The best things to do in Kensington, London 🇬🇧

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Kensington Palace Queen Victoria Statue | The LDN Gal

A guide to The best things to do in Kensington, London

Kensington is a bustling district in west London. Renowned as an upmarket area, it hosts London’s most famed museums, two magnificent Royal Parks and diverse shopping. Read on to discover the best things to do in Kensington, London. 

Of course, there are lots of fantastic sights and an abundance of hotels near Kensington, allowing visitors to easily access this cultural and glamorous area. 

The first stop for many in Kensington is three of London’s largest museums. These include the Natural History Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and Science Museum. All of which offer free entry alongside a wealth of exciting exhibitions.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Natural History Museum Hope the Whale | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Natural History Museum Exterior | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Natural History Museum T Rex | The LDN Gal

The best museums in Kensington, London

Renowned as one of the most precious collections of natural history specimens, the Natural History Museum is not to be missed. On entrance, be sure to say hello to Hope the blue whale skeleton who looms over the foyer.

The museum is famed for its dinosaur collections, as well as other natural environment exhibitions. These include botany, entomology, mineralogy, palaeontology and zoology. In winter, the Natural History Museum also hosts an ice-rink and fairground rides.

Next door, discover the Victoria & Albert Museum, celebrated as one of the world’s greatest art and design museums. Inside, discover 5,000 years of creative genius with an abundance of ancient and contemporary collections.

These include eclectic collections of architecture, art, ceramics, design, fashion, furniture, paintings, performance, photographs, sculpture, textiles and jewellery. It’s certainly easy to spend a day getting lost within its astounding and varied exhibitions.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Science Museum Interior The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Science Museum Exterior | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London -The Last Tsar Blood and Revolution | The LDN Gal

Adjacent, you will find the Science Museum. Here, you are welcome to learn more about the world around you with countless exhibitions and hands-on displays.

Quite often, the Science Museum will also host a collection of special temporary exhibitions. Currently on, The Last Tsar: Blood and Revolution provides an interesting insight into the Russian royal family and their secretive medical history.

The interactive Fly 360° flight simulator ride also proves a popular paid attraction for adults and children alike.

What to do in Hyde Park Gardens, London

Have no fear though, museums aside, there is more fun to be had. Kensington is lucky to feature not one, but two Royal Parks. Discover the connected Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

These parks offer plenty of open green space to explore, be it for a summertime picnic or brisk winter walk. 

Firstly, take a stroll in Hyde Park, one of the world’s greatest city parks. Here you will stumble upon 350 acres of nature at its finest. Appreciate its beauty among trees, flowers and meadows, as well as an array of monuments.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Hyde Park Italian Gardens | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Hyde Park Bear Fountain | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Hyde Park Italian Gardens Fountain | The LDN Gal

Stop for a moment by one of its lakeside refreshment points and enjoy views of The Serpentine. In summer, you may even opt to take a boat or pedalo out.

From November onward, you can also visit Winter Wonderland. Here you can enjoy traditional German wooden huts, fairground rides and an outdoor ice rink to boot.

You will also stumble upon a variety of monuments and memorials, such as the Achilles statue and the Joy of Life Fountain, to name a fewYou may admire flora in the Rose Garden, take a moment at the Diana Memorial Fountain or listen to the voiced opinions of many each Sunday at Speakers Corner.

Hyde Park has something for everyone, and offers year-round attractions and sporting fun. Connected, you will discover Kensington Gardens via the glorious Serpentine Bridge.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Kensington Palace Sunken Garden | The LDN Gal

What to do in Kensington Gardens, London

The gorgeous and graceful Kensington Gardens offers 265 acres of green space to wander. It is home to the celebrated Kensington Palace, the Albert Memorial, Serpentine Galleries, The Italian Gardens, The Allotment Garden, Peter Pan Statue, Elfin Oak and the treasured Diana Memorial Playground.

