Top Gay Bloggers & Influencers

Top Gay Bloggers & Influencers

June is pride month and although the dreaded Rona (Covid-19) came along and rained on this year’s parade, it certainly has not and will not dull the colour and spirit of the LGBTQ+ community. For me, pride is about the immense gratitude towards all the people who have fought for our  rights to love and express who we are and also it’s a celebration of those who continue to make an impact. In the world of social media, there are lots of LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencers who have made an impact on me. I thought I would list my favourites gay influencers  who continue to inspire me with their dedication to their craft and the positive impact they have.

1. @thetravellinggays

This handsome pair are an inspiration with their constant travelling around the world  and showcasing the best gay destinations on offer. With their incredible wedding photos (you have to take a look) and their romantically gushing  posts ( No, you’re jealous! Lol), Doug and Sanjay provide such a positive Insta-space full of happiness, acceptance and love.

Photo from @thetravellinggays

 

2. @omgbartomgbart.com

Based between NYC and Connecticut, this male beauty blogger has previously worked in PR and social media for beauty and fashion companies. With a cosmetic cabinet the size of a luxury boutique, there is nothing he hasn’t tried and tested. His blog covers a multitude of beauty brands spanning all budgets for all sexes and his expert reviews are honest, informative and witty.

Photo from @omgbart

 

3. @darrenkennedyofficialdarrenkennedy.co.uk

Darren Kennedy is a TV Presenter, Fashion Columnist and one of the UK and Ireland’s top lifestyle influencers. I recently featured an interview with him on my Blu Blazer Guy Chats section and it was fantastic to find out about him and his career. I am a huge fan of his social media which is a concoction of positivity, style and charm and there are lots of good fashion tips thrown in there for good measure.

From @darrenkennedyofficial

 

4. @mistercarringtonmrcarrington.co.uk

Mr Carrington is a London based blogger covering lifestyle, Travel and Fashion. Separately on @mrcarringtonhome he blogs about home interiors which defiantly kept me going through lockdown, its amazing what you can do with old peanut butter pots! He is prolific on YouTube and his videos are always fun, informative and down to earth. I love his Instagram page as it has a very laid back, honest and  with lots of great quality shots, he oozes that relaxed vibe.

Photo from @mistercarrington

 

5. @manforhimselfmanforhimself.com

Robert James is a Scottish digital creator based in London and is the king of all things grooming and lifestyle. His social media and website are sleek, well presented and cover a multitude of brands and subjects. As a fragrance fanatic, I find his fragrance videos highly addictive and you can always count on him to know what current the in-vogue scent is. His witty nature brings a humour in his accompanying stories, which give a great personal insight into his daily life.

Photo from @manforhimself

 

6. @james_s_welsh

James is a popular beauty blogger with a YouTube Channel of over 800k followers and he definitely knows his stuff. With an array of videos covering reviews, product hauls and skincare routines, his videos are fun and full of useful information. There isn’t a product that he hasn’t covered and I can’t help by binge watch his videos, especially when there are some very interesting collaborations on there as well.

Photo from @james_s_welsh

 

7. @nomadicboysNomadicboys.com

I have been following Stefan and Sebastien for years now. This sweet gay couple specialise in gay travel and through their blog and social media, you truly feel like you get to know them on a more personal level. Their blog covers the best travel destinations for the gay community, gay travel resources and lots of hints and tips of where they have visited around the world. They are huge advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and it’s not difficult to fall in love with them as their relationship is so cute. I often tell my fiancé that I wish he’d look at me the way Sebi looks at Stefan.  

Photo from @nomadicboys

 

8. @brightbazaarbrightbazaarblog.com

Will Taylor is a British born NYC based blogger and Interior design author. I have been following his blog since way back in 2011. His blog covers an array of subjects including design, style and travel. What I like the most is his hashtag MakeYouSmileStyle and that’s certainly what happens when you open up his colourful social media, blog or books. His photos are full of my favourite colour (blue) but also pops of colour from every hue of the rainbow. Will’s uplifting and friendly nature has ensured that bright bazaar is a positive and inspiring space full of interesting topics.

Photo from @brightbazaar

 

9. @ahouselikethisahouselikethis.com

A House Like This is an interior design  inspired page by couple Ky and James, not forgetting their cute little dog called Ezra. They take us through each room of their home whilst they redecorate and renovate. Being a huge interior design fan, their grid is one of my favourite Instagram pages to follow. Not only that, they now have their very own home fragrance brand  AHLT,  where they sell a range of 100% natural soy wax candles with the most amazing scents and have even expanded to include hand wash and lotion for hard-working hands. These guys are doing so well and I wish them so much success.

From @ahouselikethis

 

10. @m.rbeautymarkrogersbeauty.com

If you are looking for a great selection of beauty tips then look no further than expert Mark Rogers aka m.rbeauty. After working in the beauty industry for over 11 years, he has the best tips for applying makeup, tan and anything else that enhances your natural beauty. His reviews on different products are informative with a huge slice of fun.

From @m.rbeauty

There are so many successful LGBTQ+ bloggers and influencer out there, this selection is just a tip of the iceberg and I haven’t been able to include all my favourites. What are your favourite LGBTQ+ influencers and why?

Highland Escape

Highland Escape

Although it looks like we will be unable to grab our passports and fly off to a sunny destination anytime soon, I look forward to the day where we can travel in our very own country. The popularity of staycations looks likely to soar this year as soon as restrictions and guidelines allow and perhaps we can really take this opportunity to explore the beauty that lies on our very own doorstep. 

Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands is an area of stunning beauty and is notably known for its apparent monstrous inhabitant, Nessie. In 1924 a man named Robert Kenneth looked across the water from the drawing-room of a lochside property and it’s here where the famous photo of the alleged monster was taken. Today this property is known as Highland Escape, a stunning six-bedroom private hire house that has been meticulously restored to celebrate Scottish art, culture and history.

As soon as the property appeared on the market, founder Mathew Meredith, who works in the music business in London couldn’t wait to get his hands on it. Due to its stunning location and infamous history, it was his ultimate goal to restore the property to its former glory, adding a few contemporary touches whilst remaining sensitive to its past.

I was recently invited to stay for the weekend (pre-covid) and I couldn’t wait to experience this historic building and all the bespoke services that are on offer. After a glorious drive through Scotland’s renowned scenery, I arrived to the glimmering water of Loch Ness and as if out of a fairytale the house appeared majestically on the horizon. Its exterior slowly comes into view and as soon as I stepped out of the car I couldn’t help but look at it in awe.

The Old Manse as the building is also known, exudes a typical Victorian exterior with turreted roof, sash windows and impressive stonework. Alongside The Old Manse is Bona Church, a quant and spacious addition to the house which can cater for intimate weddings and ceremonies.

