When I think wine country and wine tasting, it conjours up thoughts and memories of blue skies, hot sunny days, being surrounded by lush green hills and scenic mountains and of course, delicious wine. So when Mike suggested we go wine tasting in England, I didnt know what to expect to be honest. I’d never gone to a vineyard in England before so I was curious and excited. So last week, off we went with my brother in law and another friend of ours, to http://www.denbies.co.uk, in Dorking. Its about an hour or so out of London so we left home around 11am and got to Dorking just in time for lunch. We stopped in at a lovely pub with very warm welcoming service. The food there was so good. (I had bangers and mash and the boys had a steak pie).
After that delicious, and much needed, lunch, we took a walk to Denbies Wine Estate. As soon as we got to the entrance of the estate, I knew we would love it there. We were greeted by the lush green vines and the fresh air up there is great. First up we went on a train tour of the estate with a stop or 2 to take in the incredible views and have a complimentary glass of bubbly. The weather was warm and sunny so we were in our element. I highly recommend the train tour especially in summer.
Next we had the actual wine tasting. It starts off with a video about the estates history (with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine). At first, I must admit, I thought to myself “is this the tasting?” “a glass of bubbly?” But luckily, it was not! There was a proper tasting downstairs in the wine cellar. It was conducted by a bubbly, friendly guy from Denbies. we sampled 4 different types of their wine. Some I liked more than others, but that’s the point, theres something for everyone. It was a great, boozy afternoon spent in beautiful surroundings, with some of my favourite people. It really is worth a visit. Get your favourite people together, pack yourselves in car and take a drive to Dorking. you will have the best time. (you might not fully remember it all, but a good time nonetheless;))
I hope I have inspired you to take a little road trip with your besties, family and friends to this little hidden gem in Dorking. Such a charming town that not only brings you this great winery but also a slice of countryside heaven. Lets go wine tasting hunnies X
We all know the feeling of dieting and working out trying to get bikini ready, in time for summer or that long awaited vacation. We aim to eat better and tone those muscles so that those tiger stripes on our thighs and buttocks magically disappear. Unfortunately though, that’s not how it works and there are a few necessary requirements/tips to feeling better about stretch marks and cellulite.
Now I know that most of us (including myself), are constantly in search for that miracle cream or procedure that will banish our cellulite /stripes forever. Theres good and bad news with this. Lets get the bad news out of the way. There is no permanent or quick solution! Be it due to genetics, weight loss/gain or simply the fact that its perfectly normal to have them (its a part of being human, and beautiful humans at that), stretchies and cellulite are here to stay and we do have to realise that we are beautiful with or without them.
Having said that (and I do believe its so important to take that on board), if you feel more confident in your bikini with a little help from a cream or a squat, then I’m here for it too. Just as makeup makes us feel a tad more confident as it accentuates the beauty that we all already have, so too do these products /tricks i’m sharing with you now.
Ok lets get into it!
Starting/maintaining a good skincare routine is key anyway but keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised is very important to the overall look of it. I stumbled upon Nivea Skin Firming lotion a few months ago and (in conjunction with a few other things (coming below)), I really have noticed a difference to my skin with cellulite. I love the rich texture of the lotion and my skin really feels soft and moisturised afterwards and while im not sure if I noticed a significant difference in 2 weeks (as per the bottle), I have noticed a difference after a few weeks. Its packed with Vitamin C and Q10 which is brilliant for skin brightening and anti wrinkle treatment. They do have one that gradually adds a tan to your skin but I did not love it to be honest. the color is too yellow for me and it leaves awful streaks when its wearing off. (im still washing off the streaks so I would avoid the tan option).
2. The Cream
I also came across, and use religiously everyday, the Nivea Firming and Goodbye Cellulite cream/lotion. This promised to “firm and reduce the appearance of cellulite” in 3 weeks. I use this twice a day, and have been for about 3 months now and iv got to say, while I can’t say for sure if it did anything in exactly 3 weeks, it has definitely made my cellulite look slightly better, my skin does appear slightly lifted and more firm in the thigh/bum area so I am really loving this.
I must also mention that I do also use a combo of Rosehip and Marula oil to these areas as well and I think all these together have changed the appearance of my skin.
3. The Fit
Most of us don’t really think about it but the fit of a bikini is so important to how we look and feel in it. A well fitted bikini can provide that slight lift that we need. I have found that getting a bikini bottom that fits just right, will give you an instant butt lift which will not only make your bum look great but it will also lessen the appearance of cellulite which you may have, because as it gently lifts the skin, it will look smoother. For me, finding the perfect bikini bottoms has been a bit of trial and error. But once you’ve found the styles you like, you will find it much easier to go shopping for bikinis and have fun while doing it:)
4. The Cover-Up
Foundation covers a few things right? Before using this product that im about share, I used a bit of foundation over my stretch marks but they’re not really waterproof or work as well. Dermablend Professional Leg and Body Makeup is really great at covering up “imperfections”. It is a bit thick, so a little really does go a long way but that really helps to create a smooth effect to the skin and even out skin as well. Its used by professionals for those “airbrushed” photoshoots etc so you can believe this stuff works!
