Antibes

since we are here and i’m back at this, realized that i am YET to post about the trip to south of france my friends and I did last year.

we started off planning a trip to Malta, as it has always been a place we’ve wanted to visit. But due to flight availability restrictions we chose to go to south of France instead.

started our trip at Nice, went to Antibes from there and then our final stop was St. Tropez. Visited lots of other places close by too, while staying in Antibes. It was the most amazing time, and seems even more so now – because we really do not know when we will be able to travel next.

Antibes

we chose antibes as a base as we heard its fun, and equidistant to most of the other places we had planned to visit while we were in France. Booked a cute little hotel (Miramar) in Cap d’Antibes right by Plage de la Garoupe – which is a beautiful secluded beach in Cap d’Antibes.

in Antibes, we did a walking tour all around the old city and Juan Les Pins, the fort and the beaches. we also experienced the Jaun Les Pins nightlife.

During our time in Antibes, we also visited Cannes, Monte Carlo, and Eze village.

my favorite of them all being Monte Carlo. that place is really something else. beautiful and tiny but SO glamorous. all the views from just about anywhere in the country are picture perfect. unfortunately the day we visited it was raining so we had to spend most of our time indoors at an italian restaurant. but bonus! the italian dishes in monte carlo are SO delish.

our favorite meal in France by far was really at the coffee shop kari and I chanced upon at Juan Les Pins where we had coffee and fresh croissants. I mean how can you visit france and NOT binge on croissants and coffee??

here is our time in pictures, with restaurant recommendations

Day 1

landed in the evening (flight via Istanbul), checked into our hotel. walked by the beach to Juan Les Pins (which we thought was walking distance), halfway through we realised it was too far to walk and got a cab instead. it was saturday night and juan les pins was buzzing. we bar hopped a little, went to a night club which looked tiny from the outside but was surprisingly huge inside, met some fun people, and took the cab back to the hotel when we were done.

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^^ also visited a really fun bar called pam-pam, which is a must visit, if you do happen to be in Juan Les Pins. ^^

Day 2 – Cannes

swam in the beach (Plage De La Garoupe) opposite our hotel in the morning (had coffee and croissant for breakfast, of course) and visited cannes in the evening, which is a 30 minute cab ride away from Antibes. visited the cutest Italian restaurant on the Cannes promenade and it was definitely one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten. At night, we also had a brilliant meal at a highly recommended restaurant by our hotel. Le Jardin Du Cap.

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^^ la plage de la garoupe ^^

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^^ coffee + croissants ^^

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^^ us at the beach ^^

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^^ cannes!! and our favorite italian meal in cannes ^^

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^^ our meal at le jardin du cap ^^

life lately….

hello hello.

it’s been a while. i forgot how much i enjoyed this. writing about random things going on, mainly positive of course.

also we happen to be in the midst of a pandemic, and i happen to have more time than usual. so here goes…

if you had told me in January that in a few weeks we would all be asked to sit at home, locked-in, for more than 4 months (yet) i wouldn’t have believed you and more importantly i wouldn’t have believed i would survive it without losing my mind. BUT, we are almost august now, and 4 months in, and things are actually okay. good even.

we are managing. enjoying this time even.

we get to spend more time at home with families, discover neighborhood parks (which embarrassingly we never got the change to in spite of almost 5 years of living here), and learn new hobbies (cooking and painting).

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^^ birthday gift from A. it was really a dream gift, with all my favorite grocery and skincare products in a basket. we had some chips (pringles), chocolate, wine, gin, lip balm, moisturizer and tons of other things i love ^^

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^^ we’ve been playing a whole lot of board games, also these frozen dimsums are the bomb and our go to snack at all time of the day ^^

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^^ have been catching up on things i’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to. there’s something about painting – it is so therapeutic and relaxing ^^

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^^ mumbai during the rains is just so dreamy ^^

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^^ a cute little park next door A and i have been going to for evening jogs (with masks on of course) ^^

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^^ have been cooking most of our meals lately, and it is slowly becoming my favorite thing to do during the day ^^

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^^ what our date nights comprise of these days, childhood board games, which A secretly hates playing but is forced to ^^

annual tradition ? – amsterdam

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i mentioned at the blog earlier that A wanted to make amsterdam our annual holiday tradition.

well year 1 and we made it. let’s see how this continues, going forward.

this time – was as good as the others – mainly because of our company. also the cute little air b n b we picked. it also rained – and amsterdam is so hauntingly beautiful.

we also celebrated my birthday there – with a boozy canal cruise – during which it rained! but it SO was fun nevertheless.

also my third time in amsterdam but my first time going inside vondelpark. it’s SOO peaceful. i can spend all day there doing nothing.

