48 Hours in KL – A weekend guide to Kuala Lumpur

April 26, 2017

Kuala Lumpur is a brilliant city – a cosmopolitan blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian influence, it blends traditions and culture alongside cutting edge technology. It has vivid banyan trees, iconic minarets, and giant-sized skyscrapers, as well as the traffic to rival many big cities. KL (as it’s fondly called by all locals) is a city of contrasts is busy but so charming, and within just 48 hours you can get a great insight into this friendly but frenetic place.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Views_Lifestyle Enthusiast

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that one of the key reasons I wanted to visit KL was for the food. KL boasts some of the best food in the world, influenced by a melting pot of cultures. With every type of restaurant from street hawker markets to high-end restaurants, KL really is a great spot for foodies. Before I went, naively, all I was excited to eat was Penang Curry. I left with a serious new love for Malaysian food and I’m so keen to go back as soon as possible!

So, you’ve got 48 hours in KL. What should you do? What should you eat? Here’s what I’d suggest.

Day 1 

If you’ve taken the same British Airways flight as we did, then you’re probably getting into KL in the early evening. Once you’ve arrived at your accommodation, shower and freshen up, make sure you’ve got some cash (the currency is Malaysian Ringgit) and head out – it’s time to get some food.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Satay Jalan Alor_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Jalan Alor at night

Jalan Alor is an entire street dedicated to food – it’s a great way to taste local food in a safe environment. This Hawker market truly comes alive in the evening. I can be excited for weeks after going to a great restaurant, and I’m really loving working through the list of the 50 World’s Best restaurants. However, I’m most excited when surrounded by great food, regardless of surroundings, and food markets abroad are especially exciting to me! With aromatic fragrances, colourful fruits and vegetables, sizzling street food and a buzzing vibe, Jalan Alor has the best of real fast, lipsmackingly-good food. There are no chain restaurants in sight, instead, there are truly local foods cooked quickly in front of your eyes. I absolutely loved it!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Walking through Jalan Alor Foodie Street _ Lifestyle Enthusiast

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Stingray Jalan Alor_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

This is the first place I’ve tried grilled chilli stingray and sour plum juice and some of the best satay chicken with peanut sauce!

 

Enjoy the atmosphere, grab a plastic table and enjoy a very cheap, cheerful, and relaxed dinner. For dessert, you just MUST try the fresh coconut ice cream. There are a couple of stalls which serve ice cream, but look for the one that looks like this:

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Coconut Mango Ice Cream Jalan Alor_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

I tried a few different stalls and this was my favourite in KL! I defy you to tell me something which is more satisfying to eat than this intoxicatingly-good coconut ice cream, covered in the freshest sweet, ripe, mango and crushed hazelnuts, perfect on a hot evening in KL!

Get a foot massage

They’re cheap and effective. Don’t go expecting a proper spa experience or anything fancy (for that you need to go here) but for around £10 you can get a really good no-frills one-hour-long foot massage. Do let the masseuse know what pressure you like and ideally take headphones so you can put in the music of your choice as you relax.

Try to shed the jet lag

There are so many good bars in KL that you could definitely go to one, and I’m sure you’d love it. That said, we found ourselves so tired and jet lagged and desperate to sleep at a normal time. The foot massage may have contributed to that! I recommend a good hot shower and a night’s sleep at a great hotel or Airbnb before you kick off Day 2!

Day 2

If you’re anything like me, your jet-lag has meant you didn’t sleep great. You may as well wake up and get moving. You’re about to have a great day!

Batu Caves

The Batu caves are a set of giant, limestone caves just North of KL. These iconic caves are popular with lots of tourists and Hindu pilgrims, as well as many monkeys who will be sure to entertain you with their endeavors to steal food!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

The easiest and quickest way to the Batu Caves it to take the train from ‘KL Sentral’ station directly to the Batu Caves. Go early and take very little with you. There are lots of monkeys who would just love to take your food and drink! Other than a bottle of water and some cash there’s very little you need.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves Monkey_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

You can easily spend an hour or two here, be sure to see the main cave and also the Ramayana cave which has murals of the story of the Ramayan here. The Ramayan is an ancient epic which tells the tale of Prince Rama rescuing his wife Sita from the demon king Ravan. I didn’t know the cave even existing before visiting, it’s truly beautiful and well worth a visit.

