Category Archives: Travel

Home Again

Fashion travel blogger Stephanie of FAIIINT laying in tree silhouette looking over beach and crystal clear blue ocean at Lading Island Hong Islands Thailand.

It’s been a crazy month packed full of adventures since we last spoke, and I’m so excited to finally share them all with you. Since I started this blog 5 years ago this has been the longest break I have ever taken, and although I can’t wait to get stuck back in, I was definitely in need of the break!

It was so nice to unplug for a while and I feel like it’s done me a lot of good to be a bit disconnected. I’m going to try to keep this up on a smaller scale now that I’m home too, with mini breaks here and there. I don’t think you truly realise just how much time you mindlessly spend online until you can’t even refresh Instagram unless you can find free WiFi and you find yourself getting a little twitchy!

There are so many photos to sort through and things I can’t wait to tell you all about! I’ll be spreading the travel posts out, so that hopefully it’ll be a nice mixture of travel and the usual outfits and fashion related stuff you’ve come to expect.

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A weekend in Bristol

Bristol harbour landscape. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. Bristol harbour landscape Bristol harbour girls getting ice cream cones from ice cream truck. Bristol bridge landscape. Girls taking instagram photo of ice cream. Bristol bridge landscape. Bristol harbour landscape Bristol harbour landscape boats. Bristol Upfest street art festival. Mural on building. Bristol Upfest street art festival. Artist painting large mural on building. Bristol upfest street art festival. Aryz wolf boy. Bristol Upfest street art festival. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. Lobby. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. Lounge area. The Doyle Collection The Bristol harbourside hotel. Breakfast, dining and lounge area. Bristol harbour landscape boats.

With September fast approaching, it was time to schedule in Jade‘s final wedding dress fitting and make any last minute adjustments to the design before I started on the real deal. We had so much fun when we all went down to London for her first fitting, so we thought we’d go over to Bristol this time, and let Tara show us around her city.

This was my first visit to Bristol and I was super excited for the excuse to explore a new place, especially one I’d heard so many great things about, and with such a vibrant street art scene too. After a scenic coach ride through the pretty south western countryside, I met Tara at the station and we made our way over to check in to our room for the night.

We were booked in at the beautiful The Bristol right by the harbourside, and it couldn’t have been a more perfect base for us. Just a short walk from the station and located within the city centre, it was on the doorstep of everywhere that Tara wanted to show us around. We excitedly made our way up to our 5th floor room and were greeted with a gorgeous, bright and airy room with it’s own little lounge area and beautiful views across the harbour. Filled with natural light from the large windows and spacious enough for our little group to gather around as I finished fitting the dress, it was the ideal setting for this important moment. The room was so much bigger than we expected too, and with so many nice little extras, from the Nespresso coffee machine to the robes and Temple Spa toiletries, it felt like a real treat to be staying here.

After Jade’s dress fitting (sorry, no sneak peek photos allowed!) we headed out to explore Bristol and check out Upfest, which I was incredibly excited to see was on at the same weekend we were there. Our first stop was of course the harbour. It was the perfect hot, summery day and there really is nothing like being besides the water with an ice cream in hand on days like this. If I lived here, I think I’d be doing this every time the sun came out! We made a stop at Bagel Boy for a quick lunch, and then wandered around the streets watching as artists from all over Europe painted large murals across Bristol’s buildings as part of Upfest. I love how Bristol has really embraced street art, seeing these incredible pieces everywhere you look gives the whole city such a cool, creative vibe. It’s transformed so many of the dull, grey buildings into things worth stopping to look at, and I did, I spent so much of my time looking up.

