Weekend Stay at Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall is located in central London, thus making it a really prime location especially for the tourists or those planning a short getaway. Their suites equipped with kitchens makes longer stays for guests even more convenient. The apartment style accommodation is in a quiet location, yet near the Vauxhall bus and tube station allowing the guests an easy access to public transportation. One of those relatively free weekends, I decided to have some family time in London, and chose to stay at the Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall. 

On arrival, we had a really smooth check-in and it was a pleasant surprise to see my name as the 'guest of the day!' This was the first time I've seen such an initiative by the hotel's management and it was a proud moment for me. Inside our suite, personal touches like a welcome card on behalf of the General Manager made us feel very special and the welcome basket with treats and a balloon for BabyN’ got him really excited! The first impression of the hotel was incredible and it was the perfect start of the weekend. 

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

The 24 hour convenience store located inside the hotel, at the front desk is called The Pantry and it stocks a great selection of food and drinks. So the guests have the option of purchasing anything at any time, without having to leave the hotel. 

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

The kitchen in our suite was fully equipped with a room-fridge, toaster, dishwasher, hob with two plates and a combination oven which can also be used as a microwave to heat food. Besides that, the kitchen also has plates, cups, glasses, cooking utensils such as pots and frying pan. In addition they’ve also got cutlery, pizza cutter, tin opener, peeler, tongs, bottle opener, gloves and sieve - so basically everything that one might need for a comfortable stay. Don't fancy cooking? You can always use some suggestions from Staybridge and get food delivered straight to your suite.  

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

While in the suite, the guests can utilize entertainment options including a flat screen offered with five terrestrial channels, including digital services, movies, radio and music channels. The Smart TV provides access to internet as well allowing connection to various apps or general browsing. We had one TV in the bedroom and another in the living area which was a nice privilege as the two boys in the family haven't still found a common favorite to watch.

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Although free access to WiFi is provided to hotel guests, there’s also an access point in case your laptop needs to be connected with a cable and our suite also had a telephone which we could use for internet and external calls. We always carry our essentials when traveling, but in case someone forgets their mobile charger, then it can be borrowed from the reception. 

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Notice board in the suite, has instructions of using the electrical appliances, and the details of events in the area, Every Wednesday, the guests can meet the other hotel guests by joining the family style table for breakfast or meet for snacks and drinks in the evening. The plush armchairs and over sized sofas are great for enjoying a show on the giant flat screen TV in the lounge downstairs. The Den is a quiet area for guests to relax, watch a movie, read a book or play board games. Other amenities include a spacious fitness room, great for a workout and a laundry room providing free laundry services, which is a fantastic option for the guests opting to stay for longer periods. For those travelling by car, there are a few parking areas nearby, just ask the hotel and they’ll provide the map. We could easily find a free parking spot nearby as it was a Sunday and a bank holiday the next day. 
Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Hot breakfast buffet is served in an informal setting every morning from 6:30 am - 9:30 am on weekdays and from 7:30 am - 10:30 am on weekends and bank holidays. The breakfast included both hot and cold items such as poached eggs, a vegetarian option, mushrooms, beans and non-veg items. The breakfast bar also serves a variety of cereal, teas and coffee, fruits, yogurt, bread and cheese to name a few. 

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall has a prime location as most of the popular tourist attractions of London are quite near the hotel and are almost walkable. The Westminster Abbey being 1.3 miles, the Big Ben is 1.4 miles while the Covent Garden is 2.3 miles and the St Paul's Cathedral is 3 miles from the hotel. There are also many other tourist attractions near the Big Ben, that the visitors can see when they’re in the area. However, if you prefer you can also take public transport or car like we did but finding a nearby parking spot might be a little difficult so it’s better to either walk or take public transport. Generally, parking is available and is free on bank holiday weekends and on Sundays so that can also be a good option to plan a visit to central London. 

