15 February 2019

12 hours in...Bangkok

24 hours in...Bangkok Travel Guide
My last work trip of 2018 took me to Bangkok. I had never set foot in Thailand before, so wasn’t sure what to expect. 

As I was out there for work, I obviously didn’t see as much as you would if you’re there for fun but, I knew I’d have a little downtime. If you’re on a tight timeline like I was, I would say your best mode of transport is by air train, tuk tuk or river boats — we were lucky enough to have a guide and driver (very fancy, I know, but very reasonably priced) but, I have to admit some of the free time we had to explore, was spent stuck in traffic! Traffic in Bangkok is like none other, and I thought New York and Paris was bad... Bangkok is insane, and seems to be 24/7, so avoid where possible!
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
We had roughly 12 hours, split over a couple of days to explore what we could of the city. This amount of time does give you a totally doable agenda in Bangkok, but I would highly recommend prioritising a few key things to see, do and experience. Keep in mind that Bangkok is very humid, something I thought I’d already experienced back home in the Summer, but left me sweating in places I didn’t think you could, plus add in a little jetlag and it can definitely take it out of you.

The Grand Palace is a must see when in Bangkok. Rather than being a single structure, the Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. The buildings within the grounds are totally mind-blowing, adorned in gold, sparkling gems and tiles that give you total bathroom floor goals. 
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
We also visited Wat Pho — home of the reclining Buddha (46 m long!) and the birthplace of the Thai massage, which you can have during your visit for the price of a coffee here in the UK. 

On our last day, we jumped in a tuk tuk to Wat Traimit, home of the Golden Buddha — a solid gold Buddha that has a crazy story behind it, followed by a few hours walking round MBK, a shopping mall with hundreds of stalls and stores in selling everything and anything you can think of — it has so much to offer, as well as a food hall selling very cheap, delicious Thai food — more authentic than the designer handbags and shoes on sale downstairs, plus air conditioning, so a nice break from the humidity outside.
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
Another thing to experience are the night markets in Bangkok. Our hotel was around a 15-minute walk from one of the big, popular ones, and so we were able to spend a couple of nights walking round picking up some shopping, and sampling some Thai street food and drinks, which was honestly my favourite thing I experienced whilst out there. 
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
24 hours in...Bangkok by Laura Lewis
Bangkok was an experience in itself, and honestly I was surprised at how much I liked the city. The locals were so welcoming, the food was amazing and the sightseeing was breathtaking. The traffic and humidity totally blew my mind, but all in all, Bangkok was a city I look forward to visiting again one day, and exploring more.

23 January 2019

The Hoxton Hotel, Paris

The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
I love a good hotel, and I’m lucky enough to stay in a fair few on my work trips and adventures. One of my favourite hotel brands is The Hoxton. I’ve stayed at both of their London sites several times, and can never fault my visits - the rooms, the staff, the food, and the beds - still to this day, the most comfortable beds I’ve slept in, and there have been a lot (I mean that in a non-lady-of-the-night way).

Until a few years ago, The Hoxton only had two sites, both in London. Their first international site opened up in Amsterdam (which, I am still yet to visit) and then, the fourth opened in Paris.

Located in the 2nd arrondissement, Sentier, The Hoxton Paris is the largest addition to the Hoxton brand, and is walking distance to iconic sights such as Pompidou Centre, Jardin Tuileries, Musee du Louvre and the Palais Royal. The hotel itself is set over six buildings originating from the 18th century, and once residence of Etienne RiviĆ©, adviser to Louis XV. 
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The light, airy and downright chic lobby and lounge areas are perfect to grab a drink from the bar, catch up on emails and just relax and people watch. The restaurant onsite, RiviĆ© offers all-day French-inspired dishes with local ingredients, and of course, some Hoxton classics added into the mix, and you have to visit the beaut of a bar, Jacques for a little nightcap in the form of one of their cocktails - traditional or off menu, they’ll happily whip you something up. 
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The bedroom concepts of The Hoxton stay the same in Paris as they are in their other hotels. If you're not familiar, it's pretty simple; There are four different sizes of bedrooms: Shoebox (smallest), Cosy (standard), Roomy (bigger) and Biggy (largest). I always book the size of the room depending on the length of my stay - for example, if it's for 1 night, the Shoebox will be perfect, 2-3 nights, Cosy, 4+ nights Roomy or Biggy. Simples.

All of the bedrooms have the chicest bathrooms, with walk in showers and toiletries from Pen & Ink. There are minibars containing complimentary milk and water, and there's a kettle with proper mugs (that’s a big thing for me!) for tea and coffee. 

