Category Archives: Travel

48 Hours in Bangkok

Bangkok Thailand city skyline with skyscrapers at night from the top of Zoom rooftop sky bar.

When we finally landed in Bangkok over 17 hours late, exhausted and minus one missing suitcase, all we could think about was crawling into bed. Our original plan had been to arrive on New Years Eve at 6pm, throw our things into our room and head straight out to celebrate. Instead, we ended up spending the first few moments of 2017 queuing to board our flight from Beijing after a sleepless night. As if that wasn’t enough bad luck for one holiday, once we finally arrived in Bangkok we then found that Nat’s suitcase had gone missing! After a teary chat at the lost baggage desk we had no choice but to head to the hotel and hope that they might call us.

We pulled up to the hotel just after 6am, and as we finally sat our weary bodies down on the bed in our room, we were greeted with a beautiful hazy sunrise over the city from our balcony window. After a huge breakfast, many cups of coffee and a much needed shower, we were about to set off to a mall to buy Nat some clothes and toiletries, when we got the news that the case might have been found! Resting our hopes on this, we spent the day lazing around the pool, napping and nervously waiting. Thankfully, by that evening the suitcase had been found and was on its way to the hotel. Things were starting to look up, and so we decided that to make up for the two days that had been lost, we were going to make the most of the 48 hours we had left.

If I’m being completely honest, Bangkok was the place I was least looking forward to visiting on our trip. I’d heard such mixed things from others who I’d spoken to, and many said it was dirty, horribly humid, far too busy and that they couldn’t wait to leave. We went with the lowest of expectations, but both came away saying how much we’d enjoyed it. Yes it was busy, yes it was a little dirty, but there was also so much to see and do. We could have happily spent many more nights here, and I would definitely recommend visiting.

With only two days left, we had to cut a lot of the things that were on our list of must sees. We didn’t get to party on Khao San Road, we missed the floating markets and we didn’t get chance to visit some of the smaller temples. However, the things we did do gave us a really good taste of Bangkok and the variety of sights and experiences it has to offer.

 

Take a ferry down the Chao Phraya River

Bangkok Thailand dock pier on the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok Thailand Chao Phraya River riverfront apartments and balconies with colourful washing hanging up. Bangkok Thailand Buddhist monk in sunglasses standing on the dock on the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok Thailand Chao Phraya River ferry, brightly coloured wooden riverside homes on the water. Bangkok Thailand boats Khlongs on the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok Thailand wooden house on the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok Thailand little boy looking out onto the Chao Phraya River from the ferry boat.

This was very much a happy accident, but something I would really recommend, especially if you’re short on time like we were. After a morning of walking around we found ourselves near to a ferry port and thought we’d fit in a little ride on the river to take us a few stops down to Chinatown to get lunch. It was another thing we could tick off that we’d done, and we’d get to where we were going quicker too, perfect! We were a little confused by the map, but decided to get the orange ferry instead of one of the more comfortable looking tourist boats. We brought our tickets (25p!) and piled on, along with what seemed to be far too many other people. After around 5 stops though, it suddenly dawned on us that we were going in the opposite direction to where we wanted to go!

Nat persuaded me that we may as well stay on now and just get off at the stop we wanted on the way back down. I have to admit, I wasn’t very keen on this idea at first. I just wanted to get lunch and explore as much as possible, I didn’t want to be sat on a boat for an hour! We stayed on and rode all the way to the top until Pak Kret Pier, then made our way back down finally getting off at the correct stop around an hour and a half or so later. It turns out it was actually an excellent way to see a lot of the city in a very short space of time. We went past temples, monuments, cute little restaurants, riverside homes and got to people watch to our hearts content as people went about their everyday lives.

 

Explore the neighbourhood

Bangkok Thailand Chinatown city streets with motorbikes, engines, spare parts and machinery. Bangkok Thailand Chinatown view of the Chao Phraya River from river front restaurant. Bangkok Thailand Chinatown city streets with street sign. Bangkok Thailand Chinatown city streets. Bangkok Thailand food. Curry, rice, papaya salad. Bangkok Thailand view of Wat Arun and tourist boat on the Chao Phraya River.

