale ranging from f/1.4 to f/22. You would keep f/stop number small to achieve brighter looking photos with a bigger depth of field or blur. My best beginner photography tips when it comes to aperture is that you can set your camera to shoot in an Aperture mode and depending on how much depth of field you like, you can set your f/stop according to this preference.

ISO allows even more light into your camera making the photos brighter however when it comes to ISO the higher the number, the brighter the photo. You should be careful with this setting as it can impact the quality of your photo. Choose the ISO amount below 6400 for the least amount of noise.
My go-to ISO setting is 100 when I shoot outdoors in daylight, 600-1600 when I shoot indoors and at sunsets or around 6400 right after the sunset or before the sunrise.

Beginner Photography Tips

Shutter Speed

This setting is my main exposure setting and one that I adjust the most when I shoot in manual mode, which in all honesty is most of the time. My best beginner photography tips are the exposure scale that you can see on your camera’s screen or through the viewfinder. The exposure scale is set to 0 by default which means that the camera thinks that the shutter speed is at the correct level. I like my photos moodier and darker so I will drop my shutter speed to -1 on the scale, but if you do like brighter, you can increase to the plus side of the scale. This tool is a great indicator when learning your shutter speed setting and preference from the start.

Focus Modes

This setting may be little challenging to get your head around but its pretty simple. When it comes to focus modes, you can opt for AF (auto focus) and MF (manual focus). Most of the time you will be shooting in an AF, especially as a beginner. There are three main focus modes to choose from in AF mode: One Shot (Canon) and Single-Servo (Nikon); Al Focus (Canon) or Auto AF (Nikon) and Al Servo (Canon) or Continuous Servo (Nikon).

The One Shot option is the choice you should go for when you are shooting subjects that are not moving. The Al Servo or Continuous Focus is the opposite making it the best option to go for when you want to shoot moving subjects and keep them in focus. Al Focus or Automatic AF is a mode that allows the camera to jump between the One Shot and Al Servo depending on the situation. My camera is set to Al Focus and Al Servo most of the time, but I change according to the situation I’m shooting.

Once you chose your prefered focus mode as a next you should select your focus points.

You can select a single AF point or a cluster of AF points meaning that if you choose a single point, you will see only one little square indicating the focus area and if you select a cluster, you will see a cluster of small squares showing a wider focus area. You can also make all of the points active, and this is most of the time my main go to when shooting most of my photos. If however, for instance, I’m trying to be in a rule of thirds, in that case, I will select my AF point manually to the desired area of the frame. More about this in my Photgraphy Guide for Beginners.

It’s easy to change your focus points and area by pressing Press the <> button and <M-Fn> button or button to change the focus area mode, and focus points will change in the direction you decide by tilting <> to your prefered area of an image.

Beginner Photography Tips

Start practising

Honestly, guys, the most important to remember is how to set up your focus and exposure properly and when is the optimal lighting to shoot your photos, but the practice is what will make you a good photographer. You can apply these basic beginner photography tips to help you step up a level and take professional looking photos whether it be with your phone or DSLR although your phone will have less functions even when you shoot raw.

I’m sharing some of my photos captured by myself using my tripod, and I will cover this in my upcoming posts. Keep an eye as I plan to make this section update on Mondays.

If you would like to learn more about photography and shoot professional looking photos both using a DSLR and a Smartphone than check out my Beginenners Guide to Photography.

Any questions, please shoot a comment below or contact me via contact me section.

Tania xxx

Featured

So far my favourite staycation experience in the UK

Staycation in Bath

I travel a lot so annoyingly I don’t have a lot of time to explore the UK, but when I do decide to have a staycation, I really try and choose well. The English countryside is stunning, but it can be difficult at times to find the right balance between busy and relaxed.

As London is my home, I’m used to convenience and having easy access to everything from shops to restaurants. Having said that London life could get hectic and I need to get out for at least a day. I have travelled a fair amount in the UK especially before starting my blog, and I have to admit that my favourite staycation destination is Bath.

Staycation in Bath

There are many reasons for this, but first I have to tell you that we decided to travel by coach as trains are costly and don’t save that much time and on on the same coach as us went David Attenborough. I was masivly starstruck, and this set my mood up to have the best trip possible.

We stayed at Gainsborough Bath Spa as my friend, and I needed a spa date and little TLC. The location was literal perfection, and we were able to walk everywhere within minutes, but at the same time, the hotel was tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the high street. The spa itself honours the traditional healing properties of the region and its build on the original thermal springs. The healing waters, quiet and relaxing atmosphere combined with modern and comfortable rooms and the friendliest service makes Gainsborough Bath Spa a dreamy location to spend your staycation.

Staycation in Bath Staycation in Bath Staycation in Bath Gainsborough spa Staycation in Bath

We dined at Dan Moon in the evening opting for their t course tasting menu paired with delicious wine served daily from 6 pm. We went all in really wanting to make the best out of our staycation, and this is probably just one of the reasons why this is one of my favourite staycations ever.

Staycation in Bath Staycation in Bath Staycation in Bath Staycation in Bath

Once we had a fair share of relaxation, we embarked on exploring the city snapping a few photos along the way. There is a spiritual vibe around Bath that I don’t feel in any other town that I’ve visited in the UK. Bath is one of the most beautiful cities I have been to everything from the architecture to parks and beautiful scenery. The focus of my staycation was to relax, so we spent the right amount of our time at the Gainsborough Spa. However, we couldn’t miss visiting the Pulteney Bridge and snap a few photos along the way.

Staycation in Bath Staycation in Bath

I never knew that Florence Ponte inspires the Pulteney, but I can see the resemblance. At night the lights come on making the bridge truly beautiful to visit. I love wandering around the Baths city centre as its such a gorgeous place. Bath Abbey is also a must visit, and we went one morning before the crowds and had the entire area to ourselves.

Some of the other must-visit sights in Bath are Alexandra Park, The Royal Crescent, The Circus and Great Pulteney Street. Have you guys been?

I loved visiting so much and can’t wait to be back but hopefully, stay longer than a day the next time.

Tania xxx

 

Featured

My favourite Instagrammable Places in Barcelona

most instgrammable places in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of my favourite cities to visit and take photos of the city. It really helps that this is one of the most photegenic cities in the world so it really its not that hard to find great locations to shoot. So in this post, I wanted to share my favourite instagrammable places in Barcelona.

El Bunkers del Carmel

This area is probably my favourite out of all instagrammable places in Barcelona. I don’t like it for Instagram only but actual local experience. A lot of locals in Barcelona come here every in the evenings with drinks to watch the sunset and enjoy some of the most epic views of Barcelona. The view stretches across the city reaching the ocean and seeing the sunset over it, is truly mesmerising.

While you at it, why not snap a photo or at as let’s face it we all love sharing our experiences with your Instagram fam. As with most historic places they require a little effort to get to, and El Bunkers del Carmel is the same. You can get a bus or metro depending on your start destination. We took a bus 22 to El Carmel and walked up a hill to get to the viewing point. It was little challenging especially if you lack stamina, but it’s honestly so worth it so go for it.

El Bunkers del Carmel

Arc de Triomphe Barcelona

The Arc de Triomphe used to serve as the primary access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair, and it crosses the Passeig de Lluis Companys stretching to Ciutadella Park. It’s a very instagrammable arch and as you can imagine quite a busy spot with travellers alike. I love starting at the top of the Arch snapping few shots of the way to Park Citadel. Its a lovely walk on a sunny day and it always reminds me of how much I love Barcelona. My tip to avoid having a lot of people in your photos is to climb to the side and have your picture taken from an inclined view.

Arc de Triomphe Barcelona Arc de Triomphe Barcelona

Ciutadella Park

After snapping a photo or two at the second favourite of instagrammable places in Barcelona Arc de Triomphe, continue to neighbouring Ciutadella Park. I love this park so much, it’s large, it’s quirky, and it’s photogenic. You can take photos from so many different perspectives here, and you can get a lot of content in a short period.