Those are my top tricks for “getting bikini ready”. I have scaled back on using the makeup as often when im on vacay etc, only because I really do believe that confidence does come from within and we all do need to love the skin we’re in and be comfortable in it. So while I love using these, and they are amazing, remember it all starts on the inside and no amount of makeup will “make up” for any inadequacies we feel deep down. Work on the inside as much (if not more), as you do the outside:)
Don’t forget to hit follow on here to keep updated on new posts and to stand a chance to win frequent giveaways like these products mentioned in this post and others.
Does wearing less, actually get you more (followers) on social media?
So many people, especially young women, think its a resounding “YES”. The answer, however, is both Yes and No. Girls/women with less clothes on their social media pages may get an increase in following in the beginning. They may even increase their following at a quicker rate, however without fresh content, without content that not only grabs the user’s attention, but also provides value to them, that they can benefit from in their own lives, without this, those followers won’t be long lasting and you will be back to where you started.
Ever seen those beauty pages with a large following? Some may have started with posting pictures of how beautiful they are, but soon transitioned to adding value to their followers.What do I mean by this? In order to keep people interested in your page and your content, in order for them to keep invested and engaging with you, your content has to be helpful/useful to them in some way. So lets use this beauty page example. If you love all things beauty and makeup, as I do, we don’t just want to follow people who post images of themselves with flawless makeup do we? No, I personally, would like to know how they get that look. What are the techniques and products that they use etc. This helps me to purchase those products and try using their techniques to better my own makeup skills. This keeps me engaged with their content and invested in their page.
I think the mistake we make sometimes, is forgetting that to be successful on Instagram, you have to see it as a job. It’s an industry like any other and we need to treat it as such if we aim to make a living through it.
So what should your immediate next steps be? I would suggest opening up your social media page now, and take a holistic view at it. But this time, look at it through the lens of the viewer/follower and ask yourself if this page gives you anything back? Do you come away from looking at it feeling more calm, happy, confident, more knowledgable etc etc. Does it add to your (daily) life in some way?. People respond more/better to people (and social media pages), that they can relate to and feel they get something out of. Being authentic and rawis also very important. Especially since Covid has hit us all, we all want to feel connected to real people who understand us and offer us hope and inspiration.
Pages with influencers posting about their insecurities or motivation to feel confident in your own skin, for example, has become hugely popular. And while followers don’t necessarily come away with special offers or product news etc, they do come away feeling more confident, more understood and less alone. This is providing and in turn getting value.
For anyone reading this, thinking, I don’t know what to post or how to change direction to offer more value, think about your niche (we chatted about this in a previous post) and then ask yourself what you would like to see on a page with that niche.
If you would like an extra eye, use the contact form/page and let me know your handle and ill try to take a look and let you know my thoughts:)
I hope you have a slightly better understanding of the difference between instant “fame” and long lasting growth. You don’t need to wear less, to get more.Be authentic, be of value and they will find you and love you more for it.
Its nearly a year now and we are still on lockdown in some form or other in all parts of the world. Apart from the very unsettling and worrying instability of health, jobs etc, lockdown also comes with boredom, isolation, and, in many places around the world, no access to gyms currently. So without any kind of structure, at the moment, how can we stay/keep fit and sane during this frustrating period?
Iv never really been a gym fanatic just because I like the outdoors and I travel a fair bit so I have always tried to keep my workout routine as flexible for my lifestyle as possible. I’m mainly a jogger, I love the outdoors and fresh air and wherever I am in the world…running allows for me to still keep up with my workout routine.
But there’s only so much running one can do and we do need to add other things to our routine to get better benefits and better balance.
I find that these are such a great addition to my workout. You can pretty much work out every muscle using these. These have definitely replaced my dumbbell workouts as I find that I am able to adjust the angle of the pull which works out different muscles than the dumbbell would. They are also much more cost effective than other equipment and/or a gym contract and very importantly , for me, they are so compact and easy to store and carry with you wherever you go.
I have not always been into yoga and if I’m totally honest, initially I did feel like it was more of a trend and a trendy thing to do haha. But once I got into it, I really did start to enjoy it and see the benefits, not only from a fitness perspective but a mental one as well. Again, like with the resistance bands, a yoga mat is all you need which makes it so easy to do wherever you go.
This one is probably the toughest for me and at first, not at all relaxing :-D. The point of meditation is to clear your mind and be still in the moment. This is just not that easy though. My mind wanders, im a daydreamer, an over thinker, always have been, so when I close my eyes in an attempt to meditate, I start thinking about anything and everything. The key I have found, is to keep at it. To focus on each breath, or the flame of a candle. And eventually it gets easier and leaves you feeling more focussed, calmer and in control. In these difficult, painfully uncertain times, this is a much needed addition to many of our lives. The great thing about meditation is that you don’t need any equipment or memberships etc, all you need is some time and a quiet space.
