Category Archives: Hotels

Travel Thursday #8 Seville

RoofHey all, This week we are in Seville, Spain for Travel Thursday. I was there about a month ago now (sorry for late post). I think it is already one of my favourite cities so I will definetly be back. The architecture and scenery all over the city is a architecture fan’s biggest love. Everywhere you look is picture perfect.
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feetBuildingGuitarHotelI was in Seville for less than 48 hours on my way to Portugal. Seville is probably the epitome in Europe of East meets West. You can see the impact of the Moorish influence all over the city. Perfect day is to first walk through the city heading to the Alcazar, (you should pass the Cathedral on your way). When you come out the Alcazar walk in the narrow alleyways and then you should come to Jardins de Murillo, sit, observe and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Once you have recovered from your morning’s walking and sightseeing, then head through the gardens to the Tobacco Factory and onto the Hotel Alfonso XIII for lunch.  The Hotel Alfonso XIII is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever been in. I could share 50 photos here but kept it just to two. Imagine though an old Spanish palace with beautiful long corridors, all decorated with tiles and mosaic from the Moorish era and wonderfully fabulous gardens. This is a must-visit if your in Seville to feel like you stepped back to an era past.

After lunch and relaxation then jump on a horse and carriage outside the hotel and take a tour of Parque de Maria Luisa, this is where the beautiful building of the Plaza Espana is and I can honestly say, that not only is the Parque beautiful the Plaza Espana is magnificent (again could have showed you at least 50 photos).

After your Carriage ride have them drop you off by the Cathedral and head to the hotel EME Fusion Hotel. Take a quick tour of this beautiful boutique hotel before heading to the roof terrace for drinks and watch the sunset over the city, with fabulous views of the Cathedral. After soaking up the best view of Seville head downstairs for dinner at Santo. This is a beautiful design restaurant with Hans Wegner’s wishbone chairs adorn this sophisticated restaurant.  Its a well executed Mediterranean menu so you won’t be disappointed by the food. Be prepared to eat with the best of Seville and you’ll want to take this restaurant back to your hometown. The atmosphere is understatedly hip and the design beautiful and a great jazz duo playing live music.

Yes I love Seville and can’t wait to go back!

Ciao for now xx

 

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Trending Tuesday #8 Ramadan

IMG_5762IMG_5737DSC_1027IMG_5766DSC_1044IMG_5785IMG_5828Hey All, Before Ramadan ends this week I wanted to just tell you all about my first weeks of Ramadan in Dubai. As this blog talks a lot about East and West, this is the one thing I wanted to share with my readers in the Western part of the world. Before I moved to Dubai I had never experienced Ramadan in a Middle Eastern country. Well, my first Ramadan was in winter of Dubai and was actually quite cold in the evenings much different to this time round. It was extremely hot and I was in awe of my friends and family who were fasting in heats of 40-45oc for long hours. Aside from the fasting, Muslims who are participating in Ramadan are able to spend more time with family and friends as well as spend time in prayer and deepening their spiritual enlightenment. For me, in a household where one member of the family is fasting; my Dad, its a time for us to admire his strength during this challenging month and to spend time with friends and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of Ramadan. Dad and I were actually home alone together so I enjoyed cooking for Dad and friends, my key dish this Ramadan and a cooking challenge was Lamb Tagine receipe is here, I hear everyone enjoyed the food…… phew! I also spent time catching up on emails that were long over due and reading my magazines out by the pool in the evenings.

The pictures above show some highlights of Ramadan tents in the One and Only Royal Mirage in Dubai (my favourite hotel as you know from here). One of the favourite things to do in the evenings is to meet with friends at the many tents around the city. My favourite tent was and is always the one at Royal Mirage, gorgeous tent colours with wonderful music and of course the best highlight, Shisha. You can see the from the photos the wonderful tent that has been up at the Royal Mirage and if your in Dubai I can highly advise visiting this gorgeous tent.