This park is also a favourite place of mine to people watch. I like to enjoy sites I take photos off, so it doenst feel like only work. Citadella Park is home to Barcelona Zoo, so if you fancy visiting, you can do so quickly as the zoo is located entirely inside the park grounds. Or take a boat ride on the lake or have a picnic on its bank. There is a lot to do in this park and indeed is one of my favourite places in Barcelona.

Ciutadella Park

Barceloneta Beach

One of the most amazing things about Barcelona is that its so close to the ocean and stroll down the beach is easily achieved. We stayed in an air bnb walking distance from the beach, and the first thing I did is go down for a stroll. Rows of palm trees make it easy to take photos here, and I love that the sky is blue pretty much every day. Even just thinking about it makes me want to book a ticket and go over for a few days. Maybe I will 🙂

Barceloneta Beach

Sagrada Familia – Ayre Hotel Rosellon

Ayre Hotel Rosellon is a new spot I discovered when researching viewpoints of Sagrada Familia. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to pop in and have a drink at their terrace. Their terrace is pretty close to the Sagrada Familia and offers somewhat beautiful views of the church. You will be in awe of its grandiose presence and hopefully, find the best angle that works for you.

Ayre Hotel Rosellon Ayre Hotel Rosellon

I hope you like my suggested locations, most of which are quite popular with tourist but I can’t help how well they photograph. I always have the best time in Barcelona, and I’m already planning the next visit. I’m also excited to share my top 3 spots to eat so I hope to see you guys come back to read my new blogs.

Have a lovely week ahead.

Tania xxx

Featured

Seville Hotels: Our Stay at NH Sevilla Plaza de Armas

NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas

There are so many hotels in Seville to chose from so I thought to share my review of our stay at NH Sevilla Plaza de Armas to help with your research. We really enjoyed our stay and found it really convineinet to stay here mainly becauase of the location and comfort elemets. More below.

Location

Located in Plaza de Armas, NH hotel is a good choice if you are after a convenient location that will allow you to get to most of the interesting sights in Seville by foot. Also, the hotel is located short walking distance from Sevilles coach station, making it even more convenient should you want to continue your travel in Spain by coach. Since the hotel is near Sevilles exposition centre, its a popular choice amoings business travellers. To even make things more convenient there is a supermarket right next to it so you can pop in ang get water or snacks in minutes.

NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas

Facilities

The NH Plaza de Armas is quite modern with a range of facilities including a bar, restaurant, gym, rooftop swimming pool and a bar that we enjoyed on a rather hot February day; I even burnt so make sure that you bring your SPF cream with you as the sun can be deceiving. Unfortunately, the bar was closed when we stayed so we couldn’t enjoy a refreshing beverage by the pool, but it was nice to lounge by the pool for a good few hours. The rooftop was really a great place to watch the sunset from which was out of this world.

The bar and restaurant downstairs serve a range of delicious Spanish tapas, but we opted to eat outside on most evenings as the food scene of Seville is, and I can highly recommend you explore it as much as possible. I will be sharing a guide to places we ate in the coming days too.

We did enjoy breakfast at the hotel every morning, and I was impressed with a balance of healthy and traditional Spanish dishes such a Spanish omelette and a wide variety of bread options and cold meat cuts that we tried to avoid, but it was hard as I’m a big fan of Spanish cuisine. The breakfast buffet provided a big choice of fruits and even a smoothie station. The service was quick, and I like the food.

The lounge area of the restaurant has quite a few entertainment options including foosball, and it’s really pretty to sit and catch up on some work or planning between your sightseeing activities.

NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas

Room

We had a double room that overlooked Plaza de Armas and Mercado. It was on the second floor and quite nice to stay. The large wardrobe in the place, as well as a minibar and coffee station, made it even more comfortable for us as we only had a few days in Seville and were quite active so popping back to our room for a little rest and coffee helped. There was also a desk which I liked as it helps me stay on top of my workload and in a routine when travelling. I have to make sure I do my daily tasks as much as possible so I don’t find myself overwhelmed with a workload which happens quite often especially when travelling.

NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas room NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas room NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas room NH Sevilla Hotels Plaza de Armas

As always I took quite a few photos and it would be great if you can let me know which hotels are your favourite to stay in Seville. I really fell in love with the city and would love to go back soon.

Have a lovely week ahead.

Tania xxx

Featured

Virgin Active: taking a balanced approach to exercise in 2019

Virgin Active Kensington studio

With exercising feeling more like a chore, a lot of us give up our January resolutions as soon as January is over. Joining a club like Virgin Active takes the chore element away and makes fitness much more fun to incorporate into your lifestyle as it provides a boutique studio environment with a large number of classes to choose from.

Based on a recent study by Virgin Active, people in Britain aren’t getting enough downtime including sleep. If you live in London, I believe this is intensified and getting that 7 hours of sleep seems like an impossible mission. Including more balance into your life and creating a lifestyle around this has been a goal of mine this year. The goal is to fund an encouraging environment that keeps us motivated to do enough for ourselves and our bodies.

Virgin Active Kensington Virgin Active

As the winter months are nearing to an end, I’m inspired to increase my workout activity from a bare minimum to at least four sessions a week. However, there is no point in setting up high or hard to meet goals but instead, take a balanced and more relaxed approach and incorporate exercising together with work life balance and wellness. This is the reason why I’m such a big fan of Virgin Active and the club aspect as supposed to taking out another gym membership that barely gets used. They have range of classes from Punch to Reformer Pilates and Heat which is on my must try list.

As a freelancer and someone who works from home, I embrace leaving a house and swapping pjs for athleisure. I love going to a club that provides a co-working space, cafe, spa, gym and a large number of classes per week for me to never get bored of exercising. This way I’m more likely to stay on top of my getting enough exercise goal by balancing my work and wellness lifestyle. When I removed a chore element to working out, I find myself more excited by an idea of spending more time in the gym.

Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio Virgin Active Kensington studio

Now instead of thinking I need to get in 4-5 workouts a week, I changed my mindset to thinking I need to get out the house 4-5 times a week to do work and conveniently exercise at the same time. Trust me once you are in that setting and mindset, you will find a lot of pleasure in choosing to work out. We all need a good reason to get to the gym so changing your mindset and taking a more relaxed lifestyle focused approach will get you closer to your fitness goals and balanced lifestyle. Besides studies show that you don’t need to work out for hours and that by fitting a good 30-minute session with a minimal break, you are more likely to achieve a body you always dreamed off.

Virgin Active Kensington Changing Room Virgin Active pool Virgin Active Kensington Spa Virgin Active Kensington Cafe Virgin Active Kensington

This post is in collaboration with Virgin Active, but all of the opinions are my own.

Virgin Active Club Lounges offer a space for members to enjoy their time off the gym floor, creating
a space to refuel or to connect/work flexibly.

Tania xxx

Featured

Cotton House Barcelona – My Review

Cotton House Barcelona Library

Cotton House Barcelona I have to admit right from the start is one of my favourite hotels I have ever stayed at, and I have stayed in quite a few during my career so far. In this post, I wanted to share my review and hopefully, encourage you to visit here even if it’s just for a day. It was indeed a wonderful experience and one that I will probably be repeating soon.

Location

Cotton House Barcelona is located on Gran Via and in a very central location that’s easily accessible to other areas of Barcelona. I went for a girls weekend away, and since the weather was beautiful, it was so easy to walk to areas such as Arc de Triomf and Ciutadella Park which were less than 10 minutes away. You can even walk to the beach in 25 minutes, and in my opinion, Barcelona is one of those cities that is best explored on foot. I love the Gothic Quarter, and we went out around here on most evenings. It’s nice to know that your hotel is a short walk away.

Rooms

Our room was bright and airy with a balcony overlooking the cities Eixample district and Cotton Hosue Barcelona bar and restaurant terrace. This must be one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever seen with plants surrounding most seating areas. We booked a Cotton Suite which had a large king bed and a spacious rain shower and a bath. The main sink was located outside the shower and quite spacious so we could make the best use of our time when getting ready.

