Luxury stay at Crowne Plaza Hotel - Reading, UK

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

This luxury hotel located just across the Caversham Pier on Thames Riverside has 122 bedrooms with internally equipped air conditioning, in-room safe, WiFi, ironing board and some rooms also offering mesmerizing views of the River Thames. Crowne Plaza Reading has their own private and gated car park with ample space for parking, complimentary for the hotel guests. Also, it has a fantastic location as it’s quite near from the town center and the Oracle where one can enjoy the evening or relish a meal at one of the riverside restaurants at the Reading town center.

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading
luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

After checking in, my husband and I decided to walk to the town center, which was pretty much okay and manageable as it was just a 25 minutes walk. Our dinner table was already reserved at the hotel’s Riverside restaurant, so we headed back to reach on time and to enjoy the meal. In my opinion, the best thing about having dinner at the hotel you’re staying is that you can just go to the room and retire to a good night’s sleep rather than thinking about traveling back. 



luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

The washroom in our suite had both a shower and a bath, along with complimentary toiletries as well as a vanity kit, shoe polish, shower cap and fresh clean towels. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

For dinner, we opted for a vegetarian 3 course meal as the hotel does not cater Halal meat. Our starters were a pumpkin soup and lightly spiced pitta sticks served with coriander hummus and red pepper tapenade. Both were great to start with, and were followed by the mains -  Gnocchi served in Gorgonzola (an Italian blue cheese) along with baby spinach and walnuts and mixed grains, roasted sweet potatoes edamame beans topped with a buttermilk dressing. I really enjoy different cuisines and tried a Gnocchi at an Italian restaurant in Skopje (Macedonia) which tasted amazing so I was really happy to see it on the menu and I immediately ordered it without any second thoughts. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading


The 3 course meal menu card had two vegetarian options in each course, so my husband and I ordered what was available. I did have a look at the restaurant’s menu and there were different items there including sea food but that menu didn’t have it. Next time probably, I might go for an ala carte as I'd like to try new options and that would also give more choice. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

BabyN’ also enjoyed a 3 course meal with us, and for him we ordered classic fish fingers, an apple and black current juice (Fruit shoot) and Churros for dessert. The crunchy fish and chips were served alongside lemon mayonnaise and some green salad. The Churros were freshly prepared and were served with a warm cinnamon sugar and chocolate sauce.

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

For our third course i.e. the dessert we ordered a saffron and vanilla creme brûlée and a Belgian waffle that was served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. Both stylishly presented on a slate plate and I was actually hoping for a fresh waffle, as the taste of the already prepared ones isn’t as quite good. However, the quality of this waffle was quite nice and I managed to finish it enjoyably. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading
 
luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

I was quite tried, and wanted to give my body some rest so we headed back to our suite and as we all settled in the bed. Crowne Plaza Hotels have introduced a dedicated sleep program called Sleep Advantage. Moreover, the sumptuous bedding at Crowne Plaza Reading with softer duvet, silkier sheets, pillows and a mattress topper helps the guests relax and sleep well. The aromatherapy bath and body skincare line from 'The Works' I tried that night was fantastic and enabled me to sleep well. As we stayed in the quiet zone in the hotel, it further ensured an undisturbed sleep for us. 

Thames Riverside Caversham Pier

The next morning, I was woken up by the husband as he didn’t want me to miss the mesmerising view from our suite’s private balcony that on-looked the Caversham Pier at the Thames Riverside. It was a foggy morning, it was drizzling and I couldn’t see people enjoying some rowing on the river. The crunchy autumn leaves on the ground and the beautiful ducks and swans made it even more surreal. Although it was a bit of a frosty morning, it would still have been nice enjoying a cuppa. However, since our buffet breakfast at the Riverside restaurant was already waiting for us, I just changed and headed there straight. 

Breakfast timing (Mon to Fri - 7:30 am till 10:o0 am), (Sat - 7:30 am till 11:00 am) (Sun - 7:30 am till 11:30 am). 

