Barcelona Babymoon

Next week, Pete and I are off to Barcelona for a bit of a getaway. It’s not really a babymoon but I’m grateful we’re getting some time to ourselves as work plus incessant house worries and a serious lack of holidays was really starting to get to us. We didn’t think we could afford to book something for just us, (as well as the wedding we are going to in Italy in May) but I was determined that we should make the most of the last few months before we are a three. I scouted around for cheap deals and booked some EasyJet flights for £100 each and found a cool looking cheap hotel – Room Mate Emma. We’re both exhausted and just want to chill out, eat nice food, enjoy some sun (fingers crossed!) and walk around taking in the sights, and each other.

So before we go I need your recommendations readers, on things to do and see. All we have in mind so far is The Gaudi Park, (I have been before and seen La Sagrada Familia and the Picasso museum,) but I’d love to hear your restaurant recommendations, cool areas we should experience and relaxing things to do and see. Oh and I’d like to go down to the waterfront too.

Let me have it readers!


PS, I’ll review the hotel and where I go afterwards, of course!

Thrifty Thursdays – An introduction

Hi everyone!

After Rebecca’s big announcement yesterday about the supremely exciting and gorgeously geometric Dream. Find. Do., I have a wee bit of news to report too.  Namely, that we will be unveiling a few new types of post here on Florence Finds over the coming weeks, and one of them will my baby…

Thrifty Thursdays.

See, much as I absolutely ADORE this blog, and I boy, do I hanker after pretty much everything Rebecca features be it for her home or her wardrobe, a lot of the content is, shall we say, a bit more aspirational than available for me.  At C-S towers we’re on something of an austerity drive, which has been intensified by me not having had regular income over the last few months. Pottering around behind the scenes of Florence Finds can sometimes make me feel like I’ve got my nose pressed up against the glass of a beautiful store that I’m afraid to go into, and that’s a bit silly, because it’s definitely not the vibe we’re aiming to create here.  I know that a few of you are in the same boat, too, be it saving for house deposits, planning weddings or simply trying to put pennies away for a rainy day, not all of us have a lot of cash to splash.  On the other hand, when you are trying to live frugally, it’s really frustrating not to be able to indulge yourself from time to time, or to feel like you’re depriving yourself in every area of your life and for the love of Mike can’t you just have one new thing to wear on a night out.  Which is where Thrifty Thursdays comes in.

Image credit: Hennie Haworth

Once a fortnight I’ll be featuring DIYs, craft ideas, bargain cosmetics, recipes and more all of which can be done on little or no budget.  We’ll be looking at the usual Florence Finds areas of interest, like fashion, travel and interiors but from a slightly different, thrifty viewpoint.  I’ll be doing my best to round up lower pricepoint alternatives to Rebecca’s Fash Flash and what to wear posts and it will also be a place for us to share any discount offers or deals that come our way, and of course we hope you guys will send us submissions with your hints for living a fabulous life without breaking the bank! (Fire away to

What’s your best tip for brilliance on a budget?

Love, Gemma C-S

Recommended: The Hoxton Hotel, Shoreditch.

I always think it’s difficult to choose a hotel, particularly when visiting London. If you’re not familiar with the city, you want somewhere central, but if you’re visiting to do the main sights, there often isn’t much in the way of evening entertainment around tourist hotels. On this trip, Pete and I were visiting with the specific intention of discovering some of the less touristy areas of London and for the first time in a long time, I didn’t set foot near Oxford Street during the whole trip. I also always look for hotels that look great, design is important to me both at home and away, but it’s always difficult to reconcile the price tag you often get with that standard of hotel when you’re going to spend limited time in the room.

On that basis, The Hoxton hotel was perfect for us. Only 2 stops on the tube from Euston and then a 5 minute walk away, we arrived on Friday night to the buzzing bar atmosphere, keen to start the weekend as we intended to go on. We made a table reservation and then headed up to the room.

The paper, scissors, stone cushions in the room and the neon industrial lighting in the corridors at The Hoxton. (If you would like to see the hotel gallery images, click here.)

The Hoxton is quite industrial in feel with the corridors having cool neon lighting and metal edged walls. Rooms are small but well proportioned, still fitting in a chaise lounge and desk (dressing table to me,) with plenty of room for getting ready even with two of us. Our room had a large rain shower and plenty of sink space – The Hoxton‘s marketing blurb is resolutely no-nonsense and straight talking, with lots of sensible solutions to make your stay more comfortable. The soap is a whole bar of pears that you are encouraged to take home and instead of a seldom touched mini bar, the fridge holds 2 complimentary bottles of mineral water and some fresh milk for your morning coffee tray.

Our room. (If you would like to see the hotel gallery images, click here.)

My favourite thing? Designed by the founder of the Pret a Manger food chain, your breakfast is a Pret lite bag, with yogurt pot, banana and fresh orange juice. For me, that translates to a hotel stay with breakfast in bed. I prefer to eat as soon as I wake up and hate getting ready to go down for breakfast. I end up getting so hungry I’m either grumpy when I get there or go down half ready, a sight for sore eyes. We had coffee in bed and woke up in a leisurely fashion, chomping through the bits on offer whilst planning our day out.

The Pret lite breakfast in our room. Bacon sandwiches and the full English can also be taken in the grill downstairs.

After we checked out the room, I did a quick change and went for dinner in the Hoxton Grill. We had so many recommendations of places to eat but reserved them for a future trip because the Hoxton Grill is pretty special. There’s a retro American feel to the open restaurant and bar which adjoins the lobby, with large stone fireplaces, lots of exposed brickwork and leather banquettes alongside salvage style chairs and tables. The menu lists lots of American style classics too. Pete opted for the ribs after we shared lamb meatball sliders and I had sea bass while we worked our way through the cocktail list. Pete’s summed the atmosphere up nicely, saying he felt like ‘we should be paying in dollars‘. Even better, we slipped upstairs straight fron the table and hit the sack earlier than is strictly rock and roll.

A selection of Instagram images that I snapped of our dinner choices that night.

I really enjoyed our stay and would definitely recommend the hotel, but the location makes it even better, slap bang in the middle of sexy Shoreditch with so much on offer. I’ll be spilling the beans on where we went and all your recommendations in another post soon. If you want to stay at The Hoxton it pays to book early. There’s no mysterious pricing system, with rooms starting at £69 when booked 6 months ahead and rising towards the date of arrival. Our second night was £129 which I still think is an amazing price for a cool London hotel in a great location.

Have you stayed at The Hoxton or will you be considering it next time you visit London?


Disclaimer: Rebecca stayed for one night as a guest of The Hoxton, but if she wouldn’t recommend it to a friend, you wouldn’t be hearing about it here.

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