July 26, 2014

The Cardiff Hotel, Hyde Park in London Hotel Review

                The Cardiff Hotel               

Cardiff Hotel
5, 7, 9 Norfolk Square, Hyde Park,
London W2 1RU
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7723 9068
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7723 3513

    As soon as you plan a trip to London, one of the UKs FINEST cities, I recommend that you book a room, straight away at the Cardiff Hotel in Paddington. 

I have been traveling to London for over 5 years now, as it's so easy to hop on the Eurostar at Paris, Gare du Nord and end up directly to the center of London, at St. Pancras, with no hassles with getting to an airport a few hours in advance, pesky checkin, airport security, waiting and boarding!  Taking the train across the English Channel is one of the easiest travel EVER!  If you are in Paris, you can organise a trip to London (best if done in advance, for lower prices) and spend a few days in the U.K. Why not?! It's so easy and fun!

Upon arrival London, it's best to take out some cash from the bank distributor right in the station, and then get an Oyster Card (you can also do this on the train), and load it with some money or get a 5 day or 7 day pass, depending how much you plan to use it.  Personally, I just top off my card now as I go, because I walk more than using the Tube, but that's up to you! London is pretty big... 

From King's Cross/St. Pancras Train Station.. you need to get the Circle Line (yellow), District Line (Green), which run on the same track... or the Hammersmith Line (pink) and head off to Paddington. If you take the circle line... make sure it's VIA Paddington.  It's a mere 5 stops from St. Pancras.  Once you're off at Paddington, and leave the station there, it's a two minute walk to the Cardiff Hotel! 

Arriving at the Cardiff Hotel at 5 -9 Norfolk Square in the heart of Paddinton, you will pass a very quaint park on London Street. It's just across from the hotel.  See in just two minutes time, you're there!

Inside, you will be welcomed by a lovely staff member who will check you in.  Take your luggage to your room, and off you go!  See the city... or have a quick rest and then go out.

A little about the Cardiff Hotel and why it's my favourite and first choice in hotels in London.  The Cardiff Hotel was recommended to me by my dear friend, Tonio, in San Diego.. who ALWAYS has top rate info on where to stay for comfort and location all at a good price! So, Tonio, Mr. World Traveler himself, told me about this gem of a hotel when I asked him for a good place to stay during my first trip to London.  He told me about the Cardiff, and how lovely it was- quaint, great staff and copious breakfast!  He also told me that is just a few minutes walk over to Hyde Park, which I really liked to hear!

After staying at this lovely hotel for the first time, and having such a great experience... You meet the nicest people there, who are also traveling as  you are... along with the very friendly and cheerful staff- the breakfast staff are just incredibly polite, professional and really make sure that you have everything you need!  The staff at the reception desk are equally polite, profession and very helpful- you can ask them all about where to eat, what to visit, things 
of interest, etc. and tell you, and PRINT the information for you, if needed! What service. If  you have any problem or concern with something,  you can also let them know and they will work quickly to resolve any issue that may come up.

Keep in mind, that this is a very typical, classic hotel in London. In Europe, the hotel rooms can be a lot smaller than what Americans are used to in America (except in NY) from my own experience...  The rooms in Europe are generally a bit smaller, unless you take a suite or stay at a LUXURY hotel... but what you do get here at the Cardiff is a very clean room, which is decorated simply and very nicely... a flat screen tv with lots of channels, an electric tea pot for making tea and coffee, which is supplied in the room as well as a blow dryer.  A towel is provided, of course, as is soap, shampoo and shower gel (daily).  There is free WIFI at the hotel and all rooms have free access, as well.

All of the rooms at the Cardiff Hotel have been redone as new, so you really can count on things being tip-top and very clean! The rooms are cleaned daily, as well.  There are 67 rooms total and 5 floors in all so if you prefer to stay at a lower level in order to avoid going up and down the stairs, please let the staff know when you check in.  I don't mind, but I 
know that some people like to no about this kind of thing, as there is no lift (elevator) in the building. If you need a hand with  your luggage, ask the the staff, they are very accommodating and will really try to help make your stay a wonderful 
one. I personally like stair-climbing and count it as part of my daily exercise, but I know that some of you with creaky knees might not like it as much as I do!
As for breakfast... what better way to start your day than down in the breakfast room! The breakfast room is downstairs and open from 7 -  10 a.m. weekdays and 7:30 - 10:30 a.m. on weekends. If you need to check out in order to catch a flight or train, etc, you can let the desk staff know and they can fix you something to take away so that you have something to eat! 
The breakfast provides a very wide selection of delectable breakfast foods, including cereals, toast, fresh and canned fruit, yogurt eggs, bacon, and baked beans... as well as a coffee, tea, milk and juice.  Attention: New coffee machine which allows you to simply press a button to have a choice of caffe latte, cappuccino, espresso, etc!  And, I found this coffee to be even better than what I'm used to getting at regular local coffee shop.  In all, you will enjoy a very good and complete meal at breakfast time, and you probably won't be hungry again until 1 or 2 pm!  I love the setting of the breakfast room, because it's very light and big, their are two huge windows which allow for seating breakfast bar style, in very comfortable chairs. You might not evenwant to get up,  you will feel so comfortable! It's a great setting a perfect way to start  your day.  
Once you have finished breakfast and are ready to go out and explore London, you can just hop on a Big Red Bus just at the next street, hop on the Tube at Paddington station, two minutes walk. You can take the Hop on Hop Off Bus, which is located on the street just parallel and one minute from the hotel. You can walk over to the Hyde Park, which is just a 7 minute walk or so from the hotel... and from the park, you have Notting Hill/High Street Kensington.. and many other places of interest very near by.