Since we’ve already seen most of the popular London attractions several times already, we spent a few hours at the lively Covent Garden, as it’s great for shopping or for stopping for a quick bite, and the visitors can also enjoy the performances of the street artists.  Very near to the Covent Garden is the St. Paul’s Cathedral, the place where Princess Diana of Wales got married to Prince Charles. The area also has some theaters, so if of interest you can choose any of from The Lyceum theater, Duchess Theater, Adelphi Theater or the Vaudeville Theater among some others. After spending the afternoon in Covent Garden, we headed to a Latin American themed restaurant for dinner before going back to the hotel for rest. 

Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

To help visitors make the most of London, Staybridge Suites London – Vauxhall offers guests a two-night ‘Staybridge Weekend’ package that combines the flexibility of home with classic hotel services. Prices start from £350 (£175 per person), based on two people sharing a spacious suite, and includes breakfast, use of the on-site gym and free WiFi. We had a great stay at the hotel, and would definitely recommend it. To find out more or to book the ‘Staybridge Weekend’ break, visit their website or give them a call (details shared below). 

Important Information - Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 12:00 am
Parking: Street parking available at Glasshouse Walk or NCP car park
Breakfast: Buffet styled, English breakfast
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, iron, kettle, coffee machine, complimentary toiletries & tea/coffee facility provided
Other facilities: Gym, laundry services 
Location: 100 Vauxhall Walk London, SE11 5EL United Kingdom
Telephone: 44-207-5824688
Website: https://bit.ly/2v5Ftmo

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Easter Sunday Dinner at Las Iguanas - London, UK

 Las Iguanas London

We had our Easter Sunday dinner at Las Iguanas, a Latin American themed casual dining restaurant chain that serves Brazilian, Spanish & Mexican food and has 54 restaurants all over the UK. We stopped by at their Brunswick Square restaurant in London at 6:30 pm and easily found a nearby parking spot. Since it was a bank holiday evening, the streets were quite empty and parking was free too. However, I believe street parking is also free after 6:30 pm even on regular days. It is also close to the Russell Square tube station, thus making it convenient for everyone to enjoy the food. 

Las Iguanas was founded in 1991 when it opened it's first restaurant in Bristol before expanding to the other big cities in the UK - Bath, Manchester, London and Edinburgh. The menu includes Latin American classics such as Nachos, Burritos, Xinxim, Fajitas and a range of tapas with other dishes such as burgers and steaks alongside a legendary cocktail menu. 

Pina Colada Las Iguanas London

The lamb, chicken and duck at Las Iguanas restaurants are Halal, and they also have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options for the diners. We tried their two course Nightlife menu (£14.95 for starter and main) served Sunday to Thursday 6:30 pm onward. We also decided to order another starter from their al-a-carte menu. Las Iguanas also currently has a buy 1 get one free offer on the cocktails, so the diners can get two same cocktails for the price of one. I really like Virgin Pina Colada (£4.95), and luckily it was in the menu so I ordered it without any second thoughts. For the starters, we ordered Pato Taquito and Albondigas. 

Chicken Wings Las Iguanas

The chicken wings (4 for £6.60) are served with a choice of sauces that include three options and we opted for the honey peri peri sauce. The freshly cooked tender chicken wings served with the sticky and syrupy sauce were delectable. 

Our other two starters were Pato Taquito and Albondigas and both were full of flavour and tasted great. Pato Taquito was a char-grilled flour tortilla with roast duck and caramelized onion and was served with a cranberry salsa. The taste of the dish itself was good as it had been seasoned really well, but the combination with the cranberry salsa further enhanced the taste, making it really tantalizing. Albondigas was Patagonian-style lamb meatballs braised in a rich tomato, mint and mild chili sauce and was served with ciabatta. The good-sized meatballs were flavoursome, and the sauce had a mild tangy taste. The flavour wasn't overdone, yet was enjoyable. 

Pato Taquito Las Iguanas

Pato Taquito Las Iguanas

Albondigas Las Iguanas London

The first main was Blazing Bird, half chicken served with a sauce and options for the sauce include honey peri-peri, spicy BBQ jerk and Vivo (flaming hot habanero). I opted for the last one as we had already ordered the chicken wings with the honey peri peri sauce. Vivo was tangy and tasted almost similar like the tamarind chutney that I make at home. Although the first bite was enjoyable, but for me just a little bit of sauce was enough with each bite as the sauce was full of flavour. The chicken is served with slaw and on the menu, there were a few options for the choice of fries or salad. I was asked to order from the potato fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings and I opted for the sweet potato fries as I really love them. However, I wasn't aware of the fact that I'll be charged extra for that. Our bill mentioned 50 pence extra for the sweet potato fries which came to us a surprise, and although our waiter was really good and it isn't even a huge amount but I think we should have been told about this when ordering. 

