Monthly Round Up: April Adventures

April is a bit of a celebratory month as it is my blog’s birthday, Aftab’s blog birthday and my wedding anniversary! We also celebrated Aftab’s birthday, Angie launched her YouTube Channel and Emma booked a hell of an amazing trip after going full time on the blog and starting a brand new chapter. As you can imagine in true Angles style, we celebrated over lots of Mojitos, Pornstar Martinis and Champagne.

We kicked off the month with a Sunday breakfast with a seriously amazing view at Aqua Shard with Emma, Aftab and Christina. Over some champagne cocktails and seriously good food we had a fabulous catch up. If you haven’t been to Aqua Shard yet it is a must for either breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or cocktails!

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Full of energy after our wonderful breakfast, on the same morning, Aftab, Emma and I headed to Paddington train station where we met fellow blogger friend Angie. We were off on a very special trip which was a surprise for Aftab and now we can reveal that we played Prince and Princesses at Bovey castle! I hope you enjoy reading the tale of our stay as I wrote it in a very different way!

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Photo credit: Angie

We had the most wonderful time and I fell in love with Devon so much that I returned again later in the month, as you will see. If you have always wanted to stay in a castle I can’t recommend it enough.

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Once back and recharged after all that clean crisp countryside air, I attended a preview of the ChocolaTEA – Chocolate Afternoon Tea in collaboration with Green and Blacks launched at the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill. I reviewed the tea here and it is definitely worth indulging in!

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April was also the month of the London Coffee Festival and I explored all the various stalls and tried lots of drinks at Truman Brewery with my siblings. I love coffee and it was a great afternoon! If you missed it this year would definitely recommend going next year.

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As far as High Tea’s go, I also tried a unique one at Cinnamon Bazaar called The Trader’s High Tea, which I highly recommend if you are a chaat fan. It is so reasonably priced and the dishes are a real delight.

For our 7th wedding anniversary we returned to our favourite bar, Smith and Whistle, for some cocktails before venturing to our favourite restaurant, Hakkasan, where we thoroughly enjoyed Dim Sum in the Mayfair branch.

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Easter weekend soon arrived and having already eaten all my chocolate before hand I had a mini meltdown and headed straight to Hotel Chocolat to replenish the stock (which didn’t last very long either).

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I was craving my all time favourite Butter chicken at Jamavar so I headed there for lunch, where this time we dined in the luxurious Sapphire Dining Room, with my siblings in tow.

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This seemed to be the month of Afternoon Teas, especially chocolate themed ones, and I also tried out the limited edition Easter Special Chocoholic Afternoon Tea at the swanky new Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square. It is a stunning hotel so if you haven’t been yet go!

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It was also great fun pretending to be a tourist in the area and wandering around Tower Hill. Sometimes it is great to go sightseeing in your own city just to rekindle your love with it.

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Using the Easter weekend as my excuse, I continued my feasting early on Easter Sunday with breakfast at Farm Girl, where they did the cutest coffee art on our coffees. I had some baked eggs and Amit went for scrambled eggs on sourdough toast. The concept is healthy food and I loved it but Amit is not quite sold.

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We also popped into the Ivy Chelsea Garden after for a coffee after a leisurely walk from Portobello Road to Chelsea. It was worth it though to see this flower wall and we were lucky to have a warm sunny day.

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It was then back to work after the lovely Easter break and since I hadn’t seen Aftab in ages we decided to catch up over cocktails and dim sum so we went to Ivy Soho Brasserie for drinks and then to Yautcha for dinner. We always have the best time together!

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I luckily somehow had quite a few short weeks this month and had booked Friday off so Amit and I had a weekday date night on a Thursday evening which rarely happens! We started off at Bar Boulud for drinks and decided to go for home comforts at Haandi for dinner.

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It was then time to return to Devon again and this time we stayed at the Moorland Garden Hotel, which is in South Devon, close to Plymouth. We had a wonderful weekend in the serenity of the Moorlands and returned to London a little refreshed.

 

The final weekend of the month and again a long one thanks to it being a bank holiday weekend so I participated in some more indulging! We had lunch at Asia de Cuba as I really wanted a Cuban Mojito. It didn’t beat my favourite though!

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It was then time to brace the mad crowds in Camden and a little queue to try the signature hot chocolate at Chin Chin Labs which comes with a massive marshmallow on top. I can confirm it was worth the wait and the walk. Chin Chin also have nitrogen ice cream in such amazing flavours. I will be back to try those!

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My favourite Blogs and Vlogs this month

In April, I experienced severe travel envy and nostalgia whilst my bestie Aftab toured Lisbon. If you are planning a trip to the Portuguese city (which is seriously amazing), you can read about the 5 Things that surprised Aftab about Lisbon  as well as the Sheraton Lisboa, where he stayed for part of his trip. The restaurant at the Sheraton Lisboa has a panoramic view of the city and some seriously amazing food and you can read about the Creative Classics Aftab ate here.

