The winter season has arrived! Let’s celebrate with this seasons hottest new drink trend
….Mulled Sloe Gin!
Here is my favourite recipe:
MULLED SLOE GIN: Serves 8
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Sustainable boutique hotel, set alongside one of Sri Lanka’s finest lakes, Lake Koggala.
Nos Da Ty (meaning ‘Good Night Hotel’ in Welsh) is a stylish, magnificently restored seven-room residence in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka.
This unique, intimate lakeside property is ideally placed for visiting the south coast of Sri Lanka. Nos Da Ty is just footsteps away from Koggala Beach and within easy reach of many of the region’s favourite landmarks, including Galle Fort.
This beautifully restored residence has been lovingly built and created by co-owners Peter & Indra. Peter brings lots of Welsh charm to the residence, whilst Indra brings his culinary expertise and expert knowledge of the Island. Together, they have created a wonderful residence oozing charm and sophistication.
This exclusive island retreat boasts a stunning open-air restaurant, which serves up fresh, organic produce directly picked from the lush gardens on-site. Their in-house chef creates a selection of fabulous Sri Lankan dishes as well as contemporary options for lunch and dinner every day.
Behind Nos Da Ty’s entrance gates you will find spacious, airy interiors with high ceilings and a comfortable lounge area to enjoy a drink in the evening. Behind each hand-crafted doorway, you will find large, generous bedrooms. Each of the deluxe ensuite bedrooms have substantial amounts of space, natural light and offer beautiful views of the estate, each featuring a spectacular mahogany king-size four poster bed.
A 20-Minute Tuk Tuk Journey will lead you to the hip, boho-chic Fortress of Galle, where you can find locally designed artwork, exquisite linens & super healthy & laid back eateries. I was totally taken by suprise by this utterly magical city. You can wander through the streets all day soaking up the culture and strolling through the shops, here are some of my favourites…
Shop: The Barefoot brand is famous in Sri Lanka for their eccentric designs and quirky pieces.
Shop: Stick No Bills is famous for its classic Sri Lankan posters, postcards & prints.
Shop: Exotic Roots is a family run business, selling colouful prints with unique and authentic designs.
Shop: LUV SL Galle. Must visit, just to see the pool and Tuk Tuk inside!
Eat: The Calorie Counter offers authentic Sri Lankan cuisine with a healthy twist.
Find more details and rates online at: http://www.nosdahotel.com/
For UK booking details contact Laurie Tilley Phone: 01273 961810 or Mobile:07900825123.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.travelcounsellors.com/laurie.tilley
Friendship Beach Bar & Restaurant is one of the coolest places to hangout along Tangalle Beach.
You can grab a drink at the bar, pull up a chair on the beachfront or swing in the hammock & watch the world go by as the sun goes down. The atmosphere here is so chilled, you will never want to leave!
It’s a Family Thing: The owner, Dami has started up the business from scratch with a little help from his friends & family. They’re a talented bunch – They can sing, dance, play guitar, beat on the bongos, not to mention their surfing skills make for great entertainment!
The Location: This is one of the best locations in Tangalle. The sea is really calm here compared to other parts of the beach making it a great spot for swimmers & surfers! We sat here all day, with the occasional dip in the sea in-between drinks of course!
The Food: They have a really unique menu offering a modern, healthy twist on the traditional Sri Lankan favourites. They have some amazing Seafood options that are all freshly caught along with a full range of Vegetarian options. The owners wife is Vegetarian, which is why they have such varied options to choose from on the menu. (Try the Guacamole, it’s the BEST!) They have loads suitable for Vegans too – Which is always a big hit!
We came here for a quick lunch one day and ended up staying all afternoon for lunch, drinks & dinner. The food is that good! We had quite a selection between us – Fresh Lobster, Crab, Prawns, Mahi Mahi & Red Snapper. Not forgetting, they make an amazing Mojito too! (The best one we tasted in Sri Lanka!)
Such a cute little find, a secret gem on the beach!
Enjoy – Hannah x
Address: Friendship Beach Restaurant. Meadilla Road, Meadakeatiya. Tangalle. Sri Lanka
Oman has been voted 8th in the Lonely Planet’s best in Travel for 2017 – It’s a destination not to missed!
When telling people I was travelling to Oman, I generally had the response of ‘where is that?’ It is a fairly unique destination which made me love it even more! My biggest regret, would be that I only spent 2 days here over the weekend, which really wasn’t enough to experience everything Oman has to offer.
To answer the question, Oman is right on the edge of the Arabian Peninsula. I don’t like to compare countries, but Oman really reminded me of Dubai and Marrakesh mixed together! The design of the buildings, patterns & colours really reminded me of Marrakesh. The beaches, people & food offerings really reminded me of Dubai.