Blazing Bird Las Iguanas London

The second main was Enchilada, a hand-rolled tortilla with smoky chipotle sauce and was served on a bed of spring onion rice and beans. When ordering the Enchilada, we had two options to choose from that included a vegetarian and a non-veg option so we opted for the latter - spicy chicken, pepper, onion & cheese. After seeing the massive serving (Blazing Bird) in front of me, I could hardly eat a couple of spoons of the Enchilada. The beans were well-cooked, and the cheese topped on the tortilla worked perfectly! 

ENCHILADA Las Iguanas

Although we had skipped lunch that day, we were quite full after the starters and the mains at Las Iguanas because the portion sizes were really generous. Therefore, we just ordered one dessert to share, which was Pina Colada Mess (£5.50), a dessert that came with pina colada ice cream and was topped with  caramelised pineapple salsa, crispy pineapple pieces and toasted coconut chips. The combination of the ice cream with the toppings was quite good, and it wasn't too heavy, so it was the perfect choice for us!

Pina Colada Mess Las Iguanas

We had a great evening at Las Iguanas, and it was value for money. I was really impressed by the generous portion sizes, and with the hospitality of the staff. The restaurant is child friendly too, as BabyN' was handed over a colouring and activity sheet with colours as soon as we got seated and Las Iguanas also has a kid's menu that includes a main, dessert and drink for £5.90. 

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Rating: 8/10 
Pricing: Mid-Range 
Halal Options: Chicken, Lamb & Duck are Halal
Child-Friendly: Yes, but I couldn't find a baby changing facility & there are steps heading to the entrance of the restaurant
Alcohol Available: Yes
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EASTER GIVEAWAY: Chutneys and Pickles from The English Provender Co.


The English Provender Co. has a variety of chutneys and pickles and now that summer is not so far, it is the perfect time to get your hands on these bottles to spice up your BBQ parties. You can add these chutneys and pickles to your traditional beef burgers to jazz them up, or add more flavour to any of your favourite recipes. I love going on picnics with friends and families in the summer months, and these seem perfect for sandwiches and wraps. The brand has got some recipes on their website, so if you would like to try them out then you can check them out too. 

The varieties of chutneys in The English Provender Co.'s range include Caramelised Red Onion Chutney, Sweet Tomato & Chilli Chutney, Plum & Bramley Apple Chutney, Apple, Pear & Fig Chutney, Moroccan Spiced Chutney and Hot Chilli & Red Pepper Chutney. Their pickles include Classic Chunky Pickle, Hot Tomato Pickle, Beetroot Pickle and Finely Chopped Pickle. If you would like to win a selection of products from the English Provender Co.'s  chutneys and pickles range, then make sure to enter the giveaway below (Terms & Conditions apply). 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disclaimer:  This is a collaborative post and the competition prize is sponsored by The English Provender Co. All responsibility for the competition in terms of the prize is on them. The prize is a selection of their chutneys and pickles Giveaway is open to UK residents only & ends on April 2nd, 2018.

Favourite Family Holiday Moments in Bruges, Belgium

Top things to see Bruges, Belgium

I've been on lots of holidays since I was a child, and so I've got loads of travel memories but today I'll share some of my favourite holiday moments I spent with my 3 year old boy on our recent family trip. Travelling alone or with an adult is different compared to family travel and there are several factors that one needs to keep in mind when going on a family holiday. One of my most recent holiday to Bruges in Belgium has been one of the most memorable holidays as there are so many moments that just make me laugh only thinking about them. 

