Travel Thursdays: Monsoon in Kerela

It’s Travel Thursdays and I’ve decided to blog on old travels etc – just because I haven’t got new exciting travels to blog about. ¬†We are saving for it! ūüôā ¬†Kerela is known to be the most beautiful during monsoon season – frankly I was skeptical as to why this was so. ¬†After going during this season I can safely say it is a paradise for PHOTOGRAPHY but that is about it. ¬†I like going out, being on the move without an umbrella and my feet soaked. ¬†So it’s all about perspective I guess!

Tips on where to stay:

  • Marriott Kochi Hotel– simply because you can’t go wrong with a five star in a country which is relatively cheap to your currency! ¬†Our stay a night was equivalent to a 3 star in London or a BnB! ¬†We had a buffet breakfast each morning. ¬†The spread was fantastic. ¬†Hot indian breakfast was made fresh ūüôā ¬†For those of you who are not accustomed to indian food – there was continental and english breakfast too. ¬†But I always say in India do as the Indians do! ¬†OK so I say that in every country! ¬†Why not try to enjoy the country locally? ¬†We go there for a different anthropological feel so we might as well enjoy it!
  • Taj Hotel – We stayed here for a night. ¬†It’s much pricer that’s why just a night! ¬†The style of the hotel was rather Maharaja-Type. ¬†That translates into the olden Indian Kingdom Type of Hotels. ¬†The architecture was amazing. ¬†The food was pretty immaculate too! ¬†Another advantage was that there was a complimentary boat trip around the Arabian Sea to see the Chinese Fishing Nets.

FYI – The floods were shocking!!! ¬†One night a road we went by was completely flooded that our car came to a stop. ¬†The driver sent his son outside to look for an alternate route. ¬†The water was up to an average man’s knee. ¬†Fortunately, we weren’t stranded for long. ¬†We also passed by random villagers who were fishing with their hands in the floods and witnessed a big catch. ¬†A man was flapping around the huge fish!

Image

This picture shows the minor floods in the daytime.

Image

My favourite local Kerela food – the Kerela Prata! ¬†It’s a flour based bread that you dip in curry. ¬†It costs about 5 Rupees which is about 5 pence!! ¬†OMG. ¬†SO CHEAP. ¬†Always go to a country where your currency is king! ūüėČ

Image

Indian Masala Tea that is being ‘pulled’ by the man. ¬†Some countries call this “pulling-tea”. ¬†It’s amazing how they do this. ¬†If it were me I’d end up burning myself! ¬†I was in awe. ¬†We actually let ourselves in the kitchen and asked him if we could take a photo. ¬†I can’t speak the language as this is South India and I know Hindi and Punjabi which are both North Indian Languages. ¬†Luckily, he knew a bit of english ūüôā

Image

TAJ HOTEL: The hotel swimming pool which looks like an infinity pool.  The sea the hotel overlooks is the Arabian Sea.  It was beautiful!  I actually feel this picture does not do justice to the place.

Image

The Chinese Fishing Nets. ¬†Apparently Chinese people introduced the method of fishing to people in Kerela. ¬†I saw this from the complimentary boat ride ūüôā

Image

Sunset view of the Arabian Sea. ¬†It was simply breath-taking! ¬†ūüôā

Image

The hotel had south-indian cultural dance performances which were interesting to watch. ¬†We watched for a bit but didn’t really understand what was going on.

Image

My happy feet!! ¬†There was a really nice spa where I indulged in a relaxing pedicure. ¬†I chose a bright color to cheer myself up from the perpetual rain. ¬†But I guess that’s what monsoon is about! ¬†ūüėČ

Image

The morning buffet range was wonderful. ¬†These were the desserts! ¬†ūüôā

Must-see shopping mall:

  • Lulu Mall – it has recently opened and has major brand names and also has designer indian wear. ¬†I picked up outfits to wear for upcoming weddings!

Enjoyed my trip there as it was different from what I’m used to for a holiday. ¬†It also really made me appreciate the devloped lifestyle that we lead and often take for granted.

xx

B

Advertisements

Travel Thursdays: A day sight-seeing in London

Hello all! ¬†ūüôā ¬†Although I live in London, there’s so much to it as a tourist. ¬†I have quite a few tips for visitors who plan to travel to London. I keep this list for all my guest and thought it would be worth sharing it for people planning to come here.

