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4 Dec 2017

GIFT GUIDE: FOR THE TRAVELLER


Back with another gift guide, this time for the jet-setter in your life. I seem to be drawn to everything red this year...but hey, it's festive!


1. These Estee Lauder under eye masks are perfect for using on long-haul flights. My skin always feels parched when I fly for more than a few hours, especially my delicate under eye area. Plus they're unlikely to cause quite as big a shock to your fellow passengers as a full on face mask might, so ... double yay? I like to use the leftover serum when I take them off to moisturise the rest of my face.


2. This Travalo refillable perfume spray allows you to take your favourite perfume anywhere you go, without having to pack a full bottle. Particularly handy for those who often travel with hand luggage only.

3. Sennheiser in-ear headphones - a quality pair is vital to being able to enjoy your music/podcasts/films whilst flying; even better when they're noise cancelling. So your loved one can appreciate their entertainment without the distraction of the sound of the engine. Bonus: the cables are tangle-free.

4. This Skinny Dip portable phone charger is a pretty adorable (and extremely useful) gift. 

5. For the friend who can't deal with holiday hair frizz and who always travels with his/her straighteners - these mini GHD straighteners are a great alternative. Though touted as being for shorter hair, its smaller size makes it a perfect travel-friendly option for anyone who just wants to keep their hair looking sleek.

6. Whether it's for the woman who always travels with a selection of jewellery or the man who needs to pack his cufflinks, this stylish travel case is the solution to keeping accessories safe and tidy in one place.

7. A small but sweet gift that adds a fashionably elegant element to any piece of luggage is this Fossil luggage tag.

8. For the coffee addicts out there, this Aeropress coffee maker will come as a lifesaver. We have one that we use at home, but if you know a keen hiker, camper or backpacker, this would make an excellent gift. It's super easy to use and travel with and will ensure that as long as they have access to water they can boil, they will always have decent coffee, wherever they are.

9. This pack of 5 cord 'tacos' is a very chic way to keep wires/cords tidy in bags. I know my tangled earphones and charger cords have driven me crazy too many times to count...I should probably 'gift' these to myself 🙊

21 Nov 2017

Gift Guide: £30 and Under



'Tis the season (I mean, there are Christmas ads on TV already so I'm officially deeming it the festive season), and I don't know about you but I'm already panicking about what gifts I'm getting whom and where from and what for and when...

Well, the 'when' isn't such an issue with online shopping. I buy most of my clothes and homeware online these days, why not gifts too? Am I just getting lazier or am I being more time-efficient? Let's go with the latter.

If you're a super efficient time-saving genius too (ahem), then perhaps you'll find a couple of potential Christmas gifts in this little gift guide of 12 stylish, useful and extremely affordable gifts for friends and family this year. Personally, I'm just incredibly proud that I managed to get this out in November, for goodness' sake. 

Happy shopping!


1. L'Occitane hand cream. I always have one of these in my handbag, especially when I fly. They're really nourishing and smell so good.

2. It's not just about the scented candle itself, but the vessel it comes in...I like to repurpose my pretty candles into makeup pen holders once the candle has burned out and this Saison Verte one is so chic.

3. For those who are constantly on-the-go - this Stow phone and tablet travel charger is the ideal gift for the traveller in your life, so that they never have to worry about running out of battery.

4. This Flow magazine rack is an ultra elegant piece for the home and great for those who tend to always have papers or magazines lying around.

5. A stylish kitchen item like this marbled stone dust bottle opener is always a thoughtful and convenient gift for when you don't want to give something that the receiver might not want on display, but you still want something that looks beautiful and will be used, too.

6. Beauty lovers are going gaga over eye masks, and these deep hydration revitalising eye masks are beautiful and easy to take away on travels, too.

7. Copper everything, please! If you know someone who loves this accent colour as much as I do, a sleek, minimal copper vase would make a beautiful gift for someone'e hallway or living room.

8. For the person who still prefers writing out physical 'To Do' lists, or wants to jot down notes for later on whilst travelling, or simply wants to document their thoughts - a personalised luxury journal is a thoughtful gift.

9. Coffee lovers will appreciate this eco-friendly reusable cup - plus it'll help them save money over the long-term, too (many cafes will give a small discount for using your own mug). Bonus!

10. Whilst clothing is often a difficult thing to gift, accessories are always a joy to receive and easier to get right! These pearl cage drop earrings are a beautiful (and very on trend) option.

