Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Interior goals at Granary Square Brasserie

True story, but I've always wanted to eat at Granary Square Brasserie. So when it came to my six month anniversary of being married (eek, how did it go so fast?!), I wanted to go somewhere special for dinner. And special it most certainly was.

ATMOSPHERE

After a warm welcome where front-of-house staff wished us a happy anniversary, took our coats and presented us with a ticket for the cloakroom, we were led into the most awe inspiring of rooms. We were sat on plush sofa seating in a cosy corner away from other diners which was deliciously private and apt for the purpose of the visit. So huge brownie points right from the offset!

And I won't lie, as soon as I sat down I was literally mouth agape for the first 10-15 minutes. What a beautiful restaurant. Decorated in my kind of style with dark inky blue walls, exposed brick archways and metallic details with a Gatsby-esque bar, I swooned good and hard. With the glow of candles placed on each table and the glow of the bar, it was ambient and felt serene and welcoming.


FOOD

I'm really into fish at the moment, so I opted for a fishy starter and main course, paired with a refreshing white wine (the Chablis, La Chablisienne from Burgundy, France if you're asking).

I had the tuna carpaccio to start. I was a little surprised initially as it didn't look how I expected it to (I later learnt that the image I had seen on the website was in fact the seared tuna main course. But you live and you learn...) But all the same, it was a nice looking dish with intriguingly thin slithers of yellowfin tuna (how do they get it so thin?!) dressed with radish, very vibrantly coloured mayo and ponzu dressing. The menu details this as miso mayo, but due to the colouring and the slight kick of heat, I suspected it may have been wasabi mayo on the day that I visited.

My only slight criticism of the dish is that tuna is one of my favourites and I felt like the ponzu covered something that naturally tastes very beautiful. I couldn't taste the fact that it was tuna and to me, this could have been any fish (at times I suspected it was salmon). But that aside, it was a beautifully presented dish full of vibrant colours and wonderful Asian flavours.


For my main course I had swordfish with toasted fregola (a Sardinian pasta), red pepper, chimichurri and basil. I ordered a side of fries too which were crispy on the outside and wonderfully fluffy in the middle. However the grains on the plate (fregola) meant there was more than enough substance to the dish - so next time I probably wouldn't need the fries (although they were really good. so never say never!). The swordfish itself was melt-in-the-mouth and beautifully cooked and seasoned. The red pepper element of the dish was a creamy, smooth red pepper sauce which my mouth still waters about to this day. It was an extremely generous portion but no matter how full I got, I could easily have eaten more (that red pepper sauce though). Which is testament to how good a dish it really was.


Sadly I can't see the swordfish on the menu anymore, but I'm really hoping they bring this back for when I visit again in the future. However having said that, I'd be tempted to try their aromatic duck curry with lemongrass, roasted cashews and jasmine rice next time. Or their shrimp and avocado burger which sounds equally dreamy.

For dessert I ordered something that I have always wanted to try after watching Masterchef religiously for years. One of those chocolate spheres which melt away when you drizzle hot sauce tantalizingly over it. This iteration of a restaurant favourite was a melting chocolate bombe with vanilla ice cream, a honeycomb centre and hot salted caramel sauce. I really appreciated the extra attention to detail with the additional piece of chocolate wishing us a happy anniversary. It's personal little touches like these which mean a lot and encourage you to come back time and time again.

SUMMARY

To summarise, Granary Square Brasseries has a nice feel about it and feels upmarket without the snobbery. We were well looked after and have no complaints about the service we received (massive respect to the guy who let me take pictures of the melting chocolate bombe dessert whilst he was pouring the hot salted caramel over it!). I was initially disappointed by the starters as there wasn't a great deal of choice for me personally, and I didn't feel all that inspired. But I have noticed that since my last visit they have added scallops to the menu (always a winner!), so I would have those next time. The main course and dessert helped to redeem things and they are what would bring me back. As would the amazing decor and feel to the place. See you soon GSB


Granary Square Brasserie
1 - 3 Stable Street 
Kings Cross
London
N1C 4AB

Located on a map here
Latest menu here

Reservations in advance are advised and you can reserve a table here

And for those wondering... the whole meal was paid for by myself. 
I just really loved the restaurant and wanted to share the love!

