Good food in a tranquil setting – The Litchi Orchad

While in Ballito, I took a drive to Salt rock and landed at a place called The Litchi Orchard. I had seen this nursery before and was intrigued by it, I do also have a secret love for nurseries.

20171110_132121

1510483653169

The Litchi Orchard started off as a Wholesale Nursery in the middle of over 300 Litchi trees to hosting Farmers Markets and has now evolved into a collective of food & lifestyle shops and eateries.

1510484467380

I had lunch at Delish Sisters Cafe a lovely, tranquil café.

1510486970849

20171110_120942

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.

20171110_121053

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.

20171110_120818

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.

20171110_131529

Stay Splendid!

 

 

Baby Shower with a view

This past weekend i got to put together a baby shower event in the Cupola Suite at the Michalengelo Towers Hotel.

The suite occupies the top three storeys of the hotel with 360 degree views of the city of Sandton as well as panoramas of the city of Johannesburg right the way to the Magaliesberg.

20171104_171457
Views from the  3rd floor patio
20171104_113234
Views from the Kitchen in the 2nd floor
20171104_171302
Views from the pool area on the 3rd floor
20171105_123413ee
Views from the Boardroom
1510137897461
Dessert Table
20171104_153513
Cocktail Bar Area
20171104_170420
View from the top – Cocktail Bar Area
20171104_135504
Outdoor Patio Lunch Area
20171104_151653
The flower details

Catering is provided by Parc Femme and this is arranged by the hotel when you book your function. Compliments to the chef at Parc Ferme, the food was well received.

The venue is available for events, you may contact the Legacy hotel group – Michelangelo Towers for any booking enquiries.

The service and staff were great to work with, thank you to all that were involved.

It was an afternoon well spent ‘working’ and lounging by the pool.

20171104_120014

TS!

Orlando (Florida) – ‘Theme Park Capital of the World’ #FlashBackFriday

‘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:-

  1. Magic Kingdom – ‘The most magical place on earth’

 

20171013_190011_resized
‘We believed in our idea: where parents and children could have fun together’ – Walt Disney

 

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.

1507916207754
Top left: Buzz Lightyear, Top right: Space Mountain, Bottom left: Tomorrow Land Speedway & Bottom Right: Big Thunder Moutntain.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

2. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

 There’s a new addition to the park, Pandora – The World of Avatar.

20170816_142924_resized

a. Avatar Flight of PassageThe 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 JourneyThe 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.

AVATAR-Inspired Land Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Image Cred – http://www.orlandosentinel.com

20170816_144142_resized

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.

  1. Disney’s Hollywood Studios

1507919152489

Our best rides at this theme park were:-

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
1507923414787
The Stormtroopers during their showcase

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.

4. Universal Orlando Resort

The Universal Orlando Resort is the 2nd largest resort after World Disney Resort and consist of the following theme parks:-

20171013_215432_resized

20170817_100339

a. Universal Studios Florida – a theme park that lets visitors ‘Ride the Movies.’ 

Our favourite rides were:- 

i. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit™ – What Goes (Way) Up Must Come Down
20170817_154306_resized

  • 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.

20170817_160820_resized

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 Adventureforms 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.

1507927222724

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.

TS!

Four Seasons Resort Orlando – The Perfect Blend

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.

1

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.

20170815_174328Located 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. )

 

cq5dam.web.720.405 (2)
Spa (Photo cred http://www.fourseasons.com/orlando/)
cq5dam.web.720.405 (3).jpeg
Golf  (Photo cred http://www.fourseasons.com/orlando/)

Accommodation 

1507662591419.jpgContemporary 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.

Dining

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.

  1. Capa
  • A rooftop Spanish-style steakhouse and lounge specializing in expert cuts, tapas and seafood.

20170815_192444

  1. PB&G
  • The southern-inspired poolside restaurant including fresh Florida seafood, fish tacos, healthy salads, rotisserie chicken and more. It has beautiful setting overlooking the lake.
  1. Plancha
  • The golf clubhouse restaurant serving Cuban-American cuisine with signature dishes such as the Cubana sandwich, guacamole and the chorizo burger.
  1. Ravello restaurant
  • 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.

1507663325834

1507663546234

  1. Lickety Split
  • 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.

1507664726957

1507664338827

20170816_171615

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.

20170815_191327
Adult Pool
Lazy-River-Pool-Four-Seasons-Resort-Orlando-at-Walt-Disney-World-from-yourfirstvisit.net_
                    Lazy river pool  (photo cred YourFirstVisit.net)
cq5dam.web.720.405 (1)
Water Slide (Image cred http://www.fourseasons.com/orlando)

1507665038958The resort is an oasis removed from the hustle and bustle associated with a theme park resort.

20170815_191038

Our morning runs were another highlight of our trip, the environment lent itself well.

4
Morning sunrise on our run
5
Morning run view
7
Things you see when running

 

The Four Season Resort Orlando  is a great addition to the the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Its a perfect location for families and couples.

Look out for my next blog on visiting some of the Orlando Theme Parks.

Another splendid hotel!

TS!

ONO Eatery (Illovo)

The Jozi food scene is slowly becoming an experience, I love finding and trying out these delightful eateries! Ono Eatery is my latest discovery.

20171004_113437_resized

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. 

1507122297507.jpg

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.

20171004_114047

20171004_140420_resized_1

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.

Address: Illovo Junction, 1 Corlett Dr, Illovo, Johannesburg

Telephone: 073 506 3207

TS!

48 hours in New Orleans (US Travel Adventure) #TravelTuesday

20170813_161159_resized
Flying into New Orleans  – Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

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.

1200px-Mercedes-Benz_Superdome_Poydras_bike - Copy
                                                                                             Photocred by Infrogmation / Wikipedia

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

1504042441028

20170814_194005_001
St. Louis Cathedral

 

  • We drove around the French Quarter and went past the Cornstalk hotel (the most photographed hotel) on Royal Street and other places of interest.
20170814_114211_resized
The Cornstalk Hotel
1504009010777
Houses in the French Quarter
20170829_142632_resized
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop – One of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans 
  • 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.

 

 

20170829_144917_resized

 

1504027772835
Pitot House (photocred louisianalandmarks.org/visit-pitot-house)
  • 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.

1504012868641

  • 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.
1504031221643
Metairie Cemetery

 

 

Places I would have loved to spend some time at had we had a full day 2 were:-

Where we stayed

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

  • Indoor Pool
  • Meeting and Events venues
  • Fitness center with cardiovascular and strength-training equipment
  • A spa with 22 treatment rooms A gym and SPA
  • Wi-Fi
  • Concierge Service
  • ATM Machine on site

Dining

  1. M bistro serves authentic New Orleans cuisine. Is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  2. 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.

IMG-20170829-WA0003

The experience and being in New Orleans was incredible. I was lucky to capture one of the thee most beautiful sunsets. #GoldenHour

20170814_194556_resized

20170814_195118_resized

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.

Till next blog, happy Travel Tuesday.

TS!