12 June 2018

New York | A beautiful hair moment at Dry Bar, Meatpacking

While in New York, I went to some fabulous places, but going to DryBar on a Saturday afternoon before going on a fabulous night out has to be a highlight. 

We arrived in the big Apple on Thursday lunchtime, ready for a 4 day hen do for my beautiful friend Alex. On arrival Alex's sister Sarah had beautiful bouncy curls, her secret was a blow out at DryBar. Within 30 minutes, I had downloaded the app and had booked an appointment for Saturday, which was going to be our biggest night out (little did I know, how my Thurs and Friday nights were going to be!). 


By the time Saturday came around, I ended up cancelling my appointment as we had gone on a day trip to Brooklyn and I didn't want to cut that short and rush back. But when we arrived back at 4.55, I messaged Sarah to find out if she was still going to her appointment at 5 and I remember telling me she had booked 1 extra for Alex.

Alex said I could have her appointment...she said I was out of there in seconds at super fast speed and on my way to the DryBar located in the Meatpacking district. 

No Cuts, No Color, just Blow Outs, wash included!


When we arrived, there was no one waiting but all 12 chairs were all taken with new clients arriving all the time. It didn't seem rushed, it was like a chilled private party. Sarah and I checked in at the front desk and within minutes we were taken to a chair.

Appointments are around 45 minutes, which is a consultation, hair wash and then Blow Out in the style of your choice. I loved everything about this place, the colour theme was White and Yellow, including a cluster of hair dryers as a statement light.  

I had a look through the 'cocktail' hair menu, I decided to go with a Cosmo-Tai , which was 2 looks combined. Look at the style menu! You don't have to have curls, choose the Straight up or Manhattan for a straight volume look.

After deciding on my look, I was taken to the sinks in another room out the back, the own brand products smelt lovely and were chosen dependent on my hair type and final hair style. (All products are available to buy in store). 

Then once my hair was washed, I went back to my seat and I was offered a choice of drinks. 

My hair was blow dried then curled using straighteners. 



So jealous this girl brought her 2 sausage dogs with her, they sat on her knee during her appointment!
I don't dare show you a close up my before look, but lets say I felt like a drowned rat, my hair was flat and tired. But within 1 hour,  I felt so good and lifted after my appointment, the products smelt great, the stylist was cool and fun. What an amazing time we had! 

Now your wondering....how much was it? $45 (£33) plus 20% tip (that's just standard in NYC), but I think this was a fair price and if i was local I would pay the $80 a month membership, my hair felt and smelt good and it lasted 3 days in beautiful curls. I usually wash my hair everyday and I honestly didn't need to. 
Sarah during her appointment - forever thankful for taking me!
Golden hour while I was waiting for Sarah

I asked for my curls to be kept tight, as I think they would normally comb them out slightly but my hair usually only keeps curls in for 5 minutes, so what happened post blow out, was a small miracle! 

After our appointments we had a walk in the golden sun back to our hotel, Dream Downtown which is near the Chelsea Market and Google HQ, it's only 10 minutes walk from Meatpacking, near West Village, there are 20 more branches in the city too and most days open 7am - 10pm! 

Seems a bit of a waste getting your hair done at 9pm but this is the city the never sleeps!


Getting ready to go to Tao for dinner.

I honestly loved New York so much, I would love to go back tomorrow. 

More NY posts to come!

Dear Alli Webb @ DryBar... when are you coming to the UK?

Kristina x

Disclaimer - This is not an advertorial, I paid for this experience and all opinions are my own. 

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22 April 2018

Travel | The Principal Hotel, York

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be waking up at a beautiful hotel in York, North Yorkshire.






I took the afternoon off work to travel down from Durham to York with my friend Caroline, we arrived at The Principal Hotel, and it was such a good location next to the train station.  As we were heading to Malton food festival the next day it was easier to bring the car, but next time, the train would be best. 