If SilverSpoon London wasn’t already an addictive blog to read, she has now launched a YouTube channel which is fabulous. Make sure you subscribe and watch her videos. My favourites so far are her Maldives Vlogs and her family stay over Easter at Coworth Park.

If you love Paris as much as I do, you will love reading about Emma’s solo adventure to the city of lights where she had the perfect day! It makes me want to head to Kings Cross St Pancras now! I loved her post about our brunch in the London clouds at Aqua Shard and the serious tub goals at The Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall.

Maggie from Planes and Champagne has making me want to book a spontaneous trip to the beach all month with her posts about her AMAZING stay in the Maldives. She pampered herself at an Underwater Spa in Huvafen Fushi (yes underwater!!) I loved her post about the Hideaway Bliss at Huvafen Fushi and just made me want to head there straight away. Once back, she indulged in a fabulous afternoon tea at Hamyard Hotel and you can get pastry envy here.

What did everyone get up to in April? I would love to know in the comments section below.

Binny xx

 

 

My Perfect Travel Menu

Our planet is so diverse and through travel, we are able to explore and experience as much of it as we can. There are destinations we may have been to already which have left us awe struck and which we will always remember fondly and there are still so so many left to see in our amazing world.  It always amazes me how much we can learn from travel and from different cultures around the world. If I could (and there was no mortgage to pay), I would literally spend all my time travelling.

As the guest host of May’s monthly travel link up, I have chosen to link travel to the concept of a menu whereby if you had to pick a 3 course meal, what would be the destinations that you would remember fondly as your short haul, long haul and dessert as well as the ones you would select off a menu as your bucket list destinations?

I can’t wait to share my choices with you so without much further ado here is my travel menu! (PS I have saved the awful funny photos for the end).

Binny’s Travel Menu

Starters – Paris #ShortHaul

For my starters, I would 100% pick Paris as my all time favourite short haul destination. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit, that spark and excitement just never fades. Literally if someone said lets go to Paris now I would jump on that Eurostar train at the first opportunity because French cheese, bread, wine and of course French Onion Soup with croutons and a topping of cheese are a good enough reason to bid au revoir to London and Bonjour to Paris.

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The first time I visited Paris was in 1998 and happened to be there when France won the world cup. The atmosphere there was just unreal. I have been a few times since and I have also been to Disneyland Paris a few times. I love the convenience of the Eurostar and the fact that it is so easy to get to.

I recently re-visited Paris and published a post about on what to do in a weekend in the City of Lights, as it is fondly known  I stayed at a boutique luxury hotel which was in such a great location. The hotel, which is called Le Dokhan’s, is part of the Starwood Hotels portfolio and you can read my review here. It also happens to be home to Paris’s first ever Champagne bar so a really good reason to visit, even if just for a glass of bubbly!

As I had been to Paris before I felt less pressurised to visit all the main sights in a mad rush and instead chose to see them at a more leisurely spontaneous pace. We actually walked everywhere and didn’t take a taxi even once!

I loved randomly wandering into boulangeries, drawn by the aroma of freshly baked bread, and sitting outside indulging. I somehow also ended up in lots of Bistros, where I sipped wine and pretended to be Parisian. My advice is wander far from the tourist sites down random roads and just let yourself discover the real Paris until you find your points of interest to take those photos for the gram 😉

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My second piece of advice is try and take some Macarons or baguettes (or both) back home with you so when you have the holiday blues they will perk you up! I did and it certainly helped.

Fun fact: The Eiffel Tower was meant to be a temporary structure but it still stands proudly as an iconic landmark.

Mains – Glamping in Kenya #LongHaul

This was a real tough one to choose from and I as much as I tried to pick something different I had to go for Kenya because it will always be my number one long haul destination. I wanted to share a particular trip, as I have a lot of content related to Kenya on my blog, so I have chosen our safari in Masai Mara, where we stayed at the luxurious Olare Mara Kempinski as my memorable long haul trip.

We had a short flight from Wilson Airport in Nairobi to the Olare Orak conservancy, which was close to the Ntiaktiak river, in an uncrowded part of the Masai Mara Reserve.

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We had chosen to treat ourselves and stay in the honeymoon tent, which is literally glamping in the wilderness, and we even had our own plunge pool.

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Our tent, which was the 12th and most remote, had an ensuite bathroom, an outdoor shower, indoor shower and bathtub, but my favourite part was definitely the plunge pool which had views of the Hippo Pool and the Conservancy. In fact at night we heard a hippo splashing about and it sounded so close that I was convinced the hippo was in our plunge pool.

Game drives were super fun and having gone on multiple safaris in my lifetime, this one was extra special as we had a Cheetah come up close to our car and then eventually jump on the car next to our and sit there for what felt like hours!