We spent the night checking out Bristol’s nightlife for Jade’s impromptu hen party, before ending up back at our hotel with a pizza and talking about boys for hours like a couple of teenagers! Despite the many cocktails we’d drank, we both had the best nights sleep and woke up feeling fresh and ready for breakfast. Tara came by and met us in the lobby so we could all eat and spend a last couple of hours together before we left. I always joke that breakfast is my favourite thing about staying in a hotel, and I was definitely not disappointed here. A full selection of hot breakfast, including the most delicious vegetarian sausages I’ve ever tasted, plus bread, pastries, cereals, fruit and my favourite – a pancake machine! Push a button and a minute or so later, two fresh pancakes pop out! As we ate and talked about the night before, we listened to a live pianist playing soft jazz by the hotel bar and filled ourselves with tea and coffee ready to head back home.

We had the loveliest mini weekend in Bristol, and our stay at The Bristol was the icing on the cake. Both the hotel and our room were beautiful, and had everything we could have wanted, plus plenty of nice little extra touches too. I’m already excited to go back and explore a little more of this vibrant and creative city.

We were guests of The Bristol for this stay. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

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The Roof Gardens

The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. Flamingos. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. The Roof Gardens Kensington London. Flamingos.

Last month I spent a warm Thursday evening nestled within a lush tropical roof garden 100ft above Kensington Highstreet, sipping wine and watching the sun go down with one of my best friends.

We’d been invited along to the Watchpro Hot 100 party, which was once again being held at the breathtaking The Roof Gardens. When we visited for the first time for last year’s awards, we were both blown away with how beautiful and tranquil the whole place felt. A truly impressive feat when you realise you’re right within the heart of London, with all of the hustle and bustle still going on down below. With our holidays and some real sunshine still months away, we couldn’t wait to go back and pretend we were sitting on a terrace in the Mediterranean for just one night.

After mingling with the other guests and trying all of the delicious canapés, we headed inside to hear the nominees announced. Some of the biggest names in the watch world were present, and it was nice to learn of a couple of brands and stores that were completely new to me too.

The gardens are split into three distinct areas, each with it’s own theme and feel. After soaking up the last of the sun in the Spanish Garden we went for a wander to explore the other areas. Walking through stone archways strung with fairy lights and emerging into the English Woodland, complete with striped deckchairs, croquet and flamingos, feels like you’ve stumbled into your own secret Wonderland. It’s a truly beautiful space and it was the perfect way to wind down after a busy start to both of our weeks.

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Citizen M Glasgow

Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Room with iPad control. Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Room and Sink Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Room with Rainfall Shower. Citizen M Hotel Glasgow room Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Canteen Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Canteen Breakfast Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Canteen hot breakfast food Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Canteen Breakfast Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Canteen Breakfast Citizen M Hotel Glasgow Citizen M Hotel Glasgow lounge area seating Citizen M Hotel Glasgow lounge area chairs Citizen M Hotel Glasgow lounge lobby room Citizen M Hotel Glasgow lounge area Citizen M Hotel Glasgow lobby display Citizen M Hotel Glasgow room at night with mood lighting iPad control Citizen M Hotel Glasgow room at night with mood lighting

As part of our stay in Glasgow we were put up in the wonderfully quirky Citizen M hotel, and as soon as me and Tara walked through the doors we knew that this place would need it’s own post. Every corner is full of interesting little features and design details, with sprawling open lounge areas instead of a lobby and ultramodern pod-like rooms, it’s definitely not like any budget hotel I’ve ever stayed in before.

All of the rooms at Citizen M are identical, with a huge super comfy king sized bed, wall to wall window with blackout blinds, rain shower pod and a large TV with free movies and WiFi. They are clean, compact and basic, but with plenty of unique little touches. My favourite thing was the iPad control, which controlled everything in the room from the temperature, to the blinds, lighting, TV, alarm and the colour of the mood lighting. We didn’t arrive until late in the evening, but I spent about an hour gleefully playing with all the controls before I could go to sleep! It was such a fun little novelty and really added to the futuristic feel of the capsule-like room. The one thing missing though was a kettle, the first thing me and Tara said to each other after checking out our rooms was “Where’s the kettle?!” – a big deal for tea addicts like us! Thankfully the canteen is open 24 hours, so we were able to go down to get ourselves a cuppa whenever, but I still would have prefered the convenience of just being able to make myself one in my room.

