A lifestyle blog written by a Welsh lady living in Wales.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

The Grange St. Paul's Hotel

I recently enjoyed a Saturday night stay at the Grange St Paul's Hotel, a luxury 5-star hotel overlooking the iconic St. Paul's Cathedral. I chose this hotel because it has excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, a rooftop bar (I love a good rooftop bar!) and I wanted to stay somewhere central.

The Lobby
I arrived at Mansion House station mid-afternoon and made my way to the hotel with the assistance of good old google maps. It took me about 10 minutes to get there, although I was distracted by the magnificent St. Paul's Cathedral en route, and I paused to take some photos. The exterior of the hotel fits in with London's business district, and there were doormen in smart uniforms who greeted guests upon their arrival.

The lobby has a futuristic feel, and a beautiful arrangement of fresh flowers to welcome hotel guests. I love bird of paradise flowers, so it was a nice surprise to be welcomed by this lovely display!
Whilst I was at the check-in desk, I requested a room with a view of St. Paul's Cathedral, which was kindly arranged for me at no extra cost. I was given the option of having any extra costs charged to my room, provided with two room key cards, directed towards the lift and wished a pleasant stay. Check-in was quick, efficient and friendly. So far, so good! 

The Bedroom
I took the central lift to the 4th floor, excitedly anticipating what the room would be like. It was huge! The bed was very comfortable and the amenities were excellent, as you'd expect with a 5-star hotel.

The floor to ceiling window showed off the fantastic view of St Paul's Cathedral. I doubt that there are many hotels in London with a view as great as this.
I loved the dressing gowns, slippers and Ajala Spa toiletries. The hotel has a stunning Ajala Spa, and a private Health and Fitness Club with gym and 18m swimming pool. I didn't have the opportunity to enjoy these facilities on this occasion, but they certainly looked great.
The Restaurants
The hotel has a glass Atrium, housing a variety of bars and restaurants where you can drink and dine at your convenience. I didn't actually eat at the hotel, but there were two different restaurants to choose from, serving Japanese and international cuisine, a breakfast lounge, and a Starbucks coffee lounge.

The Bar
We relaxed with a champagne cocktail at  Silks, a modern cocktail lounge where you can enjoy a variety of cocktails, champagnes, spirits and wines. I had a champagne cocktail, and my friend ordered a lychee champagne cocktail. My champagne cocktail had cognac in it, which gave it a bit of a kick!

The hotel staff explained that the rooftop Sky Bar was available for private hire only. However, as the bar had not been booked, we were welcome to take our drinks up to the Sky Bar and enjoy the fantastic views...end enjoy them we did!

I absolutely loved the Grange St. Paul's Hotel. The service, facilities and location are excellent, and the views are stunning.

Where's your favourite place to stay in London? 
I'd love to hear if there's anywhere in particular that you'd recommend. 
Thank you for reading! Angharad x

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

London Trip

I've just got back from a fantastic weekend in London, catching up with a friend who was also visiting the capital. I stayed at the Grange St. Paul's Hotel, which was an excellent base to enjoy the restaurants, nightlife and shopping. It has a fabulous rooftop bar, where we enjoyed a champagne cocktail and took in the impressive views of some of the famous landmarks:
The Shard
The Walkie-Talkie
The Gherkin and The Leadenhall Building
I love the mixture of old and new architecture; London is such a vibrant and exciting city, and it can feel quite exhilarating to visit the city when you're a country girl at heart.

St. Paul's Cathedral is such a beautiful building; I literally stopped in the street and said "wow!"
We saw a bride & groom having their photos taken, and it was difficult to tell if they'd actually just got married, or if it was a photo shoot for a wedding magazine. The bride had quite an entourage, and she looked like a real-life princess against the dramatic backdrop of St. Paul's.

Another highlight for me was the beautiful white and purple wisteria at St. Paul's. Clusters of the gorgeous scented flowers tumbled over the railings outside the cathedral:
We just had to stop for a photo!
May is such a lovely time of year to visit London; it's not too cold and it's less likely to rain, so you really get to enjoy all the sights and make the most of the longer days.  

I hope you've enjoyed the photos! Thank you for reading, Angharad x

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Cardiff Bay Sky

Here's a beautiful sunset for you from Cardiff Bay, taken on my iPhone (it was one of those occasions when I felt slightly annoyed that I'd left my decent camera at home...oh well). 

Cardiff is one of my favourite capital cities; it's so friendly, compact and cosmopolitan.  I'm planning on doing some posts about Cardiff in the future so you'll be able see what a great place it is!

Sometimes it can be hard to stop, slow down, and appreciate the pure beauty of a sunset. Cardiff Bay is a beautiful place, and on this particular occasion the sky was gorgeous...I hope you like it!

Have a great weekend :-) Angharad x

Monday, 16 May 2016

Newton Road, Swansea

Sounds good to me :)
If you love the sea, great coffee, classy boutique shops and stylish restaurants and bars, then I would highly recommend that you visit Newton Road in the heart of the beautiful Mumbles, Swansea.

