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Looking for a fun day out with the gals? A cute idea for date night? Or even a wholesome activity for the whole fam, then check out Gravity MAX at Westfield Stratford.

Coined as London’s first urban theme park, Gravity Max offers everything from e-Karting to mini golf across 67,000sq ft of air-conditioned space, which is perfect for this summer weather.

The urban theme park is designed like a neon-lit fever dream, filled with plenty of nostalgic touches for those of us who remember what it was like to visit an old school arcade.

Start your day with an e-Kart race, which is eight minutes of pure adrenaline across a winding racetrack, London’s largest multi-level multi-track e-karting course, which is truly an electrifying way to start your day at Gravity Max.

Gravity Max Stratford Westfield is a fun day out for all ages

There is plenty of fun for groups and couples too, especially with the Coca Cola Mini Golf and Coca Cola experience among other delightful activities that will get your whole body moving.

We especially enjoyed the immersive Game Box which had several different games to choose from, the most popular of which being the Squid Games immersive experience.

Players wear a sensor cap to participate as they recreate all five games in the hit Netflix series from ‘Red Light Green Light’ to ‘Tug of War’, ‘Marbles’ and even the ‘Rainbow Bridge’ and of course ‘Squid Game’. The games are fun, easy to understand and will require your whole body – and plenty of coordination too.

Get your heart racing with an e-Kart race at Gravity MAX Westfield Stratford

After that, check out the Hyperfloor, which is akin to a life-sized game of Tetris. Players will certainly break a sweat as they hop, run and skid through the Hyperfloor to step on matching colours.

For your next girl’s night, there is also the Voice Karaoke where you can step into the spotlight and channel your inner star. Boys will love the Heineken Bar, which is the best place at Gravity Max to enjoy a pint (or three) along with a game of digital darts.

There is also the Hologate VR Arena which takes VR games to the next level, as well as the Carnival Street arcade, which adds a welcome touch of nostalgia by bringing to life some old school arcade games. These include old-school shooting games, claw machines, Whack-A-Mole, and even axe-throwing to more modern games as well.

So, whether you’re looking for nostalgia, a fun night of Karaoke, high-tech VR games or an exhilarating Karting experience, look no further than Gravity MAX Westfield Stratford, an urban theme park that literally has it all.

The Heineken Bar is a great spot to watch sports and share a pint

To book tickets or to find more information visit www.gravity-global.com

Check out other fun London things to do in our Destination Guides

Code 8 is a haven for beauty enthusiasts looking to add a personalised touch to their make-up routine. Tucked away in Burlington Arcade, just set back from the bustling streets of Mayfair, their boutique store is an Aladdin’s cave of jewel rich lip glosses and lipsticks, velvety smooth beauty balms and radiant highlighters.   Unlike some make up brands, Code 8 isn’t overwhelming with too much choice. Instead, it’s a strip backed, carefully curated selection of essentials that will enhance your make-up bag.

What makes Code 8 extra special is their Bespoke Lipstick Bar.  Working with their team of make up maestro’s you can create your own lipstick, tailor-made to match your skin tone.  Gone are the days of settling for generic shades that merely suffice. Here, you’re the architect of your lipstick masterpiece. Guided by the knowledgeable team, you will embark on a journey of colour exploration, selecting from an extensive palette of hues and finishes.

As soon as I arrive, I’m greeted by the friendly staff who whisk off my coat and quickly replace it with a glass of bubbles.  I take my seat at the Lipstick Bar where I meet Juan Lopez, the Colour Maestro at Code 8, responsible for creating some of the brand’s fabulous lipstick shades in matte and cream.  Juan and I chat about my make up routine, the brands and shades I regularly go for.  When it comes to lipstick and lip gloss I’m a tad boring, I very rarely opt for anything other than a Bobby Brown nude chubby stick.  What I’d love to try is something a little bolder.  Juan suggests we start with a red and then a nude with a bit more punch to my usual shade.  We agree and he gets to work.

