London – All That Life Can Afford

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London truly is a city that never sleeps. I have lived in London for half my life and I can truly support Samuel Johnson’s statement; “Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

Where to begin, London has everything, great restaurants, amazing clubs and bars, a variety of shopping, the best concerts and festivals and many more!

If you visit London around Christmas time, Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park is a must! This fun fair is built over 20 acres on a 300-acre park with fun games and exhilarating rides and rollercoasters. It also has a bar with a lot of beer and loud music under one hat. They also have another open bar that offers a larger variety of alcohol. They have food stalls, majority of which are bratwursts and currywurst with curly fries! It really gets you in a Christmas holiday spirit and I guarantee it’ll be all smiles throughout!

In the summer there is another festival called wireless! This one is a music festival with international artists performing live on stage from Justin Timberlake, Jay Z, Drake, Kanye West, Calvin Harris, David Guetta and many more! It usually takes place at Hyde park, but this year it is in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.

The shopping in London is everywhere actually, however the main areas to shop in are Oxford Street, which is always beautifully decorated, with lights hanging in Christmas. You have many well-known brands like Top Shop, Nike, Next and as you walk up the street towards Bond Street, you have H&M, John Lewis, and Zara and as you walk up further you have forever 21 Selfridges and Marks & Spencer. Selfridges is a big Shopping Centre with all the luxury designer brands, cosmetics, perfumes, clothes, home ware, gadgets and many more!

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There is also New Bond Street where majority of main big brand stores like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Victoria Secrets etc.

Harrods, situated in Knightsbridge is also a big shopping centre with every thing you need; from actual puppies to E-shisha sticks and pharmaceuticals. They have all the luxury brands; Chanel, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs etc. and a huge variety of alcohol and food.

There are many museums and attractions in London, the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History museum and Tate Modern. All of them are very enriching and interesting, I actually lived near Tate Modern and I would go often to see the works of art, my favourite being Andy Warhol’s multi-colored Marilyn Monroe series.

There are also more fun museums like Madame Tussades known for creating life size wax sculptures of various famous icons, like The Queen and Justin Bieber. It hosts a chamber of horror that is bound to make you scream, a small yet scary ‘Spirit of London’ ride and a fun 4D movie experience. Another fun historic attraction I would recommend is the London Dungeon. It is spooky yet fun and adventurous! There is also a ride at the end.

As for clubs, there are many great luxury clubs like Project, Movida, Libertine, Cirque, Maddox and many more however Cirque Le Soir is my favourite, this circus themed club sends a thrilling vibe with dwarves, magicians, clowns, fire eaters, sword swallowers, stilt walkers, snake charmers and much more weird entertainment. It has been attracting celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Rihanna, Kanye West, Madonna, Nicole Scherzinger and many more.

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Mumbai – TOP 5 RESTAURANTS

1)    YAUATCHA  – CHINESE CUISINE

This modern, slightly blue-lit, looking restaurant is a favourite among Mumbai’s elites. Situated in Bandra Kurla Complex, this restaurant has been beckoning customers regularly for its dim sums and Woks cooked by Malaysia’s Chef Chua. It has large interiors, seating 147 people with an open kitchen creating a very relaxed and cool ambience with great five star services.

TIP: If you are a fan of piña coladas then you must try it here – coconut heaven.

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2) TABLE – EUROPEAN / GLOBAL CUISINE

This divine restaurant is a regular dining spot for me, whether lunch, dinner, tea and even brunch. Their food focuses on the flavor and they are always keen to try something new! The famous Table Burger, tasty Tenderloin Tacos and Sinful Belgian waffles are my top three favourite dishes but I enjoy everything Chef Alex Sanchez from San Francisco creates in the kitchen! I always enjoy a good glass of wine when I go there for dinner, they have a unique wine list, so great that it was voted ‘Best Wine List’ in several Indian Restaurant Guides.

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3) FENIX – EUROPEAN, ASIAN, NORTH INDIAN, JAPANESE CUISINE

Another personal favourite situated at the glorious Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, when I was younger they used to have a tiny gold fish inside a decorative glass piece, swimming about but what stayed the same was the great quality of food! As I have quite a large family, when we go to Fenix there is no problem at all because everybody can order what they like as it has Asian, Japanese, North Indian and European all under the same roof. I would recommend the champagne brunch on Sundays; It really is a lot of fun and has a large buffet with unlimited champagne for you to drink and one can always order à la carte!

