Im going India- Mumbai

The most busiest Place I have ever been to is London. Always London, have you guys been on the underground? with my height 5’3, I’m always just under someones underarms, or worse. Seriously London is crazy, its manic, its busy, its fast paced, its chaos, its everything I love and hate at the same time…. that was up untill I landed in Mumbai.

Mumbai Oh Mumbai. …. Its madness, its crazy, its manic, its busy, its fast paced,its chaos- (im sure Ive used all these words before), its preety, its dirty, its smelly, its all things I love and hate at the same time.

Their is no place like Mumbai- did I mention we landed at 5am- Mumbai Time, and its chaotic! Does Mumbai sleep?

By the way- before I continue I need to do a quick shoutout to Southhall travel! www.southalltravel.co.uk Have you ever been on holiday and your flight gets delayed? and your stuck in the airport for hours on end (me, me, me). Well that would’ve happened (again) if we didnt get a call from Southhall Travel- who advised us that our flights been delayed and that we neednt go too early to the airport (who does that!!! Southhall travel do that!! Just how precious is that!!) Honestly they deserve a 100/10 for that. Yup you saw it correctly Im giving them a 100/10 because that is customer service on another level!

Our stay in Mumbai was once again Novotel on Juhu Beach, by the way, this hotel is round the corner from Amitabh Bachans house (evan I know who he is!)

And since we got there at 6 am-although we were tired, and jetlagged, and needed bed…..we made it in time for our first breakfast whilst in India!!! (because we were awake and breakfast starts at 6am. But lets not focus on that….. Then we went to sleep straight after and woke up at our usual time of afternoon. ***rolls eye***).

My oh My. What a breakfast, I got my Idli and Sambhar, Indian tea, Aloo Paratha, and ended it with a fresh Donut with Cinnamon and Suger, and the sleep afterwards was heaven.

First thing we did!? its India. We jumped on a Ricksaw….

Ricksaw Riding

( I’ve got to learn to smile in photos!)

Juhu Beach

In our ricksaw we went straight to Juhu beach- (the busy part) where we dropped off to have Pav Bhajii on the beach (and im getting frustrated as I cant find the damn photo!) By the way about Juhu Beach- is just that, its a beach, theres no sunbathing going on, no sitting around on sunbeds, or taking in the sun….. its actually filthy, the water is so dirty…. so dirty. The famous Juhu beach -the difference between city and country so apparent here straight away.

Night time at Juhu beach.

The Gateway Of India

One of the most historic tourist places in India, this huge structure was built in 1911 to welcome the King and Queen of England. Because it is a tourist attractions, its busy all the time, and there are loads of street vendors around.

Set over the Arabian Sea, its beautiful to look at, and take photos

The Famous Taj Palace

Sits opposite The Gateway of India, and what a beauty it is. Built in 1903 it is heritage 5 Star hotel visited by celebrities. It is also the main site targeted in the Mumbai Attacks in 2008.

Celebrity Houses

After this we were taken to a couple of Indias celebrity/superstar houses, naturally gated up, so we just took glimpses from outside.

Shah Rukh khan’s house behind this gate
First floor of this apartment is Salman Khans

After this we kind of gave up taking photos. I didn’t really know any other actors, and all we can really see are gates and in all honestly even if any of the actors were to come out- I would be none the wiser.

Elco Veg Restaurant

The amount of people that told me to go here for the Pani Puri. It needed to be ticked off on the diary.

I wanted Pani Puri, but didn’t realise I would have to eat it out of the man’s hand…..first time for everything. I guess.

It was divine! Absolute yum. And it was so weird just seeing people come past, take Pani Puri off the man, eat in front of him, pay him and walk away. After the boys saw me, they decided it’s not for them though. They missed out!

Mohammed Ali Road

The famous Mohammed Ali road. A road very famous for its food. You can smell the kebabs and the tikkas from afar. Shop after shop offers food. No one can say they were left hungry here. The variety of food is immense, and then you also get the shop stalls with the traditional churrus (bangles) and Indian jewellery in between. We didn’t come out here, but it’s on our to do list for next time for sure. The road goes on and on, and so do the people, there’s hounds of them. I think it’ll be a challenge to get through. Something I’m looking forward to.

Shiv Sagar

One of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Juhu. Set just across Juhu beach, full of locals and foreigners. We couldn’t go back home without saying we hadn’t eaten here, and there’s a reason for that. The food is amazing. It is pure veg, and finger licking. I went for the masala dosa (as I always do) and the men in my life, had chilli chips, dhaal makhani and nans. And it was devoured

Arab Street

Just round the corner from. The Taj Hotel, you get Arab Street. Another street just like Mohammed Ali Road, but you see a lot of arabs here, also Arabian food stalls and restaurants and not to forget….. Gold shops.

It actually reminded us of Makkah. It really felt as though we were transported there. We chose a restaurant to eat at, and devoured finger licking Arab food (I must get my phone in order. Can’t find the damn pics!!).

