MTT Travel: The Pig on the Beach, Studland, Dorset

The Pig on the Beach review

We’ve had a busy summer this year; the children have had a couple of weeks with their dad, I’ve been abroad and juggling work, we’ve had trips into London. The six weeks have flown by! I felt like I wanted to enjoy some proper time with my two little funballs so last week we took a couple of nights to enjoy the south coast, with the first at The Pig on the Beach in Studland, Dorset.


The Pig on the Beach – a review

I am a huge fan of The Pig hotels – I’ve stayed at The Pig in the Hole in Southampton as part of a couple but never with the kids. My love for a stay in a lovely hotel is well-documented and being able to share the fun of a massive bed with 1000 thread count sheets and a bursting minibar with my children is pretty exciting to me.


The Pig on the Beach is a 23 room country house rurally situated on the bay. Not quite ON the beach – it’s a five minute walk away – the views over the sea really are breathtaking.

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MTT Travel: The Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn, NYC

Wythe Hotel Brooklyn - review

When I booked to go to New York for my 30th birthday I knew the saying ‘Go Big Or Go Home’ would apply. Because you only get one 30th birthday and the last time I’d been in The Big Apple was mid-divorce so I thought, you know what, LET’S DO THIS.

And knowing I was visiting Williamsburg for the week there really is only one place you can Go Big Or Go Home at:

Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn – a review
Wythe Hotel Brooklyn - review

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Three Do South Bank


Is there anything more beautiful than London in the sunshine?

Yes there is – London in the sunshine when your children are behaving like little angels!

I used to be a bit scared of bringing my beasties into town. I never quite got the hang of using the pram on the tube’s network of escalators and relying on black cabs got to be quite expensive. So I saved the journeys into London for the times when I was working or flying solo, thinking it’d be altogether a more enjoyable experience.


But now Hux is 3 and doesn’t really need a buggy we’re about to become way more adventurous, London-wise. Starting with last Friday when we caught the train into town for a day in the sunshine.  By the time we got there I was mum number one because not only had we been on AN OMG TRAIN but then we also got to go on an OMG UNDERGROUND TRAIN. All I can say is kids, wait til you’re commuting on the 6.48 from Milton Keynes to Old St every day and we’ll see who excited about all these trains.


Once we arrive in town we shot down on the Northern line to Waterloo to South Bank: one of my favourite areas of London that had previously been unexplored en famille. We’d been invited to the new Shrek’s Adventure experience next to the London Eye (more of which tomorrow) and were all really excited for a bit of magic. But first… lunch!

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One of my favourite things to do with my two is eat out. Scrap that – one of my favourite things to do in life is eat out, and I naturally do this a lot with children as they are so often with me. Today was no exception and I was desperate to take a trip to Wahaca – the kids had never been and I wasn’t sure what their offering for smalls would be like but I’m a big believer in introducing the children to adult dishes if there’s no menu geared towards them.

Wahaca Southbank kids menu

I didn’t need to worry, the children’s menu was spectacular with a build-your-own taco option and drink available for £5 – great value. Elfie had a great time painstakingly building her steak taco whereas Hux took more of a deconstructed attitude to his fish version and ate it piece by piece.

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Meanwhile I feasted on chicken taquitos, steak tacos and grilled corn. HAPPY MUMMY. I love Wahaca.

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We topped off our dinner with frozen yoghurts in the sunshine on the top deck of the Snog bus overlooking the Thames. It was kind of heavenly.


As we strolled towards Shrek for our 2.30pm booking there were all sorts of exciting things to see – starting with Jeppe Hein’s appearing rooms fountain. We had no towels or spare clothes with us but it was so tempting there was nothing for it but to strip down to our pants (them not me, I’d just washed my hair) and get stuck in. It was a bit chilly for Hux who bit a swift retreat but Elfie dove in and out of the jets for absolutely ages. After we dried off in the sunshine (London, you beauty) we wandered through the street entertainers laughing and marvelling at the fun and the downright weirdness of some of them.


The strolling the sunshine, the relaxation and laughter… it really made me reflect on where we are right now as a band of three. I didn’t feel stressed out that I had to deal with two children alone, I didn’t feel conspicuous as a single parent in a sea of families with 2.4 children, I just thought we’ve got this. We, not I, because it’s a group effort, all of this. Though these two have never known any difference they must still get The Feels over having parents living split lives in households so far away from one another.  But they don’t act out or get upset, they just understand this is our way and they potter along being amazing.


