Santorini Sunset

The last few weeks have all gone by in a bit of a blur. There has been summer trips to Italy and Greece, Glastonbury, family and friends visiting from New Zealand, sightseeing, rugby world cup games, time on the yoga mat, a recent wedding in Denmark and the ultimate, GQ Men of the Year awards. There’s no questioning why I love living in London, but here am I am asking myself “To stay, or not to stay?”

In the back of my mind though, there has been a constant debate about whether to stay in this city that has stolen my heart, or return back to New Zealand. If it were only my decision, the choice would have been easier.

Unfortunately it’s not always so simple and there were a lot of other factors to consider – the main one being that Mike was ready to return home. The initial one to two year plan of moving to London has already turned into 3.5 years. London seems to have a way of doing that. The months and years whizz by. There is always something new to do, to see, to learn and experience.

It has a magical hold with its bustling streets, history, international cultures, pop-ups, food markets, theatre, gigs, entertainment, shopping and travel. If you can think of it, you can probably find it in London.

Reaching this fork in the road of one of us wanting to stay and the other wanting to leave meant there has been a lot of umming and aahing this year when it came to making a decision. The fast approaching deadline of our visas expiring only adding to the pressure.

To be honest, I’ve been in complete denial. Pulling back from my blog, from social media and putting my head in the sand, hoping that time would stand still and I wouldn’t have to make a decision, or leave the city I love.

FYI – this is not the recommended way to deal with things. Time will never stop and by not making any decision, I put life on hold inevitably not making progress either way. Sometimes fear holds us exactly where we are, in turn creating what we are most afraid of.

Time was running out and it was time to make a choice.

A lot of people gave their advice (a lot of it biased on both sides – love you all), but comments from two people really stuck with me and I think can apply to others in many situations.

The first from an unexpected source who told me, “It’s time to move forward. If you make no decision, it will keep you stuck and static. Don’t wait until a decision feels right. Just move. Only once we’ve moved forward will we know if it’s a mistake and if it is, we can change it.”

The other from a close friend, “Just make a decision and see how it feels. There’s no wrong decision. There’s just a decision and if you don’t like what you decide, you can make a new decision. That’s how we learn and grow. That’s life. A beautiful mess. Either way, make the decision from a place of power and love, not a place of powerlessness and fear.”

Both pieces of advice really helped me move forward, so, recently I handed in my resignation at work.

And then cried.

While there are plenty of positives of moving back to New Zealand, I’m still sad to be leaving a company I love, a city that fills me with excitement and to say goodbye to beautiful friends I’ll be leaving behind.

But, as the sun sets on one day, a new day begins and I am excited about what is next. While London and all the wonderful memories, experiences and friends I have made here will always have a special place in my heart, there are new adventures to be had.

So, London friends – it’s time to schedule catch ups and after a holiday in Bali, New Zealand friends and family – we will see you in a few weeks.

Love & London,

As the sun lowered on our day in Paris, our group were joined by 30 other VIP guests for a rooftop dinner and champagne reception at Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe. Unlike London, Paris doesn’t have many outdoor roof bars, or restaurants, so it was exciting to have an event on the hotel’s outdoor terrace.

On arrival we were greeted with a glass of champagne before stepping out to meet the other guests.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Roof Party

DJ’s pleased the crowd with their sounds and bartenders showed off their bar flaring skills while everyone chatted and mingled in the warm Parisian evening.

Ah, Summer. You are my favourite season of the year.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Top Chef Kevin D'Andrea

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Top Chef Kevin D'Andrea Cooking

Our taste buds were in for the biggest treat with French Top Chef finalist, Kevin D’Andrea in the kitchen putting his culinary skills to use at what he does best…

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Top Chef Kevin D'Andrea Kitchen

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Top Chef Kevin D'Andrea Food

Creating winning combinations of mouth-watering, delicious food!

We were served cooked salmon wrapped in nori, foie gras, prawns, an egg combination topped with crunchy bacon and truffle and my favourite, a creamy rich polenta topped with tenderly cooked duck. The flavours were so incredible in this dish, I went back for seconds (it tasted THAT good I didn’t even take any photos – all other focus went out the window).

