Posted in Food, Lifestyle, London, Travel, Uncategorized

A spa day at The Montcalm Hotel – Marble Arch


As a London and Travel blogger, my friends and family know that I like nothing more than to get out and experience new things (when I’m not lying in bed reading a good book) so when it comes to buying me presents they usually opt for the physical type, a meal out, a trip away or an experience voucher… just don’t make it skydiving because I would never do it!

On mothers day I received a Virgin voucher for a trip to a spa with a champagne meal for two…oooh. It took me a while to get round to booking it but the process was quite easy and one thing I liked about it was that it gave you the option of swapping your experience for something different if that particular activity didn’t take your fancy, for instance if I received a skydive I would have swapped it for an afternoon tea perhaps! I knew my eldest daughter would also appreciate a spa day so she accompanied me to The Montcalm.



The Montcalm is a short walk from Marble arch and has a five star rating. It seems quite small from the outside but as you enter you are met with a light, spacious lobby area that is filled with little seating nooks with mismatched furniture in neutral warm tones.

We were shown down to the spa in the basement which was divided into different spaces and were given a pair of slippers and a towel each. I didn’t particularly want to use the gym but wanted to try out everything that was on offer so we brought our gym clothes for a quick workout. There were a couple of people in there when we arrived but they were just finishing up their session and we soon had the place to ourselves. I tried out all the machines but left well away from the contraption that was full of weights, it was supposed to be a relaxing morning after all!




After the workout we had a quick change into our swimming costumes to visit the spa room. It consisted of a sauna and steam room that had a shower in between. Next to that was the Jacuzzi that had the option of the bubble machine, this switched itself off every so often and you had to wait a while for it to be reactivated. The small pool was also similar to the Jacuzzi, the water was warm and although it had buttons to get the same jet stream effect as the Jacuzzi, these did not work. To be honest the pool was nice just to relax in but wasn’t big enough to actually make use of if you wanted to have a proper swim and as we found out a few minutes after entering the space can quickly feel crowded.





While we were in the pool there were two guys in the Jacuzzi, it would have felt a bit awkward to get in there with them so we went to try out the sauna instead. As we both suffer from panic attacks and there was a big red panic button on the wall it kind of made us a bit apprehensive so we just tried it out with the doors open… I know you would think this defeats the purpose but it was still really hot in there!

As we left the sauna, the two guys had moved over to the pool so we went into the Jacuzzi but then another two ladies came in and it felt even more awkward, I mean there are lots of chairs around and a snug little area with magazines but nobody wants to go to the spa to sit around on chairs do they? After a while it was approaching our lunch time and we felt very hot and sweaty so we departed to cool off in the showers and get changed.



The changing rooms were clean with lots of space to keep your stuff but only had two showers and two toilets so luckily we were the only ones in there, especially as the showers are not very private with see through glass doors!

Before our visit to the spa we tried to check out what food would be served with the virgin voucher but couldn’t find any information other than the fact that it was a one course meal. I mean I don’t know how much the voucher costs because I don’t like to check these things as it was a present but I thought a one course meal was a bit miserly and if they want to make it a special day they should at least add a dessert, even if they charge a few pounds extra.

The restaurant, which is just beyond the lobby, was a lovely big room with skylights to provide extra light. I liked that the artwork on the wall matched the furniture.




We were a bit confused as to why they gave us a menu with all three courses on it if we were only to choose one meal and although I assume we could have purchased more had we wanted to, we were not offered their normal menu with the prices of anything on. There were only three main meals on offer unless we wanted to pay a supplement and if you are a vegetarian then you better be a fan of eggplant as that is all your getting! This did just remind me of Hard rock café all over again and I think that when Virgin make these deals with restaurants that they should be more upfront with what they are offering!

We both went for the Corn-fed chicken supreme with thyme and truffle although it didn’t mention any sides and we were left wondering if it would just be a bit of chicken on a plate. Luckily it was accompanied with a creamy mash, vegetables and half a roasted garlic and it was absolutely delicious, I ate everything including the garlic which surprisingly didn’t taste very garlicky. We also enjoyed a nice glass of prosecco (for some reason the small print states that you only get champagne if you attend the other hotel outside of London) which I had to finish for Jasmin as she didn’t particularly like the taste.



Overall we had a really lovely morning, although it would be nice if the vouchers from Virgin experience were more transparent so you know exactly what to expect.

Have you ever visited a hotel spa or used a Virgin voucher, what was your experience like?

If you have visited anywhere in London then feel free to join in with my new linky #thelondonlink to add any of your blog posts, old or new!



Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

A gift guide for the traveller in your life

I don’t know about you but I find it really difficult finding the perfect gift for my friends and family. I am not really fussy with what I receive myself but when I buy presents I want them to be thoughtful and suit the recipient (I mean there is only so many Lynx body spray sets one person can use!)


I have noticed so many more people are embracing travel and using their money to buy experiences than ever. Well who can blame them with so much out there to see! I have put together a few gift ideas that you are not likely to find on the high street as they are from the uncommon goods website and would suit anyone with a zest for adventure.

The travel stub diary £10.00 is a perfect keepsake, not only for travel tickets but little pieces of memorabilia you pick up on your journeys.

The set of women’s travel organising bags £40.00 (men’s also available) are a great way to find everything you need in the suitcase without pulling everything out.

We all know how boring it can get playing eye spy on long journeys so this Game night in a can £20.83 containing 30 original games would fit nicely in your hand luggage to keep the whole family entertained

Coconut is one of my favourite scents and this travel beauty kit £56.67 looks so indulgent, great for keeping your skin in tip top condition while away from home.

For those unable to get out into the big outdoors then just give them the scent of it with this great outdoors national park candle set £33.33

As well as looking ultra stylish this Anti-theft rucksack £79.12 uses clever design to deter pickpockets from accessing all your important contents.

Last year I gave my brother a scratch map as a gift because every time I go onto Facebook he seems to be in another country. As well as stocking them on uncommon goods they also have this really sweet map called a world of I love you £20.83 which tells you how to say I love you in 50 different locations across the world.

I have never thought about bringing a journal with me on holiday but thinking about it, it’s a great idea to jot down those moments and memories that seem a distant memory when returning back to reality. If I had this Travel journal £12.49 I would keep notes that I could use to write travel blog posts once I return home.

The uncommon mission

As well as having innovative and attractive products, uncommon goods strive to be more environmentally friendly, socially responsible and an ever-more rewarding place to work. Treating their staff with dignity and respect by offering health care insurance to all full-time staff and a fair wage for all. Uncommon goods work with artists and small manufacturers to produce handmade, recycled and organic products and are committed to selling products that don’t cause harm to people or animals meaning they don’t contain any leather, feathers or fur.

It is not just travel gifts that are available at uncommon goods, they cater for all occasions whether you are

Attending a wedding

Buying a gift for a babyshower

Helping somebody celebrate their anniversary

I definitely have more gift ideas for my loved ones (and for myself) and with my baby boy turning 20 in a couple of weeks it means I won’t be looking at the kids section, boys section, not even the teen section anymore, but unbelievably I’ll be scouring the gifts for men section to find him the perfect present.

Have you seen any products from Uncommon goods that would make a perfect gift for you?


*Written in collaboration with uncommon goods, all thoughts my own