Private Tour of the Victoria & Albert Museum


V&A Entrance. All photos courtesy of NHYM 2017. 


This week, an amazing writer friend of mine who happens to work at the V&A (he is an actual couture expert and teaches in the History of Design MA – incredible!) gave my writing class a private tour of the Victoria & Albert Museum in South Kensington. I didn’t know much about the V&A apart from the fab couture exhibits like the Alexander McQueen exhibit, and last year’s Indian jewellery exhibit, which was equally as fabulous, so I was more than excited to join in.


Inner Courtyard. NHYM 2017. 

As we stood in the inner courtyard where quotes like ‘Better it is to get wisdom than gold’ are inscribed in the museum’s facade, he started with a little history: the museum was founded in 1852 by Queen Victoria & Prince Albert as a place where the best art and design from around the world would be displayed to teach the English about design. It has since then become the largest decorative arts and design museum in the world.


Persian Rug. NHYM 2017. 

Art and Design is such a broad subject and has such range that it is an enormous museum with 5.5 million objects of art and design, from around the world and through the generations. There are international collections including Asian Art and this Persian rug which has a specially built case that is deprived of light to preserve it – except when it is turned on for 10 minutes every 30 minutes for museum goers to see it.


Hallway and Staircase. V&A. NHYM 2017. 

There is a blending of the old and the new at this museum, as you can see from all the Italianate designs and paintings – which at the time were the epitome of art and design -and the modern water feature in the main courtyard.


The Cafe. NHYM 2017.

Here, you can see the modern design of this light – which I love – against the stained glass and ornate decorations in the background. The V&A was the first museum to have a cafe inside and it is still a hub of activity, especially on Friday nights where events like jazz concerts are held.


Jewellery Collection. NHYM 2017. 

Of course, I wanted to go straight to the jewellery collection which showcases beautifully crafted jewels of amethysts, topaz and diamonds that illustrate the handicraft and tastes of the time.


Diamond brooch. NHYM 2017. 

This above diamond brooch is one of my favourite pieces, which looks like it inspired the Chanel camellia range:


Chanel Camelia Ring. Courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2017.

Unsurprisingly, the Chanel ring has been on my ‘Lust List’ for a while. The Boodles Raindance ring, also one of my favourites, is also part of the jewellery collection.

Unfortunately the fashion exhibit was shut as they are preparing for their next exhibit, Balenciaga, which is opening in May.


Theatre Posters. NHYM 2017. 

There is an entire theatre and performance collection, which has posters and costumes that even your children would be interested in seeing.


Lion King costumes. NHYM 2017. 

Speaking of children, this is a museum I would happily bring my children to, especially the paddling pool in the main courtyard that allows children. And then there is an entire Beatrix Potter collection, where you can see the works of one of the best-loved children’s authors.


Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter. NHYM 2017. 

This is apparently the original Peter Rabbit that Beatrix Potter once drew in her South Ken home.


Modern Collection. NHYM 2017

In the modernism collection, modern designs of furniture and objects, as well as photographs are shown. Apparently, to continue collecting modern design, V&A collectors are sent out to the streets of London to pick and choose random pieces of modern design to keep in the collection.


Boom box. NHYM 2017.

But what made me feel really old is when I saw this old boom box from the 80s encased in a special glass framed case, like a shrine. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but show it to a teenager and they will think it was a relic of olden days….

For anyone who loves jewellery and fashion, theatre and music, the new and the old, design and art, this museum is a hub of beauty and creativity, modernity and history that not a lot of museums bring together like it does. Two upcoming exhibits I do not want to miss are the Pink Floyd and the Balenciaga exhibit. Can’t wait!

Thank you so much for the tour of the V&A, it was amazing!





Photos, Reviews, Travel

Hotel Review: Carlisle Bay, Antigua


View from the water. NHYM 2017. All photos courtesy of NHYM. 

Overall: 4.2 stars

Hotel: 4.3 stars

Beach and location: 4.5 stars

Rooms: 4.4 stars

Food: 4.4 stars

Service: 3.5 stars

Value for money: 3.8 stars

As you – my readers – all know, I have a slight obsession with the Maldives (it is after all, my ‘happy place’). But this year, we decided that we needed to try something different. So, after discussions with many friends, it was decided that Carlisle Bay in Antigua would be our next destination.


View from the beach Carlisle Bay. NHYM 2017. 

One friend said that ‘it is as close as what you get in the Maldives’ : a luxury, family friendly hotel with beach front villas, a great Kids Club, and clear, shallow waters for the kids. (But I was also told to manage my expectations, because it still isn’t quite the Maldives).


The Beach, Carlisle Bay. NHYM 2017. 


As soon as I arrived, I realised why my friends had sent me here: beautiful hotel grounds, a restaurant right on the beach, and the incredibly beautiful and idyllic beach and bay, Carlisle Bay. The beach was one of my favourite parts of the hotel, you couldn’t fault it.


Hotel Grounds. NHYM 2017.

Antigua is only 8 hours from London, which already gets points for being one of the closest tropical island destinations (Maldives: 10/11 hours, Mauritius 11/12 hours, Asia/Thailand 13+hours). And, you can fly there on British Airways on points.


The Room. NHYM 2017.

It is an all-suite hotel, and we were given a family suite which was the perfect set up for a family: a large main bedroom with living area and a second bedroom with 2 twin beds for the children. This set up, I have to say, was perfect. The room was bright, clean, and crisp. It provides what you ask for. (The only thing I would comment on is that the common stairs were not cleaned regularly which is something they could work on).


The pool Carlisle Bay. NHYM 2017. 