Another favourite thing we enjoyed this Ramadan was Freej, I wrote all about the wonderful creative mind behind Freej earlier in Ramadan and I can tell you that the latest series was just amazing with fantastic animation and carefully selected stories for each episode. Once the series is released on DVD with subtitles I’ll be sure to let you know.

As we have reached the end of Ramadan the shopping craziness begins with people buying gifts and new clothes, so on that fashion note here are my go to places for your shopping:

Malaak: For your beautifully designed Abaya, Kaftan and Turban essentials

Liliaya: Their online store currently has some of their wonderful pieces on sale

OTT: Gorgeous Kaftans and items for home are now for sale in selected boutiques

Butik.ae: The Butik is the go-to place for gorgeous one-off pieces

S*uce Gifts have a great money pouch for you to keep all your Eid money in or to gift to another

I hope this has given you all an insight into the wonderful atmosphere that Ramadan creates of spending time with love ones and sending gifts to those that you may not see often but, still are dear enough to you to think of at the special time of year. As I sign off I hope you have all had a wonderful Ramadan and Eid Mubarak to you for the end of the week.

What do you think is special about Ramadan?

Ciao for now

Travel Thursday #7 PCH

DSC_0487DSC_0353DSC_0423DSC_0329DSC_0523DSC_0559DSC_0451DSC_0448DSC_0585DSC_0457DSC_0284The roadtrip on California’s Highway 1 was a dream come true, I had seen a documentary on this trip and had wanted to do this for so long. As you know, I recently had a milestone birthday and to celebrate with my parents, we flew to the West Coast of USA and stayed a few days in LA and you can read all about that on the blog here and here. After LA we headed to Santa Barbara which I totally fell in love with.

However, I had so many photos from this trip that I wanted to show you, I have narrowed it down to the ones above and I hope this gives you a good impression of why PCH is so worth a road trip. We sadly run out of time and didn’t make it to San Francisco but, for sure I will do this trip again from North to South and go all the way to San Diego.

If you want any tips and tricks please leave your comments below and I will fill you in to the best of my knowledge!

Are you road tripping this summer?

Ciao for now xx

Summer essentials

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As you can all see from the blog I have been busy going back and forth between Dubai and Amsterdam but also traveling as and when required. I often don’t have long in one place and therefore try to pack as light as possible and you can see what is in my suitcase right now here on the blog.

My other essentials are my beauty products currently making the cut. I recently received Wolford hand cream which is super nourishing and great for post flight. Of course if your in the sun sunscreen is essential and I am a big fan of Hawaiian Tropic. I also always find my lips get cracked after flying so kiehls lip balm saves the day. As I like to see as much as possible when I m away I love the wallpaper guides because they have all the information in a lightweight little book which easily fits in a clutch bag for when your wondering the city.

What’s your essentials?

Ciao for now xx

Home Away from Home

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A Home away from Home is the definition of a perfect hotel, one where you feel comfortable and want to come back to again and again. Well, in Amsterdam I have found that little gem.! On my last trip I had to put all my stuff in storage and wait for a new perfect place to come up in Amsterdam so meanwhile for my birthday I checked in at the Canal House. Located in the heart of Amsterdam on the Keizergracht, this is an excellent place to stay to be able to enjoy all the best Amsterdam has to offer on your doorstep.

Behind the perfect Amsterdam Canal House exterior lies a serene and beautiful hotel. This was the second time staying here as I have previously stayed here before moving to Germany at New Years Eve. Both times, my rooms have been gorgeously designed and the bathroom’s are so inviting that you want to spend hours in there (I don’t usually take long to get ready). Now, the beds let me tell you about those! When, I have been running around like mad in the day I like nothing more than jumping into bed and at the Canal House they must be the most comfy beds ….. guaranteed a great nights sleep.

