A Stay at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel

The iconic St Pancras Renaissance Hotel could not be any more ideal for a pre-Eurostar trip. With its comfortable rooms, great food, and side entrance within St Pancras International station, it takes all the stress and effort out of the night before or after a European train trip.

Renaissance St Pancras

This January, ahead an early-morning trip to Ghent in Belgium, I spent an evening enjoying cocktails and food in the Booking Office, before spending the night in a cosy room on the 7th floor of the hotel.

Booking Office

To kick-off our stay, we enjoyed inventive twists on classic cocktails with two of the Booking Office’s signatures; a balanced, sweet and smooth Beekeeper (featuring Glenmorangie whisky, almond & rose honey, and apricot liqueur), and an Ol’ Signalman (a nutty take on an Old Fashioned, made with pecan nut infused bourbon).

Renaissance St Pancras

We followed this with a fight-worthy sharing portion of fried chicken, the Booking Office burger and a portion of Rum & Raisin profiteroles. Whether you are staying at the hotel or not this centrally located eatery is brilliant for a drink or meal. The atmosphere is buzzy and the dining room itself is very impressive, thanks to the redesign by Parisian architect and designer Hugo Toro.

Renaissance St Pancras

Our room, 717, was perfectly pleasant but not as luxurious as the room I stayed in last time I visited. With no view of the kissing statue on the Eurostar platform, and a smaller bedroom space, it was still a nice place to spend the night (and had enough room for a camp bed on the floor for my eldest son), but lacked the excitement and indulgence of other 5* rooms. The bathroom was petite but well appointed with a bath-shower and plenty of soft towels. We slept well and woke up feeling refreshed and ready for adventure!

Renaissance St Pancras

Bright and early, we popped down for breakfast ahead of a relaxed 2-minute stroll (out of the side entrance) to the Eurostar terminal. A great start to our trip to Belgium, I’d recommend a stay here ahead of any early Eurostar journey!

More information and book a stay here.

I was a guest of the hotel.

Last Minute Beauty Stocking Fillers

We are halfway through December and my Christmas shopping is far from being done. If you are making stockings this year for family or friends, here’s a few beauty little luxuries to help you tick off the final shopping bits and bobs. I’ve created a list including indulgent haircare, nourishing skincare, make-up favourites and even the ultimate party-hair gadget…

Officine Universelle Buly, body creams – This historic brand has the most beautiful packaging which lends itself to gifting, especially as it is all beautifully wrapped and ready to give. The fine body lotions are particularly wonderful in the colder months, despite the lightness, they are very effective and hydrating for weather worn skin. The scents are sophisticated and indulgent.

Jo Loves, Fig Trees Hand Wash and Hand Lotion – These aromatic hand care products are perfect sink companions. The fig tree scent is fresh and summery and will make the house and your hands smell lovely. At this time of year I need hand cream constantly to remedy my dry skin and this set is unbeatable.

Decleor Neroli set – This Neroli Bigarade Hyrating Skincare set is worth £127, but is priced at £79, so you get three gifts in one. Decleor is a great brand for all skin types, and this set is a great set for daily use. The essential oils are great for dry skin in winter, and will leave your skin looking radiant. The trio includes a day cream, cleansing mousse and a serum – the essentials for every morning and evening.

S’able Labs, Discovery Essentials Kit – This is the new brand from Sabrina and Idris Elba, simple and effective skincare for everyone. This travel-friendly set is a great introduction to the brand with a Qasil Cleanser, Black Seed Toner and Baobab Moisturiser. This three step skincare will give your skin a lovely winter radiance and calm the skin’s tone. I can think of so many people who would love this set, it’s a great last minute gift to add to a stocking.

Necessaire, Neck Serum – I’ve never heard of a neck serum before but this Necessaire product is a must buy. It’s a fast absorbing emulsion, a multi-peptide solution which will repair your skin and ensure your neck skin is firm and soft. It’s an unusual product which makes it a great present as it’s a great gift for the person that has everything!

Molton Brown, Hand Care Gift Set – Molton Brown is a classic British beauty brand and is universally loved. For chapped winter hands this trio of hand creams is the perfect remedy, showcasing three of the iconic Molton Brown fragrances – pink pepper, orange & bergamot and rhubarb & rose. I also love the fun gold crackers, filled with four miniature shower gels, it is the perfect stocking filler.

Ultra Violette Limited Edition Duos – I adore Ultra Violette and take them everywhere with me when I travel. These little miniatures are perfect for trips away and now we know it’s important to wear sunscreen everyday these Ultra Violette products are my staples. Ultra Violette are conditioning for the skin while also giving complete protection, I love them and can’t recommend them enough.

Philip Kingsley, Moisture Balancing set – Get salon-worthy hair with this comprehensive set from Philip Kingsley. I love the shampoo and conditioner which is great for everyday use, but makes your hair look glossy and hydrated. There is a reason why the PK collection is award-winning – I noticed a change in quality after just 3 washes. This set is a great way to introduce someone to this luxurious haircare brand at a reduced price.

Hair by Sam Knight, Nourishing Shampoo & Conditioner – I love all the Sam McKnight products so it’s hard to highlight just a few. In winter I love the Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner which gives life to dull, colour-damaged tresses. But if you only want to buy one product go for the Happy Endings Nourishing Balm – a styling and conditioning styling cream. Just one pump of this magic cream will seal 50% of split ends and tame frizzy hair, I know everyone in my curly-haired family would love this product.