Monday, 2 April 2018

5 ways how to wear knee high boots

I don't know about you, but I love a good pair of boots. Whether they be knee high boots, over the knee boots, thigh high boots or ankle boots. I love how they can transform an outfit and how versatile they are. Although boots can be priced at both the high and low ends of the pricing spectrum, they don't have to be expensive (the pair I am wearing are a mere £29.99!) and thanks to their versatility, can be styled in a variety of different ways for efficient cost per wear.

SPLITTING UP

Recently I have been embracing the side split. Partner up a high cut split skirt with a pair of long boots to tone down the amount of skin on show for a cheeky peek of skin rather than full blown HELLO LEGS. For this look opt for a midi skirt and a fairly plain top (I went for a cropped grey knit) to keep your boots the star of the show still.

Boots // Skirt (similar here and here) // Jumper (similar here)

SHORTY GET LOW

Shorts worn with bare legs and long boots can look a little... *ahem*... hooker ish. To be less go-go dancer and more chic, avoid short shorts and go for tailored shorts like this paperbag waist pair. Wear with translucent tights for a subtle hint of skin without going too OTT and a top with a round or high neck. I teamed mine with a yoke lace style blouse with cut out detailing.

Boots // Shorts (similar here) // Top (similar here)

EQUESTRIAN

One of my fondest memories from childhood is going horse riding every Sunday morning clad in my jodhpurs and long boots. So when I got dressed up for this look, all the memories came flooding back! Team long boots with trousers of a contrasting colour and a blazer. No hard hat or whip required!

Boots // White jeans // Blazer (similar here)

FAUX REAL

Not all that different to the last look, but you can see what a difference something as simple as switching out a jacket can make! Wear knee high boots with fitted jeans and a short length faux fur coat for a more glam edge. If you want to be particularly fancy, you can always drape your jacket over your shoulders.

Boots // White jeans // Faux fur coat (similar here)

VICTORIANA

To nail the Victoriana look, go for long dark boots and wear with dark lace. The higher neckline the better. An all black ensemble is classic and timeless, but I decided to style mine with a light grey skirt to help soften the look a little and to add some balance to the colour block (black-grey-black). There is also something a little rock chic about these boots thanks to the stud detailing (there's another styling idea for you there!), and again, black and lace would work wonders here!

Boots // Grey skirt //  Blouse (similar here)

Boots very kindly provided by XYLONDON who have a huge selection of boots here (but for the record also do lovely heels, flats, bags and a bridal range too!). I adore their floral boot range which is perfect for Spring!

A few of my personal highlights of the black studded boots I am wearing:

  • The low heel making it practical for all day spent on my feet
  • The beautiful stud detailing. I find that when you wear black boots with black trousers, the boots can blend in and you lose the boot. Thanks to the studs running along the top and sides, the boots are very clearly marked as a separate entity. 
  • The contrast panel at the back of the boot (this is stretchy and allows easy pull-on of the boots!) which gives the boots added interest compared to if they were black faux suede all the way round.

The Anna boot is also available in blue here (how cool are they??!) and a faux leather version here if you're more into a shiny / wet look boot than matt / suede.


How do you style long boots? I'd love to know!

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Thursday, 15 March 2018

There's no time like the present

Well this is embarrassing. I'd originally intended to publish this back in January but January slipped away. As did February. And now we're looking at March (how is it March already?!). Is March too late for a What I Got For Christmas post? Time of the year aside, these types of posts are one of my favourites to read because 1) they give me gift ideas for friends and family and 2) they expose me to lovely new products that I may not have heard of otherwise... so that considered, I thought I'd press on! If they are your cup of tea too, feel free to grab a hot drink and read on. As ever, I am incredibly grateful to all my friends and family and feel very lucky to have people in my life who know me so damn well!