I am so proud of them. And I can’t wait to spend many more days with these special souls in the sunshine, in the cold, in the rain (because that’s more probable, let’s be honest). South Bank in the summer is grand and with my two it is even grander.

Single Parent Summers


Being a parent when your children aren’t there is an odd thing. It happens for me every other weekend and the odd week during the summer; the kids go off to spend time down south with their dad and I’m left to my own devices.

I alternate between a couple of feelings at this time. Always very sad at the prospect of being without my two sidekicks for a few nights, almost a bit giddy at the thought of the freedom of being able to leave the house at will unencumbered by baby wipes and helicopters. And also obviously excited at getting up at a time that doesn’t constitute the middle of the night for people in their early twenties.

At the start of my single parenthood I didn’t do too much with my time off. I’d clean the house, go to the gym, do the weekly shop. But as time has gone on I’ve realised how important this me time is to my happiness. For one, being in the house alone without the kids feels downright weird and a little bit lonely and for another it’s GOOD to get out and have the experiences I may have missed out on by having kids so young.


Which is why I’ve started travelling a bit more. In the last year I’ve seen Paris, Amsterdam and Paxos (heart eye emoji) and then I spent time in New York last month seeing friends for my birthday. I’ve been working with Boots on their #SummerGoodTime campaign which is all about making the most out of my favourite season. So when a work opportunity arose in NYC and I realise I had a childless week to fill I thought why the hell not? and grabbed myself a last minute flight back out to the big apple.

Being out here again has been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve spent a lot of time with my best friend Kirsty (a buddy who lets you share her bed is a buddy for life), hung out with people I met the last time I was here and made new friends. We’ve spent most of our time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and I truly love this place. Between the relaxed vibe, restaurants, creative people and BEAUTIFUL SUNSHINE I could definitely see myself being here. Until October and for the whole period of Winter (minus 18? I don’t think so) but, whatever.

I love the distance from home I get by being away. And spending time with someone who knows me as well as Kirsty does is worth its weight in gold; we talk about life, love, the universe (and a lot of sex apparently?). Life clarity at its finest – I always come away feeling more confident about my next steps in life and inspired for my work and goals.

Being a single parent is not anyone’s ideal situation. But I feel beyond blessed (#BLESSED – vom – but you know what I mean) that I can take these times to myself to work at being the best version of myself, to sleep and to enjoy my time without the kids. I miss them like an arm of course but I know that will make me a better parent when I’m back in the country (and, erm, over the jet lag).


This blog has brought me some wonderful things over the years but this summer I’m thankful for the encouragement Boots have given me to make the most out of my favourite season. And it’s not over, either; I’ll be returning home to a packed full schedule of things to do with the kids… London visits, beach fun and time with our friends. Three cheers for summer!

Affordable Family Holidays in Europe

I’m starting to get to that time with my family when they’re old enough to appreciate a holiday abroad. At 3 and 5 they’ve been to a couple of different countries already – Madrid for a family wedding and our epic cruise a year or two ago – but now I’d like to show them now what foreign travel is really all about. For me it’s all experiencing different cultures, learning new languages, tasting new food. The world is our oyster (and if I get to eat oysters, well that’s just a bonus)!

So as a result of this I’ve recently spent more than my allocated time researching great value flights to a number of European destinations. Here are my top picks: let me know where you want to go!

Canal. Amsterdam. Netherland


Amsterdam may be a better choice of family holiday than you’d think. It’s a gorgeous city just made for strolling along peaceful canals, enjoying the beautiful architecture and chomping on stroopwafel with your children. The parks are plentiful and the family friendly atmosphere here is overwhelming; it’s first on my list! Don’t believe me? Have a look at the amazing experiences my friend Fritha had there recently.


I last visited Guernsey when I was fifteen and have been looking forward to returning since. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Britain I’ve ever been and one of the smallest – totally unique to our country. Highly recommended! Stay in St Peter Port and explore by car; it’s ok, you can thank me later ;)



I love Paris and Elfie is slightly obsessed after receiving a LEGO model of the Eiffel tower. To be fair I think my two are a bit overwhelmingly intrigued at the prospect of a train that goes UNDER THE SEA so for ease we will definitely be flying. I can’t wait to take a trip here with them for croissant, jambon and fromage! If you fancy a Parisian jaunt I’d highly recommend the R. Kipling hotel which is in my favourite district of Pigalle; quiet, foodie and very very Parisian. Ooh la la.