Kensington Palace is a particularly popular pastime for tourists and local residents alike. This lovely stately home is embellished with period furnishings, landscaped by gorgeous surrounding gardens.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Kensington Palace Queen Victoria Statue | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Kensington Palace The Queen's State Apartments Bedroom | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Kensington Palace Diana Her Fashion Story Coats | The LDN Gal

Inside, discover the State Apartments, Queen Victoria’s former living quarters and a special Diana exhibition, dedicated to the fashion and charitable work of the late Princess of Wales.

It is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Prince William and Kate Middleton). Afterwards, enjoy traditional afternoon tea in the Orangery before taking a stroll through the Sunken Garden, much loved by Diana.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Whole Foods Market entrance | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Whole Foods Market lunch | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Whole Foods Market bakery | The LDN Gal

What to do in High Street Kensington

Culture and outdoor ventures aside, Kensington offers a spectacular selection of outlets for leisure and shopping.

South Kensington is home to High Street Kensington, renowned for its impressive variety of independent shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries, as well as many a high street favourite. For antique finds, you will want to visit Kensington Church Street.

You could certainly spend hours hunting around Kensington’s variety of fabulous shops. My personal favourites include Whole Foods Market, Urban Outfitters and Japan House London.

Be sure to stop for a quick lunch at Whole Foods Market, this gigantic organic food market is famed in the area.

The best things to do in Kensington, London - Japan House London Biology of Metal Exhibition | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Japan House London Metalwork Exhibition | The LDN GalThe best things to do in Kensington, London - Japan House London Metalwork Exhibition tools | The LDN Gal

Next stop, the recently opened Japan House London. Surprisingly, contained within a three-floor art deco building, it features Japanese artwork, retail shopping and fine dining at the authentic Akira restaurant.

A fantastic experience for all, head downstairs to enjoy a fascinating biology of metal exhibition and become immersed in this cultural hot spot.

Finally, the Royal Albert Hall offers a night to remember. This concert hall is home to many a classical offering. Surprisingly, this grand venue also hosts a diverse selection of gigs, dance, opera and sporting events on occasion.

The Kensington area is especially accessible, served by the Central line at Queensway station and the Piccadilly, Circle and District line at South Kensington, as well as numerous buses.  

If you are looking to spend a weekend in London, Kensington is an area not to be missed!

Have you ever explored Kensington in London? Where would you go first?

Stephanie xox

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own

A night of American-inspired food at Dirty Bones Oxford 😋

Dirty Bones Oxford review - cocktails | The LDN Gal

Dirty Bones Oxford review

If you are looking for some American-inspired food with a New York City twist, Dirty Bones Oxford is the place to be.

Walk inside and you are welcomed to a sleek interior, with moody low-lit lighting, plush seating and quiet corners aplenty. The perfect venue for an intimate evening with your other half or friends.

Grab a drink from the gorgeous cocktail bar and sit down to a menu embellished with traditional and exotic pairings – with many a twist to be discovered.

The menu offers quite the variety, with a fantastic selection of vegetarian choices and a vegan option to boot. As a fussy eater (and a vegetarian), I am always delighted when I have a few options to choose from!

To start, we sampled the mac and cheese balls and gyoza dumplings filled with mince and cheese. Who doesn’t love a starter oozing with cheese?

Dirty Bones Oxford review - interior | The LDN GalDirty Bones Oxford review - cocktail bar | The LDN GalDirty Bones Oxford review - interior dining area | The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of my dinner at Dirty Bones Oxford?

For my main, the vegan mac daddy burger, lovingly loaded with espresso-spiked BBQ sauce and vegan mac and cheese. I removed the ‘smoky mushroom short rib’ due to personal preference. Regardless, this main was a dream, held together in a soft bun and messy as they come.

My other half opted for the 12 hour braised beef short rib. These were anything but ‘short’, the monumental short rib is garnished with espresso-spiked BBQ sauce, crispy shallots and spring onions. They must have been pretty moreish, as the plate was left bone dry.

Alongside our mains, we sampled the cheesy truffle and crispy lamb topped fries. The cheesy fries garnished with aged cheddar, Parmesan cheese sauce and white truffle oil. The lamb fries, loaded with succulent crispy lamb, sweet miso, red chilli and jalapeño.