Wax Lyrical candle 
How beautiful is this candle??! My home interiors theme is very much dark walls and metallic details through the use of gold, copper and rose gold - so this Wax Lyrical candle fits in like a dream! I don't know how to describe Midnight Jasmine as a scent, but it smells pretty luxurious and sophisticated.


How to be Parisian
Although I have French roots and I have lived and worked in France before, in a ideal world I would move to Paris in a heartbeat and become a fully fledged Parisian. But as funds won't allow for such a move, I can live vicariously through this book for now. And what a stunning book it is.


Jo Malone
I love a bit of Jo Malone and can we just take some time to appreciate how beautifully things are always wrapped? Layers of waxy black tissue paper and ribbons left, right and center (how wonderfully festive and "candy cane" is the red and white ribbon?!). My daily go to fragrance at the moment is this one which I find lasts the course of the day without fading.


Ibiza Classics
This was a surprise gift from M. as he knew that I really wanted to go to Pete Tong's Ibiza Classics tour last year. It's quite a difficult album to describe. Because of its very nature - club classics - it is very uplifting and makes you want to get up and dance. But at the same time, the Heritage Orchestra and classical aspect of it makes it very relaxing to listen to. I found out that this gift was purchased through Amazon here and one of the benefits of buying CDs through Amazon is that you also get the digital tracks saved onto your Amazon account in your music library. So when I'm at work and I don't have the CD on me, I can still listen to it for all those summer feels.

Hamper (not pictured)
One of my sisters gave us a food hamper which was mostly Italian themed and filled with pesto, pasta, gnocchi and the like. I haven't pictured it because it's looking pretty empty these days, having eaten 87% of the contents!. My other sister gave us further foodie treats like a chorizo making kit. Hampers are such a wonderful gift idea and I will treasure the basket afterwards.

Chocolat Charbonnel 
The additional foodie treats from my other sister included this hot chocolate which I have tried before and it is AMAZING. Forget hot chocolates with a chocolate powder basis. With this one you open the tin to discover lots of little chocolate flakes which melt into warm milk for a very luxurious and special take on hot chocolate. I first discovered this hot chocolate through Lakeland who still sell it here, but supermarkets like Waitrose and Sainsburys also stock it.


Electric toothbrush
Oh my word. No word of a lie, but this has been a revelation. Never have my teeth felt so clean. Whilst my teeth have never been particularly white, they are looking much better these days. I'm using the Oral-B Pro 2 2000N model (reduced to just £40 here!) and I wish I'd made the switch to electric years ago.

Next vouchers
Next is one of my favourite places to shop for homeware, so it was amazing that a few of my friends had the same idea! I'm currently on the hunt for a statement ceiling light and I already have my eye on this piece of art or a more traditional offering like this chandelier which would pop fantastically against my dark blue walls.


GHDs 
This was the biggest surprise from one of my best friends. She clearly took notes when she watched me moaning about my ancient - literally smoking - straighteners at my hen / bachelorette. Words cannot describe how wonderful it is to have a pair of straighteners that work properly, don't smoke like a chimney or smell funky.


Mugs
She also bought me these hilarious mugs which are M's favourite things ever. He literally rolled around laughing when we opened them and then went all deadpan: I'M SAYING NOTHING.


Alice in Wonderland
How cute are these V&A Alice in Wonderland plates?! I love the presentation box they came in with the "pull me" handle.


The White Company
Winter just isn't winter without a White Company winter candle (FYI the Winter range is currently up to 30% off here!). With a scent composed of sweet cinnamon, cloves and a subtle hint of orange, nothing makes me feel more festive.

Malbec (not pictured)
My favourite red wine by far (although this Christmas I was introduced to Chateauneuf-du-Pape and that was equally dreamy). I hold my hands up, this has been consumed already (hence the lack of pics!). I love nothing more than a nice piece of steak with homemade chips, or a comforting stew or pasta dish, served with a glass of red. And Malbec fits the bill perfectly.


