All posts filed under: travel

Dining in New Orleans

One of the reasons we decided to visit New Orleans last year (aside from Mardi Gras, of course!) was because we’d heard great things about the food. We knew it would be super busy so I did a lot of research and pre-booked everything in advance – it turns out this was pretty vital. So if you’re visiting the city for the festival, make sure you plan ahead! We generally ate fairly early around 7pm so we could get back to our hotel located at the end of the parade route, so we got to enjoy lovely dinners as well as seeing all of the floats. Back in the day I would have done a detailed blog post about each restaurant, but as I frantically type before the little one wakes up for his next feed (this is now my life!!), a summary style post is going to have to do… Commander’s Palace On our first full night (the first actual night when we arrived was spent getting stuck straight into the parades and a …

Top tips for experiencing Mardi Gras in New Orleans

It hasn’t escaped me that I haven’t posted on my blog since June last year. There have been many reasons for this, largely health related that I might eventually come to write about on here when I’m feeling a bit braver. And then earlier this year I was over the moon to find out I was pregnant! Along with this and being super busy at work, the blog had to take a back seat. But now, between feeds and nappy changes, while the little man is napping, I’m determined to get back up to speed. Will we get to go out for as many nice meals and holidays as we did pre-baby? Will we cook/bake as much at home? Only time will tell… But in the meantime, I thought I’d kick things off with a blog post I’ve been so excited to write about since February this year. MARDI GRAS IN NEW ORLEANS! It was without a doubt, the best place we’ve been to, and one of our favourite holidays of all time. It has …

Staying at The Residence, Zanzibar

After an incredible stay at Chyulu Hills in Kenya for my 30th birthday (you can catch up here about the hotel and here about the safari it you haven’t read them yet), we spent the second half of the holiday on the island of Zanzibar. I’ve always been fascinated by it as a destination, ever since I was a child. The name conjures up so many magical and fantastical images, with photos of calming turquoise waters and vibrant colours of the spice markets helping to reinforce this dream-like place. And hey, it was even referenced in a Tenacious D song (if you know, you know). So I was so excited to finally get to spend some time there. We took our tiny safari link plane from Chyulu Hills back to Nairobi, and from there we caught a slightly bigger plane which took about an hour and a half direct to Zanzibar. One of the many perks of booking with Turquoise Holidays is that we were met off the plane at the tarmac and escorted to …

How to prepare for safari – hints and tips!

You might have read that we went on an incredible safari in October for my birthday. If not, you can catch up on our stay at Ol Donyo Lodge here, and our safari experience here. We had so many questions ahead of our trip and we read varying advice online (often contradicting each other), so I thought it might be useful to put together some of my own hints and tips together for how to prepare for safari! Clothing: This was probably our biggest question – what should we wear on safari? We browsed through countless websites which implied that you needed the entire kit, from hats to zip up trousers, at great expense most of the time. They also said it was important to only wear natural looking green and beige colours in order to blend in with the environment. Bright colours could frighten off wildlife and full on camouflage clothing could get you in trouble with the local law, as this is their attire of choice! It seemed like a bit of a …

Lunch at Three Hares Cafe, Sedbergh

I was going through my blog drafts at the weekend and came across this one sitting there that I hadn’t completed from nearly a year ago! I couldn’t believe I didn’t post it, what an idiot. And it’s one that’s definitely worth sharing. You might recall that over the May bank holiday last year, we went on a fantastic trip to the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, staying at The Malabar. When researching where to visit (and importantly where to eat and drink!), I came across Three Hares Cafe in nearby ‘booktown’ Sedbergh, at the foot of the Howgills, owned and run by James and Nina. I love the reason behind the name for the cafe. The name ‘Three Hares’ comes from the symbol found throughout the world from English Churches, to synagogues, to Buddhist Temples. According to their website, The Three Hares symbol represents their style of cooking, influenced by James’ upbringing in the local area involved with wild foods and game, and heavily influenced by Nina’s background of growing up in Germany with …

On Safari in Chyulu Hills, Kenya

In October last year I spent my 30th birthday at the spectacular Ol Donyo Lodge in Kenya with Tim. I wrote about our experience of staying at the lodge and the superb food and drink in an earlier blog post here. But now is the time to talk about the most exciting part of the holiday – the safari! We’d never been on safari before and we did a bit of research, helped very much by the brilliant Turquoise Holidays who we booked with. For us, we wanted an all round experience of a beautiful hotel, excellent food and wildlife. We certainly hit the bullseye with Ol Donyo. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Ol Donyo is on a reserve so you have the best of both worlds – plenty of wildlife around the greener grounds of the reserve, as well as out on the open plains. In this part of Kenya you don’t get hippos and rhinos, but pretty much everything else! And at Ol Donyo there are a number of different …

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 …