Last Bhel at the Airport

How did we end our trip? Well next up was Dubai, so that’s a goodbye to veg food, so we said our goodbye to Mumbai by ordering bhel puri at the airport. (Honestly street food is far better.)

And that’s Mumbai all wrapped up. Would I go again? Yup. I really don’t think I’ve seen anything yet. Two days definitely isn’t enough, it felt like such a short and packed visit.

I absolutely loved jumping from one ricksaw to another, and when you have awesome food- it makes the whole trip far better and obviously the well needed top up of Vitamin D

Hope you enjoyed our little journey,

Moving on to Dubai next. Do join me.

Love and regards

M11bna

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Im Going to India- Goa Eats

So you all seen what we got up to whilst in Goa- and now for the wining and dining part.

When it comes to food, Goa did not disappoint.

Inferno

On our first day we are at this place. It’s just outside Candolim Beach, which is also a walk away from our hotel, ( we only realised it’s a walk away on our last day! We were using taxis before this point) and it’s always kicking!

It’s so warm, vibrant and hip inside, I was impressed with the layout and the whole look. A combination of warm orange tones against the natural background of greenery, almost like your in forest. Scores a 10/10 with me.

We got complimentary papad and chutney as appetisers, which was tangy on our taste buds.

For starters we went for Chicken Tikkas, and Grilled Chicken and Veg Sticks which was recommended by the chef…. And don’t forget the Chips…. (Never forget the chips!!), and for mains we went for Chicken Biryani and Daar and Naans. Our first meal in Goa, and still memorable to this date.

Punjabi Rasoi

This place was literally down the street from our hotel. We tried…. seriously we really did try to wake up early, but our bodies just wouldn’t allow it, and we kept missing breakfast at the hotel, so this was out daily breakfast spot… in the Afternoon.

It was just a really large gazebo set up with table and chairs inside,

Daily we ordered Two Thalis (Indian style meal, made up of a selection of dishes, served on one platter. pic below) In the Thali we got Rice, Daar, two Vegetable curries (differs per day), Nans and Poppodom. You’ll never believe the price… For roughly £6. Yup. For both. And it was divine.

Desi Kitchen

One of the days whilst walking on Titos street we stumbled upon this place, it was very cool and quirky, so in we went.

We decided to satisfy our own cravings here, so I went for the Masala Dosa, the hubby went for Hydrabadi Biryani, and the boys went for Chicken Noodles, with Masala Fried Chips.

Once again we devoured it. Every single little piece. By far the best meal in Goa so far for me. Add this on your to do list. Im adding it on for if I do go back.

The Fishermans Wharf

Okay, so when your in Goa, and you ask anyone where the best place to eat is…. There’s only one answer. This place. Every local, every taxi driver, every tourist will tell you about this place.

And you know what, this place is as close as you can come to the Western World in Goa. From the decor to the food, to the whole vibe once inside and the price. You could say you feel at home (apart from the Indian music)

They have tried to make it so that it looks as if you are on a boat/cruise and its been done really well.

Theres fresh fish and little props set up all around the location, with is cute. Anywhere I can take a photo- I feel right at home.

Evan the cutlery they use feels like being back at home. here we ordered Masala Shrimps, Deep fried Chicken strips, Chicken Tikka, Naans, Sheesh Kebabs and a Chicken Karhai.

And we enjoyed all of this while live music was playing, so it felt preety special.

Namaste Chaii

You guys know I love Tea right? I mean I adore Tea, im obsessed over Tea. So when it comes to India- I just think of all things Tea related- I mean there should be a ‘Chaiiwala’ in every corner shouldnt there? Thats where Chaiiwala back at home has come from.

But my dear folks, not in Goa. Ive never been dissapointed this much in my life. There’s hardly any tea stops anywhere!!!
We eventually managed to find a taxi driver who knew a place- and it was like a 10 minute drive away.

Yes it quenched my thirst, but im not going to come here 6 times a day to get tea!! Dissapointed in Goa, (just in regards to the tea- mind you)

We asked the taxi driver where all the tea places are; he responded by saying, “Goans dont drink tea, they drink Alcohol…..” We got our answer.

Street Food

What is India All about? Street Food. To my delight. This part was not a dissapointment. We went to loads, like loads of places for street food, and not one dissapointed. (More street food on previous India blogs) Just keep on top of the charcoal tablets daily, and pray that the stomach bugs stay away. They did for us!

Bhel puri

And that’s a wrap from Goa.

Moving on next to beautiful Mumbai.

Stay tuned for more

Love and regards

M11bna

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I’m going to India -Goa Part 2

We set our alarms up for 8am- India Time, we needed to make the most of our time here, so decided that if we wake up early and suffer for one day, and then we will be in tune with India timing.

How did that work out?….. well we did wake up by 8.30…..England time, so afternoon in India again…. It is soooo hard getting use to the time difference here. We are ALL struggling.

