Sri Lanka

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April 28, 2018

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There’s so much to do and see in Sri Lanka and with only eleven days we were keen to fit it all in. We flew into Colombo (West Coast) and got out the city as soon as possible.

 

From Colombo, we travelled clockwise, as we wanted to get stuck into the treks and safaris first and end our travels by the beaches. After landing we jumped on the first train to Kandy. Make sure you book in advance as the trains get booked up really quickly and you’ll end up squashed in third class.

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Kandy

Kandy is described as the most picturesque city on the island. We only stayed for one night, as a stopover to get to Ella so didn’t get to experience that much of it. If you do stay, I’d recommend visiting the botanical gardens and the Temple of the Tooth.

The famous train to Ella from Kandy took 6 hours and is a must! The train doors are open so you can sit with your feet swinging out as you pass endless greenery and end up in the clouds.

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Ella

We stayed at the Ella Flower Garden Resort, which had the most amazing views. Think Tulum vibes! The rooms weren’t amazing as they were under renovation but the views are everything. The owner is obsessed with nature so expect to find loads of bunnies and birds.

Ella is a town full of back packers with beautiful settings of endless tea plantations. There aren’t many hostels here, mainly guesthouses. Definitely hike little Adams peak for sunrise or sunset. I would also recommend staying at 98 Acres or at least having breakfast here.

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Other places to see here include Ravana Ella Rock Temple, Ella’s rock (avoid in the morning heat), Dowa Rock Temple and Ravana waterfall. Another attraction worth seeing is the famous Nine arch bridge. Ella town is popular for cooking classes. I would recommend Matey Hut. For really cheap good food go to Café Chill-the upstairs chill area is like a tree house with loads of beanbags and majestic music.

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Udawalawe National Park

We hired a driver to take us to the safari from Ella who then waited whilst we explored and took us to Tangalle (South coast) after. We woke up at 4am to get to the safari for 6am so we could see the animals. We saw loads of elephants, monkeys and crocodiles. If you prepare leopards, Yala is the National Park you should visit.

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Dikwella and Hiriketiya beach

We stayed at the Sea Tree View, which was only a 5 min walk from the famous Hiriketiya beach. The beautiful tree houses were cute and minimalist with modern bathrooms. They have the best massages in private huts looking out to the sea view. Most people say this beach was their favorite in the whole of Sri Lanka, perfect for surfing and swimming I can see why!

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Unfortunately this place was closed for the month of May so we didn’t get the chance to visit, but if you want a cool workspace with great coffee or even a place to stay, check out Verse collective. The interior design is everything.

Walking around Hiriketiya beach we stumbled upon a stunning restaurant called the Grove, started by two aussies. The lemongrass juices and fresh fish tacos were calling us! If you’ve looking for a mean brunch, the Grove is your place. For a fancier dinner Salt House is also a good option.

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Mirissa

We stayed at JJ’s hostel for a night. All the rooms were super clean and modern. It’s also a two-minute walk from Shady Lane. This place is amazing for cheap iced coffees, smoothie bowls and cinnamon French toast.

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We had dinner at Salt on the beachfront. They had fresh fish and prawns complimented with delicious chili pasta (Sri Lankans love their chili!).  The vibe was great here…tables covered with fairy lights and music by the beach. Also check out Zephyr restaurant for the best burgers.

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Weligama

I found this beautiful hotel on Instagram called Ceylon Sliders. A Swedish couple started this place and each dish on the menu has been carefully crafted. The tuna tartar and falafel bowls are so tasty. From the detail and interior in the rooms to the rooftop yoga classes, I couldn’t recommend Ceylon Sliders anymore! Weligama beach is located just opposite the hotel. There are tons of surfing schools here where you can book hourly lessons on the beach. For cheap food and fun social vibes, check out Hangtime hostel.

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Ahangama

We stayed in the most beautifully decorated house called the Kip. The most welcoming couple and stunning interior. 

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Yoga Shala is the best place for yoga (especially the Vinyasa classes). The classes take place in the jungle and you can go for a dip in the infinity pool after. They also sell delicious banana and peanut butter smoothie bowls.

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Galle

Galle is famous for the Fort aka as the Dutch Fort, which withstood the tsunami, which damaged part of the coast area. Galle is full of jewelry shops and little cute souvenir shops. If you do get the chance to visit you must go to Poonie’s Kitchen and order the coconut and banana bread with passion fruit icing butter (thank me later).

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The Amangalla is an amazing beautiful colonial building, which was the first hotel in Sri Lanka. Good for afternoon tea or dinner. Go to sunset drinks at the Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel, which was built by a famous Sri Lankan architect called Geoffrey Bawa, who has designed some incredible buildings around the country.

The Owl and the Pussycat do a good avocado and tuna tartar. The almond chocolate ice cream was also a dream. It’s also a hotel and they do the most beautiful quirky interior rooms.

Lots of people recommended us to visit Hikkaduwa, which is a seaside resort town. Sadly we ran out of time, but try and stop by en route to Colombo.