I’m a traveller who absolutely believes in maximising the day.

CARPE DIEM! 

Must-do-sights in London:

  • Tower Bridge (aesthetically beautiful compared to the London Bridge. ¬†But since there’s a song named after the London Bridge you might as well see it. ¬†It hasn’t fallen down yet FYI) ¬†Vegetarians – eat at Velo (Vietnamese Food) near the London Bridge (the closest tube station). ¬†It is fantastic! It also accepts the TasteCard which makes it tastier haha!
  • London Eye – huge ferris wheel that should be known as the wheel of fortune. ¬†I wish I came up with that phrase but I can’t take credit for it ūüėČ ¬†Heard it on a tour where the guide was stressing on the ridiculous amount of value it wheels in (ok that was my own pun there! hahaha!)
  • Big Ben – ¬†It’s not that big. LOL ¬†We happened to walk right past it to be honest.
  • Westminster Abbey – where all the kings have been crowned. ¬†Beautiful buildings!
  • M&M World – ¬†My definition of heaven. ¬†It smells great and puts you in a positive mood. ¬†I take all my guest there ūüôā ¬†It’s in Piccadily Circus.
  • Go on the hop-on-hop-off bus and view everything from a higher angle. ¬†It’s best to actually use it as a 2 hour guided tour rather than hop off it. ¬†I’ve done this twice and I preferred using it as a guide as I felt I made my money’s worth. ¬†You can see all the sites from here including St. Pauls Cathedral, Trafalgar Square and everything I’ve mentioned.
  • Use the tube, buy an oyster card. ¬†The Oyster Card caps itself – so you can hop on and hop off different tube stations. ¬†This is the best way to cover all the major sites in the city by foot.
  • Westfield Mall – has all the major shops without the push-and-shove in Oxford Street.
  • Harrods – ¬†Use it as a sight-seeing mall where you can take photos. ¬†Go to the ground floor where there is a memorial of Princess Diana.
  • Buckingham palace – ¬†I have been for the changing of guards once but I don’t find it worth while to wait in the crowd. ¬†I would rather watch it on youtube. ¬†However – the palace is gorgeous and you should definitely take a stroll to along Green Park to the Palace. ¬†If only I were invited in for afternoon tea ūüėČ
  • Cool Britannia – Best shop on Piccadily for souvenirs and touristic photos!
  • Walk, Walk, Walk. ¬†People who use cabs don’t explore a country at all!! ¬†Also use that money for extra yummy treats. hahahahaha ūüėČ
  • Tinseltown – best milkshakes in London. ¬†It’s near Oxford Street on Great Portland Street.

Here are some pictures (I just love photos. ¬†I’m sure you must have noticed by now!):

IMG_5815 (1)

IMG_7024

Image

Westminster Abbey. ¬†I tried an artistic shot but in retrospect it doesn’t look that artistic. LOL

Image

The lovely Tower Bridge! ¬†And next up… The yummy food there. ¬†You knew that was coming ūüėČ

Image

Image

Image

Absolutely love this cafe!  The veggie summer rolls were very refreshing. The rice was good Рbut not great. I loved the Banh Mi Baguette.  That was to die for. Like literally.

I would travel all the way there to eat it. ¬†Yes it was that good!! ¬†Ok so if you’re a vegetarian tourist you absolutely must eat a Banh Mi Baguette. ¬†Must. ¬†Must.

Image

The M&M world. ¬†Ok not like I needed to type that out – I’m sure you could have figured that out… haha!

Hope future visitors exploring London enjoy it! ¬†Any further questions feel free to contact me ūüôā

xx

B

B’s Day Trip To Cambridge

I’ve recently decided that I have to explore UK as a country. ¬†It sounds pretty obvious but somehow when you live in a place, you often take it for granted. ¬†I had the opportunity to travel within UK while my sisters were visiting and the voice in my head basically screamed “THIS IS AS GOOD AS A EUROPEAN HOLIDAY – DON’T OVER LOOK IT’S BEAUTY”! ¬†Yes – Cambridge was nothing less than beautiful. ¬†It reminded me of a combination of Venice (primarily its canal like structure) and London (the British Architecture). ¬†

We hopped on a direct train (45 mins) from Kings Cross Station and alighted at Cambridge. ¬†It was pretty straight-forward as we didn’t get lost. ¬†I’m quite directionally challenged otherwise! ¬†I usually rely on my husband on holidays where directions are concerned. ¬†However, we reached just fine…

My number one tip would be:

See Cambridge while punting! ¬†You will be able to cover all the major sites of Cambridge in this 45 minute experience. ¬†The punters are pretty good looking too ūüėČ HAHAHA! ¬†But yeah friendly punters are a great bonus!