As the Cotton House hotel, a is a remake of the former headquarters of the old Cotton factory which is still to this date an essential landmark in Barcelona, the cotton theme is present in all the rooms. I took quite a few photos to show you. I loved the subtle tones and tranquil feel of our room. We were located on the 6th floor, and just a short walk away from the swimming pool, which was my favourite spot to watch the sunset.

The hotel was pretty quiet at the time we visited, which made it even more perfect. The rooftop bar closed until summer, but I can see this being a trendy spot to spend your summers day.

Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona rooms Cotton House Barcelona terrace

Public areas

Common areas include The Library, Terrace, Outdoor Pool, L’atelier and Gossypium, as well as the Restaurant and Bar called Batuar. The menu offers a variety of local delicacies, and most mornings I opted for an omelette and cold meat cuts for my breakfast. The restaurant preserves the colonial feel, and I felt we were taken back to those times.

The Library was my favourite area to have coffee and flick through a well-stocked magazine collection. Cotton makers used to use this room for meetings, and social outings and guests now can relax here with afternoon tea. Its indeed a beautiful space and very quiet which makes it perfect to relax in after a busy day out exploring Barcelona.

Cotton House Barcelona swimming pool  Cotton House Barcelona swimming pool  Cotton House Barcelona restaurant and bar Cotton House Barcelona restaurant and barCotton House Barcelona restaurant Cotton House Barcelona garden Cotton House Barcelona terrace Cotton House Barcelona terrace Cotton House Barcelona library

The Character

Cotton House Barcelona preserved a style and character of the old building and some of its elements such as grand marble staircase, parquet and boiserie embellishing ceilings add quite a bit to the atmosphere. The spiral staircase was built back in the ’50s is suspeneded form the metal frame on the upper floor is truly a gem within a hotel. I was excited to take photos of it and run up and down a few times. It’s amazing how places like this can inspire you and take you back to a completely different era. If I had a choice, I would choose the ’50s as an era to live in and Cotton House Barcelona made me feel like I was there for a moment.

Cotton House Barcelona staircase Cotton House Barcelona staircase Cotton House Barcelona staircase Cotton House Barcelona staircase

My Verdict

If you are a fan of design hotels with preserved history and character of the past, I could recommend Cotton Hosue Barcelona more to you. You will not only feel like you stepped into the colonial times but at the same time, its modern feel and attentive service will make you question the era you are in the right now.

You can find more information about the Cotton House Barcelona at their website conveniently linked here for you.

Happy Friday!

Tania xxx

My stay is a part of the recent press trip to Barcelona; however, all the opinions are my own.

London

Valentines Date at St Pancras International

Carluccio's St Pancreas International

St Pancras International

St Pancras International station is one of those spots in London that makes you feel you connected to Paris and at the same time, there are so many local things to do and explore in it. It’s not just a station, it’s very much a destination!

So when I got invited to Valentine’s dinner at Carluccio’s, I was very excited to spend the most romantic night of the year so close to Paris. I decided to bring my sister as my Valentines date as I haven’t seen her in a few days and we are incredibly close. St Pancras International is also conveniently located between both of our homes – we like that we can not only stop to get food but also buy all the bits that we need for the house. It’s a spot where dining, shopping and culture meets travel, all under that iconic, picturesque roof.

St Pancreas International Statue St Pancreas International Statue

A meal for two at Carluccio’s

We arrived at Carluccio’s excited for our Valentine’s treat, and when I say a treat, I mean pasta. I’m a big fan, and if you have an opportunity, I highly recommend you pop down to Carluccio’s to try some yourself. It was the perfect spot for us to have Valentine’s meal and naturally snap a few photos, and the terrace is also a great place to sit down and people watch as they rush to where ever they are going! The seating also overlooks “The Meeting Place” statue by Paul Day of a couple locked in an embrace – very fitting for Valentine’s Day!

If you’re not aware – Carluccio’s originally started as a family business on Neal Street creating quality authentic Italian dishes that are sensibly priced in an informal setting. Because of this, it makes it the perfect spot to spend an evening in or simply pop in for a quick bite before your travel! Appropriately, we started our evening with That’s Amore Cocktail (Pampero Blanco Rum, strawberry, sparkling rose) which I’m not going to lie it set me up perfectly to enjoy our meal even more.

Carluccio's St Pancreas International

We decided to treat ourselves with starters too, opting for the Calamari Fritti and Antonio’s Chicken Liver Pâté. Both dishes were the perfect way to line our bellies – I particularly enjoyed the Chicken Liver Pâté, so tasty!

Carluccio's St Pancreas InternationalCarluccio's St Pancreas International

For my main, I decided to have two portions of pasta as I couldn’t decide what to choose. Eventually, I decided on the Lobster Tagliolini, which is a half lobster tail served with broccolini, tomatoes in a white wine and chilli sauce. For my other pasta dish, I went for Veganesca Spaghetti in puttanesca style sauce of olives, capers, tomato and I couldn’t decide which tasted better. I think the lobster edged it as my favourite dish as the sauce was divine and obviously, the taste of lobster takes any dish to another level. My sister opted for a healthy option, going for Beetroot & Butternut Squash Salad. She said it was very filling and yummy for a healthy option, but props to her for choosing salad over a delicious plate of pasta!

Carluccio's St Pancreas International Food Carluccio's St Pancreas International Food Carluccio's St Pancreas International Food Carluccio's St Pancreas International Carluccio's St Pancreas International Food

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Carluccio’s, and if I hadn’t just returned from a trip, I would’ve been tempted to on a train to Paris, but St Pancras International always makes me feel like this!

Valentine’s at Carluccio’s

Carluccio’s is offering a special Valentines menu from the 13th to 16th February and you can have a look at it here. It really is the perfect way to treat your loved one to a tasty, and romantic Valentine’s evening!

What are you up to this Valentine’s Day? I’m a believer that every occasion should be celebrated
as life is here for us to enjoy.

Happy Valentines!
Tania

This post is in collaboration with St Pancras International, but the experience and thoughts are my
own as always.

Travel

My top three hotels in London

hotels in London

As a travel blogger, I always get questions over on my Instagram where in London is cool to stay when you visit. London is a massive city with ample options for hotels and places to stay. I teamed up with Expedia to share my three favourite hotels in London with hopes to make your search just a little easier.

London has a lot of hotel options with personality. You can find anything from Victorian and Edwardian days to very modern and hipster locations. In this post, I would love to somewhat cater to a frequent modern traveller that appreciates design and quirkiness. After all, London is a place of the vast diversity, and you can find any cultural influence in the city.

I picked the hotels that I frequently visit for their chic vibes. I have at some point stayed at all of the hotels below, and as somebody who lives most of the year in London, I have had an excellent opportunity to explore the London hotel scene. Call it perks of the job 🙂

Every suggested hotel designed around a cool concept, and it offers a space for locals and travellers to come together. The bars and restaurants available at each establishment are cool hangout spots, and most of my friends including me visit for dinners, drinks and even dates. The food is good, cocktails even better and service on par. So if you are looking to experience London as a local then keep reading my favourite hotels in London.

The Hoxton Shoreditch

The Hoxton is based in my neighbourhood, Shoreditch. I have been east London based for over ten years and have been coming to the Hoxton for many years.

The hotel offers over 200 room to suit any budget. The call them SHoebox (from £89), Cosy (from £129), Roomy ( from £159) and Concept rooms available at request. These beautifully designed rooms will make you feel inspired to decorate your own space in a chicer manner. The service is lovely here, and if you stay at the Hoxton Shoreditch, you will find the area and all the creatives that live here.

