All posts filed under: Travels

India Part 2: Varkala,Kerala

The car didn’t have locks – in hindsight this could have been reassuring if I wanted to escape, however at the time I was more concerned of people getting in. I had just arrived in India and was halfway through the car journey to my accommodation. The driver had stopped on a roadside somewhere and got out. Where he had gone, I wasn’t sure, but my mind didn’t hesitate to imagine the worst-case scenario. Believing he would return with a gang of men, I eyed the non-locking doors, sent a series of frantic texts to my boyfriend and prayed that I was just being my usual paranoid, dramatic self. Prayers answered – I was in ‘God’s Own Country’ after all – he returned alone, smiling and passed me a cup of warm chai. I guiltily berated myself for assuming the worst about him, yet it didn’t stop me from taking tiny sips from the tea – he still could have drugged it. My mother’s voice had officially taken over my brain. I tried to push …

Soul and Surf India

India Part 1: Soul and Surf

Just after ten o clock in the morning on the edge of a clifftop in Varkala, India, there’s a small group of people enjoying breakfast, swapping stories and coffee, sharing anecdotes and monkey jam, full of food and free of worries. Look quickly and you’d think this was a group of close friends, family even. Look closer and you’ll see it’s a mixed group; guests and staff, Europeans and Indians, surfers and yogis. Strangers yes, but Soul and Surf’s specialty lies in making strangers feel like friends and their resort like a home where everyone is welcome. It’s a rare thing with accommodation. In the balancing scale of atmosphere vs luxury, you can usually peg hostels weighing down the atmosphere side and hotels tipping the luxury side. Soul and Surf sits perfectly in the middle, balancing both with ease and a confidence that comes from 5 years of extremely happy guests and 5-star reviews (check out their Facebook and Tripadvisor). It’s this welcoming atmosphere that makes it a perfect place for solo travellers, especially first-time …

Bangkok – Khao San Road

Khao San Road: ‘the centre of the backpacking universe.’ – Alex Garland (Author of The Beach). Before leaving for Thailand, I had read much about Khao San Road, the backpackers sanctuary ‘where east meets west.’ Whilst pre-travel reading, I found that bloggers tended to have a strong reaction to Khao San, either loathing or loving it. We decided to head there as our first stop in Bangkok, believing the crowds of backpackers and western comforts (i.e McDonalds) would be a good way of easing us in – a toe in the water before throwing in our bodies. It turned out that the water we were testing was murky. If Thailand were to be a lake, then I imagine Khao San Road to be the cloudy bottom, overcrowded with inhabitants and grime left from passers-by. The hostel we were staying in was a 10 minute walk away, a route decorated with one-legged homeless men, a few dodgy-looking locals and several pungent smells – an introduction that tarnished our idea of Bangkok. Don’t get me wrong; I …

A Different Side to Koh Phangan

Party Island. When asking one backpacker what it was like, he stated he had seen things there that no man should ever have to see. Other answers we received were ‘crazy’, ‘messy’ and terrified looks that asked if we were ready for what was in store. Slightly nervous for what we were getting ourselves into, we left Koh Tao  where I found myself being sprayed with sick within seconds of reaching Koh Phangan. Extremely rocky boat x seasick boy x heavy wind = my splattered self. Hoping this wasn’t a forewarning of what to expect from my stay, we headed off to the Nomad House, a hostel known for being very social and ‘fun-loving.’ With 18 bed dorms and a warning on the site of not to stay if you don’t want to get involved with the partying, we showed up expecting lively lunacy. The hostel was empty. Having work done to the hostel meant that they were no longer taking bookings, and not only that but the entire part of that island was completely …

Street Feast Round 2

And so we meet again Street Feast. Round 2. Part II. The return of the bap (Smokestak’s). Ah yes, this time I visited Smokestak not just once, but twice. In one sitting. That’s not all I had either, visiting my other old pal Mother Clucker and making a few new acquaintances on the way. I think it’s fair to say that this time I won. I came, I gnawed, I conquered. If you haven’t heard of Street Feast (check out my first visit here), it is a foodies playground, except toys are replaced by London’s finest food stalls, hop scotch becomes hopping from vendor to vendor and secret dens come in the form of hidden bars. And did I mention that there’s free beer? I walked in and took one look at it all. “Challenge accepted,” I smirked to myself, in a way just as creepy as it sounds. As any child would do unleashed in a playground, I firstly had to do a hasty lap of the area to check out all my options, literally bouncing with excitement …