Behind the bar is where the magic happens.  Here is a palette of colour pigments which Juan sets about meticulously blending.  As more colours are added the shade becomes more pronounced.  It’s quite therapeutic watching the process come to life, a bit like watching an artist mix their colours while working on a masterpiece.  When Juan thinks he’s got the perfect shade we try it out.  He inspects the colour against my skin tone and shakes his head.  It’s too dark, so he gets back to work remixing until he has the ideal blend and I have to say when we apply it this time, I feel a little more kick ass with a dash of glamour.  We go through the same process until we find a nude.  What makes this experience exceptional is the team’s knowledge, passion and recommendations, all tailored to your preferences. 

Once you settle on your shade the mix is transferred to beaker and gently warmed before being poured into a mould and popped in a machine where its frozen and moulded into a lipstick.  The result is a soft velvety red lipstick which I get to assign a name to.  All the details of your lip colour are recorded and stored on file so you can purchase again, its then boxed in beautiful packaging for you to take away.

Code 8’s commitment to quality is evident in the ingredients they use. Their lipsticks boast a formulation enriched with nourishing agents, ensuring not only a flawless application but also long-lasting comfort. Whether matte, or cream, each finish has staying power.  I wore my new red to a party the following weekend I can confirm it was still going strong by the end of the evening.

As I leave Code 8, I feel like I’ve uncovered a beauty secret I need to share with my girlfriends.  This customised lipstick experience would make a great Mother’s Day gift, a fantastic hen party or a fun afternoon with your best friend.

Bespoke Lipstick Bar starts at £80, appointment types vary from individual bookings to parties for up to 6 people. Makeover consultations and masterclass services are also available to purchase online.  For more information contact Code 8.

The growing demand for personalised wellness is on the rise with more consumers looking to proactively prevent illness and boost wellness with biohacking and longevity solutions and treatments.   The Covid 19 pandemic has been pivotal to us taking an analytic interest in our health and how we can best optimise it with science backed, bespoke wellbeing programmes.

This has seen an increase of wellness clinics, providing state of the art technology, cutting edge treatments and solutions, all housed under one stylish, sleek roof.  Want to know more about how you can hack your health?  Here’s my favourite wellness destinations and their biohacking solutions to level up your wellbeing.   

HUM2N

HUM2N is a team of experts with access to some of the best cutting-edge technologies and deep biomarker testing (to flag future health issues). Whether you are looking to improve your overall health, skin or increase longevity, Dr Enayat and his team have your back.   Client consultations kick off your wellness journey and following biomarker testing, expect a bespoke healthcare programme that might incorporate NAD+ therapy, a course of cryotherapy or sessions in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.  The journey continues away from the clinic, with a dedicated Doctor and nutritional therapists, working with you remotely, providing ongoing care, medication and lifestyle strategies to help keep your health goals on track.  HUM2N clients have seen on average a remarkable 42% improvement in health within 8 weeks. 

Aqua-Tox

This Hertfordshire based clinic focuses on four pillars; wellness, recovery, laser and aesthetics.  The team here know their stuff, whether you are looking to recharge your inner battery, recover from an intense training session or perk up a dull complexion there’s a slew of preventative and regenerative treatments from cryotherapy, NormaTec compression and infrared sauna therapy. 

One of the ground-breaking treatments available at Aqua-Tox is the Emsella Chair, a non-invasive device that uses high-intensity focused electromagnetic (HIFEM) technology to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and target conditions such as stress incontinence, experienced by many women after childbirth and during menopause.  Just one Emsella treatment is the equivalent of 11,000 Kegel exercises in just 30 minutes and is clinically proven to reduce pelvic floor disorders.  The chair is designed to deliver targeted electromagnetic waves to the muscles in the pelvic region, causing involuntary contractions that help to improve muscle tone, strength, and function.  

Grey Wolfe

The biotechnology at Grey Wolfe is precisely researched, backed by credible science and authentically curated to deliver the ultimate recharge.

The BioCharger is a smart piece of tech that works to enhance health, wellness and athletic performance by balancing the energy of every cell in your body. It promises to optimise the frequencies in your body to ease anxiety, energise you, and banish stress by utilising four different energy types; light, voltage, frequencies, and Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields (PEMFs) to duplicate and restore the energy cells leaving you feeling rejuvinated and calm.