If your coming to visit Amsterdam or looking to have a domestic free weekend in the city then I can highly recommend the Canal House, excellent service where the staff can’t do enough for you. They leave an essential guide to whats on in the city as well as other reading material that its possible you never have to leave.

Items in Photos: J Crew Purse, Body by Sandro

Whats the thing you always look for in a hotel?

Ciao for now xx

Malibu and Santa Barbara

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Hi guys, hope you have been enjoying my recent posts on my trip to California. I am currently sitting here reminiscing that this time last week I was spending my last day in LA sitting by the sea in Malibu before heading out on the first leg of my road trip to San Francisco. The road trip began as we traveled for two hours up the coast from Malibu on Highway 1 to Santa Barbara. The scenery was amazing and I absolutely loved driving on the coast, it was a spectacular drive and so unusual to glance to your left and see the Pacific Ocean.

Malibu is my other favourite place to be in LA you can read about the other happy place here, this is because my zen place is always to be by the coast and  listen to the waves. In Malibu you can watch the surfers and paddle boarders which I find fascinating. I have decided I am going to try to master paddle boarding this winter in Dubai. If you saw my first attempt at paddle boarding I think you would be very skeptical about my attempts to conquer this activity but, I will keep you updated on that situation later.If I ever I wasn’t going to live in Dubai you would find me up in the Malibu hills over looking the ocean (yes, this is my dream).

If you’re in Malibu I would highly recommend going to Gladstones for lunch or dinner. The location is fantastic right next to the Ocean where Sunset meets the PCH. Sitting above a very un-populated beach; either come and sunbathe prior or after your lunch. I would suggest after, so you can eat as much as possible and then fall in to a food-coma lying on the gorgeous California beach. While I was at Gladstones I indulged in the shrimp taco’s which were delicious and somehow had a taste that lingered on your tongue for hours and even made me crave more days later. I also recommend the cobb salad which to me is quite an American salad as I don’t find it on menu’s elsewhere, do you? The cobb salad was given its own Gladstones twist which makes it less heavy and a light summer salad, how LA! I could go on and on about Gladstones but, I think you have to go and try it for yourselves.

After our lunch there was no chance to sunbathe as we had to jump in the car and head to Santa Barbara, As I have already said and will tell you lots of times how great the scenery is. Once we reached Santa Barbara we took a walk along the beach and you can see the pictures here. This is one of my favourite things to do when I am in Dubai but the great thing on the West Coast is that the beaches go for miles. so you can walk your heart out.

Santa Barbara is a quaint Oceanside town with a laid back atmosphere where life is happening but, at a slower place than elsewhere. So, come up-to Santa Barbara kick back, enjoy the scenery and indulge in good food and super friendly people. When your bored of the beach and harbour head to the town and walk in and out of the little shops and boutiques.

While I was in Santa Barbara I stayed at a beautiful hotel called Oceana Santa Barbara. Located on Cabrillo Boulevard; its the perfect location for the beach and harbour area but also only a short walk to the town centre. The hotel was re-designed in 2008 but what I loved about the design was the mix of the Mexican/Spanish influence and the colonial look. Gorgeous seating areas are located sporadically throughout the property under palm tree’s and blue skies what more could you ask for? Beach cruisers are complimentary for two hours and I wish I would have had time to indulge in an exploratory bike ride at a slower pace than city biking in Amsterdam.

Once again I have another food recommendation for you; Toma. An absolutely wonderful restaurant where most ingredients are sourced locally. Speaking of locally sourced products if you’re looking to try some good California wine there is plenty to try here at Toma. As for the menu, there are traditional Italian dishes on the menu but, each has their own individual twist. Toma has recently re-opened 8 weeks ago and outside the restaurant the decoration is beautiful whilst the interior is inviting and cozy. The staff is very friendly, we didn’t have a reservation and yet they couldn’t do enough to accommodate us furthermore, they are so knowledgable of their food as well as the local area that eating at Toma is a real dining experience. Head here for dinner and I assure you won’t be disappointed.

