Our favourite hotels perfect for accessibility travel



Relaxing at Park Plaza in Cardiff

We have been lucky enough to stay at a fair few hotels across the UK over the past few years, some have been in historical listed buildings with small narrow hallways and no elevator which is fine when you don't have any mobility issues or small children dependent on a pushchair (we avoided the later by using a sling with both our kids). Other times we have been in very modern, bright and spacious buildings as well as rustic farms and converted barns, all with their own sets of pros and cons.

As soon as you start to look around and through the eyes of those guest who may have additional needs you can quickly see how many places are simply not geared up to accommodating them. Saying that there are some fantastic hotels that do go the extra mile from independent, boutique and chain hotels, some put accessibility high on the level of importance and inclusion of all is key.

I have always been very active and out-going and like most had no idea of what having  mobility issues meant until a few years back when before having children I sustained a bad injury to my knee which needed surgery. I made a full recovery but it took a few months and that meant I was not fully mobile while under going physiotherapy, just this short period of time gave me some insight to how different life is when certain provisions are not in place. 

Even though we ourselves don't have any additional requirements when it comes to travel except for a family sized room and after reading an inspiring article about the top accessible cities to travel to I thought I would still put together our favourite hotels which really stood out when it came to all inclusive accessibility and facilities. 

1. Park Plaza, Cardiff

Last year we had a wonderful Spa Break at the Park Plaza in Cardiff and even though it's local to us it's one of our favourite larger hotels as it has an excellent bar and restaurant and they also serve up their famous Hendricks Afternoon Tea. All of their rooms are large and spacious and they have accessible rooms which are designed with wider doorways, grab bars in the toilet as well the reception, restrooms, entrance and bar all being wheelchair-accessible.

Wooden interior

2. Godolphin Arms, Marazion, Cornwall.

We stayed at this stylish small hotel on our way to the Isles of Scilly earlier this year and it truly offers the best views of St Michaels Mount. Despite the hotel being an older building perched on the edge of the bay it's incredibly accessibly for all guests with an adapted room, a lift for people with limited mobility and accessible toilets as well as trained staff who strive to provide the best experience for all their guests despite any extra requirements they may need. 

The reception are at The Renaissance Hotel

3. Renaissance Hotel, London Heathrow

This hotel is perfect for those flying in and out of Heathrow as its located right next to the airport, in fact our room was on a few hundred meters from the runway and watching the planes take off was really fascinating. The Renaissance Hotel is part of the Marriott group which has a good reputation when it comes to making sure it's hotels are suitable for all their guests. This hotel in particular has made sure all their public areas of accessible including the gym and fitness centre, wider doorways in accessible guest rooms, on site parking.

Mineral water
Little extras at The Hilton Bath Spa

4. Hilton Bath Spa

Hilton like the Marriott hotel chain is focused on making sure all of their properties are suitable for everyone and the Hilton Bath Spa is no different. The hotel has a level ramp entrance and has accessible parking as well as all public areas being accessible friendly including the restaurant and meeting rooms. In the adapted rooms they have lowered the peep hole in the doors, have audible alarms and vibrating fire alarms for those hard of hearing and on top of that our experience there with regards to the staff was excellent, they are very friendly, helpful and well informed.

Premier Inn

5. Premier Inn St Pancras

This hotel is fairly new having only opened near the end of 2014 and has been designed with all one needs to have a comfortable and well rested night away. It's also perfectly located for those who are nipping over to the continent on the Eurostar which is practically across the road. Accessibility facilities differ with each Premier Inn but St Pancras has made sure to provide all the extras needed to accommodate all guests including level public areas, accessible rooms with wider doors, emergency assistant alarms and vibrating pillows for those with hearing problems during a fire.  All staff have also been trained in disability training awareness and the hotel chain welcomes guide dogs. 

You never know what life is going to throw at you and there may be times when these additional features will really come in handy in ensuring a stress free holiday. Also travel should of accessible for everyone despite any kind of disability, especially as there are so many fantastic products and design ideas on the market to help and provide guests with what they need such as the walk-in showers from Premier Bathrooms that make travel a breeze for all different kinds of travellers. 