Olaplex, Bonding Oil – This highly concentrated bonding oil will give your hair an extra shine for celebrating this Christmas. Olaplex are the masters of nourishing haircare – this product is weightless and light despite its rich ingredients which will repair the structure of your hair and protect it in the harsh weather. It’s the perfect compact size to pop in a stocking!

Babyliss, Wave Secret Air – I am a seriously lazy with my hair, but on Christmas Day I try to make an effort adding a bit of a tousled wave. I’ve tried all kinds of wave methods and this Babyliss product is one of the best. Easy and quick to use creating loose, natural waves this new gadget will ensure your hair looks effortlessly chic on the big day. A little Christmas present to myself!

Jones Road, Miracle Balm & Sparkle Wash – These are two of the bestsellers from the Jones Road collection. The Miracle Balm offers an all over glow and comes in a range of shades. I love the ‘Flushed’ shade which will give your cheeks a natural rosy colour for winter. The Sparkle Wash is a subtle liquid glitter that I use as a highlighter for cheekbones and eyebrows but it’s also a great eyeshadow. The wand is easy to use or you can apply with your fingers. A lovely product to pop on before your Christmas party!

Hourglass, Ambient Palette – I discovered Hourglass a few years ago and it remains one of my favourite make-up brands. The quality is unbeatable and the products last forever. This palette will give you a bit of glisten and sparkle over the festive season, a beautiful set of six hues which will flatter and glow on the skin. Layer the colours or wear solo.

Aman, Fragrance Discovery Set – Aman is one of the most luxurious of beauty brands and this elegant fragrance set is a highlight of the range. A collection of seven fine perfumes, each inspired by an Aman destination. The perfect gift for a travel and beauty lover.

Post includes some press samples.

10 Scented Candles for Christmas

Whether you are looking for a candle to scent your home ahead of festive entertaining or the perfect gift, this list has been carefully compiled to ensure there is something for every occasion. From beautiful vessels to magical perfumes, my top ten scented candles includes some classic favourites to some more unique new releases.

Acqua di Parma, Panettone – I’m not sure what I love more about this candle, the beautiful yellow marbled design or the brilliantly festive smell of panettone. It’s a warm and sweet scent with the flavours of candied fruit and sugary brioche coming through. I adore Panettone, and I’ve often thought it should be enjoyed year round, this candle will keep the memory of this Christmas baked treat alive long after 25th December.

Ginori 1735, Centauro Palazzo – This stylish candle is a collaboration between British designer Luke Edward Hall and Ginori 1735. Together they have created an array of scents to capture the spirit of some of his favourite destinations. This candle is inspired by the Palazzo Centauro in Venice and the smell of incense you experience when walking past the city’s open church doors, I adore it.

Skandinavisk, Takka and Nordlys – Evoking memories of magical winter nights this duo of smaller 90g candles make the perfect stocking fillers (especially as they are priced at £25 each). Takka is finnish for ‘fireplace’ whereas Nordlys means Northern lights and has an artic intensity.

Diptyque, Neige – Diptyque are surely the queen of scented candles and every year they bring out a wonderful winter collection for the holiday season. This year Neige is my favourite, a limited edition scent which combines soft hues of heliotrope and powdery white musk.

Vilshenko, Autumn – The award for most charming candle goes to Vilshenko who have brought out a collection of Matryoshka doll candles, each in a different colour and scent. The Autumn is a cosy combination of blackberry, nutmeg and patchouli paired with the uplifting freshness of jasmine, bergamot and plum.

Never Go Alone, Sandstone – This is the ideal gift for the candle lover that has them all, from the brand new company Never go Alone. Sandstone is a calming, soothing smell with dominant flavours of cardamon and sandalwood. The candle itself is in a lovely heavy glass casing which makes it feel even more luxurious.

Henry’s Townhouse, Saturnalia – From the ultra boutique hotel, Henry’s Townhouse in Marylebone, comes this sophisticated candle. They have worked with a top French perfumer to create a scent that perfectly captures the concept of the hotel with fiery notes of ginger, orange, vanilla and cinnamon. Saturnalia feels like the perfect scent for Christmas.

Overose, Pain au Chocolat – The perfect gift for all pastry lovers… I have the viennoiserie trio – croissant, pain au chocolat and croissant aux amandes, you can also now get macaron pistache and cinnamon roll! Light it on Christmas morning to bring the smell of French bakeries into your home.

Boy Smells, Gardener – For something a bit fresher (I love this candle in bathrooms or even the kitchen) the Boy Smells Gardener has a lovely combination of citrus groves and honeysuckle, with notes of orange tree and tomato leaf. Priced at £42 it makes a lovely and luxurious present for friends and family.

Paul Smith, 1kg Botanist – This epic 1kg candle is a seriously special candle. Inspired by the clean-cut tailoring at Paul’s first Nottingham shop, the Botanist evokes freshly-cut grass and greenery, and contains notes of Haitian vetiver, moss and lemon. There are some other lovely scents in the range, each housed in a different coloured glass duo.

Post includes some press gifts / samples.