Throughout the ground and first floors are the coolest open plan lounge areas, designed to feel like an inviting and homely living room instead of a lobby, so you don’t feel like you have to spend all your down time in your room. They are so beautifully designed and filled with interesting furniture and decorations, perfect for relaxing, working or grabbing a bite to eat. The canteen on the first floor is fully stocked with drinks and snacks 24 hours, so you can pop down to grab something at any hour, plus there’s fresh and hot food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a bar open until 2am. We were only around in the mornings for breakfast, but if breakfast was anything to go by, I’m pretty sad we didn’t get to try lunch or dinner. We had freshly brewed tea and coffee with hot Scottish breakfast (scrambled eggs, potato scone, tomatoes and toast for me) followed by warm flaky pastries, toasted waffles with jam, honey and Nutella, porridge and fresh juice. I’m glad Tara’s also a big breakfast person, on both mornings we got up early and gave ourselves a good hour to fully enjoy everything (stuff ourselves!) before we had to meet the others, and it was so worth it.

As we were leaving we both said how much we enjoyed our stay here, the rooms were comfortable and quirky, the staff were all super friendly and helpful, we slept well, were fed well and had everything we could need, plus it was so nice to stay somewhere that was a little more than just somewhere to rest your head. I would highly recommend Citizen M if you’re planning a stay in Glasgow and I would love to try out some of their other locations too. Prices start at £69 for a room, which I think is incredibly reasonable and if you sign up to become a ‘Citizen’ you’ll always get the best rate plus some nice little extras too.

I was a guest of Citizen M for this stay. As always, all opinions are honest and my own.

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Glasgow : Day 2

FAIIINT Glasgow architecture side street with neon signs mackintosh FAIIINT Glasgow architecture and buildings. FAIIINT Glasgow architecture and buildings. FAIIINT Glasgow architecture street and buildings

Feeling a little worse for wear after last nights Scottish Style Awards we were up bright and early for our second day in Glasgow. We all met in the cafeteria for a long breakfast, once again making the most of fry up, pastries and plenty of coffee to ease our hangovers, before meeting Fiona in the lobby for another packed day.

Our day started off with a walking tour exploring Glasgow’s distinct architecture, from it’s Victorian influences to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s innovative designs and the output of his contemporaries working in the Glasgow Style of Art Nouveau. Our wonderful guides from the Glasgow School of Art were incredibly knowledgeable, showing us around all the key buildings, telling us their history, significance and plenty of interesting little bits of information about them and the city too. One of the things I loved most as we were walking around was the blend of old and new, beautiful Victorian buildings sitting right beside more modern, glass and metal structures so harmoniously it was as if it had always been like this. I really enjoyed this opportunity to have a proper look around and look up and take notice of things I would have otherwise walked straight past without any idea of their importance and I’d highly recommend booking a tour if you’re visiting the city.

After a brief stop for a cup of tea, our original plan had been to go see Iona Crawford at her studio, which I was super excited for as I loved her ‘Lilly’s Leaf’ and ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ collections. Sadly she ended up having to cancel due to unfortunate circumstances and so instead Fiona arranged for us to go along to the Cambridge Satchel Company’s Glasgow store to check out their exclusive Scottish pieces.

 

Cambridge Satchel Company…

FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company bags and trunk. Navy blue, black, oxblood red. FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company exclusive Scottish Harris Tweed bags. Oxblood red and grey. FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company cloud scalloped edge small bags. Plum, pale blue, Black. FAIIINT Glasgow Cambridge Satchel Company embossing monogram machine. Plum luggage tag with gold embossed star cluster print.

I’m sure most of you know all about the Cambridge Satchel Company by now, they’ve become pretty iconic especially amongst the blogging community and it always makes me happy to see brands like this that have gone from being sewn in home studios to now having stand alone stores, and this is their first outside of England. It’s home to their Harris Tweed collection which is available exclusively from this store, fusing classic English design with traditional Scottish fabrics.

