Travel, Dining, Events, Decor…all things Splendid!
A Lover of all things beautiful, I’m grateful and privileged to be doing what I love - planning, designing and executing events.
As an event planner for Anglo-African Events, a company I started with a friend Sam Govender 10 years ago, I have had the privilege of working on some amazing projects and seeing some spectacular places. I love working with my clients and being part of a team that helps in creating beautiful memories and events.
It's always so rewarding once you have completed an event and the client is happy with what you have done for them.
Being in the event industry (working late nights, weekends...) I’m constantly striving to find a perfect balance between work and life. I do this by focusing on my philanthropy work and sometimes embarking on new adventures.
I always strive to think out of the box, to be creative and extraordinary in everything I do. I hope I can inspire you to be Splendid in everything that you do.
I arrived just in time for the Harvest Table Lunch which is served from 12pm – 3pm. There was a great variety of food and decided to sample the vegetarian option that were available.
I had the Spinach and feta quiche, chickpea and coriander flatbread, grated carrot salad and the mushroom thyme phyllo cigars. Loved the flavours and texture of the chickpea, coriander flatbread. I found the ginger on the grated carrot salad a bit overwhelming. The spinach and feta quiche tasted like a quiche, nothing special there and the mushroom thyme phyllo cigars tasted really good. Overall lunch was splendid.
Looking at the menu, Delish Sisters caters to a wide range of eaters and even have a vegan option.
Overall, lunch was great and could not have asked for a better setting, another Splendid Experience.
Looking forward to another visit at Litchi Orchard to try a meal at The Shed, or buying some crafted baked goods from Yoli’s Bakery or sampling some coffee from Beanstruk Coffee Roastery or indulging in some homemade ice-cream from Scoop or just enjoying the farmers markets and events hosted there.
‘We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.’
Orlando (Florida) is known as the ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’ what i like is the fact that the theme parks cater to both kids and adults. The overall experience can be overwhelming but with proper planning the experience is incredible. If you are a 1st time traveller and love theme parks, I recommend a minimum of 5 days especially if you want to fully immerse yourself in the Orlando Magic. Walt Disney World alone has 4 theme parks and 2 water parks.
The theme parks that we went when we were in Orlando were:-
The rides here are endless and there’s a ride for everyone. If you can invest in a FastPass I highly recommend it. Lines can have a waiting period of up to 60min(1hour). Having a FastPass makes the experience even more worthwhile, lines are shorter and you get to go on more rides. I have listed below the rides we enjoyed.
Space Mountain – is an indoor dark outer space-themed steel roller coaster. It’s one of the popular rides, a pure adrenaline rush. Lines are long but they have a FastPass Line.
Splash Mountain – is a hollowed-out log that drifts in water past rocky caves, vine-strewn swamps and sun-drenched meadows. It’s a fun ride for the entire family, you will get wet. The lines are long but there’s a FastPass line.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – a rollicking runaway mine train roller coaster that races through a haunted gold-mining town. A family fun ride with a FastPass line.
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin – An indoor ride with lazer guns shooting Zurgs for points. This ride got VERY competitive with my family. The little people seem to have this ride figured out, they scored a lot of points.
Tomorrowland Speedway – A raceway with gasoline-powered cars that travel up to 7 mph(11.2654km per hour). This ride is popular kids get to drive a car around the raceway.
a. Avatar Flight of Passage – The ride itself is an experience that words simply cannot describe. It’s a 3D ride and you get to Fly on the back of a mountain banshee deep in the heart of the Valley of Mo’ara. The ride is so popular that it has a waiting time of 90m (yes 1HR and 30M). A FastPass is a must here, the wait time is a lot shorter. b. Na’vi River Journey – The ride takes guests through the Kasvapan River of Pandora from the 2009 film Avatar, showcasing native animals and bioluminescent flora, with inclusion of Audio-animatronics.