Missed Breakfast again, but I don’t think the boys (all 3) are fussed, its not the reguler eggs beans and toast we have everywhere else we have been on holiday. Here breakfast is Idli and Sambhar, Daar and Rotis, Aloo Paratha, Aubergine Fry, Potato Fry!! Oh YUM, mental note to myself- MUST WAKE UP FOR BREAKFAST.

Our tasks for the days coming? Discover Goa.

We needed to arrange excursions. We went to a few local stalls, and were told of the coach trips that take us around Goa to all the tourist picks, where we can drop off, have a wander and come back. The areas will cover the North and South of Goa, and include, Churches, Temples and Goas famous beaches, but the idea of sitting in a coach for full days with loads of other people and the waiting around, just didn’t suit the hubby and me.

Although we wanted to explore, we also wanted it to be a holiday. And full days in coaches in the heat….. well that ain’t a holiday. So we decided to pick and choose a few places we wanted to visit and did it in our own time in the comfort of a taxi instead. (having said that the coaches leave so early, The way we were going I don’t think we would even wake up on time)

The Basilica Of Bom Jesus

One of the biggest and oldest Churches in India, constructed during the Portugese Era (by the way Goa is still full of Portugese people, I recognised the language because Mama Bear speaks Portugese). This church is known because it is one of the first churches to introduce Christianity to India

The Church and the surronding area was packed full of people.

Entrance to the church is free, and before entering the Church their are loads of children outside selling candles. We bought a few and made our way inside. Photography is not allowed inside. There were loads of people inside that were taking photos, but I put my phone away out of respect.

The Church holds the Tomb of St Francis Xavier, and at over 400 years old, it still holds all its original features both inside and outside.

Mangashi Temple

The Most famous Temple in Goa. This particuler Temple survived the Portugese era where a lot of temples were destroyed. This temple is visited by both tourists and Locals. The route to the temple is quite majestic, it feels like a bridge, both sides full of lush greenery. A lot of people were removing thier shoes before entering the road that takes us to the Temple, the road roughly being 250 meters. On entrance we are advised to take our shoes off, and once again photos were not allowed on the inside.

The Entrance once again is free, and it is beautiful and so different to all temples I have seen. EVER. Its so bright and colourful. The Temple itself has links to the famous and most respested women in India Lata Mangeskar. However there is contradicting stories on this. So I dont reallly know 🤷‍♀️.

The Church Of Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception.

Another famous church in Goa, it stands on a hilltop, and to get to it, you have to climb up 78 steps in a zigzag fashion. Famously known as the ‘Crown of Panaji’ or a ‘Great Big Wedding Cake’, as it sits on top of the city of Panaji and its white in colour. This Church has also been used in various different Indian Films as a backdrop. (Mujse Shaadi Karogi, and Aashiqui 2)

Tropical Spice Plantation

We drove past The Tropical Spice Plantation, It smelt awesome from outside. We didnt go in, the butterfly garden and birds put my boys off….. (yes we are afraid of butterflys, birds, flys, and fish and anything else living that is not human! How did we choose India?) If however you are not afraid, I would recommend you go in, they also give you food on a banana leaf!! (now that wouldve been a picture to take)

Titos Lane and Baga Beach.

Goa is known for its beaches, and our evenings were spent here. In the evening we would walk down Titos Lane, which is the most famous street in Goa, full of clubs, bars and food places. A 15 minute walk down would take us to Baga Beach. We didn’t see Baga Beach in the day, so I cant comment on its cleanliness, but at night its beautiful.

The restaurants pull out the chairs and tables on to the beach and you can wine and dine there, the atmosphere is buzzing, Indian music playing all around us, its surreal, along with people you are sharing your space with cats, dogs and Cows, all having a great time.

We spent our evenings having shisha, playing cards and watching the waves in the near distance whilst listening to Indian tracks.

It probably is the most weirdest and most amazing experience ever. Its not something ive had in any of my holidays. This is what made India special for me.

The rest of the time, to make our holiday ‘OUR HOLIDAY’ well we spent it enjoying our hotel, we used the facilities of the hotel, the spa for massages, the pools for swimming.

On the very last day it rained, and can I say that in India, evan the rain is Glorious. We ran out of the pool, only to be the only ones that did, everyone else continued to swim in the rain. (lesson learnt, dont let a little rain let you down)

Hope you enjoyed the read?, Next up is My Best Eats in Goa.

Stay tuned

Love and Regards

M11bna

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Im going to India -GOA

22 hours later we got to Goa where we were met straight away by our driver (can I just say that the service we received was amazing. it was our first time booking through Southhall travel, and they did not dissappoint)

We got to our Hotel -Novotel Goa (Candolim) and were taken straight up to our room. With the boys being older we now get two adjoining rooms so that we can all have our own space. Hotel wise, we were not disappointed. It was a really nice clean hotel and the staff were attuned to our every needs.