This is such a simple “ritual” that I have added to my days but it has given me, much needed, respite in what has been, and continues to be, an extremely stressful and difficult time. I LOVE TEA! So having tea during my day is nothing new but where I would rush through my cups of tea while doing a million different things, I now treat my tea time as a “ritual”. This is now a time for me, and I try to just enjoy the tea (and maybe a cookie:)), with no work or any of the pressures of life on my mind for these few minutes. I so look forward to it everyday and it really does make me feel calmer and re-energised afterwards.
5> Lets Go Outside
Nothing beats fresh air and the peace that comes with being outside in nature. If you are able to go for a hike or walk along the beach etc, wonderful! For me, those are some of the most peaceful moments in life. But if not, just walking outside or in a park or even along the riverside, can make all the difference, both physically as well as mentally. So put on your walking shoes, get outside and think about nothing else but all the things, big or small, that you have to be grateful for:)
Those are some of my best and most effective ways staying fit and sane during this awful, stressful time.
Hard lockdown in South Africa is over and the country has opened its borders from October 01 2020. My next post was meant to be on London but with the opening up of SA borders and the hard hit tourism industry (as with most countries), I decided to tell you about one of my favourite cities in the world… Cape Town (aka the mother city)!
I had the privilege of living in this beautiful city for about 5 years and I LOVED it. Of all the places that I have lived in SA, Cape Town tops my list. While there are countless things to do and places to see in this part of the world, I’m going to narrow down my “absolutes” for you.
As most of us are aware, SA does have its challenges as far as safety and crime is concerned, so to be aware and careful wherever you go in the world, is something we should all do. Having said that, many people who have never been to SA, do sometimes have the misconception that its all crime, and danger lurks at every corner etc, this has not been my experience at all. Cape Town is arguably the safest city in the country. Its also, in my opinion, the most beautiful. Its also the food and style, not to mention wine capital of the country. Speaking of food, lets explore where to get some great food in the Mother city…
This is one of, if not, my most favourite restaurant in Cape Town. Mike took me to the one in Franschhoek for my birthday a few years ago. Everything from starters to dessert is unforgettable. A main course averages around GBP 10 and is worth every penny.
This is one of the best restaurants in the country winning awards every year, and once you taste the food, you will see why! This is fine dining at its best, with a warm, friendly atmosphere that makes you feel right at home. The food is a gastronomic adventure of flavours, creativity and style. Needless to say the wine pairing is phenomenal and I loved every glass:) I would definitely recommend visiting La Petite either on a romantic night out or with family /friends who appreciate good food and wine as much as you do. Mike and I went with family and friends, also from the UK, and what a great night! In part because of the great food and also because of the amazing company. A night to remember:)
Cape Town is known for having some of the best, freshest seafood anywhere. Whatever part of the city you find yourself in, you will not be short of options for seafood. I have tried quite a few places and as hard as it was, iv narrowed down my favourite for you in terms of taste, price and location (easy to find and get to). Baia can be found in the iconic V&A Waterfront Shopping Centre. The waterfront is a must see in and of itself so I figure kill 2 birds with 1 stone right? Check out all the waterfronts attractions before sitting down to the best seafood dinner in town. I must especially recommend the Prawns and their Creme Brûlée for dessert.. to die for.
If you are looking for something a little hotter, spicier, I have just the spot for you. Now a little side note for all you curry lovers, CT is not known for great Indian curries. I have tried a few and its really quite a mission to find authentic “Durban style” curry in this city. I did though 😀 Theres a shopping centre in Big bay, blouberg. The Seaside Village shopping centre is a lovely little centre in the seaside town of Big bay, blouberg. This is where you will find a little takeaway “Indian Xpress”. Run by a young couple, who cook the food themselves everyday, this little place is a spicy secret spot few know about…until now:). Their menu consists of biryani, lamb and chicken curries, bunny chows (for more info on the bunny chow check out my post on Durban, KZN), samoosa, pickles and soft, freshly made roti. And I would recommend them all!
So that makes my list of SOME of my must visit restaurants in CT. There are so many options and so much to say on each one but iv got to watch the word count here haha. Feel free to also leave your comments below on your experiences and recommendations if you are/have been to the mother city. Now that we are fed and full lets go exploring:)
Cape Town has some of the most gorgeous wine estates in the world. And needless to say the wine is some of the best vino you will find anywhere. My favourite wine estates are in Franschhoek. This entire area is so beautiful, peaceful, whatever your worries, this place will take them away or at least make you forget about them for just enough time so that your mind and body can recharge and rest. I would recommend doing the tram wine tours so that 1) you don’t have to drive or have a designated driver between wineries and 2) you get to explore all the wineries you want with the tour guides having done all the research for you. The tram tour will take you to each winery, drop you off and pick you up in about an hour or so. You can choose to skip a winery and catch the next tram if you would like to spend more time at a particular estate. Mike and my favourite winery is the La Motte Wine Estate. It is incredibly beautiful, the scenery is stunning and the food at their signature restaurant is sensational with the friendliest staff. If you can only do one wine farm, la Motte is it.