Dirty Bones Oxford review - starters | The LDN GalDirty Bones Oxford review - mains | The LDN GalDirty Bones Oxford review - desserts | The LDN Gal

To finish, we indulged with the peanut butter cookie cup and the stickiest toffee pudding. I have to admit, the pudding did not quite reach the bar compared to the rest of the meal. Of course, it was delicious, but seemed to just miss the sparkle that the starters, mains and sides had offered.

Overall, would I return to Dirty Bones Oxford? You bet! However, next time, I might have to skip lunch and breakfast that day…

You can book a Dirty Bones Oxford reservation for your next brunch, lunch or dinner date.

Have you been to Dirty Bones before? What would be your go to main?

 Stephanie xox

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This dining experience was exchanged for an honest review 

Why a luxury hamper is the perfect Christmas gift 🎄

Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas Hamper interior | The LDN Gal

Here’s why you need to add a prestige hampers luxury christmas hamper to your gift list

What do you get the person who seemingly has everything? A Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas hamper! Nothing puts a smile on someone’s face like a festive gift. Above all, one brimming with snacks, confectionery, condiments and wine.

This hamper offers the perfect combination of savoury and sweet. First of all, open up your large handmade wicker basket and inside discover an oh so delicious selection.

Enjoy Christmas breakfast with festive preserve or marmalade. Scrumptious toppings embellished with mulled wine and orange and cranberry. Sample these with a mug of indulgent double chocolate coffee or another cup of English tea.

Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas Hamper wicker basket | The LDN GalPrestige Hampers luxury Christmas Hamper interior | The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas hamper?

As the smell of Christmas dinner wafts, you can devour an array of treats. These include chocolate coated peanut brittle, cranberry and pumpkin bites and chocolate covered raisins, caramelised and salted nuts.

Afterwards, compliment an impeccable Christmas dinner with a moreish Christmas pudding.

Finally, pair the Queen’s speech with a glass or Chardonnay or Merlot. With the inclusion of two bottles, you are guaranteed a very merry Christmas. Especially while sampling a mini box of indulgent chocolates.

Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas Hamper interior | The LDN GalPrestige Hampers luxury Christmas Hamper interior | The LDN Gal Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas Hamper interior | The LDN Gal

Although, there’s plenty more to sink your teeth into. Snacks include cinnamon and demerara shortbread, Yorkshire cured ham and pickle crisps, cocoa crisp popcorn and delectable sticky toffee pudding biscuits.

Of course, if you can not manage the entire hamper on Christmas day, there is always Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve to indulge!

It’s simple, a Prestige Hampers luxury Christmas hamper will not fail to impress this festive season. Utterly decadent and beautifully presented, you can purchase an Elegant Christmas hamper here.

You can follow Prestige Hampers on Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

What would be your first pick in this luxury Christmas hamper? Have you ever received a Christmas hamper before?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with Prestige Hampers

OOTD: Feeling oh so tropical with Femme Luxe 🍍

FEMME LUXE Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers close up | The LDN Gal

FEMME LUXE Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers

OOTD: Tropical stripes and flowers with Femme Luxe

With the cold weather well and truly creeping its way in and nights darker each day, an injection of colour into your wardrobe is really needed to brighten the mood sometimes.

When it comes to colour, Femme Luxe has you well and truly covered with vibrant shades, bold prints and trans-seasonal items aplenty.

I have to say, I fell head-over-heels when I spotted the Femme Luxe Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers.

With a night on the town planned, I knew I had the perfect outfit to match, slipping into these gorgeous high waisted trousers, embellished with a slinky matching waist tie sash and wide eat-your-heart-out-ABBA legs.

FEMME LUXE Cynthia multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers review - The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the multicolour striped floral wide leg trousers?

Teamed with an off shoulder frill bodysuit, I was ready to hit the town and pay the newest cocktail bar in the area a visit.

Not only do these slinky trousers standout – and I mean, they really standout – they are super flattering and comfortable with an elasticated waistband.

It is say to say, I felt fabulous. Want to know the best thing these trousers? They offer a sixties vibes with a bold twist.