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Simplicity and Style


Fred Perry

I feel like 2017 is going to be a year dedicated to simplifying my life, to going back to basics of less is more and quality over quantity as well as a more ethical approach to purchases and how we decided to live as a family unit.

Like most I love fashion but I want to get rid of the clutter in my wardrobe, I have way to many pieces of clothing that I simply don't wear and as with most people my style has changed and developed over the years and is nearly at a point I feel happy with my style choices. Saying that in the coming year I aim to streamline my closet and create a real "go-to" capsule wardrobe full of my favourite things that all work well together and will provide me with 7 fail safe outfits for the week.

Drinking coffee
Pairing up my Fred Perry Winter jumper with a White Company Shirt. Image by Sarahlou 

I love the small details, little pops of colour or subtle prints that add that something special to an outfit, also with kids running around I like things that are well made, comfortable, practical but also stylish and with such fantastic sales on at the moment now is the time to have a clear out of anything that has seen better days and invest in a few key items for the New Year.
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Weekend:In at the Chickenshed



fresh food

At the end of last month I was lucky enough to be invited to come along to Weekend:In at a converted building called the Chicken Shed,  situated among the rolling hills of Monmouthshire. I was really excited about going to this as I loved the idea behind this event which was all about bringing together a small number of influencers and local independent brands in a unique and intimate way over creative weekend full of activities, styling and workshops. 

Scandi interior

The event spanned two days with a few people staying the whole weekend but with many going to just either the Sat or Sun meaning. I had been following it on social media and had seen the Saturday involved a wreath making workshop which looked lovely and I wandered what we would be doing on the Sunday. 

First I picked up fellow welsh blogger and friend Laura from Cardboard Cities and we made our way up through the Monmouthshire countryside to the most idyllic location. We arrived just in time for some fresh pastries and granola while getting to know everyone else and I love the idea of such a small event where people get to connect properly and spend the whole day together and not feeling rushed and given the time to share ideas and be inspired. 

cold press juice

After coffee and getting aquatinted we where introduced to the  The Juice Collective and cold press juicing which was something I thought I knew a little about but the founders of the Juice Collective Amy & Emma had a wealth of knowledge about the subject and I didn't realise how much more nutrient dense cold press is in comparison to normal juice. It was also really interesting to hear their story so far and how their brand has grown and developed and how committed they are to sticking with an organic fresh product. We also got to have a little taster session of all their current juices of which I can all say are truly divine!



After our juicing session we moved onto a little creative styling session with Seven Boot Lane, a shoe company which still produces shoes in the traditional way. After we had been given a run down about the background of this small independent brand and with the Chicken Shed oozing that Scandi style we where inspired by the word "Hygge" to bring together images capturing the idea of cosiness and happiness. For this I paired ups with Laura and it was really fun to see what everyone else came up with as well, in a completely relaxed and supportive environment. 

inspired dining

After a morning of styling, photography and enjoying the wonderful view it was time to sit down and enjoy a light lunch with some delicious fresh rye bread, green salad and lots of roasted veggies with some local sausages for the meat eaters and a cheeky glass of wine. This was followed by the most amazing carrot cake I have had all year which came from a Bristol baked bakery which I need to find the name for because I would be more than happy to travel there weekly simply for their divine cakes.

art workshop

art workshop

Our last session of the day was just perfect for this time of the year as the talented Karl and Rebecca from Wildflower Illustrations Co inspired us all to try our hand at homemade Christmas Cards using watercolours. It was so relaxing and therapeutic to sit down and paint while having a warming cup of coffee and some biscuits. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to make Christmas Cards this year at home and is something I am going to try and do from now on. Rebecca's illustrations are particularly wonderful and if your looking for some unique stationary they are amazing. 

I honestly believe smaller events like these that allow more a more in depth opportunity for influencers and independent business to connect is the way forward and it's always fantastic to hear the story behind each brand and how they have grown from strength to strength. I also felt like the companies enjoyed bouncing off our ideas and as a collective it was a fantastic way to spend a day. 

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Staying in control when it comes to kids and screens



Earlier this month I shared my initial thoughts of Kidslox, a parenting control app for android and iOS devices that allows you to set the limits when it comes to screen time as well as content, apps and online safety. If you are regular reader of my blog you will probably already know I am wary when it comes to my kids and having any kind of access to the online world. It may at times seem quite contradictory since my job revolves around myself using social media daily but that doesn't mean my kids need access to.