I am sure you will enjoy you stay at the Cardiff Hotel and will want to keep coming back again and again! That is why I keep coming back, year after year....  I feel so at home there, that each time I walk in the door, I feel like I'm at home! 

Cheers and have a great time in London!
                            The staircase has a beautiful and ornate design,
                                          very regal.


Norfolk Square, a cute little park right in front of the hotel
Lots of restaurants and shops on London St., across from the hotel
                       Here's a look at my room at the Cardiff.
                                                                   I love it!
Start your day out right in the Breakfast Room.
Bon Appetit!

June 6, 2014


                                    JOUR J: L'EMBARQUEMENT/ JOUR J: THE EMBARKMENT

Débarquement du 6 juin '44 : Le monde entier retient son souffle.
The Debarquement of June 6 1944, as the entire world holds their breath.
The Allied Forces; American, British, Canadian sent the forces by air and sea... landing on the beaches of Normandy, France to help defeat Hilter's army and to defeat Germany in the Second World War.
This Memorable Day in History is marked by the loss of lives of both military and civilians, entire villages and towns destroyed in Normandy, between 80- 90% of these towns being completely destroyed and devastated by bombs.
A VERY SAD day in history of the loss of lives, but at the same time, the mark of the VICTORY of the War, wherein France and the rest of Europe was freed from Hitler's evil hold.
I give thanks to our ALLIES and brave soldiers of all nationalities... who helped save France and to rid the world of this EVIL POWER!

May 23, 2014

MARKET FORCE ------ Mystery customer!

  I have a friend who works for a company called, "MARKET FORCE."  It's a very interesting idea, in terms of how it works.... The Mystery Customer is aimed at testing products and giving your opinion in order to help companies/businesses know how customers feel about their products and what people like and dislike.

I have recently become a 'Mystery Customer.'  In order to become one  yourself and benefit from being PAID for trying out and giving your opinion on specific products/items... Please read this coupon below and then go to the website and create an account. Be sure to fill out all the information required in the create a profile part. Once this is completed, you will be given "missions" to complete.
It's easy, fun and you are PAID to do this! What more could you ask for?!

Here's the info you need to get started:

May 11, 2014

It's been 8 1/2 years since my BEAUTIFUL and LOVING MOM, Louise left this earth.... but her presence is still strongly felt...

I love you and miss you SOOOOOO much, Mom!!  Through the realms of Heaven and Earth, my love passes on to you..... and I feel your love, too!

On this Mother's Day, and every other one, I wish to honor my wonderful Mom. She was like an angel and loved us all dearly.......

Love to you, Mom!!!!!

Happpppy Mother's Day and thank you for the life you gave me, and for helping me to become the woman I am today!

February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day to ALL!

Just wanted to wish you all a VERY SWEET VALENTINE'S DAY!

Hope it's filled with lots of good things.....

I'm off to Miami to see my brother, sis-in-law and my niece and nephew on Monday! I can't wait!

It's been since 1987 since I was last in Miami.  It will be great to see family again, after so long!

Can't wait to have some HOT weather, sunshine and beach!

January 27, 2014

Best Friend in Paris!

Everyone needs a best friend, especially when you're traveling in a foreign country where you don't know the ropes and have limited time to learn!

Donna Morris, "best friend," is certainly not your typical 'tour guide.'  She's not a concierge, she doesn't spend time recounting French history or take you around town in a large group on a tour bus....

Donna takes you around the enchanting city of Paris, on foot... on public transport, showing you places you wouldn't find on your own, the 'local' spots... or as I like to say, "the hidden treasures," as well as the well-known monuments.  She has been living in Paris as long as I have been here in France, that's almost 8 years... and has extensive knowledge about and experience in our City of Light.

It's so refreshing to tour around with someone who can show you all the great spots, who can share a coffee or glass of wine with you... or stop for lunch at a cute little cafe or bistrot.