The lobby is open to all and usually packed with people from the area that work remotely. There are a restaurant and bar which are great for dinner and drinks and even after so many years, The Hoxton Shoreditch it’s still one of my favourite spots to stop by!

the Hoxton Shoreditch - hotels in London the Hoxton Shoreditch - hotels in London

Sanderson

I love Sanderson for its spacious, quirky design. Located on Berners Street, The hotel doesn’t look like much from the outside, but once you walk in, you will experience a bright, dynamic and creative design. Its white interiors featuring pops of colour make the hotel stand out from the rest.

Sanderson offers Standard, Superior, The Superior Double and Deluxe rooms accompanied with four suites. Suites include Loft Double Double and Loft suites, Loft Suite Terrace and the Penthouse. Depending on your budget, the choice is yours. The mixture between modern and baroque demonstrates deliberate luxury. You can except 300 thread count cotton linens gracing your bed.

Aside from extravagantly stylish toom, the open air inner Japanese Garden Courtyard is where you will want to spend your time. Accompanied by a Long Bar serving some of the most delicious cocktails London has to offer, you will feel like you have hit the spot.

Sanderson aside from being a chic hotel in London to base your stay at has a fantastic location. You will be able to explore most of the central London on foot, and should you fancy a bit of shopping, Oxford Street is just around the corner. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with Sanderson.

Room rates start at £280.

hotels in London

The London Edition

I love The London Edition! It indeed gives you a feeling of luxe the moment you step your foot outside its front door.

The London Edition located on Berners Street and not too far from the Sanderson, it offers rooms with an eco-friendly design with a touch of cosy. Not only are their rooms lush but the hotel provides one of the most popular restaurants in London, the Berners Tavern, merging past and future with its warm interiors. I couldn’t even tell you how many paintings are hanged in the restaurant, but they sure do make you feel like you’ve travelled to the past.

The London Edition has 173 guest room and will genuinely make your London experience unforgettable. You can check their rates and availability on Expedia.

hotels in London

I hope you find a selection of my favourite hotels in London helpful.

Tania

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Expedia, all of the experiences and thoughts are my own.

Travel

A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier

A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier

After reading my last post, you probably won’t be surprised that I’m feeling quite confident about my newly acquired skill. I’m into skiing I’m not going to lie. There is something about trusting your mind and body to get you safely down the piste. Fear is the enemy. Just don’t think about it and let go.

These are some of the words that kept on going through my head as soon as I get off the lift. I have to admit that my new found confidence led me to Verbier. A place of red lanes, narrows slopes and experienced skiers and borders. Still, I was feeling the excitement and confidence.

The Stay 

We stayed at the Experimental Chalet, and if I could imagine a more perfect place to stay, I probably would struggle. Experimental Group is well known for their innovative hotels and the fact that they just recently opened its doors to Verbier’s creme de la creme, it really isn’t that surprising. As a first Alpine hotel, the hotel consists of spacious 39 rooms and suites with a view of the beautiful Swiss Alps. The suits have Jacuzzis too so if you are down for a little party action in the mountains, you should really look into staying here. Hotels interior designer Fabrizio Casiraghi which we were grateful to meet one evening over the dinner, his minimalist approach and design freshness through using the colours such as dusty pastel greens and rose, really invites you to relax and enjoy your post-ski well-deserved downtime. I couldn’t help myself but run a bath every evening before dinner.

A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet VerbierA dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier

On the first floor of the Experimental Chalet, you will find a well-equipped cocktail making dimmed lights bar. The fireplaces add to the romantic winter atmosphere making it a perfect place to enjoy a well-deserved apres-ski before you head down to the restaurant for some dinner.

The Experimental Chalet is well equipped with everything one may need to feel content and relaxed. The spa offers sauna and jacuzzi as well as personal treatments so if you are feeling up to a message after a long day on the slopes, the Experimental has you covered.

A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier A dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet VerbierA dreamy winter stay at Experimental Chalet Verbier

We enjoyed breakfast here every morning, and I absolutely love that their food is locally sourced. Nonetheless, it was very yummy. On one of the evenings, we had a chance to enjoy the chef’s table serving a mixture of traditional alpine food adapted to modern diners. We followed our dinner by night out at the Farm Club where champagne kept on flowing, and DJ wasn’t shy to spin some good old school tunes. We danced the night away. There is something about the fresh mountain air as the next day as soon as you come out your hotel, the tiredness and the traces of hangover just seem to go away.

Verbier

Verbier indeed has a lot to offer if you are a social butterfly, You most certainly won’t be bored here. The small town feels packed with fantastic dining and drinking established frequented by a cheerful crowd really adds a modern twist to what seems like a sleepy Swiss village. On our last evening, we took a snow taxi to Chez Dany a traditional Swiss restaurant located up in the mountains. We had to sledge down for about 20 minutes to reach the hotel. Bear in mind we had a good few glasses of red with the dinner, so an idea of me sledging down the mountain I’ve never been to before seemed somewhat adventurous. Basically, I was scared. In the process, I fell out my sledge on a few occasions but have safely and proudly reached the destination. What a fun welcome to Verbier.

The next day we spent up in the mountains skiing. I skied for hours and managed to travel all the way from the top of the mountain to the location of our Apres Ski drinks at La Rouge. Reaching this spot made me reward myself with a couple of glasses of champagne as that was probably the most adventurous activity I’ve done in years. I deserve a pat on the back. Another spot to consider for your lunch and a break from skiing is the restaurant on the sloops Mouton Noir. They indeed had one of the best salmon tartare I’ve ever tried.

skiing in Verbier skiing in Verbier skiing in Verbier Verbier food in Verbier Verbier food in verbier

What a beautiful few days this was, I honestly had a fantastic opportunity to face my fears and feel extremely proud of myself. I would probably need another full week to confidentially run down the slopes on my own, but I have promised myself to make skiing a yearly tradition.

Verbier excited my expectations, and it’s at the top of my ski destination list for the upcoming season.
This post was delivered to you as a courtesy of Experimental Chalet Group who kindly hosted a group of bloggers over the weekend. All of the opinions are my own.

The Experimental Group has properties in New York, London, Paris, Verbier with Venice opening in June and Menorca later this summer.

A truly memorable trip.


Lots of love!

Tania

Travel

My top three hotels in LA

hotels in LA

As you may know, I temporarily moved to LA last summer, but before making that move, I visited quite a few times. California is my favourite place on Earth, and LA truly feels like my second home. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to team up with Expedia to share my favourite places to stay. I have had an excellent opportunity to explore the hotel scene in LA which is slightly different to London but equally amazing.

I visited LA 5 times and each time I had a completely different experience which is what I love about it the most. The city has a lot to offer, and the hotel scene is amazing as here you really can come across some of the most iconic hotels in the world. The obvious choice would be The Beverly Hills hotel, but I never had an opportunity to stay there. Hopefully, next time I will and I’ll make sure I report back.

So here we go, my three favourite hotels in LA. They all offer a different experience and access to entirely different areas of LA so that the choice will depend on your preference.

hotels in LA

Hotel Angeleno

Located just off the Sunset Boulevard and minute away from The Getty Centre, this is a great hotel, if you are looking to have easy access to places such as Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills and even Malibu. The service is excellent that I stayed here twice and you can read a more detailed review in my blog post about Hotel Angeleno.

The circular building provides serene views of the motorway so you can get to experience the meaning of exact LA traffic without actually having to be stuck in it. Our room is located on the 8th floor so I had a pretty great view of the DTLA skyline too. The rooms are pretty spacious, quiet and comfortable and the service was terrific.

Their restaurant West is a perfect spot for dinner with a view too. The pool area was my favourite because I love the concrete design and grey colour mixed with blue and pops of orange. The rooms start at $159. And if you are in LA for the first looking for a location that will get you to multiple LA areas in less time, then this is your place. It also won’t break a bank.