I grew up in a very active and outgoing family, I have always loved being outdoors and living in South Africa for 19yrs allowed me to spend hours on end running around the garden, climbing trees and being a typical child but that typical child model is now being lost to hours and hours of easily accessible screen time and for many reasons. I don't think it's hard to dispute that even from a very young age screen time is addictive whether it be in the form of TV or tablet and while I feel there are many educational apps that genuinely aid learning there is much that can be damaging.

John would certainly describe me as being strict when it comes to screen time and my children, I do set restrictions which I keep and I also participate in these restrictions as I always make a point of using my phone or laptop as little as possible when my kids are around, in fact when this happens it's usually only out of necessity or due to a work emergency. We tend to keep daytimes screen free, especially on weekends and then when it comes to preparing our evening meal is when I allow for some TV time but lately my eldest has been asking to use our tablet and this has thrown up some issues. Firstly he can navigate the tablet very well when means while I think he is using an educational app he could actually be watching something less appropriate on You Tube and thats where Kidslox comes into play, it allows me to block certain content I am not personally comfortable with as well as limit usage times which is something that is important to me.

As a family we have always believed in the saying "everything in moderation", we don't want to deny our children of anything but equally we are here to guide them and make them aware that spending time outdoors is highly important to your inner wellbeing, as is reading, writing, crafting and making time for the ones you love and being present when family members need each other.

There have been many well researched articles about the effects too much screen time has on children and their moods which is often in a negative way, this is fairly well known and yet as parents because our lives have become increasingly busier and more stressful many are resorting to screens as a way to keep children occupied, there is nothing wrong with doing this every so often such as when you are on a long train trip or your under the weather and really need a little break but what we are seeing more and more is young children having access to screens for hours on end daily. Of course having access to the internet brings up many safety issues as well which I won't go into but apps like Kidslox help prevent this and give control back to the parents which is where it needs to be especially when they are still young. If your looking to regain a healthy balance to your home than apps such as Kidslox can certainly help with that and they offer a 14 day trial to see how you get on with it and personally knowing I have this extra control does offer me some peace of mind.

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Retro inspired trends for 2017



As we move forward into the New Year for many that means changes, motivation, goals and possibly a new you? Its also a time we start to spring clean, get rid of the old and bring in the new, we look forward to the new trends and the long-lasting ones too and one of those trends that is staying around is embracing all that is retro with a modern twist. Simple stylish Scandi-inspired interiors mixed with a touch of mad men and minimalism and this is also reflected in the clothes we are wearing with more and more people upcycling and recapturing that sense of the 90's but today.

I thought I would put together a fun little post of all that is retro but still on trend for 2017 including interiors and clothing. Firstly I know I am planning to update our dinning room tables and my love for Eames has never faded and year on year their simple and retro design have become both iconic and timeless.

Another big trend in the coming year is focusing on lighting. Creating rooms that are filled with light are what we all want and even though we may not all have huge floor-to-ceiling windows how we bring light into our homes is important and something we shouldn't overlook. I love industrial pendant lights at the moment and came across these refreshing new take on pendant lights from Nest.co.uk

When it comes to personal style of course you need to dress in a way that makes you feel good and while I don't think it's important to subscribe to every style I think there are a few key pieces that are always on trend such as denim, simple styled shirts and well-cut dresses, keeping things simple and adding a few select accessories to them. I have put together a little retro-inspired mood board from one of my favourite online vintage stores Rokit where you can pick up some amazing and unique finds.

I am all about having fun when it comes to fashion and as you can see I do love a little bit of 90's throwback with the dungarees. Personally I really love that retro trends appear to be hear to stay and have been seen in both our homes and interiors as well as what we wear.

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Fire and Ice at Dewsall Court


natural wreath

There is nothing more I love doing than spending a day in beautiful surrounds in the Welsh countryside with all the chaos of the city left far behind me while gathering around a perfectly laid table with wine, good company and excellent food and that was exactly what my day exploring Dewsall Court in Hereford was like. 