Bruges located in the northwest side of Belgium, is a historic and popular UNESCO World Heritage Site more commonly known as 'The Venice of the North' and for it's canals, medieval buildings and cobbled streets. We decided to travel to the city from Kent (UK) by car, and it took us around 4 hours to reach our destination. 

Top things to see Bruges, Belgium

When we stopped at Bruges, the temperature in the town was extremely chilly, and it was our first time when we felt the need to cover up BabyN' so much. Soon after we got out of the car to explore Bruges, he suddenly fell asleep which was really amusing as we were on a road trip since the last 4 hours and he had decided to remain awake throughout. Probably he thought it's better to cuddle up in the blanket and sleep rather than running around in something that felt like -5. We explored lots of places in the city center, but it wasn't an easy task to roam around in that weather. Even now, when we discuss about the trip, he is only able to recall some things although most of the time we spent outdoors, he was found sleeping.

Historium Bruges

Soon after exploring the town and the city center, we headed towards our hotel, our room was at one of the higher floors, and it had a window which BabyN' could easily open, and he really did. Luckily, I was with him at the time he climbed the window sill and had opened the latch when I stopped him and asked him to come down. The situation was scarier than a nightmare and I couldn't help thinking what would have happened if I wasn't around. Although this wasn't one of the favourite memories of our trip to Belgium, but it's something I can never forget and thought of sharing it with my readers to keeps their heads ups, especially when travelling with toddlers who love to explore.

Belfry Bruges

One of the most memorable things that happened during the stay was when BabyN' kept his McDonald's Happy Meal in the room's safe and locked it. Obviously, he's too little to remember the digits he must have entered while playing, so we eventually had to call the hotel's reception to get it sorted for us. Soon after, someone was sent and he was luckily able to open the safe after a 30 minute operation, and finally BabyN' got to have his dinner. Initially, it did feel embarrassing in front of the hotel staff, but I'm glad I'll be able to narrate this story to my grandchildren later. 

Top things to do Bruges, Belgium

I know that holidays do not come without a cost, and one needs to have a heavy wallet to plan a trip but you can now also plan cheap holidays with Holiday Gems with their range of deals for your ideal break. These low cost holidays will not just keep you away from being feeling burdened, but they might make fabulous family holidays. You can see their website, here - https://www.holidaygems.co.uk/cheap-holidays. If you've been to Bruges in Belgium, then let me know about your favourite places to explore in the town. I'll also share a detailed post on the top things to do and see in Bruges soon on the blog.

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Exploring Plymouth & Stay at Moorland Garden Hotel - Devon, UK

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Located on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park, and not so far from Plymouth, the Moorland Garden Hotel nestled in the 9 acres of moorland gardens is a deluxe place for a short stay, or a fantastic venue to plan a wedding or a conference. This family, and dog friendly four star countryside hotel has 42 rooms along with AA Rosette-awarded Wildflower Restaurant as well as the Dartmoor Bar. It's also quite popular among the guests for their award winning Devon cream and afternoon teas that include their freshly baked scones. The Wildflower restaurant at the Moorland Garden Hotel has a deluxe decor and is ideal for informal dining, both dinner and Sunday lunch. Moreover, the sun-trap terrace at the hotel is also perfect on a nice sunny day. Summing up, the Moorland Garden hotel is optimal for all kinds of needs, be it business or leisure. 

Wedding Venue in Devon

Wedding Venue in Devon

Wedding Venue in Devon

After a little more than an hour's drive to the hotel, we checked-in and were a little tired after exploring the Eden Project in Cornwall that afternoon so decided to rest for some time before going downstairs for dinner. Our room was spacious, with all the necessary amenities the guests would need. It was a pleasant surprise to see a fruit bowl and some home baked chocolate cookies and short bread on a table, ready to welcome us! 

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Our room at the Moorland Garden Hotel had lots of storage, and enough furniture for us to sit and relax while staying at the hotel. The bed was really comfortable and I'm glad the duvet wasn't of a very high tog, as generally the duvets I've come across at hotels are quite heavy. 

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

The washroom was also equipped with all the necessary amenities such as the toiletries, earbuds, cotton balls, extra roll of tissue and shower cap. It was clean and had lots of fresh clean towels for us to use. 