Bona Church

I was met by the passionate Highland Escape Director, Magda Meredith who kindly provided me with a welcoming glass of champagne and encouraged me to explore the property, which of course I couldn’t wait to do. On entering the house I was completely taken aback by its stunning elegance, its large entrance hall setting the tone of what you can expect throughout the rest of the property.

Antique furniture that has been locally sourced from the Highlands stands sophisticatedly against the mellow hues of the wall as if they have been there forever and a sweeping staircase entices you in to explore the rest of this eloquent building.

The living room is a large and inviting space where no money has been spared and its roaring open fire conjures up images of relaxed evenings and a warming glass of whisky, of which I certainly did later that night. Specially selected antique furniture enhance the room, however it is the addition of small details that really make this place special. An elaborate and extremely comfortable sofa from British company Tetrad adds a sumptuous and luxurious touch and the addition of a large Harris Tweed footstool brings in a further traditional Scottish element. The artwork that hangs splendidly in each room tells the history of the Jacobite uprising and local prints that pepper the walls are from the famous Leakey’s bookshop in Inverness.

Adjoining the living room is ‘the snug’ which again benefits from an open fire, antique furniture, artwork and beautiful hints of luxury such as the bespoke handmade blinds from Mulberry. I especially loved this room in the evening watching one of the many movies on offer whilst the roaring fire crackled away in the background.

The Snug

The country kitchen is both spacious and light and is equipped with everything guests could possibly need. As well the traditional elements they have included many contemporary appliances including large fridge/freezer with wine cooler, double-sized cooker, dishwasher and wash machine.

Adjoining the kitchen and leading to the backdoor, is the fantastic addition of a boot room, providing guests with wellington boots, jackets and raincoats.

The Boot Room

Next to the kitchen is the impressive dining room which seats up to twelve people. This palatial yet comfortable room takes in the impressive views of Loch Ness and is where the famous photograph of the mysterious monster was taken.

The Dining Room

The property has six bedrooms over two floors which allows up to 12 guests to enjoy this lavish escape. Each of the bedrooms have their own distinct personalities yet manage to seamlessly blend together with the rest of the property. There are two super king four poster beds, two super king sleigh beds and two king sized beds each embellished with lamb’s wool throws and windows that take advantage of the surrounding views.

On the second floor, each of the rooms benefits from en-suite ‘Jack & Jill’ bathrooms which are generous in size and have the most exquisite interior design each containing a selection of premium towels and toiletries.

All of the rooms benefit from their very own tea and coffee stations, branded dressing gowns and slippers, meaning guests can relax in true highland comfort. I settled for one of the bedrooms in the upper floor that looked upon the surrounding hills, it was extremely relaxing and the huge comfortable bed insured I had one of the best sleeps ever.

What sets this private hire accommodation above the rest is when guests book directly with Highland Escape they can completely tailor your trip to make it as relaxing or as adventurous as possible. Highland Escape provides numerous bespoke packages which truly allow guests to get to know the area and enjoy this house to its fullest.

Me & Tony (Tour Guide at Tour Highlands)

I was treated to a privately escorted tour by Tour Highlands which included my very own knowledgable driver, luxury vehicle and customised itinerary.

Learning about Loch Ness

This individually designed tour really allowed me to delve into the history, culture and heritage of the region. This was one of the highlights of my stay and Tony our guide was extremely informative, humorous and friendly.

Whisky tasting at Glen Ord Distillery

As well as the above Highland Escape also have their very own luxury golf tours along with a concierge service, clay pigeon shooting and exclusive access to fishing areas in the Highlands with top guides, which I can’t wait to experience when I go back.

For guests who don’t wish to cook whilst on vacation then Highland Escape have the perfect answer. They provide guests with their very own chefs who can cook a bespoke restaurant-quality meal in the privacy of the home. Prior to my stay I pre-selected my food from an extensive menu of high quality local produce. As soon as I arrived back from my day trip around Loch Ness, the chef duo Steven and Veronika were already hard at work creating their culinary works of art.

Chefs Steven & Veronika

It was fantastic to sit back in the dining room with a glass of wine by the flickering fire and be served some spectacular dishes. This is just one of the services available which makes your experience at Highland Escapes both outstanding and remarkable.

Highland Escape provides a unique and memorable stay in a stunning area of Scotland. It shines not only due to the exceptional property but also because of the added bespoke benefits which truly makes a trip here unforgettable.

They have cleverly managed to combine the relaxation of a self-catering vacation with the added benefits of luxurious hotel service. If you are looking for a exuberant getaway at an affordable price in a remarkable location, then look no further than the immaculately presented Highland Escape.

Take a video tour on my IGTV.

Opening July 15th 2020. Book direct at highland-escape.com

7 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary

7 Day Amalfi Coast Itinerary

The Amalfi Coast has been on my radar for years and it was a dream come true when I eventually got to visit in 2019. The stunning stretch of coastline in southern Italy impresses with its lemon groves, sparkling azur waters, rocky cliffs and scattering of spectacular towns and villages that cling precariously to its edge.

In order to explore this area to the fullest, I recommend staying in the nearby town of Sorrento. Not only is this charming town in close proximity to Naples airport, it is also less expensive for accommodation than most of the towns along the coast.  Sorrento has fantastic transport links to all areas along the coast and also has its own treasures to discover.

I have created my very own Blu Blazer Guy 7 day Amalfi Coast itinerary to ensure you get the best out of your trip to the region. (The itinerary is based from Sorrento)

Day 1 – Explore Sorrento

Piazza Tasso is the main square of Sorrento and is a bustling hub with an array restaurants, cafe’s and shops. The beautiful Church of Carmine with its Baroque clock tower and a statue of Sorrento’s patron saint Antonino Abbate are notable points of interest.

Although the square is a fantastic place to sit and watch the world go by, wander into the surrounding narrow streets and you will find a wonderful selection of shops, especially on Via San Cesareo.

Marina Grande is a rustic and laid-back fishing village set around a small bay on the coast of Sorrento. Numerous restaurants, bars and cafe’s are dispersed around the shore and are a perfect places to soak in the views of both the water and the cliff sides.

I especially loved wandering along the wooden decking and seeing the colourful changing rooms that line the beach. 

The Amalfi Coast is known for its lush green gardens, fragrant flora and extensive lemon groves.

Sorrento has the some of the most stunning groves that you can wander through and witness the production of the famous local drink, Lemoncello. I recommend I Giardini di Cataldo, a beautiful and relaxing lemon grove located on Via Correale 27.