YSL touche eclat
One fun fact about me is that I am fiercely loyal to brands for products that I know work for me. Because if it ain't broke, why fix it? Having saying that, the YSL touche eclat is something that I have wanted to try for the longest time, so I was pretty excited about this one (separate review to follow!)


Rituals candle
I somehow discovered that one of my best friends is equally enthused about candles as I am - we've only known each since nursery school!! - when I unwrapped a candle from her and lost my shit because candles honestly excite me that much. I love discovering new candles and scents, and Ritual of Ayurveda (Indian rose & sweet almond) was one I hadn't tried before. I love an inspirational quote and the words on the side of the votive mean I will be re-using it for makeup brushes once the wick comes to an end. It's a beautifully deep and layered fragrance, and one that fills the room even before being lit (an impressive feat).


Have you tried any of these products before? Would you like to?

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Monday, 5 March 2018

The importance of adopting an evening routine and how to get a better night's sleep

Fun fact about me: I have always been a night owl. Often staying awake until the early hours of the morning, binge watching box-sets and films, I would then head to bed and lay there scrolling through social media. It was all too easy to say "just one more episode" or "just 10 more minutes" but it was never the case. I used to be up until the early hours of the morning and always prided myself on my ability to exist on next to nothing sleep. But the facts were I struggled with the mornings. Both with actually getting my ass out of bed and productivity once live and kicking. It started affecting both my writing and mental health. Blog posts didn't flow right and often sat there abandoned and unpublished. The novel I started writing lost momentum. Over time things worsened in that I could no longer physically sleep. I had royally fucked my sleeping pattern and my body could no longer comprehend what sleep was or how to do it.

And the worst thing? I was more than aware of the facts. I was well aware of all the various studies preaching the importance of avoiding screens - be it TV, laptop or phone - right before bed. That it can over-stimulate the mind, exacerbate any pre-existing depression or anxiety that you may have and have links to weight gain. Not necessarily because you're snacking right before bed (although I did this too) but more because the extra hours you spend awake muddles your body clock and affects how your body metabolises food at the end of a day.

TIME FOR CHANGE

A month or so ago I made the conscious decision to shake up my lifestyle and get into an evening routine. It started off as a trial but the changes were so undeniable that I haven't looked back since. I am now sleeping again. My weight is the best it's been for longer than I care to remember. I am a lot more productive during the day and my writing mojo is back. My love for blogging has been reignited and rather than simply picking up where I last left my novel, I got a whole new wave of inspiration for another book which is in the works. Turns out sleep is magical stuff.

Whilst I can't promise that my evening routine is an instant fix for things that may keep your mind buzzing at night  - be it a broken heart or friend dramas - it's a start. I was pretty cynical about having a routine and how long I'd keep it up for, but it's amazing how a little change here and there can transform your life. So here's a little snippet of a typical evening for me these days:

TIME FOR TEA

Winding down for bed starts about 8.45 sort of time when I start boiling the kettle for tea. I used to drink green tea late at night which wasn't ideal because caffeine. Also can we talk about how annoying it is getting comfy in bed and finding that bit of the pillow that is perfectly moulded to your face and then realising you have the bladder the size of a grapefruit which is pressing into you all like I won't let you sleeeeep. Don't eat or drink anything too late at night. Now that I drink earlier I find that when I get into bed I stay there and generally my sleep is deeper and of a better quality. Favourites in our house are chamomile tea and peppermint tea. Although occasionally I will have a decaffeinated green tea. Or a glass of cold milk which is refreshing as.

SCREEN TIME

I try and finish watching TV by about 9.30. Since mixing up my evening routine and no longer watching episodes right before bed, I find myself falling asleep a lot quicker with a better quality of sleep. Gone are the days where my mind was buzzing after watching a particularly thinky documentary or watching something that ended on a massive cliffhanger where I have to wait a whole week to find out wtf happened. I can still watch these things but by watching them earlier in the evening, they are not the last thing on my mind at night. It gives me time to talk it out on Twitter or with my partner and get it all out of my system.

