Creating memories at Hoburne Park and beyond

This week you’ll find our full review of Hoburne Park over at Boo, Roo & Tigger Too. Like any great family break we ended up with too many photos which meant so much to us.

So you’ll find those which show off Hoburne Park and its surroundings at their best on Sarah’s site. I wanted to share some of my other favourites as I’m loving seeing my water babies thrive this summer.

At the end of May my three got their first memorable experience of an outdoor pool thanks to Aunty Leigh-Anne’s 40th. It’s taken all my energy to stop them getting hold of my phone to request a further invitation. The chance to spend four consecutive days swimming outdoors definitely ticked their wishlist.Fun at Hoburne Park Fun at Hoburne Park Fun at Hoburne ParkThe bond between my three siblings constantly astounds me. I love the bond between my twins but this summer has definitely shown the strength of the older sister. There’s rarely a moment when the boys are in the role of dominant coupling, instead I get the chance to spend more time with one of the boys.Fun at Hoburne ParkThis was the first outing of the summer for our body boards. The boys don’t seem as fond of the sea this summer- their tastes are obviously getting more refined – they’re no longer lapping up salt water and wolfing down the sand. They are all thriving in the moments they can keep their mouths closed and gaining confidence on their boards.Boardboarding in ChristchurchThe chance to go crabbing at Mudeford also saw the confidence of the children grow. They’ve been going crabbing locally with daddy recently so the chance to show off their handling skills was not to be missed. Crabbing at Mudeford Crabbing at MudefordAnd as for me, I got to practice my photography skills. Well, maybe practice using the camera rather than skills. And Mudeford gave me every opportunity with so many boats! boats Boats at MudefordOur time in Christchurch also kicked started me adding videos to our You Tube channel again, and this video shows our weekend break in a bit more detail:

DoubleTree by Hilton London Islington

Following on from last week’s stay in a Hilton, this week’s stay was at DoubleTree by Hilton. Whilst a Hilton hotel is described as “much more than a full service hotel”, DoubleTree is described as “a comfortable hotel experience”. Arriving at DoubleTree by Hilton London Islington expectations were appropriately set.Doubletree by Hilton London IslingtonThe hotel is conveniently located a short walk from Angel. I’ve stayed in this area a lot as it is close to my base in Barbican. Angel has everything you need in turns of restaurants, bars, cinema and theatre so it’s definitely a good location. I was using it as a half way point as my meeting the following day was near to Kings Cross and the walk is bearable.

On entering the hotel you are met with fantastic contemporary decor. a friendly greeting at Reception and the offer of the trademark warm cookie. Declining the cookie on a calorie count did not faze, I was simply offered fruit in its place.

My room was a standard double (obviously given it was with work). And the room met this expectation.Doubletree by Hilton London IslingtonThe bed was comfy, the room had the facilities needed and the bathroom had a good range of toiletries and the shower was good enough to meet expectations.Doubletree by Hilton London IslingtonThe view wasn’t great, overlooking the goods entrance. I’m guessing it might be have been better than overlooking the street. It did have a desk area, which was appreciated, as was the mirror close to the window for sorting my face in the morning.Doubletree by Hilton London IslingtonMy criticism of the hotel was of the room service. It had been one of those days, nay, one of those weeks, where my plans of a night out were drowned out by my need to hide within four walls. I ordered room service. Remember how I declined the chocolate chip cookie? I ordered the superfood salad with grilled chicken. With a large bottle of water. And I offset it after much deliberation with a slice of a lemon based desert. Five minutes after ordering I had a phone call to let me know the desert was of the menu and to offer alternatives. I took it as a sign of my need to lose some weight and declined. 

A little while later my meal arrived. I needn’t have celebrated the calories I hadn’t gained. I have no idea what it was with the salad, apart from half the ingredients were missing so it basically compromised quinoa, lettuce, pepper and courgette. And to hide the missing ingredients, it was drowned in mayonnaise. Oh I was so unhappy. My laziness of not nipping round the corner to the supermarket was on payback. My night of slobbing out in a hotel room was ruined by the taste of oh-so-much mayonnaise.

Lesson learned- when staying away always explore the surroundings!

And as it always the way, here’s what to expect from a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton London – Islington:

Hilton Edinburgh Airport Hotel

Hilton Edinburgh AirportMy overnight at the Hilton Edinburgh Airport didn’t go to plan. So much so I’ve taken the stock image from the Hilton website (sorry! I’ll take my own later this week).