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe ByWhoTattoo Tattoos

In between the incredible food and glasses of champagne, the girls from ByWhoTattoo were blinging everyone out for the evening with temporary jewellery tattoos. Even the guys were getting in on the action.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe ByWhoTattoo

There were different options from necklace designs to bracelets and decorative arm and face tattoos. I went for a silver bracelet, which impressively lasted a week without any special care.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Macaron

The desserts were equally impressive and beautifully delicate. I opted for the one above and am so happy to report that it was the best macaron I’ve ever tried. Seems a perfectly fitting experience in Paris. Guiltily, I’ve never really understood their hype and craze the past few years.

Until now.

It was melt in your mouth, just the right amount of sweetness with a soft squishy centre kind of incredible. Finished off with the cream, it was a winning flavour combo. Kevin, if you’re reading – you’re welcome to come and cook for me anytime.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Limo

Led out to the front of the hotel, the best was still yet to come with several stretch limos waiting to take us on a night tour of Paris. Of course the Renaissance Navigators still had a few tricks up their sleeves and surprises lined up for the evening.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Limo Inside

Climbing in, more champagne corks were popped and the music pumped as we ventured out in our convoy.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Vendome Guests

Our first stop on the evening tour of Paris was Renaissance Paris Vendome Hotel, where The Groovy Project performed in the lobby. Everyone stood mesmerised by their incredible voices and guitar playing.

Back out to the limos, we found our assigned drivers and ventured on our way in anticipation for our next surprise.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Limo Night Tour Seine Eiffel Tower

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Limo Night Tour Seine Love Locks

Next we stopped at a footbridge, passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor where we crossed the Seine and admired the sparkling lights along the river. The top of the Eiffel Tower could be seen shimmering in the distance sending out beams of light into the night sky.

Lining the bridge, lovers were still allowed to leave symbols of their love with a lock – a popular practice on many bridges around the world. With their recent removal from Pont des Arts bridge, it may be something that doesn’t last too much longer though in Paris.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Move and Art dancers

Under the bridge, hip-hop dance troupe Move and Art were waiting to put on an energetic performance. Twisting, grooving and break-dancing, they got the crowd into the mood, before getting everyone involved to Mark Ronson’s, Uptown Funk.

There were a lot of laughs as we joined in and moved along (semi in sync) to their choreography.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Seine River Bar Faust Pont Alexandre III Bridge

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Seine River Bar Faust Pont Alexandre III

Carrying on and still buzzing after our dance efforts, we joined a crowd of outdoor party goers on the bank of the Seine at Faust. At the foot of the gilded Pont Alexandre III bridge it was a great spot for some people watching and to enjoy the balmy evening.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Limo Night Tour L'arc

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Larc Nightclub

Our final stop for the evening was the exclusive L’arc, one of Paris’ top hip-hop clubs near the Arc de Triomphe. Owned by Lenny Kravitz, celebrities from Beyonce, Jay-Z and Katy Perry to Mick Jagger have grooved to the beats of the in-house DJ’s at this uber cool spot.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Larc Kool & The Gang

We didn’t have to wait long for some celeb spotting when Kool & The Gang joined us in a VIP area next to ours. To top the night off, they did an impromptu performance with all the usual crowd favourites.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Arc de Triomphe with Silverspoon London

Paris, you continue to impress. Last night's view walking home with @angiesilverspoon 🇫🇷

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To the sound of ‘Celebrations’ it was time to sadly call it a night. On a massive adrenaline high from all the evening’s events and our incredible Day of Discovery in Paris, Angie and I made our way back to the Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe.

With one last photo stop along the way past the Arc de Triomphe, we said goodnight in the early hours ready for a good night’s sleep.

A huge thank you to Renaissance Hotels and their team of Navigators for so many incredible experiences during Global Day of Discovery. Each activity was so much fun and certainly showcased a unique side of London and Paris. So many fond memories that will last forever – exactly what travelling and exploring new destinations is all about.

J’adore Paris,

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Paris Grand Palais

When I left you yesterday, it was only early afternoon with a full line up of activities still ahead of us. Phew!