There's also a few other little touches - a curated bookshelf in each room, all with different books chosen by local creatives. There's a cute wireless radio, TV and also breakfast bags for you to hang on the outside of your hotel room door ready for the morning - think of it like hanging up a stocking on Christmas Eve ready for Father Christmas to fill, but this is for the Hoxton Hotel Elves to fill with a bottle of OJ, Granola and Yoghurt and a piece of fruit - the perfect on-the-go breakfast fuel if you're eager to head out into the city for a little adventure. 
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton Hotel, Paris by Laura Lewis
The Hoxton have very recently opened their first two across the pond - one in Portland, Oregon and one in Williamsburg, New York. 2019 sees three further Hoxton’s open up in Los Angeles, South London and, one of my favourite cities in the world - Chicago! 

New York is my special place, and until last year, I had barely explored outside of Manhattan, spending only a couple of hours in Williamsburg and Brooklyn, so I can’t wait to stay at The Hoxton Hotel Williamsburg and explore the hotel and area.

30-32 Rue du Sentier, 75002 Paris, France
+33 1 85 65 75 

18 January 2019

MILK Makeup UK Launch & Brand low-down

Milk Makeup Products
Milk Makeup Products


It’s here! Another US-Based brand that I’m a huge fan of - Milk Makeup is finally launching in the UK at the end of this month, and I can’t bloody wait.

Maybe you don’t know who or what Milk Makeup is, but that’s fine as I’m here to give you the lowdown on the brand, and the products that have snuck their way into my Sephora basket when I’ve visited the US. 

Milk Makeup was founded by Milk cofounder Mazdack Rassi, uber-stylish beauty and fashion editor, E! News correspondent, Zanna Roberts Rassi (she is also a fellow Brit), creative director Georgie Greville, and product developer and COO Dianna Ruth. 

It’s not been exactly easy to get your hands on their products, unless you live in the US (I've been smuggling it back from Sephora for a while), my first experience with Milk Makeup products was when I visited Sephora on a trip to the US back in 2017. The brand had launched the year before, and I’d heard a lot of hype surrounding them. 

They’re cruelty-free, paraben-free and 100% vegan. The packaging is also recyclable, which is great - more beauty brands need to jump on this. The products range from cosmetics to skincare, and some have multi-use benefits. Their focus is on easy, convenient, expressive, naturally formulated cosmetics for the girl who is always on the move. Price points of the products is affordable - pieces start from £10.25 for their infamous tattoo stamps, and range up to £34 for foundation.

Like with most beauty brands, there are some real winners that have me recommending them to anyone that will listen, and some that didn’t have me jumping for joy. So, here’s the lowdown on what I’ve tried, what I think are worth keeping, and the products that won’t be hanging around on my bathroom shelves and makeup drawers... 

Cooling Water Under-Eye De-Puffer Stick
Cooling Water is a stick treatment that is formulated with caffeine and seawater that is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. designed to treat dry skin, dullness, puffiness, and uneven texture. Apply it directly to the under eye are for cooling and soothing benefits, and you can use it on the neck, face and body, as well as being used as a primer. It’s super handy when I travel - it even goes in the in-flight beauty bag I carry. It’s the perfect pick-me-up for tired eyes, and great for puffy eye. 

Ubame Mascara
I picked this up in Chicago a couple of years ago as I ran out of mascara halfway through my trip. I liked the ‘toothpaste-style’ packaging, as it felt like you could squeeze more out of the product than a normal mascara tube. Application-wise, the wand head is made up of 3 balls, with the divets in between those created to help push up and curl the lashes. It did give my lashes a lift, but I did find that after a few hours, it seemed to transfer to my under-eye area, which is obviously, not the look I was going for!

KUSH High Volume Mascara
This volumizing mascara got its name via the formulation, as the key ingredient in it is cannabis oil. Another unique feature with this mascara is the brush design - heart-shaped fibers boost long-lasting volume, length and curl and lock on to lashes to reduce smudges. The Cannabis Oil is used to hydrate the lashes, and lock to them for thickness. I have to say, I was a little bit sceptical when reading the packaging in Sephora, but after trying it out, it actually seems to work! It definitely gave my lashes length, and there was no smudging or flaking plus, my lashes did feel quite nourished even after removing the mascara at the end of the day. 

Hydrating Oil Stick
Containing natural oils such as apricot, avocado, jojoba, and orange peel oils. The stick gives you an easy way to apply a little bit of moisture anywhere you need it such as on your face, under your eyes, across a dry forehead, or down the sides of your face. It is a lot like the the Milk Makeup Cooling Water Stick but it offers a different form of moisture. This is another one of their products that I have in my in-flight beauty bag, as it’s super handy for that extra hydration you need on a flight. Plus, as it’s a solid formula, it is airport-security friendly! 

Flex Concealer
This product is definitely my favourite I’ve tried from the range. With medium to full coverage, it blends easy, doesn’t cake or crease, and is long-wearing. My kind of concealer!


Milk Makeup launches online at Cult Beauty on 28th January. Click here to sign up for launch details, there will also be a pop-up shop in Covent Garden on 26 - 27 January, so if you’re in the area, head down to check out the brand.



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