My Favourite Afternoon Tea Spots in the Midlands

I dont really know how or when I actually got into Afternoon teas. Ive always been a Tea Lover, I probably go through the day with atleast a dozen cups, its a fix for me. (and I wonder why my face is forever dehydrated). But what I do know is, since my first Afternoon tea, I was hooked. This was going to be a part of my lifestyle for sure.

In the last Decade the popularity of Afternoon Tea has grown. Initially being just for the older British generation, it now appeals to the younger generation, especially because its changed in focus. Its Quirky, its cute, its preety, and it is offered in the most picteresque locations from castles in middle of fields to the coffee shop’s next door. And its not just Tea and scones you are getting, as the list of delights in the menu of Afternoon Tea keep on increasing(no complaints from me).

Im always being asked by friends and family or general people who follow me on insta where a good afternoon tea spot is, so in Todays blog I will share with you some of my favourite Afternoon tea spots locally…. locally meaning the East Midlands, just a drive away from me guys,

1. Stapleford Park

A Grand Country House hotel, One of my most favourite and memorable Afternoon Teas EVER. This is a must for the best of the experiences. This Hotel sits in the middle of 500 acres of gardens and grounds. And it is glorious. Both inside and outside. If anyone asks me about Afternoon Tea, this is usually off the tip of my tongue.

We were greated at reception and were seated in what seemed like a large living area, full of beautiful sofas, couches, and some dining seats. For ourselves we were given a couch. I couldnt be more pleased.

The vegetarian sandwiches were delightful, the scones were fresh, warm and soft, generous portions of jam and cream were given, by far one of my best experiences.

What I loved the most, the quirkiest little details, like ‘Ring for Service’ button, the fireplaces, the piano… all for pictures…and I love photos!

Traditional Afternoon tea at Stapleford Park is £27.50 per person

Here’s the Webby: https://www.staplefordpark.com

2. Patisserie Valerie

When Patisserie Valerie started advertising that they are going to be doing Afternoon Tea, well I had to be there.

Here you get a choice between tea and coffee, and includes the scones with jam and clotted cream, finger sandwiches, quiches and a few variety of patisseries miniature classic desserts

At £25.00 for 2 people, you really cant go wrong with Afternoon Tea at Patesserie Valerie. Having said that they always have promotional Offers on, so keep an eye on Groupon and Wowcher, and grab yourself a deal and Afternoon Tea.

Here’s the Webby: https://www.patisserie-valerie.co.uk/

3. Coombe Abbey

Another Country House Hotel, set in the beautiful location of Coventry, with 500 acres of ground, once again its both beautiful on the outside and on the inside, especially because the rooms are filled with antiques and quirky details (I love details!!)

Afternoon Tea is set in a Garden Room Restaurant, (a huge conservatory type room) and it is beautiful. Tea is served Loose Leaf, and a variety of sandwiches are offered. And the desserts, too preety to Eat! The staff are attentive to our needs, and very helpful. A very Pleasant experience. I would consider going again for sure.

Afternoon Tea at Coombe Abbey is £29.95 per person, but once again keep an eye out on Groupon and Wowcher as there are always offers popping up

Here’s the Webby : https://www.coombeabbey.com/

4. Kilworth House

In Lutterworth, I was invited to a baby shower at Kilworth House where we had Afternoon tea. Kilworth House is a victorian Town House, once again a beautiful location.

Afternoon Tea is served in the Orangery, and what beautiful Orangery it is.

The Food is so preety from the scones, to the desserts, i dont think ive ever seen a selection of preety food like this. There is alot of detail to attention, as you can see from the pictures. And the Dishes used are so different to other Afternnon Teas, I loved the coloured stands (Need one for home)

Like all country houses, this is another house with so many photo points and details. (if only I knew I was going to blog when I went to these places, because I wouldve taken so many more pictures to show the details) (Another visit due?)

A visit to the bathroom is a must (I didnt take a picture! but do go! it is the preetiest bathroom ever).

Afternoon Tea at Kilworth house is £25.00 per person

Here’s the webby: https://www.kilworthhouse.co.uk/

5. Colwick Hall Hotel

And finally in Notthingham we have Colwick Hall Hotel, I found Colwick Hall afternoon Tea very different to the others, but just as delighful.

The grounds are beautiful, and well looked after, and inside its just as picteresque.

For our afternoon Tea we were given Soup aswell! so cute! with a crouton inside! Once again we were very well looked after, the staff were attentive to our needs

There are always offers on For Afternoon Tea online, and you can get it from £34.99 for 2 people.

