Sensory Storytelling, Queen’s Hotel Cheltenham

British travel is on the rise, and the staycation trend seems set to stick around. The MGallery by Sofitel hotels around Britain are offering something even more special to tempt you into booking a mini-break in Bath, Windsor or Cheltenham, three of the UK’s most charming destinations. I visited the grand Queen’s Hotel in Cheltenham to find out more.

Queens Hotel Cheltenham

This imposing regal property opened its doors in 1838, named in honour of Queen Victoria. It was one of the first purpose-built hotels in Europe, and was built on the site of the old Sherborne Spa. There are many period features which remain untouched in the hotel, like the magnificent Georgian staircase and original Pugin wallpaper.

Queens Hotel CheltenhamQueens Hotel CheltenhamQueens Hotel Cheltenham breakfast

In 2015 the hotel was renovated and became part of the MGallery by Sofitel group. This refreshed new look has updated the hotel, with new luxurious amenities and thoughtful touches.

Queens Hotel CheltenhamQueens Hotel Cheltenham

To complement the long and intriguing history, Lizzie Ostrom (a perfume obsessive and self taught scent historian), has worked with the Queen’s Hotel to create three perfumes to flavour the guest bedrooms at the hotel.

We sat with Lizzie and discussed the stories behind the scents, whilst indulging in a delicious afternoon tea. Lizzie explained the background of the Regency era, the importance of certain ingredients and why fragrance has always played such an important role in Cheltenham life.

When a guest checks in they are invited to choose one of the three contrasting perfumes to add personality to their bedroom. The ‘Signature’ fragrance is a cool and refreshing scent with green apple and hyacinth, the ‘Olympian Dew’ has a fruity flavour with Rose, Lychee and Cassis, while ‘Eau D’Ange’ is a warming mix of cardamom, cinnamon and cedar.

Find out more and book a scented stay at Queen’s Hotel, Cheltenham here.

Beauty Travel Essentials

Travelling continuously, through extreme weather conditions and numerous flights, left my skin craving attention. Suddenly my standard London skin routine wasn’t enough to keep my face moisturised and healthy. So while I visited new countries I discovered new international brands and wondrous products that helped me look and feel fresh and glowing even after a 12 hour overnight coach journey!

Glossier is a cult American beauty brand from skincare guru Emily Weiss. English girls celebrated across the country when started stocking the trio pack of ‘balm dotcom’. The balm can be used for anything and anywhere… I love the natural glow it gives my lips but also use it on my cuticles when my hands get dry in cold weather. Now I’m just praying they will start stocking the rest of the range over here, I want to try it all! Buy here.

Aesop makes one of my favourite skincare ranges so I was excited to visit the brand’s hometown, Melbourne in Australia. Here the products are half the price they are in England and the variety is even greater. I found the Boston kit to be the perfect travel companion. A compact case filled with unisex goodies including the classic skincare and hair formulations, mouthwash and body balm. The travel sizes are perfect for a long weekend away and the stylish black case can be used even after the products are finished. My favourites were the Fabulous Face Cleanser, which smells divine, and the B & Tea Balancing Toner that refreshed and smoothed my face. Buy here.

I have always loved the Parisian perfumer, Maison Francis Kurkdjian. The APOM scent – which stands for ‘A Part Of Me’ – is inspired by the perfumer’s travels to Lebanon. It is a romantic fragrance infused with the sweetness of Orange Blossom, the warmth of Ylang Ylang and the strength and intensity of Cedarwood. This travel set contains three handy portable bottles which are perfectly sized for carrying in your handbag or for taking away on holiday. Buy here.

Hot on the Highstreet Week 265

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The Basics Store is a brand new, temporary pop-up shop curated by Marina Guergova of Marina London. It is located amongst the trendy boutiques on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. The stylish edit of clothes and accessories showcases a range of young British designers as well as Marina London’s own silk garments.

The concept shop features designers who share a love of the everyday essentials, and the small space displays the items in a simple but beautiful way. Hanging on the rails are Blake LDN’s luxurious and flattering knitwear and beautiful pieces from Marina London 100% silk basics collection. To complete the look you can buy cool and contemporary crafted footwear by Dear Francis and Danielle Foster’s high quality leather bags and accessories. There are two lovely cabinets of jewellery by of Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris, which would make great gifts. I adored the quirky selection of fragrances from the Avery Perfume Gallery, with scents from Santa Eulalia and Roads.

The Basics Store is a creative place, during its short occupancy it has hosted talks by inspiring start-ups and successful young companies, including The Hardihood, Crude Juice and Qnola. The wonderfully rustic Petalon Flowers have been offering their floral bunches to visitors once a week and music has been provided at the front of the shop by talented acoustic artists.

With such a thoughtful range of ideas it seems a shame that The Basics Store isn’t here to stay. Let’s hope Marina sets up shop somewhere in London permanently soon.

The Basics Store is open until Monday 13th July 2015.
Monday to Friday 10am – 7pm, Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 11am – 5pm.

30a Redchurch St, London, E2 7DP.