A little glimpse into my daily life

    Re-charging our batteries at Hotel Nia San Francisco

    “Let’s get that battery fully charged!”

    They say that travel is the best education. 

    And it is(!)……… BUT, as with any form of education, it can be deceptively exhausting and has a tendency to chip away at our usually bouncy energy levels despite beautiful sunsets, magical new places, and occasional paradise beaches.

    Furthermore, as a self diagnosed caffeine addict, I realise that there is also a point at which no amount of Flat White brewed by trendy baristas can keep those tired eyes and creativity still buzzing, meaning it’s time to stop and breathe.

    Travelling certainly can be a real life reality check for anyone who, like me, still thinks we are 21… sometimes we simply have to make a conscious effort to recharge.  

    And a full recharge is exactly what the doctor ordered as we said goodbye to a month of the tropical heat of Oahu and challenging hikes of Hawaii’s Big Island, to make our way to San Francisco’s Bay Area. 

    After navigating frustrating flight delays and long baggage queues, we make our way to the glitz and shining lights of Silicon Valley, and I think to myself about the funny paradox of Fergus and I aiming to recharge our personal batteries here in the home of technology. The very place where news feeds, algorithms, likes, follower and subscriber counts were invented only a few doors away!

    So, at a beautiful Silicon Valley oasis here’s my attempt at rest and relaxation, Isabella-style…

    Battery Level: 1% 

    The first thing that struck me before reaching the shiny offices of The Googleplex and Facebook’s (Pride coloured) F logo, were the rolling hills and the beautiful landscape of one of the more famous valley’s in the world – Silicon Valley. 

    Whether you like it or not, our world as we know it today owes a huge thanks to the many bright minds in this area for bringing incredible technological advances to our day to day lives. 

    Still, the debate rolls on about the longer term effects digitalised our world, as we grow ever more dependent on certain aspects of technology… 

    No sooner could Fergus and I start discussing the pros and cons, we arrived at the wonderful Hotel Nia, our home for the next few days. 

    The mixture of wooden detail, beautiful glass facade and subtle lighting stand out from afar and welcome you into this design focused open plan hotel with all the boutique elegance and beauty that is synonymous with an Autograph hotel. 

    As with all Autograph locations, I can’t wait to see the unique twist this hotel has incorporated to reflect it’s high tech surroundings as we consciously try to press the ‘restart’ button! 

    Battery Level: 10% 

    A huge sigh of relief as we finish checking in and share a few laughs with our smiling receptionist, collectively watching our bags disappear with a lovely bellman before being drawn to the nearby smell of freshly roasted coffee… 

    I follow my nose (of course) and see that within the open plan area of the restaurant and lounge is an Espresso Bar… few minutes later, a chai latte arrives, and it’s official… the relaxation weekend has really started! My first step on the road to recharge is this roasted good-ness ☕️, and just what we needed after a brutally long day of travelling! I can feel myself sinking further into the beautiful leather chairs before it’s time to head upstairs for some much deserved zzz’s. 

    I feel those energy levels rising… 

    Battery Level: 25% 

    After the caffeine wore off, it was time to complete our warm welcome, and a trip to the 11th floor was due.

    Whisked upwards and along beautifully lit dark hallways, we arrived at number 1101…..

    To our amazement, behind the big oak door was a suite the size of an apartment! 

    The combination of modern tech based features, such as automated windows, curtains and shutters, combined with the traditionally beautiful marble worktops, sleek bathroom fittings and more dark wooden fittings gave a genuine appraisal of what luxury in Silicon Valley may look like. A ‘no expense spared’ approach to design, but at the cutting edge of technology. 

    We couldn’t wait to order some room service food and then jump into the generous emperor sized bed..

    “Thank you, thank you, thank you” my tired body was saying as I sunk into the sheets, and to round off this soothing arrival evening, we had been provided with a handheld deep tissue massage machine to try out (apparently one of the Valley’s newest and hottest businesses – 

    After many failed attempts at puppy dog eyes (all girls know what I mean haha) my hints were followed by hard trade negotiations with Fergus, finally agreeing on a massage tonight in exchange for a head rub tomorrow 😂. A good deal for your little Dane! 

    Happy with my business dealings, I closed my eyes and felt those important levels rising as I dosed off mid-massage, now ready for the weekend! 

    Battery Level: 50% 

    If you asked me what three things would be the core of my ultimate ‘Relax and Chill’ bucket list, you’d find Yoga, Champagne, and Brunch somewhere on there! And as it happened, that was exactly what we had in store for a gloriously sunny Saturday morning in the Hotel Nia courtyard. 