Constantia is another lovely area with a few must visit wineries. Groot Constantia Estate is my choice when I am in that part of wine country. It is a well known and much loved winery within SA and internationally with many of their fantastic bottles being exported around the world. Their wines are spectacular with their port being my all time favourite (make sure to buy a few bottles to take back home with you to your part of the world).
Now that we have enjoyed the best of food and wine, lets go for a little walk…
Table Mountain is arguably the most iconic landmark of South Africa and the most photographed attraction. It has also been named one of the natural wonders of the world. I must admit, initially when I got to CT, I was like “its a mountain, what’s the big deal?” But after experiencing the view from up there and having climbed up Lions Head (the mountain between table mountain and signal hill), I quickly became an unofficial self appointed spokesperson with everyone I met:-p If you’re a regular hiker, the climb up Table Mountain will be amazing for you but for most of us, Lions Head is just the right amount of “challenge”. The view from the top of both mountains are jaw dropping, Table Mountain taking the win of course. I must remind you to try the breakfast at the restaurant that’s right on top of Table Mountain. Its been a while since iv been, so I can’t vouch for it being as good as I remember, to be honest, but the experience alone is worth it.
Lets Take a Drive
The Garden Route provides a gorgeous 300 km coastline between Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay..one of South Africa’s most popular holiday destinations. Travelers love this drive for many reasons, a few being the ancient forests, rivers and lakes, pristine beaches, mountains and fynbos. Take a road trip stopping at quaint little towns, taking in all that this popular route has to offer. It will be one you will remember forever.
Chapmans Peak drive road is on the Atlantic Coast on the south-western tip of South Africa. It is said to be one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world, and I can attest to that! The views on this road are simply breathtaking and rival any world class destination. Top Gear show did a show /drive on this road and raved about it. Considering they have driven on every road imaginable, that is quite a compliment. There is a small fee payable to take this drive but well worth it. It will be the best drive you’ll ever take!
Alright Hunnies, these are my must see places when visiting the Mother City. Let me know your favourites and your experiences too. I hope you love and enjoy Cape Town as much as I have.
As I type this post I am so relaxed, and im actually going to start this off by summarising this entire vacation and experience in Turkey with these few words “BEST VACATION EVER!”
So we decided on this trip quite last minute, actually Mike surprised me with it. With the entire pandemic which has taken its toll on everybody, we were both quite exhausted and could definitely use a break. Mike booked everything and we packed and left for Antalya, Turkey in just 2 days (I did tell you guys im a master packer, read my previous post on India for my packing tips https://soltravelblogcom.wordpress.com/2020/03/05/welcome-to-sol-travels/).
I had no idea where we were going, what it would look like etc, only that I would need a few gorgeous bikinis:). Its a 4 hour flight from London until landing in sun kissed Turkey. The airport was relatively easy to navigate through and as its still quiet on the travel front, it was not busy and getting our luggage was a breeze (waiting on luggage can be a right pain). Our taxi was waiting outside, friendly driver met us with a warm welcome and couple bottles of cold water (which was needed in that heat). The drive to the hotel is short, just about 30 minutes or less. And finally we arrive at our amazing hotel https://www.barutlara.com
I loved the hotel from the moment we walked in. A huge, over-the-top flower arrangement greets you at the entrance. Check in was relatively straightforward, a bit more paperwork currently because of covid. The Lara Barut Collection Hotel is an all inclusive hotel (with fantastic deals on at the moment), so this means that the price paid is an all in price incl. all meals at all 9 restaurants, all drinks, mini bar etc. its all included in the price paid once off. The hotel has 9 restaurants, a few beach bars, great night entertainment, a beach that feels like you’re lying on your own private island, a jogging trail, water aerobics, entertainment areas for kids &&&. The rooms are luxurious and comfy with everything provided that you could possibly need for your trip including slippers and lush bath robes not to mention the chocolate on your pillow every night.
Breakfast is an elaborate spread catering for whatever your craving on any particular morning could be. They have everything from eggs, beans to pancakes and waffles to healthier options like granola and yoghurt and my favourites – cake and cookies. Breakfast takes place at the Main Restaurant in the Hotel. Service of food is buffet style with the friendly staff always there with whatever drinks you would like. We always sat outside on the terrace overlooking the pool. The weather EVERY day that we were there was brilliant so dining outside day or night is heaven.
I started this post off by saying that we were in desperate need of some R&R and that’s exactly what we got. This resort is just perfect for the type of relaxed, laid back “hakuna matata” type break that we were looking for. There are, of course, taxis available at any time to take you out exploring other parts of the area but we did not do one bit of that. Our entire vacation was spent laying by the pool, laying on the beach, lounging around the pool bars, eating and drinking – LOTS of drinking. And La Barut is such a stunning place for this type of laid back vacation. Of course, as I mentioned, there are lots of activities for those wanting a bit more going on but Iv gotta say, having some time off doing nothing but laying around in a bikini with the love of my life, eating and drinking our days away, was amazing. (ps. for more info on any of my bikinis, i’ll be adding my favourites of the trip and where you can get them from on the travel shop).