Already we knew we were in a different place to our usual destination. There were Indians everywhere. It was a matter of spot the foreigner here, and we were only spotted because of our dressing.

So how did we spend our day here?

We woke up at 1 in the afternoon- our time at home being 8.30 am- Our internal clocks still tuned to British timing. Also the jet lagg is still seeping through our bodies.

We only have 4 days and we needed to make the most of it, and that we did.

Candolim Beach

We were told that this is the best beach around, and I have got to admit, it is a very clean and open beach…..Sunbathing on a beach means sharing your space with dogs, cats and cows. The occasional yelp of the dog, or a meow is do- able, but the moo of the cow- now that’s an entirely different culture shock.

The Cow- ‘Mata’ – Mother

For Hindus, Mothers are perceived as ‘Goddesses’ and therefore the Cow is a symbol of sacredness, because like a mother it gives out milk. So although they do not worship the cow, they do believe that it should be protected and looked after. And for this reason in India you will find cows everywhere. I mean everywhere, on the roads, the streets, shops and on the beaches. It’s an ordinary part of life in India.

Ive never seen so many dressed people on the beach on holiday. Im usually the only one in a burkini, here a burkini isnt even necessary, just go in fully dressed, no one really cares. I fit right in. You would think that on a beach its the one with the least clothes on that gets the stares, ill stop you right in your tracks, its usually me, fully dressed from head to toe, in the baking sun, sometimes the smiles are genuine, and sometimes….. well I like to ignore it. Im not one to get scared and walk away, but all I say is Live and Let live. I dont have a problem with the way people dress, so I expect the same back. (little rant over back to Goa)

The beach has a few activities going in, and we decided to go on one of the boats for a bit of sightseeing and dolphin watching,

Dressed for our ride….

At around £40 (or less) the 4 of us jumped on a boat, where they take us to 5 spots to see dolphins, and also a few tourist areas. The trip is roughly 2 and a half hours.

In terms of Dolphin watching, most of our boat trip was spent looking out to sea, trying to spot them. We didn’t get to see any jumping dolphins, a fin here or there was all we got. And it’s best to have your phone out and ready, otherwise you will miss it all.

5 secs in, a glimpse of a fin.

We were taken to a couple of spots for sight seeing. The problem I experienced is I am not really an indian film fanatic so most of it was lost on me and my boys. But the other guests in the boat we’re well informed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves and took hoards of pictures.

Fort Aguador- a very famous men’s prisons because of its location. Not in use at the moment. An indian film has used this prison as its set ‘Dil Chaata hain’
Jimmy Gazdars house- he is a notorious drug dealer and diamond smuggler in India, and this is one of his palaces, and this is the closest anyone can get to it. We didn’t know who he is, but the whole of India does.

Street Food at Candolim Beach

Walking down the beach we came to a little alley, which had a bazaar going on, and….. Street food!

What I came to India for. I love all junky and picky food. So this was heaven for me,

Mangoes with salt, chilli and chaat masala. Absolutely divine.
Charcoal cooked sweetcorn with salt and lemon. I’m salivating right now!
Fresh coconut water. Kept in ice boxes, so nice cool and refreshing!

That was day one in Goa, and can I say how much we enjoyed it? All tensions, all negative thoughts thoroughly buried, we had made the right decision. India is the place to be!

We spent our evenings in the hotel, enjoying the hotel and..

Well, boys will be boys…

But as long as I have my tea, I’m in the right place.

That was Day One, stay tuned for the remainder of our holiday….

Love and Regards

M11bna

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I’m going to India! -The Journey

I remember as we were in the air I grabbed the hubbies hand and said “We are going to be Ok ye?” He looked at me, “I really don’t know.”

Not the answer I was looking for.

Its our first time going to India. We don’t usually go for this type of holiday. Our holidays are usually resorts, pools, beaches, all inclusive, kids club kind of thing. But this time I was done. I’m fed up of those type of Holiday’s. The boys are getting older, there’ s only so much they can do in the pool, the kids entertainment do nothing for them, and I want to see a little more of the world.

So we chose to start our world tour with….. India.

I knew it was either going to be the best trip of my life, or our next trip would be back to Turkey or Egypt, and I was praying for the former…. Desperately praying because I was s*** scared.

India has alot of negative connotations attached to it, I dont think that I have ever heard so many negative stories in all my life. To a point were as the time got nearer to flying I had anxiety-like I had never felt before. And my boys knowing India was my idea, was giving me evil eyes and mardy faces up until we got there.

I was told of the dirt, the filth, the smell, the cows, the snakes, food poisoning aka Delhi Belly, the non- existent roads, the mad traffic, the thieving, the looting, the kidnapping, the over friendly taxi driver you should never trust, the politics and issues between the Hindus and Muslims… I think we were exhausted with all the stories and so terrified. What had we done?!