CANDLELIGHT

To be honest, candles have always heavily featured in my life. Even before I had a proper evening routine. Sitting in a dark room with just the glow of candlelight sets in the sleepy process (well for me anyway!). There's something about a flickering flame which is both mesmerising and relaxing.


CLEAR SHIT UP

Before I head into the bathroom for night time skin care and brushing those fangs, I do mindless things like clearing up, sorting the cat and loading the dishwasher. Dirty dishes in the here and now have no place in tomorrowland and I like to start every day afresh with nothing hanging over me. By doing these things, I am closing another chapter and acknowledging the end of another day.

[INSERT HERE]

Something I'm hoping to add to my evening routine eventually is a spot of yoga / meditation, but I'm still on the lookout for the perfect yoga mat. I used to go to yoga classes regularly but a breast cancer scare a couple of years ago and a biopsy meant certain moves were causing me pain whilst I was healing and I sadly had to stop classes. I really want to get back into it again but will be starting out at home (hence the search for a yoga mat). I always found that yoga helped ease out all the stresses and strains of the day that manifest themselves into your muscles, making it a very attractive prospect.

PILLOW SPRAY

Before I get into bed I spritz the pillows with a pillow spray to help aid relaxation and sleep. I know that lavender isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I use lavender based pillow sprays the most and find these extra relaxing. I do try and keep it seasonal though and am always on the lookout for new pillow sprays and room sprays. I adore ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon tones around the festive period and more floral notes once it hits spring. Around this sort of time I will ensure that the alarm on my phone is set for the next day, put my phone down, and strictly not pick it up again that day.

READING

Reading is one of the fundamental parts of my new evening routine. I hadn't got stuck into good book for ages because I was so overtired with my old evening regime that I would constantly be falling asleep on my morning commute. Often waking up on some poor soul's shoulder. There is nothing quite like escaping into a good book.

Lately I've been reading Driven by Dane Cobain and your usual detective story this is not. Although there is a police presence, this book centres about Leipfold, a private investigator. Whilst the police have to abide by police protocol, Leipfold and his apprentice computer whizz kid Maile do not. Leipfold was quite a mysterious character with an apparently colourful past which I would have liked to know more about, but as this is the first book in the Leipfold series, this is maybe something that will be touched upon later. Maile was my favourite character and I could relate to her a lot.
"A car strikes in the middle of the night and a young actress lies dead in the road. The police force thinks it’s an accident, but Maile and Leipfold aren’t so sure. Putting their differences aside, and bought together by a shared love of crosswords and busting bad guys, Maile and Leipfold investigate. But not all is as it seems, as the soon find out to their peril…"
Currently writing my own thriller novel myself, this is one my favourite genres to read. What I really liked about Driven was that I could visualise the characters and that they were plausible. If I can't visualise or get a feel for a character, I literally can't finish a book. I also liked the fact that Driven got straight into the action with the murder and how the momentum kept up. I lose interest quickly in novels where you are strung along for the whole book trying to find out a key piece of information. Driven constantly drip feeds you with new information so although I thought I'd sussed out the murderer early on, I was wrong!


I'm going to keep this short and sweet as I don't want to give too much away, but if you want to try Driven for yourself, there are Kindle friendly versions and paperback copies available here. I love receiving and passing on book recommendations, and Driven is well worth a read. The book itself is light weight and a good size to pop in your bag for the daily commute or holiday (I'm not a fan of heavy hardbacks!). As odd as it sounds, it was probably one the nicest feeling books I've read in a long time, what with it's matt cover and the super soft pages.


By incorporating reading into my evening routine, it offers a degree of escapism and to focus on something away from work and social media dramas before bed. Because seeing bloggers slag other bloggers off on Twitter right before bed is not the one.

LIGHTS OUT

After I reach a good point in my book, the bookmark goes in (usually an old Topshop label because I'm fancy) and lights go out. The old me was guilty of messing about on my phone in bed but now I make more of an effort to spend quality time with M.