Thames Riverside Caversham Pier

Thames Riverside Caversham Pier

Crowne Plaza Reading offers a nice variety of both hot and cold breakfast items including scrambled and fried eggs, baked mushrooms and tomatoes, sliced potatoes, bacon and  a variety of bakes such as Maple Peacan, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls, a few types of breads, juices, tea/coffee, a fruit, yogurt and cereal bar. Guests also have the choice of ordering an omelette of their choice, but I thought the variety was already quite nice so didn’t bother. Also, they serve a smoothie of the day, which was already in the buffet. It was a mango and yogurt smoothie that tasted almost like a mango lassi and it was quite refreshing that I had two glasses. 

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

After a quick breakfast, we went to the hotel’s spa and got changed before going for a dip in the pool and to enjoy some relaxing time in their whirlpool/Jacuzzi. The revive health club and spa at Crowne Plaza Reading was quite impressive and had facilities such as a swim wear dryer, although I couldn't find any plastic bags inside the changing room but I think the reception might provide them on request. Since I already carried my own bag, I didn't require them but I'm sure the hotel can assist the guests in this regard.  

luxury hotel crowne plaza reading

My family and I had a fantastic staycation at the hotel, and would definitely love to stay there next time we visit friends in Reading. I've also made a short VLOG of my stay at Crowne Plaza Reading, which you can view on my YouTube channel

Important Information - Crowne Plaza, Reading
Check-in: 3:00 pm
Check-out: 12:00 pm
Parking: Complimentary for hotel guests 
Breakfast: Buffet styled English breakfast (hot and cold items) 
Amenities: Spa, pool & gym 
In-room amenities: Hair dryer, iron, kettle, coffee machine, mini bar (charged), complimentary toiletries & tea/coffee provided
Location: Caversham Bridge, Richfield Ave - Reading RG1 8BD

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Silver Personalised Bracelet from Kaya Jewellery - Review + Giveaway

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

KAYA Jewellery creates meaningful jewellery for baby, child and mum. It’s a brand that sells adorable creations for special occasions such as Christening, and also offers baby jewellery as well as bracelets for girls. Hand engraved silver jewellery, mum jewellery, mother & daughter bracelets and 3 generation sets are also their expertise. Besides that, free and fast delivery is also offered along with free gift wrapping.  

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

If you’re looking for personalised jewellery handmade in the UK, definitely keep KAYA Jewellery in mind as they’ve got so much to offer and a lot of variety to choose from. The hand engraved silver bracelet I've received is extremely easy to wear and has a secure clasp. You can choose your own size, and the one I choose for myself fits me very well. Moreover, there's also flexibility as you have the option of fastening it on different points along the extension chain which is around 2.5 cm long. This is actually even better if you're purchasing jewellery for baby or little girls as they outgrow quite fast.

I love how the engraving looks on my bracelet, it's extremely neat and clear and I even like the writing style. Personally, I always prefer personalised stuff for myself or even for giving to friends or family as presents. Regarding the engraving, you can choose in between 1-3 words but I choose 2 which look absolutely clear and easy to read.

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

I was casually browsing on their website when I also came across to the fact that KAYA jewellery is committed to making high quality jewellery for mums and children. Owner Tanja also supports children who are not as privileged as ours, so she gives part of her profit to charity through the Eduki Foundation in the Netherlands. Last years we donated over £5000 to pay for the education of 16 children in Gambia.

Personalised handmade KAYA jewellery

Kaya Jewellery has kindly offered one of the lucky blog readers a £40 jewellery voucher (Terms and conditions apply), so make sure to enter the giveaway below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

WINNER: Mary H

What will you do if you win the giveaway - will you get something for yourself or for anyone else?

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Disclaimer:  This is a collaborative post and the competition prize is sponsored by Kaya Jewellery. All responsibility for the competition in terms of the prize is on them. The prize is a £40 jewellery voucher.  Giveaway is open to UK residents only & ends on November 28th, 2017.

Hair Care Routine & Home Spa Treatment with Roots and Rituals

hair care routine with roots and rituals

Head massage is something really popular in the households in the subcontinent, and this hair care tradition draws back to over four decades. Generally, the grandmothers use this technique to offer a relaxing spa like experience to the family members which also promotes optimal hair growth with the nutritious ingredients used to prepare the oil either made at home using the important ingredients that boost hair growth and health or by purchasing it from the stores. 