Remedi

Remedi London, founded by aesthetic doctor Nima Mahmoodi and integrated medicine practitioner Yasmin Shirazi is designed to help a discerning clientele address a host of physical, mental, spiritual and emotional needs using science-backed treatments and biohacking therapies.

The Rebalance Impulse is a non-invasive stimulation and cognitive training device based on applied neurosciences, devoted to fighting stress and preventing health problems.  A 30-minute session combines a range of exercises and techniques such as breathing, guided mental imagery, cardiac coherence, sound therapy, mindfulness training and binaural synchrotherapy to tackle a host of health concerns.

The Body Lab

Developed and delivered by industry experts, self-care gets seriously chic at The Body Lab where they offer an extensive range of regenerative therapies and services focussed on enhancing health optimisation both inside and out

The operation here is slick, the aesthetics and design similar to a five-star hotel. Access their world-class gym, flotation tank, infrared cabins and cryotherapy room, alongside nutritional guidance, specialist training, physiotherapists and other fitness recovery specialists.

If you’re looking for a hotel in central Stratford-Upon Avon that goes the extra mile, Hotel Indigo is a boutique option with some fantastic extras. Lauren Kate Hughes checks in for the weekend…

Living in London, I’m used to paying premium prices for hotels – and sometimes ones that don’t seem worth the price tag at all. So it’s refreshing to find a hotel in such a sought-after destination that over-delivers on its affordable price tag, with attractive extras like the free-of-charge mini-bar full of snacks and soft drinks, as well as a mini bottle of prosecco for a celebratory touch.

There’s also the acclaimed on-site restaurant The Woodsman, which is well worth a visit. Chef Mike Robinson works with local estates, food producers and foragers to craft his game-based menu. It’s exactly the kind of comfort food you crave in an old-world pub on a cold winter’s night, washed down with an excellent wine choice from our waiter. The staff were knowledgeable and attentive; I couldn’t fault the choices. This is a restaurant where every last detail has been considered. And, with its low ceilings and roaring fires, it’s a particularly cosy place to go in the winter.

What makes the flavours so distinctive at the Woodsman is that the meat is cooked over oak and alder wood for a deliciously smokey finish. Its reputation speaks for itself, with the venue packed out on a Saturday night. Staying at the hotel, you don’t even need to leave the building to reach this much-coveted spot – and you can enjoy a drink in the adjoining cocktail bar beforehand, too.

Breakfast is also worth mentioning, with a huge buffet packed with fresh fruit, juices, cereal, pastries and cakes, as well as a hot breakfast option included in the price. One of the better hotel breakfasts I’ve tried in a long time (and that’s coming from a frequent hotel visitor).

There’s also free parking available on sight for guests – a rarity for such a central hotel and a great asset when it comes to exploring the local area. If you do want to see the area on foot and leave the car safely tucked away, the front-of-house staff offer a map of the local area as well as advice on some local walks.

The rooms are also very spacious, with big, comfy beds ideal for hunkering down after a packed day’s sightseeing. Rooms fall into three categories of design; Tudor, Georgian, and Contemporary.

The bathrooms are fully stocked with aromatic toiletries that add that extra sense of luxury to a weekend away. Each of the rooms also comes with a Nespresso coffee machine, a kettle, mini-fridge, iron and ironing board, a hairdryer, a 40-inch flat-screen TV, and Wi-Fi – essentially anything you might need to stay comfortable and connected during your stay.

There’s so much to do on your doorstep, with the hotel right in the middle of the small 14km town – you’re just a five-minute walk away from the Royal Shakespeare Company itself. You can also pay a visit to where the women in Shakespeare’s life – Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and Shakespeare’s mother, Mary Arden’s, Farm are two must-dos on your Stratford list.

stratford.hotelindigo.com

What to do

Wander the sights

Stratford is relatively small and built for wandering, whether that means exploring the famous Shakespeare Theatre Company, taking a stroll along the River Avon, or touring the many historic pubs dotted across the market town.

Visit a butterfly farm

Explore the UK’s leading butterfly farm – Stratford Upon Avon Butterfly Farm – where you can get up close and personal with the beautiful creatures and learn more about their natural habitats.