Top tip: For KL, wear comfortable shoes and light clothes that do well in the heat, as you’ll be walking up a lot of steps!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves Steps_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Batu Caves Monkey on gate_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Eat dosa and roti canai

A large population of those in KL are of South Indian descent, as such the Indian food we tried out there was really good. Right by the Batu Caves is a very simple spot called “Dhivya’s Cafe”. Here, you can try a Masala dosa, a crispy pancake made of lentils, with a spicy potato filling and served with red tomato sambal, coriander and coconut chutneys. A good dosa should be really crispy and very thin, we found the one here to be both of those, and incredibly cheap too! It’s typically eaten for breakfast or lunch, so if you do the Batu Caves first thing in the morning, this could be a perfect spicy brunch!

Alternatively, you could venture back into KL centre and try delicious roti canai, which is just as fun to watch being made as it is to eat. Buttery, flaky and soft – it just melts in your mouth. Despite the fact that this is said to be an Indian-influenced dish, I’ve never tried it in India and it’s said to be easier to find in Malaysia than anywhere else! Without a doubt, in one weekend in KL you have no choice but to try both!

Without a doubt, in one weekend in KL you have no choice but to try both of these dishes!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Roti Canai being made_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Visit the malls

It’s widely known that KL is a shopaholic’s dream – from high-end malls like Suria KLCC and Pavilion Kuala Lumpur to KL’s China Town Petaling Street Market, there’s plenty to buy if you wish to. Rather than blow all my ringgit’s in one go, I window shopped! We couldn’t resist trying some of the dishes from the mall too!

Walk through the KLCC park

A real surprise for me in KL was this gorgeous park. KLCC park is a 50-acre oasis in between all of the skyscrapers. You see runners shoot by, romance blooming with couples hand-in-hand and families at the public children’s swimming pool. The highlight of this park is Lake Symphony, with its beautiful fountains and plenty of beautiful shrubs and flowers around it. Ideally, you could time this with the fountain show, which happens a few times each day, with music.

Have cocktails with a view

Through KLCC park you can find the entrance to Trader’s Hotel Kuala Lumpur, where Sky Bar is. Head up to sip some cocktails, high in the sky, around a swimming pool; it’s both bizarre and a fun concept! I found it just a little bit seedy (especially the Ladies Night adverts!) but the views totally make it worthwhile, with vivid pink sunsets and a beautiful dark blanket backdrop once the sun is down, it’s truly one of the best spots for watching the sun go down.

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Sunset from Sky Bar_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Night view from Sky Bar_ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Day 3

LaZat Malaysia Nyonya Cooking Class

This hands-on cooking class is absolutely brilliant and is a must-do for any foodie in KL. Starting with a market trip, as part of a small group you’ll get a really good insight into Malay and Chinese culture, cooking, and customs. You’ll learn to cook incredible dishes like Roti Jala (a thin pancake style roti which looks like lace), the most flavour-packed delicious chicken curry and beautiful pandan and coconut Onde-Onde (little squidgy desserts!) Nyonya cuisine comes from the descendants of early Chinese migrants who settled in Malaysia and married with local Malays – it’s spicy and warming and packed with flavour! The chefs at LaZat are kind and best of all this takes places in the most beautiful lush, green surroundings, just outside of KL. You’re certain to leave with a smile on your face!

48 Hours in Kuala Lumpur (KL)_ Lazat Cooking Class Jala Roti _ Lifestyle Enthusiast

Aperitif

Toast to your great trip at Marini’s @ 57 Bar, a rooftop bar on the 57th floor of the Petronas towers. It’s Malaysia’s highest rooftop bar and boasts great music and even better views. It’s the perfect spot to soak in the views of KL, one last time, before you vow to come back another time and head onwards to your next destination!