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4) WASABI – JAPANESE CUISINE

Recognised as one of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013, Wasabi by Morimoto offers an authentic Japanese menu with culinary recipes including seafood and Wasabi specially flown down from Japan.

Other popular signature dishes would be the White fish Carpaccio and Wasabi crème brülée, however the tempuras, spicy tuna sashimi and the Teppanyaki is also deliciously divine!

Enjoy all this food and some Sake, Japanese Whisky and Plum Wines overlooking the beautiful ocean view of the Gateway Of India from the Taj Palace Hotel. You can never get tired of Wasabi, I don’t, I even have a set of chopsticks with my name on it waiting at the restaurant for whenever I go back to dine! You can get one too!

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5) SAN – QUI – INDIAN, CHINESE, JAPANESE, THAI, ROBATA CUISINE

Another popular restaurant situated in the four seasons hotel serving Japanese, Thai and Indian food on two levels that are separated by a glass staircase decoratively stacked with wine bottles. Famous for its Teppanyaki table, Sushi bar and Robata grill San Qui also has dim sums, kebabs and many regional dishes to offer!

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What does everybody like to do?

My blog, is obviously biased towards my likes and dislikes. I write about places I like to go to and things I like to do, so i have decided to interview a University Student from UAL, Melissa Roberts, over some nachos and cheese!

Q1)  What is your favorite place in the entire world?
A1)Well, I have two, number one being Jamaica, because its where my family is and where home used to be. I enjoy the Reggae music and cultural traditions, i actually miss it. During Birthdays, festivals or bereavement we used to kill a goat, cook it up and eat it with the family, in England i do not do that very much.
My other favourite place would definitely be New York, I love the city, the country side just isn’t for me, so when i am in New York, i feel alive and refreshed. Its a wonderful feeling, for me, to wake up to a hustling bustling busy city that just has so much to do!

Q2) What kind of weather do you prefer?
A1) I prefer hot weather, however not extremely hot, i do enjoy the occasional winds to keep me from evaporating!

Q3)  What are your favourite things to do on holiday
A3) Oh let’s see! There are just so many, here are my top 5
1)   The beach, if available, is always my top choice. If i could i would go to the beach every day on holiday because I love swimming and relaxing on the pure white sand while the sun soaks into my body with the world’s most breathtaking view in front of my feet. I also like to look around the small markets or shops along the beach.
2)   Shopping makes me feel happy that I can bring something back from my trip as a memory or souvenir.
3)   Meeting new people – It makes me feel connected to the place, I meet new interesting cultured people from different backgrounds which gives me an excuse to re-visit!
4)   Good local restaurants that have fresh food from their country, its always good to try new, great quality national food of a different city that I don’t always get at home.
5)   Theme Parks, Oh they are the most fun and exciting. They bring out my inner child, and give me a little thrill as well. I can never get bored of them. The Water park in Miami is my was my favourite , as well as Disney world in Orlando, Florida.

Q4) Do you like to see the historical sides of the destinations you visit?
A4) Yes, usually I always go to a museum or to important monuments, I have been to a few in Staten island, NY. I learnt a lot about how immigrants came into new york and how family trees built. It was really interesting to see how people from all over the world came in to one city and adapted the American nationality.

Q5) What is your most memorable holiday and why?
A5) My most memorable holiday was when I went to St. Lucia. It was an abundance amount of fun as I went with a massive group of people, family and friends for my god mother’s wedding. It had amazing views, enriching culture. I got to meet different exciting people and went to go see geographical landscapes like volcanoes and high peaks, fortunately I also was able to have a warm and unique mud bath.

Eenie Meanie Minie Mo, Pick a Place & Lets go! Poll

London is beginning to become too cold! My body longs for a break from the harsh winds of December and January, help me pick a warm destination that i can fill you guys up on later!

Goa, India
Not too hot, not too cold, hippy Goa is the perfect beach destination for December. You can lie on the beach and get a massage form the masseurs walking around or even visit the traditional indian markets. December is when the clubs are most happening as it is peak season, and electronic music lovers come in from all over the world for the famous Sunburn Festival.

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Punta Cana, Caribbean
A place to just relax, take a break; picture  a lavish beach with coconut trees swaying in the background, pure white sand against your feet and crystal clear calm waters home to colourful tropical fish. It is sunny, with warm Caribbean weather, yet kept cool with soft tropical winds.

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Miami, Florida
Famous for everything, its weather, parties, beaches, food and shopping! Miami is a common perfect all rounded tourist destination with warm weather most of the year! Lay back on the beaches and enjoy the sun on your face and even witness the eccentric King Mango Strut Parade!