 

Sorrento boasts fantastic views over the bay of Naples. One of the best places to experience this is from the Chiesa di San Francesco which is only a short walk from the main square. On a clear day you can watch the sun sparkling across the water and of course the stunning Mount Vesuvius emerging from the horizon.

Bellevue Syrene hotel provided a relaxing yet luxurious escape from the hustle and bustle of the town.

Wander under its tunnel of hanging wisterias where you can sit back and enjoy a light lunch and cocktails with the breathtaking views.

Il Buco

This Michelin starred restaurant housed in a former monks wine cellar is a must when visiting Sorrento.

The intimate and cosy restaurant sells a range of delicious simple food that will ignite your tastebuds and give you a taste of delicious local cuisine.

Day 2 – Visit the world renowned archaeological site Pompeii and then experience the best pizza in Sorrento

Pompeii

Pompeii is the renowned Roman City that was buried under meters of pumice and ash after nearby Mount Vesuvius erupted in 70 A.D.

This well preserved and excavated site is very impressive and certainly deserves a full days attention. Stepping out of Pompeii-Scavi train station there are an abundance of tour guides trying to sell you tickets, but doing it on your own is a much more affordable option (see tip below).

 

Directions to Pompeii: Take the train from Sorrento towards Naples and stop at Pompei Scavi – Villa dei Misteri. Train time from Sorrento: 20-25 minutes

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Pompeii is a very large archaeological site and can take hours to walk around. Wear comfortable shoes, carry lots of snacks and water and apply plenty of sunscreen. Download the Discover Pompeii app which allows you to wander around whilst experiencing your very own guided tour on your phone.

Duration: 2 – 5 hours
Entry Price: 15 Euros 

Pizzeria Franco – Sorrento

After a long day sightseeing you may to want to replenish your energy with Italy’s most famous meal, Pizza! Travel back to Sorrento and head to Pizzeria Franco, located within walking distance from the station. This little establishment is a hive of activity from the chatter of customers, most of which are Italians (which is always a good sign). You can witness the chefs in the kitchen churning out pizza after pizza to satisfy the hunger of its guests. Its hectic vibe may not be to everyone’s taste but I guarantee once you taste their delicious selection of pizzas you will be in heaven!

Day 3 – Climb Mount Vesuvius, visit another spectacular archaeological site and eat some authentic Italian Food

Mount Vesuvius

If you are up for an energetic morning then why not take a trip up to the summit of the famous Mount Vesuvius. Mount Vesuvius is a towering volcano that casts its shadow over Naples and the surrounding towns below.

Buses depart from outside Ercolano Scavi train station every 40 minutes between 9.30 and 3pm. These buses transport you up a very narrow and winding road which are not unusual for this part of Italy. Once you arrive at the carpark,  you can take the 20 minute walk up to the summit. Make sure you try and pick a day where the weather is clear so that you can take advantage of the views, but even on a cloudy day it makes for an eerie experience.

Directions to Mount Vesuvius: Take the train from Sorrento to Ercolano Scavi station. When you arrive at the train station there is a small office to the left where you can purchase your Vesuvius ticket. Train journey time from Sorrento: 45 mins

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Bring warm clothes as it can be much cooler and windier on the summit.

Duration: 2 Hours
Vesuvio Express Bus Price: 20 Euros (includes entry to Vesuvius)

After your tour of Mount Vesuvius, head back in the direction of the station for a great selection of places to grab a snack or something to eat nearby before you head on your next adventure. 

Herculaneum

Herculaneum is another archaeological site which is much smaller than Pompeii and more preserved due to being buried in mud instead of volcanic ash.

I must say I preferred this small site as it was quieter and easier to walk around. 

Directions to Herculaneum: From the same station as Mount Vesuvius, walk straight down Via IV Novembre and you will arrive at its entrance.

Train time from Sorrento: 45 mins

Duration: 2-3 Hours
Herculaneum Entry: 11 Euros

Ristorante O’Murzill’

Head back to Sorrento to experience a really delicious yet affordable meal. This great little restaurant is located down a narrow alleyway and is the perfect place to escape the crowds with friendly service and enjoy some simple Italian cooking. friendly You may have to queue but I can assure you that it’s worth it.

Location: Via Accademia, Sorrento
Price Range: £/££

Day 4 – Capri

You cannot visit the Amalfi Coast without taking a trip to the stunning island of Capri. I advise that instead of doing an organised tour, which can cost a fortune and where you are hustled from landmark to landmark, just arrange it yourself. There are many boats which leave on a regular basis from Marina Piccola in Sorrento that take you to the island in around thirty minutes. On arrival it can seem quite hectic and confusing. I advise using the small local buses which are very cheap (you can purchase tickets on the bus) and will take you to all parts of the Island. 

At the port there are a number of companies who offer boat tours which is a great way to see a different side of Capri. The boat tours take around an hour and visit numerous points of interests such as the infamous Blue Grotto, a sea cave where the water illuminate in different hues of blue. Please be aware though that sometimes this is inaccessible due to weather or tides, so you can check this prior to arrival.

If you are into your luxury retail shopping then Via Camerelle in Capri is the place for you. Filled with the likes of Armani, Versace, Bulgari, Dolce Gabbana and Valentino you can shop until your hearts content. 

If you fancy a more authentic experience then you should head to Anacapri which is located higher up on the island and can be reached by local bus. Its far less crowded than Capri and you can wander the streets or sip on a drink in one of the many quant restaurants, bars or cafes. 

Giardini di Augusto is a beautiful series of panoramic flower-decked terraces which overlook the bay. Take in the views of the sparkling water or the famous Via Krupp, a pathway of hairpin bends cut into the rocks which lead down to the shore. 

Carthusia is a renowned perfumer in Capri and their store and small perfumery is located near the Giardini di Augusto. Head to my previous blog post for more information. 

For a delicious lunch or a refreshing cocktail with the most amazing views, I recommend Capri Rooftop. This contemporary establishment has panoramic views across the bay and has fantastic customer service. 

Directions to Capri: Head to Marina Piccola (Sorrento) , ticket office slightly below street level (boats are very regular and around 17 Euros).

Blu Blazer Guy tip: Ignore the blue tour buses on the right side of the port on arrival, these are specifically for tourists and are expensive. 

Day 5  – Positano

Positano is a chic and stunning cliffside village on the Amalfi Coast and is a renowned tourist destination. Again you can arrange a specialised tour to this town however it is very expensive and time restricted so I advise going on your own by bus or boat.  

Spiaggia Grande is the famous beach that hugs the shore of this village and provides the perfect photo opportunity where many an instagrammer (including myself) stand on its pebbles and pose in front of the rising hillsides and cascading buildings. 

