Travel Blog: Anthem of The Seas – Cruise Review

Before last weekend, my presumptive ideas of cruises fell into two categories: the fatal (thanks, Titanic) and the criminally decadent (thanks, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes).

I had never been on a cruise ship. Then I was invited to the pre-inaugural sail of Royal Caribbean’s brand new supership, Anthem of the Seas.

Sail big or sail home, right?

Accepting said invitation (obviously), I roped The Manfriend in and hauled us down to Southampton for a whirlwind weekend of oceanic exploration.

Anthem is the middle child of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class cruise ships (Quantum of the Seas launched November 2014 and Ovation of the Seas will debut mid-2016) and the third largest cruise ship in the world.

Driving up, it was quite literally so enormous our driver started breaking to turn around and gasp, “THAT’S a cruise ship?!”.

In theory, yes, Anthem of The Seas is a cruise ship, but it exceeds all expectations. Even for a woman half expecting to see Marilyn Monroe wandering around chasing millionaires.

Beloved blog readers, settle in for a long one…

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ClassPass: The Coolest Approach To A Hot Body

This is going to sound a little infomercial-y. A little ‘this post is proudly supported by…’. For your own sake, I must assure this this is no sponsored endorsement – I have simply fallen in lust with ClassPass.

When it comes to fitness, I have to be enjoying some aspect of my routine to stick to it. If I run? I make a kickass playlist to go along. If I gym? I create orchestrated plans and dance from machine to machine.

If I do a fitness class? I ClassPass.

The fitness site (and app) launched in London just over a month ago after gaining mass hype in the US and it took only one Hot Vinyasa session at Lumi Power Yoga to become addicted. Long story short, a ClassPass membership gives you unlimited access to the best fitness classes in London.

It is as easy as a tailored search – days, times, areas, class types (yoga, pilates, strength training, cycling, dance) – and a one-click ‘book’! It gives you the perfect opportunity to trial new studios, challenge yourself, keep things interesting, and fit everything from boot camps to pole dancing into a very busy schedule.

Want to give ClassPass a go? Click here!

In Review: Alexander McQueen Afternoon Tea at The Kensington Hotel

alexander mcqueen afternoon tea
It was deja vu all over again.

Booked in for The Kensington Hotel’s ‘Fashion Forward’ Alexander McQueen afternoon tea on intrigued designer fandom alone, I got goosebumps as soon as Google Maps landed me at the hotel’s doorsteps.

This was the place I fell in love with afternoon tea.

It was many years ago. It was the scone quality I still base all scones on. It was the name of a hotel I hadn’t yet trained myself to make notes on.

My favourite afternoon tea and my favourite designer in one collaborative package? Intrigue turned into hysterical excitement faster than I could stutter “You will never believe this…” to my bemused guest.

Taken through the wonderfully familiar and decadent rooms of The Kensington, we were seated in the tea’s dedicated chambers and poured a pot of fresh mint tea and glass of bubbly in succession.

I’m not going to hold back, kids. This was the best afternoon tea of my life.

In addition to a selection of fresh, crustless finger sandwiches, the specialist savouries took over a tier of their own: a moreish Dorset crab and artichoke cocktail,
a surprisingly light foie gras cornet with mango, and a gold quails eggs with celery salt and mustard cress.

But the McQueen-esque innovation didn’t stop at savouries. After taking a little longer than acceptable to swoon over the homemade scones (perfect – just as I remembered), we licked our clotted creams dry and moved to the top tier.

This section was heaving with carefully considered sweets; buttermilk pannacotta with raspberry, a marzipan sable, a raspberry & red pepper macaron, a cherry Genoese skull clutch, and the big kahuna – a red velvet & rose water cake inspired by McQueen’s A/W 2008 collaboration with Philip Treacy. Edible butterflies and all.

There is no way I’m losing track of this hotel again.

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alexander mcqueen afternoon tea
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In Review: Duck and Dry, London

duck and dry london
As small luxuries go, nothing beats a blow dry. Especially when your schedule barely leaves time for a morning shower and you’re still trying to figure out the long-hair-to-short-hair styling changes.

Thankfully, I’ve stumbled across Chelsea’s beautiful little hair haven, Duck and Dry.

Launched only a few months ago, the powder blue boutique is home to a new-age hair salon with a twist. Instead of cuts and colours, Duck and Dry specialises in blowdries, updos, and the social aspect of being preened to perfection.

Yulia Rorstrom – Duck and Dry’s gorgeous brainchild – is so passionate about the idea of glamorous accessibility that she walked away from a successful career in finance to launch the brand.

The passion shows. From the second you walk in to the salon, you feel the difference; Prosecco glasses clinking, women curled up in their seats chatting to friends while flicking through catalogues of hair styles…it is not a normal hair salon.

For my first visit, I wanted to give them a challenge: two styles in one. Loving the look of both ‘Low Tide Waves’ and ‘Grecian Chic’, I requested a tailored half-up half-down hairdo and was given exactly that – a hair magazine-worthy look that lasted me all of three days.

This lazy-tressed woman is a total convert.

duck and dry london
duck and dry london
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