Tuesday, 1 September 2015

REVIEW: The Mercure Bordeaux Centre Hotel

It's safe to say we kicked off our interrailing adventure across the South of France in style. I've got so much I want to share from what was the most fantastique trip with one of my main gals, Amber, but to start with, let me introduce you to the hotel in which we stayed for the first three nights of our travels (and easily the swankiest accommodation of the fortnight!)

Staying in a hotel is always such a treat, don't you think? And when crashing with friends, at hostels or AirBnB flats for the rest of a trip, you really appreciate a night or two in a hotel and it also won't break the bank.

So, welcome to the four star Mercure Bordeaux Centre Hotel!


Location

We arrived quite late at night (so please excuse the lighting of my pics) and were a smidge confused upon hopping out of the taxi at the hotel, just a short journey from the train station. We appeared to be surrounded by large, unattractive, grey buildings. Hmm, this was not the Bordeaux of which we had seen photos.

But upon heading out to explore the next day, it transpired we were just a 15 minute walk from central Bordeaux, and just round the corner were the characteristically French, beautiful buildings we'd been hoping for.

The location was ideal really as it was super easy to pop back whenever we wanted to.


Room

Although the exterior of the hotel may not be Instagram-worthy, the interior is absolutely gorgeous. The whole hotel is super stylishly furnished and delightfully clean and modern.
We were staying in a wonderful Privilege Room.
The bed-linen was delightfully crisp and the beds themselves super comfy. Not only did we have air-con, a giant TV, and black-out curtains, but we also had tea and coffee-making facilities. TEA, PEOPLE! TEA!
You can imagine my joy at this discovery.

Equally pleasant to learn was that the drinks in our mini-fridge were complimentary!
Um, win! They were also replenished once over our three-night stay which was great.

If that wasn't enough we were also left some welcome chocolates which went down a treat after our flight.
What's more, our room was super thoroughly cleaned each day which was delightful.


Bathroom
Amber and I both got a smidge overexcited at the prospect of having toweling robes and little slippers at our disposal, because there's nothing like a white fluffy robe to make you feel like you're at a spa, am I right?

We were left out an array of mini toiletries, which was great, although there was no conditioner and the shampoo/shower gel was one big squeezy bottle attached to the shower wall as opposed to individual ones.

The shower was great though and the towels were lovely and big (unlike a lot of towels on the Continent.)


Breakfast

Right, on to the most important bit of any hotel stay: BREAKFAST!

The Mercure Bordeaux Centre did not disappoint.
Even at the desk at the front of the breakfast room, there were mini canelés (a special Bordeaux cake) out for guests, which was a lovely location-specific touch.

And inside, there was so much breakfasty goodness! Yup, Amber and I went. to. TOWN!

Divine croissants and pains aux chocolat, an array of breads, brioche, various spreads and jams, cakes, macarons, cereals, seedy mixes, various yoghurts, fresh fruit salad AND whole fruits, cold meats and cheeses, bacon, sausages, scrambled eggs, pancakes and maple syrup, teas, coffees, loads of juices, hot chocolate... It was amazing.


And of course, we made sure to try pretty much everything. Every day.

Dayum, can I go back just for this breakfast please? I should say that I didn't spot much for the gluten-free/vegan amongst you, but it's possible that the hotel would've sorted something out had you given them any dietary requirements in advance.


Staff

Throughout our stay, the staff were incredibly helpful and friendly, and that is really so important in my opinion.


We had a wonderful stay at the Mercure Bordeaux Centre Hotel and I'd thoroughly recommend it.

Find out more about the hotel here. We were kindly offered a press rate however this post is completely honest and I mean every word. Word.
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Thursday, 27 August 2015

My new job at Time To Log Off!

Ladies and gents, girls and boys, I’d like to introduce you to a very exciting new company called Time To Log Off who run digital detox retreats and resources.

As of a couple of months ago, I’m their new Online Marketing and Social Media Manager which is super exciting. The job is only part-time but that's ideal for me right now and I'm absolutely LOVING everything I'm doing, learning lots about launching a business (our founder has so much experience!), digital detoxes and social media strategy as I go.

Time To Log Off’s mission is to teach people the huge benefits of being 'unplugged' from their tech - there is so much research coming out about the importance of time away from screens (especially for children) and we want to introduce people to that via workshops, talks, resources and retreats.

Our founder, Tanya Goodin, was one of the first women working in digital in the UK and is now one of the first leading the 'unplugging' movement, which I think is pretty damn cool.
Now I know what keen followers and friends amongst you may be thinking: “Um, seriously Rachel? YOU?! The most technologically-addicted person I know? Working for a company that advocates stepping away from your gadgets?” And I can see the irony.

