The Royal Exchange Manchester

Manchester is a city full of culture, there are plenty of things to do in the city but there is perhaps one little section of the city that is just that extra little bit special and this time of year, it's blossoming with gorgeous decor and lights, which make it perfect for a stop by. The Royal Exchange is a beautiful shopping arcade and building, which houses the theatre inside, however it is worth noting that The Royal Exchange is more than just an arcade - there are plenty of other stores associated with The Royal Exchange that are both exciting and intriguing, shops and boutiques that you wouldn't find anywhere else and that is exactly why it's well worth a visit!

The Shops 

The shops in The Royal Exchange include both high street shops and unique one of a kind shops - that stretch all along Market St, St Ann's Sq, Old Bank St and Cross St! All of the shops are in one place, easy to find and not too far from all the public transport. Not only is it perfect for shopping but there are a range of restaurants that are suited to every taste, including a Vegan Cafe, Vertigo which is beyond delicious. 

Lush - their only UK #NakedLush has all the brand new packaging that is made of entirely recycled materials, for a more sustainable Christmas. They have some beautiful gift ideas, wrapped in recycled scarves, that feel as soft as silk and look beautiful - all the patterns are unique and stunning. They also have an app that shows you the content of their gift boxes, which saves on extra packaging. Scan any gift box to see the content of it before you buy and scan any bath bomb to see how it will fizz in the bath. It's a new chapter for Lush and it's right here at The Royal Exchange!

Moda In Pelle & Irregular Choice - these shoe stores are very different in styles and they are both part of the eclectic and incredible Royal Exchange. Moda In Pelle, elegant and stylish, for the modern day lady, with plenty of heels and handbags, at affordable prices. Irregular Choice opts for a little more of a quirky vibe, colourful delightful shoes and boots, with wacky and unusual styles and designs, plenty of colour and lots of character.

Sostrene Green - brand new to The Royal Exchange, Sostrene Green is a Danish store, with an incredibly "Hygge" feel. Plenty of quaint interiors, dainty and simple and lovely quality they are incredibly diverse with what they sell. From little bits of food and drink to interiors and cute office supplies - I was very impressed with their little Christmas ornaments, and there is certainly lots of great gift ideas, from candles, to dainty dinner plates, art supplies and lots more to ensure you can adopt a happy and calming lifestyle!

Jenny Jones Jewellery - The lovely Amy spoke to me in detail about the brand and all the jewellery that they display - which is a lot! Nestled in the middle of the Exchange Arcade, it is one not to be missed, with jewellery from new brands and lots of vintage picks. I left the store with a stunning silver bee necklace by Kit Heath, one of their popular choices and it a beautiful dainty choice, perfect for Christmas! The whole store is divine, with a very beautiful refit, complete with chandeliers, pink suede chairs, it's a very elegant and classy store and it's full of every type of jewellery you could ever dream of! (They also have a brand new Olivia Burton range which is delightful!) Browse their website here.

The Fjallraven Store - the ultimate outdoors store, if you're planning adventures for 2020, this is the place to come! With plenty of coats and bags for travel, it is a store full of sustainable and durable products which make this a winner. It's time to explore!

Molton Brown - Molton Brown doesn't really need an introduction, but it's another reason to make sure you visit The Royal Exchange next time you're in the city centre of Manchester! Their store has an extensive range of gifts and brand new ranges, including frequent deals. I had never come across a store in Yorkshire that stores a multitude of perfumes and candles, so I spent a little bit of time spritzing myself with some of their delicious scents!

The Whisky Shop - for all the whisky lovers, this shop is for you! They have so many incredible brands, many of which are incredibly high quality and you can also purchase beautifully crafted decanters which make for perfect gifts, especially if you know someone who enjoys whisky as their tipple! It is Christmas, after all!

L'Occitane - this company originated in Luxembourg and has overtaken the UK market. it's such a lovely brand and their shops are equally as lovely. Their focus is on skincare and fragrances and they make the most wonderful gift ideas. L'Occtiane is just another one of the many great stores at The Royal Exchange!

Here is a full list of the shops in The Royal Exchange:

Coming soon to the arcade will be Amaranth well-being and will be opening sometime in December, as well as Yards Store which is soon to grace The Royal Exchange on Old Bank Street very soon!

