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Category Archives: Travel
Hope you’ve all had a good first week back to normal life? I have to say it was pretty hard for me to have long days at the office again after having almost 2 weeks off over the holidays! Here some photos of my New Years Eve celebrations in Wales. Me and 11 friends hired out Roch Castle in Roch, Pembrokeshire for 3 nights to ring in 2014.
We arrived on New Years Eve (after a 5 hour train ride from London) and were very excited as we drove through our castle gates because this amazing place would be our home for the next few days! For NYE we all got glammed up (I did ‘Dutchess Roz makeovers’ on the girls) and we enjoyed plenty of champagne, an amazing dinner catered by a local chef, and plenty of dancing & fun into the wee hours of the morning.
Everyone looked beautiful – it can be so fun to get all dressed up sometimes don’t you think? I wore an old long ZARA dress (as seen here) accessorised with a new statement necklace! Here a better look at my new bit of bling…
Gloria Luxurious Crystal Choker by Maison Miru £40 (LINK). Ever since I got this necklace I’ve been wearing it so much. It looks great with a simple dress, a cosy jumper or a simple white T-shirt. It brings instant bling factor and glam, love it!
Such a fantastic night, I couldn’t have wished for a better way to ring in the New Year than spending it with good friends, full of fun times at our very own castle in Wales. Hopefully a great NYE translates into an even better year ahead!!
Did you have a fun NYE and do you like my new statement necklace from Maison Miru?
Breakfast or brunch is, without a doubt, my favorite meal of the day. Taking part in local breakfast traditions is one of my favourite things to do when I am traveling. Back in November I was in Istanbul for a long weekend, and I can report back that Turkey does breakfast very, very well.
Turkish breakfast is both a meal and an event. In any case, it’s an unmissable experience on any trip to Istanbul. A real Turkish breakfast is nothing short of the ultimate way to start your day! Table spreads cover everything from mountains of cheese, to marinated olives and fresh tomatoes, to delicious honey with clotted cream, to scrambled eggs with sausage, to homemade jams and spreads and lots and lots of bread. And yes, this is all in one sitting! However it’s very good value for money because it costs around £7 a head for a classic breakfast or £15-£40 for an unlimited Sunday brunch (depending on luxury of venue).
I did a bit of research when I was in Istanbul to find the best brunch places in the city and here are my reviews of the 3 places I visited.
Van Kahvalti Evi in Cihangir
This place was highly recommended on many blogs and as my first brunch for my long weekend, it definitely set the bar very high! It turns out that in the town of Van, in the Kurdish eastern part of Turkey, breakfast is a very a big deal. The town is filled with dozens of kahvaltı salonları – breakfast salons – that serve a huge assortment of farm-fresh breakfast items day and night. This all-day breakfast tradition has now also become a big trend in Istanbul since several Van-style kahvaltı salonları opened up in Istanbul. One of the most popular seems to be Van Kahvaltı Evi (“Van Breakfast House”) in Beyoğlu’s Cihangir neighborhood.
Getting a little too excited with all the (cheap) breakfast choices on offer, I have to admit I definitely over-ordered at Van Kahvaltı Evi. I got the Classic Kahvalti breakfast platter which is a huge massive plate filled with olives, tomatoes and cucumber, tahini, 5 different local Van-cheeses (including a very tasty one that contained brined wild herbs), nutella, kaymak with Van’s famous honey, a yogurt and dill sauce and a couple more sauces I can’t really remember. This comes with a huge basket of fresh baked bread and unlimited refills of tea. It was all very good but the most delicious part of this breakfast was the plate of honeycomb with kayak which is basically clotted cream! Scooping this up with the warm bread was heavenly.
And then because I also wanted to try Menemen (scrambled eggs cooked with sautéed onions, green peppers and tomato served in the skillet) I got this too! As you can see this all turned out to be a lot of food – because the breakfast platter on its own would easily feed two people and I was just by myself haha! But nothing that broke the bank because this whole feed cost me 26 Turkish Lira which is only £8!
I was here on a weekday but I have been told Van Kahvaltı Evi can get quite busy on the weekends, so come early if you want to get a table. Or, better and easier yet, do like they do in Van and come later in the day to have breakfast for dinner.