Hotels in LA: Stay at Angeleno

Dream Hollywood

The Dream Hollywood and its tall window rooms indeed offer dreamy views of LA and particularly Hollywood. There are over 170 rooms in this beautiful hotel so try to request the one that has gorgeous scenic views of the Hollywood hills. Located on the corner of N. Cahuenga Boulevard it provides a massive choice of bars and restaurant so if you are into partying and socialising then the Dream Hollywood is a great choice. Make sure you check out the No Vacancy Bar if you find yourself on a night out in Hollywood as its truly a fantastic experience and a great spot to meet locals and travellers alike. If you are into low vital activities then you can stay at the hotel as the TAO group restarts and bars alongside the rooftop pool and have a blast. Besides who wants to bear the unavoidable LA traffic.

The rooms are furnished in luxuriously dark coloured finishes accompanied with the most beautiful views of the Hills and DTLA filled with natural daylight. If you are an Instagrammer, then this is a dream come true for you. Sadly I visited before my blogging days. Rooms start at $290, and you can book via Expedia.

hotels in LA

The Standard DTLA

The Standard DTLA is probably more suitable to those who love the buzzy city life and abundance of bar and restaurants that are walking distance. Located right in the centre of Downton, the standard is a must if you are into socialising with other hotel patrons. The Standard has around spacious 207 rooms all with 24-hour room service, big windows overlooking panoramic views of LA making you feel larger than life.

They also offer cool public spaces with 24hrs dinner forgive as well as a German Beer Garden and rooftop pool. If you live in LA and lack a pool, then pop over to the Standard as fun time is almost guaranteed. The atmosphere is vibrant and lively attracting creatives and Jetsetters from across the town. The rooftop bar is the largest in East LA and the perfect place to catch a sunset with a drink in your hand. The location is excellent especially if you love East LA like me. Silverlake and Echo Park just minutes away and a mere $5 Uber ride, you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cool brunch spots, restaurants and bars. I can recommend making a trip to Tenants of the Trees located in Silverlake if you like to dance to cool hip hop tunes.

Other cool nearby areas include the Broad which is a must if you are an art lover. Also, Grand Central Market is only throw away should you fancy a bite from local market vendors.

The Standard recently introduced check in and out at any time that suits you making it easier to deal with the annoying jet lag.

hotels in LA hotels in LA

I hope you find a selection of my favourite hotels in LA helpful.

Tania

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Expedia, all of the experiences and thoughts are my own.

Travel

Learning to ski as an adult in Meribel

Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel

Skiing was something I feared my entire life for no apparent reason. Strangely I grew up in a home that’s approximately half an hour drive from the slope, a baby one but regardless. Not taking a chance to learn in the past made me think that I probably should leave the idea of being a skier behind and move on to bigger and safer things like beaches.

When Ski Total asked me to come along to Meribel for a press trip to learn how to ski, I thought to myself it’s now or never. The universe is sending a signal that I should take a plunge and face my fears. This year I genuinely decided that I don’t want to do “New Year New Me” resolutions but more focus on improving my old self and facing what I fear. So I kicked the first month of the year with one of my biggest fears skiing. Paragliding would be my worst biggest fear as well as bungee jumping, but in all honesty, those actives are something I would never do. So I’m sticking to skiing as this scary thing that a girl in her 30’s decided to tackle.

Our Stay 

Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel

Meribel is the best place to go as a first-time skier. I can say this because of how much support there is on the slopes as well as the size of the piste. I went to Verbier after Meribel and wished I was back in Meribel as Verbier was scary as hell but I went for it.

We flew to Geneva and had the airport transfer booked by the Ski Total team. It took us about 2 hours to arrive at the Chalet Hotel Alba. Locate in such proximity to the slope that it overlooks the Doron slopes, the Rond Point, as well as the entire Méribel valley. Each room furnished in chalet style comes with an ensuite and a balcony, making you’re waking up that much more exciting especially when It snows outside. The views are beautiful.

I also loved the communal areas as everyone staying in the hotel would come together in the evening before and after dinner to enjoy a nightcap next to a fireplace and perhaps have a cheeky game of quiz. Something I shamefully skipped since I don’t like to be put on the spot when it comes to general knowledge testing. We did, however, decide to enjoy an additional bottle of wine after dinner. Dinner and breakfast served in a buffet style with an option to have all inclusive which can be a little dangerous if you are a wine lover. Worry not, however, as the fresh mountain air takes the hangover away in a jiffy.

Meribel Ski School 

Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel

Since the time of our arrival was past six, we picked our skis up the following morning from the Meribel town centre, after with we headed for my first ski lesson ever. I thought poor instructor, he doesn’t know what he’s getting himself into, but he does. There are thousands of people like me visiting Meribel each season and the instructor are so well used to beginners and have the patience of steel. They are so friendly and amazing that I wanted to be friends with them after I left the mountain. Its so funny how a stranger can convince you to trust them with your life within an hour of meeting them and I was so glad I did. I spent an amazing two days with my instructors Stephane and Olivier both Meribel locals and adventurists. The Ski School here is seriously amazing that I can’t recommend it enough. Without them, I would still be scared of skiing. Instead, I feel like I can achieve anything that I put my mind to this year.

Meribel Ski Terrain

Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel Learn to ski as an adult in Meribel

The Meribel Ski terrain is indeed beginner friendly that it made acquiring new skiing skills that much easier. The slopes were wide, and you have enough space to practice your turns and plough braking. I only fell once in Meribel wherein Verbier I dropped at least five times, and I’m not ashamed.

Ski Range is from 1,400m to 3,230m. The state of the art system makes it easy to travel between the valleys, and the lifts can get you to a top of the piste in no time, leaving more time actually to learn how to ski. I was terrified of the open air chair lifts due to my vertigo anxiety, but my instructor helped me get through it making me face yet another fear. I did it guys; I did it.

Aside from the fantastic ski terrain and well prepared and patient ski school, the vast variety of chalet bar and restart will leave you wanting to stay for longer. I swear there is something about being in the mountains. People are friendlier and everyone is down for a little Apres ski action after tiring day on the slopes.

Ski Total offers all-inclusive packages starting at £750, and you can get more information here.

This post and my newly acquired skills delivered to you as a courtesy of Ski Total and Meribel Tourism Board. All of the opinions are my own 🙂

Tania

Beauty

Why switching to matcha in 2019 is a good idea

switching to matcha in 2019

Why switching to matcha in 2019 is a good idea

At the beginning of each year, we make a conscious choice to improve our health and introduce a new trend into our life. Somehow January is always the best time to start even though, I believe any day or a month is a good time to improve your health.  Matcha is on my list this time and I wanted to share the benefits of including matcha into your lifestyle and how to conveniently make it at home.

What is Matcha?

Despite many believing that Matcha originated in Japan, it actually came from China 900 years ago as a drinking ritual amongst Chinese Buddhist monks. They later introduced it to the Japanese where it remained a prominent part of the Japanese tea drinking culture. I had a great opportunity to learn all about how Japanese prepare matcha at home at the Pure Leaf event last week.

In a nutshell, matcha is made from green tea leaves that come from a plant called Camellia sinensis. This type of green tea is grown in two regions in Japan; Uji (Kyoto) and Nishio (Aichi). The plant is usually shielded against the direct sunlight over the course of 3 weeks in order to stimulate the production of chlorophyll which contributes to the beautiful shade of green that distinguishes matcha from any other drink. This process also helps the plant to increases amino acid theanine which is responsible for its flavour.

Once this process comes to an end and plants are ready for harvesting, the leaves are then handpicked, steamed, dried and cleaned. The pure leaf is then ground into a fine powder and traditionally at home with a mortar and pestle ready for serving fresh in front of you. Japanese serve it a part of a ritual that focuses on intention and mindfulness.

how to prepare matcha how to prepare matcha how to prepare matcha how to prepare matcha

Health benefits of Matcha

This beautiful green and potent drink made out of an entire green tea leaf are packed with antioxidants and nutrients to help with reducing cancerous cells growth and improve metabolic rates. Matcha is more concentrated in nutrients than other tea, also rich in polyphenols that in addition to cancer-fighting benefits, it also has anti-ageing benefits and helps to reduce heart failure risks.
The amino acid L-theanine which is found in matcha in rich contents helps with anti-anxiety and relaxation. It’s also high in caffeine which increases the awareness. It inspires mindfulness due to its preparation process making it a perfect reason to slow down and do something that’s good for your mind.