Next on our Day of Discovery itinerary was a visit to the Grand Palais (Great Palace) for an exhibition showcasing the designs of John Paul Gaultier. I had missed the exhibition when it was in London last year, so I was happy for the opportunity to see it in the home of fashion.

With section names like Punk Cancan, Skin Deep – X Rated and Urban Jungle, you know you’re going to be in for a treat of the weird and wonderful.

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition The Odyssey

The second section, The Odyssey was completely blue with a mixture of sailors, mermaids and nymph-type mannequins that looked like they had been crossed with characters from Romeo & Juliet (the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes).

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Mermaid

I knew there was something not quite right, then we realised the faces around the room were moving. Laster projections of real people’s faces reflected on the mannequins making them look eerily realistic. Gaultier’s own face was even projected onto one of the figures.

Eyeing visitors and smiling, I did a few double takes to check they weren’t actually real!

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Catwalk

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Catwalk model

The next room was one of my favourites.

Set up like a fashion show, dressed figures in an array of designs glided along the catwalk while well known fashion icons sat front row admiring the outfits.

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Catwalk Front Row

I loved that just from the hairstyles, you could tell who the loyal Jean Paul Gaultier fashionistas were.

Grace Coddington, the Creative Director of American VOGUE with the distinguishable red hair and Suzy Menkes, International VOGUE Editor with her signature quiff.

Amy Winehouse, Conchita Wurst and Dita Von Teese also enjoyed the show.

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Punk Models

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Union Jack

Punk made an appearance in all it’s glory – studded denim, metal, bright tartans and matching mohawks stood against a graffiti wall.

Spread over 8 sections with over 140 outfits on display, the exhibition is a mixture of theatrical movement, sound, bright colour and humour.

Not surprising, as this is after all the man who created THE conical-bra that Madonna is famously associated with.

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Madonna

I didn’t have to wait long to come across the “Queen of Pop” herself. Madonna had her own display in the Muses section, complete with a photograph of the original conical-bra corset itself.

Sketches of other outfits designed for Madonna hung framed on the wall showing a glimpse behind the scenes of the concept stages for his designs.

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Staircase

John Paul Gaultier Exhibition Perfume Trunk

Alongside the outfits and sketches on display throughout the exhibition were video footage, photography and the well-known shaped fragrance bottles. It was interesting to get an up-close look and a peek behind the scenes of the world that is Jean Paul Gaultier.

The show is on in Paris until 3 August 2015. For more information, see the Grand Palais website.

Back out into the hot Paris heat and busy traffic, it was time to check in to our hotel for the evening, the five-star Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe.

We were greeted with a warm welcome and taken into the foyer where we were allocated our room cards. The hotel is slick and contemporary with elegant furnishings and modern decor. I instantly liked the bright reception area with it’s large mirrors and tall floral display.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Bedroom

The location is great for a bit of local wandering and sightseeing by foot being just down the road from the world-famous Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Elysées Avenue.

My Architectural room was tastefully decorated in neutral tones of crisp whites and granite greys with a hint of red for a pop of colour. The furnishings were all clean, in great condition and felt new. I would quite happily move in – it’s much tidier than my bedroom at home!

For the coffee lovers/addicts – there is also an in-room Nespresso machine for a daily caffeine fix.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Bathroom

The bathroom was also clean and stylish with a mixture of marble and glass fixtures. It had everything guests needed to feel comfortable during their stay, including nice squishy robes and soft white towels.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Tokyomilk

The toiletries were a delicious smelling range by Tokyo Milk that smelt good enough to eat!

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Room

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Arrival Cocktail

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Cocktail

It’s the first time I’ve ever had an in-room mocktail awaiting my arrival, which was a nice welcome touch. Instructions with a shaker, glass of ice, tongs and skewered strawberries sat on the table ready to refresh.

The hotel also gave us a beautiful coffee table book filled with stunning black and white photographs of Paris and a handwritten note. Luckily I had brought one of my reusable Envirosax shopping bags with me on the trip as I had already overpacked my suitcase! Standard.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Renaissance Paris Arc de Triomphe Bed

The bed looked super comfortable and I could tell it was going to be another good night’s sleep *stretch*…

Of course, one has to test these things out though, so I closed my blinds and snuggled in for a quick nap before the evening’s experiences.

