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CUVVA:  Insurance the Way It Should Be

CUVVA: Insurance the Way It Should Be

Have you ever gone on holiday and on the way to the airport discovered that actually you forgot to organize your travel insurance? This happened to me once and I learned my lesson the hard way, as I decided not to participate in any activities […]

ACE Winter Refresh Challenge

ACE Winter Refresh Challenge

Are you ready for winter? The day I start swapping my wardrobe around means change of season is upon us. Sandals and summer dresses are getting packed away, while boots and jumpers are finding their way back into my wardrobe.  Now with 2 kids in […]

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London: Afternoon Tea Review

JW Marriott Grosvenor House London: Afternoon Tea Review

We are back to London and to celebrate the start of  new school year we went to JW Marriott Grosvenor House London to try their afternoon tea. The weather on that day was not very pleasant and we practically run through the doors, just avoiding being completely soaked under a particular strong autumn shower!

And how delighted we were to discover the elegant dining room with mellow music played live by a resident pianist. The room has tall windows, allowing as much light as possible even on the grey day. On a good day  you would be able to  see a beautiful view of Hyde Park across the road. 

JW Marriott Grosvenor House looks after their little guests.  They offer the Grover’s Children’s Tea, tailored for sweet taste with jam sandwiches and ice cream shaped desserts.

Before sandwiches and cake arrive, you are offered a tea menu and I spend a good 10 minutes trying to decide which kind to have.  Apart from classic selections, you can go for rare and exclusive teas or herbal tisanes. To help with indecisiveness, you can  start with one tea and then switch to a different one. I though this was a great idea,  as you can try different teas in a collection and there is so much to choose from!

I went for Wild Cherry to start with and then changed to Persian Rose, which was a real find for me! The tea was just dried rose flowers steeped in hot water.  The taste was so delicate, I loved this tea from the first sip. I urge you to try it, it is very unusual!

The afternoon tea arrived and what a delight it was!

Classic sandwiches were also supplemented by open sandwiches, which were brought over to the table for you to choose. I tried both varieties : smoked salmon and egg and cress.  In the smoked salmon sandwich  I loved the combination of cold water prawn and slightly smoked fish.

My favourite, scones, were served with a selection of jams, that again you can choose.

What I loved about this afternoon tea, is that you can tailor it to your taste and there are plenty of options to choose from. It is little details, but sometimes it is the little things that matter!

The couple, who sat next to us, requested gluten free selection and staff was happy to oblige. Before we ordered our afternoon tea, we were also asked whether we had any allergies or intolerances, which means that nothing is too difficult and cannot be altered to your requirements.

My cakes were amazing, just look at all those delights: Kaffir life and ginger éclair, , milk chocolate and honeycomb mousse and lavender cake If you love patisserie, you will love the selection here – it was dainty, fresh and very elegantly decorated with real flowers!

Lidia and Barbara were serving us on the day and they were lovely, paying attention to my daughter and checking whether she wanted hot chocolate or was happy with her selections. We definitely felt welcomed and for me it is a big plus, when people around you are friendly and happy to share their passion for the place they are working in.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that soft toy bulldog complete with monocle and tail jacket  is  gifted to each child at the end of the tea to keep the memory of the their Grover’s Children’s Tea.

I definitely recommend JW Marriott Grosvenor House London Afternoon Tea as it is great for any occasion and they are only happy to cater for kids with their own special menu.

Next time you are in London do not hesitate to make a booking, they do get very busy so the more time you allow before your desired date the better. 

Our Afternoon Tea was hosted by JW Marriott Grosvenor House London but all opinions are my own.