Matcha vs Coffee

As a massive coffee lover, thanks to my Serbian roots, I had to transition into matcha. Luckily Pure Leaf offers different flavours making it transition that much smoother. My favourite is ginger flavoured matcha as it really makes me feel that I’m being so much kinder to myself.

Apart from coffee being more vastly available to us at a lower cost, Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine which basically gives you a caffeine kick without a jittery feeling. This is a perfect replacement for everyone who suffers from anxiety associated with caffeine as our body process the amino acid L-theanine in a different way. Matcha gives a more sustained boost and it improves focus and concentration for a longer period of time.

Matcha provides a higher amount of antioxidants boosting your metabolism more than the coffee can, therefore, making a perfect post or pre-gym drink.

Lastly, you can say goodbye to the annoying coffee breath.

switching to matcha in 2019 switching to matcha in 2019 switching to matcha in 2019

Making Matcha conveniently at home

Pure Leaf made enjoying matcha at home super easy and convenient by coming up with a pre-portioned sachet serving suggestion. They have 3 flavours available, classic, ginger and mint and each sachet is made our of shade-grown Japanese tea leaves grown in the gardens in Kagoshima. The leaves are finely ground, suspended in liquid to form a tea and then ingested instead of brewed and discarded.

Perfectly pre-portioned sachets can help you avoid the wasted making it easy to make your at-home matcha drink within minutes. You can also pack the sachets with you an enjoy them on the go as all you need to add is hot water with a little whisk. It’s actually recommended to whisk in a W in order to achieve better foaming.

Pure leaf is available at the UK retailers Amazon, Ocado, Asda and Morrisons at £8.99.

This post is in collaboration with Pure Leaf.

I hope you increase your matcha consumption in 2019 as it really contains amazing health benefits especially good for people that lead a busy lifestyle in big cities such as London.

Tania xxx

This post is in collaboration with Pure Leaf.

Travel

Winter City Break in Prague with Jet2holidays

Charles Bridge Prague

Prague, the city of a long-standing history and beautiful architecture. A place that I never visited before but had many expectations, all by the exceeded and more! It was absolutely amazing to experience Prague right ahead of Christmas and it really helped put me in a very festive mood.

We travelled with Jet2holidays had a really packed itinerary that I wanted to share with you in case you were wondering where to go and what to do in Prague and most importantly what to expect.

Getting there

There is a vast choice of Prague flights every day from the UK. We flu with Jet2 from Manchester and the flight took less than 2 hours. You can beat that feeling of being able to experience amazing European culture and history at your fingertips. Flying to Europe from the UK is so convenient and budget friendly that if you ever feel stuck in the rut, you can pop over to one of the neighbouring countries and feel extremely inspired and cultured. Prague is so rich in history, culture and art that it made me so excited to visit again in spring.

Where to Stay 

Occidental Praha Wilson was the hotel of choice via Jet2citybreaks. Located in the business centre of Prague the hotel provides a perfect base especially if you like exploring on foot. The city centre is only 2km away so you can walk to the Christmas Market with 15 minutes. The hotel is surrounded by restaurants and shops and if you are into shopping, this is a perfect location.

What to see 

You can start your trip with a visit to Strahov monastery which is the oldest monastery in the Czech Republic and home to the incredible Baroque Strahov Library. The Strahov Library holds large collection of medieval manuscripts, maps and globes. Even Mozart himself visited in 1787 and improvised on the organ in the Basilica of the Assumption of Our Lady.

Strahov monastery prague Strahov library prague Strahov monastery prague Strahov monastery prague

Prague Castle complex should definitely be on your list especially if you are visiting Prague for the first time. This is the largest inhabited castle complex in the entire world covering the area of 45 hectares. historical palaces, cathedral, fortification buildings and gardens. It also offers the most beautiful panoramic views of the Prague city. Alit it hosts one of the most popular Christmas markets in town, which was one of the main reasons of our visit.

Prague Castle complex Prague Castle complex

From here walk down to Mala Strana, the most picturesque Prague neighbourhood. Male Strana is also called Lesser Town offering the views of the Vitava river into the old town. You can come here for the large variety of restaurants and traditional pubs nestled within its narrow streets. You will also find John Lenon Wall here which is a very big tourist attraction in Prague. The wall is located on the Kampa island which has been declared the second most beautiful city island in the world by VirtualTourist.

Mala Strana prague Mala Strana prague John Lenon wall Prague

Few minutes walk from the John Lenon Wall is the Charles Bridge that leads into the old town. This is Prague’s oldest bridge holding fortifies towers on each end. The bridge contains 30 Baroque sculptures and sculptural groups placed on the balustrade was named after the Czech king Charles IV who had it built in the 14th century. The rumour has it that the bridge is haunted because of the events that took place in 1621. During the time of a Bohemian uprising against the then ruling power, the Hapsburg dynasty, 27 leaders of the revolt had their severed heads displayed on the tower on the bridge’s Old Town side. Apparently, they haunt the bridge now. The versions of the display are actually replicas of the 17th century originals put up during the 60s. These statues really add the extra charm to the bridge and this is definitely a must visit spot in Prague regardless of how many times you’ve visited before.

Charles Bridge Prague Charles Bridge Prague Charles Bridge Prague

A few minutes on foot from the bridge is the Old Town Square and the Old Town Hall tower which is 70 meters tall and offers 360° views. Here you can see the most beautiful panoramic views of the city as well as the Christmas market. The oldest part of the complex consists of a beautiful Gothic tower with the famous astronomical clock.

Old Town Square and the Old Town Hall tower Prague Old Town Square and the Old Town Hall tower Prague

Aside of beautiful architecture and historical important areas, the art scene of the city truly exceeded my expectations. I highly recommend a trip to Holešovice & Letná, Prague’s hip art district. The National Gallery’s modern art collection, highlighting the most famous works (Van Gogh, Picasso, Kandinsky, etc.) in the Veletrzni palac (Trade Fair Palace). The impressive Trade Fair Palace is one of the first functionalist buildings in Europe. The interior is considered to be one of the most elegant spaces of the Czech modern architecture. Today, the palace houses the National Gallery’s collections of modern and contemporary art. The exhibitions taking place are really cool, hip and current with a raw edge.

The National Gallery Prague The National Gallery Prague The National Gallery Prague The National Gallery Prague The National Gallery Prague The National Gallery Prague

The next stop on our art exploration plan was the visit to Dox Centre for Contemporary Art. This is a multifunctional space for presenting international and Czech art, architecture and design in a renovated complex of industrial buildings from the 19th century. DOX is considered to be a dynamic cultural platform and an arena for confronting varying approaches and trends. Visit to Vnitroblock, a multi-functional centre which combines a design store, café, gallery, dance studio and an underground cinema. One of the exhibitions that really stood out for me is The Hard Times, set up as a gym showcasing the hard times that our world currently faces.

The Dox Prague The Dox Prague The Dox Prague

After the Dox, we travelled to Karlín, an up-and-coming neighbourhood, with a blend of restored historical residential and industrial architecture and modern development. We walked up to scenic spot National Memorial on Vítkov Hill, which really offered beautiful views of the city. The National Memorial was bulit in honour of the Czechoslovak legionaries. The bronze statue of the Hussite leader Jan Zizka is one of the biggest equestrian statues in the world.

Vítkov Hill, Vítkov Hill,

Where to dine 

Prague food scene is quite vast and you will find yourself spoilt for choice. Expect local cuisine with a modern twist. Very delicious indeed. Here is the selection of restaurants we dined at that I can recommend.