Its most notable architectural point of interest is the spectacular Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta which dominates its skyline. Its gorgeous tiled dome can be seen from many points in the village.

If you are looking for a unique view of Positano whilst experiencing some elegant surroundings with delicious food and drinks then I recommend Le Sirenuse. This luxurious hotel perched above the sea, provides a birds eye view of the Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta.

It is a great place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a refreshing cocktail and to take some photographs but be prepared to pay the price.

 

Directions to Positano: Go to tobacconist at the bottom of Sorrento Train station and purchase an all-day bus ticket. Buses are located against the wall opposite the station. When on the bus advise the driver that you are going to Positano and validate your ticket. The bus journey will take around 1 hour. 

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: Sit on the right hand side of the bus when travelling to Positano for the best views. Please be advised that the road to Positano is winding, narrow and clings to the side of the cliffside, if you suffer from travel sickness or frightened of heights I advise taking a boat instead. 

Day 6 – Amalfi and Ravello

Amalfi 

Amalfi is a small town located a half hour away from Positano. On arrival to this seaside gem you will immediately notice the stunning Duomo di Sant’Andrea.

Its towering steps lead up to this architectural marvel and once inside you can experience its moorish style arches and decoration.

The crypt is even said to contain some of the remains of Saint Andrews, whom is the patron saint of Scotland!

For a delicious sweet treat head to a little patisserie on the main square called Pasticceria Andrea Pansa. Open since 1830, it is renowned for its delicious selection of pastries, sweets and chocolates. Try and grab a seat outside and enjoy your treat whilst enjoying the hustle and bustle of the square.

There are also numerous small seafood stands where you can sample the freshest fish, delicately battered and served straight away at a very affordable price. 

Ravello

Located an additional half hour from Amalfi via a narrow, winding and almost vertical road is the stunning village of Ravello. Sitting 365 meters above the Tyrrhenian Sea this breathtaking town has a number of stunning villas and gardens to explore. 

The main square Piazz del Vescovado is small and quant and has a few restaurants and bars to enjoy. It’s main attraction is the Duomo erected in 1086 which also has an accompanying museum which houses a marble bust of Sigligaida Rufolo from the 13th Century. 

Villa Rufolo and Cimbrone

To the south of Ravello’s cathedral, a 14th-century tower marks the entrance to Villa Rufolo. Created by Scotsman, Sir Francis Neville Reid in 1853 the Villa is famed for its beautiful cascading gardens.

The second of the two Villas, Villa Cimbrone was my favourite due to its numerous gardens and views.

I especially love the view from the ‘Terrace of Infinity”, a terrace lined by marble busts with the uninterrupted vista of the sea below.

Directions to Amalfi/Ravello: Go to tobacconist at the bottom of Sorrento Train station and purchase an all-day bus ticket. Buses are located against the wall opposite the station. When on the bus advise the driver that your going to ‘Amalfi’ and validate your ticket. If heading to Positano, Amalfi and Ravello on the same day you can get a hop on/off day pass. Hop on/off bus pass: 10 Euros

Blu Blazer Guy Tip: The road to Amalfi and Ravello is winding, narrow and climbs to quite high heights, perhaps avoid a window seat on the bus if you don’t wish to look outside, although the views are exceptional.

Day 7 – Farm by day / Cocktails by night

Fattoria Terranova Shop 

After a relaxed morning in Sorrento I recommend a visit to the wonderful Fattoria Terranova on Piazza Tasso. This is a fantastic shop in the corner of the main square, who sell the best lemoncello, liqueurs and produce made with ingredients from their local farm.

They also have a stunning area at the back of their store for tastings which is decorated with the most beautiful fresco. 

Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova

For a great lunch or dinner with a difference Agriturismo Fattoria Terranova can take you to their local rustic farm outside Sorrento and can be booked in-store. Private transportation will pick you up at your chosen location and whisk you into the nearby countryside. On arrival, you step through the wooden doors and are met with the most stunning rustic restaurant decorated with flowers, hanging fruits and quant furniture.

The smell of the local flora scents the air and you immediately feel relaxed. After a refreshing glass of Prosecco, you can then choose from a delicious range of local foods and fresh fish.

 

After lunch you can enjoy a walk around the grounds of the farm and enjoy the beautiful elevated views that look over to the Amalfi Coast. 

Price: ££-£££
Location: Via Pontone, 10. 80061 Massa Lubrense

Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

For your last evening I recommend a lovely cocktail on an amazing Terrace with fantastic views.

There is no better place than Terrazza Vittoria at the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria  which is located off the main square in Sorrento.

If you are lucky you may stumble upon the many music inspired evenings that they have but if not you can still sit back and watch the sun sink beneath the horizon as you sip on one of the many delicious drinks served here.

Keep your eyes peeled on the next issue of Guild Magazine for an exclusive feature on this hotel. 

Price: £££-££££
Location: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 34, 80067 Sorrento

Visiting the Amalfi Coast was a dream come true and I loved every minute of my time there, so much so that I returned with my friends a few months later. With its mystical charm, great food and its rustic architecture, the Amalfi Coast will always hold a special place in my heart. Once we are able to travel again I hope you can use this itinerary to enjoy the Amalfi Coast to its fullest and experience the magic that continues to entice me back to its shores.

I love you Italy! Andrà tutto bene.

Almond & Lemon cake

Almond & Lemon cake

It appears that for many people this lockdown has unleashed their inner Mary Berry and that includes me. This week let me transport you directly to Italy with my version of a Torta Caprese Al Limone (an almond and lemon cake).

I first experienced this cake whilst visiting the Amalfi Coast and its delicate citrusy flavour and light texture had me hooked immediately. Usual recipes include the addition of cream and butter but this version is light, airy and might I dare even say “healthier”.

Ingredients:

5 medium eggs

2 tbsp of fresh lemon zest

100g of granulated Sugar

150g Ground Almonds

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp white vinegar

Pinch of Salt

Icing sugar for dusting

Method:

1. Pre-heat oven to 175 degrees Celsius and pre-grease a 9-10” cake tin.

2. Add ground almonds, baking powder and ground cardamom to one bowl and whisk together.

3. Add egg yolks, 50g of the granulated sugar and lemon zest to another bowl and beat until smooth.

4. Add the egg yolk mixture into the dry mixture and beat with a wooden spoon into a thick paste.

5. Add some lemon juice for extra flavour.

6. In another bowl whisk the egg whites until bubbles appear. Add the salt and vinegar and continue to whisk.

7. Once the mixture continues to rise, add the rest of the sugar a small amount at a time.

8. Once the mixture is silky smooth and forms stiff peeks the eggs whites are ready.

9. Add a third of the egg white mixture to the egg yolk mixture and slowly fold in with a wooden spoon.

10. Continue adding the egg white mixture one spoonful at a time.

11. Don’t forget to enjoy some Prosecco whilst preparing the cake 🙂

12. Pour the mixture into the pre-greased tin and place in the oven for thirty minutes until golden brown.

13. Dust with icing sugar or get creative and add your very own toppings.

This is such a simple and easy recipe that even I can do it! Sit back with a strong espresso, a slice of this citrusy cake and feel like your under the wonderful Italian sunshine. Head to my IGTV to check out my full baking video and keep your eyes peeled for more Italian inspired posts throughout the week.