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Barcelona + familia lo es todo

barcelona was the last stop of the family vacation. after which A and i were heading to amsterdam for a few days with friends.

if there’s one thing that has most been highlighted after this trip its’ – family is everything! they are all that matters at the end of the day, and maintaining a close relationship with them is so v important.

i’m so grateful to have got the opportunity to spend time with mine. in such a beautiful country. during our last meal together in barcelona, we discussed that we would try continuing this tradition, and make an attempt to go on a trip every 3-4 years. i hope we manage.

Barcelona

the first time i went to barcelona a few years a go, i didn’t come back to impressed. this time – my opinion changed.

we did a super fun treasure hunt on the streets of barcelona to celebrate my mum’s 60th. and i cannot recommend it enough. it was such a good way to see the city the way locals do. and also a fun adventure while at it.

another place i recommend is the la boqueria – it has such a good vibe to it. and the best produce and smoothies.

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MARBELLA!

what can i say about this place – well for starters, i came here 5 years ago with a few girl friends for a bachelorette and fell in love with how cute this place was. it has something for just everybody, and all ages.

we stayed in puerto banus then, and went for amazing day parties at the various beach clubs they have. this time it was different. but still as good.

we stayed in marbella – not puerto banus. at this v cute resort called happimag.  which is right on the promenade by the beach.

its was a 5 minute taxi ride to old town and a 10 minute taxi ride to puerto banus.

we spent 4 days here. and they were my absolute favorite. we beached, we swam, visited old town and its several cute restaurants, and we also visited puerto banus and my favorite bar, astral cocktail bar.

my sister joined us for this leg with my niece leheir. it was SO good spending time with her again. aren’t 3 year old’s the cutest? i just love listening to all the fun observant things they have to say.

we took tons of pictures. so i’ll leave you to them.

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^^ ahhhh best times! best times! ^^

Cordoba

to be honest, i spent half of our entire time in cordoba in a restaurant, sipping on sangria. it was 40 degrees that day! – but i did spend the other half walking around old town and taking in the sights and the sounds. and the food of course ;)

we walked past the cathedral and the citadel, the mosque, the alcazar, and the roman bridge of cordoba.

the old town is particularly cute, with its tiny streets and restaurants. and gelato shops.

but mostly i’ll remember cordoba for those hours we spent at the restaurant, with my favorite cousin, talking about life :)

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^^ cordoba and its attractions ^^

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^^ lunch with my favorites – also my favorite tapa has got to be potato ali oli. this may have got to do with me being partly vegetarian  ^^

 

Seville

About two years ago, when some of our family members were in mumbai, we made a random late night plan to travel to europe. All 25 of us, in 2019. we chose 2019 as it was a year of several celebrations within the family, some 50th birthdays, some 60th birthdays, and two 25 year wedding anniversaries.

honestly, a lot of us didn’t expect the plan to go through. it was wishful thinking to get all 25 of us anywhere – forget europe.

but some of us (my uncle in particular) were so persistent, that it all started falling in place one by one. we finalized a location – spain. mainly because most of us hadn’t been to spain before.

we were to start at seville, stay there for 2 days. then head to marbella (stopping at cordoba on the way) for 4 nights, and finally end our trip at barcelona.. We had also planned a day trip to granada from marbella.

Seville

i thought i’d seen the best of what europe had to offer. but every time i visit a new city in europe, the beauty and charm that the continent is capable of – continues to surprise me.

seville was one such city.. it is so very picturesque. almost every street or corner of old town could be from a postcard or one of those instagram travel handles.

we did the segway tour around the city and realised there’s just so much to see. also – sampled spanish cuisine, tapas, paella and sangria!

here’s a snapshot of our time there in pictures…

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^^ seville old town – how beautiful is this city? i wasn’t exaggerating one bit ^^

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^^ our beautiful hotel – las casa de la juderia with an amazing rooftop pool + bar^^

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^^ spanish breakfast ;) also seville is known for its oranges – do if you ever visit you must try their orange juice^^

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^^ la familia !! i have the very very best :) ^^

 

Galle Again..

there are some cities which when you visit you know you will find your way back to.

galle was one of them for me.

apart from being super convenient to travel {it is only a 2.5 hour flight to colombo from mumbai and then another beautiful 1.5 hour drive to galle}, it is also beautiful. it has  beaches (with beach bars), amazing restaurants and stunning affordable hotels.

i went in October 2018 with friends and stayed at a small villa. this time we went on an office offsite and stayed at Le Grand Galle. the best thing about the hotel by far was the view from just about everywhere in the hotel. it is right by the galle fort and the sea and has one of the best hotel views in all of Galle.

since my colleague and i helped our office plan the trip we ended up researching on all the best restaurants, hotels to go to and i feel like a semi galle travel expert now ;)

here’s our trip in pictures…..