Café Savoy, Vitezna 124/5, Prague 1

Kuchyň, Hradcanske nam. 186/1, Prague 1,

best restaurants prague best restaurants prague

Restaurant Speciál, Hastalska 12, Prague 1

The Eatery, U Uranie 18, Prague 7

Eska, Pernerova 49, Prague 8

best restaurants prague best restaurants prague

We had a guide that really showed us so much in a couple of days and I can recommend Mrs Eva Vondrusová enough. The number for Eva is +420 602 618 354

I hope you enjoyed this post. I worked in collaboration with Jet2 and Chezh Tourism Board to deliver this content to you.

Tania xxx

How To's

3 ways to be more extra this Christmas

3 ways to be more extra this Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, many of us are wondering what is the perfect gift we should get for our loved ones. Most of us start the year with a promise that this year our Christmas gift list will be planned early, of course, with gifts sourced way ahead of time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for a lot of people!

But the good news is, I did somehow manage to get most of my gifts by the time December came around. And it’s good news for you too because I’ve got the inside scoop for those who are just starting to plan! I spent the weekend wrapping gifts and I know that this can be a daunting task. So I wanted to share some advice on how to making it a little more fun! Why not be a little more extra this Christmas? After all it’s the festive season – let’s make it fun!

3 ways to be more extra this Christmas 3 ways to be more extra this Christmas

Firstly pick a stylish gift to wrap. My go to choice is Haig Club Clubman – it’s a super versatile gift, especially as it comes in such a stylish bottle. I gifted Haig Club last year (see more here), and my family were extremely happy to enjoy it over the Christmas holidays. This year I also decided to be a little more extra and cheekily get myself a bottle too so I can enjoy a cocktail whilst I wrap my presents. Tis the season and all! Our tree is all up, decorated, and ready with pressies underneath it. And I can tell you it’s way more fun with a drink in hand! Haig Club Clubman mixed with ginger ale is my go to this pre Christmas season – but I do think I’ll be mixing it up with different mixers over the holidays.

Mix your favourite Christmas classic tunes with modern jams to give your Christmas playlist an extra edge. Have a little dance so you can make your chores such as gift wrapping more fun! Not to mention the cocktail you previously made for yourself…!

3 ways to be more extra this Christmas 3 ways to be more extra this Christmas 3 ways to be more extra this Christmas

Wear something cute and comfy that makes you feel like Christmas everyday! I opted for a jumper dress but festive pjs are my favourite too. I felt a little more festive enjoying my drink whilst I wrapped my presents in a cosy jumper dress. I also like to invite my friends over and make a gift wrapping party – isn’t wrapping more fun when you do it with your best friends? (PS just make sure you wrap their presents separately so you don’t spoil the surprise for them!)

I really love giving Haig Club Clubman to my friends and family as the bottle is so chic and easy to wrap. Also its so smooth and delicious and it goes well with any mixer. My favourite in recent times is ginger ale but you can try and stay traditional and mix it with cola.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do let me know your gift wrapping traditions? I would love to know.
Tania xxx

Fashion

Favourite current fall fashion trends

Favourite current fall fashion trends

It’s official the clocks have moved forward and with that comes colder days and a need to wrap up. I wanted to share some of my favourite looks that I wore in the past month or so. These books fall under my favourite current fall fashion trends including animal prints, cosy knits and rich browns and burgundies.

Animal Prints

Current favourite fall fashion trends, animal prints returned with a boom this year. You can find everything from different coloured snakeskins to cheetah prints in most stores. Retailers have spoiled us for choice this season and I picked a few looks below that you may like. I’m using rewardStyle links for most of the items so make sure your ad block is off to view.

My favourite thins about the animal print trend is that is very versatile and it takes a boring look to another level. You can style in so many different ways and you can see how this snakeskin shorts really helped me step up a boring black top and boots look. I also love midi skirts in animal print as you can add your favourite knit and sneakers for a cute weekend choice.

Animal prints fall fashion trends Animal prints fall fashion trends Animal prints fall fashion trends Animal prints fall fashion trends Animal prints fall fashion trends

Cosy Knits and Western Boots

Ok, this is hardly a trend but honestly cosy knits get me excited for fall the most. Nothing feels nicer as a nice wool blend sweater on a cold day. &other Stories have some amazing options available this season so does Mango and Zara. I have opted for natural beige colours and dark browns for their versatility purposes.

Since I travel so much packing knits requires so much space so I wanted to buy items that I can pair up with pretty much anything. I love adding my new pair of western booties to most of my fall looks. Swapping between jeans, skirt and shorts whilst alternating my knits can be a good way to avoid I have nothing to wear morning syndrome. I really started believing more in having few season staple pieces that I can style for different looks and my cosy knits are definitely a number one choice.

Cosy knits fall fashion trends Cosy knits fall fashion trends Cosy knits fall fashion trends Cosy knits fall fashion trends

Rich Browns

Once the fall is here, we naturally opt for darker colours to match our moods. I’m obsessed with rich browns and burgundies and I include these colours in most of my looks. I have picked the cosiest dark brown knit from Stories that I paired with a dark brown skirt and white boots. This has become my favourite look this fall. The second favourite that’s more date and or a night out appropriate is my burgundy Majorelle dress from Revolve that is extremely flattering.

If you prefer wearing lighter colours then you can incorporate rich browns in your outwear. For example, my blazer is predominantly burgundy but its still light enough to wear with both lighter and darker options.

What is your favourite look and trend this season? Are you excited for colder days?

Tania xxx

Travel

Visiting Orlando – Getting there and Where to Stay

Four Seasons Resort Orlando

As I have just recently returned from a trip to Orlando, I wanted to share a few details with you about getting there and where we stayed. As you can imagine visiting the Disney World is a long-term dream so I captured so much content that it may be the easiest to split this adventure into 2 posts. I wanted to cover as much information about visiting Orlando as possible so if you are in your research phase, you will be able to make a better decision.

Getting there

Orlando is located in Central Florida and it has a population of 2.8m. The City is so green and luscious and also known as “The Theme Park Capital of the World” with over 72m  visitors in 2016. British Airways flies to Orlando all year around and a journey is on average 9 hours with a direct flight with a 5 hours time difference. Orlando is one of those places with a good weather all year around making it easier to plan your trips especially if you are planning for the entire family. BA offers hotel and a flight package that starts as little as £403pp per 7 nights making it suitable for any budget.

We flew BA business class with truly allowed us so much comfort and we entirely avoided the jet lag. Flying business class is an experience in itself and it was amazing to start our journey with a delicious breakfast the BA Business Lounge at the Gatwick Airport. We had some coffee, croissants and fruit whilst catching up on all the things that we planned to do in the upcoming week. Once on board, we were able to fully relax in a reclined seat that turned into a bed allowing me to pretty much sleep most of my flight. Well at least after I enjoyed a three-course meal paired with a couple of glasses of champagne and a favourite Disney films.

We landed fully rested and fresh and ready for our adventure.

BA business class

Transportation

As we arrived at around 5 pm, it. took us about an hour to pass the immigration as Orlando is a really busy airport. The best way to get around the city is to hire a car. We picked ours at the airport where at the clerk at Avis upgraded us to a red Mustang for an extra $20 which was such a bargain. This really got us in a great mood as I always wanted to take photos in a Mustang especially as I’m obsessed with road trips.

Driving around Orlando is so easy and the roads and quite wide and seemed pretty much brand new. The traffic wasn’t much of an issue either as we never waited longer than 10 minutes in traffic. Everything is so well signposted and with a help of google maps, you can be set for the easiest drive ever especially if you come from London.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando

Stay

We stayed at the Four Seasons which is the largest Four Seasons resort in the world. Our hotel was an approx 30-minute drive from the airport and set in a gated community making it really secluded and perfect for families. Four Season Orlando is also knowns as the Walt Disney World Resort surrounded by a large pool complex and a lake. It’s so easy to relax by the pool which is split into the adult side and a larger side known as the Explorer Island specially designed for children.