Food & Drink 

If you are looking for something healthy and delicious and VEGAN, Vertigo is a great idea. With plenty of deliciously colourful salad bowls and delights, this is the place to stop for a little bit of brunch! If you're after something a little more regal, take the time to stop of at Annie's for Afternoon Tea (a la carte menu is also available), which is owned by the lovely Jennie McAlpine. For the family, TGI's and to sit in the centre of it all, there is Michael's coffeehouse for a cup of coffee and a nibble on a fruity cake - there is definitely something for everyone with all tastes, and the Exchange itself is such a quaint and classy area, it's a nice place to shop away from the main streets of the city.

I opted for a berry smoothie with a falafel bowl, a delicious bowl of goodness, and the roasted red peppers were not burnt or grilled, just cooked to perfection with a little bit of spice and a little bit of sweetness from the carrot. This place often gets packed out but take a peek at their menu, it's a great place for a stop off, lovely decor, great staff, the cafe is booming and the food is the ultimate in vegan deliciousness!

There is also The Remedy Kitchen inside the arcade, for all the health conscious shoppers!

So undoubtedly, The Royal Exchange is a must see for anyone visiting Manchester, there are plenty of incredible shops to see this Christmas, places to eat and within walking distance of all travel systems. Have you visited The Royal Exchange yet? I guarantee you won't regret it if you do!

*This post was written in collaboration with The Royal Exchange but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 



1903 Lounge At Manchester Airport

When you're travelling, the most important thing is to ensure that you have a calm relaxing atmosphere before you step on board your flight. At Manchester Airport, there are plenty of lounges to choose from. The 1903 Lounge at Manchester airport is situated upstairs in Terminal One and finally I was fortunate enough to be able to check it out, dragging along my suitcase, despite for that first sip of coffee. Despite arriving a little later than planned due to traffic, the lady in charge, Sophie, guided us round the lounge and offered us a quiet spot to sit, in a little secluded spot, with a beautiful view of the runway. Fortunately the day was clear, so it was great to look out and watch the world go by.

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What's In The Lounge?

The lounge was full of little places to sit, from easy chairs and sofas to upright chairs and a business area. Complete with WiFi, magazines and newspapers, I was really impressed with the intimate but comfortable layout. The decor was modern and chic, plenty of art and colours, and of course the best of all, the range of food and drinks available. The lounge also overlooks the runways and so you can see planes coming and going which is such a thrill on a bright day. It is a great escape from the busy terminal and can get you well prepared for your flight. 


  • Never gets overbooked so always somewhere to sit.
  • Great choice of food, hot and cold
  • Magazines and things to read
  • Computers if you need to double check travel arrangements 
  • Great high speed WiFi 
  • Airy and feels spacious 
  • All different types of drinks available 
  • Toilet in the lounge itself
  • Easy to book
  • Screens to keep track of flights
  • Easy chairs and chairs suitable to work on laptops

From herbal teas to coffee (decaf included), with the tap of a button on the screen, you are able to get your drinks easily and comfortably. There is a range of hot and cold buffet food, made to order and also if you really want to tempt the tastebuds, champagne and guacamole! It doesn’t get better. Although our time was limited, I opted for some fresh juice, decaf latte, egg sandwiches and of course some cheese and crackers - it was a lovely bonus to find Brie this time of year, I definitely felt festive after that! I also tried their chilli con carne which was delicious, as well as a chocolate muffin which was very quickly devoured!

The lounge also has its own facilities with its own toilet which is definitely a bonus. From friendly staff and plenty of good food, 1903 is definitely a great choice especially for people wanting to escape the business of the airport terminal and away from rowdy crowds, the lounge provides solace and comfort and I can’t wait to return to spend more time. To take a look further into the 1903 lounge if you're travelling through Manchester. Click here to book! 

*This was a gifted experience but all thoughts and opinions are my own



The Bath House In Ilkley

After finding this little gem of a shop one torrential day in Kirkby Lonsdale, I just knew that I had to explore this brand further. Their signature Black Patchouli scent has become my new favourite and The Bath House actually have a store in Ilkley which is half an hour from me. There are seven shops in the north of England and it's lovely to see British brands that are based up in the north. Their products are so divine and every scent is so different and unique there is truly something for everyone. The shop started up in the Lake District, also one of my favourite places in England, and the team have worked tirelessly to create the perfect aromas for their beautiful products. 