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^^ our hotel. and the view from my room. one of my favorite moments was just hanging out at the pool with our drinks and playing ball^^

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^^ our first meal of the trip was at this beautiful hotel called Galle Fort Hotel. which is inside the Galle fort. we all had three course meals (veg and non-veg). the food was insane and cannot recommend this place enough ^^

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^^ strolling around Galle Fort ^^

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^^ lunch at The Bungalow. another nice meal. the sea food platter (pictured above) was everyone’s favorite meal of the trip^^

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^^ lunch at this beautiful restaurant in the heart of Galle Fort called Poonie’s Kitchen. it has a pond running through the restaurant and the vegetarian meal + deserts are SO good ^^

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^^ galle nights!! other places we recommend are Kingfisher’s at Unawatuna Beach on Saturday nights, the Fortaleza for dinner, and the Luna Terrace at the Closenburg Hotel for their beautiful sunset views ^^

Galle was such a blast and i can’t wait to go there again, this time with the husband who still hasn’t been.

Writing + around here lately

I have been meaning to blog more often. Its been added to my list of new year resolutions once again. If I wasn’t a lawyer i would have been a writer. A wanna-be writer atleast.  I think I may have already mentioned that.

Running out of things I need to write about. Life is stable. But life is good. Work is crazy busy sometimes but sometimes light and fun. I work out more often. and that’s a good thing.

Things that am grateful about / inspire me / or just make me happy these days – (just because that’s why I started this blog in the first place right?)

Chef’s Table on Netflix – discovered this after so many months of scrolling past it. So inspiring. Makes me want to get up early and go to work.

Baby Nuri – my twin had a beautiful baby girl and seeing her pictures make me happy and seeing him being a great dad makes me happier

Working out – the cure for everything in life literally. Also it helps that my trainer always manages to make me laugh. So grateful.

Homemade pancakes – I think IV mastered the art to making homemade pancakes from scratch thanks to my chef sister. They are deliciousness. Now only to manage waking up early on weekends and making them more often.

My valentine – okay, so cheesy .. but IT IS valentine’s month! and I love my husband. feel so grateful waking up next to him every morning.

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Topshop online – they have the best clothes and i just discovered that they deliver to India. with added custom duty though. But it’s worth it.

Also going to blog more tomorrow about my recent vacations to hongkong and Sri Lanka. Have so many stories / pictures to share.

Lots of love

Xoxo

amsterdam again

i knew i had to come back to this city the minute i even stepped foot in amsterdam. the city hits you hard with this fantastic, crazy, mad vibe – and you get addicted, so quickly, that it’s too late by the time you realise.

sounds too much ;)? well it’s true.

we felt that vibe again this time. A’s first time {he’s made me promise we go every year once}

once we got off our cab to the hotel from the airport, dropped our bags in the hotel lobby and headed straight to the coffee shop, which happened to be right next door to our hotel {we didn’t book the hotel knowing that just btw – it was simply a coincidence}.

the spirit of the people, the personalities, backed with the live and let live judgment-free attitude of just about everyone we met was what attracted me to the city at the first instance. oh and the beauty! how can we ignore the beauty?

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^ our amsterdam trip in snapshots . seeing these pictures make me want to go back there. or move there maybe? hmmm. wishful thinking. ^^

we visited the artis zoo, the van gogh musuem, walked around dam square, ate some frites (with extra mayo), tried the food at avocado story, shopped at the 6-story primark on dam square, met local friends, smoked with local friends, sat in the park by the museum for hours doing absolutely nothing, gorged on the cheese and ham toasties, bought local souvenirs {all of which had something marijuana in them} and sat by the beautiful canals at mid night under the stars talking. just the amsterdam usual ;)

well if all things go A’s way – see you again next year. and the year after …

Lake District

since we had around 15 days in the UK we decided to club london with another place around. at first we zeroed in on scotland as we have family there. but then while researching we realised that scotland should be a trip on its own – it has so much to offer and we didn’t have enough time.  closer to our trip our cousins in Scotland informed us that they would be spending a week in lake district around the same time we were in the UK. and so – it all worked out perfectly!

we rented out this beautiful house in penrith. around 8 of us (+ the cutest labrador – fia). we had just three nights / two days but we packed the days with so many activities that our time there seemed longer. looking back this part of our trip was on of our absolute favorites. I recommend lake district to everyone who makes a trip to the UK. it is simply stunning, peaceful, quiet and just about every where you go you feel you are in a post card picture.

on our first morning our cousins had booked this really fun go ape activity  – which involves climbing trees (with harness of course) and making your way from one tree to another by rope through fun hurdles. each stage of this activity {there are 5 stages} ends with zip lining.

