HOTEL GOTHAM, MANCHESTER

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The past couple of weeks have been weird. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the change in weather (again) or what, but I have felt SO drained and run down. No matter how much I try and pull myself out of this ‘slump’ nothing has really worked, I just haven’t had any motivation.

So, with a couple of days off and no plans I thought I would take advantage and book a night somewhere because sometimes you just need to get away!

I have wanted to check into Hotel Gotham for sometime now but it’s often very pricey so have always just left it on my ‘bucket list’ of places to go. With so many deals around at the moment, we got a great price and finally decided to book our stay.

For those who are not familiar with Hotel Gotham; Hotel Gotham is located at 100 King Street in Manchester City Centre in the old banking quarter. The hotel is home to 60 rooms from a standard Club room to the Bank Managers suite – complete with its own roll top bath.

The carefully themed interior of the hotel and rooms is reminiscent to the golden era of 1920s New York featuring leather, furs and velvet, with brass details.

Checked in: 1/08/17

We stayed in the Executive Club room which is  a larger version of the Club room. On arrival we were greeted by the friendly ‘bell boy’ who took our luggage and directed us to the elevators (the reception is located on the 6th floor). We were welcomed by the friendly staff and given a vodka infused drink on arrival. Our room was located on the first floor where we were met with our bags.

The room itself was huge. the first thing you notice is the black and grey statement carpet which is a nod to the art deco designs of the era. The king size bed was adorned with a luxurious faux fur throw and peacock print cushions and the crisp white linen contrasted with the dark interiors and black furniture.

The bathroom boasts a rainfall shower and just like the room is a decent size. It features luxury toiletries from The White Company, on top of a gold bullion which embraces the buildings history.

On the top floor of the hotel you will find Club Brass, Hotel Gotham’s very own private members’ bar, which is also open to hotel residents. Unfortunately there was a private function being held in the main area of the bar so we were directed to a smaller area.

Regardless, we enjoyed our drinks and nibbles before heading out for the evening.

Overall, Hotel Gotham was the pick me up I needed. If you get the chance to visit or are looking for somewhere to stay for a special occasion,  I would definitely recommend it.

Check out the rest of my photos below and let me know what you think!

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Have you ever stayed at Hotel Gotham?

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Turning 30 & Barcelona Photo Diary

The end of May saw my 30th Birthday. I decided rather than staying at home and crying into my Macbook, that I would go away instead to take the edge off! I had heard many good things about Barcelona before but had never been, so when it came to booking a sunny city break, Barcelona was at the top of my list. What better way to celebrate than with some sun and a few drinks? The big 3-0 didn’t seem so bad after all.

When I think back to my twenties I always thought I would have everything figured out by now. I thought I would be further along in my career, be a home owner and have this adult thing down to a T.

Things might not have happened as I thought, but that’s okay.

I don’t know why I had high expectations and needed to accomplish so much by 30. It really is just a number. So many unexpected, great things have happened over the last ten years that might not have happened if I had been completely focused on ‘life goals’ so this is a reminder to hold my plans much more loosely because there’s a whole lot of life still to come and who knows what twists and turns are up ahead.

I hope you enjoy my photos of my Birthday trip, I loved Barcelona! Have you ever been?

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Chök | Brunch & Cake | Margarita Blues | Vioko | Bar Lobo

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Hand Luggage Only

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When going away on a city break, travelling with just hand luggage can save time and money. Not only does having no hold luggage help keep your costs to a minimum, there’s no need to check in baggage or wait for it on the other side either, taking out some of the stress which is associated with travelling.

I’m heading to Paris this week for a couple of days and have hand luggage only so thought I would share with you the essentials that are coming along for the ride.

With carry on luggage its important to be organised. Before you start to pack you should know your restrictions, have a list of what you will need during your stay and be prepared to be ruthless. As I’m only there for a couple of days Im planning on taking the minimum.

When it comes to clothes it’s hard to decide what to take and what to leave behind. With the risk of over packing I’m going to try and pack a capsule wardrobe – things that can be co-ordinated to produce numerous outfits. I’ve being waiting for the right time to break out both my new A.P.C ‘Oh L’amour’ shirt and Common Projects so Paris seems like the perfect opportunity to wear them. The Common Projects are great for that smart-casual look. With the heavier items such as coats and jackets, I will be travelling in them to save space. The pockets can also be used to store items such as your documents and devices in so that they are on hand and don’t take up any extra space or weight in your case either.

With toiletries it’s important to stick to the 100ml rule whilst travelling or risk these being disposed of at security. All toilettires should fit in one plastic pouch so its important to take only what you need. There a number of good quality travel kits out there, the ones from Aēsop are always my go to’s, but you can also pick a few bits up in the airport should you not want to pack anything.

Other things I don’t travel without are my Mulberry passport holder wallet. This has multiple pockets and a zipped back to keep all my documents and tickets safe and finally a good guide book.  Flying can provide a good time to plan your trip and what you want to get out of it and these Cereal Guides are a great source of inspiration.