Five things you can’t miss when staying at Hotel Mousai

April 18, 2017

You may have seen in my previous post why I had fallen for the room at the Hotel Mousai – who wouldn’t?! But the room isn’t the only thing I loved there. There are just so many things to do at Hotel Mousai, should you want to!

We had six incredible nights at the Hotel Mousai and whilst it’s hard to pick – here are my top must-do things for those staying at this beautiful resort.

1. Devour the breakfast

Breakfast at Hotel Mousai is honestly up there with the best hotel breakfasts’ I’ve ever had. It was definitely a close contender for my favourite hotel breakfast, high up on the list like that which we loved in Lombok. It’s a totally relaxed affair, served from 7 am to midday. There’s both a buffet and an a la carte menu and you are free to eat from either of these or both! There are a number of spaces for where you can eat too, all of which serve the classics, continental breakfasts, viennoiserie, Croque Madame’s and of course some delicious Mexican breakfast options. We both loved the Mexican chilaquiles (which we had first tried in Mexico City), consisting of fresh crispy tortillas, topped with salsas, soured cream and mole (a traditional full flavoured Mexican sauce, for which many families have their own secret recipe!)

I did, however, fall in love with amaranth granola in Mexico and it was a winner for me here at Hotel Mousai, available each day as part of the buffet. Amaranth is a bit like a grain, couscous sized, and is gluten-free. It makes a lovely crispy breakfast cereal and I really loved starting my day with it, deliciously coated in a little honey, with yoghurt, nuts and fresh fruits. My favourite item though, without any doubt, was the beautiful bircher muesli (also frequently known as overnight oats). Now I’ve had a lot of bircher muesli before, and I often make it at home, but truly I am yet to taste one as delicious as the one at Hotel Mousai. Alongside oats, soy milk and yoghurt, it had freshly grated coconut, cinnamon and pecan nuts in it. Eating that, with views of the sea, is a memory which for me, even now a year on, is still up there with some of my happiest! The hospitality of the kitchen team was unrivalled – they even wrote down the recipe for me when I told them I loved it!

Hotel Mousai breakfast buffet - Lifestyle Enthusiast

There are a few places within the resort where you can have your breakfast. If you can leave your room then I’d highly recommend going to the Terrace, with unbeatable lush green views; it’s the perfect spot to start your day with great coffee, tea, or a mimosa. There’s also the option to take your breakfast at the Blanca Blue restaurant, which is also great but shared with Garza Blanca so more suitable for families (Hotel Mousai is adults-only), but my firm favourite was the Hotel Mousai terrace. If you can’t bear the thought of leaving your hotel room, well I wouldn’t blame you, you could always order room service from your iPad and eat it whilst out on your balcony!

 

 

 

2. Get your spa on!

Hotel Mousai’s spa is called Spa Imagine, is fabulous, I enjoyed a great massage but actually, what you mustn’t miss out on is Spa Imagine’s Hydrotherapy Circuit – it’s brilliant! It sits on the fifteenth floor with 360-degree views. Between the steam room, sauna, pressure massage rain shower, vitality pool, whirlpool and cold plunge pool – you’re left relieved of all tension. You are assigned a spa butler upon arrival, who advises on the best order for you and provides you with towels and chlorophyll water for rehydration. It’s truly something special and I wish I had spent more time there!

Hotel Mousai Spa - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Source: Tafer Resorts

Hotel Mousai Spa - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Source: Tafer Resorts

 

3. Work out

I should start by letting you know that I don’t usually go to the gym on holiday, but after a week of heavy meals and margarita’s I was keen to get some exercise in. Well, that and the fact that my jet lag would lead to me waking up each morning by 6 am! I made myself a little routine and didn’t try to resist the jet lag. Instead, I’d quietly sneak out to the gym, via the breakfast terrace where the lovely guys would be setting up. They would let me grab a tiny chia pudding and some berries to get me started as pre-gym fuel. I’d then listen to music and watch the sunrise from the gym, as it has exceptional views of the pacific ocean. After a workout, I’d stretch in the extra exercise room and then head back to my suite, shower up, and dress for a proper breakfast with my other half. Serious bliss and it allows you more space for tortillas and ice cream by the pool!