What do you think of these tropical trousers? What is your favourite item on the Femme Luxe website at the moment?

 Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with Femme Luxe

OOTD: Stepping out in style in Manchester with 10STORE 🌺

OOTD floral and frill long sleeve 10STORE cocktail dress review, Sunset by Australasia, Manchester | The LDN Gal

10STORE Floral and Frill Long Sleeve Dress

OOTD: FloRAL fRILLS with 10STORE

Spending a weekend in Manchester, I knew I would get the oppurtunity to take a new outfit or two for a spin. I had a 10STORE dress just dying to be worn – and I myself, desperate for some fancy cocktails. 

Sunset by Australasia would be the perfect place. So, I slipped into the floral and frill long sleeve dress and sought out some frozen Prosecco sorbet blends.

This A-line mini cocktail dress is fabulous, with a bold green colour and multi floral print, embellished with pink and white flowers throughout.

OOTD floral and frill long sleeve 10STORE cocktail dress review, Sunset by Australasia interior, Manchester | The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the floral and frill long sleeve dress?

It’s all in the details in this pretty long sleeve dress, which features a round neckline, back button with keyhole cut out, button cuffs.

The best part? Its V-panel frill front and hem, alongside its tie wraparound waist. What I love, is the frill detail is rather subtle, yet manages to really bring the dress to life.

10STORE offers branded clothing at £10 or less, they sell high street brands (undisclosed) and offer quality clothing at super affordable prices.

They even have an extra 20 per cent off clearance items at the moment using code SALE20 here.

What do you think of the floral and frill dress from 10STORE? What is your go to cocktail dress? 

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with 10STORE 

Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu 🍜

Shoryu Ramen Oxford Exterior - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu review

When Shoryu Ramen announced a Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu, it was safe to say, I was pretty excited over it. I love Gudetama. Gudetama is probably the best thing to happen to Sanrio after Hello Kitty herself.

The new Gudetama themed Autumn set menu offers a delicious three course meal, drink and a limited edition Gudetama coaster to take home with you. There is vegetarian, meat and even a vegan main option.

Your drink arrives in a Gudetama cup with a choice between Mango Iced Tea and Calpico. Calpico is a milk based beverage with a sweet taste – which reminded me of Yakult in a lot of ways.

Gudetama menu exterior - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Shoryu Ramen Oxford Sake Decor - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Gudetama tote bag - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

 

So, what did I think of the Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu?

To start, you will devour steamed buns with a choice between BBQ Pork and Pumpkin Croquette. These are plentiful, embellished with lettuce and cucumber, finished with a dash of Japanese mayonnaise and hirata sauce.

I found the pumpkin croquette to be utterly sublime, something I would buy again and again, be it as a lunch or delicious snack. I have to say, I preferred it to my main. The hirata sauce really brought the bun to life, alongside the crispy coating on the pumpkin croquette with its deliciously soft and fragrant interior.

Ramen came along next for the mains, naturally. You could choose between the famed Shoryu Gatsu Tonkotsu with pork or the vegan White Natural (it can be requested with an egg on the side, if desired).

The White Natural broth is made from a combination of soy milk, miso, konbu and shiitake mushrooms. It is then decorated with ramen noodles, atsuage tofu, spring onions, menma bamboo shoots, nori seaweed and kikurage mushrooms.

Gudetama Steamed Buns - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018Gudetama Ramen Noodle Mains - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

The ramen was nice, but without the added kikurage mushrooms (at my request – I am not a fan of mushrooms), it felt a little weak. Saying this, what I did really like, was the condiments available alongside your dishes.

These allowed you to get creative with your ramen. With a sprinkling of sesame seeds, soy and garlic, you can really customise to your taste. It proved a nice touch and made the dishes very flavoursome.

For dessert, a mini mochi icecream in a moody Gudetama paper cup. you can choose between matcha and yuki and both were lovely. Be warned, if you haven’t had mochi before, you may find the texture a little odd. It’s almost like the skin of fruit, with a vibrant ball of flavoured icecream inside.