I can clearly remember the times when my grandmother and mother used to apply pure coconut oil to my hair and used to give me head massages when I was a child. The idea was to promote hair growth and to make it thick and stronger. Although I'm  blessed with beautiful long hair, my mum even used to make oil at home, combining  the best ingredients. I still have long and healthy hair but it was after giving birth to BabyN’ that I discovered hair fall, which has greatly reduced now as ‘that’ phase is over but still I can sense some hair shedding at times. Although there has been a huge decline in the number of times I oil my hair annually, I still used to do it with olive oil until I was sent the Roots & Rituals hair care products to try. 

hair care routine with roots and rituals

The Roots and Rituals products have been created by Kharishma, a medical biochemist who wanted to come up with natural hair care solutions and that’s when she created her own range of luxurious hair care products using the most natural ingredients to nourish all hair types. The 10 essential oils including the almond, sesame, argan, avocado, hibiscus, basil, amla, olive, coconut and Abyssinian oil not just hydrates the hair but also nourishes them, to ensure that they look radiant. Some of the benefits of the hair oil include repair of dry or damaged hair, promotes hair growth, combats hair discolouration and to rejuvenate scalp and hair. The natural, silicon, mineral and artificial fragrance free ingredients such as rosemary leaves hair shiny, smooth and healthy giving the user a spa like experience. 

HOW I USE

The Roots & Rituals hair oil comes in an amazing 100 ml squeezy bottle so it’s easier to let the oil out.  I apply the Roots and Rituals nourishing hair oil on the scalp gently massaging in circular motions. Once done, I apply the oil on the rest of the hair too. The bottle also advises to cover up the hair with a warm towel to let the oil penetrate through the hair for 30-40 minutes. However, you can also apply the oil overnight if your hair is really dry. You can also warm up a normal towel and wrap it around the head. I either place it on the radiator  or warm it up with an iron, but if you want, you can also purchase the hot towel from Roots and Rituals. 

Hair Care Routine with Roots and Rituals

Hair Care Routine with Roots and Rituals

WASHING THE HAIR

Use your regular shampoo and wash the hair with warm water. Once washed, drain the water and apply the hair mask from the mid length of the hair till the ends. You can read about some hair care tips, the practice you should adopt when conditioning the hair and advice from a hair care expert I shared in a previous post, that has tips on how to condition your hair, here. After one to two minutes, simply wash the hair with warm water.  For best results, use the oil at least once a week, and let it work on it’s magic! The oil however, doesn’t washes off completely in just wash but I prefer not to wash it more than once because once it dries, it doesn’t seem apparent. Moreover, I’ve also observed that since the hair oil has quite a strong scent, it remains until I wash the hair again. 

roots and rituals hair mask

MY THOUGHTS

My mother has been oiling my hair ever since I was born, and I’ve also inherited black, long and beautiful hair from my ancestors. When I was younger, she used to oil my hair every week but ever since I became independent (read: got married), I didn’t oil my hair much. However, the Roots and Rituals hair oil just reminds me of the hair oil my mum used to make and that's because the scent is slightly the same.  Just with the first use of the hair oil and the mask, I could feel the difference touching my hair as it felt silkier, softer and shinier. I've now used it a couple of times, so I can say that it's a good find but I'll post an  update regarding the reduction in hair fall in a month's time. 

The deep conditioning hair oil (£16.99) and hair mask (£14.99) can be purchased from Roots and Rituals separately or in a hair spa combo (£31.98). Moreover, you can also check out the rest of their products on their website. Also, read my top 5 hair care tips, here.

10% Discount Code: DIVA10
Valid till 31st October 2017

What are your BEST hair care tips? Please share them in the comments below.

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Say Hello to Beautiful Hair with my Top 5 Hair Care Tips

top 5 hair care tips

(Disclaimer: Sponsored Post) Without any doubt, hair plays a major role in an individual’s entire look as the type of haircut we opt for, or the hairstyle we make can make or break the entire deal. Definitely, all of us have our own personal choice for everything, including the option to choose the way our hair should look. However, I personally ask for opinions from the others and seek for advice on what kind of haircut or a hairdo would suit me best. In such situations, hairstylists are best to approach, but friends can also be of great help in giving their input. Below I’m sharing my top 5 hair care tips. 
Top 5 Hair Care Tips

Weekly Head Massage with Oil 

Make sure to massage your hair with hair oil at least once in every two weeks. I personally try to massage my hair with a warm nourishing hair oil once every week. It not only adds a shine and sheen to my hair, but also feels relaxing. You can read about my hair care routine, particularly how I oil my hair in a previous post, here