The complimentary yoga offered by the hotel is Kundalini style, rather than the Vinyasa flow that I’m used to, so I was a little sceptical at first. That said, it was a great way to start a morning and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather practice yoga than by the river with the sunshine lightly warming my shoulders!

4. Unplug

Annoyingly for a 5* hotel, the wifi is not included in the price. At first, I was a little frustrated by this, having to let go of my Instagram and Twitter addictions, but quickly I realised how unnecessary it was. There’s no need for the Internet when there’s a view this good, there’s yoga by the river, paddleboarding, hikes in the surrounding mountains and trips to see waterfalls, all complimentary for guests at the Mousai. Oh, and of course there are views that just cannot be beaten! We chose to just unplug from the internet and rest up, for the most part.

 

5. Visit Hiroshi

We stayed at Hotel Mousai on a bed and breakfast basis as we like the variety of being able to go out and try other restaurants, but given how beautiful the hotel was we did find ourselves not wanting to leave! One evening we tried Hiroshi, Hotel Mousai’s Japanese restaurant. It serves contemporary Asian inspired food with plenty of fresh sushi and sashimi. The food wasn’t quite as punchy as I liked (I’ve been spoiled by the delicious food at Kurobuta and Sticks and Sushi here in London), but it was really beautifully presented and I just loved listening to the sound of the waves softly lapping the ocean whilst we dined in Hiroshi. The cocktails were really great and they’re difficult to resist!

For more information, head to the Hotel Mousai website.

What do you love to do on holiday? Where have you loved staying most? Any must-try experiences at those hotels? I love to read about them so please do share these with me in the comments below, or via Instagram or Twitter!

Hotel Mousai, Mexico – the best hotel room I’ve ever slept in

April 13, 2017

When I think back to some of my favourite holiday memories, this one comes back time and time again.

Lying on a sun lounger, Spanish textbook on my lap, gazing into the most azure of waters. The sun is hot on my skin and there’s some music soothing my ears, from the resident DJ. One of the pool guys comes over and offers us another complimentary ice cream. I take it. It’s cold, refreshing and super creamy. The views of the ocean are incredible, our butler is available for anything we need. I turned to Ash and said “this actually is paradise.” And it was. Relaxing, beautiful and fun all in one. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you about how we ended up in such an incredible, luxurious hotel (hint: It’s not as expensive as it may sound… Read on to find out why!)

Have you ever stayed somewhere that you loved so much that you want to share it with everyone, but some part of you also wants to keep it to yourself to hold on to the feeling that it’s your special place? I have gone back and forth, for the best part of a year, about whether to share about my holiday at Hotel Mousai here on the blog, but following the motto that sharing is caring, here I am now telling you all about it, with the help of the official photographs from Hotel Mousai, which do the hotel a lot more justice than my photos do!

So let’s rewind back to 12 months ago, when we arrived at the Hotel Mousai.

We arrived at the Mousai with the warmest of welcomes, beaming smiles and the coolest of towels and welcome drinks. Our corner Mousai Junior Suite wasn’t quite ready upon check-in, so we decided to head up to the white themed rooftop for a refreshing welcome drink. What a great decision that was!

Hotel Mousai Rooftop - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

Hotel Mousai Rooftop Deck - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel MousaiThe views are incredible and the vibe was perfect – contemporary tunes, bar staff and waiters with huge smiles on their faces, the most BEAUTIFUL infinity pool… we just knew this was going to be a great holiday. They aren’t exaggerating when they tell you this area will take your breath away, during the day or at sunset.