There are quite a few restaurants in the complex but our favourite was the rooftop steakhouse Cappa which was a perfect spot to watch Dinsey World fireworks in the evening. The resort offers free bus rides to the Disney Wolrd resorts and it’s only a short 15 mins ride away. If you truly want to maximise on the time and really explore all the Disney World offerings in the most luxurious and comfortable setting then Four Seasons is the best choice.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando

We decided to dedicate some time to relax at their spa and have an hour-long deep tissue massage to help us truly reach another level of chill. We followed up with an hour in the hot tub and relaxation area that came with a cheeky glass of Prosecco.

Our stay at the Four Season Orlando was wonderful and the service was immaculate. You can find more information about the areas within the resort including the Explorer Island here. I have also taken quite a few photos to show you space and the atmosphere as much as possible.

Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando Four Seasons Resort Orlando

Weather

The weather in Orlando is pretty much summer all year round with a subtropical climate. It was over 30C  every day on our trip which was the middle of October. The temperature is on average 24C or 75F. I did feel it was quite humid with a very high chance of thunderstorms. I would also recommend checking for the hurricanes when planning your trip. The coolest month should be January.

I hope you find this post helpful and please feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

Tania xxx

Travel

Summer in Los Angeles – what have I learned

Beverly Hills

I have finally decided to live out my long-term dream and move to Los Angeles for the summer. I had no expectations, no plans and just decided to give myself some time to go with the flow and say yes to most things that come my way.

I wanted to explore a real life in Los Angeles and live it through people I met along the way. I also wanted to keep it as real as possible as I always sensed that there is so much more to Los Angeles than Hollywood and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to live it. As I live in East London, I moved to the Echo Park which is East LA as I wanted to stay as close to home as possible by keeping the vibe similar.

Beverly Hills Sign Summer in Los Angeles - what have I learned Melrose Avenue Malibu

Areas

Living in Echo Park really opened my eyes to what the true LA vibe is as East LA is a home to so many creatives that made the place really popular. Silverlake was my favourite go-to for a night out as well as eating out and it really reminded me of Shoreditch.

Being in East LA naturally, I spent a bunch of my time in DTLA as it was less than 2 miles away and a mere $3 Uber ride. My gym and Wholefoods were down this way so it was nice to be so close to the city and easier to run errands especially as I don’t drive. I loved the DTLA as it really showed such contrast to what people expect from LA (or shall I say Hollywood)! It really baffled me how can such an amazing city that aspired so many dreams can have this massive gap between rich and poor. Homeless people here are nice and friendly except where they are really high or drunk which is the reason for a large amount of them living on the streets. Best to stay out the way and not engage much but I do really encourage not judging them as we don’t know what most of them went through. It made me feel so grateful to know that we in the UK have such good security net and a large amount of support should God forbid, we ever find ourselves in such an unfortunate situation.

People don’t cross much between areas in Los Angeles which I found very surprising. You make a choice of where to live and you pretty much stay there the entire time. People from London tend to love Santa Monica and Venice and as much as I love the beach and being close to the ocean, these areas were so busy with tourists that I really wanted to stay away from those areas.

Hollywood is the same, very busy and touristy but we did make an occasional trip to it for the sake of a good cocktail. I didn’t enjoy spending much time on this side and the same goes for the Beverly Hills but I’m not going to lie, it was nice to visit and take a stroll down the Rodeo Drive. This really helps me raise a bar and dream bigger especially as I got myself to a place where I’m able to live my dream. I did this by myself and no help by anyone apart from friends helping me snap photos along the way.

I haven’t explored many other sides to Los Angeles but I will try and spend some time with my friend that lives in South Central LA on my next visit which is hopefully next month.

Moving around

If you don’t drive Uber and Lyft is the best way to get around the city. Off-peak times come with a really cheap fare uber to Hollywood from Echo Park was around $5. Renting a car comes with a lot of responsibilities including insurance and parking costs and if you want to go out and enjoy yourself, you will have to add Uber costs on top of that. So really uber and lyft are your best options and you will probably save some money too. Public transport is existent but not so many people use it. I wanted to get on a bus a few times but they tun every 20minutes and I just didn’t want to wait.

Friendships

I met some amazing people in LA and formed long-lasting friendships. People are not scared to be real here and trust me if someone is fake you will be able to tell straight away. I wish I could say the same for people in London but I really want to share this massive misconception that people in LA are fake. It’s probably true to some extent but its really obvious and you can make a conscious decision not to engage. I met some great people in this city and they really made it special for me. They go off the vibe you give and truly they are some of the friendliest people in the world. I miss my LA friends every day and can’t wait to visit them soon.

Dating

I wish I could say the same thing for LA boys who let me tell you are smooth in their game. They wine and dine you, take you out on their motorbikes to chase the sunsets down the Mullholand drive and always open the door for you. I dated some real gentleman in LA and had very interesting conversations. Unfortunately, its just an act as most want a girlfriend experience without much emotional availability. London is quite opposite where boys are emotionally unavailable and hard work and in most cases, won’t even buy you a drink. At least you know what you’re getting yourself into wheres LA is more of an emotional trap and if you are not strong as a female and ready to stand up for yourself well you may end up hurt. I can say I truly enjoyed the dating process but it barely passed the 3 date mark as, as soon you realise the level of shallowness present, you kinda feel not into it much and ready for the next.  Regardless its more fun to date in LA as guys try harder than in London which makes it more fun for us. Its also way easier to meet people on a night out so you have so many more options when it comes picking a right fit to see again. LA boys are cute although London boys have more style however it all boils down to your personal preference.

Going out

LA is fun but way more mellow than London. Alchocol is not served past 1AM is and in most cased before. Everything shuts early and if you are not into warehouse afterparties or people houses, then your options are limited. In London, we party harder and have so many more options available to us! I suppose everyone is stoned in LA since weed is legal so they can’t be bothered to come up with many party concepts since sitting on the sofa may seem more fun. I truly enjoyed bar hopping in Silverlake and it was kinda nice not to suffer from severe hangovers like I do when I go out in London. I went out every day so this mellow drinking really suited me.

Some of my favourite bars are Cafe Stella, Mohawk Bend, Cha Cha Lounge, 1642 (date night), Bar Bandini, El Prado (date night).

Favourite restaurants and brunch spots include Sage, Kismet, Botanica, Sawyer, Ostrich Farm, Simone, Preux & Proper, Manuela, and my favourite Italian food spot Speranza.

in and out silverlake venice dtla

Costs

LA is more expensive than London for food and drink. Actually, dining comes out pretty much at the same price excluding gratuity but wine is way more expensive which was a little shocking as Napa Valley is only a few hours away. Groceries were really pricey and of a questionable quality. Once I left a broccoli inside the fridge for over a month and it looked exactly the same as when I got it. The only place that can be trusted is probably Wholefoods. You need to go for organic food at all times and if you like cooking at home your bill will be over $100 weekly for groceries. Despite the fact that Ubers are cheap, you will need to take a few days and it adds up on a monthly.

The weather makes it all worth it just make sure that the place you are staying at has an AC.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post as its based on my true experiences on my recent Los Angeles trip which was 2 months long. I will be going back more frequently and will try and deliver more value-add content for you guys. Please feel free to let me know the topics you’d like me to cover in the comments below.

Love you lots.

Tania xxx

London

GQ Men of The Year Afterparty with Haig Club

Having worked with Haig Club over the past year, I was so excited when they invited me to join them for an evening out to toast the GQ Men of the Year. This is a huge event in the London calendar with many celebrity guests attending and I felt so grateful to have been given the opportunity to attend the after party with my favourite bloggers.

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London

Welcome back to London Drinks at cloudM Bar

cloudM bar london

Nothing feels as good as seeing London from an amazing rooftop especially if it involves cocktails. I missed London so I welcomed the opportunity to have drinks at cloudM Bar at the citizenM hotel with open arms. I met up with Emily around 6.30 at the hotel lobby and off we went to grab a drink up on the rooftop which was a great place for us to catch up and meet some of the other amazing people from the industry.

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