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Los Cabos, Mexico
There is just so much to do in Los Cabos! The magnificent whale watching, and Egeological formations like El Arco in the clean pacific waters keep you busy!  However don’t forget the main square shopping and restaurants with delicious Mexican food at Todos Santos.

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Fiji
Half wayy from North America & Asia,  Fiji is blessed with 333 tropical islands that are home paradise. The best for snorkeling and diving, its is also famous for sand surfing in its dunes! If you are ever bored of one island, you can explore another one just moments away!

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Maldives
with crystal blue waters flowing onto the pure white sand, the islands of maldives provide a peaceful getaway from the the realities of the harsh world.  known for its tourism, it specialises in ultra-luxurious hotels or accommodations on 90 differentt islands. it iso also known for its soothing spas!

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Dubai
with sunny weather and no rain all year round, Dubai is home to beaches like The Jumeirah where many happening clubs and hotels are. The main Dubai mall is also worth visiting with over 1000 different  shopping brands. Dubai has many activities, such as snowboarding and sand dune surfing, whether real or artificially made, Dubai has everything one could possibly need or want to do on holiday!

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Cape town, South Africa
Cape town has so much to see and so much beauty! Going up the Table Mountain and back down would definitely be a view worth viewing and for adrenalin junkies being thrown into shark infested waters, it is heaven. The different flavours of African food is also a must try!

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Bermuda  
A land of pink beaches, pink houses and brightly coloured shorts. With Caribbean qualities, it most definitely has beautiful beaches and water sports to offer but it also has alot of rich culture and architectural monuments to visit!

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Koh Samui, Thailand
Famous for its Big Buddha Shrine on the northern coast, Koh Samui also offers natural geological formations like Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks (the Grandpa and Grandma rocks), which look, respectively, like male and female genitalia that are a once in a lifetime must views!

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Please note: These are not my original photos, i have not taken them, they are from the Web.

Unforgetable Phuket

Tired of the cold or rain? Want to soak up some heat and lay out on a beautiful sandy beach? Then why not pick one of the top 10 beach get away destinations, Phuket!

My trip to Phuket was most definitely unforgettable. As I landed in Bangkok, I remember rushing to catch our connecting flight to Phuket, and my mother urging my sisters and I to walk briskly. I got on the flight, and as I was walking to my seat I overheard two airhostesses talk about an earthquake that occured the same morning.

I looked at my watch, it said ’10:00 am, December 26th’, I looked at my mother and smiled, only an hour and a half till we reached the sandy beaches and beautiful blue ocean.

As we landed onto the island a car from our hotel, the J W Marriott, came to pick us up. The driver was very friendly and began chatting to us about some happening and hip places around the island, and the fun and adventurous things one can do! He was telling us about the beautiful and mystic PHANG NGA BAY where robust limestone karsts vertically protrude out of the calm emerald-green water and the famous Patong Beach known for its nightlife and busy restaurants but once he started talking about the Jet ski’s and Banana boating, I couldn’t wait to get into the water as soon as I reached the hotel!

The Welcoming 
As we reached the hotel we were greeted with colourful flower garlands and tropical drinks. I sipped on my virgin Piña Colada looking around at gigantic chandeliers and seduced by a breathtaking perpendicular view of a lit up infinity pond descending into the beautiful ocean and its horizon.

After Check – In
Bustling with energy my little sisters wanted to head to the pool and I, the adventurous 10 year old back in 2004, wanted to head on to the beach, so after we dropped our suitcases into our private villa we decided to explore the hotel beginning with the ground floor pool which was on the beach.

Relaxing by the Beach & Pool
Sadly, as the J W Marriott’s beach is a turtle reserve I was told that I could not take part in any water sports in that particular area but I could go to any beach. So I sat on a deck chair, my mum lay down on the one next to me and we gazed into the ocean while my dad was having a conversation with a guest from the hotel who was also sitting by the pool.
They were talking about the same earthquake in the Indian Ocean that the air-hostesses were talking about.

The sea was calm, there were sounds of children playing in the pool, people chatting away as they ate their breakfast and sipped on cool drinks. I looked up into the sunny paradise, at the heads of palm trees swaying strongly in the wind and bright thick clouds when all of a sudden I heard beach masseurs scream and dogs bark.

I looked onto the beach and all of it was covered in water following behind it came another high wave, building speed, as it got closer to shore.