Do not Condition Hair too much 

I use a conditioner just twice a week, and prefer not to use it every time I wash my hair. Moreover, there’s a way of conditioning and a local hairstylist in Kent suggests conditioning in a particular  way. Read about how to condition your hair, here

Restrict use of Dryers, Straighteners & Curlers

I only use a hair dryer when I’m in a hurry to go outside somewhere. Otherwise, I just try to let them dry naturally. That is the best ways to prevent the hair from getting too much heat. Personally, I do not ever use a curler or straighter but using it one or two times in a week should be fine. 

Do not comb hair when wet 

Hair is weak when wet, and there are higher chances of hair to break. It’s best to wait until they dry. Gently comb the hair with the comb or a brush, whatever you prefer using. Comb suits me better after washing my hair but otherwise, I use a hair brush. 

Avoid dyeing hair very often, or using too many hair products

I’ve never coloured my hair, and the only hair products I use are my hair oil, conditioner and a shampoo. I've thought of dyeing hair quite a few times, but I always turn down the thought thinking about various factors. However, I might get them dyed and would love any suggestions from you all. 

One of the easier options available nowadays is opting for a wig as there are many choices available, and is one of the best ideas to keep our hairstyle updated without putting too much pressure on our own hair. It’s even better that there are loads of options available for us to choose wigs online from Divatress. That's indeed the best way to follow latest trends and jazz up your look with your favourite hair colour and that way, there would be no pressure on your hair. Also it’s a much more economical option because it's pocket friendly and will allow you save more! The company offers a fantastic variety of wigs for each one of you, along with several options to choose from the products that look just like real hair, so make sure to check our their website. 

What are your BEST hair care tips? Please share them in the comments below.



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Shopping, Free Play & Fun Activities for Kids at the Exchange Ilford, Essex



exchange ilford shopping center


Weekends are for fun and for spending some family time together, so last weekend after having a buffet lunch at the O2 Arena, we headed straight to the Exchange Ilford as we had heard about some fabulous new additions at the shopping center, especially about the new 10 metre soft Aztec kids play area. Luckily, as we reached there exactly at 5:30 pm, we were able to park the car free! 


About Exchange Ilford 

Having a very prime location in Ilford, just opposite the train station and with over 90 retailers, the Exchange Ilford is a red-hot destination for not just the locals but for others alike. The shopping center in Essex has popular stores including Debenhams, M&S, Next, Pandora and H&M along with the many others where we often shop. It's not just easily accessible to shoppers using public transport, but they've even got a paid car park with spaces for up to 1,060 cars and free parking is available daily 5:30 pm onward. The recent family friendly changes and refurbishment made to the mall by Capital and Regional are commendable and has made it a welcoming place for both adults and kids.

free kids play area exchange ilford

New Kids Free Play Area
A new 10 metre soft Aztec play area (Level 1) has recently been launched in the shopping center, which is totally FREE for the kids (under 6) to use and enjoy climbing, sliding and crawling. The Exchange Ilford's free play area is open for kids every day from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm and from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm on Sundays. The best part is that the play area also has a seating area for parents or guardians to sit and keep an eye on the children while they play. Moreover, a dedicated parents with prams parking has also been added on Level 1 which is absolutely fantastic! 

free kids play area exchange ilford


I took BabyN' to the Exchange Ilford for him to enjoy some time at the play area, and he had an absolutely amazing time climbing and sliding. It was clean and colourful and besides the play area itself, there were also some tables and chairs for the little ones to enjoy colouring. We spent at least an hour in the play area before moving on to browse a few shops and to check out the impressive 3D Art Display. 


3D art exchange ilford

3D Art & Interactive Workshops for Kids 

This October half term, Exchange Ilford has set up interactive 3D art illusion displays spread across all the levels at Exchange Ilford and have also planned creative workshops for children. So all the shoppers visiting the shopping center from 16th October till Sunday 29th October can experience the Play With Art installation, which is fun for all ages to enter the 3D world. Also, you can walk through a maze experiment with 3D optical illusion art to create amazing photos. I've come across lots of people taking photos and sharing them on social media using the hashtag #exchangeplayart and it's really enjoyable seeing them pose in front of different 3D backgrounds. My family and I also took a few photos, but since we were short of time and the mall was closing, we couldn't explore all the displays but I'm hoping to visit Exchange Ilford soon again. 