Best Rooftop Bar in Bangkok: Spectrum Lounge and Bar

Best Rooftop Bar in Bangkok: Spectrum Lounge and Bar

Parents rejoice! At last, I found a country where kids are allowed to visit rooftop bars! I love, love, love a good roof top bar.  As the night covers the city, you can watch the spectacle of  twinkling lights, roads with moving cars  and gleaming […]

With Locals in Bangkok

With Locals in Bangkok

What is the best way to explore a new city? With locals! They know the city like the back of their hand and can show you all the hidden places, which you might not necessarily see if you are only in the city for a […]

Dinner with kids in Bangkok: Felicita Rooftop Bar and Grill

Dinner with kids in Bangkok: Felicita Rooftop Bar and Grill

Bangkok has a miriad of places to eat, ranging from Asian cuisine to the most sophisticated Western offerings.

During two weeks in Thailand, we mostly went with Thai cuisine, but one evening, when we were exploring vibrant Sukhumvit Road, we stopped at Felicita Rooftop Bar and Grill , serving Mediterranean cuisine with a fantastic view over Bangkok. 

 

As outside space is dedicated mostly to bar guests and it was duly filled by couples on a date, we chose to sit inside the air conditioned room with mesmerising blue design.

The staff was immediately on the case with our kids, asking them questions on how they like Bangkok and offering pencils and paper to distract them, while we get on with the menu choice.

And there is a big choice to make: there are starters, soups, pastas, main courses and salads.

We were honored as Head Chef Julien came out and talked us through all the options we wanted to try.

Julien is trying to cultivate no-miles policy with his ingredients and started working with local suppliers, who were ready for the challenge of growing  western vegetables and producing Italian cheeses.

I actually did not realise that one should not expect to go to a supermarket and easily pick up all the ingredients for a Western meal in Bangkok.  As there are so many products available in UK shops, it is something that we take for granted , however some of the specific ingredients have to be flown in.

Kids had their own special menu and they had fun choosing their own meal. The dishes were plentiful and beautifully presented , even for the kids. 

For starters, we decided to try burrata with mediterranian vegetables and gravadlax with apples,  walnuts and ricotta.  Burrata was amazing – soft inside, while slightly pickled onions with cherry tomatoes and pesto complimented the cheese perfectly.

It was difficult to make the choice when it came to main courses, but finally we settled on pork belly cooked for 7 hours, pumpkin risotto and lamb stewed with vegetables on a bed of mashed potatoes.

Claudio voted for risotto, but I am usually not a big fan of this dish as I have tried it many times and it is just not something that I would like to order in a restaurant.

Pumpkin risotto at Felicita blew me away: it was like eating a cloud, so light and slightly sweet from pumpkin and cream flavours.  

The pork was outstanding as well, as it was served with a sweet glaze and the meat was so tender it just melted in your mouth. 

Claudio complimented the lamb too, but risotto and pork were a real show dishes for us. It was as much taste as it was the lightness and flavours of the dishes, which I did not expect. 

We did not have any space left for the dessert, but Letitia had, so she ordered a warm cookie and ice cream. My respect goes to Chef  Julien, who  did not  use a ready made goods, the cookie was baked to order and it was still warm and gooey when it arrived at the table. 

After dinner we managed to sit outside for awhile and enjoy the view and a cocktail. I loved how much care went into each drink, whether it was a simple fruit juice or an apple martini. 

The service was impeccable and it is been a while since I have been to a restaurant, where staff proactively anticipated what we wanted, rather than just reacting to our requests. 

Both Claudio and I and the kids loved Felicita Rooftop Bar and Grill.  Letittia kept asking me whether we were coming back there the next day. 

The restaurant is easily accessible from Sukhumvit Road and it is only a short walk from Nana station.  

Our visit was hosted by Felicita Rooftop Bar and Grill, but all opinions are my own.