The people are really what makes Oman special. Everyone I know who has visited says the same thing, I felt so welcome and safe from the second we arrived. Another thing to note, is how clean and neat it is there, It is the cleanest country I have ever been too! Everywhere we went there was a cleaner or a gardener, trimming the trees or washing the floor. Even the roads were spotless! It is the little things like that, which adds to the countries beauty.
The Luxury Resort: We stayed in the Shang-ri-la Barr Al Jissah, which is absolutely stunning. There are 3 hotels making up the resort which are the Al Bandar, Al Husn & Al Waha. We stayed in a pool view room with a balcony in the Al Bandar. The Al Husn was definitely my favourite, I felt like an Arabian Princess strolling through a palace!
Shangrila Barr Al Jissah: http://bit.ly/2kkSSwA
The Endless Beaches: You will have direct access to the most beautiful views from the minute you arrive. The Mountains rise all around the resort, making for the perfect backdrop!
The Turtles: Each night we would head to Turtle Beach to try and catch a glimpse of the Turtles hatching, we sadly didn’t get to see any but we spoke to lots of guests who were lucky enough to see them. They have a Turtle Care Project at the resort too, they even have their very own Turtle Ranger (What a great job!)
Omani Food: There is so much choice! I opted for Asian Tapas on the terrace for the first night. I had Crab & Potato Samosas with Peanut Oil & Mixed seafood paella. The second night I decided to dine in Bait Al Bar along the beach. I opted for fish again, I had the Seafood Platter (Lobster, Sea Bream, Kingfish, Squid, Vegetables & Lemon Butter!) Try and book these when you arrive, as we struggled for a reservation on the first night. The menu’s are all loaded online on this link > http://bit.ly/2jj9R54 Have a good look at the menu’s before you arrive so you can pre-budget & pick your favourites!
The Tea: I must admit, I didn’t like the taste of Arabic Tea but I LOVED the Arabic Tea Pots!
The Grand Mosque: The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is Islamic architecture at its best! I obsessed over the Islamic Geometric Patterns and Mosaic Tiles.
Oh these tiles!
Who gets excited to fly home? Not me, that is for sure! Unless these are the views….Keep your eyes peeled around 2 hours into your flight home, you will fly over these snowy mountains in Iran. Breathtaking!
There is so much more to do, I just didn’t have the time. Camping in the dessert is still top of my list. I guess it gives me another reason to go back! 😉
I am pleased to say I have experienced the Arabian magic in 2017!
Post in collaboration with Barr Al Jissah & Luxuria Lifestyle…Love for Arabian patterns all my own 😉
Enjoy, any questions get in touch!
Experience the city life in Venice & Verona along with the tranquillity of Lake Garda. How we squeezed Venice, Verona & Desenzano into one unforgettable weekend break!
Day II: Verona & Venice.
Day II Afternoon
If I give you one tip for Venice, it is to purposely get yourself lost, walk off the main streets & down the many side streets, where hidden gems await! ‘Take it all in, explore, adventure, turn corners and appreciate the most beautiful city in the world.’
Desenzano: Lake Garda
Have you explored Italy by train? Let me know below! What are your top tips?
Budapest was a whirlwind weekend adventure, full of great food, unforgettable sights, a few kooky characters and of course, amazing Hungarian wine!
…Kooky became my new favourite word in Budapest, but I’m pretty sure I was using it in completely the wrong context after looking up the dictionary meaning online…..When I say Kooky, I mean ‘unique, quirky, vibrant & different.’ Although the online meaning is ‘strange, eccentric & scary’ – That wasn’t my idea of kooky!
We arrived into Budapest airport at 11am on 24th August 2016, we were instantly greeted by an illegal taxi driver in the main arrivals hall, hoping to take us to our hotel in Pest for 40 Euros….Luckily, I knew straight away the amount he had quoted was double the estimated amount, therefore we politely declined and headed to the official taxi rank outside. The queue took around 15 minutes, however it is much cheaper and safer, to await the official taxi company. Try and estimate your route online before you head to your destination, to ensure you aren’t being ripped off by taxi companies. It always pays to be in the know!
We reached our hotel within around 20 minutes from the airport, at a cost of 6,500 HUF (approx. £18) you can use Euros or Hungarian Forint in Budapest, generally everything is priced in both, however I would always recommend spending the local currency, you normally get a much better exchange rate this way.
The Boscolo Hotel
WOW – This hotel is STUNNING!
I just wanted to take a picture of everything as soon as we got inside. I have never seen anything like it on my travels, the entrance is a work of art, its contemporary design mixes with the historical architecture and creates such a mesmerizing first impression…
The Boscolo is also home to the New York Cafe – ‘The most beautiful cafe in the world.