#BluBlazerGuyBakes

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Darren Kennedy

Blu Blazer Guy Chats With Darren Kennedy

Today I speak with the style king himself, Darren Kennedy. For those of you who don’t already know, Darren is a TV Presenter, Fashion Columnist and one of the UK and Ireland’s top lifestyle influencers. He regularly writes for top publications, presents on a range of TV shows in UK, Ireland and the USA and has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. His social media is the perfect concoction of positivity, style, charm and is full of helpful fashion tips for guys of all ages. A year ago Darren launched his own grooming company, Kennedy & Co which sells a range of affordable and effective grooming products for men. I caught up with Darren to find out more about him, his career and Kennedy & Co.

You are a renowned Style Entrepreneur and fashion columnist, can you tell me where your love for fashion came from?

My love of fashion and style came from my parents. They were young adults of the 70s and our house was adorned with photos of my mother wearing amazing fur coats and my father wearing flairs and other interesting outfits, so to be honest, I think it stemmed from there.

Having such a varied and busy career what do you do to maintain and look after your mental health and wellbeing? How do you manage to stay so fit and healthy?

I have a couple of things I try to do, one of which is to visit a gym on a regular basis. I always try to visit a gym no matter where I am in the world normally working out for around 30-40 minutes which is enough to keep me sane and give me a sense of regularity.

Darren Kennedy in Attitude Magazine

I don’t really meditate but I love just to chill out, close my eyes and listen to relaxing music, this acts as a kind of meditation for me. It could be anything from Sufjan Stevens to a little bit of George Michael, anything calming really helps. I also try and take care of what I eat. I eat pretty much what I want but I always know if I am eating too much sugar, ice cream or chocolate which are all things I love, I start to feel a bit rubbish after a while. Likewise with alcohol where if I constantly drink too many nights in a row, I start to feel it. So it’s not rocket science but it’s just about keeping an eye on it.

You took part in Dancing with the Stars having no dance experience which is very courageous, are you someone who always welcomes a new challenge?

Dancing with the stars was absolutely terrifying as I have never danced or performed on stage in that capacity, so that was a real challenge. However, I do like a challenge and I believe in pushing myself outside my boundaries, sometimes it’s scary and it takes a long time to work up to it but I’ll eventually get there. I was very proud of myself with Dancing with the stars because I noticed as time went by and the harder I worked and the more training I put in, I was picking up the routines quicker, which just goes to show even without natural ability you can learn anything.

Dancing with the Stars

You have an infectious optimism and an abundance of confidence, which is portrayed through your social media, TV presenting and on-screen appearances, does this come naturally to you or is this something that you have had to work on?

Optimism does come a little bit more natural to me but I do work on it. Some people are a glass half empty and some people are a glass half full, I am definitely a glass half full. On days where I am feeling a bit empty I will work on it and try and pick myself up and there are mental techniques that I use. In terms of self-confidence, I wasn’t always and I am not always very confident but I guess I have learned to work on that as well.

Even in times when I feel very vulnerable and not very self-confident, I can fake it a little bit. I guess ultimately it’s not about confidence for me, it’s about being self-assured and being confident in my abilities for what I do in terms of work which has come with sheer experience and working really hard and consistent over time.

I notice that you get the opportunity to travel a lot, is travel important to you and is there any destination in the world that has had a lasting impression?

Travel is always something that I knew I would do with my life. In a way, it’s in my blood as my dad worked in the airline industry at Dublin airport. So even as a young child, we were very lucky that we got to travel because my father was able to get reduced price travel tickets. I absolutely adore travel and without it, I do start to sink a little bit so it’s very important to me. New food, new culture and new people are very important for my soul. I haven’t yet made it to Mexico City but that’s next on the list and hope to go this year. I went to Sri Lanka and fell in love with it. I lived in France for two years where I studied in Bordeaux and worked in Paris and I discovered Biarritz during that period. Biarritz is very close to my heart and I have now made some dear friends and love it as its the perfect mix for me.

You recently launched your Kennedy & Co grooming range, what was your inspiration behind the brand and does skincare play an important part in your life?

I launched Kennedy and Co over a year now and we celebrated our one year anniversary last November which is hard to believe. It was really born out of there being a gap in the market for really excellent skincare products that were within reach of everybody and that’s what we’ve done with Kennedy & Co.

The feedback on the products has been amazing, it’s doing wonderful things for peoples skin and hair. What’s most important is that it’s affordable, all under fifteen euros, made in Ireland, vegan, sulphate and paraben-free and not tested in animals which are all the things that I stand for. Skincare is important, it’s not something I invest hours in every day, it has to be quick and easy as I am a busy man, but I think that represents most guys these days.

Kennedy & Co Grooming Products

You probably have so many but do you have any top grooming tips that you can share with us?

My top grooming tip and my number one thing that I always say to guys is regardless of anything else you do for your skin, make sure you wear SPF every single day of the year no matter where you are in the world. Even here in the UK on the greyest of days, 80% of the damaging UVA rays still get through and they are the ones that are responsible for premature ageing of the skin. So that’s why the Kennedy & Co moisturiser comes with SPF 20 so you don’t even have to think twice about it, we’ve done the hard work.

Last but not least, I am a huge fragrance addict, can you tell me your favourite fragrance?

I am a massive fragrance fan and have been since I was around 13 when I used to steal my brothers Dior Fahrenheit, I’ve always been addicted to fragrance ever since. I guess one of my long term favourite fragrances is Bleu de Chanel, it’s kind of a signature for me and I have been using it since it launched. I also love Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection, in particular, Azure Lime as I love the zestiness of it. I am a big fan of Hugo by Hugo Boss it’s a great fragrance and it’s been around twenty years and there is a reason it has lasted so long. Le Labo is fantastic as well, I like a few of their fragrances. I can keep going on and on, I love the fragrance!

Thank you Darren for taking the time out to answer these questions.

Head to Darren’s Instagram or webpage to keep up to date with what’s going on in his life and also head to Kennedy & Co Grooming to check out the range of products.