There are 9 beautiful restaurants in the resort from the main restaurant (buffet) to seafood, sushi, fine dining, authentic turkish and the list goes on. The one piece of advice I would give though is to book a reservation for dinner, in advance (2 days or more), or you will not get any space at any of these and will only be able to have dinner at the main (buffet) restaurant, which is still beautiful but part of the experience is tasting the various cuisines so I would stress calling down to customer relations on arrival and book for the remainder of your stay. They do have an app to book through but it doesn’t always work as well so i would rather do it through customer relations.
We spent a glorious week, on what felt like a paradise island or heaven as I like to call it 🙂 I was genuinely so sad to leave. Our flight was really early, about 8:20am so we left the hotel about 6am. The airport, iv gotta say was a bit of a chaotic, stressful experience as there are now new forms to fill before traveling back from Turkey so please make sure that you guys go to the website and fill out this form before you need to leave Turkey so that its done and ready. Once you complete the form on the website, you will receive a reference number and this is what they need to see at the airport in Turkey, prior to departure. We had a reminder on the plane on landing in Turkey but forgot to complete it so was a bit of a rush completing it before check in when we were leaving. The form is a bit lengthy, especially if you’re doing it in a bit of a hurry so please try to get that done and out the way before you plan to leave Turkey. https://visas-immigration.service.gov.uk/public-health-passenger-locator-form
The airport itself was not crazy busy but there are quite a few check points etc so make sure to get there early enough to have enough time to go through all the security clearances etc and get a good coffee before boarding:)
All in all I can’t say enough wonderful things about La Barut hotel, the people of Turkey and my vacation. If you’re thinking of getting away and spending a little time in the sun, iv gotta say that I cant think of better memories than that time when I was Tanned & Tipsy in Turkey.
Dear South South Africa, where do I begin? How do I describe, adequately, in just one post all the things that I want the world to know about you. Your strength, resilience and untold beauty..
I was born and raised in South Africa (Durban, Kwazulu Natal to be precise). I then moved and lived in Johannesburg (the city of Gold) before moving to magical Cape Town as well for a while. South Africa has many provinces and I have had the privilege of living in all 3 of the major ones.
Each place that I have lived in has had its own unique charms and quirks that made them all keep a piece of my heart. Theres far too much to cover in one post so I have decided to divide my posts about SA into 3 parts ie. Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban.
Lets start with Durban. No matter how old I get or how far away I’m living on the other side of the world, Durban will always have a piece of me. All of my best childhood memories (and not so good ones) , my family and history, are all tied to this beautiful city. First off let me tell you about the food. If you try nothing else when visiting there, you must try the Durban curries and specifically a “bunny chow”. This authentically Durban dish is hollowed out bread filled with a curry and then topped with the bread that you scooped out. On the face of it, it may sound a bit strange but it is a must try. (Mike thought the idea sounded a bit weird but really enjoyed it when he tried one). The fruit in Durban is insane and some of the best you will ever find anywhere in the world. Mangoes, lychee, strawberries, apples, bananas, kiwi and the list goes on. They are so sweet and full of flavour that even I don’t mind having them as dessert (I hate fruit for dessert).
I haven’t really eaten out all that often when visiting Durban as its usually visiting with family so there is always ample amounts of food 😉 but some of my favourite restaurants that I have been to and really enjoyed the evening at, both food and service have been 1) Bel Punto
Mike and I went here after a football match that we watched at the sibaya casino and entertainment centre. (Man Utd & Liverpool if you’re wondering::). The bread was so good and the food was just as easy to tuck into. We had the pasta and King prawns which were just amazing. Dessert was a cheesecake that we shared (we couldn’t manage 1 each with all the food we’d eaten by then). The service was warm and friendly, really comfortable easy going setting with quality food at good prices. The restaurant is on the beach in Umdloti so there are great views.
This restaurant has stunning views of the Indian Ocean and serves up a bistro style menu to its customers. I loved its casual, alfresco style and sitting outside on the terrace, overlooking the ocean, cocktail in hand, was blissful. (you will need to share your views with the seagulls, who are slightly in the way sometimes but its not a big deal. We are on their territory after all;)). The menu has something for everyone from fish and chips to English breakfasts, each one as delicious so make sure to treat yourself while on your Durban vacation.