As soon as you turn up the driveway towards Dewsall and you get a glimpse of the Manor House you know your in for a treat. Firstly the setting is breathtaking with the property being set among formal and informal gardens, converted out buildings and barns as well as a 12th century church set at the bottom of the garden which is perfect if your looking for somewhere special to tie the knot. 

Heading up towards the front door with it's wreath decorated with pheasant feathers you step straight into a rustic open plan kitchen space with flagstones and an Aga and you straight away you get that homely feel which runs throughout the property. I then went through to the main reception hall with a large fire place and fresh home made cookies while Samantha, the daughter of the owners of Dewsall and whom grew up in this fantastic place which was then a family home, took us through the history of Dewsall place.

Dewsall Court

Countryside home

After coffee we headed upstairs to explore the many bedrooms of Dewsall, all decorated and designed in an individual way yet all within keeping of the house. With each room there was such attention to detail from the hand painted wall paper to hand crafted furniture I could of stayed all day just exploring the many bedrooms and stunning en-suites.

vintage bath

Dewsall court

After our tour of the main house and grounds we sat down in the main dining room which walls have the most beautiful hand painted silk wallpaper and a large windows overlooking the grounds. We had the pleasure of trying out the Fire and Ice menu which they recently launched at their Christmas Parties earlier this month. 

beetroot Borsch

The first course was a traditional beetroot Borsch with Sour Cream and Chives which was simply divine, small and packed with flavour that it was even a hit with Natalie's (of Plutonium Sox blog) 2yr old daughter. 

The Fire and Ice menu offers a vegetarian option which I went for and the Borsch was followed up by a wonderfully light Pea Arancini which was full of depth and I honestly could of ate another three or four of these. This was then followed by Crispy Halloumi with mint, pomegranate, smoky creamed corn and baby grilled aubergine. 

Dewsall court

Christmas chocolate pudding

To top things off we finished up with a Hot Chocolate and Sloe Gin Pudding which was extremely rich but full of flavour and has to be one of the best desserts I have had this year. I can completely understand why these one-off events Dewsall holds are so popular, in fact they had to add an extra date to their Fire and Ice parties due to high demand.

Dewsall court

converted barn

Dewsall is such a special place, especially if your looking to celebrate a momentous event and want a venue that is both unique but also homely and offers a space to relax and make yourself home for a day or so. You can also hire Dewsall Court for exclusive use, it sleeps up to 27 and they can arrange for a private chef and catered meals or you may opt to have a wedding reception or exclusive party in their converted barn. 

I really enjoyed my day learning about how the Robinson family took what was a derelict building and brought it back to life and hearing the fond childhood memories it has held for them. The whole place has been lovelily restored and the epitome of British countryside chic.

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How I Got My Kids To Love Food From Around The World


eating melon

As I have said many times before “when it comes to food both John and I love trying something new, fresh, colourful and full of flavour and we are lovers of world dishes”. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, it’s something that the majority of adult couples enjoy, however, kids quickly change that.

When they’re really young, you can carry on enjoying your favourite foods with no problems, it’s when they get to their toddler years that things get interesting, or so they say. Proudly, we managed to combat the fussy stage by introducing a variety of foods and worldly cuisines early on in our children’s lives. We wanted our kids to be open minded about all new experiences, especially food, because experiencing new food is one of life’s great pleasures and it’s healthy too.

weaning baby

I recently read an article suggesting that children who are fussy eaters have often become so because they’ve picked up the idea from adults. This is something that, scientifically, I can’t comment on, but as we’re not fussy eaters in the slightest and we make an occasion of our mealtimes, I can only conclude that there may be something in it.

I know it’s alright me writing to you telling you that you can make meal times easy just by getting your kids to love the same foods as you, you need to know how though, right? Well the three recipes below are exactly where we started and they’re the perfect beginning for a lifetime of culinary adventure and are a huge hit in our household.