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This was something I had never experienced before and was definitely one of those “pinch me” moments. We could hear her purring just as a cat does and she was simply using the roof of the car as a vantage point. It wasn’t scary at all and it certainly taught us a lesson both in patience as well as how as long as you don’t provoke an animal we can all live in harmony.

The conservancy also had such dramatic scenery and rugged savannahs and just took my breath away. There is just something about Africa – I can’t get enough of it and no I am not being biased!

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If you haven’t been on an African safari, I cannot recommend it enough! If you are planning to go on one I have a post on top tips for an African Safari.

We were lucky to see such a vast variety on animals in the 3 days that we spent in the Mara and apart from the Cheetah, my favourites were the lazy lion and the slender lionesses and adorable lion cubs we saw, again so close to our car!

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Our car had no windows as such so it was pretty exciting getting up close and personal with some of the big five!

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The food at the lodge was exceptional and we were treated to both a romantic candlelit dinner inside as well as al fresco dining literally out in the wild.

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If you are thinking of visiting Kenya and going on safari I can’t recommend the Olare Mara Kempinski enough. It is so private, ultra luxurious and the service and the food is superb.

Fun fact: The current Queen of England visited Kenya as a princess and left as a queen. 

Dessert – Antigua and Barbuda #TheLastingImpression 

The one destination which I would liken to dessert that has been the pièce de résistance
would be the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda, which come as a pair and a match made in heaven. This also happened to be where in June 2008 Amit proposed to me, and he couldn’t have picked a better place for it.

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To be honest I am still shocked he wasn’t put off by the awful sun burn and tan I had recklessly somehow gotten whilst out there! This was also our first long haul trip together so a big test in our relationship.

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I have covered the whole proposal story in a separate blog post which you can read here. However, Antigua and Barbuda is what kicked off my love affair with the Caribbean. We literally find sanctuary in that part of the world yearly with the exception of the last two years as we have been slightly wary of the Zika virus. We have since been to St Lucia, Barbados, The Bahamas, Cuba and St Kitts.

Antigua and Barbuda is definitely my favourite though as Antigua has 365 beaches…yes you read that right! One for every day of the year. Book that ticket and pack your bags because this is what the beaches look like! PS Excuse the quality of the photos as they were taken in 2008!

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Seriously! How beautiful is that beach?

Highlights of our trip were the beaches, where we spent a heck of a lot of time soaking in the sun, drinking the Antiguan rum in the form of rum punches, the jerk chicken, listening to the Caribbean Steel bands playing popular tunes and the day trip we did on a catamaran to Barbuda.

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Note empty glass lol

Now this is Barbuda – is this not literally heaven on earth?

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Barbuda has glimpses of pink sand and the romantic husband that I have bottled some up when I wasn’t looking and presented it to me as a memoir of our trip and I still have it sitting on my desk and it always makes me smile!

I cannot recommend Antigua and Barbuda enough and if you are going to Antigua you have to 100% do the day trip to Barbuda because it is seriously stunning.

It is the perfect honeymoon destination or an amazing island to relax and recharge your batteries. You can never get bored as there is so much to see and do and you are literally spoilt with 365 beaches to choose from! We did a boat trip around the island to see the various beaches as well as a sunset cruise, which was spectacular and which I highly recommend too.

Amit definitely  picked the perfect place to propose and it will forever be etched in my heart, just like an amazing dessert that complete an incredible meal. The best thing is that what counts in this instance are the memories not the calories 😉

Fun Fact: Fire a grog means to drink rum

Bucket List Menu

Short haul – The Amalfi Coast, Italy

My bucket list short haul destination, which I am hoping to tick off at some point, is to drive along the breathtaking Amalfi Coast in Italy. I am smitten with the idea of driving around in a Fiat whilst stopping for gelatos along aromatic orange and lemon tree lined lanes.

Photo credit: Charming Italy

I love Italian wine so I want to combine the trip with some visits to some vineyards! If anyone has driven along the Amalfi coast and has any tips I would love to have them!

Long haul – Costa Rica

I have recently become obsessed with Sloths. (Don’t worry I still also love Giraffes, Elephants and Rhinos). This is largely due to the hilarious sloth scene in Zootropolis although am sure Sloths aren’t that slow in real life! If you haven’t watched the movie, you can see the scene I am referring to here:

I recently discovered that there is a Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica and therefore Costa Rica has somehow whizzed to the top of my bucket list!

Photo credit: S Walker. Sloth Sanctuary

I would love to go visit the sanctuary as well as experience the beaches, volcano and hot springs, jungle, waterfalls and stay in a tree house!  It is also apparently the world’s happiest country so what better place to be for happiness!

If anyone has been I would love to know more about it!