The other ride that we enjoyed was, Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – Steam engine roller coaster train ride train that takes you through rolling hills, mountain. Along the way you will encounter a broken track that leads to nowhere…the train then moves backwards. A thrill ride which reaches speeds up to 50 mph.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith – This roller coaster is just pure adrenaline, it accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour (91,7326km per hour) in 2.8 seconds (making this the second-fastest attraction at the Walt Disney World Resort, behind only Test Track). We got to this ride late in the afternoon just after it rained, the lines were a lot shorter.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ – is a simulated freefall drop tower thrill ride. The ride starts in the library with a short video of story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. You then board the elevator and the madness begins. Awesome, the drop is what really get to you.
Toy Story Mania – is an interactive 4-D theme park attraction, in which guests twist through a series of virtual carnival games while wearing 3D glasses. It’s a fun ride and very popular.
Walt Disney World is truly a magica experience, its no surprise that it remains one of the most sought-after destinations for families from all over the world. I like the fact they continue to innovate and re-invent with new rides and experiences.
i. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™ – What Goes (Way) Up Must Come Down
This roller coaster ride is on steroids, you strapon, pick a song & experience pure adrenaline. The ride starts going up at a calm 90° and then a ferocious drop, going through the track at 65mph.
ii. Transformers the ride-3D – You board a 12-seat passenger car, you have to protect the AllSpark against Megatron in a battle between the Autobots and Decepticons. The ride spins, bucks and dives through the streets and skyscrapers of Chicago.
iii. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts™ – I never really got into the Harry Potter hype so I was very happy to give this ride a miss. My family loved the ride, its another indoor 3D experience roller coaster ride.
b. Islands of Adventure – forms part of an expansion that converted Universal Studios Florida into the Universal Orlando Resort. The slogan for this theme park, along with Universal Studios Florida, is Vacation Like You Mean It. The park’s overall theme is that of a journey of exploration, where guests depart from a main port to visit themed islands, all emphasizing adventure.
Our rides were the Incredidle Hulk Roller Coaster Ride and Dr Doom’s Fear Fall.
i. The Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster Ride – It’s Loopy, with 7 inversions, the ride goes from 0-40 mph in 2 seconds with a top speed of 67 mph (108km/h) and launches upwards of 150 feet. It’s another crazy ride and not for the faint hearted.
ii. Dr Doom’s Fear Fall – You get strapped you into a seat, the ride then blast 185 feet into the sky. Great views and then—without a second to catch your breath—hurl you back down
c. Universal’s Volcano Bay™ – is the latest water theme park that replaces Wet and Wild, it opened in May. We unfortunately did not have time for this water park but it’s the park is themed around a 200-foot-tall (61 m) volcano named “Krakatau,”. There are many elements to this park, it has slides, a water village, a rainforest village and a river village. Definetely keen on giving this theme park a go.
Our annual family holiday have become something that I truly cherish, there’s really no better moments that time spent with family.
Orlando (Florida) is a delightful family holiday destination, it’s such a pity that they have such severe hurricanes. We were lucky to arrive back to South Africa just before hurricane Irma. Some areas were badly affected, its great read about their recovery process and plans.
Having visited Orlando before, the hotel we stayed at was conveniently located within proximity to Walt Disney World’s theme parks and all of Orlando’s area attractions in a tranquil setting.
The Four Seasons Resort Orlando ticks all the boxes that make a hotel a perfect holiday choice – service, comfort, food, and hotel facilities.
The resort offers a perfect blend of experiencing Walt Disney World (which is the core reason why families travel to Orlando) and offers the Four Seasons experiences of exceptional quality, wonderful hospitality, and excellent service.
Located inside a residential estate, there’s a calm, relaxed atmosphere in this estate. The Four Season Resort Orlando is surrounded by natural beauty and offers comfortable amenities—from exceptional accommodation to fine dining to golf to a world-class spa and the complimentary Kids For All Seasons kids camp. (A hotel with kids club is extremely convenient when you travel with kids. )
Contemporary style rooms, the hotel has 443 rooms including 68 suites. The rooms boast iPads and offer free WiFi, 24-hour room service, LED TVs with cable, stunning marbled bathrooms (with TV inset in the mirror) and an Nespresso coffee machine.