I don’t have massive plans for my short trip yet but I’m quite excited to just take to as it comes.

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Do you have any recommendations for Paris?

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Getting Tattooed in Thailand

If you follow me on instagram you may have noticed I have spent the last couple of weeks travelling around Thailand with Contiki. Whilst I was away I had a bamboo tattoo in Koh Phangan which resulted in loads of questions when i returned about the process and my experience so thought I would put it into writing for anyone else who is interested in having a bamboo tattoo.

Ever since I had my first bit of ink over 12 years ago, I have slowly been adding to my collection of tattoos over the years. Although a lot of thought has gone into some of my tattoo designs and placements, I am also quite partial to the odd spontaneous tattoo. You’re only young once, hey!

Although most of my tattoos don’t have particular meaning, certain pieces remind me of  points in my life, experiences with friends or particular times and places. Tattoos mean different things to different people but for me, if I like the design then that’s a good enough reason to get it tattooed on my body.

Having a tattoo whilst travelling is a permanent reminder of that trip. I have tattoos from my year out in the USA which constantly bring back great memories. So when I booked my most recent trip to Thailand, getting a bamboo tattoo was one of the key things I wanted to experience whilst I was there having always been intrigued by the process. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted or where, just that I wanted one.

So, what is a bamboo tattoo and how does it differ to a regular tattoo?

Bamboo tattoos initially originated among tribes some 2,000 years. Tattoos believed to offer protection and other benefits for the bearer and closely became tied to the Hindu-Buddhist concept of Yantra. Yantra refers to mystical diagrams which are used as an aid during meditation. Buddhist monks would traditionally tattoo these designs to offer power, protection, fortune, charisma and other fortunes for the bearer. Although not carried out by monks today, the practise of bamboo or Yantra tattooing is still widely available throughout Thailand.

The process involves attaching a fine needle to the end of a thin piece of bamboo and tightly wrapping a length of cotton around the two to hold it in place. The needle is then dipped into the ink and gently tapped into the skin.

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Unlike machine tattoos, with bamboo tattooing, the skin is punctured and not torn. This means there is a lot less blood. As the tattoo doesn’t scab, the healing process is a lot faster – usually 3 to 4 days.  Also, as there is little bleeding the ink settles quite deeply and very little colour is lost. resulting in a bright, strong tattoo.

One of the first questions I get asked is ‘what does it mean?’

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The Hah Taew (5 sacred lines) is one of the most popular Sak Yant Thai tattoos with each line having a different sacred blessings for success and good luck. Although the Yants have taken on different meanings over the years, typically the five lines represent:

  1. The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favour when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
  2. The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
  3. The third row protects you from the use of black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
  4. The fourth row energizes your good luck, success and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
  5. The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It also is a boost to the fourth row.

The next question I get asked is ‘did it hurt?’ or ‘how does it compare to a normal tattoo?’

Having a fair bit of ink work I can honestly say I found the experience to be quite enjoyable. The tattoo itself was just as painful as having a normal tattoo – but tattoos hurt, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Bamboo tattoos take longer than machine tattoos and tend to be quite expensive because of this, but you are left with an intricate design which has been created by hand with a needle and some ink, and that’s quite impressive.

You also don’t have to worry about the aftercare as much either as explained above, which is perfect if you’re travelling around.

If you are thinking of getting some work done during your travels in Asia I wouldn’t blame you. As with all tattoos there are various things to consider beforehand to make sure you get exactly what you want. You don’t want to regret a poor decision so take the time to

  • Decide on a design
  • Decide on the placement of the tattoo
  • Shop around for price, don’t be scared to barter. I got mine 1000THB cheaper than originally quoted.
  • Pay attention to portfolios and previous designs.
  • Make sure everything is sanitary.

and…

Be prepared to want more. Tattoos are addictive.

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One year on.

This week I was kindly reminded by WordPress that it was my one year blog anniversary.

Going back to the beginning my blog started off as a platform to showcase films I had watched, food I had eaten, places, brands, products, you name it, it was there. However, no matter how much I tried I was never 100% happy with my posts.

A couple of months in I revisited a lot of my old posts and found I was no longer interested in the content anymore, subsequently deleting a huge section of my blog. The trouble was I didn’t really know what direction to take it in or what really interested me.

I decided to start again creating content for me and things I was interested in; sure the likes were good, but it just seemed pointless posting things for the sake of it. I took a month or so to figure out where I was heading and decided to focus my efforts on a lifestyle blog combining menswear, grooming and travel – 3 things I am passionate about. I came back with a post about Aēsop Travel Essentials, (my top post to date) that confirmed that it was the right decision for me, and I haven’t looked back since.

I still see my blog as new, there’s still a lot I need to figure out,  but I thank everyone who has stuck with me and has taken the time to read, like and share my content, as well as those who have sent me an email. I look forward to sharing another year with you. – N

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