Lifestyle, fashion and beauty

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Day 4 - The Ritz

A couple of weeks ago Asif took me to The Ritz as a birthday treat. I have wanted to go for afternoon tea for ages, and what better occasion than on my birthday?! We arrived and were allowed to wander around the hotel and take pictures before our sitting. When it was time for our booking the waitress knew it was my reservation before checking the list, and wished me a happy birthday before showing us to our seats, which was a nice touch.
We were in the grand Palm Restaurant, which was formal but lovely. There were a few tables with people who looked like they came for tea all the time, and many others who were nervously taking pictures of each other and the decor, before waiters offered to take photos of them. First impressions were that they are well used to tourists coming for the experience and don't make you feel out of place.
We were shown the tea menu, with a vast array of teas. Asif opted for green tea, while I had the Ritz special. Our waiter talked us through the menu and brought our tea, and we were then served our finger sandwiches. We asked for non-meat sandwiches and there were plenty to choose from - and very filling I might add - which I didn't expect. The waiters do come around and top the sandwiches up, but we were full up with just one round. The stand also contains an array of cakes at the top, and some hot scones are brought after the sandwiches. This was followed by a choice of two cakes from a cart that is brought out later on - but we were so stuffed we could barely look at them.
The Ritz has a resident pianist who was playing just opposite the restaurant, and switched to a happy birthday tune as the waiter brought my birthday cake out, which was lovely! We were so full though that I had to take it home to eat.
All in all it was a lovely experience, we didn't feel out of place, the staff were welcoming, and the cakes were amazing! It is a lovely treat if you are planning to visit or have a celebration. The hotel does recommend booking six weeks in advance to get the day and time that suits you best.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 3 - A walk in the park

For day three of my 30 days of 30 project it was about simple pleasures, and enjoying things on my doorstep. Me and Asif decided to have a money-free day as we were due to spend quite a bit the day after, and to enjoy what was on our doorstep. I had the day off work, and it was gorgeous and sunny so we decided to take a walk to Central Park in East Ham. Since we moved nearby we love taking walks in the park, and are impressed with how well it is kept. There are loads of events on going, including the Torch coming to it, the carnival, a free music festival, and Olympic-related activities. It is split into four distinct parts, and this section is usually well-kept with lots of plants, flowers and perfect areas to have picnics.
In one of the sections there was a cool wood carving that we had seen started before the Olympics and can now see it is a weightlifter. That's nature coming to life.

Are there any parks near you? Do you enjoy walks in the park?

This post is part of my 30 days of 30 project, where I plan to do something different for 30 days to mark my big birthday. If you have any suggestions of what I can do in September let me know below.

Day one's post is here.

Day two's post is here.

And tomorrow's post will be a traditional English affair.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 2 - my birthday, horse drawn carriage, and Windsor

On Sunday it was my big day, my 30th birthday. Asif suspiciously kept me out of the kitchen while he made be a birthday breakfast - literally. It was yummy, and he got me flowers.
After brekkie we got ready and headed out to Stratford. I spotted a crowd around the Olympic Torch and Asif snapped me with it. I have attempted to see the Torch twice before, in Brentwood and Hornchurch and only saw a glimpse both times, so it looked like it was third time lucky on my birthday!
Then we got the train to Windsor where Asif had arranged a day out sightseeing. We walked around the castle walls, and near the entrance of the castle a horse drawn carriage was waiting for us. It was so romantic! The two horses were gorgeous, and we sat in a traditional carriage that took us through the grounds of Windsor Castle. It was absolutely lovely, and I was snapping away with my camera, while passers-by were also taking photos of us.
When we got back we had missed the last entrance to the castle, but we had a look around the outside anyway before hitting the shops and chilling.


 Have you ever been on a horse drawn carriage, or to Windsor?

This post is part of my 30 days of 30 project, where I plan to do something different for 30 days to mark my big birthday. If you have any suggestions of what I can do in September let me know below.

Blog update and commenting on blogs

I have had my blog for a year-and-a-half now and initially I didn't even know there was a blogging community out there. A few months in I realised there were other bloggers doing the same thing as me near where I lived, and it became the perfect chance to meet others and find out about their blogs.