It's a great place to choose a gift for someone or just have a leisurely browse on a Saturday. I love Newton Road because it's a relaxing place by the sea, and yet it also has a bit of a hustle and bustle;  it really comes to life in the summer months. It's popular with visitors and locals who are keen to support the local independent businesses dotted along the street.
I love how you can see the sea in the distance!
Beautiful flowers at Maureen Cottey Florist
Coffee in the sunshine at The Coffee Denn and Mumbles Coffee
 Oyster Gallery; one of my favourite shops. Lots of home decor items with a beach theme. Well worth a look!
Pooch parking! I love this :)
Just a selection of the lovely boutique shops and Jones Bar & Kitchen
Oystermouth Castle dates back to the 12th century and sits on the hill overlooking Newton Road and Swansea Bay.
The view from Oystermouth Castle. You can see Mumbles Pier in the distance.
Mumbles Farmers Market takes place on the second Saturday of the month from 9.00am to 1.00pm at the bottom of Newton Road. It has an enticing range of locally produced Welsh goods which are very hard to resist!

I spent a lovely Saturday morning in Newton Road. How do you like to spend your Saturdays? Angharad x

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Black & White Beach

Mewslade Bay
I rarely take black and white photos, but last weekend the weather was very warm and overcast, and I decided that an afternoon at the beach would look good in black and white. There is a certain nostalgia about black and white; I think it creates impact and gives a timeless and classic look to photos. We visited Mewslade Bay, a sandy beach with large rock formations and steep cliffs in the west of the Gower Peninsula.
The short walk down to the beach led us through a woodland path, then into a valley which is owned by the National Trust. After this, we navigated our way over some large rocks, before getting to the beach.
 A sparkling sea
 Wild garlic
I wore my new white floral embroidered top from Tu Clothing at Sainsburys, which has a beautiful scallop hem and floral embroidery running over the lightweight material; perfect for a day at the beach. The weather was quite windy, which is why I'm holding my hair!

We spent the afternoon exploring the beach, jumping over pools of water and racing against the rising tide. We discovered the perfect spot in one of the coves, and decided to come back again with a picnic. I love a good picnic, so I'm definitely up for this! 

Do you like to visit the beach? Angharad x

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Why I started my blog

You may be reading this as someone who follows welshandwonderful.com, or you may be a reader who has stumbled across my little corner of the internet completely by accident (if so, welcome!). As someone who is very new to blogging, I've reflected on why I started my blog, and thought I would share my thoughts with you.

I wanted to create something
I wanted to create;  it's a productive use of my free time, and it utilises my skills and provides me with an opportunity to share what inspires me. I wanted to use my creativity and make my blog a bit different and unique.

I wanted to showcase Wales
I'm very proud of my little country. I think it has so much to offer, and I wanted to show off Wales to its best.

It's a challenge
It's a challenge to create quality, consistent content. It also takes a bit of courage to put yourself out there on the worldwide web.

I love reading lifestyle blogs
There are so many great lifestyle blogs out there that I love reading. I just find it so interesting to read about someone's review of an awesome hotel or restaurant, get inspiration for future holiday destinations, and pick up some health, style and beauty tips. Some of the travel blogs I read are so well written and have such beautiful photography that they can make me feel like I'm on a virtual holiday! I love that blogs are so current; the content is constantly updated, which makes them relevant and on point.

I wanted to connect with other like minded bloggers 
One of the nicest things about blogging is connecting with other bloggers. It's so lovely when someone has taken the time to comment on one of my posts. As a blogging newbie, this has been one of the unexpected and rewarding bits of blogging. It's so exciting having readers from all over the world.

I love taking photos
Photography is one of my hobbies. I take my photos with a compact camera because it's easy to use and carry around, and I'm really pleased with the results.

I wanted to share experiences
A blog is a great outlet to share experiences with others. I love thinking of new ideas to share with my readers.

I wanted to learn a new skill
Blogging is something completely new to me, and I'm self-taught. It was a bit daunting purchasing a domain, choosing a platform and clicking on "publish" for the very first time. But here I am, several posts in, and I think I'm doing ok!

It's fun and rewarding!
It's fun. It's rewarding. This is why I blog.

Why did you start blogging? Are you thinking of starting a blog?  I'd love to hear your story!

Angharad x

Monday, 9 May 2016

Sunrise in Sagres

During our stay in Sagres, we witnessed some of the most beautiful sunrises we have ever seen. It's fair to say that I rarely see sunrise as I'm usually fast asleep, but it's the kind of event that's lovely to take the time to enjoy when you're on holiday. Our private terrace overlooked the harbour in Sagres, and the sunrises were spectacular, so it was lots of fun taking plenty of photos. The beauty of a sunrise is that each one is different and they change by the second, so here are some of the best ones (turn away now if you're not a fan of sunrises!).
I hope you have a great week! Thank you for reading. Angharad x
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