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THE LIFE OF A MINIMALIST

May 21, 2018


I recently read this article on the most productive countries in the world, and three of which were Scandinavian countries. This got me thinking what are they doing right that we’re not?

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Let me introduce to you the Swedish work ‘lagom’, which means not too little and not too much but just the right amount.  Rather than fitting a bit of lagom into your day, it’s more about your approach to your life as a whole.

Keeping a note of your finances, consciously reducing your environmental impact on the world. This could be with fabrics of new clothes, recycling or energy consumption at home and to start reusing your canvas bags. Every little helps.

For many aspiring minimalists, getting rid of physical belongings served as their initial tribute and exercise in livening more consciously. It makes sense. De-cluttering of one’s non-necessary possessions frees up both physical and mental spaces and allows one to focus on what’s really important. What adds joy, purpose and fulfilment to one’s life.

 Getting rid of the physical clutter comes later but my first lesson on minimalism was that the core of living minimally is determining what I cannot live without and not so much asking how little I can live with.

Being a minimalist is both personal and individual in its definition and practice. There is no standard to dictate that one must own a maximum number of belongings, live in a particular type of space, or adopt a certain lifestyle in order to qualify as a minimalist. There is no all or nothing.

Minimalist comes in many different hues and no two minimalists are exactly alike but their ultimate goals are the same –happiness. What defines them is a common set of beliefs, ethos and practices. For me, these include:

Keeping only what adds happiness, value, purpose and freedom to our lives and discarding the rest that is non-essential. These include both physical and emotional things.

Living minimally should be a joyful choice, not a deprivation forced upon us.

Being more conscious and mindful of the things we buy and own, the relationships we have, and the experiences and situations we allow into our lives so that we live with more intention, purpose and intensity.

At its core, minimalism is an ethos with focus on joy and purpose. It inspires a reassessment of one’s priorities so that you can strip away the excess and non-essential stuff-the possessions, beliefs, ideas, relationships and activities that don’t bring value to your life and focus on those that do. It is a tool that helps me in gaining freedom, freedom from consumer culture, mental clutter, emotional baggage, negative relationships, debt and joyless pursuits. Tangible freedom.

Learn to live more consciously, questioning my beliefs, ideas, possessions, relationships and commitments. I have found purpose in things that inspire and support me, that allow me to grow as a person and contribute to those around me.

Moderation, a balance between less and more, immeasurable and personal in its own definition, is at the heart of minimalism.

 

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Sri Lankan Diaries

 

 

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Selfies with Saatchi

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Living in this digital age and a growing selfie-obsessed generation there could have been no better time for this Selfie Exhibition to be held at the Saatchi Gallery in Sloane Square, West London.

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The Saatchi Gallery (also known as the world’s number 1 museum on social media) have teamed up with Huawei to present a ‘Selfie to Self-Expression’. This is the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the old masters to more current celebrities including Kimmy K of course.

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The exhibition has super cool interactive artworks including a built-in computerized surveillance system. Whereby when you stand in front of the mirror, sensors detect the viewer’s eyes and plumes of smoke are seen to rise from them.

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There’s also the Pom Pom mirror that uses a camera to track your silhouette on a wall of fluff! Now if that isn’t cool I don’t know what is???

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It’s also free entry; I’d say it’s a Saturday afternoon well spent!

The Saatchi Gallery is open everyday 10am-6pm

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#SAATCHISELFIE

 

Bala Baya

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Contempory & Creative Israeli Food

So I haven’t been to many Israeli restaurants but I’m a big fan of Lebanese and middle eastern food in general so I had to try this place. And my god, the food was divine; I think I’ve found my new favourite place to eat!

The restaurant has only been open for six months and is located right by Southwark/Waterloo station. Inspired by Bauhaus architecture, Bala Baya has created a kaleidoscopic space prefect for inside and outdoor sitting.

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Famous for its Israeli tapas, every single dish we ordered was a little delight. The flavors were quite unique and a lot of the dishes included ingredients such as pistachio nuts, dill and yoghurt.

The restaurant is a bakery in the afternoon and they serve this amazing pita bread with a chili and yoghurt dip for starters. Completely to die for! There is a tasting menu for £35pp but I would recommend ordering from the tapas menu so you can try a bit of everything.

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We ordered the lamb and dumplings, crispy, sticky, crunchy (chicken with harissa, bitter orange and butternut squash), braised beef shoulder with crisped onions and whipped tahini, potatoes with wasabi and horseradish cream, aubergine tea with milk (this is actually grilled aubergine and yoghurt), roasted peppers and the Israeli salad with feta and dill.

Every dish was just a party in my mouth and I would recommend all eight!

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For dessert, we tried all three on the menu but I think the deconstructed white chocolate cheesecake was the best and the traditional Israel cake served with plum slices is yummy.

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Pergola on the Roof

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Food Pop-ups & Roof Tops

Literally what the name says, this roof top is on the top of a multi storey car park not far from the Sheppard’s Bush Westfield shopping centre.