Veggie Samosa – A healthy Indian snack

indian samosa

 Image: BigStock


2 and a half cups of flour
1 cup warm water
Quarter tsp salt
2 tbsp. oil
2 potatoes
1 cup cubed cauliflower
1 cup peas
1 cup cubed squash
1 can sweetcorn
1 clove of garlic
Quarter tsp cumin seeds, ground coriander, turmeric and minced ginger
2 tbsp. vegetable oil


1. Blend the vegetable oil and the flour and gradually add the salted water.
2. Knead the dough and then leave it to rest in a plastic bag for twenty minutes before kneading it again.
3. While the dough is resting, heat the oil and fry the cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and garlic for about thirty seconds.
4. Add the cauliflower, squash and potatoes and simmer on a low heat for fifteen minutes.
5. Allow the mixture to cool and add the peas and sweetcorn and season to taste.
6. Roll the dough into five inch circles, cut in half and fold to create a triangle which is open at the end. Use water to seal the edges.
7. Fill and seal the samosas.
8. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for ten minutes on each side.

Easy Chinese Noodles

noodle stir fry

Image: BigStock


200g egg noodles
2 spring onions, sliced
1 carrot, grated
50g peas
A handful of beansprouts
A small quantity of cooked chicken or Quorn/Vegan pieces
1 diced garlic clove
2tsp groundnut oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp. low salt soy sauce
1 tsp ketchup


1. Cook the noodles, drain and rinse.
2. Heat the oil in a wok and add the garlic, carrot, onions, peas and chicken.
3. Mix together the soy, honey, ketchup and lemon juice and add to the stir fry after three minutes.
4. Add the cooked noodles and beansprouts, heat and serve.

Kids’ Bruschetta – a tasty Italian snack

Italian food


1 loaf of day old bread
2 cups of diced tomatoes
1 diced garlic clove
Quarter cup of olive oil
Quarter cup of basil
Half tsp of salt


1. Mix together the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and salt.
2. Slice the bread into fingers, brush with oil and fry on both sides.
3. Add the tomato topping and serve immediately.

Once you’ve mastered these three recipes and the kids love your worldly creations, you can move on to other things because they’ll be happy to try them. If you’re still unsure about cooking up a family meal through fears they’ll refuse, let them dig into your Friday night takeaway, there are so many to choose from and foods available from all over the world, they could try a new cuisine every week – find your local here to open up their foodie horizons. With these simple tips, it doesn’t matter if you’re staying in or eating out, family meal times will become so much easier. Nowadays our kids will eat literally anything, they’re even being invited to try out new kid’s menus at local restaurants, take a look here.

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Ladies and Kids Last Minute Christmas Gift Guide


ladies watch

So the countdown is truly on for the big day and now is the time to pick up those last minute gifts but with anything last minute you can often draw a blank when it comes to inspiration, which is why I have put together this last minute Christmas Gift guide for the special lady in your life wether that be your partner, mother, sister, daughter there is something for everyone with all budgets catered for. 

First up is an item that is rather special and a more substantial gift, the Krug Baümen Diamond Ladies Rose Gold Chronograph Watch which is actually on sale from £199 down to £97.50. These watches are absolutely beautiful and on trend in rose gold and come with a 2 years warranty. If your looking to impress then this is it.

If your looking for a few some fun and quirky last minute ideas then check out my little gift guide below filled with small to large size presents, stocking fillers and ethical choices. 

women gift guide

1. Irals jewel accessories which attaches to flip flops, hair bands, summer dresses, from £9.50
2. So Eco powder brush £8.50
3. Instax Mini 8 + 10 shots £64.99
4. People Tree Slow Fashion Book £15
5. Raisthorpe Manor Sloe Gin Hamper £35
6. Seven Boot Lane - Gloria Boot Black Leather £160 
7. Brooklyn Fern and Moss Candle from Loaf £25
8. Ginvera Marvelwhite Skincare range gift bag £37

If you have recently had a baby or you know someone who has then these wonderful Mama Treat kits from Little Magpies. These kits are just what a tired mama needs and would make a perfect pick-me up Christmas treat and contains a stylish teething necklace, bangle and cute pouch bag for £32.95

mama treat
Mama treat bag from Little Magpies 

If you or your partner loves fresh flowers in the home and think you simply don't have time to get to the shop and pick up a bouquet and are nervous you won't be in for delivery than don't sweat, you can still order from Beards and Daisies letter box range which are packed in flat boxes that can be posted through your letter box, so simple and a great last minute present.