Mother Clucker

‘What’s in a name? The thing we call a rose would smell just as sweet if we called it by any other name.’ –Romeo and Juliet Wise words written by Shakespeare, or perhaps more knowingly, spoken by Claire Danes for those Leanardo Dicaprio fans (i.e entire female population). Yet despite this confirmation of a names unimportance, I still found myself in desperate pursuit once I heard of a place called Mother Clucker. All I knew was it’s name – a magnificent name – without any other regards for what it sold and if it sold it well, and with that one tiny bit of information I went all Liam Neeson and hunted those mother cluckers down. Luckily for me, it turned out that Mother Clucker was good – really good. Serving chicken from a converted US Army ambulance, the truck moves around a lot, where it’s currently residing in Elys Yard in Shoreditch. The only downside was that on the day I went they weren’t serving mac and cheese or the ‘Cluckwitch’,  so we went for …

En Route

This weekends destination was Route, a cafe situated round the corner from Dalston Junction. I first found it on a Saturday morning hunt for a hangover-breakfast. You know the kind. Something that requires minimal effort/moving and arrives quickly. So I was relieved not only when we found Route within a short walking distance from where I was staying, but even more so when I saw ‘The Hangover Breakfast’ printed upon the menu. If you look to the right side of the menu and go down, you’ll also find ‘Hair of the Dog’ printed on there, but I prefer a different hangover cure thankyou very much. Food. And lots of it.   The cafe describes itself as a deli/bistro that’s inspired by the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The theme is more apparent on the lunch and dinner menu, where seasonal salads and sandwiches adorn the counter. On the breakfast menu you can go for the Mediterranean breakfast or the Shakshuka (a Middle Eastern egg dish), however there is nothing I love more than a traditional …

The Good Life

Welcome to The Good Life. Where the food is healthy, the customers are wealthy and Kanye’s 2007 lyrics will relentlessly run through your mind. The Good Life Eatery has been popping up on my Instagram feed for a while, a page I followed in hope that it would inspire some type of clean-eating diet in my life when I tried to stop eating sugar. It didn’t and I haven’t, but all the same it didn’t stop me from wanting to visit when I was attending an exhibition in the same area. Located in Kensington, I shouldn’t have been surprised when we reached the cafe to find that the prices were fairly high – particularly for someone on a student budget. But as I like to play blissful ignorance toward my impending debts, I happily went in and played wealthy Londoner for the day – a game I play a bit too well. The seating area was small, but most people were taking food away on their lunch break. It got so busy that the queue …

Caffeine Confessions

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. I made a lie on a previous post. It wasn’t intentional and at the time it was true. I really did believe that the Shoreditch Grind made the best iced mocha’s in the land. But now I have seen the light. The heavens opened and showed me the way. Like the shining star that led the 3 King’s to Jesus. Except it was in London, so it was a tiny glimmer of sunshine (at a push). And it led me to Brooklyn Coffee. See! The signs were literally right in front of me, urging me to my coffee enlightenment. I stepped in, unaware of the coffee blend I was about to taste. They didn’t even have iced mocha written on the menu, but when divine intervention is taking place nothing gets in the way. I asked the lovely workers if they do make them, and they briskly whipped me one up using their b-eautiful coffee beans. Now, I first heard about Brooklyn Coffee as I heard they were best …

Dishoom Bombay Cafe

Dishoom. Even the word tastes good to say. The sshh followed by the long ooo and finished with a definitive m. Yes it’s safe to say I have fallen quite hard for the Bombay restaurant, the new apple of my eye and the main reason why I cannot fully commit to my new vegetarian lifestyle. (I’m going with ‘part-time vegetarian’ – it has a better ring to it than ‘vegetarian apart from the occasional Dishoom breakfast.’) Loose morals aside, the Dishoom breakfast is regularly mentioned in many ‘London’s best breakfasts’ articles. I’m definitely not the first to have fallen for it. In fact everyone who I mentioned my visit to gave a knowing nod, either followed by a distant look as they recalled their own Dishoom love affair or a distant look as they tried to ignore the empty feeling of knowing they had not yet been. Maybe I just imagined that but I know that’s how I would be feeling inside. So to aid the desolate and despaired who haven’t been, I’m here to fill you in. With …