Swim, bike, run, write.

Weekend Notes: Afternoon Tea at Hanbury Manor

This is a bit of a throwback post as these pictures are actually from a weekend in August last year, oops! A Sunday afternoon spent indulging in tea and cake is one of my favourite ways to while away the time, and when it comes to sweet treats Hanbury Manor really know their stuff. Located in the Hertfordshire countryside, Hanbury Manor is a 5* Hotel set against a backdrop of 200 acres of stunning grounds. Their afternoon tea is quintessentially British, with finger sandwiches, scones and beautiful handcrafted pastries served everyday between 1pm and 5pm in the oak-panelled dining room. With a range of teas and the option to add champagne, a trip to Hanbury Manor is the perfect way to celebrate a special event or just to treat yourself to something different at the weekend! If you're a cake connoisseur I'd definitely recommend a visit (and a stroll around the walled garden afterwards to walk off that cake-coma).

Zoeva Luxe Collection Complete Brush Set

Zoeva Luxe Collection Complete Brush Set RRP 115 EUR

A good set of makeup brushes are an essential part of your beauty toolkit and these gorgeous brushes from the Zoeva Luxe Collection are yet to disappoint. Not only are these brushes great to look at, they're also really well designed and easy to use. The combination of natural and synthetic bristles make these brushes both incredibly soft and durable - I've been using them pretty much everyday for the last six months and I haven't had any bristles falling out. The face brushes create a lovely smooth finish without absorbing too much product meanwhile the different shapes and sizes of eye brushes means this set is the perfect one stop shop for definition, blending and everything in-between. The set comes in a beautiful zip up case which is super handy for storage and travelling. I didn't think anything would ever tempt me away from my trusty Real Techniques brushes but it's safe to say I'm head over heels with Zoeva. I'm currently eyeing up their lipstick range, someone stop me!

Photo Diary: 36 Hours in Paris

One of my birthday presents from my boyfriend this year was a surprise trip to Paris at the end of March - he's just the cutest! We bought and moved into our new house earlier that month so it was the perfect time to have a little break from all the moving-related stress and take some time out for ourselves.

We've both been to Paris before so we weren't too fussed about rushing around all the usual tourist spots. I always feel like the best way to experience a city is just to take it easy and soak up the atmosphere rather than desperately trying to cram in all the sights just because that's what you feel like you're supposed to do there. We stayed at the Renaissance Arc de Triomphe Hotel which was perfectly located for a chilled out weekend - we were right by the champs-elysées and just a short metro ride away from everything else. After checking in to the hotel, our first port of call was a little bistro next to the Arc de Triomphe where we tucked into croque madame whilst watching the world go by. Tummies suitably full, we hopped on the metro down to the Notre Dame and had a browse of the Parisian homeware stores nearby - there was some seriously pinterest worthy pieces on offer and it took a major dose of self-restraint to resist temptation and come away empty handed.

As an English Literature graduate, it was only natural that I was going to be making a beeline for the Shakespeare and Co bookshop. It was fairly crowded but the building is beautiful (so many little nooks and crannies) and there was a cute cat having a snooze upstairs so all in all it was a successful visit. We found a little cafe nearby and spent the rest of the afternoon stuffing ourselves with crepes and ice cream before heading back to the hotel for a pre-dinner snooze (I'm a granny okay!?).
Dinner was a relaxed affair at another restaurant just up the road from our hotel. A few strawberry mojitos and an impromptu photoshoot in front of the Arc de Triomphe later (Graham now has a picture of me standing in front of it in a flamingo-esque fashion with my eyes closed as his phone background...) we tottered back to our hotel room. 

We got up pretty early on the Sunday morning and went out for a 10k run in the rain (we met at running club so this is actually far more romantic than it sounds haha!). It was such a lovely way to see the city before all the crowds were up and around. We headed to Ladurée for a well-earned lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon wandering in and out of shops along the champs elysées. After one last coffee in a teeny little coffee shop we caught the train back home to England with lots of happy memories and a tacky eiffel tower statue for our book case. Until next time, Paris!

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