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Take a little look at what you can find in store and why you should put this on your travel list for the next time you're in Ilkley! All your Christmas gift worries are over....there is definitely something to find inside this unique and magical shop.

"Passionate about art, design and poetry, we seek inspiration in the beauty of nature and from our personal experiences and emotions. We bring this to life in the form of fragrances and skincare infused with evocative aromas and pure ingredients. Our recipe is a blend of passion, nature, artistic creativity and artisan production." - Bath House Shop

I went to visit their shop in Ilkley to discover even more of what they have to offer and they did not disappoint. Coming into autumn, the store has a lot of new products, such as new face masks and some incredible pot candles - the coconut scent is perfect. Now that winter is coming, it's definitely time to start looking at taking that little extra care of your skin. The store itself is an experience of sensory perfection, each product can be trialled in store. Looking after me was Jenny and she was so helpful with all the information about the products; so test out the hand creams and the scents, there really is a scent for everyone. They elegantly mix art with skincare. Fragrances, body, face and gift sets - you can also check out my Instagram post to take part in our collaborative giveaway! 

Each product comes under one of the Bath House's collections which are perfectly curated, each providing a different cluster of scents, from fresh and floral, to woody and musky, or sweet and spicy. The skincare products are also incredibly beautiful. Packed full and rich in vitamins which are so necessary for this time of year - treat yourself or someone you love to a gift set here.

Patchouli and Black Pepper Body Butter 

New natural face masks! Perfect for winter
White Tea and Rose perfume 
Warm sweet scents!
Patchouli and Black Pepper - the best seller! 

The shop is situated in the main car park area of Ilkley so it can't be missed and with plenty of cute coffee shops around, there is definitely a great reason to start your shopping trip at the Bath House Shop! The welcoming staff and wonderful scents beckon you inside and if you have any questions about the products, the kind staff members will be sure to answer all of your questions. 

Take a further look here at the Bath House Shop to get shopping today and if you are in Ilkley, please ensure you have a peek inside. 

*This was a collaborative post but all opinions and thoughts are my own.



Dublin With MarcoPolo Guides

Ireland may only be around a 45 minute flight from most places in the UK, but it was a country that I had never ventured to before. Ireland has untouched coastlines, stunning cliffs, luscious green fields, and some heavily dosed in beautiful lavender and flowers. Dublin itself, is essentially on the east coast of Ireland, but the city doesn't boast any sea views, the city is predominately surrounded by the marina and lots of water sections, a large river, the River Liffey runs through the heart of the city, where you can find bridge after bridge, and multiple Instagram-worthy photo opportunities. With my trusty Marco Polo Guide in hand (I've used Marco Polo in Athens and Corfu!), I decided to check out the sites and I was armed with all the information I needed. Ps. Marco Polo even have a touring app on your phone which makes things even more accessible.

Halfpenny Bridge (Pixabay)

Packed and ready to go! Marco Polo guide - perfect size for travel! 
Dublin has such a continental feel, the culture is very British in essence but you can feel the European edge which seems to have infiltrated the city, and this makes it so intriguing. Lots of outdoor cafes, and plenty of modern architecture, strolling down the river is reminiscent of somewhere such as Rottderdam or more closer to home, Liverpool. It is a colourful, happy city, with a large bustling shopping centre. If you're only in Dublin for a short amount of time then here are some places you should see and some handy hacks for your time in the city.

Travel easily into the city centre from the airport for €7.00 on the frequent bus service, the number 747. The bus tells you over speaker where you are so you know where to get off, but you will have a sense of when you're at the right place. All the public transport you need is also ready to hand in your guide. Before I went, I decided to flip through my Marco Polo Guide to make some notes as to where I wanted to go: they were right about one thing, Dublin really does have heart and soul!

Dublin Castle

Be sure to take a trip to Dublin Castle. It is a fabulous beacon of royal history and has the most incredible pieces and interiors. It is a must on your trip here.

