hotel review london
I love a bouji staycation and I’m very aware that turn of phrase makes me sound like an absolute trollop.

There’s just no way around it; hotels are to good times what good times are to a Lela. To date, the record of extraordinary days to days I’ve ended up face-planting into sheets someone else has mace is one-for-one. I back staycations for all occasions.

For my recent birthday, newly opened aparthotel The Chronicle had my name written all over it.

Though the building nestled just a street back from Chancery Lane (and, most importantly, a quick Uber to Shoreditch) it is unbelievably quiet and spacious. As parent company Supercity Aparthotels’ reputation might suggest – a veritable home away from home.

The Chronicle boasts 53 elegant apartments (five of which have private terraces) with comfort-minded living areas, beautiful bedrooms, original – and typically cheeky – art, luxe bathrooms, Kerridge-ready kitchens, and all associated amenities.

It was the perfect pad to fill up (and glam up) before a boozy birthday brunch with drag queens and an even better hangover hideaway.

In fact, the complimentary Sky TV package (including sports and movies) really helped with the latter.

Time to find something else to celebrate…



hotel review london
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nissan leaf road trip
One year ago I moved into a gated community brimming with electric car charging points.

Beforehand, I hadn’t given much thought to the EV explosion. As one in the majority of carless Londoners, I could offer you names of a handful of brands with electric cars to speak of and little more.

The points piqued my interest. Day in and day out, I would see normal-looking (hell, even nice-looking) cars plug in for a charge before silently slipping away.

As an eco-conscious woman with a penchant for the open road, I had to get involved.

In the end, I did so with the Nissan LEAF – Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle of 2018.

The decision was easy. I was taking a road trip from London to South Wales’ Brecon Beacons and the LEAF seemed to be the the most efficient choice to travel the 220+ miles electrically.

Before setting off, we plotted a route out on Zap Map (Nissan’s own website uses the app as a travel guide) to ensure the journey’s two hour-long breaks were at spots we could find electric charging points.

Though its impressive 200-some mile range may have got us there on a single charge we were faced with freezing temperatures, traffic and a need for bass-heavy road trip playlists – all of which drains the range.

(Planned pit stops are key to avoid range anxiety.)

Beyond that, we were as good as gone!

With bags loaded and push-button ‘engine’ revved, I began to notice the LEAF’s little luxuries. Everything in the car was smarter and slicker than expected; keyless entry, digital screens, parking cameras, bluetooth Bose audio, hands-free calling, et al. All working to make every second spent on the road enjoyable.

The LEAF is also, bizarrely, a lot of fun to drive. Silent, but deadly (if you will):

Its e-Pedal lets you accelerate, brake and come to a complete stop with a single pedal. Its Propilot (and Propilot Park) helps keep you centred, covers blind spots and even parks for you with the press of a button.

A heated steering wheel and seats don’t hurt, either.

By the time we reached Long Hare Barn we were looking up parking permit prices to support a longer-term investment.

The two-cottage site, Little Hare Barns, is part of Premier Cottages’ new collection of properties with EV Chargers which made it the perfect destination for our EV-centric trip.

The weekend was spent walking around the Beacons, cooking up a storm in the super-stocked kitchen, playing board games next to a roaring fire, making friends with locals in nearby pubs, and nursing our New Year’s hangovers in the cottage’s beautiful expanse.

We simply popped the LEAF on charge the night before we were due to drive back and motored home to the Big Smoke with ease.

I would do it all again in a heartbeat and couldn’t recommend this exact trip enough.

A week’s stay in Long Hare Barn for five starts from £592.50 and a three-night weekend from £474 (www.premiercottages.co.uk, 01873 811200)

nissan leaf road trip

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whisky blogger whiskey blogger
Without much thought or effort, I’ve become the go-to girl for whisky recommendations in my social circles. So much so I have had thirsty friends both savvy and curious beg me for a definitive whisky guide.

The trouble is, I fall in love with something new more often than I will ever get through a bottle. My partner and I’s personal collection alone is thirty-one bottles strong.

Nonetheless, I know my way around a whisky cabinet and feel that knowledge is worth a share. Lo and behold, my 2019 Whisky Wishlist: the best to gift, bring, quaff and mix.

Tumblers at the ready…
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pink suit
Just another demure look from y’ girl today.

When I pulled this pink power suit out of its box, both my partner and I genuinely squealed. Him, potentially to guard his eyes. But I bloody love it.

The company who sent it, Opposuits, specialise in slim fit pencil skirt suits in designs you just don’t find anywhere else. For the bold, you can wear everything from an American flag to a flock of flamingoes. Less daring? You have a considerable number of colour blocks to choose from.

My eyes are on Pac-Man, in particular.

What I Wore:
Ms Pink from Opposuits
Rose gold MacBook of dreams
Pink heart sunglasses
Thigh high black boots

pink suit
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marcos new york italian
Somewhere between dining at Marco Pierre White’s Marco’s New York Italian and sitting down to write this review, my memory card got well and truly corrupted.

I spent more than a few days trying to repair the little square’s wrongs, to no avail, before I released my growing indignation wasn’t very, well, Marco of me. And everyone could stand to be a little more Marco.

Pierre White is, and will always be, the enfant terrible of celebrity chefs. I knew it the second my bored teenage curiosity sat me in front of a copy of White Heat, I knew it the fateful day I somehow shared a kitchen with the man, and I – unexpectedly – knew it when I left his new Milton Keynes restaurant impressed.

Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting much. The shiny-but-simple New York Italian is attached to the Holiday Inn Milton Keynes and, if experience has taught me anything, I know to keep most hotel-connected restaurant expectations to a minimum.

As the fact that I’m even blogging this might suggest, I had to surrender my caution almost as soon as I sat down. The staff were lovely. The food was lovely. The drinks were l- well, actually…the drinks deserve an adjective of their own.

Marco’s new menu is Pierre White done unobtrusively; classic American starters, mains and desserts dusted with Italian flavour and flair. Affordably. It fits the perfect hole that Bardolino, Mr. White’s, Wheeler’s of St James, Koffman and Mr White’s and his eponymous steakhouse had yet to fill in the chef’s portfolio.

We started with as-you’d-expect calamari fritto misto (with salsa-ed mayo) and buffalo wings before being blown away by the surf ‘n’ turf – a rare 10oz ribeye, New Orleans blackened shrimps in garlic and rosemary butter, with some subbed-in sweet potato fries.

The dish – and the bloody behemoth wine list – was incredible. We took our time with the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico throughout the meal – an incredibly elegant and rich Venetian made for red meat. Though it wasn’t a two-bottle sort of night, the Waipara Hills Sauvignon Blanc, – one of my favourite Kiwi wines – stood out as another unexpectedly fantastic option.

It’s not a restaurant I’m going to travel to Milton Keynes for, but it is absolutely a restaurant I’m going to want to visit when I’m in Milton Keynes. It’s an experience that sent my eyebrows up to the high heavens in an oblivious candid. And that counts for something.

* A decade later, it would be described as “the most influential recipe book of the last 20 years” by my equally-beloved Jay Rayner.