Since it was our first time, we wanted to make sure it was done right, knowing my boys are use to the ‘All inclusive Perfect Resort Holiday’, we didn’t want to go straight into the madness of Mumbai. So we planned our trip so that we got 4 days in Goa (Peaceful and Touristy), 2 days in Mumbai (Bring on the Madness), and last 24 hours in Dubai (cant go on a holiday without the glamour)….. And it was just the perfect package.

Now to get through the flight.

We planned it in such a way that the longest travel haul had to be on the way going, so from Luton Airport our first flight was to Dubai (roughly 7 and a half hours). From Dubai we flew to Mumbai (roughly 3 hours) and then from here we flew our last flight to Goa (1 and a half hours). With the travelling starting from home, the flights, the wait in transit, we were looking at a whole 22 hours before we got to the comfort of our hotel room in Goa.

Our first flights was on Emirates landing at Dubai Airport. We had a wait of 3 hours before our next flight….. I mean when you land at Dubai airport- it can only mean one thing….

Yup. Maccie D’s because its Halal!. How much we struggle back at home, driving/walking past the McDonalds knowing we can”t eat it. We have decided we will ALWAYS fly from Emirates just to get a taste of McDonalds. I mean just saying ‘Double Mac Please’ at the cashier point is exhilarating, we do not get a chance to use that type of language. (I don’t even like the Double Mac…. I just say it…. because I can….. and then change my mind, and go for McArabian instead)

Our next flight was from Dubai to Mumbai, once again in Emirates, and I was so excited to see this on the menu!! Yes people, it was finally hitting us, WE ARE GOING INDIA.

Our longest wait in transit was in Mumbai airport, being extremely exhausted by now, (do keep in mind we have now been awake for over 18 hours) and it being the last haul, we needed a re-coop. I wanted to use my American Express (Amex) card to get access to the airport lounges ( with Amex you get 2 free lounge passes in the year for 2 people. Additional guests can be added at £10 a head) but unfortunately the Mumbai Amex lounge was under maintenance (Just my luck!!)

We asked for a lounge as we desperately needed sleep and really didn’t want to loiter around the airport, and were told we could use the GVK lounge at £40 per person. Yes a lot dearer then if Amex was available, but with our exhaustion it really seemed worth it, and for an additional £20 we would also get the business class seats on the flight. So we started off our holiday just right! Business class.

The GVK lounge was definitely the right decision, we didn’t feel like spare wheels waiting for our planes, the lounge was cosy and comfortable and food was available throughout. We got space to relax and catch up with a few winks of sleep.

Excited with Business class we took our seats and put our feet up. On entrance we were given orange juice. I decided that I would sleep as soon as I get in, before the plane even starts, so that I can re coop on my sleep and then when the food comes, take loads of pics, and make memories…..

…. 10 minutes left to landing we were woken up by the air hostess. I was bewildered. My first business class flight and I slept through the whole thing (I must add like a baby! Best sleep ever!) I looked at the hubby and boys, and they all looked back at me with blank eyes. Yes I’ll say it….

We all slept through it.

And then we were in GOA

Keep tuned for my next blog on our trip to Goa.

Love and Regards

M11bna

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The First Stage of a Holiday…. Packing.

Right ok, so the yearly family holiday has been booked, and I’ve been furiously checking the weather at the destination every hour, just to make sure that the predicted weather and the current weather are in liaison with each other? (Do you do that too?) Just so that I can get an idea of what to pack.

The first stage of the holiday, and the excitement of it starts with the packing. Taking the suitcase out from under the beds, beating out the dust and taking in the aroma of an empty suitcase… ( I can smell it. It smells…. Empty!) oooooooh excitings

I have noticed a lot of influencers on Instagram at the moment are using all these little gadgets when packing clothes for their holidays.

Seriously we have reached a culture where we love watching people clean, wash their faces and also pack now!

So I thought while it’s trending l will show you all how I pack for my holidays (without the gadgets) and it’ll give me a chance to show off my clothes too!

This is well overdue, it’s from my trip to India back in October, our trip consisted of Nine packed full days where we went from Goa, to Mumbai and then a last 24 hours in Dubai and back home.

I consider myself to be a sensible packer. No. Actually I am a sensible packer. The men in the household however are not. Yup. We have switched roles here. They pack for all seasons and the whole month. But I only take the exact amount of outfits I need…. I hate bringing it all back and putting it all away.

So for the nine days I needed Nine full outfits, being a modest dresser that includes any tops to be worn inside and matching scarves.

Outfit no.1 trouser/skirt : Zara.
Black Top with gold buttons: Zara
Brown Scarf

And what I do is, I put the top and the scarf all inside, I also add the underwear here and I roll the trouser/skirt up in a roll like above.