11. Another accessory basically everyone could do with having - a minimal, 'goes-with-everything' card holder like this shiny croc effect one. Come to think of it, I could do with a new one myself...

12. Because clearly, I can't get enough of marble and gold (or marble and copper, or marble and brass) ... this brush holder is such a great idea and a slightly more unusual (yet still highly usable) gift!

13 Nov 2017

Weekend in Santorini // ft. Skyfall Suites

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece

Our weekend in Santorini began just as the sun was about to set. We'd arrived at the idyllic and peaceful Skyfall Suites in the much calmer and less touristy area of Pyrgos, located in the mid to South Western part of Santorini (and also, interestingly, the highest point of the island).

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SKYFALL SUITES

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Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites

We were served a glass of Prosecco each as we checked in, and then treated to a bottle of local white and a simple yet gorgeous cheese board as we settled into our suite to watch the sunset.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites

In typical Greek fashion, Skyfall Suites is a stunning, whitewashed, minimal hotel with cave-like rooms ... and an incredibly unusual and enormous shower! Despite the simple decor, there was something really charming and comforting about our suite and it felt instantly cosy. It might have been something to do with the adorable kitchen area and teeny tiny dining room table and chairs:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites

Guerlain toiletries - not too shabby at all!

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites

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PRIVATE BOAT RIDE
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The next day, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and spent some time just hanging out before being picked up by Pelagos Cruises and driven down to the port of Vlyhada (doesn't it sound like something from GoT?) for our private boat tour of the islands. Now, there are two ways you can do this: the first is to pay €150 per person to hire a catamaran...however, the caveat is that there will likely be a few other people.

The second option is to pay €600 total and charter a private speedboat to yourself. Our boat even had two bedrooms, a bathroom and a grill attached to the back - something the captain used to cook us an absolutely delicious local meal, complete with tzatziki he brought from home! Wine, beer and soft drinks were also included, and we were free to change the itinerary as we pleased. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental

We passed so many stunning islands, volcanoes and rock structures on our trip. Above, the deep red rock of the gorgeous Red Beach. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental

Get the look:

(This particular Jack Wills bikini is sold out, but they have similar styles as above)

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, private boat rental

Our boat ride ended with a gorgeous view of the sun setting directly into the ocean. Absolutely wonderful.

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OIA AND IMEROVIGLI
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On our second full day, we had no concrete plans so decided to check out the famous town of Oia. If you haven't heard of it, you've certainly seen it before - it's the setting for almost every Santorini photo on Instagram, especially that famous blue domed church with the pink bells (see the very first image in this post - you know the one!).




Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Oia
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Oia
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Oia

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Oia

It was beautiful, yes, but also stiflingly hot and crowded. I'd love to return early in the morning when I'm sure it's much quieter and more of a relaxing experience.

Wanting to escape the hordes of other tourists in Oia (and also seeing that most lunch places were very busy!), we drove a short 20 minutes to the peaceful village of Imerovigli to enjoy a much quieter lunch at Aegean Restaurant.





Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Imerovigli

Get the look:


Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Imerovigli Aegeon Restaurant

The food was fresh, delicious and healthy and the view was utterly serene. The ideal place to stop for a bite!

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SELENE
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Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Skyfall Suites
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Pyrgos

On our final evening, we had booked dinner at one of Santorini's best restaurants, Selene. Conveniently, Selene also happens to only be a mere 3 minute walk from Skyfall Suites!



We arrived just before sunset and were seated at a terrace table in the corner with a perfect view. 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Selene
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Selene
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Selene
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Selene
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Selene

I would highly recommend a dinner at Selene - the food is original, beautifully presented and delectable, service is impeccable and the atmosphere is very romantic.

Our final day, we had enough time for a scenic drive around Pyrgos and up to the highest point of the island where Prophet Elias Monestary sits, before enjoying a leisurely lunch right by the water at The Cave of Nikolas near Akrotiri beach. We had a mini seafood feast here and the lunchtime atmosphere being seated outdoors was lovely - buzzy yet relaxed.


Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Cave of Nikolas
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Cave of Nikolas
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Santorini Greece, Cave of Nikolas

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GOOD TO KNOW
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  •  You'll want to rent a car. It's really the most convenient way to get around the island, which isn't very large. It's unlikely any car journey will take you more than 30 - 40 minutes. We used the Europcar branch next to the airport and though there were no issues with the car itself, service was poor...just FYI. Leave yourself plenty of time to return the car at the end of your journey. We were left waiting around for half an hour for the 'owner' to get back and check some detail or other.
  • If you do opt for a boat tour you may well end up visiting the hot springs, a popular attraction. The further in you swim the warmer it gets, until the water is almost as hot as a bath. Do be aware though that this WILL likely stain whatever you're wearing a reddish brown colour (something we weren't aware of beforehand...and so therefore subsequently permanently stained our swimwear. Oops).
  • Oia does have some unparalleled views and beautiful scenery, however it is extremely overcrowded during the day and if you prefer a more chilled out neighbourhood where you can leave your hotel/villa and just walk around peacefully, I would avoid staying in the area. I found Pyrgos perfect for what we were after.
  • Imerovigli is a quieter, smaller neighbourhood than Oia but with very similar scenery, so if you're looking for the same epic ocean views surrounded by staggered whitewashed buildings, I'd recommend stopping here for lunch (or even staying in the area - there looked to be some great options).
  • Raki/Tsipouro is the local drink. You might get a small complimentary bottle before or after your meal (sort of like Limoncello in Italy). It's STRONG, but you can dilute it with water (it's not uncommon to do so).

Book your stay at Skyfall Suites here. Rates start at around £280 per night.

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19 Oct 2017

A Very British Hotel: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

On my birthday weekend, Jarv surprised me with a staycation at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. Now, I'll admit that this post is a little delayed....my birthday's in June. 😳

I digress. The hotel was undergoing extensive renovations for the duration of our stay, meaning we had to utilise the ballroom entrance as the front was covered in scaffolding. So, I'm afraid I don't have any shots of the main entrance, though if you're curious, a quick Google search will reveal the beautiful, deep orange brick exterior and manicured hedges that are so traditionally British - it's very charming indeed.



Our room (a Mandarin room) overlooked Hyde Park. This was ideal: it meant we had all the privacy and peacefulness of the park outside our window, chirping birds being the only sound heard first thing in the morning, yet still had the convenience of all the shops of Knightsbridge at our fingertips, a mere few steps across the road on the opposite side of the hotel.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

Our stay being a birthday celebration, Jarv ensured that the hotel went above and beyond to make it a weekend to remember. They certainly came through - my favourite flowers (bird of paradise) were placed in a vase by the window, a highly devourable (if that's not a term then it should be), full-sized matcha cake awaited me. It should be noted that I waited all of 30 seconds after the photos were taken to dig into it, and it tasted divine. A bottle of 2015 Sancerre sat chilling in an ice bucket. 

Perfection.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

Jarv had one more treat in store for me later that evening: dinner at the hotel restaurant, Dinner by Heston. Having been lucky enough to enjoy some of his other renowned dishes in the past (snail porridge and Sound of the Sea), Meat Fruit was the one signature Heston dish I had yet to sample...and had been longing to!

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Dinner by Heston

So try it I did.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Dinner by Heston

Despite knowing exactly what was coming and what to expect, laying eyes on that dish was still a pure delight. Skin that looks so genuine, dimpled and textured; the perfect leaf handpicked by Heston's chefs to create a hyperrealistic looking fruit...then the joy of slowly cutting into it and revealing the soft, more-ish pate inside.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Dinner by Heston

Whilst the rest of the meal was perfectly delicious and there were no complaints, the other dishes weren't particularly memorable. I'd recommend Dinner for a nice meal one time, but it's not somewhere I'm desperate to return to (except, perhaps, just to have meat fruit again).

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Dinner by Heston
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park

In conclusion: The Mandarin Hyde Park was a beautiful setting for a celebratory staycation and a park view room is a fitting choice if you're looking for a peaceful getaway whilst still being in the heart of the action (in terms of shopping, that is). Service throughout the hotel was fine, though there was nobody at the end of the stay to help us call a taxi or load bags into the back of a car - perhaps the hotel staff were a little out of form with the Mandarin being under renovation at the time. On the other hand, the birthday touches in the room - cake, wine, bird of paradise flowers - were fantastic.

The room itself was lovely and very spacious, though perhaps a little simple and in need of renovation in some areas (the bathroom door squeaked and the wall/locked door separating our room from the next one was a bit thin - further sound-proofing is necessary. The view was wonderful and we both loved enjoying a morning coffee on the balcony.

Would I go back? Sure - I'd be intrigued to see how another stay (perhaps in a different type of room) at the  Mandarin Hyde Park compares once the renovations are complete in early spring next year.

Have you been before? What were your thoughts?

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park


Book the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park here from £720 *contains affiliate link - at no extra cost to you.