Ushaka Marine World is a 16 hectare theme park consisting of, amongst other attractions, the beach, sea world, the aquarium, wet n wild park etc. There are many options to choose from when it comes to food including Cargo Hold Restaurant which is a restaurant aboard a cargo ship. Once seated your are surrounded by the sea creatures in their tanks which gives you the feeling of being under the sea yourself. A must for me when I visit, is Moyo restaurants Pier Bar . Pier Bar is a beach bar at the end of the newly revamped pier. Apart from the delicious cocktails and fun jam jars, the bar has incredible views as you are surrounded by the ocean while sipping the afternoon away. The average cocktail is around GBP 3-3.50 / $4-5 (and they’re really good cocktails too:))
The Bunny Chow, as iv mentioned, is a Durban favourite for both locals and visitors alike. There are a huge number of places that you can find this Durban classic dish at but there are 2 in particular (that I have tried and know of) that are especially fantastic. Orientals restaurant at the Workshop Shopping centre serves up freshly made bunny chows that are as tasty as you are going to find in Durban. Its not the fanciest place you will ever eat in but most places that serve bunny chows, (the really good ones anyway), rarely are. Here, as in most of the authentic bunny chow takeaways and restaurants, its not about frills and fancies, but the focus is on that good flavour filled Durban food that most of us love. Right, enough with all these words, lets get to the best bunny chow spot (in my opinion). Goundens at 520 Umbilo Rd & Deodar Ave, Glenwood, Durban does arguably Durbans best bunny chow, according to the locals. The mutton bunny in particular seems to be their most popular so I’m saying please try them out😀 Either of these “bunny” spots should give you a fantastic Durban bunny chow experience.
Now on to one of the most magical places in KZN. The Drakensberg Mountains. How I truly love this place. I have so many wonderful memories of my family and I (I mean ALL of us , cousins, aunts, uncles etc) driving from my aunts house (they lived about an hour away) to Drakensberg. We spent many many hours at a time here. Its such a peaceful magical place filled with walking and hiking trails, ponds and lakes, picnic spots and breathtaking scenery. Its the type of holiday or weekend getaway that will stay with you forever. Its equally stunning in winter as it is in summer – in different ways. In winter there’s snuggling up by the fireplace, smores and making snow angels while the summer lets you braai (South African for “barbecue” and picnic in the mountains, hike and take romantic walks and dinner under the stars. I can’t think of anything better quite honestly.
Yes, South Africa has many problems. Thats not a secret by any means. And it certainly has gained a reputation for the land of crime and corruption, poverty, to name a few. And this is partly true, it does have all these issues, but that’s just a fraction of what people hear about and see. South Africa has another side, one that’s not reported about because its not sensational enough I would assume. The side of her that’s generous and houses a nation of some of the most resilient people you will ever meet. A nation that has overcome insurmountable odds to overcome oppression and great divides to emerge as the rainbow nation it is today. SA rivals any other vacation destination in the world with scenery and beauty you will never forget. This is a nation of some of the friendliest people in the world, with hardships, trials and sorrow but what shines is their hope and tenacity. Yes, South Africa is a country deeply flawed but even within those flaws, despite them, she has a magic…one that I hope everyone can be lucky enough to experience at least once. SA is beauty, she is strength, she is a survivor, and even though im not there..she will always be mine! #MySouthAfrica
Mauritius…my absolute favourite vacation to date. Yes I have been to some amazing places so far, France, Disneyworld, NYC, India and the list goes on but this beautiful island took a piece of my heart. Mauritius was the very first proper vacation that Mike and I took together (admittedly that plays a part in making this such a special vacation for me). He met me at the airport straight after work, they were just about ready to close the boarding gates just as Mike arrived (usual hahaha). We rushed onto the plane and strapped ourselves into our seats just in time for take off. Next stop…paradise island!
I didn’t plan any aspect of the vacation so Mauritius would be a whole new adventure for me. We landed, it was definitely one of, if not the easiest airport experiences iv had to date. We only had hand luggage (beach vacations don’t require a lot of clothing so we packed light;-), our car was waiting for us when we got out of the airport so it was as easy as could be. I remember so clearly, getting out of the airport and feeling the sun on my face and that tropical breeze that was so familiar to me having grown up in Durban.
The drive to the hotel was about 30-40 minutes long. Finally we got to the hotel. (if you follow /read my blog and previous posts, you will see that I use this sentence ALOT. Im not the biggest fan of long car rides etc, I would prefer to click my heels and on the count of 3, arrive at my destination). We arrive at the stunning Intercontinental Balaclava Resort, which has again been voted as one of the best hotels in Mauritius. And for good reason too, as this place is breathtaking. From the moment we arrive the service is brilliant. Our bags are promptly taken from the car to our room, check in was seamless with a welcome signature fruity tamarind cocktail, that was delicious. The entrance where we sat sipping on the cocktails and signing in for check in, overlooked the ocean, and if you aren’t in vacation mode when you get there, the sound and smell of the ocean will definitely put you in the mood. Our room was beautiful, modern, spacious with a work area as well as a little coffee area to enjoy our morning brew together and we overlooked the ocean so we were able to sit on the balcony enjoying the island breeze and magical views.
The resort itself is set up in such way that you actually never have to leave the area. If you are looking for a vacation filled with lazy days at the beach/pool, great food in all directions (seafood, Indian, Chinese etc), romantic walks and if you want to explore further out, easy to hire cabs to take you wherever you need to get to, this place has it all.