Cringletie – Sunday Lunch

Cringletie – Sunday Lunch

Amidst the rolling hills, fields and woodlands of the Scottish Borders is the impressive Cringletie. Conveniently located just 15 miles south of Edinburgh and two miles north of the Royal Burgh of Peebles, it is perfectly placed for a relaxing stay or a visit to their renowned restaurant for a delicious heartwarming meal.

I recently visited to try out their tantalising Sunday Lunch menu devised by their head chef Iain Gourlay, which was launched early in 2019 and has received some fantastic reviews. It was a cold and windy day just before Christmas when I arrived but as soon as I walked into the hotel’s beautiful entrance I was immediately greeted with a welcoming roaring fire. Walking up the beautiful staircase I couldn’t help but notice all the stunning architectural details but it is the dining room that truly surprised me.

As soon as you enter into the lavish room you are greeted with the most beautiful views of the gardens from the large sash windows that are voluptuously draped in heavy luxurious curtains. The opulence continues as you look up towards the ceiling where a beautifully painted mural sits. Although the room was large and airy it retained a homely warmth partly due to the deep-coloured thick carpet and the crackling fire.

I was seated next to the window at one of the many tables draped in white linen with comfortable chairs which fitted perfectly into the rooms décor.

The three-course Sunday lunch menu features an array of locally-sourced produce which includes roast beef from the Tweed Valley and also contains a number of vegetarian and vegan options. As it was a typical cold and crisp Scottish day,  I immediately gravitated towards the warming Chicken Broth with Chicken Dumplings for my first course and it immediately hit the spot, deliciously rich and full of flavour. In addition to this, the menu also delights with a Trio of Scottish Salmon or a Ham Hock & Gremolata Terrine.

Being a Sunday lunch I could not bypass the delicious selection of roasted meats. These were brought to the table and carved in front of me by the chef, and even before the food was placed upon my plate my mouth was salivating. I opted for a slice of all of them; roast beef, pork and turkey.

These were served alongside a selection of honey roasted vegetables, goose fat potatoes and greens. The meats were exquisitely succulent and full of flavour and paired with the side dishes, it was a perfect traditional roast. If these don’t take your fancy, there was also a fish dish of pan-seared fillet of Atlantic cod or another meat dish of slow-cooked pork belly, again with a selection of perfectly paired side dishes.

Dessert is always my favourite part of the meal and I always go for the sweet options rather than the cheese which was available on this menu. I went for the Chocolate & Hazelnut brownie with chocolate shards and yoghurt sorbet. Although deliciously decadent and moreish I did wish I had opted for something a tad lighter (due to the previous course) but who can resist chocolate and hazelnut together!

I really enjoyed my time at Cringletie House and it was a great little escape from the city buzz of Edinburgh. Its accessible location and scenic drive makes it the perfect place to combine some country walks along with an exquisite lunch or dinner. I myself am not a big fan of roast dinners but the delicious selection of food along with the ambience of the building made this meal truly enjoyable.  My only wish was if I could have stayed longer and enjoyed more of that crackling fire, however that only gives me an excuse to visit again.

Priced at £35 per person with a £7.50 supplement for cheese.

Blu Blazer Guy Rating:

Location 4/5
Service 4/5
Food 4/5

Radisson Collection Hotel – Royal Mile

Radisson Collection Hotel – Royal Mile

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s iconic old town, Radisson Collection Hotel Royal Mile takes pride and place near some of the city’s iconic sites. Surprisingly its contemporary exterior blends perfectly into the historic surroundings. If you are visiting Edinburgh then this hotel is definitely placed perfectly for you to enjoy the best of what the city has to offer. Not only are you located near the beautiful Royal Mile but just around the corner is the stunning Edinburgh Castle which sits majestically overlooking the city. 

From the historic streets outside, the foyer of the hotel is a complete contrast, displaying many contemporary elements. A stunning sitting area with neutral table and chairs and metallic lights is backed by a beautiful modern fireplace which adds warmth to the space. This is perfect place to sit and relax before exploring the city.

Lounge Area

A long marble table lined with lights is backed by an open shelved wall displaying works of art, sculptures and candles. The reception area echoes the same decor with metallic desks which appear to float above the ground. 

There is an abundance of room types to choose from, including; The Collection Room, Collection Superior Room, Collection Premium Room, Collection Premium Room – Skyline View, Family Room, Junior Suite and the indulgent Designer Suite. I stayed in one of the Junior Suites which was located on the upper floors. As you enter the room the first thing you notice is the stunning uninterrupted views of the city.

The floor to ceiling windows makes it feel as if the room was floating above the city and it allows you to see aspects of the city that are truly unique. Being a longstanding resident of Edinburgh and having stayed in many Edinburgh hotels, this was one of the most striking views that I have ever seen. 

The room is extremely spacious, bright and separated into two separate areas, the lounge/dining area and the bedroom/bathroom area. The neutral decor of white and grey is accentuated with a wall of artwork and prints.

Dining Area

A large circular seat with printed material is the perfect place to sit back and relax and enjoy the huge projector and screen that’s provided in the room.  

The large and comfortable bed is backed with a smoked mirror which adds depth to the room but also reflects the beautiful views from the outside.

Bedroom

What I loved is that you can simply lie back on your bed and look out the window, admiring the historic skyline of Edinburgh.

Bedroom View

The bathroom is separated by a heavy mirrored door and is a complete contrast to the neutral decor, surprising you with a colour tone of bright pink and black.

A relaxing monsoon shower, a bath, fluffy bathrobes, comfy slippers and lots of bathroom amenities are the perfect way to start or finish your day.

img_1734

If its food and drink you are looking for then look no further than the hotel’s award-winning restaurant called Cucina which provides a range of seasonal dishes. Although I didn’t eat dinner at the hotel this time, I did opt for a few cocktails in the hotels Epicurean Bar. The bar sells an extensive range of outstanding cocktails created by some of the best mixologists around. The bar carries on the contemporary feel with low mood lighting and highlights of red leather seating.

Epicurean Bar

I experienced breakfast at Cucina with a range of continental breakfast options including cereals, fruit, pastries, meats, cheese and also a menu with hot food choices. I opted for the smoked salmon and scrambled egg which was a fantastic warm and tasty way to start the day.

 

Overall I had a brilliant stay at Raddison Collection Royal Mile. I loved the decor, the staff were extremely friendly yet non-intrusive and the beautiful views from the room made my stay truly exceptional. 

img_1731
View from Window

The hotel is perfectly placed to enjoy the best parts of the city yet was extremely quiet being located so close to the centre. If you are looking for modern facilities and decor in a historic setting then this is the place to book.