So there you have my favourite and ideal travel menu of short, long haul and most memorable trips as well as the ones that I really want to tick off my bucket list. I would love to know what you would choose as your favourite and bucket list short and long haul trips as well as which trip is forever going to be your fondest memory. Let me know in the comments section below!
If travel was a menu, what would be your starter (short haul), main (long haul) and/or dessert (a place with a lasting impression). These could be past, present or future travels. Have fun with the topic…

How to link up your post

Just pop your post up over the first week of the month (the 1st – 7th May 2017), add it to the link up widget found on Follow Your Sunshine, Adventures of a London Kiwi, SilverSpoon London, or on the blog of our lovely guest host Binny at Binny’s Kitchen and Travel Diaries from the 1st.

Rules

As ever there are no real rules – basically all we ask is that you check out some of the other cool bloggers that are involved in that months travel link up; tweet a few of the posts out to your followers that you think they will love and make a few comments here and there. It really is a great way to meet some new travel bloggers and share some blogging joy!



The Travel Link Up is open to all bloggers as long as the post is relevant.

A gorgeous weekend at the Moorland Garden Hotel

The English countryside just takes my breath away every single time. It is the best place to de-clutter your mind. I absolutely adore the rolling heaths, the moorlands, the clean crisp air, the natural scenery everywhere you look and watching the horses and cattle, roaming around grazing whilst you drive through quiet country lanes. It is the perfect escape from the daily urban madness of the concrete jungle I experience everyday, not to mention so romantic too! What I love most is the tranquility and how serene it all is.

PS: I did (Sheepishly) have to try and look cool as cars drove past whilst I tried to pose with these clouds with legs which was rather amusing for both me and for the drivers!

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We recently visited south-west Devon, close to the Dartmoor National Park, as well as a short drive away from the ocean city of Plymouth for a staycation. Our home for the weekend was the Moorland Garden Hotel, which was absolutely gorgeous.

With amazing and enviable views of the moors, the aptly named Moorland Garden Hotel is accessed through a scenic driveway and it just has stunning greenery all around it. We felt instantly relaxed as we drove in and parked in the car park, which has ample parking. We did spot a horse and a rabbit whilst we drove in and as urbanites we squealed with excitement. It is so peaceful and quiet – an oasis of calm and just the perfect location for a little escapade.

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Check in was so quick and seamless and the hostess was so lovely. Our room was the Lily of the Valley Suite and it had serious interior goals inside! It was all just so pretty. The hotel has forty four rooms in total and is a 4 star hotel.

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It was spacious and comfortable and I was so excited to have this as my home for 2 nights. The colour scheme is eclectic and I adored the wallpaper and furnishings used in the room. There was a cupboard for storage, a desk, sofas, and a television. Our view looked out to the Moors and the gardens and it was just serene.

There were bath robes on our bed which were lush and the bathroom was spacious with fabulous toiletries and a bath tub. The perfect way to relax after a long day exploring is definitely to run a bath and take a soak!

There is a lounge area within the room with a long coffee table with lots of magazines and novels tucked inside it. I love it when hotels think of all the little extra ways to make your stay that much more special and thought this was such a lovely way to encourage people to relax.

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We also had a fresh fruit bowl and some cookies to welcome us with which we thoroughly enjoyed after an unexpectedly long drive thanks to London traffic. What was lovely was that these were replenished the next day!

 

The hotel has an award winning in house restaurant called the Wildflower restaurant, which recently retained its AA rosettes. How stunning is the restaurant?

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The food we had for dinner was exquisite in terms of taste, presentation and choice and I loved that a lot of local regional produce was used in the dishes.

We especially loved the cheese selection we had for dessert so much so that we had to go find the cheese at a local farm shop before heading back to London. Big thanks to Moorland Garden Hotel for the recommendation as the farm shop was amazing.

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The Wildflower restaurant is also the venue for breakfast and you could have either continental, cooked or both. It was a really good selection and there was also a lovely spread of fresh juices, pastries, fresh fruits and cereals if you fancied something lighter.

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There is a separate bar and lounge area with a roaring fireplace which is such a lovely comfortable place to spend time. There is a shelf with books and board games to keep you busy or you can simply just chat and catch up over a lovely drink.

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The hotel also serves an award winning Devon Cream Tea, as awarded by The Cream Tea Club and at an amazing £5.95 per person you would be mad not to try it! I did of course indulge wholeheartedly and can happily report that it was absolutely incredible!

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We had a mix of fruit scones and plain scones and just to be on the safe side I tried one scone the Devon way with cream first and the other the Cornish way, with jam first. Both tasted really good 🙂

The hotel is in such a good location as you can explore the ocean town of Plymouth, Dartmoor, south-west Devon and the eastern fringe of Cornwall from it. The area is perfect for walks and there are some activities near by, including the Buckland Abbey which is really worth a visit. We especially loved driving into Plymouth, which has a marina and some cute fudge shops and team rooms, as well as a Gin Distillery where you can go for tours.