My mother pointed it out to me and said ‘ oh what a nice high tide’ and then my dad calmly said ‘run’ and there was chaos.

After the First Tidal Wave Hit
People began running everywhere, screaming in all directions. My mother grabbed my baby sister and ran, my second sister being a silly kind child ran towards the water to pick up my mother’s dropped sunglasses but my father grabbed her and turned around to see my mother and baby sister trip on a step, he rushed to them picked up the baby in one hand, the second sister in the other and told my mother to run.

I watched all of this stuck behind a sturdy woman who was in shock and wouldn’t move causing me to climb over a bush and follow my family. We hurried up into the lobby and then down the exit driveway of the hotel.The pattern of running up and down that slope was constant and kept changing as people didn’t know where the water was coming in.
Fortunately for us, we came across a taxi and pleaded the driver to take us to the airport and after an immense amount of convincing and money he agreed. We were all so nervous, my mother praying, my dad trying to find out information and make phone calls, my baby sister crying from falling down that I didn’t even notice what Phuket looked like.
However when we reached the airport it was closed, we had no way of getting out, again my father asked the driver to take us back to the hotel and out of kindness in his heart he did, we were lucky because a wave hit the airport moments after we left.

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Back at the hotel things had calmed down a little bit. The waves were still coming in but as the Marriott is on a hill, it didn’t come up to the lobby, it did however ruin everything below that.
Some people were sitting inside the ballroom, where food and water was being offered and a stack of lost items were held to be claimed. Everybody was told to stay there until it was safe to go back into your rooms or villas, but I stood out in the lobby, next to the ballroom, and watched the powerful ferocious waves continuously slam against the palm trees and walls.
The water would sweep everything backwards, exposing the seabed, and come up high as a curve increasing height with speed until it broke at shore. It really was a sight I can never forget.

After everything was over, a few of our family friends decided to order in a helicopter and go to another island, while we decided to stay in Phuket.

After Effects; The Next Day
I walked along the beach the next morning, to see dead gold fish, washing machines, matrasses, deckchairs and lots of other items that the tsunami threw on shore. I thanked God a lot that day, i was too young to understand then but when i got older i realised that i was truly blessed. Now when i look back upon to many people who passed away during this tragic disaster, i am grateful for being in a hotel on a hill, for the calm organised behaviour of the Hotel staff and the kindness of the Taxi Driver who in-spite of being worried about his son, helped us get to the airport.

I didn’t leave the hotel but I had a lot of fun at its Kids Club, I got to try different amazing restaurants like Asia’s best Italian food at ‘Cucina’, some traditional Thai food with dishes that represent different regions of Thailand at Ginja Taste and if you’re in the mood for some steak or seafood than the ‘Andaman Grill’ is a lovely relaxed restaurant with a vivacious view of the Andaman Sea.

Good news is, I go back to Phuket this Christmas, so I will definitely have some better information on things to do up here soon!

Friendly Gibraltar

 Gibraltar, a tiny strip of British Overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, sharing its northern border with Spain, attracts so many tourists that the most of the town’s income relies on tourism.

As my grandmother is from Gibraltar, I often visited as a child always having fun and exciting things to do! I drove there from Marbella a few times, and flew in from England the rest. Gibraltar’s landing strip is literally a tiny strip of land that is in the middle of the road. When planes aren’t landing, cars pass through, when a flight needs to land, the cars await behind a red light.

The rock of Gibraltar is definitely a must see! You can drive, or take a cable car straight up to the limestone mountain to have a look at, in my opinion, the world’s most breathtaking view! When I stood up there I felt like I was on top of the world, and I literally was! I could see the meeting point of the Mediterranean and Atlantic waters, a little bit of Africa and Spain’s Costa del sol. Of Corse I could see a panoramic birds eye view of the city, its bays, harbours and airport as well.

Surrounding me were a horde of tail-less monkeys, also known as Barbary Macaques, which were allowed to roam freely around Gib. They were very passive and friendly but scared my mother off and she decided not to get out of the car. However, I had a good time with them, I was warned to take off all ornaments as they tend to snatch of one’s earrings however a little baby monkey sat on my shoulder and all was fine.

If you continue walking along the rock, you reach the 2000 year old, St. Michaels Cave, which is now used as an auditorium for concerts and shows. If history and geography fascinates you or beautiful scenery than this is the place to be! Filled with art on the walls, this cave holds several chambers containing abundant calcite formations and a beautiful lake of crystal clear water. When I went further down into the lower cave, jumping from rock to rock, climbing up and downwards with the help of a rope and walking through little pools of clear fresh water, really made me feel like I was a discoverer on an adventure!