We had 2 interleading rooms and both rooms were very spacious and comfortable – Full bathroom, small work area and balcony with views of the property. The lounge area with a sleeping couch was a decent size.
There are 5 restaurants and a Bar on the property. I like the fact that you can have dinner at a different restaurant and they have taken kids into consideration at all the restaurants.
A rooftop Spanish-style steakhouse and lounge specializing in expert cuts, tapas and seafood.
The southern-inspired poolside restaurant including fresh Florida seafood, fish tacos, healthy salads, rotisserie chicken and more. It has beautiful setting overlooking the lake.
The golf clubhouse restaurant serving Cuban-American cuisine with signature dishes such as the Cubana sandwich, guacamole and the chorizo burger.
The main hotel restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was by far my best meal, so much to choose from – juice & smoothie bar, breakfast omelette station, assortment of traditional breakfast offerings, charcuterie and so much more.
On Thursday and Saturday they have what they the call the Character breakfast with Goofy & His Pals. My nephew was elated, having Mickey, Goofy and Minnie at breakfast was the highlight for him. Seeing his face light up with pure joy to meet the character was priceless.
This was my highlight, a coffee shop on site with easy go items like snack packs and sandwiches. They also have light breakfast, lunch, supper and ice cream.
Other Resort Features: –
The resort has 3 outdoor pools – one for Adults ONLY.
This is a perfect place for couples and adults wanting some quiet time. Its extremely peaceful in this area.
Outdoor volleyball, tennis and basketball courts.
A fitness centre
Decent size hotel gym with the latest gym equipment.
They have fitness classes for guests that run 7 days a week.
Water park which boasts a 242-foot-long waterslide.
An 11,008-square-foot lazy river.
Free theme park shuttle and a Disney Planning Centre.
Found having the Disney Planning Centre inhouse makes it easier to access any other information on the Disney Theme Parks.
There’s something for everyone at the resort, great way to enjoy the outdoors and also stay healthy while on holiday.
The resort is an oasis removed from the hustle and bustle associated with a theme park resort.
Our morning runs were another highlight of our trip, the environment lent itself well.
The Jozi food scene is slowly becoming an experience, I love finding and trying out these delightful eateries! Ono Eatery is my latest discovery.
ONO meaning delicious in Hawaiian is an eatery in Illovo (Johannesburg), its Jozi’s 1st Poke Eatery. A Poke Eatery for those who need to be cultured like me, originates from Hawaiian cuisine. Poke means ‘to slice and dice, this dish is a traditional Hawaiian starter – Fishermen would take their fresh daily catches of Tuna and other meaty fish and chop it into cubes, and eat it right then and there – no compromise on freshness or flavor.’
The menu is simple and clean, the entire concept is based on food being served fresh, on the go. There’s a variety of smoothies and protein bowls, protein shakes and house shakes. I tried the Matcha + Mint Smoothie Bowl – frozen bananas, pineapples, matcha, avo, almond milk, topped with strawberries, coconut flakes, and black sesame seeds.
With Poke being the main attraction of the eatery, they offer house poke or custom pokes. I took home a custom poke – black rice, raw slaw, tofu, avo,edamame beans with black sesame seeds.
Love the interior of ONO – the glass window allows the space to be well lit with well-designed shop signage. Contemporary, organic furniture pieces, I particularly liked the leaf canopy made out of white metal and the swings by the glass windows – it’s pretty quirky.
Looking forward too many more visits, highly recommend it!
They are open 07h30 – 19h30 during the week , 07h30 – 17h00 on Saturdays and 07h30 – 15h00 on Sundays.
After a long 16hour flight from South Africa(SA) to the United States (US) and spending another 7hours in transit to catch a 3hour30m connecting flight from New York (NY) to New Orleans (NO), I finally arrived in the Big Easy to meet up with my family to start our two week family holiday in the US.
I was welcomed by the most friendly driver, Michael. En route to the hotel, we spoke American politics (He says they are still in shock that Trump is president), we spoke about the importance of travelling (He works hard so he can travel the world, visiting SA is on his bucket list) and he gave me some insights of New Orleans and the must-see things.