All I can say as I type this post from London is, I wish I was back on the West Coast exploring Malibu and Santa Barbara all over again. For the foodies who read the posts this is really the place to go if you’re looking to indulge in some extraordinary dining experiences. As soon as I can be back I will be.

I wore: Pants: Zara, Top: HM Nederland, Scarf: Mille Rostock

Do you have other great restaurants to recommend in this area? If so write them in the comment box.

So Santa Barbara and Malibu are definitely ‘Sojustnice’

Ciao for now xx

Travel Thursday #6 Venice and Santa Monica

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Hey all, well this is the first post of quite a few from my recent trip to the West Coast of America. If you follow me on twiiter or instagram then you would know I did a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Well, I didn’t make it to San Francisco as I ran out of time so I will be back soon and starting from north to south next time.

Here is a post on one of my favourite areas of Los Angeles; Venice and Santa Monica. What I love about Venice is the scenery and the people watching. I can spend hours sitting on the Venice boardwalk just watching people and being a little nosy and listening in on people’s conversations. When I go to Venice I love to go to Danny’s Deli as they have the best French Toast….. just so you get the picture, imagine sitting in the sun watching skate boarders go by and surfers coming back from their morning surf and then digging into french toast tossed with fresh fruit …. yes this is the best way to spend a morning!

Following filling your tummy walk along the Board Walk and head onto the beach to do some more people watching. All along the boardwalk there are street performers and plenty of kitch shops to keep you enterained. My favourite thing though about being in Venice is to look at all the houses on the beach front and then walk up South Venice Boulevard and head towards the Venice Canals. In my opinion this is the most architecturally stylish area in Los Angeles, the houses are all so different and it is quiet which makes it the most relaxing place to walk around. If you guys love Californication as much as I do you’ll know Hank and Becca often take walks around the canals …. I guess also because they sometimes need time out from their slightly crazy lives.

After my morning stroll it was time to head to Santa Monica, and I went via Shutters on the beach ….. this is one of the most elegant hotels that has an old colonial feel to it. I like to spend my meal times in hotel lounges and the best thing about this one is that you can sit on the terrace delve into a delicious burger with a cocktail and an uniterrupted view of Santa Monica pier. After lunch, walk up and down the pier and take in the atmosphere and if you have time chill out on a bench and sit and listen to the sea. I don’t know if you guys have a happy place but mine is listening to the rythm of the waves and I also love the salty smell of the sea so for me I could spend a couple of hours doing nothing here.

From the pier you can head onto 3rd Street Promenade which is a mini shopping heaven. Head to Bloomigdales and Barney’s of New York in the mini mall area and then head to Kitson for cute gift ideas and gorgeous t-shirts. Recently I have been going crazy for t-shirts because they are so simple and paired with my skinny jeans they just make the perfect outfit.

After this, cross the road  walk down 3rd street and wonder in and out of stores and try if you can to keep your credit card in your wallet. After you’ve done enough shopping on 3rd, then head to my shopping must-stop; Fred Segal. This must be one of the best concept stores I have ever been too. Whenever, I am in LA I make a bee-line for this store and usually spend at least an hour in the fitting rooms because they are so many amazing brands, IRO, Isabel Marant, Helmut Lang and JET to name a few. This time I picked up some t-shirts and a great pair of limited design Nike’s …. I  m sure you’ll see them on the blog soon.

Aside from these essentials I recommend just walking and cruising in your car around both Venice and Santa Monica. There are so many places to see and the street art in Venice is inspiring and for the European eye it has a retro feel that makes it feel so different. Next time I promise to bring you a whole new set of photos to show you just how diverse the area is. One thing is for sure though I won’t miss my french toast 😉

Have you been to Venice or Santa Monica or do you live there? Send me and other readers your tips and tricks in the comments box.

T-shirt by  Sandro, Hat: Venice Boardwalk

Ciao for now xx