Besides this, from 23rd October - 29th October, kids can also enjoy interactive art workshops and learn how to draw 3D illustration, create designs including freestyle stencil and stencil lettering. A fantastic activity for kids and a great way to keep them busy! So make sure to visit and enjoy the day with some shopping and involving kids in these fun activities.

3D art exchange ilford

3D art exchange ilford


Important Information - Exchange Ilford
Timing: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri (9:30 am - 7:00 pm)
Wed (9:30 am - 8:00 pm), Sat (9:00 am -  7:00 pm) Sun (11:00 am -  5:00 pm) 
Parking: Accessed via Havelock Street & Ley Street
1 hour (£1.50) 2 hours (£2) 3 hours (£2.50)  4 hours (£3) 5 hours (£3.50) 6 hours (£4)
Over 6 hours (£8)
Free after 5:30 pm, Sun (£1.50 all day)
Location: The Exchange, Ilford - The High Road, Ilford, Essex, IG1 4FA

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Eid Traditions in Islam


Eid Traditions in Islam

As we all know, the Islamic calendar consists of two separate Eid’s. The first is Eid-ul-Fitr, which signifies the end of the holy month of Ramadan, and the second, Eid-ul-Adha, which occurs later in the year. Both festivals encourage unity, which is a primary teaching of Islam.

We are all familiar with the important role that unity plays in our daily lives; therefore it is essential to remember to always take time out for your family and close relatives. During the festivals of Eid, the occasions begin with a visit to the mosque for prayers. At this time, Muslims take the opportunity to count their blessings and give thanks, and as a mark of respect for this auspicious occasion, it is a good time to dress in your finest clothes – especially when visiting the mosque. It is also normal to donate to charity during such festive times; ensuring you remember those in less fortunate positions who may not be able to celebrate Eid in the same way.
Paying visits to family members and close friends is also highly recommended during Eid – for distant families, this marks the perfect opportunity to reconnect with relatives and strengthen the bond within your family. Many also choose to deliver special gifts to children and family members or distribute sweet meats in honour of the occasion.
Although they are both relatively key festivals of faith in Islam, they are not both entirely the same.
Eid Traditions in Islam

Eid-ul-Fitr
Eid-ul-Fitr predominantly concludes the end of the month of Ramadan – a month of fasting and purity - and continues for three days; it is a day of thanksgiving for the privilege of being able to participate in such a holy, auspicious month. One incredibly important occasion also falls within the last ten days of Ramadan; Laylatul Qadr, also known as the night of power – which signifies the time when the Holy Qur’an was revealed to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as guidance for mankind.
A typical day of Eid-ul-Fitr would entail performing prayers in congregation at the mosque, uniting with family and friends, giving to charity in the form of Zakat-ul-Fitr (a mandatory form of charity which enables those in less fortunate circumstances to celebrate the occasion too), enjoying a meal together and generally celebrating throughout the day.
Eid Traditions in Islam

Eid-ul-Adha
Eid-ul-Adha is a vital date which Muslims across the world observe every year. Although both Eid’s are equally notable and important occasions, there is a very central significance behind the festivities of Eid-ul-Adha.
The festival commemorates the readiness of Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his much-loved son, Ismail, according to the wishes of Allah SWT. As Prophet Ibrahim showed his love and devotion to Allah SWT then, today, Muslims across the world participate in the act of Qurbani to show their own obedience.
Qurbani helps encourage us to refresh our spirit and rejuvenate our faith as we work to raise awareness of the importance of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice and how it is still an essential teaching today. It is a time-honoured tradition of slaughtering sacrificial animals and livestock in the same way that Prophet Ibrahim sacrificed a ram as Allah SWT graciously spared the life of his son.
Once the sacrifice has been carried out, it is required for the meat to then be evenly distributed in three portions. One goes to the individual performing Qurbani, another goes to their close friends and family, and the last is donated to people who are most in need. This equal split then enables the most fortunate to provide assistance to the vulnerable, creating a caring and balanced global community. This act of generosity allows our brothers and sisters across the world to unite and join in the festivities, participating in Eid and enjoying the occasion together.


What is your favourite thing about Eid?
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