They also had lots of their new styles and colourways on show for us to coo over, my favourite has to be this deep plum colour and I loved the new scalloped edge ‘cloud’ bags too. There’s also an embossing machine in store, so that you can have your purchases monogrammed while you wait, it only takes a few minutes and really makes your purchase feel that extra bit special, it would be perfect for gifts. We were treated to a luggage tag with our choice of embossing to show us how it worked, the other girls went with initials, blog names and hashtags, but as soon as I saw the star stamp I knew I was going to have to get that and I love the way it came out.

 

Adventure Everywhere with Trakke…

FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio, sewing machines. FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio, sewing machines. FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio. Wee Lug and Bairn waxed cotton and Harris Tweed messenger bags with Timorous Beasties thistle print. FAIIINT Trakke Glasgow studio. Krukke backpack bag in grey herringbone Harris Tweed and red check.

Housed at SWG3 in Glasgow’s West End is Trakke, a small team of people who are truly passionate about their brand and it’s ethos. They create timeless, functional bags for the everyday adventurer, whether that’s hiking, biking or just navigating the urban jungle. Their products are handmade in Britain from British materials and are made to last, these are pieces that only get better with age, telling the story of their adventures and developing a character all of their own.

My personal favourites were the Wee Lug in classic waxed black cotton, the Krukke in beautiful grey herringbone Harris Tweed and the smaller, limited edition Bairn messenger featuring a gorgeous Timorous Beasties thistle print. They’ve really hit it out of the park in creating pieces which you’ll want to cherish forever, beautifully and simply designed to give them a timeless edge but with great little details that give them their own signature too, plus they are truly functional with plenty of pockets, durable buckles and fastenings, hard wearing materials and roomy enough to carry everything you’d need.

 

Champagne Sundays at The Gannet…

FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Beetroot salad. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Black pudding scotch duck egg. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Bread basket. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Farfalle pasta with mushrooms and egg. FAIIINT The Gannet Glasgow Champagne Sundays. Meringue with berries and salted caramel fondant with tonka bean ice cream.

Our last stop before saying goodbye to Glasgow and catching our flights back home was The Gannet to sample their Champagne Sundays menu. I’m not sure if we were just lucky enough to be taken to two exceptional places to eat, or if Glasgow actually has some of the best food around, but I haven’t enjoyed eating out this much in ages.

The Gannet focuses on fine dining without the faff and on celebrating the best of Scottish produce with all ingredients coming directly from sustainable sources. Set in a beautiful grade II listed tenement building the atmosphere is casual and relaxed, we enjoyed sipping on champagne and tucking into some of the most delicious fresh bread (seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!) whilst we chatted about all of the things we’d gotten upto over the past 2 days. The menu was short and sweet, with one vegetarian option for each course I didn’t really need to choose but I was pleased to see they were interesting dishes, so no complaints here. I went with a beetroot salad (isn’t that just the prettiest salad you ever saw?) for starter, followed by farfalle with mushrooms and egg and finishing up with the most incredible melt in the middle salted caramel fondant and tonka bean ice cream. The others had scallops, pig’s head croquette, scotch beef, pan fried cod and black pudding scotch duck eggs, and all said how great and beautifully cooked everything was too. I love this type of food, it’s unfussy, warm and comforting and so perfect for this time of the year.

After the perfect way to end the day, we hugged Fiona goodbye thanking her for showing us around and headed back to the hotel to catch our taxis to the airport. I had the best time, falling a little in love with Glasgow in the process and I genuinely can’t wait to go back to explore this city a little more. It’s made me realise that I really do need to visit more of the UK, we have such a lot of amazing places here and they’re right on my doorstep, so there’s just no excuse.

Huge thanks again to Fiona, Erin and the People Make Glasgow team for a wonderful weekend. If you’d like further information on booking a trip to Glasgow visit www.peoplemakeglasgow.com.

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