This is the perfect place for summer hangs with your friends with a variety of restaurants to choose from including Patty and Bun and Salt ‘n’ Sauce.

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We snacked on the vegan tacos and had grilled bananas with banana bread topped with pistachio nuts on fresh cream for dessert!

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The Prince of Wales

 May 7th, 2016

POW Brixton Roof Terrace

A bunch of us went to the Summer Terrace Party at the Prince of Wales in Brixton this Saturday and what a way to start off the summer it was!!

The two-tier rooftop terrace and the rum shack cocktail bar paired with the sun was the perfect combination.

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Disco, Funk, House and Soul Classics were at the backdrop to the sunset, led by deeper house in the night.

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With a strong sound system and a heavyweight bass, the PoW wins the best rooftop bar in South London! Popular DJs at PoW include Toyboy and Robin, DJ Yoda.

K xo

Oka Sushi

May 27th, 2016

Oh Oka Oka

Being Asian of course it’s in my blood to love sushi. I love trying out different restaurants around London especially sushi ones. There are countless sushi places in London, but I wanted to specifically share with you all this little gem I found. On the first floor of Kingly Court in Oxford Circus is Oka. I actually love this restaurant so much not for the sushi but for the Karaange chicken and the desserts!

The atmosphere was very intimate and chilled. The restaurant is quite small with only around twelve tables so I would recommend booking in advance.

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We ordered the Karaange chicken, which is basically crunchy Japanese chicken thighs. This was served with a spicy ketchup sauce. The chicken thighs were really succulent and fried in a kind of cornflake-like batter. We also had this with the prawn tempera and salmon sashimi.

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13288846_10153802826473370_389743960_nKaraange Chicken // Salmon Sashimi

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Just look how happy she is ^^

I would also recommend ordering the salmon marinated in honey soy mustard and finished with roasted cashews (need I say more)?

And of course, saved the best until last…DESSERT! This freshly baked dark couverture cookie dough was honestly the best thing that’s touched my lips in a while…

13318780_10153802818343370_186092699_nFreshly baked dark couverture cookie dough *drool*

We had it with one scoop of hazelnut ice cream and coconut ice cream on the side (just because we can 😉 )

If I’m honest, I was pleasantly surprised and definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone.  If you’re in North London then there’s also an Oka in Primrose Hill and Chelsea (West).

Check out the menu here: http://www.okarestaurant.co.uk/

Enjoy!

K xo

Sketch

May 28th, 2016

Sketch’s Townhouse Tearoom

It was a Friday night and me and my friend had just finished dinner in Kingly Court and decided to go out for drinks after. We were walking down Conduit Street until we stumbled across a place called Sketch. Sketch is a quirky 18th-century townhouse tearoom in Mayfair that transforms into a cocktail lounge in the evenings.

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They have three different bars inside so you can take your pick. They also have an exclusive Michelin star dining room known as ‘The Living Room’ (must book way in advance for a table) and a more modern European Gastro-Brasserie called ‘The Gallery”.

We just so happened to go during the Mayfair Flower show so all these flowers were beautifully arranged around the reception area.

The townhouse is immaculately designed, furnished and finished to perfection.

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What was super cool however, was the bathroom. They had little egg shaped pods, very futuristic designs. And if that isn’t enough to see you could even hear birds singing in the background.

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Located just a five-minute walk from Oxford Circus station, definitely worth a trip if you’re in central. Whether it’s for afternoon tea with your mother, dinner with the boyfriend or even just drinks with the girls, book in advance!

K xo

Florence, Italy

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Under the Tuscan Sun

 

October 16th, 2016

Full of museums, gelato and pizza; this holiday was the perfect carb loving break with the girls.

If you’re not a massive museum/gallery fan then two of the must see museum’s include Academia del galleria (most famous for Michaelgo’s masterpiece: the David) and the Uffizi gallery known for Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Primavera.

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13140886_10153769382423370_39849378_nCattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore 

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13113889_1203748122992635_133172873_n.jpgMichaelangelo Square, Florence

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For the best pizza in Florence, Gusto’s is your man. At only seven euros for a whole pizza it was definitely worth it (however, there is usually a small wait for a table)

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We had booked to go to the top restaurant in Florence on our last night. La Bottega, the Michelin Star restaurant was quite the experience. With a limited number of tables, it definitely gave an exclusive vibe (must book in advance).

The interior is in a classic Florentine style combined with the very finest elements of both classic and contemporary design. Overlooking the famous River Arno, this is the perfect venue for a special occasion.

The service was amazing; the waiters were very attentive and friendly. The food was outstanding, with each dish really tingling your taste buds. They have a seasonal menu, which is designed to reflect the local fresh supplies in the Florentine Location. The chef had even given us complimentary tasters to try whilst waiting for our mains.  All in all I think we had around six courses!

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Florence’s little secret…
My favourite part of the trip was in Fiesole.  Not many people know about this place but we had found this spot up in the mountains overlooking the whole of Florence. The view was truly beautiful. You can get there easily by bus from the town centre.

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Ciao Italy, it was a pleasure!

K xo