We were super lucky, as we were staying in the Boscolo on a B&B basis, we had our breakfast included at the New York Cafe every day.
…Everyone starts there day with Champagne right?!
The Boscolo is in a great location, it is around a 12 minute walk away from St. Stephens Basilica, or you can take the bus! There is a bus stop directly outside the Boscolo, making it a great option for easy transport links.
We generally love walking and finding our own little hideaways away from the crowds when we visit cities, but this time we absolutely LOVED the open top buses, we had a fantastic time being chauffeured around Budapest, it has opened up a whole new world to us! We even managed to get a sun tan (ahem….or….erm….a burnt nose) in the process! We would use the bus to drop us off at the main attractions, then enjoy a walk around the area to find quiet little hidden spots. It is really affordable too, on average around 20 Euros for a 2-day ticket.
You can find more information and pre purchase your open top bus tickets here: http://bit.ly/2bW3ssR
Time to Explore….
We hopped on our favourite little bus and headed towards the Basilica to find somewhere for dinner, friends had recommended a few restaurants to us which were all around the Basilica area, so we thought that would be a good place to start! We jumped on the bus which took around 9 minutes, with some lovely views along the route.
Then, we stumbled across the annual Junibor Wine Festival. We totally didn’t know this was happening in Budapest over the weekend, therefore we were super pleased to find this little gem! In future, we will always check for kooky little events like this, as it was one of the best nights we have ever experienced on a city break.
It is so in-expensive too. We spent £30 which lasted us 2 evenings (we got a little bit over-excited when we arrived and bought 10,000 HUF in wine tokens….WAY too many!)
Good News! It is back for 2017…
Aug 25, 2017 – Aug 28, 2017 More Information here:
Time to Explore….
We hopped onto the bus and headed over to BUDA.
Budapest is split into two cities, divided by the River Danube: Buda & Pest.
Pest is very flat, which is super easy to walk around, on the other side in Buda it is pretty hilly, with some really steep parts (where the bus comes in use) there are some stunning views from Buda, overlooking Pest.
We headed straight to the Castle District first of all, which is absolutely beautiful. We caught the bus to the top, we were wowed from the second we saw the beautiful view.
There is so much to explore inside the Palace too, we spent a good 3 hours taking a look around, finding all of the secret spots where it was less crowded to take in the beautiful views.
You can grab some lunch/coffee/ice-cream whilst inside too. It is also incredibly friendly for guests with pushchairs/wheelchairs. There is lift access to the top of the Palace, there is also an escalator inside too, to take you to the top. (Who would of thought it!?)
We started at the bottom in the Castle and explored our way to the top.
Then, we walked back down via Matthias Church, which is still located on Castle Hill right at the top, just outside of the main Buda Castle.
Walking back down took around 30 minutes……I don’t think it should of taken that long, we got a little bit lost (oops) Getting lost in such a beautiful city though is never bad, we found some really cute little side streets to explore!
They have music & wine festivals at certain times of the year around the Castle, plus you can hire Segway’s to ride around Castle District if you want to save your legs some work!
For more information on Buda Castle & the Castle district, see this link:
Time to Explore….PEST
Parliament is breathtaking, more amazing views this time over-looking Buda!
Walking from Parliament, we headed towards the Danube River, to see the memorial along the promenade. It is so moving, even to this day there are visitors dropping fresh flowers in memory of all of the people who lost their lives.
Dinner & Drinks – Innio Wine Bar
I would highly reccomend Innio Wine Bar, even if you are just after a quick pit stop for a drink. (They know their wines!) They are located by St Stephens Basilica.
We ate at Innio, enjoying the 5-course taster menu, with additional wine pairing.
The service was brilliant – Food even better. Easily one of the best restaurants we have ever been too, at a fraction of the price! It cost us 26,100 HUF for our meal, which is around £75 each. Definitely a must do for a night of great food and wine!
More details: http://bit.ly/2cAEgqm
The Donut Library
A trip to Budapest would’t be complete without a pit stop in the Donut Library!
If you stay near the Boscolo, you will walk past this little gem when you head towards the Basilica. It is on your right hand side….
St Stephens Basilica
The surrounding areas of St Stephens Basilica was one of our favourite places to hang out, night or day!
There is a paddling pool to dip your toes in to cool off just behind the Basilica, plus on a Sunday there is a market around the area to enjoy too, selling all sorts of souveniers.
It is a really vibrant city in the evening, we found some really cool bars and cafes along the way towards the Basilica.
Be sure to check to see if you have any ruin bars near to where you are staying, they are the perfect spot to meet some new people and socialise, plus, some of the drinks prices are as low as 340 HUF (0.90p) for a glass of house wine – Always a winner!
Enjoy Budapest – Hannah x