ImagePunting made me nostalgic.  I was reminiscent of Venice!!  Saying that Рgondolas are definitely overpriced in comparison.  Just FYI Рwe should all buy little boats next time and take them to Venice.

Tip NO 2: ¬†Take photos with King’s College (as it’s free to do so!) ok – so take photos with everything. ¬†The architecture is simply immaculate.

ImageImage

Image

Go into Pembroke College if you want to see a college for free ūüôā The name seemed pretty apt with “broke” in it.

Image

Enjoyed Cambridge very much and would recommend it as a day trip for visitors in London ūüôā

xx

B

B’s Been Busy – With Her Sisters!

My sisters just left London today (I’m missing them already btw..)! Had loads of fun- travelled around UK a bit and ate a bit. OK so no one would believe that – LOL! Yes, I completely pigged out. I think I’ve gained at least 2 KGS. I haven’t checked my weight yet as I’m horrified at the very thought!

A glimpse of our midnight snacking included left over scones topped with Nutella and hot custard:

20130831-215702.jpg

Hmmmmmm….

Well so my fat content has definitely exponentially increased.

X

B’s Purple Sparkle OPI Nails!

ImageSimply love this shade of purple!  I added a bit of sparkle to the ring fingers for that extra glamour.  OPI has the widest range of shades that appeal to me!

Image

I’m currently using¬†OPI: Purple With a Purpose (NLB30) and the ring fingers are done in a beautiful sparkly turquoise-purple¬†OPI: Polka.com NLE71. ¬†Got my acrylics infills done, I’m ready for the next month.

xx

B

Foodie Fridays: B’s Vegetarian Tuna Pizza (Without Yeast)

Hello everyone. ¬†I LOVE CHEESE. ¬†I really wish I didn’t as it’s so very fatty, but I just love cheese. ¬†Like love love love cheese. ¬†I hope I have¬†emphasised¬†my undying love for cheese to illustrate my passion completely. ¬†It’s funny how words do not do justice to your emotions at times. ¬†But I’m sure you’ve got the point, if you haven’t, I LOVE CHEESE.

Ater turning vegetarian, I really missed having Tuna as it was one of my favourites. ¬†Fortunately, I discovered Vegetarian Tuna (made from soya). ¬†It actually tastes like the real thing! ¬†I’ve had it in salads and sandwiches so far. ¬†Today, I wanted to try it warm. ¬†I thought I’d try it on pizza.

I’ve always been¬†terrified¬†of yeast. ¬†I don’t know why – I guess yeast rising is creepy in someways. ¬†I googled pizza dough without yeast and gave it a shot! ¬†I came across this link. ¬†Majority of the comments were good, which made me lean towards it!

Here are my photo-steps:

Image

A ball of yeast-less pizza dough. YAEY!!

ImageRolled out and ready for the oven!  I thought it was wise to bake them for 10 minutes first to avoid it to get soggy! This is the pic after the oven btw! Tried a thin base and a thick base.  Always good to try out to different kinds in your first go.  OPTIONS ARE GREAT. Good to know what you prefer!

Image

Toppings are on – and ready to go!

Image

It was that good. ¬†I left out photo-editing as I felt it would be unfair to the pizza to touch it up when it looks this good ūüėČ ¬†Yes pizzas can be personified in my world.

ImageThe pizza deserved a second angle ūüėČ ¬†DELECTABLE. DELICIOUS. SCRUMPTIOUS.