Hotel Mousai Rooftop Evening - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

We basqued in the sunshine,  read through the hotel brochure and spoke to one of the concierge about the amenities, before we were whisked up in the lift to our suite, both incredibly excited about all the activities on offer at the hotel! We were so lucky to be offered a complimentary upgrade to a Corner Suite, with a wonderful wrap-around terrace, meaning that the views were some of the best in the entire hotel (see the pics!). With it’s 270 degree views I can honestly say that, without a doubt, it’s the best hotel room I have ever stayed in.

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite Terrace - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite Terrace with champagne - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite Room view from side Terrace - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

Absolutely enormous, with views for days, it was so perfect! Upon entering there’s a little corridor, then a lavish relaxation lounge area, with a huge sofa, well stocked mini bar and of course a Nespresso machine. It’s the perfect place for some welcome bubbles – to toast to what is sure to be one of your favourite holidays.

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite Lounge - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

A few steps on is the huge king sized bed, with a pillow menu and an iPad on it. There’s an iPad in each suite which controls the lights, the blinds, the temperature, music, television, the internet and it even has options to book restaurants, spa treatments or to allow you to contact the concierge. As if that’s not enough, each room has a dedicated Butler to help with anything you may need. Even they can be contacted via the iPad!

Of course the television is super slim, sleek and modern, and easily visible from pretty much anywhere in the bedroom. I loved the use of gadgets, that were functional, cool and cleverly designed to make your holiday that much more relaxing!

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

Hotel Mousai is incredibly luxurious but without any of the stuffiness or pretentious that some may expect of this calibre of hotel. The warm, fun style is reflected in the decor of the room, which is modern and easy on the eye, with splashes of vibrant orange and purple. I loved the bold style so much as it was perfectly balanced with the more classic marble floor, and it added so much character.

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite Bathroom - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

From the bed, it’s a mere few steps to the dressing area, with a strikingly huge vanity mirror, which I just loved getting ready in! A bright red chaise lounge tempts you to take a seat. Pass the double sink which leads the way to the shower room and the separate toilet.

As bizarre as it sounds, I just have to mention said toilette! It had multiple functions to heat, wash and dry your derrière. I guess this is luxury loo service! They truly have thought of everything at the Mousai! I’ll leave you to decide whether it’s necessary or not!

My favourite thing about having a corner room was that from any side of the room you can access the terrace. With a balcony that goes almost all the way around the room, the views allow you to see the Pacific Ocean, the bay, or the lush green jungle all from the comfort of your room. With floor to ceiling windows, tonnes of light comes in and you could watch these views for hours and not get bored. Hotel Mousai is right at the top of a mountain so the views are truly unparalleled and pretty mesmorising at any point in the day.

Hotel Mousai Corner Suite Plunge Bath Hot Tub - Lifestyle Enthusiast Blog - photo courtesy of Hotel Mousai

Finally, by the hammock and garden furniture was the piece-de-resistance. This was my little sanctuary!

We had a private, gold-tiled, plunge pool jacuzzi to relax in whilst we enjoyed the striking views. Taking in the views from here was sensational and I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. I’d stumble out of bed and get straight into it to enjoy the sunrise. We snacked on the freshest guacamole and tortilla’s whilst sitting in there in the afternoon, and even in the evening I’d watch watch Orange is the New Black (OITNB) on my iPad from there. I was going through a major OITNB series binge, at the time, and am absolutely going to put my hands up and say there’s no place better to watch from!

This hotel is seriously special and there’s too much to share with you for just one post, so stay tuned for more insights into the hotel facilities, which honestly are sensational.

…So, you may be thinking, a place like this must be expensive right?

Not necessarily! Here’s the secret. We didn’t actually spend that much!

Black Friday wasn’t something that I’ve ever really raised an eyebrow at. I’m rubbish at rummaging in the sales and figured I’d just end up buying things I don’t need. I’m trying to buy less, but of better quality, so that I get fewer items but those which I do get are better quality and are more special to me. I never thought I’d book a holiday due to Black Friday but when one of the best hotels’ in Central America becomes available at 60% off, well who am I to refuse?