However, through my work I’m also learning just how important it is to take time off from your gadgets and, well, to log off! It’s definitely something I’m working on, and I think it’s really important that we all do.

It is not rare for me to be simultaneously on my iPhone, iPad and laptop, thus not really focussing on anything properly. Did you know we now have attention spans worse than those of goldfish? True story.

Here is a picture of a goldfish who is clearly pretty shocked by that fact:
If you need some more convincing may I direct you to the Resources section of the website, where you’ll find a whole bunch of articles I’ve written about why a digital detox is such a great thing to do (amongst other fun stuff like food).

Oh, and we’re not just about digital detoxes though! Time To Log Off is also really big on yoga, healthy eating, connecting with nature and doing flow activities (like colouring, surfing and knitting.)

And what I’m most excited about is how all these aspects are going to come together on our retreats!

The first one is taking place in Puglia, Italy, in October and I think it’s going to be literally amazing!
Retreat-Room
I don’t want to reveal tooooo much, but you can have a lookie at the itinerary here if ya like. I think it’s going to be so much fun, albeit a challenge for moi.

So if you, like me, are somewhat concerned that your smartphone addiction is getting out of hand, have a peruse of the website, maybe try the 5:2 digital diet or perhaps even come on one of our retreats.

I’d love to hear what you think of the unplugging movement – do you, like me, think you have an unhealthy digital addiction?

(Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind awfully giving us a lil like over on Facey B and perhaps even a follow on Insta or Twitter that would make me a very happy Social Media Manager.)
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Monday, 24 August 2015

Personalised Smythson Fuchsia Travel Accessories

I was recently given a very special present.

Yup, I’m a very lucky girly. And I wanted to share my present with you all not because I wish to brag (that’s the last thing I want to do!), but because, well, preeeeetty.

I don’t know about you but I love to admire pretty things, and I thought this might give y’all some present ideas (or perhaps just give you something to add to your wish-list!)

With plans to travel the world in the very near future and a long-standing love of fine leather goods and anything pink, these Smythson beauties could not be more perfect for yours truly.

As one would expect from Smythson, they arrived wrapped up in the most beautiful of packaging.
I carefully unwrapped the ribbons and delightedly opened the little blue boxes.

Present número uno: The most beautiful passport holder.
Naturally, it’s made from stunning cross-grain calf leather, and everything from the stitching to the embossing just oozes quality.

And get this: IT’S PERSONALISED, PEOPLE!

REH = Rachel Emma Hosie. Feeling pretty snazzy.
One side holds a passport (it’s a perfect fit) and the other side is for a boarding pass. Whenever I fly I always find myself rummaging around in my bag for that flimsy piece of paper all the time, so having my boarding pass snugly with my passport will be much more practical.

Also, the leather inside is literally as smooth as a baby's bottom. So soft!

And because everything’s better in a matching set, I was also given an equally wonderful and equally personalised luggage tag.
There’s one side for your destination and one for your home. So cute, no?

One of the things I most love about Smythson is that everything they make is not only super high-quality and beautiful but also incredibly practical. They do it all, really! (Remember my Smythson notebook?)

I've taken my Smythson beauties travelling for the first time to the South of France (did I mention I'm in France?) which I figured was a suitably chic first destination.

It's so special to have my own personalised travel accessories and I feel utterly spoilt. I'm going to treasure these my whole life.

What do you think?
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Friday, 21 August 2015

A mother-daughter day in Southwold {in pictures}


A few weeks ago, Mama decided she wanted to go to Suffolk. We've been going to Norfolk as a family ever since I was really little, yet somehow we'd never made it to the lower half of the sticky-out bit on the side of England. (No, not Wales. The other side.)

So Mama Hosie booked herself a room, I invited myself along, and before we knew it we were in Suffolk.

Oh, you're invited too! Come along and explore one of Suffolk's best-known and cutest seaside towns, Southwold.
We couldn't resist buying a punnet of these gorgeous British strawberries!

Southwold was full of interesting independent shops and the Madre and I particularly liked Collen & Clare

Pink sparkly belts? Mulberry bags? I was obviously sold.

It may have been August, but unfortunately the sun did not have his hat on.
We found the most wonderful bakery café in which to seek refuge for lunch though: Two Magpies Bakery.
 
The sourdough was just perf.
I couldn't resist a peruse of a vintage shop...
And the sun even kinda came out! For a bit.
Southwold is great as it is literally right on the coast.
We walked along the beach-huts, choosing our favourites, being blasted by the wind and marveling at the nutters who were in the sea.
We made our way to the pier, which is home to lots of cafés and gift shops.


And a spot of tea and carrot cake with a view of the sea (but sheltered from the wind) was a perfect way to end the day.
Have you ever been to Suffolk? Or maybe you're a Norfolk regular like the Hosies? Let me know!
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