Do you have an evening routine or problems sleeping?

Driven was sent to me for review purposes but all opinions and love of detective stories all my own! Driven is available as a digital copy or paperback here. I opted to review the paperback because I love the smell of new books (or is that just me?)  

Friday, 23 February 2018

Things to do in Gran Canaria instead of sitting by the pool all day

Here I am working in a tall office block in London with spectacular views of mist and fog and ALL THE RAIN. It's days like today where I try and remember what it feels like to have sun kissing at your skin (I tried to remember and failed. It's been too long). And with that, I reminisce about past holidays. One holiday that holds a very special place in my heart is Gran Canaria.

I'll be honest. I'm not someone who can sit on a sun lounger or a beach every day for 2 weeks. I can maybe do 2-3 days tops, but ultimately I live to explore and go on adventures. It sounds simple, but just the act of leaving your hotel can be therapeutic. You can be in the nicest hotel but with the daily struggle of DAWN WARS with the reserved sun loungers (who knew that a towel was legally binding??) and you just want a pool day but there is nowhere to sit and arghhh I'm meant to be on holiday y'know and the tension and knots that were unraveling from your shoulders are coming back in full force...  Sometimes it's nice to step outside and take a breather. So with that, comes my guide of things to do in Gran Canaria away from your resort.

Start slow, explore the local area first

I loved staying in Maspalomas and Meloneras. Seen as one of the more luxurious parts of Gran Canaria, it is a very well kept and nice looking area. Besides their beautiful stretch of sand (more on this below!) there is a great running path alongside the sea with beautiful greenery which reminded me of a mass invasion of succulents (pic below!). This is not solely a criticism of Gran Canaria as this happens everywhere, but resorts that have buffet meal options are usually very much tailored to tourists, meaning that you don't have always have the chance to try local specialties. For this very reason, I like leaving whichever hotel I'm staying in to scope out local food. I tried some lovely Canarian specialties including their local mojo sauce (oil, garlic, vinegar, red pepper and assortment of herbs and spices) drizzled across a potato based dish. There were also some lovely tapas places (I never want a huge meal when it's hot!). I love sizzling hot skillets of garlic prawns with a generous sprinkling of parsley.


Watch a film under the stars

Step outside your hotel one evening and head to Moonlight Cinema for a rooftop open air cinema experience. They usually have some fairly recent titles (you can find their latest film schedule here). Snuggle under the blankets provided, and order food and drinks from the comfort of your seat, by simply pressing a light on the arm of your chair. There is a full array of movie friendly snacks like pizza, nachos and popcorn. Drinks wise, there is an extensive alcohol list, but hot drinks are also available if you happen to visit on a cooler evening!


One for the playas

Playa of course being Spanish for beach. The beaches in Gran Canaria are well worth a visit. I stayed in Maspalomas which has the second longest beach in Gran Canaria. If you follow the sea around, you will reach the Playa del Ingles which is a busier, more touristy beach, but it has more in the way of water activities. It was amusing watching families bobbling along the waves on - I kid you not - a swan pedalo. Mid way between Maspalomas and Playa del Ingles is nature at its very best (revealed below!), so persevere and keep on walking because it's worth it.


And if you REALLY like water, how about a water park?

The Canary Islands are great for water parks and Gran Canaria is no exception. Aqualand is located in the south of the island within easy distance of Maspalomas. Of if you prefer to keep your feet on land, try a different sort of park at Palmitos Park  (more of a zoo).

THOSE sand dunes

If you go to Gran Canaria you HAVE to visit the Maspalomas sand dunes. One minute you're in the Canary islands, the next you are transported to the Sahara dessert. This amazing natural phenomena was formed during the last last ice age where the wind blew sand from the bottom of the ocean towards the coast of the island. Pretty incredible, huh? Word of advice: take plenty of water with you and a water spray if you have. There are food kiosks peppered along the way on the sand of the main beach, but drinks here are extortionately priced. And wear shoes if you go up the dunes. The sand is so much hotter here. I wore cut out sandals, took some quick pictures from the top of a dune and literally ran down from one into the sea to soak my feet! Another way of seeing the sand dunes is by camel safari (you can book this up here) or for adrenaline junkies, a 4x4 tour. However you choose to navigate the dunes, I really recommend you pay them a visit for an out-of-this-world experience.