I was a guest of Renaissance Hotels, experiencing Paris for their annual Global Day of Discovery. All excursions were planned by the hotels’ Navigators who are experts in suggesting different local activities and booking exclusive events for guests.

Catching zzz’s,

It’s amazing what you can fit into 24 hours. That’s exactly how long we had to experience Paris in celebration of Renaissance Hotel’s Global Day of Discovery. Just wait til you see everything we managed to squeeze in!

The day was jam packed full of sightseeing, fantastic food, fashion, dancing, limousines and experiencing a uniquely different side of Paris (no tourist traps on this itinerary). I don’t want to give away all the surprises just yet though.

Waking up bright and early, I reluctantly crawled out from under the covers and left the cosiness of my ridiculously comfy bed. Not having peeked the night before, I drew back the curtains to see what views were waiting behind my bedroom windows.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Restaurant

One side overlooked the Booking Office Bar & Restaurant where we had eaten the night before. I watched for a couple of minutes as a few early breakfast go-ers went about their leisurely morning routine.

St. Pancras Station London Paul Days The Meeting Place Statue

The other window looked out over St. Pancras station towards Paul Day’s well known sculpture, The Meeting Place. I enjoyed observing the peacefulness of the station – I’ve never seen it so quiet.

If you are catching a train into, or out of St. Pancras station, you certainly can’t get a more convenient hotel! The trains literally pull up to the door.

With our takeaway breakfasts in hand, the hotel’s VIP transfer service took our luggage through to customs for us where we boarded our early morning Eurostar bound for Paris.

Before we knew it, we arrived at Gare du Nord station to a hot summer’s morning, ready for our Day of Discovery in Paris to officially begin.

 

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV tour Lucy and Charly

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV tour

There were a few giggles and squeals as we laid eyes on our transport parked across the street. A row of brightly coloured convertible Citroën 2CV’s awaited to take us on a tour of the city.

Surprisingly, these little gems fit three passengers, plus a driver, so we divided ourselves among the cars and buckled up. Lucy and Charly opted for the bright orange number, while AngieDanielle and I went for the racing red model.

Our driver zipped around and weaved in and out of the midday traffic, which is no easy feat in Paris. The beauty of being in a 2CV was being able to dart around and sneak into small spaces (the traffic in Paris is CRAZY). There were a lot of laughs and the driver only gave us one rule: to smile.

These cars attract a lot of attention, so there is always someone taking a photo.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Montmartre

We made our way towards the cobbled streets of one of Paris’ most historic neighbourhoods, Montmartre. I would highly recommend adding it to your itinerary. It’s a beautiful area to explore with gorgeous buildings and cafes lining the narrow streets.

Many famous artists used to once live and work here; Picasso, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Vlamenck, Derain and Soutine to name a few.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV Tour Basilique Sacré-Coeur

As our convoy climbed to the highest point of the city in Montmare, we were dwarfed by the dominant landmark of Basilique Sacré-Coeur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart) perched above us.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV Tour Views of Paris

This large Roman Catholic church certainly has the best views sweeping across the almost flat cityscape of Paris. Fantastic photo spot!

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Moulin Rouge

Moving on and winding our way down, our tour guide pointed out a few buildings of note before letting us get a quick snap outside the well-known cabaret, Moulin Rouge.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV Tour Roof Selfie

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV Tour Roof Selfie Portrait

At the end of the Champs-Elysées we had another pit stop in one of the major squares, Place de la Concorde for a few snaps (and selfies).

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV Tour Line Up

One of the perks about a city tour in a 2CV with Paris Authentic – the cars are extremely photogenic!

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Paris Authentic 2CV Tour Eiffel Tower

Even though we were experiencing a lesser-known side of Paris, I still got rather excited catching sight of the infamous Eiffel Tower as we whizzed past.

Parked at the lights, I very nearly missed seeing it altogether as I was looking down distracted by my phone. Just goes to show how important it is to look up and take in your surroundings as you might just miss something spectacular!

Lesson learnt.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero

For lunch, it was time to escape to a tranquil garden setting in the heart of the city at the Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero.

Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero Garden Lunch Setting

It was a welcome oasis nestled in-between buildings of the hotel, you wouldn’t have a clue of the outside bustle beyond the grounds, or that tourist hotspots Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower were so near. Even the local French bloggers didn’t know this spot existed.

We lounged in the speckled sun on bean bags and outdoor chairs, dining al fresco sampling a selection of local flavours.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Lunch Salmon Pots

There were delicious pots of creamy avocado mousse mixed with herbs and topped with salmon and bean sprouts.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Lunch Gazpacho

Refreshing cold gazpacho (used to the cold-pressed juice craze here in the UK, I naively thought it was ginger and carrot juice and sucked up a large mouthful).

Still tasty nonetheless!

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Lunch

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Lunch Sandwich

Open sandwiches on toasted bread were topped with cured meat and fresh seasoned vegetables.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Champagne

Olivia and I soaked up the warmth in the garden and toasted to the day with a glass of chilled champagne.

Renaissance Le Parc Trocadero Garden Lunch Dessert

Everyone’s eyes lit up as shortbread biscuit bases topped with fresh berries and an outdoor frozen yoghurt machine were brought out for dessert. Very welcomed in the summer heat.

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Mirror Selfie

Renaissance Hotel Day Of Discovery Paris_Le Parc Trocadero Staircase

Finished eating, Charlie, Angie and I escaped the heat and had a quick nosy inside before being whisked off for the next of the day’s activities.

There’s still an afternoon and evening of action to come. Told you we managed to squeeze a lot in!

I was a guest of Renaissance Hotels, experiencing Paris for their annual Global Day of Discovery. All excursions were planned by the hotels’ Navigators who are experts in suggesting different local activities and booking exclusive events for guests.

Explore and discover,

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London exterior

For those who have been reading awhile, you’ll know I love trying new things. If you’re new here – I love trying new things *smile*. It’s what I enjoy most about London and what makes the city so special. There is always something to discover, whether it be a new food market, latest pop-up, show, or event.

Needless to say, when I was invited to experience London and Paris with Renaissance Hotels to celebrate their fourth annual Global Day of Discovery, I was pretty excited. Combine my love of travel and new experiences – I’m there.

The Global Day of Discovery is an initiative set up by Renaissance Hotels, to help inspire travellers to explore the local culture and quirks in different ways. They’re passionate about giving guests a truly authentic experience when visiting a destination.

Arriving at St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London, I stood outside and marvelled at the scale of the hotel and it’s beautiful, Victorian Gothic architecture. No doubt about it, this is one spectacular hotel that deserves every bit of awe and admiration.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London exterior clock tower

Originally opened as Midland Grand Hotel by Queen Victoria in 1873, it closed in 1935 before being used as railway offices for many years. In the 1960’s it was set for demolition, luckily it was petitioned and given a Grade 1 heritage status.

What a shame it would have been to lose such a striking landmark! The building has gone through years of restoration and refurbishment to become the luxury, 5-star hotel that stands today.

You’re right in thinking it looks like something out of Harry Potter – it was used in two of the films, as well as quite a few other well known movies and television series.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Foyer

Walking through the entrance, a sense of calm instantly came over me after the hustle and bustle of rush hour commuters at Kings Cross. Natural light streamed in along the length of the atrium through a high glass ceiling making me feel like I was still outdoors rather than in a hotel reception area.

I later learned that this was actually where the drivers of horse-drawn carriages used to pull up, dropping passengers off at the station. An interesting history fact that made sense of the indoor/outdoor feel.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Foyer Meetings

A beautiful sweet, floral and wooden scent filled the air, while guests scattered around tables in the foyer were busy typing away on their laptops and finishing up meetings for the day. No doubt hurrying to get to the adjourning hotel bar!

After checking in and being led to my room, the view on the other side of the door took me by pleasant surprise.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Chambers Suite

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Chambers Suite Bed

Awaiting was a spacious, open-plan suite with its own lounge area, fireplace, separate office space tucked around the corner and my favourite, a gigantic marshmallow bed. It was so big, it was nearly possible to get lost amongst the plush, squishy pillows.

