Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Packing List Tag: Bosnia/Croatia Edition

31st July 2016

packing going away vs going home

I went on an 8 day trip to Bosnia and Croatia and this is what I crammed into my bag for my lil adventure.

Where: from London to Zagreb (3 days) and Plitvice Lakes (2 days) in Croatia and Hometown Hill in Bosnia (3 days)

Weather: hot hot hot and also humid, did I say hot already?

Travel clothing on the plane: my standard travel outfit is super comfy jeans, long sleeve top, Nikes.

What you actually packed:

Carry – on suitcase
1 pair of sandals, 1 skirt, 1 pair of jeans, 1 dress, 7 short sleeve tops/t-shirts, 1 long sleeve, 1 cardigan, pyjamas, underwear and socks, the usual toiletries, adapter and converters, chargers and some presents

Totebag
Polaroid camera, 8 packs of films, playing cards, a little bag with travel documents, passport, notebook, pen, 1 pair of sunglasses

Did you wear everything?
I ended up wearing everything, except one shirt that got lost in the pile.

Anything you wished you had brought along?
More socks! I always end up not having enough.

Anything you wished you had left?
No, for a change I had it all sorted, though I wish the polaroid camera had a ‘miniaturise’ button so it would fit in my trouser pocket – please invent this soon!

Did you buy anything while traveling?
Just chocolate. A lot of chocolate

Any advice for travellers going to Croatia/Bosnia?
Bring extra jumpers/long-sleeve tops, especially when you are near the seaside, as despite the glimmering waves and to-die-for sunsets, the temperature does drop in the evenings.

Not specifically for these countries, but bring along items of clothing that can be chucked in a washing machine and have no special care instructions. Don’t bring your favourite items, you don’t want that one top to be destroyed by the washing machine, sweat or sunscreen.

Salut! from Dordogne Valley

26th July 2016

dordogne valley

Along three other bloggers, I’ve been out and about in South West France and exploring the Dordogne Valley across its many charming towns and villages.

It was a little bit of a trip down memory lane as I had been there on a school trip many moons ago and I was curious how 2016 Tea compares the trip with 2002 Tea.

dordogne valleyAfter flying in to Berignac Aiport with Hannah from Adventure Han and Tun from T S Chang we were met by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and the lovely folks who organised the trip. From here, we headed to Monbazillac Chateux that’s known for its sweet white wines.

dordogne valleyThat went well with the foie gras, magret de canard, French style duck pate and onion relish we had as well as Casse Croûte, which is from what I understood what the French call an afternoon snack – everything does sound better in French.

dordogne valleyThe Chauteau itself is a museum where you can sneak a peak of how the owners throughout the centuries lived as well as a history of the wine and how it’s made. My favourite bit was the cellar where you can see how the original kitchens looked – a different world, and one that I bet would have loved a microwave.

dordogne valley

Next stop was the town of Bergerac, which is known for its cobblestone streets and half timber stone houses.

dordogne valleyYou may have heard of the historical hero of the 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand, though he has nothing to do with the city, they have adopted the fictional hero as their own.

dordogne valleyThen we had a wonderful time exploring the streets of Sarlat, another of those real life fairytale villages where you imagine characters from a Charles Perrault fairy tale would be wandering around, casting spells, curses, and all that jazz.

dordogne valleyWe got treated to duck – which is, along with everything walnut related the local speciality – with a balcony table at Le Presidial.

dordogne valleyThe next day we took inspiration from the duck and floated down the Dordogne River on a canoe. It was a great way to see the area from the riverside. Growing up I canoed a lot and forgot how much fun it is to paddle to nowhere (figuratively speaking), and get lost in the simplicity of focusing on making sure you don’t fall in or capsize.

dordogne valleyAfter that it was time to wander around in the Les Jardins de Marqueyssac, a huge garden on top of a cliff with amazing views over the beautiful Dordogne River Valley. You can easily spend hours taking in the lush alleys, exploring the quirky little places and getting lost in a labyrinth.

dordogne valleyIf managed to keep your eyes off Johnny Depp in the 2000 film Chocolat then you might recognise a few locations from that film gem, as it was actually filmed in the city of Beynac.

dordogne valleyBrassee 24 is new craft brewer focusing on authentic style beers. We got a tour, saw where all the magic happens and tried their tipples. I sadly can’t pass for a connoisseur, but I can say that as soon as I hear they sell it in London I will be first in the queue!