If you are looking for pretty destinations to get married, the hotel has some beautiful grounds and a massive bridal suite! They offer wedding packages and with such amazing food on site it is a fabulous venue to have your big day. As well as weddings, it is a great venue for conferences too and there was actually one on whilst we were staying there.

If you fancy some pampering, the hotel does offer in room treatments such as massages, reflexology and beauty therapies. Whilst there is no spa on site this is a fantastic service available from the comfort of your own room.

If you fancy taking your pooch along for a break, this hotel is very dog friendly and there are little water bowls I spotted everywhere to keep your dog hydrated.

We had a truly wonderful stay and loved our room as well as the dining options and food in the hotel, especially the cream tea, and would love to come back one day for a break from the city! It was just the best way to re-energise and rest.

If you are looking for a little country escapade I can’t recommend the Moorland Garden Hotel enough. The location, the food and the service make it the perfect place for a staycation with beautiful surroundings.

For more information on Moorland Garden Hotel you can visit their website here.

Our stay was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.

 

 

 

Things to do in Mombasa, Kenya

Mombasa will always have a special place in my heart. I was born on this beautiful coastal city with its sun soaked white sand beaches, warm azure waters fringed with colourful coral reef and shaded with the emerald green of the coconut trees.  It is seeped in Swahili history and there is just so much to see and do on this sun basked island. Here are my top picks.

Visit Fort Jesus

Fort Jesus is a gorgeous fortress built between 1593 and 1596 by the Portuguese and which is now classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Perfect spot for history enthusiasts, it has so many artefacts and remains to see such as cannons, a skeleton and it has the most amazing views of Mombasa.

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In terms if design it was built to mirror a person lying on their back and has Portuguese, Arabic and British influences, each from different times of rule during the different eras.

It is definitely worth a visit to see the magnificent architecture and to see some of the artefacts they have preserved there.

Relax on the beach

Mombasa is a coastal city and has some lovely beaches to go spend some time unwinding and relaxing in the sunshine. As Kenya is close to the equator, it is blessed with warm weather all year round.

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It is great for water sports too if you fancy jet skiing or any other activities.

Visit Jumba Ruins and have lunch at Monsoons restaurant

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Jumba la Mtwana, or Jumba Ruins as it is more popularly known as, is a hidden historical site found in the buzzing town of Mtwapa, popularly known for its Creekside restaurants and beautiful sea views. It is well worth a visit and has a gorgeous restaurant on site, and beachfront, called Monsoon which is an absolute must if you love seafood. You can read about both here.

Have a drink with a view at Tamarind Mombasa

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Tamarind Mombasa is a great place to unwind and enjoy a drink or two. With its enviable location, it is definitely a great venue to soak up some rays as well as escape from the hustle and bustle of the traffic on Nyali Bridge.

Try a Tusker Beer with a sea view

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Trying the local beer, preferably with a view of the sea is a must! Best served chilled and definitely very popular with anyone who visits Kenya.

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Have lunch on Kenya’s only floating restaurant -Moorings

Yes a floating restaurant which is just stunning and a great place to spend a lazy afternoon.

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You can even take a dhow from here if you fancy something special! They make incredible Dawas, which is a must try local cocktail.

Have street food at Lighthouse

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You cannot visit Mombasa and not try the famous Mogo (cassava) or Makai (corn on the cob) on Mama Ngina Drive, popularly known as “Lighthouse.” I have a whole post dedicated to food in Mombasa which you can read here.

Drive through the famous Mombasa Tusks

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These iconic tusks were commissioned in commemoration of a visit to Mombasa by Princess Margaret in 1956 and have stood proudly on Moi Avenue ever since.

Spend some time with some fiesty crocs and friendly Giraffes at Haller Park

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Haller Park is a success story whereby a quarry was turned into an ecological paradise. It is worth visiting and you will get to see reptiles, as well as giraffes, hippos, zebras and so much more. You can read more about Haller Park here.

Beachside dining at Yuls

Yuls, which is also known as Aquadrom purely out of nostalgia, is a fabulous beach front restaurant where you can have pizzas, pastas, burgers and sea food and amazing ice cream. It is a great place to spend the afternoon and if you are into watersports, you can hire jet skis amongst other things from here.

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Ferry to South Coast

Take a Ferry ride to Mombasa’s South Coast, Diani which promises you stunning beaches, aqua blue water and gorgeous resorts. I recently stayed at Swahili Beach, which you can read about here, but there is a plethora of amazing hotels to choose from.

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Buy a Kanga

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A Kanga, which is a colourful cloth that can be worn as a skirt or sarong, is perfect for the beach and you would be spoilt for choice with the array of colours and designs that are available. Usually found sold on the beach they are a great accessory to have and inexpensive too.