The 1st thing that I did see that you cannot miss was the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – a domed sports and exhibition venue. The venue has hosted numerous historical events. According to wikipedia, it has listed football seating capacity of 76,468 (expanded) or 73,208 (not expanded) and a maximum basketball seating capacity of 73,432.
The superdome gained international attention in 2005 when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans is one of those cities that offer so much that if you don’t have an idea or plan on what you want to see, you will get confused.
One thing that I can tell you is that New Orleans does have round-the-clock nightlife and vibrant live-music scene. The city is also famous for its cuisine and is often referred to as the “most unique” in the United States.
With less that 48hours in the City, we were lucky to get a tour guide that was knowledgeable and knew the city well. We spent the day with John, he took via the tourist route but he added a local feel to it so we got to see and experience New Orleans from a different perspective.
Our tour highlights – Bourbon Street (which was under construction) but known for its bars and strip clubs, the history of the street provides a rich insight into New Orleans’ past.
Aquarium of the Americas — St Louise Cathedral —– Jacksons Square —- Café du Monte — French Market —- Lake Pontchartrain — La Fayette Cemetery — Magazine Street
We drove around the French Quarter and went past the Cornstalk hotel (the most photographed hotel) on Royal Street and other places of interest.
We then took a drive down Esplanade Street – a scenic and historic street. We went past the Pitot House, the only Creole colonial country house that the public can access. Sadly we missed out on the tour.
We took a detour past some residential neighbourhoods – Lakeview, Lakeshore, Garden District and Audibon Palace. John gave us a local insights on Katrina and the devastation it caused. He took us to his neighbourhood and showed us empty lots where houses used to be.
One of the tours that I found strange in was the cemetery tours (I know, it’s a very strange and morbid) but these tours are popular. The reason why this is a major thing to do is because the city is built on a swamp -the only city built below sea level. The deceased have to be buried above ground in elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums. These above ground cemeteries are often referred to as ‘City of the Dead’.
Saint Louis No. 1 is the oldest and most famous, we visited the Metairaie Cemetery which has the largest collection of elaborate marble tombs and funeral statuary. The construction of these elaborate final resting places can start from $90 000 and reach $500 000 and they have a ‘Millionaire’s Row’ for all the rich and famous people. I thought we (African people) spent money on funerals.
Places I would have loved to spend some time at had we had a full day 2 were:-
We stayed at the Ritz Carlton which is located on Canal Street a major thoroughfare, forming the upriver boundary of the city’s oldest neighbourhood, the French Quarter which served historically as the dividing line between the colonial-era (18th-century) city and the newer American Sector, today’s Central Business District. Great hotel that has everything you need when travelling.
Decent size rooms which include a fully-stocked minibar and an iPod docking station. Cable TV and a spacious work desk. A private bathroom with bathrobes, slippers and toiletries. My only criticism is that shower/bath situation with a curtain, I’m not a fan. I prefer a stand-alone shower.
The hotel has 24-hour room service, a complimentary overnight shoeshine service, and overnight laundry service.
Hotel Amenities & Services
Meeting and Events venues
Fitness center with cardiovascular and strength-training equipment
A spa with 22 treatment rooms A gym and SPA
ATM Machine on site
M bistro serves authentic New Orleans cuisine. Is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Davenport Lounge offers afternoon tea and evening cocktails. Serves lunch and dinner. Live jazz is played in the Lounge on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
The hotel also has a kids club, I find this service extremely beneficial to parents travelling with their little ones.
Staff were friendly and service was great, we did have a minor issue, one of the rooms was not cleaned. They made the bed but did not clear dirty cutlery and serviettes from our previous dinner in the room.
I did like the welcome towel area at reception that was setup every morning. Its always the little that guests appreciate and remember with hotels.
The experience and being in New Orleans was incredible. I was lucky to capture one of the thee most beautiful sunsets. #GoldenHour
With all the problems that they have, the people that we met were happy and truly grateful for having survived and lived through Katrina.
As I’m writing this blog post, today (29 August) marks the 12 year anniversary of Katrina. Today New Orleans is bracing themselves for heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey. I do hope they survive the weather.