The pool is nice enough, but nothing spectacular. It is also set back so there is no view of the sea from the pool, something I do really love and find in most hotels in the Maldives. The other disappointment was the service around the pool was quite slow at times: ie. we ordered our children’s dinner at 5pm and it arrived at 6pm and as you can imagine, hungry children make for very irritable parents (Free children’s dinners from 5-6pm).


View from our room. NHYM 2017.

Another annoying thing was that there was a Mercedes conference/convention while we were there, and we had to change rooms because of the noise they made one night. I would definitely check with the hotel to make sure there isn’t a conference when you are staying there, as it does change the vibe of the hotel.



View from Shirley Heights. NHYM 2017. 

There are plenty of activities to choose from, from visiting Shirley Heights (above), to going to Stingray cities to pet stingrays (the kids loved it), to going snorkeling on a reef nearby (complimentary). We were spoilt for choice and the hotel does a good job encouraging these activities. We missed out on sunrise yoga on the pier and a hike through the jungle. Another time.

There are also a lot of cool beach restaurants like Catherine’s Cafe and Jacqui O’s that are great fun both for parents and children.



Kids Club NHYM 2017. 

Oh Kids Clubs. They can make-or-break a family holiday. But luckily for us, my children LOVE Kids Clubs. I have trained them since the age of 11 months old to love Kids Clubs. So off they went happily every morning, even though there weren’t many children because of the Mercedes convention. As my husband says, we got free babysitting by a bunch of adults.

One of the highlights was on our last night (after the Mercedes gang had left), when they organised a Pyjama Party from 6:30-9pm with music, cupcakes and games. As you can imagine, all the parents dropped off their kids and went for romantic dinners. Everyone was happy: happy kids, and happy parents. There were also great activities for older children: kayaking, going to stingray city, to water parks, tubing etc…


Sunset while my kids were at the Kids Club Pyjama Party. NHYM 2017. 


The food was in general very good. We have had mediocre food in the Maldives and in the Caribbean, so we were very pleased with the quality. The only slight comment was that the breakfast buffet didn’t have that much choice relative to hotels in Asia and in the Maldives, but the a la carte menu was very adequate. What was great was that the kids would be happily playing in the sand on the beach while we slowly enjoyed our cappuccino. Bliss.


Sunrise from our room. NHYM 2017.


There were a lot of good things about the hotel as I mentioned above, but the service was one thing that was really hit-or-miss. We had some excellent waitresses like Georgie, who was so nice to the kids and great waiters at dinner time, but we were also faced with some waitresses that looked like I was asking them a HUGE favour to order breakfast, as if they really couldn’t be bothered. For the price we pay (it isn’t a cheap hotel), the service should be 100% top notch, but sadly it failed on a number of occasions, ie. The coconut incident: I ordered a coconut at 10:30am and was told it would take a while: it arrived at 4:30pm!!!



We did have a lovely time at Carlisle Bay and the kids loved it, but we were slightly disappointed in the service, given the standard of the hotel. The beach days and activities were great, the Kids Club kept my kids happy, and the breakfast was really good (my favourite meal of the day). There are a lot of repeat guests because it is an easy hotel: easy to get to, easy to get on the beach, easy to leave your kids in the Kids Club. So as long as you don’t go when there is a Mercedes conference and you don’t order a coconut, you should have a great time.





Top 10, Travel

The Ocean House, Antigua


The Ocean House sunset. This photo is courtesy of the owner but all other photos courtesy of NHYM. Copyright 2017.

During our last two days in Antigua, we were invited to stay at The Ocean House, a new 4-bedroom villa situated on the water’s edge at the Northwest side of the island, near St. John’s, the capital.


It was built and designed by a London luxury real estate developer who had a vision of an infinity pool falling directly into the water. This vision eventually became a reality last year, and this beautiful villa is now available for holiday rentals.


The entrance. NHYM 2017. 

As you approach the villa by car, you could mistake it for a modest, bungalow on the side of a road, but as soon as you enter the house, you realise that it is so much more. Firstly, there is that view. A 180 degree, panoramic view where the infinity pool drops into the water, and blends into the sky, which you could stare at for days on end.


Infinity pool. NHYM 2017.


Living Room. NHYM 2017.

But it isn’t just the view that makes you fall in love with this house: all the small, carefully chosen details show that this was a labour of love. And it is so much bigger than it appears both on photographs or from the outside.


Living room details. NHYM 2017.

I love all the beautiful details, the blue corals, the beach rules and the various books littered around the living room, and the white, blue and grey colour scheme which fits in with its name, The Ocean House. It is a light, spacious and airy house, which makes you feel immediately at home.


The Dining Room. NHYM 2017.

The sea view is visible from the kitchen/dining room, the living room and the master bedroom, which all lead to the terrace and to the focal point of the house – the infinity pool.


Outdoor deck. NHYM 2017. 

Outside, there is access to a pier, where you can be picked up by boat and taken around Antigua for the day. It was one of our favourite days in Antigua – stopping for lunch at Green Island, a deserted island where your little ones can paddle in crystal clear waters with no one but a few sailboats in sight.


Steps down to the water. NHYM 2017. 

Down by the pier, there is paddle boarding and swimming for those looking to exercise, otherwise lazing by the pool is just as tempting.


Guest room. NHYM 2017. 

To me, hotels exude a sort of transiency, knowing that eventually I will say goodbye. But with a house, an attachment is formed, which makes me dream of it days after leaving. So, weeks on, I am still dreaming of the Ocean House, its view, and its spectacular sunsets.

Until next time….


Thank you The Ocean House for hosting us!! It was absolutely fabulous! xx

 The Ocean House is available to rent through its website: or on