Explore Old Town

With narrow streets, old buildings, gorgeous doors and antique shops, old town is a wonderful place to explore to see the influences of the various residents, such as Asians, Arabic and European. There are some great cafes and coffee shops where you can take a break too.

Have you been to Mombasa? What were your highlights? I would love to know in the comments section below.

Binny xx

A photographic food safari of my favourite food from Mombasa, Kenya

I was born and brought up in Mombasa, a coastal city in Kenya, up until the age of 16 and on my visits back home in recent years, there are some dishes I just can’t wait to eat and try and make it a point to have. These are a mix of street food dishes, which can be found roadside, as well as dishes that can be found in restaurants.

Some of these dishes have been influenced in terms of taste, flavours, cooking style as well as presentation by Kenya’s historical foreign settlers such as Indians, Arabs, Europeans, just to name a few. For example, the use of spices, coconut,  fresh herbs such as coriander and vegetables, such as green chillis, have shaped some of the dishes today. You will also notice that the simple seasoning of salt, chilli, lemon and sugar is prominent in many dishes mentioned in this post.

The Indian influences on the cuisine, in particular, is due to Indians moving to Kenya about a century ago to work as railway workers on what was known as the “lunatic line” or to set up businesses from scratch. As a result, some popular Indian dishes continue to remain prominent in Kenya today.  If you haven’t watched the film The Ghost and the Darkness, I highly recommend it for an insight into what it was like working on the railway lines.

These are my personal favourites, that I love to eat whenever visiting Mombasa, and in no particular order. This is by no means a conclusive list so if you have any favourites which I haven’t mentioned I would love to know about them! Just add them in the comments section below.

Mogo

Mogo, or Mohogo, as it is sometimes known, is grilled or fried cassava, and a popular snack found at the infamous “Lighthouse,” on Mama Ngina Drive where locals drive through at a leisurely pace or park up to enjoy the sea breeze, chat and catch up and eat delicious street food dishes.

Mogo (pictured below) is usually seasoned with a blend of salt, chilli, sugar and a squeeze of lime. So simple yet so satisfying!

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Also made from the cassava are Mogo crisps, which are sold per the bag at Lighthouse. They are usually very fresh and you can ask for them to be seasoned how you like.

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Makai (corn on the cob)

Also found at “Lighthouse” is grilled sweet corn which is usually garnished with lime and chilli. You can ask for it mild, medium or hot!

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Grilled sweet potato

Another great dish found on Mombasa’s most popular pier front, is grilled sweet potato which you can have with a sprinkling of chilli and salt (sensing a theme here?) and it is utterly divine. I love the soft texture of the sweet potato and the tangy hit of the seasoning.

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Madafu

Available all over the island, there is surely no better way to quench your thirst and stay hydrated? The flesh is so delicious too!

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Kachoris

Another snack that originated from India but the Kenyan version is next level amazing. Balls filled with deliciousness and usually enjoyed on Sundays over an indulgent breakfast, I think every Mombasa resident can resonate with the famous Bhagwanji kachoris! The good news is that they have opened branches in Nairobi too!

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Bhajias with fresh coconut chutney

Bhajias are popular East African snacks whose origins lie in India. There are so many variants of Bhajias or Bajias, as they are sometimes referred to. They can be found roadside and best eaten hot with a cooling fresh coconut chutney.

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Mahamri and bharazi

Mahamris are a special type of triangle shaped doughnut flavoured with coconut and cardamom. They are usually served with gunga peas cooked in coconut milk. They are DELICIOUS and the perfect breakfast meal.

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Seafood

Being a coastal city, Mombasa has the best and freshest sea food and I absolutely love lobster and prawns especially.  Fish is always a good idea too! Some of my favourite places are Monsoons, Sea Haven, La Marina and Monsoon. They all offer Al fresco dining with a sea view and the food is incredible.

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Mabuyu

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Usually sold in bags, these are baobab seeds flavoured with sugar and other ingredients and usually coloured red with food colouring, although now you can get many more variants.

 

Achari

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This is dried mango which is then sweetened or salted and coloured using food colouring. These are rather addictive and they have a lovely chewy texture and a tangy taste.

Halwa

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The best Halwa is usually found in Malindi, but you can get it available within Mombasa too. Halwa is a sweetmeat confection with a jelly like consistence. It is usually made from starch, cardamom, ghee and lots of sugar. It is then garnished with cashew nuts or almonds. They are usually sold in a log shape and wrapped with paper.

Nyama choma

Availsble widely from roadside shacks to restaurants, Nyama choma, which is roast or barbecued meat, is one of Kenya’s specialities. It is also Kenya’s unofficial national dish.

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You can find it on most street sides. Alternatively, Mubins, which has a venue both in town and in Nyali in Mombasa, do really good barbecued meat.

Poussin chips

Nothing makes me happier than a plate of Poussin chips. Poussin sauce has also been my most popular recipe on my blog. The sauce is made from margarine/butter and drizzled all over chips or alternatively used as a marinade for meat or fish. Most Barbecue restaurants in Mombasa such as Hashmi or Sham E Bahaar have this available.