Explore an award-winning gin distillery

The Shakespeare Distillery is the home of a boutique gin brand crafted on the outskirts of Stratford Upon Avon. Here you can learn about the history of gin, the gin-making process and also take a bottle home with you.

Aqua-Tox is a luxury wellness destination, just 30 minutes outside central London offering some of the latest technology and science backed facilities for ultimate health optimisation.  Based in Hertfordshire, they focus on four pillars; wellness, recovery, laser and aesthetics.  There are very few clinics outside of London that you could call a true wellness destination offering treatments from the Hyperbaric Hydroxy AirPod that speeds up the body’s healing process, a whole body Cryotherapy Chamber, to enhanced recovery treatments such as their Infrared Sauna and NormaTec compression therapy. 

The team here know their stuff, whether you are looking to recharge your inner battery, recover from an intense training session or perk up a dull complexion there’s a slew of preventative and regenerative treatments.  I’d recommend starting with a consultation with one of the therapists who will then design a carefully curated treatment plan.

But let’s talk about what really sets Aqua-Tox apart – their skincare game.  Aqua-Tox has highly effective skincare programmes for a wide range of skin concerns including acne, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. I was looking to combat a lack lustre complexion that was dry and in need of a glow up.  I had a skincare consultation with their in-house nurse prescriber and skincare expert, Lucy who recommended a customised series of treatments and personalised skincare advice including Dermalux LED phototherapy and Obagi Blue Peel facials.  Alongside this Lucy provided me with an at-home skincare regime using the Obagi Medical range which is used during all their facial treatments and can be purchased from the clinic. 

The Obagi Blue Peel Radiance, is a light chemical peel that includes deep pore cleansing, mild exfoliation and moisturisation to help rejuvenate and improve your complexion. This peel enhances skin smoothness and radiance to reveal tighter, brighter, glowing results. Following the peel Lucy popped me under an LED mask to accelerate the results.

LED masks are working their way into our beauty routine and with Victoria Beckham a firm favourite LED light therapy is fast becoming a quick way to supercharge your skin.  The Dermalux treatment at Aqua-Tox is the gold standard.  It’s large and arcs across all the face and neck.  Using three shades of light, combined, they stimulate the skin’s cellular functions.

Blue light has an antibacterial action, preventing breakouts from forming while red light boosts cell renewal, promoting the production of collagen and elastin. Near-infrared travels all the way to the subcutaneous tissue, where it increases circulation, increasing the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skin cells.    The results are great and after just two sessions I noticed that my skin looked less red and calm.

The great thing about Dermalux LED phototherapy is that the results are cumulative, the more treatments you have the better your skin looks. It also compliments some of the other skincare treatments Aqua-Tox provides like dermal fillers, Profhilo and Polynucleotides due to its ability to accelerate healing and calm inflammation.

After eight sessions, alongside using the Obagi products, I’d achieved the glow I was after.  My skin was brighter, tighter and smoother.  The best bit, others had noticed, my other half said I had a healthy glow and my sister asked me if I’d changed my products as my skin looked great.  if you’re looking to invest in your skin over the winter then a visit to Aqua-Tox is a must.  I’ve already recommended friends and my sister booked a consultation as soon as I let her in on my secret.

To book your skin consultation contact Aqua-Tox

Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies ventured into rainy Norwich for a night of dread and terror at PrimEvil the UK’s biggest, baddest and most immersive Halloween experience.

PrimEvil is not for the faint of heart and certainly best experienced with the fam or a group of your best mates. Expect plenty of jump scares, immersive and wonderfully crafted scare mazes and a spooky atmosphere that will stay with you well past Halloween.

The scares begin even before you walk through the door with paid actors — dressed as murder victims, deranged clowns, zombies and even haunted puppets are dispersed among the crowds causing the occasional frightened squeal as people walk through the doors of the park.

PrimEvil is in the ROARR! Dinosaur park in Lenwade, so while the giant dinosaur sculptures may be a bit jarring (particularly in the outdoor scare mazes) you’ll be too busy getting the living daylights out of you to notice.