B’s VEGETARIAN TUNA PIZZA¬†

Makes:  2 Large Pizzas and 1 baby one (LOL)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • Tomato passata, basil, salt and pepper
  • Veg Tuna
  • Cheese

Method:

  1. Mix dry ingredients together.  Add water.  Add oil.
  2. Mix with hands to form a dough.
  3. When it forms into a ball make sure it is not too sticky. ¬†If you’ve added extra water, add a bit more flour to balance it out.
  4. When the texture is right (Smooth) start kneading on a surface with flour for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Roll it out to the desired shape.  I tried my best to make it look like a pizza but one pizza looked like the shape of India on the atlas!
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 C.
  7. Put tomato passata in a pot and heat it with seasoning.  Mix some of the sauce with the tuna.
  8. Add the tomato base on the pizza, top with tuna and cheese.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes at 200 C or more depending on how you like it!

Enjoy your Vegetarian Tuna Pizza that has no yeast in it’s pizza dough. Yeast is creepy. ¬†Until I overcome my yeast-a-phobia I will be using this recipe as I loved it! ¬†What a find – thank you Terry!

xx

B

B’s Easy 3 ingredient Ice-cream : Banana, Nutella & Peanut Butter

The title gives away the whole post ūüėČ ¬†I’ve made Frozen Banana Ice-cream before (just blend the frozen banana – I’ve blogged about it here). ¬†It’s a simple vegetarian ice-cream with added flavours. ¬†Delectable. Today I wanted a tiny bit of Nutella and Peanut Butter in it… I got started on whipping this up! ūüėČ

Got my ingredients ready:

ImagePut it in the food processor with a bit of milk and the additional flavourings:

Image

The end product – creamy yummy… delish… HEALTHY… Well relatively healthy, much better than an ice-cream scoop! ¬†So here it is… The end product:

Image

Nice creamy texture…photo (11)

This one has more chocolate! ūüôā

B’s Easy 3 ingredient Ice-cream : Banana, Nutella & Peanut Butter

Makes:  One Scoop

Ingredients:

  • 1 Frozen Banana (cut into pieces prior to freezing)
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • 1/2 tsp Nutella
  • 1/2 tsp Peanut Butter (home-made it better, check out my recipe here)

Method:

  1. Blend frozen banana pieces in a powerful blender or food processor.
  2. Add a bit of milk if needed.
  3. Add Nutella and Peanut Butter.
  4. Keep blending till smooth consistency is achieved.
  5. Serve immediately (Yes immediately!  Do not underestimate the melting power of frozen banana! haha)

Hope you enjoy it! ¬†It’s helping me overcome this terribly hot weather in London.

xx

B

Review: Tastecard + Tastecard App

One of my favourite perks about living in London is the affordable prices of eating out. ¬†Eating out often is often seen as a luxury in many countries. ¬†In Japan, Australia and Singapore – all the countries I’ve lived prior to my move here had a common thread. ¬†Eating out in restaurants were expensive. ¬†A night out with friends in an average restaurant would cost about 30 SGD per head. ¬†If we take this value as a dollar-to-dollar value not accounting for difference in currency value, it is astoundingly high!

Eating out in London with the tastecard is very reasonable. ¬†You can walk out a meal paying just 8-10 pounds per head. ¬†The tastecard gives you either a 50% discount or a 2 for 1 deal in thousands of¬†restaurants¬†across UK. ¬†This even works in Dublin, Scotland, Wales. ¬†I’ve used it in all those countries. ¬†It makes travelling across UK more¬†affordable¬†as your daily budget factors less money to food.

Tastecard has an app which makes finding restaurants near your radius simple. ¬†Often we try new restaurants based solely upon the fact that there is a 50% discount. ¬†That proves to be an incentive to try an unknown restaurant. ¬†We have discovered many hidden gems this way. ¬†I’ll be reviewing must-eat restaurants in London that are part of the taste card group!

This is the home screen of the app:

Image

It allows for easy reference to history, recent search and allows you to search. ¬†I’ve recently searched for afternoon teas – as you can see! ¬†I love good afternoon teas!

If you click on the search tab below, the screen would look like this:

Image

This allows users to make specific searches. ¬†It helps me narrow down¬†restaurants¬†to the¬†cuisine¬†that I feel like eating ūüėČ ¬†(A girl needs what she needs!)

I strongly¬†recommend¬†this app to anyone who has tastecard. ¬†And if you do not have tastecard and live in the UK – you should get an annual subscription now. ¬†It’s usually 30 pounds (on offer). ¬†One of the best inventions in UK!