Where to stay in Chiang Rai: The Riverie by Katathani

Where to stay in Chiang Rai: The Riverie by Katathani

Chiang Rai is usually overlooked in favour of its bigger neighbour Chiang Mai, as majority of people base themselves in Chiang Mai and visit surrounding area on day tours. We also stayed in Chiang Mai for one night, but one of the nights we actually […]

A Chef’s Tour: Oldest Market in Bangkok

A Chef’s Tour: Oldest Market in Bangkok

You know that I love food and Bangkok is the place to be if you are like me. The problem is that I do not speak or read Thai, so it becomes slightly more complicated if you want to try  offerings from the street food […]

Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa: a retreat near Chiang Rai

Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa: a retreat near Chiang Rai

A lot of people, when they go to the North of Thailand stop at Chiang Mai and  visit Chiang Rai area on a day tour. It is quite exhausting to do this trip in one day, as it is a 3 hour drive one way, which means you don’t have much time for sightseeing. I decided to explore Chiang Rai area over three days, so we had enough time to sight see and explore hill tribe villages. 

To give us some much needed relaxation after a day of active exploration, I found an absolute treasure hidden in the Chiang Rai area, away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. It is called Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa

After staying there for one night,  my only advice to you is to stay longer – a week,  if you have the time. This resort offers a lot :  whether it is activities or relaxation.  You simply will not have time to appreciate everything fully if you are staying 1 or 2 nights. 

Let me show you our room. All the rooms are located in separate buildings/cottages and two rooms have got interconnected stairs, otherwise you are staying in your own private cottage. 

On arrival,  you are taken to your room with all the luggage in the golf buggy, however all the paths are flat so  during your stay you can walk to your heart content , maybe burning the calories after over indulging at meal times.

I absolutely loved how big the rooms were and the terrace with a mind-blowing view over the surrounding area. When I am choosing the hotel nowadays, I always look at room sizes, as with two kids you want to get as much space as possible. At Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa the room sizes start from a generous 90 square meters. 

The terrace is equally impressive: there was a sun lounger and a table with chairs on our terrace. I could comfortably sit on this terrace for half a day and enjoy the view – it was extremely soothing. 

In the evening we went to try the restaurant.  There is an outside and inside seating areas and helpful staff offered us a mosquito spray, when we decided to sit outside. The menu was varied with both North Thai specialties and western classics.

As Luca and Letitia are not fans of spicy food (yet!),  we ordered spaghetti bolognese for them and the dishes were served in cute plates!

We ordered laab, pork salad with spices and herbs, and a green curry. Both were absolutely delicious and we tried laab at other places afterwards,  but Katiliya’s version was the best we tried.

Our breakfast was plentiful. We chose to sit on the terrace again, only this time we were able to enjoy fantastic views over the valley. There is nothing better than to have your morning coffee or tea and gaze at this green landscape!

For breakfast there was a choice of Western or Asian cuisine. There was everything you might want in the morning from omelettes to steamed buns or congee and fruit salad with home-made yougurt.  I was eagerly taste-tasting different fruit jams as these flavours are not available in Britain. I loved pineapple, mulberry and lychee. 

We spent the morning relaxing in the pools.  Raise your hand if your kids do not like a pool! At Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa one of the pools is heated, which is great in case of a rainy weather.

I love that the hotel caters for all sorts of weather, as there were a few times in the past when we specifically booked a hotel with a pool, but ended up not using it as it was either too cold or the weather was not nice? This is not going to happen here for sure!

Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa also has its own park for walking and hiking, where kids will enjoy over 100 animals with rabbits, deer and macaw.

If I had time I would have headed to the spa, where you can experience the art of famous Thai massage. 

If you want to explore the area, you can hire a car with a driver at the hotel and see Chinese village at Mae Salong, go to Chiang Rai for some temple hopping or visit beautiful  Choui Fung tea plantation. 

We had such a relaxing time at Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa! I  only wish we had a bit more time to spend at Katiliya. If you are in the area I highly recommend staying there and enjoying the nature, relaxation and food.

We were guests of Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa, but all opinions are my own.

Canal Tour in Bangkok with Pandan Tour

Canal Tour in Bangkok with Pandan Tour

While diverse and full of things to see, Bangkok is also huge and full of traffic. To avoid the congestion, consider exploring Bangkok using canal system, which never gets blocked and offers a pleasant refuge from the city heat. When I was in Bangkok 10 […]