Gudetama cups - Gudetama X Shoyru Autumn Set Menu October 2018

So, would I recommend the Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu?

Overall, the themed menu was fabulous and oh so fun. Flavour is big at Shoryu Ramen and the selection of condiments really added to the dishes, allowing for a more personal experience. Once your food is devoured, there is even cute Gudetama merchandise to buy instore or online!

The Gudetama X Shoryu Autumn set menu is available exclusively at Shoryu New Oxford Street, Shoryu Manchester and Shoryu Oxford from October 1 – 14, 2018. You can take a bite with Gudetama for £22.

Have you been to Shoryu Ramen before? Would you like to try the new Gudetama X Shoryu set menu?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with Shoryu Ramen 

What to do for a weekend in Manchester via National Express 🚌

Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

What to do for a weekend in Manchester 

Manchester is a thriving city, brimming with things to do and places to see. However, getting around the UK can be a bit of a nightmare at the best of times, trains may be slightly quicker but prices are extortionate. So, I opted for a cheaper – and in my opinion – far more comfortable alternative. If you are wondering what to do for a weekend in Manchester, read on…

Departing Oxford just after 8am, I boarded my National Express coach to Manchester. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised, all National Express coaches come with leather seats, air conditioning, power sockets and toilets as standard. They ever offer a downloadable entertainment system VUER for free, which offers films, TV programmes and magazines.

VUER, National Express to Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

If you have ever been on a long coach journey before without a charger and toilet – and I have – it is not a fun time. The coaches are modern and comfortable, with adjustable leg rests, spacious seats and supported head rests – just perfect for a little mid-journey snooze. With a brief stopover to switch coaches in Birmingham, we were off again and before you know it, we were in Manchester, ready to explore the sights.

We arrived in Manchester city centre at around 1pm and were ready to kick start our weekend of cafes, culture and cocktails galore. Here are my top 10 things to do for a weekend in Manchester:

Top 10 things to do for a weekend in Manchester

Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester | The LDN Gal

Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester

We needed an infusion of culture so headed to the Manchester Art Gallery. The gallery is spectacular, housing an assortment of classic and contemporary pieces. A particularly interesting exhibition space was dedicated to the relationship between art and mindfulness. And Breathe… allowed guests to stop and pause for a moment, appreciating the connection between the two.

Afflecks, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Afflecks, Manchester

You could spend an entire day in and around the Northern Quarter, soaking up the area before strolling through Afflecks indoor market and many a quirky shop. There is lots of retro, nostalgic and vintage treasures to be found and bought in Afflecks. It’s a lot of fun to rummage around the many shops and I have to admit, it reminded me of Camden Market on a much smaller scale.

John Rylands Library, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

John Rylands Library, Manchester

The John Rylands Library was founded by Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband, and is housed in an impressive Neo-Gothic building. Step inside, and you will discover its grand history and architecture, alongside its vast collection of treasured books and manuscripts. We were lucky to stop by as the Women Who Shaped Manchester exhibition was on. It detailed the journeys of incredible women, past and present. Women who used their wits and determination to overcome many a societal challenge.

National Football Museum, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

National Football Museum, Manchester

I am not a fan of the great game but the National Football Museum is impressive. My other half was delighted, heading around the various exhibitions and it was a highlight of his trip. Inside, discover a diverse range of worldwide memorabilia and interactive skills-based challenges. The penalty shoot game ever featured the old Wembley goal!

Starters, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester | The LDN Gal

eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester

The eXchange Food and Drink Lounge is a rustic restaurant that does not fail to impress. Within, discover a restaurant area, bar, sports screens and even a kids area. Perfect for all the family, the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge offers incredible dining, spectacular cocktails and an evening of chatter and memories. Read my review of my experience here.

The Liars Club, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

The Liars Club, Manchester

While in Manchester, we proved to be frequent patrons of The Liars Club. It is a tropical tiki bar with an enviable selection of global rum and a vibrant and funky interior. The cocktails were incredible and good-value for money. You could lose hours sipping away listening to Reggae tunes aplenty. They even offer a two drinks for £10 happy hour on weekdays!