If you’re a regular reader you’ll know that I had a companion voucher with British Airways, which essentially meant we could use just Avios points and pay taxes for two, for the price of one. With this we booked return flights to and from Mexico City. After four exceptional evenings exploring and eating my weight in delicious tacos, pozoles and taquitos, we took a short flight to Puerto Vallarta to our next destination, the beachfront luxury property, Hotel Mousai. With a British Airways companion voucher and the Hotel Mousai’s Black Friday sale, Mexico made for a holiday with great value for money and just oodles of luxury.

I loved Hotel Mousai so much, it epitomised pretty much everything I love about a hotel and I would go back in an instant. I just can’t wait to share more of it with you!

Which hotels have you fallen in love with?

Pin for later - Hotel Mousai - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Hotel Mousai’s website can be found here.

*All photos in this post have been provided by Hotel Mousai, given that I didn’t take enough photos of the room (oops!) – as always though, my opinions are my own.

Petersham Nurseries Teahouse, Richmond

April 7, 2017

Last weekend I visited Petersham Nurseries in Richmond for the first time. We had arranged a belated lunch with our mums for a belated Mother’s day. The criteria was somewhere relaxing, pretty, with vegetarian and healthy options and ideally, somewhere not too far from the family homes. We decided to tick one off the bucket list and visit Petersham Nurseries in Richmond.

Petersham Nurseries is not new – it’s a stunning, rustic garden centre which has been around for over a decade, but it truly is a tranquil oasis in London. We hadn’t quite decided on our venue until a couple of days before so we didn’t have time to book the acclaimed greenhouse restaurant, instead, we decided on the relaxed teahouse which promised seasonal, homemade dishes, and didn’t require a reservation ahead. It certainly doesn’t disappoint!

The teahouse sits in the airy greenhouse and is a perfect spot for a casual lunch in the sunshine. We passed the fields of horses, the beautiful, yellow daffodils, nature’s little wonders, and this incredible welcoming flower mobile as we made our way to the teahouse, exploring the plants and beautiful mirrors all around us.


Petersham Nurseries’ food is ALL about the quality – it’s renowned for sustainable, delicious food based on quality ingredients. The teahouse is pretty casual and the perfect space for getting some sun and having a catch up with a delicious meal.

As soon as I saw the menu I was in overload. Everything sounded delicious and I wanted it all! Do you ever get food envy? I’m so guilty of it, I love the sound of so many dishes and struggle to pick, inevitably feeling a little jealous when someone else’s food looks better! So when my other half suggested we order more dishes to share for the table I agreed calmly couldn’t stop grinning and went wild with the orders, in the name of sharing of course!.

We tried three salads, the first was a delicious flavour-full spiced chickpea, beetroot hummus, and spinach. My mum loved the second especially with mixed pulses, courgettes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh chilli and fragrant mint. The third salad included freekeh, asparagus, crunchy toasted seeds and garden herbs was delicious. The fresh herbs truly set this apart, and all three were delicious. They were vibrant and worked perfectly together. A surprising hit and some of the most delicious salads I’ve had in ages.

The Doc loved the Spaghetti with wild garlic and parsley pesto, which was a grown-up version of pesto pasta – his childhood favourite!

I loved the Cauliflower Tagine best, served hot with what I think was roasted celeriac – it was hot with flavour but not too spicy, served with a cooling mint yoghurt and spiced flatbread. Truly delicious! It reminded me of the bread served with my monkfish at Spring at Somerset House, and the celeriac had a crunch that resembled Christmas Day roasties! Our mums bothy seemed to enjoy all of this, as well as the Montgomery Cheddar and Chutney sourdough sandwiches.