There’s nothing I love more than melting into a comfortable, oversized bed with luxurious bedding at a hotel and the St. Pancras Renaissance certainly delivered and exceeded all expectations.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Bar Entrance

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Bar

After a quick freshen up, it was time to meet for canapés in the Booking Office Bar & Restaurant. Another impressive space in the hotel, it is actually what used to be the ticket hall of the original station. Behind the 29m-long bar, glass panes protect the detailed woodwork of the old ticket booth windows.

A very grand spot to perch for an evening cocktail, or two.

After all the introductions were made, we toasted to the evening while plate after plate of mouth watering food kept being brought out and placed in front of us.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Flat Bread

Flat bread topped with melted cheese, vine ripened tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, rocket and shaved parmesan.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Burger Sliders

Mini burger sliders with wagyu beef, crisp lettuce, cheddar cheese, tomato and smoked bacon relish.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken and garden leaf salad with mixed lettuce, shaved cucumber, carrot and pomegranate, but…

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Pulled Pork Croquettes

…The star of the show for me were the delicious confit pork croquettes served accompanied with an apple mayonnaise. Perfectly golden and crispy on the outside, the tender pulled pork inside was soft and flavourful.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch

While we were nibbling away, one of the barmen came over to make us our own sharing bowl of punch in the centre of the table.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Making

While he went about mixing, he enthusiastically explained the history behind the opening of the original railway hotel, Midland Grand and the popular punch culture at the time during London’s Victorian era. Honouring the building’s past and flavours of that period, it’s a tradition that the St. Pancras Renaissance is reviving, right down to details like the hand-made copper bowls.

Old school becoming new school?

He certainly wasn’t shy with quantities as bottle after bottle of cherry liqueur, orange liqueur, brandy and champagne were poured in.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Mixing

He mixed,

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Pouring

And poured,

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Last Drop

And made sure every last drop was added.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Booking Office Punch Cup

Ladled into our cups, it tasted delicious, but certainly did pack a punch!

With our bellies full and thirsts quenched, the evening still wasn’t quite over and there was one more event lined up for our group.

Feeling like I'm back in Thailand 🔆

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Waiting to be picked up to be taken to our next location for the evening, I couldn’t help myself and had to get a photo in the hotel’s brightly painted tuk-tuk. Fond memories of past holidays in Thailand came rushing back sitting at the entrance.

Ah, nostalgia.

Carousel London Sofar Sounds Music Gig

As we pulled up outside Carousel in Marylebone, the last surprise we discovered was a secret Sofar sounds music gig. Holding intimate gigs in over 100 cities worldwide, they’re hard to get tickets to due to limited ticket capacity because of venue size and popularity.

When you apply, you don’t find out if you have been lucky enough to secure a ticket until a week before the gig and you have no idea of venue, or who you will be seeing until a couple of days prior.

Performed in all sorts of spaces from bars to people’s living rooms, the aim is to bring the best new music to intimate and unusual venues to a dedicated audience.

Carousel London Sofar Sounds Music Gig Set Up

Following the staircase underground, we came to an open concrete room where film and light crews were setting up for the first act of the evening. The vibe was laid back and the crowd was varied, but everyone was there for the sole purpose of enjoying good music by talented musicians.

Carousel London Sofar Sounds Music Gig Ella Martini

The amazingly talented @andreyatriana at last night's underground @sofarsounds gig.

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We saw four acts, Ella Martini, Orlando Seale & the Swell, the energetic Andreya Triana, and Halfpenny Pass who each played a short set of several songs. If you’re passionate about music, sign up and get yourself along to one of these gigs.

St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel London Night Exterior

As we pulled back into the hotel’s entrance after our outing, the facade lit against the dark night sky welcomed us back and I happily retired to my suite, flopped into my marshmellow bed and spread like a starfish and drifted into a peaceful sleep ready for the following day’s trip to Paris.

I was a guest of Renaissance Hotels, the hotel brand helping people all over the world Live Life to Discover. All excursions were planned by the hotels’ Navigators, who are dedicated experts in suggesting different activities and booking exclusive events for guests.

Staycation discoveries,