Due to a vast Marine life, diving is a popular activity among tourists. From beautiful corals, to incredible sea animals and even astounding caves and drop offs, it is fascinating to observe.
With still waters it was clear for me to spot different octopus and sunfish but what I really enjoyed the most was the Dolphin Safari.
Since some say unicorns don’t exist (I beg to differ), dolphins are my favourite animals. I enjoyed watching them swim and jump around my boat with their brown or silver skin shining against the sunlight; the experience was definitely worth while!

‘Main Street’ is literally the main street of Gibraltar; it is the place to be for shopping, restaurants and bars. Extending from the famous Casemates Square up to the Governors Residence, this area is filled with people hustling and bustling about shopping because there is no VAT (Value added tax) in the shops of Gibraltar. You can get lost among the cluster of people and tiny stone pathways but just ask any local around you, they are friendly and helpful!

As for restaurants, I would highly recommend Thyme! This gem located at the back of Main Street and offer a wide variety of meat and vegetarian food but their signature ‘Seafood Slammer’ is a crowd magnet. You get a number of different shot glasses with different ‘bits’! of seafood in them, but if that’s not for you then you should go for Hand Rolled Ravioli of Smoked Chicken mixed with different cheeses and basil or the grilled fillet steak.

Playing in Paris!

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There is just so much to do in Paris! I have been to Paris, abundantly, from the age of three and have always done something new and different!

The obvious choice for a first-timer, would be ‘Le Tour Eiffel’ also known as ‘The Eiffel Tower’ (being one of the seven wonders of the world). This robust iron made tower holds captive to a magnificent breathtaking bids eye view of the entire city!

Another common favourite, being both a monument and a museum, is the ‘Louvre’. It holds art and artifacts, from the Middle Ages, (5th to the 15th century) of both Western and Eastern Europe, under a triangular shaped glass building. The piece that appeals to me the most, is stereotypically, Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’ mainly because as I walked along the painting, it seemed like her eyes were continuously following me.

Other main apparent monuments to visit are, the famous French Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, the tranquil scenic Jardin De Luxembourg, the lavish Royal Versailles Palace and the list could go on…
However, Paris being the city of love and romance, I had great fun at the ‘Pont Des Arts’. Unfamiliar to some, it’s a bridge across the river Siene, where lovers come together, write their names on a padlock, seal it to the bridge and throw the keys into the river, committing to eternal love.

Luminous embellished bustling ‘Champs-Elysées’ is a world famous area filled with shops, restaurants, theaters, luxury brand shopping centers, hotels and clubs. Its footpath, filled with friendly travelling pedestrians who stop you for a chat or a compliment, begins from the magnificent historical and elegantly sculptured ‘Arc De Triomphe’ on the west and ends at the striking and powerful ‘Place de la Concorde’ on the East.

Living in the ‘Champs-Elysées’ area, I walked around quite a bit, discovering different delicious restaurants, one of my favourite being, ‘Le Cinq’ in the Four Seasons George V hotel. This French restaurant truly tires to give you a taste of Paris, with its French doors, Candlelit tables, oil paintings accompanying the meticulously embellished gold and grey chamber and friendly humorous staff.
My favourite dish is the mouthwatering and decadent Venison fillet of French Hunting, roasted with Smoked Bacon, Brown Pepper Sauce with Cocoa, Salted Beetroot and Molasses of Pomegranate, but everything on the menu is unique yet delicious.

Paris has a very exciting nightlife, most clubs are open untill 6 am and are party-goers still don’t want to leave! I had the most fun at Club 79, situated on glamorous red carpet, 8th avenue, with its booming Hip Hop beats and artists. I was lucky the day I went, hip hop legend ASAP Rocky was performing and in order to enhance his performance, there were semi-naked women dressed up dancing on either side of him. I enjoyed the vibe so much that I danced the night away not realising it was 6 am!

Whether young or old, unless you are a grand parent, I recommend everybody to visit Euro Disney, it is the second best after Orlando’s original Disney Land, but has the same to offer. It is 32 kilometres from Paris, and has direct shuttles. If you want to spend the night in Marne-la-Vallée, where Disney land is situated, there are plenty of Disney friendly hotels that range from extremely cheap to extremely expensive. All the roller-coasters and parades are definitely worth it!

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