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Packed potatoes

Packed potatoes are my weakness – they are thick slices of potatoes sandwiched together with a delectable mix of chilli, salt and lemon and then deep fried with a seasoned gram flour batter. Heaven served with a cooling chutney!  I recently had this at the Aga Khan club in Mombasa, as well as roadside.

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Zanzibar Mix, also known as Mombasa Mix to coastal locals

Mix, is well loved in our family, and my favourite to date has been at the Aga Khan club. Thanks to the lovely Nasim for treating me to a wonderful bowl of mix as well as a catch up during my last trip to the coast.

So what is mix? It is exactly what the name suggests and is a mix of potatoes, chickpeas, spices, coconut sauce, dashes of chutney, raw mango, sev, chevro and bhajias. It is divine! It originated in Zanzibar but East Africa has adapted it and it has become somewhat of a speciality in Mombasa too. This dish is the perfect example of multiple cultural influences on the cuisine of Kenya.

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Samosas

Finally who doesn’t love samosas? Triangular parcels of delight! These are an example of an Indian snack adopted by Kenya and it even has an alternative name which is Sambusa! These can be filled with vegetables or meat and are best eaten hot!

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Do you have any favourites in Mombasa? Would love to know in the comments section below.

Binny xx

A regal stay at Bovey Castle

Introduction to the Angles

Once upon a time, in a land surrounded mostly by high rise buildings, the London Eye and Big Ben, properly known as The Elizabeth Tower named after a real life Queen, were four friends known as the Angles, who had all assembled to this land and made it their chosen home. One Angle (me) originated from the continent of Africa, the other New Zealand, whilst the remaining two were born in England.

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Photo credit: Angie

These Angles, for the sake of this story, happened to be Prince and Princesses too and the Prince in this tale is our one and only Aftab from Fresh and Fearlesss, whilst the Princesses are Angie from Silverspoon London, Emma known as the London Kiwi Emma and myself, Binny from Binny’s Kitchen.

So how did this Prince and 3 Princesses cross paths? Well as strange as it sounds, it was actually through the blogosphere through their common love for blogging, and they firmly became friends over copious amounts of Mojitos, Pornstar Martinis, Champagne, breakfast dates and generally because they had so much in common and all complimented each other’s vast personalities.

Before anyone thinks my spelling has gone all crazy, Angles is used deliberately and was our fitting name born from an auto correct error on Whatsapp by the Prince of the group, who had meant to call the Princesses his Angels but ended up calling them Angles. It was also said Prince’s birthday recently and so the 3 other Princess Angles had decided to surprise him with a birthday trip away.

PS: all 4 Angles make a perfect square 🙂

The secret plot

The Princesses created a secret Whatsapp group called “Don’t tell Aftab” and quickly plotted options of where to take the Prince on his surprise trip. Train tickets and Junior Suites were booked once the destination was chosen and then the Prince was taunted with threats of selfies with Paddington Bear, McDonald lunches and camping (not glamping) on muddy terraines forcibly wearing backward caps. It turns out the Prince doesn’t even own a cap! (Don’t worry Aftab, this will be rectified soon).

In reality, the Princesses had gone all out and booked massive rooms at Bovey Castle, a luxury castle in Dartmoor, for an overnight stay. The only clue Prince Aftab had been given was that Princess Angie was getting her hair done and that it was a good idea to pack a suit. All other questions were ignored swiftly to avoid giving away even the tiniest of detail.

The Journey to Bovey Castle

The Princesses and the unsuspecting Prince began their journey at Paddington station at 11:30am on a Sunday morning. They jumped on to a train with the Prince not allowed to read the destination. Princess Angie had kindly brought Champagne for refreshments which were well consumed after many boomerang attempts had been made.

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Prince Aftab was still none the wiser during the journey and when the train pulled up at Exter St Davids was when the Prince and Princesses all jumped off.

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However, it was still another 40 minute drive to the castle and this further added to the anticipation as even the driver, known as Mr Apple (that was the name of the taxi company so he has inherited this name) decided to join in the taunting fun and scared Prince Aftab with descriptions of muddy campsites with no wifi and having to eat daffodils for survival. The funny part is that they were actually without wifi for a good couple of hours.

It was all worth it though, driving through the gorgeous English countryside and Prince Aftab spotting horses and ponies along the way being a massive equestrian lover. The car soon arrived at regal looking glossy gates and then a winding road leading up to the castle and Prince Aftab shrieked with excitement realising that he was going to spend the night in a castle.

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The rooms at Bovey Castle

Check in was smooth and seamless and the Prince and Princesses were all shown their individual rooms, where they quickly took obligatory room photos and videos for insta stories and then re-assembled for lunch outside on a glorious day as they were all absolutely starving.