*The first Wednesday of every month, entry to the castle is free* - usual price is €4.50 
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle
The Halfpenny Bridge

This can't really be missed when you're strolling around, but as cliched as it sounds, you should take a walk over it to tick off the bucket list. It was built in 1816 and is a popular sweet place for photos and is the landmark if you're a little lost walking down the river. To read a little more about the bridges of Dublin for any architecture loves, click here.

The Guinness Storehouse

If you're only in Ireland for the good booze, then the Guinness Storehouse is going to be on your stop.   Ticket prices start at €14 for adults. If you want to find out about how the drink is produced, the history of the drink and much more then this trip is definitely worth it, but Dublin's pub scene is plentiful and bustling and there are many places to find a good glass of Guinness.


There is an abundence of restaurants, so, finding something to suit your taste should be relatively easy. A little place I stumbled upon was a The Lotts Cafe/Bar, with beautiful decor, a laid back vibe with good food, good prices and friendly staff.  Marco Polo pick out only the best places to grab some good food and of course on the cards had to be a Guinness!

Lotts Cafe & Bar
Dublin Spire

Athough this may not be the oldest piece of art in the city, it is one of the most incredible. The spire is a must see, and you can't miss it, at its height of 120meters. It is known as the Monument of Light, a piece of art meant to inspire and display Dublin's artistic, colourful and multicultural way of life. Some of the Dubliners have mixed views on it, with one taxi driver believing it was a waste of money and a complete eyesore, but it is quite a magnificent piece of architecture, especially for people who enjoy modern art. Take a look here for some interesting pieces of the spire.

Hire A Bike

Simple and may seem like a no brainer if you're limited to time in the city, but this truly would be the best option to explore the quaint backstreets without staying on foot, and you are able to cover so much more ground.

Enquiry About Taxis First

Just like in any city, this is a good rule of thumb. Before jumping into a taxi, ask them how much it is likely to be, and this way they shouldn't charge you aymore than this. In big cities, it can often happen that people try and make a quick buck, especially from tourists. This is a good hack in every city.

Use Your Marco Polo Map

You can pick out landmarks, but it is easy to get lost, many streets look similar and there are a lot of  streets designated to offices, so it can make you feel like you are quickly out of the hustle of the city. There are usually shops around to guide you but making sure you don't walk around in circles is important! Marco Polo guides come with a street map which is very comprehensive.

HAPPY TRAVELLING!!! For more information on Marco Polo Guides click here.

*This post was written in collaboration with Marco Polo Guides


Luxury At Armathwaite Hall

I am always on the hunt to find luxury hotels that tick every box and I can honestly say hands down, that the Armathwaite Hall Hotel and Spa has surpassed this entirely! This stunning hotel on Bassenthwaite Lake has taken the number one spot as my favourite hotel in the Lake District, which is not an easy title to fill, but I'm going to tell you why....

Luxury stays...

Afternoon Tea (provided by Armathwaite)
Armathwaite Exterior 
The hospitality at this hotel is incredible. Five star luxury, with staff who go above and beyond, professional, helpful and above all, enthusiastic about what they do and their amazing hotel. Leeann greeted us and made us feel welcome from the moment we arrived.  This majestic building is in beautiful surroundings, in the peaceful area of Bassenthwaite and the attention to detail of the hotel and the rooms is incredible. The hotel offers a multitude of activities whilst you're here, which you will see below and the restaurant is a stunning, fine dining restaurant which boasts a magnificent view of the lake. It was a joy to watch the sun go down whilst overlooking these beautiful gardens.

The Room

This is the best hotel room I've ever stayed in: The Studio Suite. That's a big claim to make, but an honest one. I was blown away by our suite, the exquisite design, the colours and textures, it feels chic, modern, yet still maintaining an incredibly cosy and homely feel. Truly a masterpiece. The dark blues and shades of blue felt incredibly warm and soothing, the gold and marble accents, the huge king bed, the three televisions, yes three, and the dressing room, just made this suite an absolutely delightful place to be. If I could live here, I would - the design was pure perfection. Take a little tour below to see what makes this place such a joy (room tour is also available on my Instagram "Summer" highlights! @JenniferDurrans). The room was divided into four areas, which gave it a really apartment style and you immediately felt at home. The bathroom was modern, with a rainfall shower, large bath, marble galore and the cherry on top of the cake... a television over the bath! The room has great amenities, a great range of drinks from teas to hot chocolate, there are plenty of other amenities also such as an iron, good storage space, fridge, great lighting, lots of table surfaces - all the things that I know a lot of people look for in a hotel room. The dressing area was a particular favourite, so much space to put your clothes, shoes, accessories as well as do your make-up and hair in the morning.