There are five scare mazes at PrimEvil, The Crypt, Route 666, Warehouse 51, Mayhem Manor and my personal favourite the Circus of Terror. Each one takes brave attendees through a series of rooms, each one scarier than the last, complete with different story lines, actors and jump scares.

The best ones, Circus and Area 51, incorporate plenty of funhouse elements too like a rotating flow, a ball pit of body parts, a treacherous bridge which hangs over industrial waste and so much more. Even outside of the scare mazes, the horror actors never break character, truly immersing attendees into the terrifying world of PrimEvil.

Bitter and Twisted, which is the main food and drink area that is themed around a wicked carnival, offers an array of excellent food truck type options. There is also a zombie band playing plenty of bangers, so it is a great place to take a break in between scares.

Top tip: General admission tickets are only £35 but it is well worth buying the fast pass tickets at around £50 each cause the queues, especially in the chill of late October, can be quite tedious.

Overall, PrimEvil is probably the best Halloween activity you can do in the UK and for this horror afficionado – I certainly can’t wait to return for another spooky adventure next year.

For a low-key Lunar New Year celebration, our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies visited The polo Bar at The Westbury Mayfair for an afternoon of pastries and scones, with an Asian-inspired twist.

We skipped the hustle and bustle of crowded China town and headed over to lush Mayfair for a new kind of Lunar New Year Celebration. Because this year, The Westbury Mayfair ushered in the ‘Year of the Rat’ in true style with an afternoon tea experience with an Asian-inspired twist.

While The Polo Bar retained its quintessentially British elegance, The Westbury Mayfair didn’t skimp on the Asian treats throughout the Afternoon Tea experience. We began with some champagne and two mandarin oranges (which are a symbol of wealth and prosperity in Chinese cultures). This was followed by a series of sweet and savoury treats with all the culinary savoir-faire that The Polo Bar has become known for.

We highly recommend the Tea Quail eggs, which combine umami mayonnaise with green tea, red shiso, and croustade. These savoury bites come in crunchy edible egg cups which makes for the perfect mouthful. The Polo Bao ‘char siu pork’ steamed buns are another highlight and will satisfy even the most discerning Chinese Food lover. The finger sandwiches, of which our favourite was the smoked duck breast with hoisin sauce – are also equally delectable.

On the sweeter side of things, we also recommend the Pineapple Tart, which is made with freeze dried pineapples, delicately wrapped in 20-carat edible gold leaf. The Mandarin & Chocolate Cake is equally delicious and is made with black tea mousse and mandarin gel.

The pièce de résistance, however, has to be the Matcha Mousse; which is made with Melaka Mousse, Matcha almond sponge and Matcha Meringue. To top it all off, this sensational dessert also has Matcha ‘moss’ and hazelnut ‘soil’ which is home to an edible chocolate bonsai tree.

The Asian-Inspired Afternoon Tea is accompanied with a selection of loose leaf teas from Whittards. These include a coconut tea, an oriental English breakfast tea, and our personal favourite a lychee tea. ‘Bobba’ fans can also enjoy an authentic cup of ‘Bubble Tea’ with a generous serving of pearls too. The Asian-inspired The Westbury Mayfair is available every weekend from 12 noon to 6pm.

THE WESTBURY MAYFAIR

Any self-confessed bagaholic is familiar with the age old dilemma of taking care of their prized designer handbags. It is exactly this brilliant bit of insight that inspired fellow handbag lover, Marielle Kangasniemi, to create Bagpad.

The idea for Bagpad is simple. Originally inspired by the iconic Hermès Birkin, Bagpad is a specially sized and customisable product that supports the interior of your handbags, maintaining its shape, and also reducing moisture damage. Besides being an absolute must for handbag lovers the world over, Bagpad also provides a longterm solution to keeping the shape of your handbags, while reducing plastic waste.

We catch up with Bagpad Founder, Marielle Kangasniemi, and talk all things Bagpad, her collaboration with One Ocean Foundation, and about the biggest challenges and triumphs she has faced as a GirlBoss.

Tell us a little bit about yourself, what inspired you to start Bagpad?