Outfit. No. 2 Skirt/Trouser: Mango
Black and White Blouse: No idea!
Orange and Grey chiffon Scarf
Outfit. No. 3
Blue Jumpsuit : Mango
White Blouse : Mango
Nude and Blue scarf
Outfit.no. 4.
For my Day in Mumbai.
Indian Attire from Urbankai on Instagram
Outfit. No. 5
Jumpsuit: Shein
Black Blouse: Zara
Orange and Grey chiffon scarf
Outfit no. 6
Trousers: Zara
Top: Zara
Plain nude scarf
Outfit. No. 7
Denim style Linen trousers: Zara
Sleeve embroidered White Top: Zara
Light Grey Scarf
Outfit no.8
Olive Paperbag Trousers : Mango
Cream oversized blouse: Mango
creased effect scarf
Outfit. No 9 co-ord set: Shein
Contrasting cream scarf

And here they all are wrapped up within themselves, all of them have the appropriate scarves, tops, and underwear within.

I Love shoes- apart from when I’m on holiday. I hate taking good shoes because they always come back dusty and worn, and I hate showing feet skin (does that make sense?!) So on holiday my footwear is always covered. I chose the above footwear. The sandals are for the poolside and remaining footwear for day/ night comfort covering feet footwear (I didn’t realise just how particular I am until I started writing this. I actually sound quite old reading this back…. Oh my God. I am my mother!)

Don’t forget a toiletry bag for medication. Paracetamol and Ibuprofen and vitamin C are a must, all others to be added in as well.

And this is how I put it in the suitcase:

Here’s my nine outfits, plus my burkini with it’s scarf. One Toiletry bag with medication, One toiletry bag with cosmetics, and One toiletry bag with bath essential. On the other side of the suitcase I put in jewellery and shoes- so that they are away from the clothes. And don’t forget to chuck in the travel plugs.

This is such an easy way to pack and so ideal to just pull out an outfit daily. And you can see it all properly.

Hope you find it productive.

And now for my India Trip haul.

Coming up soon

Stay tuned

Love and Regards

M11bna

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48 hours in Portugal with Mama Bear

Originally born and bred in Mozambique , my mum’s sister was coming to Portugal for a holiday. Being only a 3 hour plane flight away from us, she asked mum to ‘pop’ over to see her. Mum has alot of commitments, and therefore doesn’t actually go out much at all. My grannie being the age of 93 and visually impaired requires 24 hour assistance, and dad and mum’s lives rotate around her and her needs.

Dad mentioned to me that mum needs time out- and this was the perfect opportunity for me to take her.

Sorting all my own responsibilities at home- I got the hubby to look for flights for a weekend away to Portugal for me and mum whilst my aunt was there. Accomodation wise I was advised that my aunt was renting a 2 bed apartment in the city of “Odivelas” and that the 2nd bedroom was free for us to use.

Mum’s Younger Sister

We booked our flight with easyJet for £69 return and jetted off. There was alot I wanted to do and see in Portugal. I have never been before- but this trip was purely for mum- I had told myself that on this trip to do everything mum wanted regardless of how I felt as she’s never really given that opportunity at home, also I hardly get to spend time with her myself as she’s always busy running around after the family. This trip was for her.

So we had 48 hours in Portugal, what did we do?

Odivelas

The question is of all the cities in Portugal, they chose Odivelas. Why Odivelas?

When the civil war broke out in Mozambique in 1977, my mum’s uncle sought refuge in Portugal, and the town Odivelas. This is where he made his home, and also built a mosque. With the majority of the population of people in Portugal being Christian, and following Catholism this was very challenging, and a very controversial thing to do. Yet he was adamant and pursued. Although her Uncle is no longer here, the mosque still stands, and is a extremely popular in Odivelas. Mum had an ambition to visit it daily, and so did my Aunt. So they chose an apartment round the corner from the mosque so that they could pop in as they willed.

Majid Aishah

The one bad thing about staying in Odivelas is- everywhere you need to go is by car. So be prepared for loads of Uber costs.

1. Pasteis De Belem

Ive always wondered my whole life who I’ve gone after. After I met my Aunt. My question was answered.

All I remember is my Aunt ran out of the moving  car and towards this building in an extremely busy road- nearly got ran over- and left everyone hooting at us because we had to do an emergency stop. We watched her dissapear in the rear view window of the now moving car.

My mum was having a heart attack- whilst I looked at her in Awe. This is something I would do (maybe not in front of my mum but yes) I’d risk it all if I needed to tick something off in my bucket list.

Everyone in Lisbon knows about the ‘natas’ (Portuguese tarts) at this place- and if your not from Lisbon- you’ll know by the queue outside that there is something special about this place.

At one point in the queue I told my aunt to get the ‘natas’ from the bakery nextdoor as we only here for a couple of hours and I really didn’t want to spend half a day in a queue. Let me put it this way- the queues are a testament to the food. It is unbelievably good.

The inside was beautifully decorated. You could tell it was a old building, yet decorated very artisticly. With tiled wall in the colour of the logo. It has tried to keep its originality. The building is made up of interconnected rooms all of which are huge, airy and very spacious. It seats up to 500 people at a go- and still there’s a queue!