TV whilst in the bath? Yes please!

Baby pink ottoman! [Bags gifted by Silvertag London]
The room we stayed in was room 152! The bed was comfy, a pillow menu was on offer but I was very happy to see that the pillows were a fabulous size, small and flatter which is my ideal pillow, not the huge pillows that often can give you neck ache - I was very impressed! Spacious yet cosy, stylish and divine!

The Lakeview Restaurant 

This fine dining restaurant, overlooking the lake is an incredibly affluent and luxurious dining room. A very regal experience, I love a hotel that has such high quality restaurants; it makes the experience even more pleasurable and the service was impeccable and the food was delicious. I opted for: the beetroot infused salmon for starters, the rosemary gnocchi for main and the strawberry pannacotta for dessert (coffee or tea was included) which I took full advantage of in the relaxing lounge next door. The main dinner has five courses and it is certainly filling! There are plenty of places to sit and wind down, whether it's in the regal seating area in the main lobby, the modern, cream sitting area, perfect for reading or afternoon tea, or you can sip your favourite tipple in the bar, which felt like a stylish New York City bar. The perfect place to wind down - moody and stylish. Five stars across the board, it's been a pleasure to experience!

Breakfast was table service, with a really good range, from full English to pancakes, Eggs Royale (my choice) and a continental buffet also. Service as always was incredible and a great start to the day!

Dinner views of the lake

Provided by Armathwaite 
Billiards room! So classy!

The Spa 

This chic spa was on my mind for the entire journey up to this hotel. There was so much to do, but my personal favourite was the outdoor thermal pool. It was refreshing but so comforting and relaxing, overlooking the green gardens beyond. The inside pool was perfect for swimming laps and a smaller pool for children. The thermal area was incredible - sauna, steam room, aroma room and a beautiful thermal hydrotherapy pool! The crystals inside the aroma and steam rooms were beautiful, added a touch of extra tranquility. You can click here to see what else the spa has to offer! I was also fortunate to be able to sample one of their 55 minute treatments, upstairs in their spacious and relaxing spa. Mood lighting and relaxing music set the ambience and I enjoyed a beautiful tension trio which included a back massage, neck and face massage (including cleanser) and a head massage. The room, which was illuminated in perfect purple, was the most incredible way to wind down and I highly recommend booking a treatment. Following this, my therapist led me into the relaxation area, where a smoothie, water and flapjack was waiting for me as I overlooked the trees outside, underneath my fur blanket. Really high quality spa, five stars undoubtedly and the therapists talk through any questions, medical and general queries; it's the best place to wind down, right in the middle of beautiful Cumbria.

Photos kindly provided by Armathwaite Hall.


The hotel has other facilities which I was really impressed with. Despite this being a relatively old and regal building, the inside decor is diverse and modern, each room boasts a slightly different style so there is a place for everyone. The lounge was cream and airy, beautiful golds and creams decorated this incredible lounge, overlooking the lake, perfect for Afternoon Tea. The gardens would be lovely in both summer and winter, and now that autumn is starting to descend, the misty chill in the air made it very special. There is a path way towards the lake, and plenty of wildlife to enjoy whilst you're here.

Pretty exteriors and flowers!
Festive Season

Christmas is right around the corner and Armathwaite offer luxury Christmas getaways, a special three night break and New Year's break that is the perfect way to end the year. There is no better time to start thinking about Christmas and it's lovely to get away from the usual routine and really enjoy Christmas (without all the hard work!). There are always plenty of ideas and festivities at Armathwaite!

Please check this hotel out if you're up in the Lakes, it has everything to offer and I can imagine it will be even more tranquil as the colder months arrive. For more information on booking and offers, please click here! Thank you again to the lovely team for a wonderful stay...we will surely be back!

*I was a guest at Armathwaite but all views and opinions are my own. 

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