Sometimes it’s nicest just to have a wander around when you’re in a new city. It’s the best way to get a feel for a place and you’ll always uncover some hidden gems you’d never have otherwise come across.

On our last night, we stumbled upon the Bitter Deck after getting the ferry back across the river from Wat Arun. It has a wonderful wooden deck, decorated with fairy lights and the most beautiful views of Wat Arun. Sadly the Wat was undergoing renovations, so we didn’t get to see it all lit up, but it was still a pretty magical sight. The food and service was incredible too, everything was so full of flavour and our waiter went out of his way to make one of the dishes vegetarian for me. It was one of the nicest meals we had in Bangkok, and that’s saying something, as everything we ate in Thailand was delicious!

 

See the temples

Bangkok Thailand temples, The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. Bangkok Thailand temples, The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew.

You can’t come to Bangkok and not visit at least one of the city’s spectacular temples. Seriously. There were originally a few smaller and less touristy temples on our list alongside the big ones, but with our limited time we thought it made most sense to see the main three – The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. I was prepared to be awed, but honestly they were even more grand than I could have ever imagined. The beautiful architecture, glittering gold and intricate detailing decorating every square inch completely took my breath away.

If you can only fit one in, I’d recommend The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, both are within the same complex. We did this one first and it remained our favourite of the three, even despite it also being the busiest.

You can see more of the temples in my Temples of Bangkok post. They really deserved their own post, and I took far too many photos to include here!

 

Jump in a Tuk Tuk

Bangkok Thailand Tuk Tuk traffic.

Tuk Tuks are one of the quickest and easiest ways to get around in Thailand and they’re rediculously good fun too, especially in Bangkok’s crazy traffic! They can be a little more expensive than a standard taxi, especially if you don’t haggle with them over the price, but there’s nothing like zooming through Bangkok’s busy streets in the back of one.

 

Watch Muay Thai at Rajadamnern Stadium

Bangkok Thailand Muay Thai fight in the ring at Rajadamnern Stadium. Bangkok Thailand Muay Thai fight knock down in the ring at Rajadamnern Stadium.

This is going to be the kind of thing you either love or hate, but for us it was something we were definitely not going to miss whilst we were here. We saw many ‘fight nights’ advertised, but we wanted to make sure we saw the real thing and not a staged show so we headed to Rajadamnern Stadium. It’s one of the two main stadiums for modern Muay Thai and it hosts fights four nights a week, running Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 6pm.

Each night there are 9 fights, with a mixture of relative beginners and seasoned pros competing. The atmosphere was electric, a live band played rhythmic traditional Thai music throughout the matches to help the fighters keep their rhythm and the crowd shouted and cheered with almost every hit.

I won’t lie, it was brutal, especially the matches with guys in the heavier weights. Blood and sweat were flying, and we saw one guy knocked clean out by a kick to the chest who had to be stretchered out of the ring. Of course, Muay Thai is about much more than just this though. Many of these fighters have spent years honing their craft, perfecting their physical skills as well as sharpening their minds. Winning is as much about tactics as it is about physical strength. It was one of my highlights of the whole trip.

My biggest tip if you want to catch a few matches yourself – Don’t pay extra for the ‘VIP front row’ seats, even if the ticket sellers try to tell you it’s the only tier with seating. It’s not. The view is better from the 2nd tier, as you’re not looking up at the ring and it’s much cheaper too.

 

Take in the skyline from a rooftop bar

Bangkok Thailand city skyline with skyscrapers at night from the top of Zoom rooftop sky bar.

We were lucky enough to be staying at a hotel with its own sky bar, Zoom, so this was a no-brainer. The panoramic views of the city at night were spectacular, and there’s nothing like drinking an ice cold beer with a view.

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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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