All posts filed under: travel

Staying at Ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya

I really don’t know where to begin with writing about my 30th birthday. It was just one of the best couple of weeks of my life and I’m not sure how our holidays will be able to top it! We booked a trip to Kenya and Zanzibar with Turquoise Holidays (this is our fourth trip with them following the Maldives for our Honeymoon, St Lucia for Tim’s 30th and Jamaica for our anniversary, and they’re always fantastic!). And after plenty of planning, visas, jabs and tablets, we were ready and raring to go! We flew with Qatar airways – our first experience of flying with them and we were very impressed – comfy seats, good entertainment selection and surprisingly good food! We flew from Heathrow to Qatar in the evening, had a quick change and then flew on to Nairobi, arriving in the morning. We were greeted right off the plane, our bags were whisked away and we were shown to our private plane which we would be taking to Chyulu Hills! I don’t think …

Dinner at Rijks, Amsterdam

At the end of September, I went on a girlie weekend to Amsterdam with two of my awesome former colleagues, Pia and Lieke – at 2K I really did make friends for life! We did lots of fun things during our trip (I’ll get to writing about these at some point!), with huge thanks to Lieke who is from the Netherlands and knew all the great spots to visit. One of those was Rijks restaurant. Rijks is located within the world famous Rijksmuseum. Just as the museum tells the story and history of the Netherlands with some influences from other countries from across the globe, the restaurant follows suit. It describes itself as being “the Rijksmuseum served up on a plate”. The kitchen is headed up by Joris Bijdendijk who you could see working hard away in the open plan kitchen with his team. He’s obviously well recognised in the cooking scene in the Netherlands, with a new book launching next week. So, on to the food! To try a little bit of everything, we ordered the …

Staying at Hotel Del Teatre, Regencós, Spain

Over the summer some of our friends got married in Barcelona. We stayed at the Grand Hotel Central which was fabulous, centrally located just a few streets away from Las Ramblas. Despite being in the centre of the city, the rooms were a very generous size and there was a rooftop bar and swimming pool. We didn’t make use of the latter because it wasn’t actually very hot during our stay (it was September) but we certainly made good use of the former! The gin cocktail in a bag was a particular highlight (or Megan’s ‘tramp bag’ as my friends ‘affectionately’ called it!) After the wedding we planned to spend a couple of nights further up the coast towards the French border. This was quite a big deal because we would be DRIVING! Why was it a big deal? Well, I still don’t have a driving license and Tim only passed a couple of years ago. And most importantly, he’d never driven on the other side of the road before in a hire car! We …

Exploring Cheddar Gorge, Somerset

I am WOEFULLY behind on my blog at the moment. And I mean, woefully. Work has been incredibly busy and my whole summer was booked up with wonderful weddings and hen dos. Tim and I managed to pair some of the weddings with a few short holidays here and there to explore the surrounding areas, rather than rushing straight back to London for work. One of the weddings was over the Summer bank holiday near the gorgeous city of Bath, so we decided to spend a couple of days exploring Somerset. Despite both of us having lived in Devon for a number of years, and with family in Wiltshire, we hadn’t got around to seeing much of Somerset yet. But now we have a car, we wanted to change that. We stayed at the White Hart Inn in Somerton, essentially a pub and restaurant with rooms. I’m always a little cautious about booking ‘pub’ hotels but this was on Mr & Mrs Smith, which is usually an indicator of a good, quality hotel. Our bedroom …

Staying at The Malabar, Cumbria

Over the May Bank Holiday, we treated ourselves to a staycation. We started our trip in the Lake District at The Forest Side in Grasmere (you can read about our stay here) before hopping over to the Dales (on the border with Cumbria), around half an hour away. Here we were staying at The Malabar, a B&B which we’d come across on Mr & Mrs Smith which we fell in love with from the second we saw it online. It was established in 2015 by Graham and Fiona Lappin. Despite having never lived in the area or run their own business before, they took on the project of converting Garths Farm into the wonderful B&B it is today. But it wasn’t all a completely new prospect – Fiona’s family had worked in the hotel business, although she had carved a successful career in publishing. Graham grew up in the southern Indian state of Kerala where his father and grandfather were tea planters, although his career had been in banking in the UK, Hong Kong and India. …

Horseback riding in the sea at Hooves, Jamaica

While we were staying in Jamaica earlier this year, we were really quite content relaxing in our beautiful resort, Goldeneye. But there was one activity we had our eye on – horseback riding through the jungle and across the golden sands of the beach! I think there are a couple of companies that offer this in Jamaica, but our resort recommended Hooves. They arranged a private transfer (with the most amazing driver called Laurel, one of the nicest, funniest people we met in Jamaica and we still speak fondly of her – we’re still in touch on Whatsapp!) and in around half an hour we were pulling up at the stables in St Ann’s Bay. Hooves is a family business which has been running for over 20 years, with a very experienced team who you can see have a fantastic relationship with the horses. Many of the beautiful horses were rescued and brought back to good health, and are now living a very happy life at Hooves. I was given my horse (named Lover Boy!!) …

Dining at The Forest Side, The Lake District

I’m becoming acutely aware that every time I try a new tasting menu, I say it’s one of the best I’ve had. But the tasting menu at The Forest Side really was spectacular, and I think a big part of this was down to the freshness and seasonality of the dishes. It boasts a superb kitchen garden within the grounds of the hotel, which I wrote about in my previous post about our stay (you can read here). This extended to all of the food and even drinks at The Forest Side. Upon arrival, while most people were sipping coffees and tucking into Afternoon Tea, we got started on the cocktails! I kicked off proceedings with a Flowering Currant Margarita, with blanco tequila, flowering currant, cointreau and lime. It was stunning! I stupidly didn’t write down what Tim ordered and looking at the menu it’s impossible to work out what it might have been – the menu and selection of foraged ingredients is vast! Those cocktails went down very nicely (and rather quickly!) so we …