We ordered the natas and ‘Bolinhoes de Bacalhau’ basically Codfish cakes. The Bacalhau- dried and salty cod fish is another speciality of Portugal. I don’t think you can go to any Portuguese restaurant and not see Bacalhau in the menu. And the Bacalhau- in Portugal is definately different to the codfish we get here. It’s very rich in taste, and yes you can smell the fishy smell, whilst eating it, but yet it’s very tasty and it is dry! (Hence loads of juices on standby)

The natas with the crispy outer shell, and warm and creamy custard centre were divine, the best I’ve ever had by far.

If you do go here- do make sure you walk around- there’s a little window where you can view the natas coming out of the oven, and being put away. It is said that they sell up to 20,000 natas a day. That’s only natas. They’re menu does have alot more on offer.

I managed to sneak into the kitchen. Here’s a quick glimpse before I got escorted out.

Also this place is the most reviewed place on the internet in Portugal. With trip advisor getting over 10,000 reviews showing that if you haven’t been here whilst in Portugal, you haven’t been in Portugal at all.

And because it was so good. I packed up some natas for all at home.

Monastery of Jerónimos

On the same street as ‘Pasteis De Belem’ further down you will find the Monastery of Jerónimos. A Monastery built in 16th Century, using ‘Manueline Architecture’ which uses palm trees, vegetables, artichokes, ropes and ships in its detailing. The Manueline Architecture is unique to Portugal.

Entry is 10euros, however because of our short stay, we decided not to go in. Being such a tourist area, there are loads of vendors selling stuff, and loads of general touristy things going on, so a stroll here is nice.

Roasted chestnuts
Cute and quirky drinks spots.
picturesque buildings
Beautiful gardens

Costa de Caparica

The Costa de Caparica is a long stretch of beautiful, clean, sandy beach.

Strolls with Mama bear

We sat and watched the surfers, and soaked our feet in the warm salty water. We spent half a day here as it was just beautiful and serene.

Beautiful apartments outside of the beach front shaped as large ships.

Whilst here we ate at the famous

O Barbas

With a beautiful view of the ocean., And known for its fresh food we ordered grilled sardines and (not to forget) Bacalhau.

The Bacalhau- came with boiled potatoes and green beans.
And sardines came with boiled potatoes.
Bread and salads come as standard


The portions were quite large as you can see, and you could smell the freshness of the food. Definately a place to revisit to try other dishes.

Vasco de Gama Bridge

One of the longest bridge in Europe with a length of 12.3km. named after Vasco De Gama – a european sailor who discovered the route between Portugal and India.

It was my aunt’s idea to see the bridge, yet we ended up driving to the other end, here we stopped by ‘Torre de Vasco de Gama’ – basically the “Tower of Vasco De gama’ to drive all the way back. ( Oh. Yes. Sometimes we do the strangest things) .

Torre Vasco De Gama

One of the tallest buildings in Portugal, and also a landmark. At 145 metres tall it’s boasts of it panoramic view of the city, sea and the bridge. Once again named after Vasco De Gama himself.

Outside the Tower.

Shaped as a sail, it’s quite a beautiful building,

Side view with the bridge at the back.

This area is another tourist hotspot, this photo was taken from the aerial cable cars, which can be taken at 4 euros each one way or 6 euros both return. Its a nice ride where you can see the river and scenic views of Portugal.

In this area you also have the Vasco De Gama shopping mall if you would like a stroll, we gave this a miss due to time constraints. Portugal is known for its unique design in kitchen dishes- so I missed out here.

And that’s our trip. 48 hours in Portugal. The evenings were spent in our apartment where mum and my aunt laughed about their younger days. All in all it was a fabulous trip.

Love and regards

M11bna

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Spontaneous trip to Mani and Cheshire Oaks (Part One)

Sitting peacefully at home, with nothing to do on a Friday evening, Friends series playing on netflix for the umpteenth time, and the hubby shouts out “Get in the car- I need to get out of here!” …. Doesn’t happen to you? No? Weird? Yes? Well he just did that.

Within 20 minutes me and the boys are sitting in the car, one pair of clothes each in plastic bags awaiting our adventure.

I can see we are driving towards the motorway- but where are we going? It’s not my birthday, it’s not an anniversary- not the boys birthday- should I ask?

“Can you check on your phone if they have a room at Ellesmere port babe?for tonight”

Oh. So it is a random trip. Nothing planned.

I fish out my phone and have a look. I know exactly where he wants to go. It’s our favourite Christmas spot for shopping in Manchester, and it’s the Holiday Inn at Ellesmere port. And he wants to go in October?! Ok. I’m not complaining. (I hope our December trip is still on?)

There’s a double room available for tonight for £105 and that includes brekky. Perfecto. I pull out my Amex and start punching in the numbers.

By the time we reached its well past midnight.  We hit the pillows and snore away.