All the rooms were Junior suites and had some serious design features, breathtaking views and just all massive!

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Princess Binny’s room is pictured above and had a super comfy bed complete with Mulberry England pillows, a separate lounge area and a spacious bathroom with both a dreamy tub and a shower.

However, Princess Angie’s bathroom was the one that they were all super jealous of. Look at that!

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Lunch at Bovey Castle

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How gorgeous is this lunch spot and how amazing are the views?

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Lunch was delicious and the Prince and Princesses were all so hungry so everything was devoured rapidly. Princess Binny went for the SMITH’s fish ‘n’ chips, Princess Emma chose scotch eggs, and Princess Angie went for smoked salmon whilst Prince Aftab opted for the roast chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato.

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After lunch the Prince and Princesses relaxed in the bar area with some coffees whilst they planned what they were going to do that evening and the next day.

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The Princesses had arranged for some champagne to be sent to Prince Aftab’s room and he somehow ended up with two, so one bottle was consumed before everyone went to their rooms to freshen up and get ready for dinner.

Dinner and Drinks

The Prince and Princesses wore their respective fancy outfits and met up for dinner, which was the most excellent affair. Starting off with champagne (Ruinart), they enjoyed some luscious starters, mains and desserts and it was a fabulous fine dining experience.

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The selection of starters included smoked & cured South coast sea trout served with winter beetroot and goat’s curd, seared diver scallops, accompanied with a Oyster emulsion, pickled onions and beer battered clams and beetroot salad with goat’s curd. I do apologise for the quality of these photos as my camera just did not like the lighting that evening!

 

The mains included a poached fillet of Cornish turbot, rosette of Devon lamb and fillet of “Dartmoor Beef Welly” which had to be shared between two people.

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Dessert was a selection that included warm dark chocolate fondant with fennel ice-cream and blood orange, honeycomb ice-cream and a baked rum pineapple served with coconut cake and raisins.

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Breakfast and Exploring the grounds

After a champagne fuelled evening, the Prince and Princesses had breakfast with slightly sore heads and opted for cooked breakfasts from the menu, before heading off to explore the gorgeous grounds of the Castle. Pictured below is a delicious Egg Benedict.

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A Golf Buggy was hired and Prince Aftab and Princess Emma took it in turns to drive.

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There is so much to do and see within the vicinity and they just could not stop marvelling at the perfectly manicured green gardens, rolling hills, lakes and features. The majority of the grounds is a golf course so if you are a keen golfer this is an idea holiday venue.

There are also tennis courts and lovely areas to walk around in.

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All was going well with the Golf Buggy and exploring the area snapping away taking various photos and the Prince and Princesses were thoroughly enjoying themselves. It was a lovely sunny day with warm temperatures and that fresh crisp countryside air to breathe in while birds chirped away happily.

An Outtake and Crime Scene

…Until disaster struck and the Golf Buggy managed to get stuck in the mud. The below area will forever be etched in the minds of the Prince and Princesses.

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All four royals descended the buggy and attempted to push it out of the mud and after several attempts were successful, even though with muddy shoes and slightly bemused faces.

The Golf Buggy had also been decorated with bits of mud. This didn’t deter the Prince and Princesses, who continued their journey across the grounds to get the best shots.

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This is what you get when bloggers are faced with an amazing view of the castle! Thanks to Princess Emma for capturing this action shot!

Saying goodbye to Bovey Castle and resident Beaky

After a very thorough exploration, the Prince and Princesses returned to the castle for a final lunch and to catch their breath before taking a taxi drive back to the station to return to their promised land, London.

The blog post cannot end with mention of resident Beaky, who lives in a gorgeous room at the castle.

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Yes we all know how much Princess Binny loves African Grey Parrots so this made her very excitable and she loved getting to know Lord Beaky.

The verdict

The Prince loved his stay at the castle and was totally in his element. The princesses also had an amazing time and they would all recommend Bovey Castle for a fabulous escape without any hesitation.

The rooms were just brimming with wow factors and the bed was so comfortable. They had lovely little touches such as complimentary Sloe Gin in the room.

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The grounds are stunning and so picturesque. Sometimes it is a great reminder of how serene the English countryside is and how a staycation is so ideal to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. You don’t always have to fly abroad to have a holiday 😉

It is also very romantic, as well as being perfect for a family break. Dogs are very welcome too so if you are looking for a dog friendly venue, this is perfect.

There us so much to do, as well as there being a spa on site if you want to pamper yourself, as well as an indoor pool.

The food and drink is fabulous and the Prince and Princess thoroughly enjoyed all their meals on site.

All in all it was the perfect escapade and choice of venue for Prince Aftab’s birthday surprise and all the royals were keen to come back one day, as well as already planning the next Angle adventure.

For more information on Bovey Castle go to their website, which can be accessed here.