I have walked past this hotel so many times, and I loved it a few years ago when the York Wheel was nearby but it was great to finally go inside and have a look around and even be a guest. 

We checked in at 4pm and were welcomed by a lovely staff member on reception who then showed us to the main lobby and gave us a short tour of the facilities. This really helped us get our bearings of this grand hotel. 



Our superior twin room was situated on the second floor and I instantly fell in love with the red telephone, shame I didn't need to make any calls. As a guest of the hotel for the evening, the manager had left me a handwritten note welcoming me to the hotel and a treat hamper complete with champagne and chocolates! 

It was lovely to be able to see the York Minster and city walls from the bedroom window which really reminded you that you were only 10 minutes walk from the centre. The windows were unable to open, but there was a Dyson fan provided which we really needed as we did want some air in the room as it was a warm day. 



Due to the room being classed as superior, it came with a tuck box, which was basically treats to go with coffee and tea while staying in the room. Ours came with a crisps and kit kats but there was different options at reception to choose from. Such a nice touch if you were arriving at the hotel late and needed a snack before bedtime. 



I loved the table and chair in the room, you could lift part of the table top up to find a mirror which was perfect for drying your hair and putting on makeup in the morning. Loved this. 


The bathroom was beautiful, complete with marble and wood detailing plus a huge waterfall shower. All class of rooms include Elemis toiletries and branded bathrobes.



We didn't have long in the room before our reservation for Twilight Tea - I hadn't done this before but it was afternoon tea served after 5pm with a cocktail. What a great idea! 

As soon as we chose our table in the Garden Room just off the Lobby, we were offered the seasonal cocktail, the Bramble. 




The Twilight Tea was served shortly after our drinks arrived which included 2 finger sandwiches each, 2 scones each (1 fruit, 1 plain) with jam and cream plus 4 small cakes which were so delicious - 1 Lemon profiterole, 1 green tea cake, 1 chocolate orange cheesecake with a twist, the biscuit coated the outside and 1 pink marshmallow. We shared them all, but I wish we had got one of these each yummy desserts. 






After spending a couple of hours enjoying the beautiful decor and food we had a walk around the hotel to find the bar so we could come back for some drinks later. 

We decided to have some chill time in our room and watch a film, the TV set up was great and it had the ability to stream to Apple and Android devices for music and apps. We decided to watch a film on my iPad instead and the Wifi connection was brilliant, sometimes in hotels it can be a bit hit or miss whether you can use your own device.

After the movie we went to the Chapter Bar in the hotel, for espresso martinis. 





Reflecting on a lovely evening, it was a great way to start a weekend! 

The next day, we got ready and headed down for breakfast before going to Malton. 



Breakfast is served in the green and leafy Refectory Restaurant where you could help yourself to hot food, pastries, toast plus a selection of yoghurt and fruits. 

The choice of cooked breakfast was really good and constantly being topped up so it didn't run out. 






We left the hotel by 11am using the express checkout box which is great if you have nothing outstanding to pay and you don't want to wait to speak to someone at reception.

I couldn't fault my visit to the hotel, my friend and I were provided with first class service in all areas of the hotel, I will be recommending it to friends and family on the decor and service alone, but the rooms were lovely and comfy too.

The hotel does have a gym and pool but we ran out of time to use all the facilities after a few cocktails. 

Kristina x

This was a gifted experience from the hotel in exchange for a honest review, all opinions are my own.

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15 April 2018

Lunch date at Middleton Lodge - Richmond, North Yorkshire

Last Saturday, I met my parents at the beautiful Middleton Lodge in the pouring April showers for a delicious lunch.




I first visited Middleton Lodge in January with my friend when she treated me to a calligraphy workshop for Christmas so I was dying to go back, I did plan to go for my birthday with my family but we were snowed in. 

It takes 30 mins from Durham to Scotch Corner where the Georgian Country Estate is only 2 minutes drive from the A1 Motorway. I reserved a table for The Coach House restaurant via the website. You may recognise this location from advertising campaigns with Barbour. 



