Morton Hotel – London, UK

The Morton Hotel – 2 Woburn Place – London

On a recent trip to London in the UK, I took a chance and booked a hotel online using one of those website that gives you price but not the name of the hotel. I flew on a Friday so I could spend the weekend in London, before heading outside of the city for work.  Thus, price was an important factor in the selection of my hotel.

I have never used this type of website booking tool before – which is to say I have always been too scared to book a hotel and not know the name of it before I book it! Eck!   But I rolled the dice this time, and wow, was I pleasantly surprised.  I hit “book” and then pouf: I’m booked into a hotel whose name I didn’t even recognize. Yikes…

But I was most pleasantly surprised. The Morton Hotel is truly a gem.  It is the quintessential boutique hotel – with only 34 rooms, but it’s full of charm and character.  It has been completely renovated so I was more than relived when I saw the pictures of the bathrooms.  I have to confess – Europeans often have a different standard when it comes to bathrooms – see my very first blog post here – so if you can look at pictures, and think it looks great, then it probably is great. (so relieved…)

Nicely renovated ensuites in all the rooms
Morton monogrammed towels – and they’re super plush too!

It is located in Bloomsbury/Saint Pancreas area of London, right opposite Russell Square, and is literally one street up from the Russell Square tube station. In fact, when I arrived at Heathrow Airport, I just jumped on the Piccadilly tube line and (after almost an hour ride), I got off at the Russell Square station. It was super easy.  It is also close to several main train stations, including St. Pancreas, Kings Cross and London Euston.

The Reception Area was just to the left of the bar, out of view
The bar and lounge area in the basement had a cool vibe.

The main reception and lobby area is in the basement of the hotel and offers a funky, eclectic vibe. My room was actually quite comfortable and spacious, and of course the bathroom lived up to its pictures.  I must admit, that even though I am an interior design student by night – the wallpaper was not to my liking. However I can appreciate the affect they were trying to achieve – both historical (since it is a very old building) and contemporary.

The guestrooms were well appointed, even if the wallpaper was not to my taste
This chair is GORGEOUS – love it!

The profile portraits on the pillows are a consistent theme throughout the hotel, as the whole area where The Morton is located was once a hot-spot at the turn of the century (the 1900s, that is) for artists, writers and intellectuals.

The location was great, with the tube station just down the road, you can literally get anywhere. I also wandered around the local area too, and like most places in London you can always find great little shops and eateries.  The British Museum is just a few short blocks away and is a treasure trove for history buffs, including an amazing collection of Egyptian antiquities.   I also strolled down Tottenham Court Road which offers an great array of design shops including Heal’s.

I would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone visiting London who is looking to stay in a different neighbourhood and avoid all the crowds of Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Kensington and all the other tourist hot-spots within London.

Ann

Advertisements

It’s not wallpaper, it’s cabinet-paper!

We recently re-painted our living-room/dining-room from the super-dark green what was on the walls when we bought the house, to a nice beige/yellow. It makes a world of difference, and naturally makes the room look so much bigger and brighter, but I have to be honest, it’s a smidge more yellow than I was going for.  But given that it took 4 coats (yes, 4 coats!) to cover the dark green, I’m a tad unmotivated to put on another coat to tone down the yellow.

I really wanted to experiment with the room a little and try putting up some wallpaper on one wall, but hubby poop-pooped that idea outright. “Too 70’s”, he says.  Cleary he has not read a décor magazine in the last four years, and doesn’t believe me when I say that wallpaper is making a comeback. Sigh…

So I re-thought my wallpaper idea, and decided to ‘wallpaper’ the back of the china cabinet instead. It would be a little more understated, wouldn’t overwhelm the room and plus it would brighten up the inside of the china cabinet.

I initially thought I should just cut the wallpaper appropriately and stick/glue it to the back of the cabinet – easy-peesy, right? But that seemed like too much of a commitment. What if I didn’t like it – it would wreck the cabinet, and that would suck.   I gave it some more thought and decided I would stick the wallpaper to foamcore and then affix it to the back of the cabinet.  If I didn’t like it, I could just take out the foamcore.  Zero commitment.

I ended up buying 6 sheets of foamcore, since one sheet wasn’t long enough to cover the back of the cabinet from side to side. I measured, I laid them out, measured some more, cut them with a blade, measured again, laid out the wallpaper, measured, cut, measured again… there was a lot of measuring!

I had to remove all the glass shelves in order to get each panel in, but viola! They’re in.

I stood back and looked at the result… You know when you get that super-excited feeling, because it looks exactly how you hoped..?   Yup! I had that feeling.  Yeah!

I hate that “well it’s not that bad, I guess it will do” feeling (yellow walls, I’m talking to you!)

Then I showed hubby. He looked at it and then unenthusiastically said, “It’s still wallpaper”.  To which I said “No, it is cabinet-paper and it looks awesome!”  I don’t think he’s entirely convinced, but like any good husband he just gave me that ‘if you’re happy, I’m happy’ look and left it at that.

Winter Walk

It’s days like this when I love winter and living in Canada.  The air is crisp, the sun is warm and the scenery is beautiful.  I took a little walk around some of the trails in my neighbourhood last weekend.  The week prior, we go a dump of snow, and now temperatures are above zero (Celsius).  It was a beautiful and peaceful day.

fullsizerender

fullsizerender2

fullsizerender1

fullsizerender3

fullsizerender4

Ann

 

2016 Resolution Round-Up

Last year around this time (ok, maybe it was late January), I shared my resolutions for 2016.  So now that’s it January 2017, let’s see how I did:

Blog more. Once again this resolution was a bit of a disappointment. Oh… the grand intentions I had… I’m not even sure I’ll put this on the list for this year, since 2016 was quite the failure.

img_4224
Ann’s quasi-successful 2016 Reading Challenge!

