beauty, fashion, Uncategorized

hottest trends 2022

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love fashion. Its how we express ourselves and to many, its an extension of our personality. Style is, of course, a personal choice and everyone loves expressing themselves in different ways with the style that they feel most comfortable in. I love outfits that are classy, yet sexy. (I’m not entirely sure if that represents me or who id like to be when I grow up but here we are haha:)

So what inspired this post? Well I have people tell me on Instagram that they love my outfits and ask where a lot of them are from so I thought id do a post dedicated to the top fave outfits lately so you know where to find them too:) (Follow me on IG at beautyandbains ). Lets get into it!

Arita Bains

JUMPSUITS! There are not enough good things I can say about jumpsuits and how much I love them. I have a few of them, in all different styles, colours and for different occasions. This one pictured is one of my absolutes faves though. Its a bandage corset detail jumpsuit. I got mine in this gorgeous olive color (but it comes in black as well). The corset design at the top really cinches you in at the waist and then hugs at the hips giving a more hourglass shape. Its also ruched on the sides and if you make sure to get the correct size, it hugs the curves in all the right places leaving you looking and feeling fab. Shop the look now for only £59 (Sale currently on).

Jumpsuits

And on the subject of jumpsuits, here’s another one that’s been quite popular on IG and with friends. This Bandeau Mesh Insert Cup Detail Jumpsuit is elegant, sexy yet comfy all at once. I style this with a cute pair of heels and a clutch purse and im ready for cocktails. Its now on sale for £33. Shop for yours here.

jumpsuits

A good top is the difference between a good outfit and a Fab outfit. I love wearing a showstopper of a top with a sexy pair of jeans and heels. Thats where my next few fave mentions come in.

crop tops

Crop Tops are such a great way of dressing up an outfit without looking like you tried too hard:) I often put on a cute crop top, a pair of jeans and my favourite heels, and I’m set to go. I have a few cute, sexy crop tops that look fab with a pair of jeans, a cute skirt or even shorts. Iv added a few that have been your faves on my IG.

As you can tell I love wearing these with jeans (keep reading – my fave pair of jeans coming up). I love crops in black (but I am trying to incorporate other colours to my wardrobe haha:)) Get yours here.

Another great style that im loving recently are the corset tops. I love their form fitting design that cinches you in at the waist and makes you look and feel fabulous. I posted this one when I wore it for New Years Eve and I got so many people asking me where its from. So that is why this little green ( more lime) number makes the cut and features on my faves list.

As promised, I am adding more color to my wardrobe:-D I do love the vibrant color of this one, the soft material, sexy fit and how comfy it feels. Why not get one in your favourite color(s)? Click here to purchase.

Jeans Jeans Jeans!!!

Who doesn’t love a good pair of jeans, that fit perfectly, right? But i think we can all relate to the frustration of finding a pair that fits just right. They’re either too long, or too big or small, or fit right around the thighs but not at the waist and the list goes on. Through ALOT of trial and error, searching for jeans that are just right for my body shape, I have found a few stores /brands that always come through for me. The 2 that I have chosen to highlight are budget friendly options so everyone can afford them:) All pictures above are of jeans iv gotten from these 2 stores . Click to purchase here or if you are on a tight budget they have great options here.

And with the list complete, no reason we can’t go shopping right:-D ? I am totally obsessed with all these outfits, and I hope you love them just as much!

ps. my next post will be coming from /about our trip to Spain (im so excited). Keep an eye out for that.

Till then, adios mis amores X

arita bains
beauty, Uncategorized

Fab hair don’t care – the ultimate guide to the best hair care (products)

Arita Bains

Hi Hunnies X

Happy New Year! Heres hoping that 2022 marks the beginning of better things to come and the end to the very difficult 2 years that have gone by.

Okay, so on to todays post – Hair!! I have been on a quest to get my hair to the most healthy state it can possibly be. And while that journey is not complete, I have found some products that work fast(er) and the results are amazing. I have been styling and colouring my hair for a long time now, so taking extra care of it to prevent damage and maintain healthy, shiny hair, is all the more important.

A while back, I was at my salon getting my hair done and my stylist had a line of hair products in the salon and she asked me to take a few samples and try them and see if I found any difference after using them. I sceptically took them home and after keeping them aside in the bathroom for a couple of weeks, I decided to give them a go. I did see a huge difference almost immediately and then purchased 3 of the products that, when used together, will change your hair game forever. Iv been using them for a few months now, and I really have noticed a big difference in how healthy my hair looks. Theres a shine, less brittle, breaking hair, less visible split ends, more volume and bounce to my hair. Overall, its really repairing each strand of hair and making it healthier and stronger than ever. (which is actually what its formulated to do).