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^^ view from my room in lake district ^^

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^^ go ape!! these pictures are from our trial round and it gets much tougher and higher as you move forward in stages – but you have a harness so it is safe and you tend to get more comfortable as you go forward ^^

once we were done with our go-ape activities we got back from and had a big meal of veg / non-veg sausages, bread, veggies and cheese. then we headed to one of the quieter non-commercial lakes close to our rented house for a swim

we also visited the shops at a close by town called keswick – which was super picturesque and we tried the best homemade fudge

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^^ keswick ^^

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we ended the day watching the england croatia match – which england lost btw, but the energy was so high that day – which had been near perfect, so the defeat didn’t seem as disappointing as it normally would have been.

Day 2

we went on a hike close near the village of hawkshead. the walk seemed smooth and easy and we passed by a few ponds on the way but as we got higher it got much steeper and i had to take A’s help during the last 10 minutes of the trail to the top. but boy! was the view worth it all.

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^^ view from the top! i almost couldn’t believe we had climbed all the way ^^

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on the way back from the trek we stopped by at cute home turned cafe for some homemade cake and scones. you got to do the same if you ever go up to lake district. the carrot cake was the best i’ve ever eaten

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^^ the homemade scones with clotted cream and fresh jam ^^

we ended the day and our time at lake district with a round of go-karting. this wasn’t just ordinary go-karting. lewis hamilton apparently practices at this track during his time off. we also saw loads of other professionals practicing when we reached. it was very intimidating and i almost backed out of the whole thing. but then – was egged on by my cousins and gave it a go. i’m glad i did!

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^^ in our race gear ;) ^^

all in all it was an activity packed two days. more than the activities we were glad we got to spend quality time with our cousins who we don’t get to see very often. as you grow older (i am 30 now!) you realise that family and loved ones are most important and everything else is a far second.

London (Continued)

what i love doing almost as much as i like traveling to places is writing about my experiences of the travel after i’m back home. it’s like re-visiting all the fun moments in my mind. also – blog about these experiences because i always want to be able to look back at them and never forget all these moments

there are so many other places in london i loved so let’s take this forward…

Liverpool Street / Tower Bridge

we went to liverpool street often as we even took our train to colchestor (essex) A’s ex university from there. also on my birthday which we celebrated in London, adi took me to this Michelin star restaurant city social for lunch, which was right off the liverpool street underground station, and when we were visiting the tower bridge, we walked there from the liverpool street station – and that walk from the station to tower bridge made me want to live in london. we saw such beautiful restaurants, cafes, streets and just everything about the area made me want to live there.

tower bridge has some of the best views of london. there’s also a nice area with some good restaurants. we ate at ping pong because – we were in london and this was ping pong.  a few local friends also recommended the spitalfield market by the liverpool street – we didn’t get the chance this time – but maybe the next trip!

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Regent Park

one of the other great things about london are its parks! they have one just about everywhere. it’s amazing to see such green cities. wish we could have more of these in mumbai. helps so much with the pollution.

regent park is definitely one of the most beautiful parks i’ve seen. it feels like a fairly land in some bits. the flowers. the trees and the squirrels running across. we walked there one morning after spending the whole night out. it was slightly awkward wearing our party clothes while others were in their sports wear. but we weren’t tired. and it was one of my favorite little moments of the trip with A alone.

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King’s cross

before i visited london – king’s cross meant 9 3/4th for me. being a harry potter fan. but king’s cross is so much more. it’s one of london’s busiest stations. with connectivity to almost all the major cities in europe. it also has an office district at walking distance. we visited the google office and their rooftop terrace has some of the best private views of the city. it also has some great outdoor areas and bars. we tried getting into a few on friday night but since most of the bars were packed we did what we saw hoards of other youngsters doing – going to waitrose picking up beers / wine / cocktails and sitting on the floor below a beautiful arch, enjoying the views and the drinks. and i preferred it so much more than i would have going to a bar around!

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so there were a lot of other places i liked and some not so much. 7 dials is a cute shopping area, carnaby street is also fun place to chill at for a night. lots of people recommended shoreditch which i did not manage to go to.  and then of course all the other touristy places you can’t miss when in london, being convent gardens, Leicester square, Piccadilly, Trafalgar square, notting hill {avoid going to the portobello street market on the weekends in summer – it is packed with people, even for mumbai standards ;)}, st. pauls cathedral, buckingham palace.

See that’s the thing about london – no matter how much you have covered there’s always so much more to see and do. i could spend an entire month there and still not cover all the recommendations we got from friends and relatives.  you need to keep coming back and discovering it some more.

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^^ convent garden ^^

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^^ notting hill and portobello road market ^^

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^^ baker street ^^

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^^ barbican ^^

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^^ trafalgar square ^^

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^^ st. pauls ^^

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^^ carnaby street ^^