It’s the first Monday of 2016 and most folks are back to work, including me. Looking out of my office window and at some of Chelsea’s roof tops, I am trying very hard to ignore the view of the gloomy sky. I think it’s because this time yesterday I was enjoying this sky (below) instead … Fuerteventura beach

Suddenly the January blues has a beautiful ring to it, doesn’t it? Le sigh.

I’m a firm believer of winter sun to rest, replenish and press reset.

Fuerteventura

As well as the much needed boost of vitamin D, it’s also an essential ingredient for an optimistic start to the new year. Goodness knows what some folks must have thought when they passed Little Man and I singing songs at the top of our lungs as we walked down the road this morning.

Fuerteventura Galera beach

For winter sun, I’m so used to the idea of long haul if you want a great beach but over the new year we discovered the beautiful sand dune beaches of Fuerteventura, which as it turns out is an island that ticks all the boxes for the whole family: road cycling for the OH, kite flying and sand castles for Little Man and for me? Just give me a beautiful sandy beach, a cocktail and gorgeous blue sea and I’m happy. Saying that, we’re already thinking of going back and I’m very keen to try paddleboarding which there was plenty of in Fuerteventura – as well as surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Though funnily enough I didn’t find the island as windy as I’d expected. The weather was just gorgeous for the seven days we were there.

But like all great things, there’s always a pause and as we boarded the plane and flew over the island’s sand dunes with no time difference or jet lag to think about …

Fuerteventura coast

I felt pleasantly surprised to have found somewhere so lovely and so close to holiday in the winter. I guess the Canary Islands are really not a big secret but Fuerteventura felt like a wonderful surprise.

Watching the sunset …

watching a sunset from a plane

… and seeing the lights of London as the plane descended were also beautiful as ever because as much as I love lounging on a beach and feeling time pass by as I watch the waves, there really is no place like home.

flying over london

Now it’s Monday and I have to admit to myself new year’s resolutions don’t really work for me. But I do want to retain this holiday feeling that is still tingling away inside of me for as long as possible. So this week on King’s Road Rocks, I’m going to start looking at ways to feel good. I’ve already put my new trainers from The Sports Edit  to good use today and have even half-made my lunch to make it healthier than the norm of 2015. But there are also plenty of other things along the King’s Road and beyond that can aid beating the January blues.

Fuerteventura

So stay tuned this week and for the rest of the month as I seek ways to feel and look good now and for the rest of the year because I just want this feeling to last forever.

*The London sky doesn’t look so gloomy anymore. 🙂 

Chelsea Girl

As I lay on my bed at an airport hotel and look back at the year, I’m not quite sure where the time has gone. 12 months have passed and 2015 is almost over and I guess I’m feeling somewhat nostalgic whilst there is also a large part of me that is very excited for 2016.

So before I sign out and get some shut eye before my early morning flight tomorrow morning, I wanted to muse on the highlights of my year.

Without a doubt my favourite exhibitions of the year were Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi Gallery and Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A. Both enthralled me, they surprised me and they ignited my imagination.

Hermès Wanderland at Saatchi Gallery

I also really enjoyed visiting this year’s summer pavilion at The Serpentine Gallery which was designed by José Selgas and Lucía Cano.

Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion 2015 Designed by Selgascano

In terms of food there are still plenty of restaurants which opened this year that I want to try. But as highlights go – this year’s include the opening of Polpo on Duke of York Square …

Polpo Duke of York Square King's Road Chelsea

… the wonderful special menus at Hakkasan

Hakkasan Hanway Ling Ling Menu

… the gorgeous afternoon teas which Fiona kindly invited me along to, including the truly scrumptious Childhood Memories menu at Corinthia Hotel.

Afternoon Tea at Corinthia Hotel London

In terms of events, there’s no doubt this year’s Chelsea in Bloom fairytale displays brought a feeling of magic onto the streets of Chelsea.

Chelsea in Bloom 2015

This year I was also lucky to see Ryan Gosling’s Q&A at Curzon Chelsea and I finally got to try the prime rib roast at Sophie’s Steakhouse. I also had a great time catching up as well as meeting for the first time some gorgeous bloggers like the time a few of us visited The Ivy West Street. And finally one of my highlights this year has to be discovering the TFL boat from Chelsea Embankment to Cadogan Pier, which has to be the best way to travel in London.

Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

It’s been a good year of firsts though next year I’m hoping for a lot more. I guess that’s the beauty of living in London, there’s always something new to try.

Chelsea Girl

Last week I headed over to South Bank for a gorgeous afternoon. I love this part of London and have done so ever since discovering the Royal National Theatre and the National Film Theatre. Since my first experiences of Robert Lepage on stage and discovering classic movies on the big screen, South Bank has changed so much. The amount of food on offer is impressive. You don’t have to wander down to Gabriel’s Wharf to find a pizza or a burger. There’s plenty of choice from the restaurants and the food market. It’s amazing.

Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

But one habit that hasn’t changed over the years has been the way I travel from Chelsea to Embankment – until now. I always take the district line back. This time however, my journey home changed.Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

It’s all down to a certain Little Man who wanted to go on a boat. Excited at the sight of the river and already speaking so clearly (he’s not known for being the quiet one at nursery. ;), I found myself looking for a way to go home on a boat.

Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

In fact, it’s so easy at the right time of day – thanks to TFL who run riverboats during peak hours and in both directions: towards Putney and towards Canary Wharf. In cities such as Sydney, travelling by river is the norm. But in London, I think our autopilot is simply switched on to bus, tube or if in a hurry cab.

It wasn’t until we boarded the boat that I realised river travel was something some folks did regularly. And what a great way to get home. You sit in a comfy seat, open a gin and tonic (which they serve on the boat) and you watch the world go by. On our vessel everyone was a city worker. Most were kicking back and talking to each other whilst others were on their phones or laptops. You can imagine how lively an excited two year old was for them. They seemed to enjoy Little Man’s presence. 😉Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

I love the water and so heading home this way was pure bliss for me.
Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

Battersea Power Station up ahead.Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

Passing boats.Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

Approaching Chelsea Embankment.
Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

And Cadogan Pier, perfectly positioned just by my favourite bridge.Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

It beats the endless escalators on the underground any day.

Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

And the views are a lot better. Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

Stepping out of the station is picturesque … Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

… just beautiful.
Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

And then it was just a stroll along Chelsea Embankment as we made our way home.Taking the boat from Embankment to Cadogan Pier

For more details on travelling by river in London, here’s TFL’s link. I’m definitely doing it again!

Chelsea Girl

Recently I popped into London’s Corinthia Hotel for a meeting and I do have to say, it is very beautiful.

The Corinthia Hotel

After the meeting, I had a quick look around the ground floor and took some snapshots, which I just wanted to share with you to give you a quick peek inside.

I am due to return soon when I will be taking more photos – and I can’t wait to share my experience with you, especially the spa.

In the meantime, here are a few photos for you to enjoy …

The Corinthia Hotel

The Chandelier Foyer is just beautiful.

The Corinthia Hotel

Here is one of the hotel’s restaurants.

The Corinthia Hotel

And a private dining room.

The Corinthia Hotel

This bar is gorgeous. Clearly a place to go for cocktails.

The Corinthia Hotel

The bar actually turns into a piano.

The Corinthia Hotel

The ballroom is magnificent.

The Corinthia Hotel

And somewhere else to sip Champagne and dine.

Doesn’t it all look beautiful? I can’t wait to visit again.

A couple of weeks ago, I popped into No. 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel to meet someone.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelFrom the outside, the hotel is quite an unassuming building nestled comfortably amongst the grandeur of the 19th century mansions off the King’s Road.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelBut when I stepped over the threshold and discovered the hotel’s instant charm, I knew I had to return for a proper look around. And so last week, that is what I did.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelLittle did I know upon my first visit that not only had I stumbled across a local gem but also an exquisite hotel filled with wonderful surprises behind each door.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelThe library captured my heart. I love texture and deep rich colours and this room is perfect for sitting back in and reading the papers. It is also filled with first edition books that instantly create a sense of history for the hotel. (I’m a book fiend and I love the idea of picking up an original publication of my favourite story.)

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelThe bar is also a gorgeous find and it did not surprise that not only guests pop in for a drink but locals too.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelBut if you are already anticipating more photos of deep sumptuous colours, herein lies another of the hotel’s surprises: you can’t guess what is around the corner.

For example, here is the afternoon tea room … very light and airy.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelAnd here is the outdoor terrace …

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelMost of the suites themselves … (and we are only talking suites for this five star luxury hotel) … are also spacious, allowing plenty of light. Here is my favourite …

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelThe corridor that leads to the bedroom …

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelAnd the gorgeous bedroom …

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

Other surprises lie in the details of each room. For example, this large wardrobe …

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelWho would have guessed that behind one of these doors lies … this gorgeous marble bathroom?

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

And that each suite has its own style? Like this one …

IMG_9819

IMG_9820Or this one …

IMG_9822

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelBut hands down, this has to be my favourite corner of the hotel.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel

Because the suites can be connected and separated depending on the needs of the guest, this mirrored room can also become someone’s dining room (if you take the surrounding suites, which has been done).

Here’s a little glimpse of the restaurant …

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelAnd here is the al fresco private dining area.

No. 11 Cadogan Gardens HotelHotels are supposed to feel like a home away from home plus a little bit more but No. 11 Cadogan Gardens Hotel takes this idea to another, more luxurious level. So it’s no surprise that guests return here year after year. This place is gorgeous.

As for myself, booking a suite or connecting few may not be on the agenda but there is still the bar – and of course restaurant. And these, I cannot wait to discover properly.

Watch this space. 😉

No.11 Cadogan Gardens, 11 Cadogan Gardens, Knightsbridge, London, SW3 2RJ.

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