Lets get to the actual products. The product I still use (and am not going to get into as I have done previous posts about it already), is the must have Olaplex. Olaplex No.3 is an at-home treatment, formulated to repair damaged hair. I honestly couldn’t say enough good things about Olaplex. If you can only get one of the products today, I would say get this – as its more budget friendly (£26) (because it lasts longer than the others) and it works brilliantly on its own, while the others work better when used together. Click on the link Olaplex and get it right now! (its so worth it, I promise;).

Now for the newbies to debut…

Caviar Baby

Alterna Caviar Products

The Alterna Caviar range is an exclusive luxury haircare brand/range designed with powerful ingredients for people who want to take their haircare to the next level. It features Alterna’s exclusive Caviar Bond Enforcing Technology to repair and protect hair, reduce breakage by more than 99%, and add strength. Caviar Bond Enforcing Technology is a proprietary technology specifically engineered to seal hair cuticles that have been damaged through chemical processes or physical stress.

Alterna Caviar Shampoo/Conditioner

Alterna Bond Repair Shampoo/Conditioner

This is the starting point to beautiful, healthy locks. The bond repair shampoo and conditioner is enriched with active botanical ingredients and free of added parabens, SLS/SLES sulfates and synthetic color, these luxurious products address all three categories of hair aging. These are proven to visibly transform strands after just one wash. Alterna is formulated to : reduce breakage by up to 99%

Repairs damaged hair and mends split ends

Makes hair 28% smoother and softer

I have noticed an improvement with all 3 above. My hair is definitely breaking less. I have less split ends and my hair is so much softer and more shiny. If you have been searching for products that will transform your hair, your search could be over. Ask your salon if they stock these or you can buy them online here. They are a bit on the pricier side but you only need a little at a time and it does start working immediately on your hair. They retail for about £30 for each item (£60 for shampoo and conditioner).

Tip: If you can find a salon that will give you the samples to try, that would be amazing as you can see just how it works specifically for you.

Alterna Bond Repair 3-in-1 Serum

Alterna caviar 3-in-1 serum

This is the third much needed product in this magic trifecta. This serum really brings it all together and takes your hair to the next level. This is a a triple-action, triple-function concentrated serum that instantly repairs, protects and seals damaged hair strands and split ends in a single step. It is truly transformational. Also on the pricier end of the spectrum, £30, this can be purchased at your salon or here. To use, I towel dry my hair and then apply the serum. (this serum is really thick and you only need a little or your hair will feel sticky). I then brush my hair and blow-dry as normal. What a brilliant product and the 3 caviar products used together are sensational.

Now that we got the health of our hair sorted, lets go to aesthetics. We want it to look like the gloss like manes of the kardashians, Olivia Munn and Gina Rodriguez. For this I go to my arsenal of Wow products.

Color Wow Dream Coat Spray

Color Wow Dream Coat Spray

This spray is a must-have for protecting porous, colour-treated hair. Color Wow’s Dream Coat Supernatural Spray seals each strand with an invisible waterproofing mask, making it perfect for fighting that frizz. The spray is heat activated and works through about 4 washes to tighten and seal the hair strands giving that extra glossy, frizz free, smooth look to the hair. Use this after every 3-4 washes. spray on towel dried hair and blow dry. You can easily purchase (£26) from Cult Beauty.

Color Wow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray

Color Wow Extra Mist-ical Shine Spray

This is a mane changing spray that harnesses the light refracting power of one of its most powerful ingredients mullein. Its brilliant to revive lost lustre or to take things up a notch for a special night out. You can use it in various ways – spray evenly for an all over shine, rub through with your fingertips on the ends of your hair to add shine and moisture or spray before you blow-dry for a really intense glossy look (heat activates the product best). Also £26, you can get yours from Cult Beauty.

And that’s a wrap! These are my Gold Standard, must have, holy grail of hair products. I hope you try all or some of them and please do let me know how it works for you.

Chat soon guys

Lots of Luv…

Arita Xx

Arita Bains
beauty, makeup tutorial, skincare, Uncategorized

Baking isn’t just for cupcakes – Bake your face flawless!!!