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon
After settling in a bit, we headed to the Dartmoor Bar for dinner. Generally, the hotel serves dinner at the Wildflower Restaurant, but that night it was closed but the same menu was served at the Dartmoor bar as well. For the 3 course meal, we started off with the potato and leak soup for all of us, which was served with a platter of slices of bread and butter. Next was the main, and for me it was wild mushroom and goat's cheese gnocchi dressed with rocket salad while husband opted for a Falafel burger which was prepared with garlic mayonnaise and cucumber and was served with fries and salad. For BabyN', the main we ordered was pasta with green basil pesto and grated cheeseThe serving of each dish was very generous and the presentation was also appealing to the eye, and I was quite happy with everything I tried. However, BabyN' and I did not manage to finish our mains, so we decided to take the leftovers to relish them later and finished them the next afternoon. 

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

For the last course of the meal, we ordered chocolate fudge cake with clotted cream and a selection of West country ice cream. We managed to finish all of it, and ended the night's meal with a happy note. 

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

The next morning, we headed to the Wildflower Restaurant at the Moorland Garden Hotel for breakfast and started off with some juice, tea, cereal and baked items that were already laid on a table. We then ordered the hot food, which was made to order and is cooked according to the preference of the guests. We choose full English vegetarian breakfast, which was freshly prepared and was very filling. The morning view of the moors while having breakfast was spectacular as we could see the gardens outside the glass window in front of us. Although the weather was slightly misty that day, but even that seemed quite nice. 

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

Moorland Garden Hotel Devon

We all enjoyed our stay at the Moorland Garden Hotel, and although it was a little chilly in the morning, we decided to explore the green lush grounds after breakfast. Soon after checking-out, we reached the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth which was just 23 mins (9.9 miles) by drive from the hotel. The aquarium does not have it's own car park, but there's privately owned pay and display Harbour Car Park, covered car park available nearby. Opposite that car park is also a hotel's car park which seemed cheaper than the covered car park, so we decided to park there. Since it was a weekday morning, I thought my family and I would be the only ones at the aquarium. However, we could see many other visitors and families as well as some children who were there on a school trip. At the National Marine Aquarium, we saw different types of fish and marine animals, which made it both an enjoyable and educational trip. National Marine Aquarium is the largest public aquarium in the United Kingdom, and attracts around 300,000 visitors each year. There are around 4000 marine and sea animals at the aquarium, and 2018 is also their 20th birthday year. There were many fascinating animals we saw inside the exhibits, and they've also got a cinema room for visitors to learn more about the sea animals, and have also got a gift shop that sells souvenirs. At the end of the visit, one can enjoy a cup of tea or snack at the Waves Cafe located inside the aquarium's building. 

National Marine Aquarium Plymouth

National Marine Aquarium Plymouth

After exploring the aquarium, and the surrounding area a bit, we drove to the Buckland Abbey in Devon, a 700 year old house now owned by the National Trust but has previously been known to be connected to Sir Richard Grenville and Sir Francis Drake. Originally, it was a Cistercian abbey that was founded in 1278 and it remained an abbey until the monasteries were dissolved by  King Henry VIII. Later, the abbey was sold to Sir Richard Grenville, and he again sold it after which Drake is known to be living there for 15 years. The property was again sold, and finally in 1948, it came under the ownership of the National Trust and ever since 1951, the property has been open to public.  We explored the building and the surrounding areas and the volunteers inside were happy to share their knowledge about the property with the visitors. During our visit, we also got a chance to witness the Cosmic Egg, an amazing sculpture by Andrew Logan. There's lots more to talk about the Buckland Abbey, and you can find more facts and details about it on it's website.  

Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey cosmic egg

Important Information - Moorland Garden Hotel
Check-in: 2:00 pm
Check-out: 11:00 am
Parking: Complimentary for hotel guests 
Breakfast: Buffet styled, English breakfast made to order
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, iron, kettle, coffee machine, complimentary toiletries & tea/coffee facility provided
Location: Yeoland Down, Yelverton PL20
Telephone: 01822 852245
Website: www.moorlandgardenhotel.co.uk

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