The Spring herbs quiche was served with a rocket salad went down well with us all. The pastry was perfect – Mary Berry would be so proud of the crunchy, flaky crust with no signs of any “soggy bottom!” It had a delicate flavour and a beautiful pastry which was buttery but not cloying at all. Truly delicious!

We washed this all with a carafe of Chegworth Valley pressed apple and pear juice. It was so refreshing and worlds apart from anything from a carton! It was the perfect lunch in that warm Greenhouse. The sun shone down and every dish was delicious and perfect in the sunshine… perhaps the sun heightens your taste buds? I don’t know but I do know that I every single bite of the food.

Strolling around Petersham Nurseries on a sunny day has got to be a London highlight, with the sun on your skin, it’s hard not to smile. Scents of fresh lavender and rosemary, fresh air (which seems so rare in Central London) and the most beautiful displays out. It’s seriously pretty. From the fountains to the flowers, to the most Instagrammable shop ever, I loved it all.






I wish I’d bought these – the scents were amazing!





The shop is filled with beautiful antique style furnishings, garden accessories, homeware and even clothing and accessories. We went for a walk around the garden centre and of course, I wanted everything! But this day was about our Mums, so we finished up at Petersham Nurseries and heading home for tea and cake.

I truly loved the teahouse at Petersham nurseries and definitely want to go back to try the Michelin Star Petersham cafe. Petersham Nurseries is also opening in Floral Court, Covent Garden, and if it’s anything like the one in Richmond it’s sure to be a little inner city haven of tranquility and delicious food; the perfect spot for a last minute lunch in the sunshine!

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Other Lifestyle Enthusiast posts you may like… The best spa hotel in Lake Como, Lunch at Spring Somerset House, Why you need to visit Mexico City now if you’re looking for inspiration!

The top five things that inspired me in Mexico City

April 1, 2017

 

For me, arriving in Mexico City had a buzz like no other. I took comfort in the friendly voices around me and was so excited to come back to what is fast becoming one of my favourite countries.

The lights, the colours, the festivals, weather and the warmth of the lovely Mexican people set it apart from any other city I’ve been to. We had decided to stop for a few nights in Mexico City given that we had a companion voucher with British Airways, and our flights stopped there on our way to Puerto Vallarta. I’d been so excited about being in one of the culinary hot spots of the world. What resulted was a seriously inspiring holiday which has me looking for my next culture contrast as soon as possible.

Whilst it was due to be just a stopover on our way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City quickly became one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It’s taken top place for my favourite city break and it’s made me so inspired to get back to Latin America as soon as possible.

I can’t wait to share with you, these five top things that inspired me about Mexico City!

Mexico City - Colourful Walls - Reena - Lifestyle Enthusiast

The insanely good food

We didn’t have one bad meal for the four days we were in Mexico City – every dish was incredible. From the Spicy Chilaquiles or Amaranth granola in our hotel breakfast, flavour-packed tacos from the street, little family run restaurants, to some of the best fine dining in the world, which is worth coming to Mexico for in its own right! The flavours are incredible, aromas unrivalled and any foodie would get super excited. From eating our weight in fresh zingy guacamole to experiencing true Mexican haute cuisine at Pujol, voted 25th best restaurant in the world – I’ve never tried such incredible food. It certainly isn’t the one-dimensional Mexican food we get in the UK and there were just so many dishes I’d never tried that I would love to eat today!

Dish at Pujol Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Guacamole, fresh tortillas and agua - Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Jose Guadalupe Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Taco Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

 

Dinner at Azul Historico Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast


The warm, kind people 
Despite the negative press about safety and drugs in Mexico, the people are wonderful! Mexico gets a lot of bad press but honestly, our experience was contrary to so much of this. I found it safe, warm and friendly. We took the local metro and found that people were happy to help direct us. I loved practicing my Spanish as I felt everyone was only ever happy to help me.

Musician on the street - Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

When we visited Mercado San Juan, we bought a small wheel of my favourite Oaxacan cheese to snack on. We happened to have it with us when we visited the Taqueria next door, where the smell of fresh tortillas was irresistible.