Read 11 Books. Yipee! I actually polished off 14 books this year. I had this handy 2016 Reading Challenge that I printed out and taped to my closet door as inspiration. The year started off great and I was adhering to the Challenge fully, but then partway through the year I started to deviate from the list. The “abandoned”, “intimidates” and “owned but never read” were really hard to do, especially when friends and colleagues were recommending some really great reads. So in the end I “abandoned” the rest of the list and then just concentrated on making it to at least 11 books. So 14 is quite the achievement. And if you can’t read my chicken-scratching in the picture above, here’s the list in no particular order:

  1. Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
  2. The Widow by Fiona Barton
  3. The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
  4. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  5. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  6. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank/Otto Frank
  7. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  8. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  9. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
  10. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
  11. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  12. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
  13. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
  14. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The stand-out, by far, in the above list is I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. I recommend this book to everyone.  It is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.  As I’ve said to friends, you often expect there to be a plot twist in a book, but in this case the way the book is written is the twist.  Say whaaat?  I know, now you’re curious right?  Just read the book.

stonehenge3

Check off at least one thing from my Bucket List. Done! I blogged about my super-quick trip to Stonehenge here. But I’m also happy to say that we visited PEI this summer too, which is a province I have never been too. So that means I’ve done at least two items from my Bucket List. However, I still need to actually post my Bucket List, because really, I could just be making all this stuff up, but I’m not, I really do have a list.

img_3872
The beautiful red sand beaches of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Oh and our beautiful feet too.

Write a Blog Post for every book I read in 2016. Fail. I did two (see the list above and note the two sad, little links) and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Curate a Friendship. I think I put a little more effort into connecting with my few close friends this year, but naturally I could have done better. I did have a girls weekend in Quebec City back in May, which we all agreed was a much needed get-away and something we hope to do more regularly. As for curating a new friendship, that proved to be a bit more challenging. Well, there’s always 2017, right?

How did you do on your resolutions?  (Better, I hope.)

Ann

 

 

Autumn is in the air

fullsizerender

With the exception of Saturday morning, this weekend was an absolutely picture-perfect fall weekend in Canada.  And it was Thanksgiving weekend too, which meant I could each as much pumpkin pie as I wanted (yeah!)

It was a busy family weekend, but I did manage to sneak out late on holiday Monday for a quick walk by the river.  The fall foliage was in all it’s glory.  This is definitely my most favourite season.

img_4084

 

fullsizerender1

fullsizerender2

img_4085

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving – may there be lots of left-over pumpkin pie.

Ann

 

 

 

 

Bucket List: Stonehenge

stonehenge3

I managed to check off one of my Bucket List items for this year. Visit Stonehenge!  A business trip brought me to the UK in late June and since our offices are about halfway between London and Stonehenge, I decided to stay the weekend and head down to Salisbury to check it out.

I took the train down to Salisbury and then once in Salisbury there is a tour operator at the train station that will take you to the Stonehenge Visitors Centre. It’s a nice double-decker motorcoach and the ride includes some history of the area and Stonehenge itself.

I bought my tickets online about a week in advance, so I had to plan my trip quite thoroughly (ie. like figuring out when I thought I would actually get to Stonehenge, within about an hour or so – yikes!), but it was worth it. There was no line for pre-paid tickets and quite a queue for non-ticket holders.

Once at the Visitors Centre I also paid a little extra and got an audio tour. In general I find audio tours can be hit-or-miss; some work perfectly (if you’re ever in San Fran, the Alcatraz audio tour is amazing!), but others are confusing and often out of sync with what you’re looking at.  In any event, the Stonehenge one was fantastic!  Another (very short, 5 minute) bus ride from the Visitor’s Centre takes you to the ruins.

Once at the ancient site, you can only walk around the perimeter of Stonehenge, at a fair distance. Gone are the days of actually wandering amongst the stones themselves.  To preserve the stones and prevent erosion, the stones were ‘closed’ to the public in the mid ‘70s.  Numbers along the perimeter path correspond with the audio tour and give a detail description of the stones, the surrounding countryside and their significance.

stonehenge2

stonehenge5

Look at all those tourist starting at rocks, sorry 'stones'.
Look at all those tourist starting at rocks, sorry I mean ‘stones’.

I maybe spent about 45 minutes to an hour circling the stones. And, I’ll be honest, once that’s done, that’s pretty much it.  I decided to forego the little bus ride back to the visitor’s centre and I took one of the footpaths back through the beautiful countryside and a small forest.  I even startled a pheasant and saw two foxes on my little walk.  It was really a beautiful and relaxing walk – I mean look at this view!

stonehenge-field

I caught the motorcoach from the Visitor’s Centre back into the town of Salisbury and got off in the town centre. True to British weather, it poured rain once I got off the bus, but it cleared up quite quickly and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.

I had spent about a whole seven minutes (OK, maybe three full minutes) reading up on the history of Salisbury and what to see, so I ended up mostly wondering the streets of the medieval town marvelling at the architecture and thinking I was on the set of a Harry Potter movie.  I did briefly check out the Salisbury Cathedral, with its breath-taking spire.  On the motorcoach ride back from Stonehenge, they noted that as the tallest church spire in England (404ft – combined tower & spire) it had been used as a landmark by the German Luftwaffe and thus Salisbury was spared significant bombing during the Second World War.

img_3582
I’m pretty sure you can buy a magic wand in that store.

img_3593

salisbury1

img_3601
Can’t stop me from taking my pic in front of my street. No sir!

All in all it was a fun day visiting Salisbury and Stonehenge, and although I was maybe a little “is that it?” about Stonehenge, it’s still worth it if you find yourself in southern England and you have Stonehenge on your Bucket List.

Ann