Blu Blazer Guy Rating:

Location – 5/5 – In the centre of historic Edinburgh.
Customer Service – 4/5 – Friendly and informative but non intrusive.
Rooms – 4.5/5 – Spacious and unique with stunning views of Edinburgh.
Cleanliness – 4.5/5 – Spotlessly clean
Food and Drink – 3/5 – Atmosphere in the bar and breakfast area could be better.

The Balmoral hotel – Spa Facilities

The Balmoral hotel – Spa Facilities

The Balmoral is one of my favourite hotels in Scotland and I have previously spoken about it in my article for Guild Magazine. It may be known for its elegant rooms, commanding architecture and its prominent mark on the Edinburgh skyline. However what people may not know is that beneath its floors lies a treasure trove of wellness and recuperation. Descend the hotel’s golden elevator and the doors open to reveal a tranquil retreat that both residents and non-residents can enjoy. The small reception opens up into a spacious spa with a swimming pool, gym, treatment rooms, steam room and sauna.

Swimming pool, Steam room and Sauna.

The recently revamped state of the art steam room and sauna located at the far end of the swimming pool is the perfect place to unwind. Situated adjacent to each other and separated by a shower area, the steam room and sauna have been an utter godsend for yours truly. Not only do they help ease my muscles, but they are great for circulation which is fantastic at this time of the year.

Relaxing in the sauna

The new décor of navy blue and gold accessories have added a more contemporary flair to the area.

The new look sauna and steam room area

The 15-metre swimming pool is perfect for relaxing in or swimming laps. What I love about this swimming pool is that it is always at the perfect temperature.

The surrounding lounge beds provide such  comfort, enabling you can lay back and relax or read your favourite book or magazine.

I especially enjoy the tranquil seating area where you can enjoy numerous complimentary hot drinks, Scottish mineral water infused with seasonal fruit and an array of smoothies, drinks and food that can be purchased via the reception. 

Treatment Rooms

Within the wellness area are numerous treatment rooms offering an array of treatments catered to your every need. Even though these rooms seem to be in close proximity of the central area, each room is a tucked away so that you can enjoy your treatment without hearing the outside world.

With soft music in the background, glimmering candles and an array of scents that linger in the air, these rooms provide a tranquil safe haven that are the perfect place to de-stress and unwind. There are two main skincare brands used within the spa. Firstly, Irene Forte skincare which is a range of luxury natural products handmade in Italy and created by Wellness Director at Rocco Forte Hotels, Irene Forte. As well as renowned brand Ishga who use seaweed sourced from the Hebridean Islands of Scotland.

Treatment room

I chose a a bespoke facial using the Irene Forte range. The Irene Forte Facial is a personalised facial tailored to suit your skin’s needs. There are three to choose from: Forte Purifier, Forte Brightener and Forte Hydrator. If your skin requires a combination then these treatments can be adapted. 

After completing a consultation and discussing it with my therapist we decided to go for the Forte Hydrator, because my skin felt a tad lack-lustre and a little dry. My therapist gave me chose of two oils to smell. I had to choose which I preferred to be used in my treatment, I of course chose orange blossom.   With the candles lit and my body settled into the comfortable bed I already felt my tensions ease away. Due to the fact that the Irene Forte skincare is inspired by Sicily a small Sicilian bell is rung before the facial, which is said to calm and relax the mind, it certainly made me feel extremely relaxed. 

Cleanse: Firstly my face was cleansed with Irene Forte Almond Cleansing Milk. This hydrating cleanser contains Almond, Olive, Rose and Jojoba Oil along with soothing Aloe Vera juice. It was great to take in the beautiful aroma as this was massaged onto my face and the nourishing texture really sunk into the skin.

Tone:  The Irene Forte Helichrysum Hyaluronic Toner was then used. This toner prepares the skin for the remaining products and includes Hyaluronic Acid which is an ingredient known for its hydrating skincare properties

Exfoliate: Irene Forte Almond Face Scrub was gently massaged onto my skin. Unlike some other exfoliators that can feel too harsh on the skin, this felt nourishing and very moisturising. The Almond Face Scrub is filled with Almond and Hazelnut granules, Aloe leaf juice, Hyaluronic acid as well as Olive, Avocado and Shea oil. This was then followed by my previously chosen Orange Blossom Face oil which is used to brighten and tone the skin. 

Mask and Massage: The Irene Forte Pistachio Face Mask was layered on the skin and felt immediately comforting. This age-defying mask is full of Antioxidant-rich ingredients and replenishing oils and again has a fragrance to die for. This was accompanied by a relaxing shoulder massage using the Orange Blossom Body Oil.

Moisturise: A trio of different product was used as the final part of the treatment. The Hibiscus Serum was applied first which lifts, hydrated and minimises fine lines and wrinkles. This was followed by the Prickly Pear Face Cream full of rich nutrients and anti-oxidants and finishing with Almond eye & lip cream.

I found this facial extremely relaxing and it was a great introduction to the Irene Forte skincare brand. I especially loved choosing my desired oil at the start, which added a sensory interactive experience to the treatment. The additional shoulder massage was a great way to include a relaxing aspect to the facial and left me feeling very de-stressed. My skin felt extremely supple and glowing afterwards and it’s definitely one I would do again, especially in the winter months when my skin suffers the most. 

After a long period of not visiting the gym, I thought I would also sign up to there in house personal training, Will Power Personal Training. Keep your eye on my next blog post to find out how I have been getting on. 

Christmas Gift Guide 2019 – Hotel Stays

Christmas Gift Guide 2019 – Hotel Stays

I hope you enjoyed my previous unisex fragrance Christmas gift guide. The next part of my Christmas gift guide is Hotel Stays. One gift I love to receive at Christmas (or at any time of the year) is a surprise night away in a hotel, even if it’s within the city I stay in. Edinburgh has an abundance of stunning hotels catering for everyone’s needs and I have been lucky enough to stay in some of them. Staying in a hotel for the night allows you to escape day to day life and create memories that will last a lifetime. So go on, treat your partner, friends or family to a lovely evening in the Scottish capital and if you’re finding it difficult to choose, here are my top favourite hotel choices.

Lane Hotel – Bruntsfield Boutique

dd6372b5-cbaa-4d05-b48e-33bddf4b0464-1

Situated in the exclusive area of Morningside in south Edinburgh is The Lane Hotel; an exquisite boutique hotel owned by Mark and Amy Kerr. Housed in two beautifully renovated Victorian buildings, there is a choice of individually designed classic, deluxe and luxury rooms to choose from. This small but impeccably formed hotel makes the perfect base for a city trip, whether you are a tourist, business traveller or simply need a little treat to escape the hustle of everyday life.