Sunset by Australasia, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Sunset by Australasia, Manchester

Sunset by Australasia is an Instagram dream. It offers a  stunning pastel pink and gold interior, alongside an outside terrace embellished with vibrant flower wall and plush seating and cushions. Sunset by Australasia is gorgeous – but the cocktails are even better. So, grab a frozen Prosecco sorbet blend and let the world go by for a few hours.

Sugar Junction interior, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Sugar Junction, Manchester

Sugar Junction is a coffee, cake and cocktail lovers dream. This vintage venue in the Northern Quarter offers lots wholesome and homemade produce. I had a cake (gluten free, which was a nice touch) alongside pink lemonade – which was beautifully decorated. My other half opted for a rather filling and well presented sandwich, which was accompanied by chips. You can enjoy breakfast, brunch throughout the day and afternoon tea – or a cocktail or two, if you feel inclined. 

Home Sweet Home. Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Home Sweet Home, Manchester

Looking for the best pancakes in town? Home Sweet Home offers an American breakfast and brunch in a cosy and quirky location. The pancake stacks are huge, doused with fresh fruit, cream and sauces – there are some savoury options too, don’t fret. Do be wary though, if you get there at the weekend and are looking to quash your  comfort food cravings, there may be a bit of a wait.

Bees in the City at Manchester Cathedral, Manchester - What to do for a weekend in Manchester - The LDN Gal

Manchester Cathedral, Manchester

We spent some time in Manchester Cathedral, appreciating the many Bee in the City bee’s dotted around its interior. Although Manchester Cathedral is rather small, it was as expected, beautiful. It is the perfect place to take a few moments away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city centre.

So, if you are looking for a fabulous UK city break, look no further! There is plenty of things to do for a weekend in Manchester.

You can book your next journey to Manchester (or the rest of the UK) with National Express here or give them a call on 0871 7818181.

National Express travels to over 900 destinations nationwide and offer thousands of tickets for £5 or less (plus a booking fee). The best bit? Travelling by coach proves to be the most environmentally friendly form of public transport!

Where would be your first stop in Manchester? Have you traveled via National Express before?

Stephanie xox

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This post is in collaboration with National Express

eXchange Food and Drink Lounge Manchester review 😋

Cocktails, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal

eXchange Food and Drink Lounge Manchester review

On a busy Saturday night in central Manchester, we headed for a bite to eat at the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge Manchester.

Leaving Chinatown nearby, we swung onto Portland Street. As we entered, we were greeted with smiles and welcomed to a large restaurant with a stunning interior and relaxed ambience.

We set ourselves down within the rustic eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, adorned with dim-lit hanging lights, well-spaced solid wood and industrial legged tables and mismatched chairs embellished with plush cushions.

The retro chic style of eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, gives way to a charming environment with a sleek cocktail bar, sports screens aplenty and a children’s play zone to its far end.

Interior, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN GalInterior 3, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal Interior 2, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal

So, how did I find the food at eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester?

Cocktails in tow – I personally recommend the Bramble – we scanned over the varied and tasty menu. There’s many a chef’s special to be seen.

To start, we delved into red velvet king prawns (the most Instagram-worthy prawn starter ever to be created) and halloumi fries with salsa, the gooey cheese with its battered crust certainly made an initial dent in our appetites.

For our mains, we welcomed the mixed grill platter for my other half and the cauliflower roulade for myself, a roasted vegetable and bean cassoulet with a flaky crust and sumptuous vegetables in a tangy sauce. It’s safe to say, Ryan devoured his platter, commenting that the meat was cooked to perfection alongside the deliciousness of what he presumed to be triple cooked chips.

Dessert was a push but we indulged ourselves further with specials including chef Chris’s chocolate brownie and Matty B’s bakewell tart. These homemade desserts were spectacular. The brownie was moist and rich, accompanied by tangy raspberry sauce and a chocolate cup filled with vanilla ice cream. The bakewell tart was just as delicious, with a crumbly base alongside a fruity and soft interior.

