Category Archives: Blogs

Not The Premier Inn.

Not The Premier Inn

I am often asked for recommendations for places to stay, particularly in London. It’s a minefield but here are some pointers.

Don’t even consider Travelodge or Premier Inn, they are often more expensive than you imagine and usually a soulless converted office block. Lets not mention the kids and babies, these hotels are advertised as family friendly. Think double rooms with multiple extra beds for the kids.

My go to hotel if I want to be central is the Hoxton Holborn, with the original branch in Shoreditch, and several more in the planning; this is a super trendy modern hotel group. At the Holborn room sizes start at Shoebox followed by Snug, Cosy and Roomy. Shoebox room rates start at £139 depending on day of the week, with the exception of the Roomy the other come in at under £200 per night. For a central London hotel where you are in walking distance of Soho and Convent Garden this is good value. If there are two of you travelling avoid the Shoebox, the clue is in the name, we go for Snug or Cosy. Facilities are excellent, fast free Wi-Fi, fresh milk in the fridge, breakfast bag left on your doorknob overnight and great soundproofing. The lobby is full of hipsters using the free Wi-Fi, which can be annoying, but there is a good restaurant run by Soho House as well as the Chicken Shack in the basement. www.thehoxton.com

There are several other smallish chains at the budget (for London) end of the market. CitizenM currently has 3 hotels in London, modern, funky but smallish rooms, which may not suit everybody. With access to the very comfortable bed from only one side, getting up in the middle of the night can be a challenge. Perfect for a single traveller though. Rates are around £100 for a Sunday night. Weekday rates vary but are mostly well under the £200 mark. Register your details for an extra 10% off. www.citizenm.com

Here’s another one for you. Z hotels. With 6 hotels and more to come these are brilliantly situated in good areas of London. Expect small perfectly formed rooms and if you can live without a window choose an inside room often under £100.Book early for some very good rates. www.thezhotels.com

Remember to sign up to the mailing lists of these groups as you will get priority booking on sale rates and news of special offers. I will be doing my next blog on the best sites to sign up for members only prices. Happy travelling!

 

Our Famous Granola Recipe

Our Famous Granola Recipe

Here are the quantities for 2KG which is a good amount.

192g Salted Butter

30g Black Treacle

2 teaspoons of vanilla paste

250g Demerara Sugar

250g Runny Honey

Melt altogether and let it simmer for a few minutes so that the vanilla infuses and then let it cool a little but not too cool otherwise it becomes too thick, you are going to get down and dirty with your hands, so if you can put your fingers in its the right temperature.

In a HUGE bowl or container mix the following together: (Best to do this first as it will be ready for the syrup)

1kg Oats

125g Sesame Seeds

250g Flaked Almonds

250g Flaked Coconut

250g Peeled Pistachios (Waitrose have these and Sainsburys sometimes)

125g Pinenuts.

Poor over the syrup and mix well using your hands. Pour it out onto flat oven trays, you will probably need at least 3, as it needs to be a thin layer. Oven at 150 degrees with fan and bake for 15 minutes, then turn using a spatula and cook for another 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it during the last few minutes as it can over colour very quickly. Remove from oven, allow to cool, break it up a bit, and store in airtight containers. Simple!