First lets talk food. Our favourite restaurant there was The Segala, a Mediterranean restaurant that served great food including the freshest seafood you can get. We also quite enjoyed our experience at Veda, an Indian restaurant that had delicious Indian food that definitely hits the spot if you are craving a bit of spice:). There are 2 bars at the resort but Sugar Cane Bar quickly became our hang out spot with evening cocktails, live music and lots of laughs. I can remember those nights like it was yesterday. They were perfect, a moment in time that ill never forget.
We spent a lot of time laying on the beach and by the pool, having cocktails and eating hahaha. Usually I would like to see more as just laying on the beach all day, doesn’t really do it for me, but there’s something about the energy of Mauritius and the never-ending views that you easily get lost in, that makes the entire experience peaceful and serene. Just what we all could use at various points in our lives, given how crazy life can be.
One of the must see attractions of Mauritius is of course Chamarels 7 colored earth. Its a natural phenomenon and a huge tourist attraction. Its a small area of sand dunes consisting of seven colours (red, yellow, brown, blue, purple, violet and green). Whats more fascinating is the fact that if you mix the colored sands together, they’ll eventually settle back into separate layers. Its quite special to see. Make sure to try and visit at sunrise as that the best time to see it. Theres also a kids play area and giant tortoises on the premises if you have little ones.
We couldn’t leave Mauritius without visiting the most important /sacred place for hindus..the Ganga Talao lake. It boasts one of the largest statues in the world, of the hindu God Shiva. It really is a sight to see. When I first heard of it, to be honest I thought “eh, its just another statue, just bigger” but standing in front of it, in the surreal setting of the lake etc is quite a special, sacred experience. When you enter Ganga Talao, you see a huge beautiful on the lake /water. People travel from all over the country and the world to visit the lake. There is something (dare I say it), “magical” and sacred about this place. If nothing else it definitely takes you out of the hustle and bustle of life and gets you to be present and appreciate the moment.
Lets go out tonight…
As I mentioned, we were happy beach bums on this trip for the most part. We did, however go out for dinner in town and then drinks (a bit of bar hopping) afterwards. I cannot for the life of me remember any of the names of the bars or the restaurant for that matter (except the manager/owner of the restaurant offered us a little drink with him just as we were leaving. It was so strong I couldn’t finish it so I palmed it off to Mike:)). That was just the beginning of the night, its all a blur from there hahaha. I can recommend one of the best beach bars and must go to places in Mauritius, Grand Baie to be precise. So don’t worry I still got you covered. The Beach House is a casual bar with a touch of elegance to it. As the name suggests its set on the beach so the views while sipping on cocktails (which are really really REALLY good here), are breathtaking. I would recommend visiting here for cocktails and snacks. The main dishes here are ridiculously expensive in my opinion so I wouldn’t recommend blowing your meal budget here for rather basic pub food. The cocktails though are divine and well worth it.
Mauritius is such a magical place. Its perfect for families, people wanting to get away and get some time to themselves and of course couples. Its one of the most romantic places. The hotel and staff were amazing even organising a little something special with roses, bubbly etc in our room to welcome us. Every place we went to, had warm, friendly service, which made us feel so welcome, another testament to the people of this beautiful island.
Mauritius, you were the beginning of so many wonderful memories and moments. Memories that I will hold on to forever. This won’t be the last you see of us though, we will be back to our little slice of heaven..where the first adventure in a lifetime full of adventures to come, began.
I have, (and I know im not alone in this), spent a small fortune over the years in the pursuit of finding the perfect skincare products/routine to have healthy, glowing skin. I have always had sensitive skin and been prone to outbreaks depending on the climate I find myself in, stress etc. So finding a product that doesn’t irritate my skin, cause breakouts and make my skin look worse, is quite a feat. This post today features the products that iv used, tried and tested and that I have found to work the best.
I have researched at length each product before buying, including all reviews, ingredients, costs etc. There are a few skincare products and ingredients in skincare that have been trending and are causing much hype around the world and I wanted to find out why and are they worth the hype? Could these be the holy grail of skincare products that would change my skin? My hope is that my experience and what I have learned from using these products, will help you to better decide what you would prefer to spend your time and money on, and that this will help transform your skin and boost your confidence even more.
When I first discovered products from facetheory, I did have my doubts, I must admit. Compared to some other cleansers that I have tried, this seemed very reasonably priced (GBP 11.99), the reviews were amazing and their promises seemed too good to be true. But boy do they live up to them:) I was really pleasantly surprised by the quick, helpful customer service, from recommending products for my skin (via email), to delivery and most importantly, the results. The clarifying cleanser is one of facetheory’s bestselling products and contains a trifecta of acids at a low pH to clarify oily, congested, blemish-prone skin. I found that it exfoliates my skin gently so as to not agitate it and leaves it softer, smoother with a brighter overall complexion. I love the fact that a little goes a long way so this jar can last 2-3 months. It really has become a base for the rest of my skincare routine and I would say that if you are looking to either help with breakouts and blemishes or something to gently cleanse and exfoliate your skin to improve overall health, glow and appearance of your skin, try this out. It wont break the bank and works from the inside out.