Letterbox flowers

If your shopping for a teenage girl than the Skin Genius Ultimate party bundle would be perfect to ensure spot-free skin this festive season and comes packed in a cute drawstring bag. The bundle includes a Facial wash, Clarifying lotion, Moisturising lotion, lavender bag and face towel. Skin Genius is a natural range that effectively treats breakouts and has stylish no mess packing. These bundles are £49.99 and I have a bundle to giveaway. 

Beauty spot control

If you are still looking for a little something for the kids than do check out my top six picks which will ensure happy faces on Christmas morning with a little something for everyone, clothes, soft furnishings and traditional style toys.

kids gift guide

1. T-rex Knitted Toy from Rigby and Mac starts at £12.95
2. Boo Sweater from Mini Street Style £22.99
3. Pusheen Pencil case £12.99
4. Mountie pillow from Loaf £55
5. Traditional Drummer Solider from Born Gifted £18.99
6. Magnetic plane from Janod £15.99

I also have a little flash giveaway to win a Ginvera Marvelwhite Skincare range gift bag and a Skin Genius Ultimate Party Bundle - together this giveaway is worth £86.99 and will be sent out by Next Day Delivery on the 22nd although I still cannot guarantee delivery before Christmas. 

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Ultimate Men's Christmas Gift Guide & Giveaway



If your looking for long-wearing, practical but also stylish gets then look no further. I have included something for everyone's budget from stocking fillers to more luxurious items and a few you may not have thought of. If you have a keen cyclist there is the amazing Litelok or perhaps your other half is a keen traveller and would appreciate a City guide or paging through original photos of climbers in Yosemite from the sixties then check out my Ultimate men's Gift Guide. 

If your looking for long-wearing, practical but also stylish gets then look no further. I have included something for everyone's budget from stocking fillers to more luxurious items and a few you may not have thought of. If you have a keen cyclist there is the amazing Litelok or perhaps your other half is a keen traveller and would appreciate a City guide or paging through original photos of climbers in Yosemite from the sixties.

1. Bluebeard Revenge Eau de Toilette Shower Gel £24.99
2. Patagonia Yosemite in the Sixties By Glen Denny from Oi Polloi £39
3. Timex Originals watch from Watches2U £45.99
4. Litelok luxury bike lock £85
5. Waremakers Gents Town Tote €137
6. Polo Ralph Lauren 3 Pack Bear Graphic Socks In A Box £40
7. Military Transparent Oi Polloi Star Master trainers £45

2. Utsjö Gloves yellow Oipollo £75
3. Cashmere Scarf Boden £69.95
4. Edinburgh Preserves Boozy Preserves Set Jars House of Fraser £12
5. 36 Hours New York Taschen Books £16.99
6. Masons Original Yorkshire Gin 31Dover  £39.95
7. Braun Hair Clipper £39.99
8. Man club Barber comb Waremakers €14.25

If the man you are looking to buy a present for is a keen foodie than Bills has some really nice products from their larder range as well as their own inspired cook book and a Beer and Cider festive box. If you want to have a gift that keeps on given then why do a quarterly subscription to the London Sock Exchange which provides 3 pairs of stylish and unique socks every 4 months. Power Health Beard oil is also a perfect stocking filler for those who want to keep their beard healthy and soft and is packed with nature ingredients.

If he is more of a tech person and love his gadgets then perhaps a Dome8 Iphone cover which holds and protects your headphones as well as the phone, meaning if you love music you will never be caught out without your headphones as they pack away neatly within the case. 

Another techy option which would be great as a stocking filler is Sugru mouldable glue Rebel Tech Kit which comes with 14 brilliant ways to fix, hack and improve the gadgets you love. You can stick, shape and mould the glue and basically turn it into anything, which is great for creative people. 

I also have an amazing giveaway for one of my readers to get a pack full of goodies which would be perfect for the man in your life and includes a Bluebeards Revenge gift set, Braun Hair Clipper, Dome8 iPhone 6 Case, Sugru Reble Tech Kit and Power Health Beard Oil and also an amazing Litelock bick lock -worth a total of just over £180!

It's super easy to enter below and the giveaway ends on the 19th December and is open to UK residents only. All the gifts should arrive before Christmas as they are going to be sent before the last posting day but this cannot be guaranteed.

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