Address: Defterdar Yokuşu 52/A, Cihangir, Beyoğlu
Mangerie in Bebek
On the weekend I finally got to ‘play’ with my friend who was still working the other days I was in Istanbul. So on Saturday morning we ventured to the area of Bebek to Mangerie which was her brunch recommendation. This classy and more european cafe was definitely a different experience to the day before because this French inspired restaurant offer a more modern modern perspective on the traditional Turkish breakfast.
To find the restaurant you have to climb quite a few stairs, but this does mean you get great views of the Bosphorus while you enjoy your breakfast. It was a little chilly to eat outside at this time of the year but in the summer I can imagine that sitting on the rooftop terrace would be fantastic!
The Mangerie Kahvali (breakfast) is a bit more expensive at 36 Turkish Lira (£9) but again it included about a dozen plates of food. Luckily this time I had my friend to share it all with. The warm sourdough bread was amazing and we even ended up ordering extras of the hazelnut spread and honey!
We also shared the Mangerie version of Menemen which was eggs cooked with green peppers, tomatoes, thyme and mint services over toasted bread. It was very nice but found it a bit of a shame that it came served on top of the bread because this quickly made it soggy.
After breakfast at Mangerie we were so full that we needed to walk off all those calories and so we strolled along the water for a while in Bebek which was a nice way to finish the morning.
Address: Cevdet Paşa Caddesi 69 Küçükbebek, Bebek, İstanbul
Telephone: 212 263 5199
Çakmak Kahvaltı Salonu, Beşiktaş
When on Sunday morning we made our way to Beşiktaş I realised this neighbourhood is definitely the destination for brunch in Istanbul! TimeOut Istanbul describes Celebioglu Sokak as a street devoted to breakfast, stating that the street “pretty much exists just so that Besiktas residents can eat breakfast”.
Çakmak Kahvaltı Salonu is one of the oldest breakfast places in the area and it is still very popular due to its simple, well priced but extremely satisfying menu of cheeses like old and fresh kaşar, white and Erzincan tulum, as well as olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, honey, kaymak, eggs and the works. There was quite the line outside this cafe (but that’s pretty much the case anywhere on this street) but luckily the wait wasn’t too long before we got a table inside. Expect no luxury here because it is very basic; think plastic menus and simple/cheap furnishings but don’t worry the food speaks for itself!
Once again it was quite the feast for breakfast. The bread was fresh and warm and a big highlight for me here was their kayak (or clotted cream) drenched in honey! The mememen and sausages cooked in tomatoes also went down a treat! I really liked Çakmak Kahvaltı Salonu because I felt it offered the real local breakfast experience. Due to it’s popularity it’s now a mix of locals and tourists but it’s kept that honest, simple and authentic feel and the food was delicious.
Address: Akmaz Çeşme Sokak 20, Beşiktaş
Telephone: 0212 227 25 65.
Breakfast served all day, every day.
Istanbul I loved you and your brunch! I will definitely be back and might have to check out some of the below places that also come highly recommended.
- Kiraz Kahvaltı, Köyiçi Caddesi, Şair Leyla Sokak 1/C, Beşiktaş
- Pando Kaymak, Mumcu Bakkal Sokak 5, Beşiktaş
- Pişi Breakfast & Burger, Çelebioğlu Sokak 14-16/B, Beşiktaş
- Kahve6, Anahtar Sokak 13, Cihangir
- Smyrna Café, Akarsu Caddesi 29, Cihangir
- Kale Café, Yahya Kemal Caddesi 16, Rumelihisarı
- Cookshop, Adnan Saygun Caddesi, across from the Ulus entrance to Akmerkez
- Four Seasons Hotel on the Bospohrus, Çırağan Cad. No. 28, Beşiktaş
- House Café Ortakoy, Salhane Sokak No: 1 Ortaköy
- Lucca, Cevdet Pasa Caddesi 51, Bebek
- Backyard, Otlukbeli Caddesi, Bebeköy Sok 4, Bebek
Have you been to any of these places or have you ever indulged in a real Turkish Breakfast before?
I definitely think it’s a foodie bucket-list experience!
This is my photo diary from my time spent in Istanbul, Turkey last weekend. Istanbul has a population of nearly 14 million people so it’s easy to get lost in this labyrinth of people and traffic madness and it definitely is a modern city with amazing restaurants, shops and trendy night clubs. But then at the same time it is very colourful and full of culture and old traditions. One of the main things I noticed was how modern and friendly the people in Istanbul were. Even though most people didn’t a lot of English, I always felt safe (even walking around alone at night) and the people were nothing but helpful and welcoming! I hope you like my Istanbul photo diary to give you an overview of my days in this dynamic city…
One of many delicious (huge) Turkish Breakfasts; a separate post will follow about these!