We’ve been using the hotel a lot this year for meetings and workshops. A short walk from the airport makes it so convenient for me (and I’m sure it’s a great location for everyone else too- ahem). The team at the business centre have always been great at accommodating my random meetings and kept a straight face when I phoned to ask if I had left my mouse behind…

Having some meetings in London meant I needed to fly from London City and incur an overnight. And as coincidence would have it, someone who I was trying to set up a meeting with was also in Edinburgh so, whilst not ideal I arranged a meeting for half past eight in the evening, which should have worked comfortably.

It didn’t. My flight was delayed. And then on landing no-one was available to let us off the plane. I arrived at the hotel, checked in and started my meeting at nine. Meaning I didn’t see my room until half ten.

It may well have been my mood, but I wasn’t overly impressed by my room. It was spacious enough, and had some great toiletries (flying back to Cardiff meant I could only use them!), but with the single brand- Hilton- it just didn’t wow.Hilton Edinburgh AirportAs you’ll know by now, it’s the shower which is of utmost importance. And whilst this one looked a bit ‘whatever’, fortunately it was a good shower. So that won me round a bit. Hilton Edinburgh AirportBut it was the bed that was a complete let down. It just wasn’t comfortable. Having left the house at 6am for London, I expected to sink into it and fall asleep, I didn’t. I needed to continue my evening meeting at 8am, and both individually suggested their stay had been a bit lacklustre. Difficulties in sleeping and a lack of comfort being their main complaint. Hilton Edinburgh AirportAnd I’m sort of ok with that. It’s an airport hotel. But the thing is, it is a Hilton. And other budget hotels are available, and in my experience, are as comfortable.

From talking to the team at the business centre, because of the massive refurbishment going on there, the hotel is having an overhaul. And the website tells me the hotel will be rebranded as a Doubletree by Hilton by the end of the year, which seems ok, as I think Doubletree is the ‘budget’ Hilton brand. 

But yes, on this occasion I did feel a little conned.

Here’s a quick look around the room for your verdict:

M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech City

There are the things in your diary you really look forward to as they approach. Britmums Live was one of them for me, admittedly less so for the event itself and more so for some quality time with friends. Sara-Jayne and I decided to share a room, club our funds together and splash out on a room at M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech City.M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech CityM by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech CityI say ‘splash out’, but I doubt anyone can question that you get what you pay for at a Montcalm hotel. I was absolutely devastated to find out as I checked in that I had free access to a spa. I know I overlooked this when booking but I used to hate the idea of a spa, however having recently celebrated a special birthday for a best friend in a spa hotel, I am a convert.
I felt my afternoon was a little less full for not being able to take advantage of the facility.

I’ll also admit to feeling dressed in the wrong attire. Anyone who knows me well knows I am an ill-informed goth. On this particular Friday I chose to rock up in my coral sweatshirt with gold font ‘Winging It’ emblazoned across the front. To a hotel where guests and employees all received the memo about black attire- it feels that stylish.M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech CityAs I inspected my room all qualms about not spending my afternoon in the spa were quashed, for I spotted the pièce de résistance of the room, the place to while away some time without interruption. M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech CityAnd it was lush. I read. Answered emails. Wrote a blog post. Chatted on the phone. Perfect.

And then Sara-Jayne rocked up. And I had to come clean. Her dream of an evening away from the family relaxing in a bath was over.

We only had a shower. It was a great shower. But yes. That’s me- lover of a great shower, hater of the bath talking. It’s true, our room didn’t have a bath- and that’s a bit rubbish.M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech CityThe good news is as well as the fandangled technology which is explored a little in the taster video at the end (but not half as much as I found out- the curtains close at the push of a button, you have numerous colours for your mood lighting, the room fragranced to your preference… the list really does go on), most importantly, the bed is fantastically comfy. M by Montcalm Shoreditch Tech CityYou do pay for the luxuries you get. And when I phoned the hubby I joked that all I ever need is a good shower and a comfy bed.

But I admit, every once in a while, we’re worth the luxury, I’m worth spending a little extra on.

The evening away with a friend catching up.
The morning spent taking the time with our appearance.
The day spent just being a person, without immediate responsibility.

Would I do spent this sort of money all over again?