Donna speaks French fluently and knows her way inside and out around Paris.  She is originally from Texas, grew up in North Carolina, and has lived in several different States in the U.S. She moved to France in 2006, and has been living happily in the 8th Arrondissement in Paris, where she continues to live her days discovering new corners of Paris, dining with friends and riding her bike through the Bois de Bologne.

Donna is an excellent choice for finding your way around Paris, and seeing a side of the city from a 'local' perspective.

Please click here to view her website and to contact Donna for more information: BEST FRIEND IN PARIS: 

December 9, 2013

Birthdays GALOUR!!!!

  Today is the 48th B-Day of my dear, sweet hubby, Alex!  I forgot to post on my b-day, which was on 28th Nov... but no worries...

SAGGS ROCK!!!  Most of my closest friends are saggs.. We're just cool like that!



December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela.... One of the LAST GREAT MEN....

Last night, Nelson Mandela, fondly nicknamed, Mandiba, departed.   He lived from 1918- 2013, nearly one hundred years of life on this earth.

For me, Nelson Mandela was a great leader, a great man... one of the last of his kind! He fought for democracy and equality in a country where those did not exist, and was held as a prisoner for high treason, incarcerated for 27 years because of his strong convictions.  Years later, he was elected President of this very same country!  He made so many positive changes for South Africa.  He did not give up fighting for what he believed in.

I tear up when I think of his greatness, because he, along with Martin Luther King Junior, are the only two men I can think of who made it their life's mission to fight for equality.  I don't think the world will see another like Mandela, at least NOT in my lifetime.

Nelson Mandela, you have done so much for us.  Thank you for believing in humanity and for never giving up!  For believing so much in this that you made it your life's mission.  You have helped so many millions of people around the world.

You light will never go out!  You will be remembered throughout history and  your legacy will live on!

God bless you, Nelson Mandela and may you finally rest in peace.


"I dedicate today to Neslson 'Mandiba' Mandela. 1918- 2013. A man of the the world, a man dedicated to this world. There will be no other like him. His GREATNESS will never fade or be forgotten. For me, this man represented freedom, equality and democracy. He fought his entire life for it... and fought hard! GOD BLESS YOU, Mr. Mandela. I am in morning and weeping with the people of this world who are so sad to see you go... 
But, I believe it was your time, and you are at PEACE now. 
Godspeed to you, Mr. Mandela. We will try to continue in your name, to fight for justice and equality..."     --- Leesa M. Garcia, c. 2013

**Photo courtesy of the internet.

October 31, 2013

Happpppy Halloween Everyone!

Just got back from a week in GLORIOUS and HOT/SUNNY Barcelona!

What a FANTASTICO holiday I had ... very fun, relaxing and full of biking ALL over the place! I fell head over heals with this beautiful and dynamic city! I just LOVE Spain!  Really reminded me of San Diego, and of Southern California! I was great to speak Spanish again, too!

I'll post some pics.. Just wanted to let you all know I'm back safe and sound and wish you all a very

Happppy and Safe Halloween!


September 29, 2013

Venezia.. FUN FUN FUN! A MUST see when in Italy!

  Some travel pics!

Seriously... THE BEST coffee in the WORLD!
Italian coffee, in Italy!

We took a BOAT to get to the airport from Venice!
I was hitch hiking! hahaha 
The yellow boat was ours... 1 hour 10 minutes to get
get to the airport from where we were staying.

What would Venice be WITHOUT gondolas?!!

Alex looking, tan and well-rested after our 3 week 
holiday in Italy!  Both of us, a few kilos de plus!

A typical 'street' in Venice!  This one is a bit wider than 
the ones in the city center!

Me in Tree!  

(Notice the nice looking YACHT in the background!!!)

Italia.... I LOVE YOU!!!!

Hi Everyone!

Just got back from a late summer holiday in ITALIA!!!

Alex and I spent three glorious weeks filled with SUN, HEAT, PIZZA, PASTA, GELATO, GOOD SIGHTS ALL AROUND and MOSTTTTTT IMPORTANT-- GREAT, no FANTASTICO caffè!

Italian coffee has to be the BEST in the WORLD!  I'm convinced!

We started off in the beginning of the Sept, the 2nd to be exact and came back on the 24th.

Here is where we went:

Roma          4 days
Sorrento      3 days -- stayed in Agnello visited Sorrento, Positano, and Pompei

Lucca          2 days

Cinque Terre  6 days - Stayed in Manarola and went by train/boat/walking to the neighbouring towns,
                                     from Monterosso, we went by boat to Portvenere.

Florence         5 days with a day side trip to Siena

Venice            3 days

Did LOTSSSS of stuff, ate lots of great food... and I'll give names of places we stayed, good tips, reviews and other important info, in case you're traveling to Italy!