Hotel review: House Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Address: 27 Leeson Street Lower, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 2, Ireland
Cost per night: Around £150 for room only.

It's not very often we stay in hotels when we travel, instead we opt for an Airbnb as they're cheaper. But I booked Dublin for Connor's 30th birthday so I wanted to choose a hotel as it was a special occasion. A word of warning, accommodation in Dublin is pretty expensive. Much like London, you have to spend at least £100 to get anywhere pretty decent.

After lots of research I settled on House Dublin as I loved the Soho House vibes I got from it. So hipster. As well as a hotel it's home to a nightclub, restaurant, outside terrace and gin room. Safe to say it's pretty buzzing all the time! We stayed midweek so I can't comment on how noisy living above a nightclub was but reading from reviews I think it gets a bit loud on a Friday and Saturday night.

It's located in St Stephen's Green which is close enough to all the action in the centre of town but far enough to not be tourist central. It took us about 15 minutes to walk to Temple Bar. There are lots of pubs and restaurants nearby so you don't have to venture into the centre of town if you don't want to.

Sadly we had to make last minute arrangements as we had a funeral to attend in Northern Ireland. We flew into Dublin and hired a car to drive to Derry that morning. I rung the hotel to explain the situation and they were fantastic. They canceled our original booking without the cancellation fee (saved us 160 euro!) and rebooked us in for later on in the week. I'd also arranged with them over email to fill the bedroom with balloons for my boyfriend's birthday. Nothing was too much trouble for them.

We had breakfast one day to try it out. Priced at 15 euro for a drink and breakfast it was actually quite good value considering Dublin is probably one of the most expensive cities I have ever been. We both opted for an Irish Fry and it was enormous. Certainly kept us going for most of the day!

House Dublin was a great shout for us. We loved the location, staff were very helpful, the Rituals toiletries in the room were a nice touch, the bed was very comfortable and the cool general vibe was great. It is pricey but I feel that is Dublin in a nutshell. I'd definitely recommend the hotel if you find yourself in the city!

Why you should put London's West End on your trip itinerary

When you're planning a trip to a capital city like London it can be hard to choose what to put in your itinerary. It's such a sprawling place, full of great little neighbourhoods. I've been coming into London for 26 years and I still haven't even scratched the surface! But one thing you should most definitely put in your itinerary is a trip to see a play or a musical at the West End. I may be biased here but the London theatre scene is one of the best in the world. I've been lucky enough to see a musical on Broadway and it was fantastic. But it didn't quite have the magic of the capital's West end.

Where to get tickets
Whether you're after seeing a musical for fun escapism or a hard-hitting play to make you think, it's difficult to know where to start to choose the right show for you. Head to Official London Theatre* to find endless tickets available for the West End. You'll also find news about the upcoming shows due to begin their run so you can pop it in your diary. There's also some great deals where kids eat for free to help keep the cost of the day out down. Going to the theatre can soon add up! They very kindly offered me two tickets to catch SWEAT before it is due to finish it's run next week. The politically-charged play is set in Pennsylvania amidst simmering racial tensions. It felt unbelievably current, exploring the anger and resentment currently directly towards immigrants and people of colour today. It really left a lasting impression after it ended.

My favourite theatres
My favourite theatres to see a play at the National Theatre on the Southbank and Barbican theatre. The Barbican is quite small so it feels so intimate when you see a play. You really get caught up the action! I was really lucky to get tickets to see Cillian Murphy in Grief Is The Thing With Feathers earlier this year (twice!) in front row seats. It was probably one of my favourite theatre experiences.

For musicals I love catching them at Apollo Victoria and the London Palladium. I have fond memories of the Palladium as it's where my nan took me to see my first musical at the age of 7. It was Oliver and I remember being mesmerised. It's been the home of the annual pantomime the last few years. My mum and I went last and it was incredible. Absolutely hilarious.

Musicals to look out for
One of my favourite musicals in recent years is The Lion King. The costumes are out of this world. You immediately forget you're watching humans dressed up, it feels like you're watching real animals gliding across the stage. I'd also recommend Wicked - which I'm actually seeing for the third time next week - and 9-5, the Dolly Parton musical.


Tips for learning that work life balance - and why it is so hard to get right

Orange and black floral maxi dress: Fashion World*
Black crossover bag: Kate Spade (similar)
Nude midi heeled sandals: Fashion world*

Are you even a millennial if you don't moan about how much you work? Our generation works such long hours and often has a hefty commute to boot. By the time the working day is over it's easy to feel exhausted. You feel like you spend your life either in an office or in a mode of transport getting to said office. Monday to Friday your life can become a bit of a blur and a waste. Here a few things to ensure I try to get work life balance some of the time!

Always take at least a 30 minutes lunch break
The British seem to have this working culture where they eat lunch at their desk and spend all their working day glued to their computer screens. Luckily I work on a desk where they actively encourage you to take time out and get away from your screen. I find even just 30 minutes away from my desk aimlessly walking down the high street, in and out of a few shops, can help me come back much more refreshed for the rest of the day. The fresh air does a world of good especially during the winter. If you have a long commute it can sometimes feel like you haven't seen day light as you leave in the dark and get home in the dark!

Learn to stay in at least one day over the weekend
If you work long hours during the week it can be easy to make frantic plans at the weekend so you feel like you're making 'the most' out of your free time. But come the time when the alarm screeches on a Monday morning you can end up feeling exhausted because you literally haven't stopped all week. Instead choose either the Saturday or Sunday to have no plans and take the day off to truly relax. Catch up on that Netflix series you keep meaning to start, bake that cake that you saw in your recipe book or potter around the house doing jobs that make you feel better.

Stop being that person who flakes
It can be all too easy to become a hermit when you spend a huge chunk of time working. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is leave your house and socialise when all you want is to have some 'you' time. But sometimes you need to force yourself to go out. Nine times out of ten you'll come home feeling glad you made an effort to catch up with friends.

Give yourself a break as soon as you walk through the door at home
Sometimes I spend my whole 90 minute commuter home thinking about work. I think about those emails I didn't have time to reply too, what I need to add to my to-do list the next day and I dwell on things if I've had a particular bad day. This really isn't healthy. If I really have to then I do think about the work I've left behind but as soon as I open my front door I completely clear it from my mind. The best way to do this is to walk straight into the kitchen and start cooking dinner. Following a recipe helps me to switch off as that's all I can concentrate on at the time. Then once Ive eaten I find it so much easier to put the woes of the day behind me.

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