We didn't plan a 3 course lunch, but we couldn't resist this amazing seasonal menu, we were spoilt for choice. 

For starter I ordered the Beetroot salad with whipped goats cheese and candied hazelnuts. The mixed colours of this vibrant salad with the soft cheese was so beautiful and really delicious. I would never think to add nuts to this dish and it really finished it off beautifully. This is the smaller portion, they do a larger one for a main course. 

My dad ordered the Crispy hen egg and my mum the Fish Cake in a watercress sauce.






For the main course I ordered the gnocchi with baby leaks, mushroom puree, crispy soft egg and parmesan. The gnocchi was delicious, crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. 

My parents both ordered the pork loin with potato dauphinoise on the side.






If we were honest we were pretty full by this point, but we weren't quite ready to leave, so we waited a little bit then ordered a couple of desserts to share. 

The pistachio baked alaska was absolutely delicious and we loved the rhubarb and crunchy gingerbread and ice cream. 




The setting and decor of the coach house restaurant was so nice and country chic. The man who served us throughout our visit was very welcoming and able to recommend and talk through dishes on the menu and even got my dad to change his dessert choice. He loves rhubarb and ginger!



I highly recommend visiting Middleton Lodge if you have a special occasion coming up or you fancy escaping to the country. There are many walks to take in that neck of the woods, just waiting for the better weather now. 

Can't wait to try their Sunday lunch menu.

Kristina x
This post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

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9 February 2018

Food | 3 amazing places in the UK to go for pizza!

What better way to celebrate National Pizza Day than to tell you about 3 amazing places in the UK to go for pizza and good news is....they all do take out! 

Whats your favourite topping? My go-to is mozzarella, tomato & basil! Bit like Kevin from Home Alone with his plain cheese pizza. 

Lets go on a Pizza Tour to - Newcastle, Glasgow and Guildford!



First stop is Central Slice & ShakerNewcastle a pizzeria cocktail bar which is 2 mins walk from the Central Train Station. It is my favourite in this post and the espresso cocktails are amazing! 

The bar and restaurant has a cool vibe and it's the perfect place for a dinner for 2 or to celebrate in a group. Prices for sourdough pizza start from £8 and many drinks are buy one get the same one free everyday.




Next stop is Paesano Pizza, Glasgow, I went to the West End branch on a Friday night. There is no booking here so you do need to go into the restaurant and put your name on the list on the day if you want to eat in, we had to wait 1 hour so we went to a local bar and popped back when it was time, it was worth the wait!



We decided to share 2 pizzas 50/50 (number 2 and number 5) plus a rocket salad as a side. With prices starting at £5 its hard to not get a little carried away. 

Eventhough it was pretty jammed in the restaurant, service was quick and pizzas came out after a few minutes. The volume of pizzas they were turning out for either people seated in the restaurant and sending out for takeaway was phenomenal! 

I wish it was my regular Friday night!



Last stop of the tour is Franco Manca, this is a popular pizza chain but only really available in the south of the UK, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try it out while in the area.

I went to the branch in Guildford with my friend, it was easy to find and located on a street home to every food type you could wish for. Decor was pretty simple and relaxed. I have heard that around Valentines they do heart shaped pizza, but there is no guarantees. 





You are not able to book a table but on a Tuesday night we got seated no problem.  We both ordered the number 2 pizza, but struggled to choose a drink as there was very limited choice of soft drinks. We chose the homemade lemonade but we didn't really love it. @Franco - please add diet coke to the menu!

The sourdough pizza was so light and fluffy which meant we even had room for dessert! 




We ordered the Tiramisu and the Chocolate & Hazelnut cake to share and and I had a Flat White coffee which was just perfect. The homemade Tiramisu was amazing and so light and yummy. It took me straight back to Tuscany, it was so authentic. 

Hope you enjoyed this pizza tour. Happy National Pizza Day!

What's your favourite place to grab pizza?

Kristina x

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