Here’s the Webby : https://colwickhallhotel.com/

So there you go my top 5 Afternoon Tea places. Let me know if you pay a visit and how you found it x

Love and Regards

M11bna

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24 hours in Dubai

Whilst in India we felt like Kings (Im the only female so I always refer to the more masculine words when Im on holiday) with people more interested in us, and our lifestyle. The Hospitality and service was second to none. We were treated almost like royals, everyone coming to our beck and call, whether that be the taxi driver or the concierge or the ‘chaiiwala’

Once we landed in Dubai, we asked the dude that picked us up from the Airport to stop at a supermarket and ATM if possible. He said there’s None! My hubby asked again, he said “Are you saying there’s no supermarket or ATM on the way to hotel?”. He responded “No”. My husband asked for the third time- “Are you telling me that in our half hour drive, we will not Evan have a fuel pump?” He answered, “Buy from your hotel”.

Welcome to Dubai People.

Our last 24 hours, and I don’t really know how we managed so much, and ate so much, I feel bloated just writing about it. Seriously the way we went, anyone would think we were given the last 24 hours to live! But hey we sure did pack our day full, to a point where the journey back home on the plane felt like a relief.

Having already been to Dubai, (this is our third time) we have pretty much covered a lot of the touristy things on previous occasions. (Which I do need to do a quick blog about, especially for the kids because there’s a lot to do.) So this time it was just about enjoying the luxaries of Dubai, and eating loads to put away in the reserve for when we start our diets when we get back home (We still doing that, I promise…..maybe after our next holiday?!)

So what did we do?

PF Changs

We landed early evening in Dubai, and as soon as we had deposited our bags, we head off to ‘The Dubai Mall’ for a bite to eat. We really enjoyed PF Changs the last time we came, so this was our first pit stop.

We ordered the Dynamite shrimps, because without this picture you were never there!…

We also ordered Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Sesame Chicken with Plain Noodles, and Kung Pao Chicken with rice on the side.

And we got a table outside so that we could get to see the Dubai fountains whilst we enjoyed our food.

Dubai Fountains and Burj Khalifa

After our meal we walked outside the mall, and watched the famous Dubai fountain show……., because once again if you don’t snap it, you were never there.

Feeling extremely shattered from our flight, we headed off to our Hotel. This time we were adamant to wake up early, have breakfast and make the most of the little hours we had here.

Views from our Hotel

With the boys tucked up in bed, the hubby and I enjoyed the beautiful views from our balcony whilst having tea. Yup tea. We don’t function without it….. And just how beautiful is this view!! It’s mesmerising!

View in morning.

The next morning, bright and early. We made it to breakfast!! Straight after because the elder boy was still snoring we headed off to the pool…. Where I captured this selfie, which I’m extremely proud off. Selfie game strong! (I just deleted the 50 pics before)

Pappa Roti

Once the kid woke up, he had an empty stomach, so we headed off to Pappa Roti. Based at The Walk in JBR, it’s just a 5 minute walk away from our hotel.

These flavoured buns are just divine and melt in the mouth. We chose nutella, cinnamon, lotus and caramel and all of them were divine. And really filling also.

Alongside this we had cold drinks, It’s always virgin mojito for me, and the boys went for their smoothies. Evan this was luscious!

JBR

Further down on the same path we come to JBR Beach, having had seen loads of beaches in India, we just walked up and down, and took photos.

We had decided on another boat trip…. Until we saw this…

Flying Cup

Dining in the sky.

A slow ride up 40 meters in the air, and then you are spun round (gently) while you enjoy your snacks and drinks and enjoy the view of Dubai.

I was absolutely ecstatic to do this. Back at home I keep on going on the ‘London in the Sky’ website, I haven’t booked it yet, purely because the weather is unpredictable, and the last thing I want it to be in the sky whilst the rain is pouring down and freezing cold.

Also this is something I wouldn’t usually do with the men in my life, they are all ‘safe’ people and prefer their own feet being firmly on the ground, whilst I’m happy to jump off the Eiffel tower. (If they let me). But for me they held their breath and prayed for their lives.

Up in the air. Dudes holding on.
Fam -a -lam
Don’t look down. Your feet will be dangling, adding to the thrill.
Spotted. Burj- al-arab from the sky.

This had to be the highlight of my whole trip.

After this we headed off to the Dubai Mall again, the boys wanted to do a spot of shopping because in India they found nothing…

Dubai Mall

And the highlight for the boys….. Balmain at Dubai Mall had 70% off.

And boy did they shop….

And now the boys also had souvenirs for themselves to take home.

Patchi

It’s really difficult to bring back souvenirs for everyone at home, the families are growing and also we get everything back at home, so nothing feels new. But one thing that I knew everyone would love is Patchi chocolate.