This is a rather picture heavy post so click here to see the rest! (more…)
Wednesday again already, but the rest of this week won’t be like the usual for me because as I am typing this on my iPad, I am sitting at the airport getting ready to escape the daily grind for a little long weekend away…
”We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” -Anonymous
My destination? ISTANBUL!! One of my best friends has been living between Istanbul and London for the last few months and I thought this was the perfect excuse to book myself a little (well deserved) break to go see her and visit this dynamic city in Turkey.
These beautiful photos are by Jessica Stein from Tuula Vintage, which is one of my favourite blogs.
I am super excited to spend the next few days exploring Istanbul, shopping the bazaars, taking loads of photos, relaxing for a bit at a traditional Turkish spa, eating different foods and spending quality time with one of my best friends!!
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Happy Hump Day everyone!
Last weekend me and a group of friends decided to escape the big smoke for a few nights. Luckily we didn’t have to travel very far for our weekend in the countryside. We had found a great little cottage in Kent which is only 1 hour out of London by train. Little Colnbrook Cottage (link) is a cute 3 bedroom home-away-from-home just outside of the town of Penhurst and is surrounded by plenty of fields to make you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. We all left London on Friday night after long days at work and as soon as we arrived I think we all very much needed a red wine to unwind and celebrate our weekend together!
We enjoyed a few wines and nibbles while a delicious lasagne was bubbling away in the oven. We got the fireplace going and set the table ready to dig into dinner, because our tummies were definitely rumbling by that time! The cottage monkey joined us on the table as an honorary dinner guest ;)
For dessert my friend treated us to home-baked brownies which were served warm and devoured with vanilla ice-cream. After dinner it was time to crack out the board games. I had never played ‘Articulate’ before this weekend but it’s probably one of my all-time favourite board games now! We had so much fun, especially because between us there were English, German, Australian, Norwegian and Dutch speakers so that made the game extra hilarious when we didn’t even know what some of the words meant! Have you ever played Articulate?
It’s fair to say that after quite a few bottles of wine the game got very competitive and we played until the wee hours of the morning. After a bit of a sleep in, breakfast was enjoyed outside on the terrace overlooking the fields, followed by a morning run exploring the area surrounding the cottage.
After some more relaxing what else to do than eat..so next up was a yummy country style lunch with wine, bread, cheese, ham and these delicious beetroot, parsnip and carrot crisps. I’d never had vegetable chips before but think I am now addicted! To work off lunch we went for a walk in the country side…
Followed by a pub crawl. Well, there’s only really two pubs in the area so the choice wasn’t too difficult. Ok where to go first??
First up was The Bottle House, where we were able to soak up some of the last afternoon sun on the terrace with cold ciders!
After a few ciders we made our way down to the Spotted Dog where we had a booking for dinner. Both The Bottle House and The Spotted Dog are lovely cosy English pubs that serve good food and have that friendly countryside service to make you feel right at home.
We enjoyed a few drinks outside but then it turned rather chilly so we retreated inside to the cosy warm pub for red wine and food. When I saw the baked rosemary camembert on the menu I knew this had to be mine. We shared the warm gooey cheese amongst us and yes it was ooooohhh soooooo goooooood!
Dinner on offer was a mix of hearty pub meals like loin of lamb, roast chicken and fish & chips but sometimes you just can’t help but crave simple sausages and mash! YUM..
We stayed at The Spotted Dog until the late hours of the night drinking wine and once we’d met Basil (the pub fox on the wall with a game to swing the ring onto his hook) our competitive and silliness came out once again and we may have caused of a bit of a stir in this (usually) quiet country pub!
After a taxi safely dropped us back at the cottage (walking home in the dark after a few too many wines could have been disastrous haha) we got cosy by the fire for more games and laughter!
On Sunday morning after a home cooked English breakfast with fresh eggs and milk from the local farm we all headed back to our city life London, maybe not feeling as refreshed as we’d imagined but definitely full of great memories. This kind of weekend in the countryside is to be repeated for sure :)