dordogne valleyNext was a tasting at Distillerie Louis Roque, this one at more traditional distillery where we got to taste plum, walnut and chestnut aperitifs. Seeing as plum rakija is the self proclaimed national drink of my home country it was a favourite. There is also a room that’s a little museum where you can see the old stills, presses and pots. A similar wagon was used in my hometown and went from house to house during rakija season bringing its plummy goodness to all – we would even coat our socks in rakija before bed in Bosnia to stave off sickness.

dordogne valleySouillac’s streets are picture postcard and I’d recommend taking some time to relax and explore every nook and cranny as it’ll transport you back to the past.

dordogne valleyLook at the beaut! Rocamadour is a medieval town built into the side of a cliff. Around 900 years ago it was the place to be for worshipping and pilgrimaging – mainly due to the special relics it housed, and people travelled from all across Europe to get up close with those holy objects. Today, pilgrims have been swapped for tourists, who want to soak up the history and snap that ‘perfect French castle town’ shot to make everyone’s eyeballs jealous back home.

Do you have any top tips or suggestions for visiting the Dordogne area?

Afternoon Tea Week in London: 5 Best Spots

24th July 2016

London loves a good afternoon tea, whether it is boozy or not, and with Afternoon Tea Week (that’s 8th-14th August in case you haven’t market it yet) fast approaching Londoners will be excited about having an excuse to eat naughty delicious treats.

There are a number of places that are celebrating Afternoon Tea Week in style with an enchanting array of sweet and savory delights and teapots full to the brim with all sorts of cocktails.

Bingham Rose Afternoon Tea

The Bingham
Afternoon tea lovers adore the Bingham’s quintessentially British afternoon tea from the comfort of the bar. It themes delicate sandwiches, scones, cakes and patisseries served with a special selection of 11 loose leaf teas from British tea advocate, Canton. Diners can also treat themselves to glass of champagne with their afternoon tea.
The Bingham, Richmond’s riverside destination restaurant, bar and boutique hotel is a chic independent, family run getaway for those looking for a slice of the countryside within the city.The Bingham, a beautifully restored Georgian townhouse originally built in 1821, is situated on the banks of the river Thames in the heart of Richmond.

The Little Yellow Door

The Little Yellow Door
This summer the pop-up that wont close its doors is launching its very first cocktail tea party in the heart of Notting Hill. London’s most loved flat mates at The Little Yellow Door will be throwing their yellow door open on Saturday afternoons to host, a Notting Hill Cocktail Tea Party. Expect alcohol infused pots of tea, finger sandwiches and a variety of traditionally British board games to choose from.
Guests will be welcomed through the door by a bohemian host, before sipping on alcoholic teapots which include Tea with Mussolini, a Bacardi Blanca rum infused chamomile tea with pomegranate and blueberries, while tucking into a selection of finger sandwiches and cakes including Chocolate brownies with malt cream.

Cahoots

Cahoots
Guests will be whisked away from the hustle and bustle of Soho to the underground sensation Cahoots, to enjoy a splendid Squiffy Picnic, complete with wicker picnic hampers filled to the brim with delightfully British cuisine and cocktails circa 1946. Upon arrival, the stationmaster will greet guests with a refreshing Sipsmith Summer Cup Cocktail before heading down the apples and pears. Guests can sift through the fancy dress box before sitting at their picnic tables laden with a tartan blanket, flowers and a dedicated hamper menu that pays homage to food and cocktail favourites from post-war Britain. Guests have the option of three different hampers, all of which are packed with scrumptious fare and delightful tipples for the ideal picnic experience.

Mr Foggs Residence 4

Mr Fogg’s Residence
Acclaimed Mayfair bar, Mr Fogg’s will bring a real slice of tradition infused with elegance to London with their Victorian themed afternoon Tipsy Tea. Guests can enjoy a delicate array of dainty sandwiches, cakes, pastries and petiits-fours. Beautifully presented on traditional three-tiered stands and served on embossed fine bone china, delights will include; cucumber, coronation chicken, moked salmon, and cheese and ham sandwiches, Victoria sponge, lemon drizzle cake, meringue tarts, macaroons, marzipan and glacé fruits.An innovative range of tea-infused cocktails served in teapots will offer a novel twist on this quintessentially English pasttime. Refreshing libations will include; 1840; a ingy blend of Earl Grey-infused Tanqueray No. TEN Gin, Cointreau, crème de pêche and orange marmalade. And for those who prefer an indulgent champagne cocktail with their tea sample the Anna Maria Russell, made with Tatratea liqueur, sloe gin, lemon bitters, and topped with Ruinart Champagne.