Read more on my previous blog post.

Price rating: £

House of Gods – Beige Is Blasphemy

img_8229_original

Boutique hotels are not usually synonymous with the Cowgate area of Edinburgh’s Old Town. A new addition to the Edinburgh hotel scene has set to change all that. House of Gods celebrates the dark mysterious side of Edinburgh with an unapologetic decadence. This hotel takes pride of place in Edinburgh’s old town with its exterior housing a large neon sign inviting you in and giving you a playful glimpse to what House of Gods has to offer.

Read more on my previous blog post.

Price rating: £

The Bonham – West End Elegance

img_6838

Overlooking the elegantly leafy and picturesque Drumsheugh Gardens in the West End of Edinburgh is one of the city’s hidden gems; The Bonham Hotel. Originally constructed as three separate townhouses in 1872, the 19th Century property has witnessed many transformations over the years. It wasn’t until 1998 that it was turned into the lavish Bonham Hotel, introducing the city to the boutique hotel concept.

Read more on my previous blog post.

Price rating: ££

Market Street Hotel – Old Town meets New

img_5269

Situated on the fringes of Edinburgh’s iconic old town, Market Street Hotel takes pride and place in its new home. Surprisingly its contemporary exterior blends perfectly into the historic surroundings. Stone sourced from within 90 miles of its location was used in order to create this seamless integration of old and new. As it towers above nearby Waverley station you cannot help but notice this crowning glory.

Read more on my previous blog post.

Price rating: ££

Fingal – A Floating Luxury

e37519ca-e291-445c-bf31-03fd0d3b426f

Fingal, a former Northern lighthouse board ship is a new £5million development by The Royal Yacht Britannia’s trading company: Royal Yacht Enterprises. Set in the historic Port of Leith this beautiful ship has been meticulously transformed into Scotland’s first luxurious floating boutique hotel.

Read more on my previous blog post.

Price rating: £££

Yotel – Contemporary Queen Street Marvel

img_3273

Located centrally in Edinburgh on Queen Street is the newly opened YOTEL. This contemporary hotel is located only a stones throw away from the city centre and is a perfect choice if you are visiting for business or pleasure.

Read more on my previous blog post.

Price rating: £

Thank you for reading and keep your eyes peeled for my next Christmas Gift Guide.

 

House of Gods

House of Gods

Boutique hotels are not usually synonymous with the Cowgate area of Edinburgh’s Old Town. A new addition to the Edinburgh hotel scene has set to change all that. House of Gods celebrates the dark mysterious side of Edinburgh with an unapologetic decadence. This hotel takes pride of place in Edinburgh’s old town with its exterior housing a large neon sign inviting you in and giving you a playful glimpse to what House of Gods has to offer.

As you enter the hotel, you walk through the exuberantly trendy bar. Here you clearly notice the cleverly constructed decor merging together different styles to create maximum impact.

Dark wooden panelled walls are brought to life with Japanese style art, all framed by neon lights and it’s very own disco ball dripping in pink. House of Gods somehow manages to capture the essence of Edinburgh and the Cowgate area, yet blends it seamlessly with a little smudge of Amsterdam and Japan thrown in for good measure.

As you arrive at the quaint reception area, friendly staff check you in. Wandering along the hallway towards your room feels as if you have stepped into the Edinburgh underground scene. The dimly lit corridor is adorned with rows of doors embellished with lavish decorative material.

There are 30 rooms in the hotel split into three categories: The Cabin, The Classic and The Suite. I stayed in the classic room number 106 which was cosy and intimate. The hotel’s motto is “Beige is Blasphemy” which is clearly evident throughout. The interior decor is dark, opulent and sexy exuding a naughty but extravagant side. The first thing you notice is the beautiful four-poster bed which is draped in a deep red velvet lined with an elaborate floral design.

The ambience is ramped up by the switch next to the bed, which when flicked, illuminates the bed with red neon light.

Neon Nights

The bed was small but very comfortable and due to the fact that there was no exterior window, I felt like I was in my very own cocoon and managed to have a perfect sleep.

The flow of the interior design is undisturbed by modern technology, cleverly camouflaged to utilise space as much as possible. Within the adjacent mirror is a cleverly concealed TV, the bedside cabinet doubles as a minibar, a safe is located under the bed and behind a small mirror is a Nespresso coffee machine.

Bedside cabinet

A custom hand-built bar in beautiful dark wood contains all you need for a delicious in-room drink. Pre-made cocktails, a bottle of wine and gold bar accessories really add a special flair to the room.

In-room bar area

The bathroom is more of a contemporary affair, all clad in marble with stainless steel accessories. The underfloor heating is an added bonus and the monsoon shower was to die for. I must say I was a tad disappointed that the bathroom didn’t continue the elaborate decor of the bedroom, however, the contrast provided yet another quirky side to the many personalities that House of Gods has to offer.

Other rooms in the hotel offer the same opulent vibe, each with a slight twist so there is something new to explore each time you stay.

The Suite

The suite even contains your very own brass roll top bath and a few additional cheetah friends to keep you company during the night.

The customer service perfectly represents what the hotel is all about; friendly, laidback and professional. A clever touch, which I personally liked, is that you can simply send a message via WhatsApp to the hotel reception if you require anything. I used the service and it was quick, easy and very convenient.

There is no restaurant located at House of Gods, but due to its proximity to the city centre, you are surrounded by an abundance of great places to eat. Their friendly and knowledgeable staff were happy to recommend different places for an evening meal.

Nearby restaurant, OX 184.

The cocktail bar; Lilith’s Lounge is definitely a cool place to hang out! It serves a range of cocktails ‘inspired by the fables of Rock n’ Roll’s hotel debauchery’. Mixologist Joey and his team are great at whipping up one of the many cocktails in no time at all.

My favourite was Rock N’ Rosé which includes Tanqueray No. Ten, Pomegranate & Rose syrup, Lemon Juice, Belsazar Rose and Brachetto D’Acqui.

House of Gods is certainly different from any other Edinburgh based hotel that I have stayed, which is one aspect I really liked about it. It has a unique and interesting style in both its interior design and customer service. House of Gods doesn’t conform to the norms of the Edinburgh hotel scene. Like marmite, it may not appeal to everyone’s liking or may not be your first choice but all I can say is give it a go and you will be thoroughly surprised.

Blu Blazer Guy Rating:

Location – 4/5 – Located in Old Town within easy reach of all tourist attractions.
Customer Service – 4.5/5 – Friendly and laid back. 
Rooms – 4/5 – Unique, cosy and full of character. 
Cleanliness – 4/5 – Spotless
Drink – 4.5/5 – Fantastic range of unique cocktails