As I saw others obsessing over their stats and followers I thought it was the done thing to up your game by focusing on increasing page views and followers in line with theirs. There ensued a struggle but I did manage to get more views based on what I was posting and what was popular at the time, but I wasn't entirely happy with my content, or focusing on the numbers. I was posting for the sake of it, and often it was quantity over quality in an effort to put new content on the blog every day to keep people coming back. But in reality I have a full-time job, family, friends and a husband I want to spend my down time with. As much as I love blogging, there are other things I like to do in my spare time than be sat at a computer.

With this realisation and taking a back seat, especially around the time of my wedding, I stepped away from the blog and from Twitter. It was a relief not to be tied to them constantly looking and checking. When I did ease myself back into them it was because I wanted to. I took a long hard look at my blog and thought about what it was that I wanted to show. I'm not entirely happy with my blog, despite another redesign, which I do like much better now, I don't like the name of my blog, and have considered starting a new one because I dislike the name of my current one so much, but will see about that further down the line.

I also took a look at the content and frequency of posts. Instead of posting numerous times a day or every day without fail, I decided to make it a little more fluid. If I post twice, as I am planning to today, it is because I already have one planned and written (which is my 30 day project coming later which I edited yesterday) or because I have something to say as today.

I have decided quality is more important than quantity. If I want to post quick pictures with no words behind them I can post them on Instagram, but will reserve the blog for better pictures, and planned posts. I have recently been putting more effort into my posts and have found I am more proud of them and look forward to posting them more.

I have also decided that since I do like to do things in my free time and take pictures I will incorporate more lifestyle pictures in my blog of where I go and the things I do.

I cleared out my blog reader of blogs I didn't read, and have downloaded a Bloglovin app to my phone which allows me to read blogs with much more ease. If I am bored on my way home from work despite having a magazine in my bag I will more often read blogs on my phone - because I want to and not because I feel I should.

I have also been making more of an effort to comment on others' blogs. I think this is important to help with discussions, build a community and get views across. Everyone has an opinion, but not everyone has time to put it across, but I am hoping to put a bit more time into commenting as and when I can.

I have noticed that despite commenting on others' blogs I don't have as many comments on my blog as I would like, and am aiming to improve this. I want to see more comments, as it shows to me that people are reading and appreciate the content. I know people are reading as my stats show it, but how can I encourage those who read to comment? If you have any tips on improving commenting on blogs/posts do let me know.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Day 1 - a secret garden, Museum of London, and St Paul's Cathedral

 September 1 marked the first day of my 30 days of 30 project to mark my big birthday - a chance to try something different throughout my birthday month. On Saturday me and Asif had planned to go to Windsor, but changed our mind last minute. Instead we headed into central London. I wanted to go inside St Paul's Cathedral, but got there too late for the last entrance, so instead we wandered around the area and headed towards the Museum of London. On our way we came across a hidden garden next to a church. Postman Park was a beautiful secluded grounds with lovely plants, and seemed like a hidden treasure, with few people happening upon it and wandering in. A couple of people were sat on the benches reading books. It was lovely and peaceful.

  We then went to the Museum of London, and they had some great exhibitions charting the Olympics, showing past Olympic Torches, Roman ruins and the history of the plague. Asif is a massive history fan and could have stayed there for hours, but I amused myself with taking pictures, and playing with the interactive displays.
After our visit we wandered back to St Paul's Cathedral and found a garden behind it where we took some snaps by a water display and with flowers. It was peaceful and away from the hustle of the busy streets.
We wandered around the cathedral, before finding ourselves at Strada restaurant just in front of it, which was a lovely view while having dinner.

 By the time we had eaten it was evening and the cathedral looked amazing against the lights, so I took a few more snaps before we went home.
 If you are in the area make sure you check out Patternoster Square nearby which is a secluded square, with a few shops and has amazing views of the top of the cathedral like this picture above.

Tomorrow's post is my birthday post with lots of pictures in Windsor. If you have any suggestions of what else I can do during my birthday month pop them below. x
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