French is the only language I speak apart from English which may well explain my preoccupation with France. Biarritz has everything to offer: the best of France pus a huge 6km of sandy beaches. Why not experience some culture plus sandcastles at the same time?

Where are you planning on flying off to this summer?

Thank-you Flybe for sponsoring MTT

MTT Travel: The Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green

The Town Hall Hotel review

On occasion I’m one of those people who gets smug about no longer living in London. I noticed it when I went for lunch with my Sister-in-Law recently; I started waxing lyrical about the low crime rates, big houses, affordable living costs and good schools out here. And it’s only 30 minutes into Euston!!! Amazing!!!!

I do adore living out here, it’s true. I have a house with a big garden for less than my old Shoreditch studio flat, I can afford a car and a gym membership and live within a 10 minute drive of one of the best schools in the county (that I didn’t have to fight to get my children into). The train service into the city is quick, regular and as long as you’re not travelling in peak times, relatively inexpensive.

But I still have to live with the fact I reside in Milton Keynes ;) It’s not the sexiest town in the country, that’s for sure. I can’t pop to Columbia Road flower market for my peonies at the weekend, our most exotic restaurant is probably Yo! Sushi and I don’t think we’ll see cold press coffee until 2020. Swings and roundabouts, swings and roundabouts.

Because I save all that money by living outside of the big smoke I like to think I’m able to splurge on a hotel for the times I do need to travel in and stay. And we know how much I like a nice hotel, am I right? So when my blog pal Alice offered me a spontaneous ticket to see Blur at Hyde Park a couple of weeks ago I thought  it’s hotel time! and jumped on HotelTonight (a fab app for last minute hotel booking fans like me) to see what I could find.

The Town Hall Hotel review

The Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green was available, a place I’ve wanted to try for a while. I swiftly booked it for £128 (rates on their website start at around £217) and checked in at the allotted time of 3pm. That is, after a really quick diversion to Spitalfields Anthropologie and Office to buy jeans and trainers, having packed only dresses and heels for Britmums the day before that were most definitely not suitable for Blur-watching.

The Town Hall Hotel review

I was offered an upgrade to one of their apartments upon arrival and if you know me at all you’ll know that ‘upgrade’ is one of my most favoured words. THANK YOU!

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My room was lovely – on the ground floor it consisted of an entrance hall with wardrobe, a kitchen, living space, bedroom and wet room/loo. It was packed to the rafters with beautiful features; huge windows, fireplaces (x 2), antique furniture and a beautiful muted colour scheme.

IMG_0658 copyI sat down, made myself an espresso and got comfortable reading about the history of the beautiful Town Hall. Which I won’t ruin, you’ll just have to go and discover it for yourself ;) Basically it originally opened in 1910 and has been through many iterations (including a famous film locations) before being saved from ruin and becoming the gorgeous hotel it is today.

The kitchen had absolutely everything you might need (and lots of things you probably won’t) so for those who stay for an extended period of time on business it is perfect to rustle up a bit of dinner or breakfast if you get tired of restaurant or room service dining.

The Town Hall Hotel reviewThe lounge area was lovely with a huge L-shaped sofa and big television. I obvs made good use of this and blasted out Kisstory while I was getting ready for Blur that evening.

On to the bathroom – it featured L’Occitane products (+1 point) and one of those dinner plate shower heads that releases so much water it makes you feel like you’re drowning. The glass loo and shower room were separated from the bathroom only by a white curtain so you’d have to make sure you knew whoever you were sharing with pretty darn well. Luckily me myself and I are pretty well-acquainted so we were happy.

The in-room facilities were good; I’m always disappointed by hotel hairdryers but this one did the job well. There were your standard bits and bobs – safe, umbrella, phone etc etc. Everything you might need.

The location is a bit out of the way but it’s a four minute walk to Bethnal Green tube station and from there you can get the Central Line straight into town. Bethnal Green has so much to do and see, too – it’s a real up-and-coming area for restaurants and bars, two of which are in the hotel itself.


And Blur, how were they? I hear you ask.

AMAZING. Damon Albarn does not get older, only better, and Song 2 will go down in history as a gig-going highlight for me. It rained the whole time and my £10 hotel umbrella was confiscated but it was SO worth it. My night ended in a gay club in Stoke Newington with my hairdresser (who isn’t gay). As you do.

The Town Hall Hotel, Patriot Square, London E2 9NF