    Strolling downstairs, we met the charming girls from Downward Drinking Dog yoga (@downwarddrinkingdog) and the wonderful Sandy (@sandyrosenthal) who really took us through our paces under the California sun – working our legs so much that Fergus and I were left as two exhausted and shakey wrecks by the end…. Just in time for the complimentary glasses of champagne that is included in the class.
    What a perfect combination for everyone to enjoy yoga and a little socialising. 

    Shortly after we finished our glasses and conversations, we were just in time for delicious brunch at Porta Blu, Hotel Nia’s premium restaurant and it was time for much needed healthy sides of eggs and Irish style porridge to aid the recovery! 

    Maybe it was the bubbles, but as I sat taking in the stunning views and chatting to new friends, the rejuvenation was in full flow!  

    Battery Level: 75% 

    Strategically Menlo Park is placed midway between San Francisco and San José in an area called Silicon Valley, we left Hotel Nia fully fed and with a full dose of yoga induced Zen to head North to the happiest party of the year – San Francisco Pride! 🏳️‍🌈

    I will try my best to explain this crazy, positively wild, all senses experience and it’s amazing boost to our dopamine levels with it’s own blogpost and without a doubt will remember it for all of my life! 

    A scenic half hour Uber ride from the hotel, and we arrived in a sea of colour on the famous Market Street of San Francisco not quite expecting for our minds to be blown by the most amazing parade and celebration! 

    The message was so clear, stand up for what you believe in, be happy with who you are, and be accepting of all. Simple!

    With Fergus still offering his best street dancing moves whilst the sun started to head behind the San Fran cityscape, we made our way back to Hotel Nia with smiles from ear to ear to attempt a recap of the days events over a late night Porta Blu feast.

    Around the world, ‘happiness therapy’ helps people suffering with the many stresses of life. Groups practice laughing, smiling together and passing compliments to boost those ever needed dopamine levels. From the Pride experience, I can totally appreciate how infectious this is, and felt so grateful that we happened find a complete removal from reality at this wonderful event! 

    Thanks to the fabulous and the fantastic, we ordered some delicious room service and enjoyed a good glass of wine before we hit the pillow in room 1101 with Cher’s greatest hits humming in my head and a huge feeling of freedom and happiness! 

    It had been a wonderfully leisurely weekend so far at our valley oasis, and as we prepared for another coffee inspired brunch in our beautifully designed courtyard, we decided it was time to embrace the Spotify playlists, half finished books and colourful cocktails by the pool. 


    Battery Level: 90% 

    No rest and relaxation weekend is complete without an umbrella in a cocktail 🍹 and a dip!

    So, the phones went on airplane mode and we enjoyed the California sunshine for our last day at this continuously impressive and remarkably private hotel.

    The helpful staff were quick to keep us hydrated as we made our way through every cocktail on the Porta Blu menu and found ourselves sinking in and out of daydreams and siesta’s alongside long conversations that we may not usually have the time to have together.

    It always amazes me quite how much you keep learning about your partner and closest ally every day when you have the time to dive into past experiences, funny stories, and ever changing future aspirations – the breathing space of the weekend really allowed us to bond in a way that working on the move and occasionally together does not allow.

    Sometimes the efficiency of life takes away those memory making moments and conversations, and replaces them with tasks and to do lists.

    I really welcomed the break and with one more sleep, zen and tranquility levels could not be better!

    Battery Level: 100% 

    It’s safe to say that after a uniquely active and exploratory stay on the Hawaiian Islands, we had definitely been running on ‘Low Power Mode’ for quite some time, and the scary part is that we hadn’t necessarily noticed it until it hit us in like a train.

    I have seen what a dangerous effect stress can have on you and the unseen dangers of stress acting as a permanent reminder, these one off pockets of relaxation and tranquility during our crazy Millennial lives are something I never want to take for granted. 

    As all industries do, this job provides it’s own unique challenges, and after almost 3 months on the road constantly striving to improve creativity and increase my output, this stunning oasis location at Hotel Nia was exactly what I needed to switch off, plug into my thoughts, and re-charge those battery levels before an exciting new chapter starting at home. One thing this trip have truly taught us is that you need to have a base (or a dreamy Hotel Nia nexdoor) which you can come back to when you need to find yourself again. 

    We waved goodbye to the Hotel Nia, and with a passing thought, I wondered who could have believed it would be so easy to click the restart button in the most connected place in the world. Now I feel ready and prepared for what’s coming up. One thing I have learned about myself doing this wonderful trip is that we need to find a place we can call our home, and after these adventures month on the road we fill more ready than ever to start this next chapter of our lives.

    Thank you Hotel Nia for hosting us, we will definitely be back.
    Lost of love from your recharged Isabella xx

    24th juli 2019