Patchi is a luxury brand of chocolate, and just to experience the shop is amazing, they have a variety of chocolate flavours on offer.

My favourite part, this wall of chocolate drawers. I NEED this in my life. (I don’t even like chocolate!)

I fell in love. It’s amazing. I wanted a go, but only thing I got is a photo.

We got a mixture packed up in each box, one for each family.

Dubai Marina

Our evening was spent at the beautiful Marina, we walked the beautiful stretch here.

Until we got to Nandos.

Nandos

Yup. Nando’s! Because we can’t have it back at home because it’s not Halal. I’ve always had the pitta with the chicken fillet and pineapple…. But unfortunately they didn’t have it in the menu…. Actually the menu has changed so much so I was disappointed and yet excited as well.

I ended up getting the chicken strips with pineapple on the ends, and it comes with hummus and nan, which was really refreshing.

The boys went for wings and chicken fillets with rice….

And the Dude…. Chicken pieces with rice and veg…. His last meal whilst on holiday and he has decided to start his diet.

Once we were full, we left sweet Dubai and made out way to the airport. Our last haul back home.

And that’s the end of our trip. Goa, Mumbai and Dubai all wrapped up. And what an amazing trip it was. No regrets over it what so ever, we have actually decided that we will step out of our comfort zone more often, as this experience may have been daunting initially, but turned out to be the best trip so far.

Hope u enjoyed our trip with us x

Love and Regards

M11bna

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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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Afternoon Tea at The Shard. London.

I Graduated.

I got married at the age of 18. I remember telling my husband that I wanted to continue studying, however we did not have the financial means for me to continue, and thus I had to give up my one and only dream.

Although at the time working was the only option for me, both I and my husband were aware that a part of my heart was missing. Yet we laughed, we lived, and we continued. During this time we had our two beautiful boys (Ugly, Hairy and spotty now), bought our very first home, and went on loads of holidays.

We came to a position in life, where we were comfortable, and I raised the fact that I wanted to finish off my studies. Although I couldnt physically go back to university as I couldn’t leave my job and my children were still young. I looked around for options and found The Open University, and started my journey.

The Open University is made for people like me who cannot commit to full time university and so I did my studying in blocks, part time.

After 6 years of studying, working, being a home maker and a mother, I conquered my dream.

I Graduated.

As a treat my two beautiful Soul Sisters Sabina and Katija treated me to Afternoon Tea at The Shard Shangri-La Hotel in London. We headed off with Baby Dumpling in tow on a Sunday Morning.

Afternoon Tea at the Shard Sangrai- La Hotel is served onthe 35th floor of the restaurant ‘Ting’. To access the restaurant we were guided to the lifts, which takes us straight up to the 35th floor in a matter of seconds. As soon as you step out of the lifts you get the amazing views straight away. We were taken to our table with a perfect view of Londons sky line.

Our Table and View.

Before we sat down, we were welcomed by our waitor, and also offered a stool for our bags which the cutest gesture EVER. (Naturally having come with Sabina we did wonder why one of the seats was ever so low and wondered whether they were planning to put the baby Dumpling on the floor?!! Guilty)

Baby Dumpling safely in Masi’s lap.

Before we got our menu we were treated to a ritual offered at the Ting called ‘Teh Tarik’ which involves the dramatic pouring of Dry Ice, and consumption of a malaysian type hot lemon drink. As you can see our preety little dumpling was fascinated with the Dry Ice.

We were then given a menu with the types of tea on offer and chose the following:

All of this came with mini sieves (I need to find these for my own home, they are the cutest) and it gives such a picteresque photo

For the food part we were given scones, which were covered in linen to keep the warmth with generous portions of clotted cream and jam

For sandwiches we were given by far the most colourful sandwiches I have ever seen in my life. From the Halal menu we had a selection of Cheese, Cucumber, Salmon, and Honey Roasted Chicken sandwiches. And lastly the divine desserts which included profiteroles and macarons.

And just to make my day that extra special the girls had arranged a treat of extra desserts for me for my graduation. Im not a ‘crying’ type girl (ask my husband he will tell you) but this did bring a tear to my eye.

Overall would I recommend the Afternoon Tea to you guys, YES! because the building, the views, the atmosphere, the food, the colourful sandwiches and the hospitality (I forgot to mention that they have heated toilet seats!! You have to go just for this!!) Are a must, and worth the experience.

Forever Grateful for the sisters in my life. You make life more beautiful every day.

Love and Regards

M11bna

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Bateaux London. Afternoon Tea on the River Thames.

Afternoon tea with a bit of difference. It just had to be done. I owed Sabina a treat for her birthday and it had to be.. Hmmm. …how can I put it?….. Different.