Visit Little Italy AKA Puerto Mogan

Located in the south of Gran Canaria, Mogan is a beautiful sun dappled coastal town full of white fronted houses with pops of pink from numerous flowers and window boxes, and narrow winding streets made for exploring. Travel guides quote Mogan as a taste of Italy and say that is is Venetian inspired. I would have to agree. As well as beautiful streets, a booming local market, boats and yachts galore and a beach, Mogan have excursions like their yellow submarine tour. The day I went, I climbed to the top of the hill for outstanding views. Looking through my Gran Canaria photos, I don't have any from my day in Mogan which says a lot. Generally when I am in total awe of how wonderful a place is, I look with my eyes not a camera. But if you want a sneak peek of beautiful Puerto Mogan, there are some pictures here. It was really refreshing to be away from the tourist heavy parts of Gran Canaria and to find an idyllic slice of paradise.

Visit Las Palmas

One year I was royally ripped off by a day excursion to Las Palmas. Hoping for some culture and to actually visit Las Palmas, instead this excursion turned out to be €50 to be driven in a coach to a shopping centre and given some time to spend even more money before being taken back to the hotel later than day. And on the way there "highlights" were pointed to us out of the window like a new shopping centre that was being built that would have a Primark. I mean honestly. So if your hotel offers you a  Las Palmas excursion, double check the small print and make sure it's not this shopping one! The real Las Palmas is beautiful (pics here!) and is well worth a visit. The shopping centre (Centro Comercial Las Arenas) I spoke of is decent and has some great shops (most up-to-date list here) with firm favourites like Mango and Zara (I found Zara items from back home sold at much lower prices!). I also sniffed out a McDonalds and stopped for a super refreshing smoothie. But my advice: make your own way to Las Palmas. In Maspalomas there is a bus stop where you can take a bus (€6 rather than €50!) to the shopping centre and back.


Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnologia

In spite of the disappointment from THAT "excursion", every cloud has a silver lining. Without going on that awful €50 excursion, I never would have discovered Museo Elder de la Ciencia y la Tecnologia (essentially a science and technology museum) which was just opposite the shopping centre. Easily reached by bus ((€6 rather than the €60 you would need to shell out for a taxi), the museum contains something for everyone and is perfect for those of all ages. I loved how interactive and immersive an experience it was. I'm not sure if and how often the exhibits are refreshed, but when I visited I made rainbows, had all the fun with a green screen and concealed myself into the Gran Canarian landscape.


Have you ever been to Gran Canaria? 

Maspalomas is picturesque and serene and has a more of luxury feel to the resorts, shops and local area. But in this case don't read 'luxe' as expensive. Maspalomas does affordable luxury and gets the balance right. Case in point of how beautiful some of the hotels are...


If you are more of social butterfly, Playa del Ingles is buzzing with nightlife and I would compare this more to Playa de las Americas in Tenerife.

Regardless of where you go, Gran Canaria as a holiday destination isn't expensive and I have always had the best time there without having to shell out a fortune and without having to live on beans on toast for months afterwards. You can travel to Gran Canaria from a little as £149 per person and some examples of good Gran Canaria holiday packages can be found here. I love the look of the Dunas Mirador Maspalomas which has stylish and light and airy bedrooms and also Marina Bayview which has a Santorini feel about it and the most incredible views.

I have only scratched the surface of what there is to see and do in Gran Canaria and I can't wait to go back again one day so I can add to this travel guide. I really recommend going off the beaten track, exploring nearby villages and of course the Maspalomas sand dunes!

Post written in collaboration with Holiday Gems but as ever, all content and opinions are my own