Mixed Grill and Cauliflower Roulade Mains, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal Brownie and Bakewell, eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester | The LDN Gal

So, what did I think of the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge, Manchester?

Overall, I found the food, interior and staff of eXchange Food & Drink Lounge to be exceptional. I have to say, the vegetarian options were sublime, the food was delicious, well-presented and generous.

The evening was quite simply spectacular. You are welcomed to a warm and relaxing environment and the hours seemed to be lost as we chatted away.

With full and happy stomachs, we concluded the evening with a final round of cocktails and headed home for an early night – go wild for the night eh?

The eXchange Food & Drink Lounge is perfect for couples, friends and families, be it a place to stop for dinner, to catch the game or to have a few cocktails among peers. Take a peek at their food menu here and step away from the madness of the city for a few hours.

Have you eaten at the eXchange Food and Drink Lounge? Which item from the menu tempts you? 

Stephanie xox

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This dining experience was exchanged for an honest review 

Why I’m over the blogger follow to unfollow game 🙅‍♀️

Why I'm over the blogger follow/unfollow game | The LDN Gal

The follow to unfollow saga: the ugly side of blogging

If you blog often, you will know exactly what I am talking about here. The follow to unfollow game is a tedious affair to say the least. So, here is why I’m over the blogger follow to unfollow game.

So many bloggers work so hard to organically increase their following and engagement, interacting with others in their niche and producing killer content time and time again.

The follow to unfollow saga is simple. Select bloggers will follow on mass, await for you to follow them back and then remove you by unfollowing within 24 hours. Most go unnoticed and almost cheat others out of a follow.

Follow to unfollow on social media? You are part of the problem…

If you have experienced this, it leaves you feeling a bit rubbish. Blogging is as much about content as it is community. If you love someone’s content, you follow them to read, embrace and even share it from time to time. However, the follow to unfollow saga diminishes the blogging community and this mutual respect, tarnishing organic growth.

Of course, you don’t have to follow others back that don’t speak or relate to your interests, that is absolutely fine. But for those who follow just to unfollow again – it’s really not cool.

Instagram tends to be the social media platform that falls victim to the follow to unfollow game the most. Leaving many a blogger keeping an eye on their social following each week through third party tools that track unfollowers. It isn’t a numbers game but it’s never nice to see your counts dip up and down relentlessly.

If you love your community and fellow bloggers, share your fabulous content, engage with others and follow with intention. It’s really not all about the numbers and quality should always trump quantity.

#rantover

What do you think of the follow to unfollow saga? Have you fallen victim to it?

Stephanie xox

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OOTD: Topshop blue tartan check trousers 👖

Blue tartan check trousers Topshop | The LDN Gal

Boohoo Oversized Shirt – Topshop Trousers – Zara Heeled Boots

OOTD: Blue Tartan Check Trousers with Topshop

I have to admit, this weekend gone was fabulous minus the little bit of drizzle. Me and the better half finally got some quality time together and decided to go exploring in Oxford for the Oxford Open Doors event.

Oxford Open Doors is an annual event that allows people access to many an Oxford University treasure across the city, with free entry to its many beautiful buildings.

We decided to take a stroll through Christ Church, enjoying the cathedral, Tom Quad and great hall – with many a lovely photo opportunity. 

So, what did I think of the blue tartan check trousers?

This weekend also allowed me the perfect opportunity to embrace my Summer-meets-Autumn wardrobe with these oh so gorgeous Topshop blue tartan check trousers.

I love these trousers for three main reasons – any many more, let’s be honest. One, they are vibrant as, the blue stands out beautifully against the contrasting red and yellow. Two, they are high waisted and thus super cosy and a flattering fit. Three, tartan – it’s Autumn, so tartan! 

Teamed with a Boohoo oversized shirt and Zara heeled boots, this OOTD defines bright and bold meets smart-casusal. It is perfect dressed down in the day or up at night. These blue tartan check trousers are an all-day transitional dream.

What do you think of these blue tartan check trousers from Topshop? What’s in your autumn wardrobe? 

Stephanie xox

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