We perused the menu and quickly realised that there wasn’t much for us. The Doc is allergic to shellfish and I was struggling to translate some of the meats in Spanish (they are grouped by part of the body!) The lovely lady understood my predicament (which I explained in broken Spanish) and that we didn’t really want to take a risk. She grinned, reassured me that she’d make us something special, took the cheese and came back with the best quesadilla I’ve ever tasted. Stringy with cheese, hot and full of flavours with fresh greens and the most incredible flavour packed salsa. It was sensational (I’ve never had my mouth water as much as when writing this!) Where else in the world would someone do that!?

Oaxacan cheese quesadilla - fresh - Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

The romance 
Romance is not one of the words I associated with Mexico City before we visited, but now I can totally see how romantic it is. I agree that taquitos aren’t the most attractive things to eat on a date, but Mexico City certainly surprised me with how romantic it felt.

From dining in candlelight at Azul Historico or strolling through the many city parks like Chapultepec or Alameda Park – you see couples everywhere. Music plays everywhere and it is so atmospheric. Each weekend in Plaza de la Ciudadela, couples of every age can be seen dancing to music with a Cuban influence. It’s beautiful and incredibly romantic and it absolutely is a wonderful day to enjoy the company of your loved one, hand-in-hand, whilst seeing the sunset over Paseo de la Reforma.

The passionate but tumultuous love story of two of Mexico’s most famous artists, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, is the most captivating I’ve heard and oddly one of my favourites.  Reading Frida’s exquisite love letters to Diego at the Frida Kahlo museum felt like peeking into someone’s diary. Bizarre as it sounds, reading about her intense love for Diego, their open relationship, the highs, the lows and the challenges they faced, was actually one of the most memorable parts of the trip! It was so lovely to experience this together too and I can’t recommend it enough.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera home sign Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

The ever-present art (it’s everywhere!)
This beautiful city is an art-enthusiasts dream (and also incredibly Instagrammable!) Everyday there are long winding queues outside the home of Mexico’s most famous artist, Frida Kahlo. Apparently, this is always the case no matter how early you visit. Vivid blue walls and terracotta aren’t just for this museum though, Mexico City is the most colourful place I’ve ever been to. Houses are painted in the most gloriously bright colours and honestly, it’s so stunning and put a smile on my face every single day.

Colourful walls flag - Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

The artwork in Frida’s home is incredible – if you go it’s definitely worth getting the audio tour to really bring it to life! I love that in Mexico City you walk through any street and almost have to force yourself not to take photos of everything. The street art is so pretty!

Much of the art I loved best was testament to Frida and Diego. Diego’s murals at the beautiful colonial Palacio Nacional cover the walls with the history of the Mexican civilisation, from the arrival of Quetzalcóatl, a god of the Toltecs, Mayans, and Aztecs, to the post-revolutionary period.

Street art Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Palacio de Bellas Artes has exhibitions and theatrical performances as well as murals from some of Mexico’s greatest artists!

Palacio de Bellas Artes Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Diego Rivera and Frida symbolise the wave of the communist movement and I love that art, history, romance are woven together through their art.

The Teotihuacan History
The history of Mexico is so vast and rich and incredibly interesting. I loved the museums and would have loved more time to explore more of them. Just north of Mexico City are the Teotihuacan pyramids, an archaeological complex built between the 1st and 7th centuries A.D; known to be one of the largest urban centres of the ancient world. It had existed for thousands of years even before the Aztecs! Relatively little is known about the “city of the gods” except that Teotihuacan was the capital of an ancient empire whose impact stretched as far as Guatemala.  I loved exploring these pyramids and learning about the way of life. It was incredible to stand somewhere steeped with so much history. I’d love to learn more about Mexican history (perhaps grounds for another trip soon!)

Teotihuacan pyramids - Mexico City - Lifestyle Enthusiast

Mexico City inspired me in so many ways and I definitely want to go back as soon as possible! If you get the chance, you absolutely must go!