I’ve always to do something on my own, I just needed to find the idea. So after I finished my masters in Fashion and Luxury Brand Management at Istituto Marangoni, I knew I wanted to do something within fashion and luxury. I’ve also always had a passion for handbags, so I decided to combine my passion with my knowledge and came up with this unique solution that didn’t exist before. Now when you think about it, it’s such an obvious thing that all handbag lovers need.

The iconic Hermès Birkin Bag is the inspiration behind the bagpad, as this is a bag that really needs support when it’s not in use. So the first bagpad was made to fit the Birkin bag, but now we offer bagpads to fit any designer handbag. The bagpads can also be personalised with monogramming and we offer fun patches for decoration too. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who has a handbag.

How important is sustainability to Bagpad? Could you’ll us more about your collaboration with One Ocean Foundation?

Sustainability is one of the core elements of Bagpad, as the whole idea was to create a long-term solution for keeping handbags in shape and reduce the use of plastic. What’s currently in use is bubblewrap, plastic bags, or tissue paper? We know that plastics are the most common form of trash in landfills, and the most dangerous form of pollution. The ocean is filling up with garbage, so in order to help, we are in collaboration with the One Ocean Foundation, which raises awareness about the urgency to resolve problems plaguing our marine ecosystems. They create specific projects to help safeguard marine life, and also perform beach cleanups throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Every individual can contribute to saving the oceans through simple but virtuous actions.

At Bagpad we are very committed to do our part to save the planet, and so we use biodegradable packaging and recyclable materials. Plastic in itself can be harmful to the leather and interior of the bag, as it might transfer colour, start ‘sweating,’ or even scratch the leather, which is why we use only premium materials that are especially suitable for designer handbags.

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What steps can we take to become more conscious consumers?

Always choose the more long-term solution. Even if you can’t find a completely sustainable and Eco-friendly product, it’s better to choose the one that lasts longer, even if it might cost a bit more. There is already so much waste in this world, so any conscious decision to reduce the use of plastic is for the better.

It’s also important to take care of what you have so that it lasts longer. That’s why it’s important to take care of your handbags. They are meant to be used for a long time and if you take proper care of them they can last decades.

There are many ways to take care of handbags, but the most important one is to keep them filled when not in use. This prevents the leather from creasing and helps the bag to keep its shape. Our bagpads also protect from excessive moisture to keep the bag in perfect condition.

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced as an entrepreneur so far?

To find time to do everything! I wish I could clone myself so that I would have time to do everything and be everywhere at the same time. It’s challenging but also very exciting to work with all aspects of the business. I learn so much everyday and I feel so grateful for having this opportunity.

Another thing that can be tricky is figuring out the marketing strategy. There is so much going on in social media and consumers are exposed to so much marketing all the time, so it can be difficult to stand out. You really need to know who your customers are and where they spend their time. Luckily our product is unique and customers can really see the value in it.

What advice do you have for women who would like to become a GirlBoss like yourself?

If you have an idea or a chance to start something on your own, just do it! You can dream however much you want but if you never start, you will never know. Don’t be scared of setbacks, they help you grow and push you in the right direction. There is always help available and especially London is such a great environment to start a business. I’ve met so many inspiring people here and you never know who you’ll meet, there’s always someone who knows someone. Expanding your network is key!

WWW.BAGPAD.CO.UK

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in August, we set out on a coco couples adventure to the Cotswold’s to escape city life…

Located above an unassuming pub in Stow-on-the-wold, The Bell hosts a set of neat and whimsical wonderland themed rooms. Our check-in was quick and the staff really friendly and approachable. Once we went up to the room we stayed a little while to enjoy the decor and see the thoughtful additions such as the ‘Eat me’ and ‘Drink me’ bottles on the tea tray. The greatest addition was the help-card left for us mentioning that in case we forgot anything at home, they had certain necessities downstairs for us should we need. Safe to say this definitely came in handy as I always forget something! The view from our ivy-draped window across the green countryside was so inspiring and enticed us to get out and about.