The Holiday Inn at Ellesme port is our favourite stop spot. We always come to this hotel, rooms are clean and big, and it has a swimming pool (we didn’t take any costume as didn’t know where we were going) and it’s in a beautiful location. Set at the port it’s very scenic

On a beautiful day it’s nice to have a stroll on port

And the main reason we come here is …. The hasbrowns. Yup you heard correct. Hash browns. They are always soooo good! So crunchy yet soft. Oh my! It’s a must (I sound crazy I know- but if you go, try it and tell me!)

By now I’ve worked out the plan. We going Cheshire oaks designer village for a day of shopping. He sure is in a good mood.

I’m wondering whether it was a good idea to wear these 🙄. Too late.

So after indulging with our tea and hash brown with brown sauce overload, the hubby took raisins and sat down, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him eat raisins? I asked him “since when do you eat raisins?” He answered ” I do eat raisins.”

No. Can’t be true, I don’t eat raisins- I’ve not bought raisins in the 18 years I’ve been married to him, so I just watched him eat in wonder. He eats raisins. Evan after 18 years I’m learning something new.

Stay tuned for our day at Cheshire oaks what we bought and what we ate.

Love and regards

M11bna

P.s. Still struggling with the tooth! And I’m in India!! Loads to come

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Barca in Pictures

Since I’m in this whole Barcelona mood, I keep finding pictures on top of pictures I’ve captured, and I need to share them with someone , and you guys happen to be the lucky ones.

Just a few pics I’ve taken from my gallery for you to enjoy.

Magic Fountain of Montjuïc.
Whilst driving around. Too preety not to capture.
Arc de Triomf
Beautiful lampposts
Beautiful buildings with balconies.
Love the minaret on this building
La Sagrada Familia
This looked too good not to capture
Port.
Had to capture this whilst walking past

It is a picturesque city, I have so many more- but I don’t want to loose followers.

Hope you enjoyed them.

That’s enough of Barca. (I think) time to move on…

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Love and regards

M11bna

My Best Eats in Barca.

Al Andulus

Our first meal whilst in Barcelona. Once we dropped off our luggage- we hunted down this place. A 10 minute walk away from our hotel (Roma Reial) and well worth our exhausting trip to get here, it was worth every bite. Serving halal meat- we got our meat fix. Sabina went for a chicken wrap, and I opted for the meat doner in pitta bread. Oh and fries, (never forget fries) Photo does no justice at all. It was finger licking.

Cafe de L’Opera

We spent our first day just walking around las ramblas and as a Pit stop we stopped here before we headed back to our hotel. What a neat little shop. We had churros with warm choc, and profiterole cake, and tea (ofcourse). Before we hit the bed.

Le Chipiron

Fine wine dining (with no wine- alcohol free!)

The next day we headed off towards the Port and we found this beauty, overlooking the Port and the city, we knew straight away we wanted to eat here. The day was glorious and as both of us love seafood- we sat down, and enjoyed the view. We asked our waitor to make sure no alcohol was put in our food, which was arranged kindly.

We went for the crispy battered prawn salad, with fried garlic prawns and fresh garlic bread, and chips (never forget the chips) and we devoured every little piece. Yum.

Forns del pi

Whilst walking around, we needed a stop, and this place had the best looking desserts on display. It was quite late, and having had a heavy meal- we decided desserts for dinner. Coffee and nutella and strawberry crepes. A girly trip is not a girly trip without fat dinners. Right?

Himalaya

The following day we were craving for Indian food- we had to find to find a halal place that offered more than just kebabs. And we found it.

Decorated in traditional Indian attire inside we felt right at home…. Kind of….. (My home doesn’t look like this) maybe it’s a longing for my roots?

We went for chicken tikka karhai, fresh nan and lamb biryani, and it was amazing. The flavours, the aromas, all of it satisfied our cravings. And we ended it with a cup of Indian tea.

Amorino

I’m sure it’s illegal to go past Amorino without going in?! If not it should be…

Vanilla, Strawberry and Mango ice-cream sorbet- topped with Raspberry macaroon.

Gafredo Expresso

After our shopping trip, we needed a tea and cake break, and we walked into here. Need I say we were not dissapointed. How cool are the teapots? Defo a photo moment.

ARTiSa

Located just outside our hotel, this was our last meal in Barcelona before we set off the next morning. We wanted to stay close to our hotel so that we can get some sleep as our flight was at 6 in the morning, meaning we’d have to be up at 4 to make our way to airport. As you may have worked out by now- it was desserts for dinner again- because well…. Why not?

It was cute and quirky inside. Smelt of coffee, and homely and warm.
Just like our 50th cup of tea for the day….

We opted for crepes with Nutella and strawberries inside topped with freshcream. And as you can see I have tottally given up on my photography skills as I’m ready to get home. And it was divine, the crepes were warm and soft, and the vanilla tea was beaut.

Still to come… I’ve not given up on barca yet. More from barca

Love and regards

M11bna

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