Let me start off by saying that I love a dewy makeup look! Its great for the daytime, looks more natural and I love the glow it gives my skin. It also gives the skin a better chance to breathe and gives it a healthier appearance. In saying this though, for night time glam looks, I like a bit more you know? More makeup, more glam, more lashes..just more of everything! And that’s where the BAKING comes in. I finally tried the technique for myself after watching a tutorial on Youtube and I thought why not see what the hype is about. And iv gotta say I LOVE it! Baking your makeup for night looks, really does take your face to a new level of FLAWLESS. You never have to worry about looking oily or touching up as it leaves a matte finish but with a glow so there are no dry, patchy spots. So what do you need to bake your face flawless? Lets get to it!

start of with a clean face and add your base makeup

You will need your usual makeup including foundation and contouring sticks etc, baking is merely taking these up a notch and setting this onto your skin. It almost looks like the makeup has merged with your natural skin creating that flawless look. First I do my makeup as normal including my eye makeup. I then contour as normal. Then comes the concealer. First I use a pink concealer (I use the Sheglam one from http://www.shein.co.uk). Use this under your eyes, the middle of your forehead, a thin line down the centre of your nose and on your chin. Then directly over the pink concealer, I apply the yellow concealer (also Sheglam from http://www.shein.co.uk). Then you need to use a brush to thin the concealer out in all these areas. Bring the concealer from under the eyes down to your cheeks, almost in a “V” shape. And take the concealer from the centre of your chin all the way up the sides of your jaws. After this, I use a makeup sponge to lightly dab on the concealer areas (its important to dab and not rub the concealer so it almost melts into the skin).

contour and concealer

Now we set! Take translucent powder, pat onto a makeup sponge and tap the powder on all the areas with the concealer. Use a thin brush to add powder down the centre of your nose.

Now lets start baking babaaay!

Using a thin brush and the translucent powder, add a thick layer of powder down the centre of your nose. (tip: if at any stage during the process of adding concealer or powder, the contour on your nose gets smudged or lighter, feel free to go over the contour lines with your contour brush again, to redefine them.

Now use a darker setting powder (I use “sand” from the Sheglam collection), and again using a makeup sponge I tap the powder lightly on all the areas that we added contour to. Using a thin brush, add the darker setting powder on the sides of your nose as well. This helps set and define those contour lines.

Now we take the translucent powder and makeup sponge and add a thick layer to all the concealer areas, including under eyes, centre of forehead, centre of the chin and on the sides of the jaws. All of these areas will now look very white (you will look a bit crazy at this point but don’t worry its part of the process).

Bake you makeup for 15 minutes

You now need to let this set for 15 minutes (if you have extra oily skin, I would leave for 20-25 minutes). Once this time has passed, your makeup is done baking and your face will be beat! Before brushing away the excess powder, add a little blush to your cheeks. Now take a makeup sponge and gently wipe away the excess translucent powder from those areas.

baking your makeup

I then apply my highlighter, lipstick, lashes etc after this to finish the look.

And that, my dear friends, is how you bake your makeup flawless and beat your face (even more) beautiful!

Try it and let me know how you get on with it. Happy Baking Hunnies!

Love, Arita X

arita bains

best places to visit, fitness and travel, travel, Uncategorized

A Wine Story – London

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

Arita Bains

beauty, fitness and travel, skincare, Uncategorized

How to reduce the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks

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!

  1. Moisturising

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).

Nivea Firming Lotion

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.

Nivea Firming + Goodbye Cellulite

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:)

How to reduce cellulite and stretch marks

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!

Dermablend Body Makeup

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.

Lots of love

Arita X

Arita Bains
Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized

The Naked truth about increasing your following on social media

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.

here I told my followers about the new lux anti ageing cream I was using that costs just £6.99

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 raw is 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.

Giveaways , discounts etc are a great way to give back to your followers

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.

Be raw, Be authentic. Be yourself!

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.

Happy Posting My Hunnies

Arita X

Arita Bains
fitness and travel, Uncategorized

How to stay fit (and sane) during lockdown

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.

1> Resistance Bands

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.

resistance bands

2> Yoga

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.

Yoga Mat

3> Meditation

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.

meditation

4> Tranquility with Tea

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.

Let me know some of yours:) I would love to hear.

Keep safe and healthy hunnies.

Love Arita X

Arita Bagwandin

travel, Uncategorized

Cape Town

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…

Reubens Franschhoek

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.

La Petite Colombe

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:)

Baia – For some of the best seafood in town.

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.

Indian Xpress – Add a little spice to your trip

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:)

Wine Country

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.

Happy Travels

Love

Arita X

travel, Uncategorized

Tanned and Tipsy in Turkey

Hi darlings X

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.

Love

Arita X

travel, Uncategorized

You can thank me later – things you didn’t know about South Africa

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.

2) The Ocean Terrace – Oyster Box Hotel

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

Happy Safe Travels

Love, Arita X