Mr Fogg's Tavern

Mr Fogg’s Tavern
Mr Fogg’s Gin Parlour has recently launched Saturday afternoon G & Tea, where guests can indulge in their love of gin by sampling a selection of more than 300 varieties before embarking on their afternoon tea sojourn. Guests will enjoy a selection of homemade and authentically Victorian sweet and savoury delicacies alongside a selection of refreshing gin tea.

Friday, Five London Hotspots Not To Miss This Weekend

15th July 2016

london hotspots

Brother Marcus
Brother Marcus the Garden Café serving all day brunch, Caravan Coffee and cocktails just opened in the heart of Balham. The indoor/outdoor café, bar and event location is the brainchild of three school friends Alex Large, Arthur Campbell and Tasos Gaitanos. Focused on seasonal, organic and the highest quality produce, Brother Marcus is passionate about every ingredient used from the St Ives eggs to Cypriot Halloumi. On the menu guests will find the BM cold brew, the beans are brewed for 16 hours, twice filtered and served over ice with a slice of lemon. With a retractable glass façade, light spills throughout creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere seating 35 guests inside and 28 outside. The colour palate is a composition of stone grey, creamy vanilla, hues of honey and caramel from the natural wood and vibrant greens from the potted foliage lining the walls.

Humble Grape
Welcome in the summer evenings with the launch of Alfresco Aperitivo at Humble Grape Battersea. With the opening of their newly renovated atrium,Humble Grape invites guests to enjoy the perfect summer sundowner with wine loving friends. Humble Grape will be offering over 250 bottles of gem wines to take away prices and in true Italian style, complimentary antipasto will be served as the perfect appetite icebreaker. Expect bites such as merguez sausage roll with black olive tapenade; chargrilled artichokes, almond lemon thyme pesto and parmesan cracker; gravlax, lemon butter, dark rye, fennel pollen; Bella di Cerignola olives; smoked, roasted and salted nuts and biltong.

london hotspots2

Myki Sand Bar, Archer Street
Expect to be taken on an epic journey of summer bliss, as Archer Street teams up with Cîroc vodka to launch London’s first beach club bar, Myki Sand Bar in the heart of Soho. Located on the lower ground floor of Archer Street, Myki Sand Bar will be open until late 2016 and will be furnished with clean white and blue interiors, tropical palms, ceiling sails, glistening golden sand and panoramic shots of the world’s most glamorous beaches, encapsulating the ultimate luxury of European beach clubs.

The London Beer Factory
The London Beer Factory will be opening their garden throughout the summer, hosting a back yard party in association with other local businesses. Serving their extensive range of craft beer from the brewery taproom alongside meats and treats from the BBQ, including mouthwatering delights from Hog Roast Tim and sounds from different live music acts.

Mr Fogg’s Residence
Victorian-inspired Mayfair bar Mr Fogg’s Residence, has opened up its quintessentially British garden overflowing with beautiful blooms, botanicals and bric-a- brac. The Hendrick’s Botanical Garden will be a secret oasis, tucked away down a secluded side street in Mayfair, where guests will encounter all the wonders of the world without setting foot outside London. Avid botanists will marvel at the plants, artifacts and oddities collected by the eccentric explorer on his travels in Around the World in 80 Days.

Plitvice Lakes: the highlights and lowlights

14th July 2016

plitvice lakes

Saw: Crystal clear waters and waterfalls so beautiful UNESCO wanted to join the party. I saw lakes so clear that you can perfectly see schools of fish better than in aaaany aquarium, walking paths that run through the park and over water amid large, beautiful cascading waterfalls and Disneyland like queues – but without an attraction at the end.

Loved: The two minutes I didn’t run into anyone on the paths.

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Hated: The fuckers who left a huge pile of rubbish on the paths. Seriously, why would anyone do that? I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for people who litter natural wonders. People who blocked the path with selfie sticks for five minutes. And people who didn’t put the dogs on a leash or were not in control of them.

Ate: Sweet cheese pancakes, coleslaw salad and chips at one of the hotels. And ice cream once I reached the end point. The place I was staying at did an amazing dinner with mixed meat, salad with pumpkin oil and delicious home made bread.

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Would I do it again: Oh yes, in fact, this was my 12th visit, but I would pick a different time and season as it was very very busy. The images were taken during the few moments not a lot of people were in sight and don’t represent how packed the place was. I’ll give you the low-down on when’s best to go and some of the routes in a follow-up post.

Have you been to the Plitvice Lakes or is it on your must go list?