I think that’s the best way to describe it. We have a tradition now, we don’t give each other gifts anymore, I mean I feel like I have everything I want anyway, and if I don’t. I’ll go and buy it. So in terms of gifts- it gets really hard for us to buy each other…. Stuff.

So we made a tradition that we will just take each other out. We both love travelling, we love our days out, we love food….. So that ticks off some boxes….

When it comes to Sabina I know there’s one thing I can never go wrong with. Like me- she loves Afternoon Tea. Having already been to The Dorchester and Shard, it was looking difficult to find something to top it. Also she took me to Disneyland. I mean how can I top that (by the way, I still haven’t!)

And then I found this

Afternoon Tea on a Boat! OK, OK, I know…. She’s not keen on boats (or planes, or cars, or trains. I really don’t know how she gets out) . But I asked her first and she was super excited and agreed on the condition that she could wear her life jacket….. on board…. I went with it….

So now, a bit of “What is Bateaux London?”

Well. A boat trip on the River Thames, where we can see the highlights of London whilst enjoying Afternoon Tea. I mean like…. Where have I been all my life! And let me tell you the price… £46 per person. That includes the afternoon tea and the boat ride which is one hour and 15 minutes. How could I possibly go wrong?! ( I paid an extra £5 per person to get a window seat)

Our Journey

Me, Afsha, and Sabina headed off with Sabina’s life jacket in the boot of the car. We had to get to the Embankment Pier- which is just outside The Savoy. Lucky for us Afsha’s sister works near the Savoy- so parking was arranged for us. (She’s our new best friend. Yup Asma you heard it here. Hello Bestie! xxx)

After consoling Sabina with; ‘Yes, they will give us life jackets on the cruise if needed’, and ‘Yes, ofcourse! Theres a rubber dingy for each and every one of us’ and not to forget ‘The life jackets on the boats are so much more better than the one in the boot’. We headed off. Without the life jacket (Wahey!. I do love her little soul!)

Our meeting point was at the Embankment pier, Half an hour before our cruise was to leave we were taken in to a reception area- a large room on top of water, it had a bar for drinks, and generally a waiting area. Also a place for photos.

The cruise boat from the outside.
Boarding the cruise. Shes already holding on for her dear life!!!

And then we were seated, and our boat trip started. The layout was beautiful, the tables clean, pianist playing live music. All in all I couldn’t fault it. It looked fab. As soon as it started we were offered tea or coffee….

That was the only selection. Being Afternoon tea enthusiasts- well let’s say we have never been given only 2 options before.

We had our tea whilst watching the wonders of London go by.

Lets be fair, the Tea wasn’t the best. It was just Tea. I make better. Also the Afternoon Tea in general wasn’t that great either. Here’s what we were given:

For sandwiches we had egg sandwiches, and cheese and salad sandwiches (we had gone for the vegetarian option as the food is not halal on board) both of which were cold- I mean like just come of the the fridge cold and hard.

We had scones and clotted cream (in the plastic tubs) and jam.

And a selection of desserts, which also were not the best. But we were here for the experience and so enjoyed what we could .

In terms of the cruise itself, i have no complaints, it was amazing, the views were great, they served us quickly. When we asked for more tea, it was given quickly and I would definitely recommend the window seats! that is a must! Just do keep in mind that a stopover for food is needed after this one.

After we had our Afternoon tea (having left most of it behind). We headed on upstairs. Luckily for us the weather was beautiful.

Upstairs on the boat is a open top. its a really pretty set up, they have artificial grass on the floor, and benches running along the middle so you get to see London in all its Glory.

The perfect spot for our pictures, and i think we enjoyed this the best from the whole trip.

Me attempting a boomerang for my insta story- this is the best i could do.

So All in All- Would I recommend Bateux London to you? Yes I would. It is a very different experience of London, and its at a very affordable price for being in London.

The trip itself is a 1 hour 15 minute boat trip- all in all you need 2 and a half hours from boarding to unboarding, and the rest of the day is yours in London to do as you please. So we got a chance to do other preety cool things once we were there.

Like visiting the Twinnings shop- which was on the Strand- on the other side of the Savoy and a 15 minute walk down. Do visit this shop it is the preetiest tea shop I have ever seen.

We then used the tube to do some tube-hopping and ended up for a stroll in Harrods, and ended up eating at Burgeri in SoHO- which was Devine!!!! a must stop people. Get that ticked off on your to-do- list, and put it back on for next year- because I could, I would, and I will be going back.

And then we caught our last tube, and headed off home. Thats Sabina’s birthday trip done for last year, now I got to cover this years. Stay tuned guys.

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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