Exploring the Cotswolds

After admiring our room, we headed straight out to explore our beautiful surroundings. We found Stow-on-the-wold a perfect location for a first-time visit to the Cotswolds, as it is full of quaint tea rooms, arts and craft shops, and located only a four minute drive from other neighbouring villages. Naturally, we were in our element strolling around Stow and we even managed to drop into a tea-room for a quick afternoon tea before heading off to explore the surrounding countryside and villages. For a stroll down the river we headed to Bourton-on-the-water and paused by a pub garden to take in more of the quintessential Cotswold architecture. We also managed to explore Upper Slaughter and Lower Slaughter, where you will find an amazing old Mill turned into a museum and vintage shop.

Food at The Bell

We returned to our room at the Bell shortly before dinner and headed downstairs where live music was beginning to play. One of the loveliest things we found about the Bell at Stow was that it is a nicely decorated and down-to-earth pub, but the food is most certainly not your usual pub grub. The roast dishes looked absolutely enviable and were so in-demand that there was no more available (meaning it must taste as fabulous as it looked). After eyeing up the many mouthwatering plates around the room, we settled for starters of chicken, apricot and pistachio terrine with chutney and sourdough toast and a smoked salmon, crab, green apple and fennel salad with chilli dressing. For mains we went for a rib eye steak with salad and chips. After the generous portion sizes, we managed to share a desert of iced Cotswold gin and lime parfait with lavender shortbread as we wanted something small and a little bit different to a normal dessert. The recommended dessert wines on the menu were a really nice touch.

Fancy exploring the Bell at Stow yourself?

https://www.thebellatstow.com/

Twitter: @TheBellatStow

Facebook: @thebellstow

After months of searching, TeamCocopup Charlie and I have finally found London’s best dog-friendly hotel, and it’s the perfect place for a luxury doggy staycation.

Located in a quiet tree-lined street in Knightsbridge, just a quick walk away from the busy shoppers at Harrods’ and the lush greenery of Hyde Park, The Egerton House Hotel is classic luxury at its finest. The hotel was originally built in 1843 and overlooking perfectly manicured private gardens; a luxurious sanctuary in the heart of vibrant Knightsbridge. The Egerton House Hotel has all the signatures of a Red Carnation Hotel; from its beautiful and timeless interiors, to its warm and truly impeccable staff, and everything else in between.

The exceptional service at The Egerton House is felt from the moment you step foot in the door; and the staff pull out all the stops when rolling out the red carpet for your four legged friend. Every room at the Egerton House is pet-friendly, which is hardly the case with other London hotels. We checked into our beautiful studio suite. ‘Studio’ is an understatement, because these rooms are as spacious ad they are indulgent. A muted colour palette is contrasted with a stunning vaulted ceiling,a cosy sitting area, a king sized bed with 200 thread count Belgian linen, and two glasses of bubbles patiently waiting our arrival.

Don’t fret – TeamCocopup Charlie also got the works, with his own luxury dog bed, two bowls full of treats, doggy matts, towels, and his choice of breakfast, dinner, and afternoon tea – with his very own doggy menu. The doggy afternoon tea is held in The Egerton House’s beautiful Ivory hued Drawing Room and is definitely worth mentioning. The hotels afternoon tea celebrates the great British tradition with panache.From traditional loose leaf teas, to minimal asian flavours, and even some show-stopping herbal infusions; the Egerton House Hotel has something for even the most discerning tea connoisseur. While I enjoyed a glass of champagne with my afternoon tea, Charlie enjoyed a three course doggy menu of his own — also served in doggie-themed three-tiered tea stand. This very special doggy menu comprises of home made chicken and beef meatloaf, freshly baked dog biscuits, and some pure fruit doggie ice cream, not to mention some pup-friendly PAW-secco too — now that’s VIP (Very important Pet) treatment.

As House of Coco’s official doggie journalist, Team Coco pup Charlie has explored plenty of dog-friendly places in London, but nowhere reaches the same level of puppy-pampering as the Egerton House Hotel. The Egerton House Hotel exudes all of the essential charms of a luxury British hotel, balanced with the warm familiarity of a family run establishment.

WWW.EGERTONHOUSEHOTEL.COM