Garnier Micellar Water
I LOVE this product and now cannot live without it. I always felt like even after cleansing (especially after a day of wearing heavy makeup), there was a fine layer of residual makeup left on my face. I saw a small bottle of this in store one day and I thought ooh only about GBP 1.25, why not. And I’m so glad I did. Every morning and night I use this to double cleanse my face and it removes any residual makeup, creams etc beautifully, while also hydrating my skin. I find that it also allows for any products that I use to better absorb and work on my skin. Again it doesn’t cost a lot but makes a world of difference.
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid
I am obsessed with this product and is a MUST as part of my skincare routine. Mandelic Acid is such a buzzword in the beauty industry these days and after reading and hearing so much about it, I had to find out for myself if it was as good as everyone said. In 2 words “HELL YES”!. Many active serums have acids, like Salicylic Acid, in them which is magic when it comes to targeting spots/breakouts and calming the skin to eventually give you smooth, healthier skin. However active serums and these acids can be quite strong for some skin types especially sensitive skin and can cause purging (which is normal but very annoying). Mandelic acid is a much milder acid that exfoliates and gently dissolves the top layer of the skin to reveal healthy, “newer” skin that’s healthy, bright and blemish free. I use this with a few other products so im not sure if this alone will give you optimal results especially if you have problem skin, but it does make your skin look and feel better even on its own but ideally I would say use with a serum (mentioned below). RSP: GBP 5.75
Neutrogena Refreshingly Clear Moisturiser
Iv always been a fan of Neutrogena and their line of products. The grapefruit line in particular as its light, easy to apply and specifically formulated for oily and sensitive skin. Its one of the only moisturisers that I have been able to use day and night that doesn’t clog my pores and keeps it feeling and looking fresh and healthy. GBP 5.19
The Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream
I stumbled upon this cream when I ran out of my usual moisturiser that I get brought in from South Africa (Dermafix if anyones interested, it is brilliant. I saw changes in my skin within the first week of using it.) With Covid19 hitting the world and borders shutting down including South Africa, I couldn’t get the cream delivered to London. So I thought I’d look for a cheaper cream to tide me over. I went onto Marks & Spencer website, as I generally like and trust their products, and found the Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream. It has rave reviews and has been hailed as one of the best anti ageing products out there, and at GBP 23.00, I thought definitely worth giving it a try. Its worth every penny. I use it mainly under my eyes to stave off those ugly crows feet and wrinkles as well as on my neck. I notice a huge difference under my eyes, which seem smoother, brighter and fewer crows feet even when iv had little to no sleep. I use a serum (still to come below), at night so I don’t use this as my night cream however it is a night cream so you can absolutely use this as your everyday night cream as part of your routine.
Regena C20 Serum
I discovered this serum when my usual serum (below), ran out and I was also looking for a cleanser at the same time. I found the Facetheory cleanser and while on the site, I read about the Regena C20 serum. After reading all the fantastic reviews, I mailed them as well to find out what they would recommend for my skin. They responded in less than 12 hours and were quick, friendly and helpful. They also kindly reminded me of their very generous 365 day guarantee: if you are not happy with your purchase, you can return it within 365 days of purchase date and get another product or a full refund. It was a must try moment for me and iv not looked back. This serum is packed with antioxidant benefits of vitamin C (20%) with hyaluronic acid, liquorice and dill. These ingredients come together to increase skin firmness, lighten age spots, help fight acne-causing bacteria and brighten skin. I found that this was so gentle on my skin and left it feeling smoother, less/no inflammation and tighter/firmer. It is a one stop shop for your skin and if you need to choose 1, a good serum is it. It is well worth investing a bit more in a good serum as they work to correct your skin problems rather than simply camouflage or mask them. Having said that though, this serum is a very surprising GBP 18.99 only, which if you’ve been using or have looked at serums generally, this is a bargain.
IS Clinical Active Serum
This is hands down, hand on heart, one of, if not, the best, acne targeting serum you could ever get your hands on. I found that this worked best for me for targeting affected ares where I had a pimple(s) but when I used it on my entire face, my skin purged quite a lot and it went on for quite a while so I think it could be a bit too harsh to apply all over my skin, causing breakouts. I then switched to the other products mentioned in this post and used this just for targeting spots when they pop up. I don’t think, with the other products, you will really need to use both serums, especially as this one has quite the price tag at GBP 65 for 15ml (it does last forever though). It does everything it says on the tin…and then some. Its a big miracle in a little bottle. So while I don’t think when using the other products, you will need this as much, it is definitely worth the hype and glory it gets and every bit deserved. It targets ageing, heals and renews skin from within and quickly gets rid of that pesky pimple that you need gone FAST.
Thats it, my top 7 must have skincare products that will have your skin and confidence glowing in no time:)
let me know how you find the products and what your recommendations for skincare products are. id love to hear from you.