Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Sweet Pamplemousse

During our time in Mauritius we decided to try and see a bit of what the island had to offer and one of our days was in the North, where we visited the sugar museum and then the gorgeous Pamplemousse botanical gardens.
We were surprised by how quiet the place was, given that it was Sunday and our private guide told us the entrance fee was waived for all Mauritians on that day. The sugar museum was also a big surprise, and we were fascinated as soon as we entered, not only by the manufacturing aspect of sugar, but also and mostly by the way its industry has shaped Mauritian history over the centuries, all in the name of our European sweet tooth!

NB - For all our excursions we booked via Mautourco once we arrived at our hotel. The price for a private car was not that different to the group quote, and the guides we had on each day were super friendly and, more importantly, flexible. For example, most people ask to go to Port Louis, the capital, but we didn't feel the attaction to go there, preferring the smaller, quieter, more open-air places instead. The guys are cool and friendly, so I would totally recommend that option, especially if you travel with little people!

Monday, 28 November 2016

Blue like you

Selecting themes and photos for my Mauritius posts is proving to be a bit more of a challenge than I anticipated, and with good reasons! There is so much to show from our stay in this lovely island last month...
My first installment is all about first impressions, and boy does the colour blue hit you hard when you first set foot on Mauritius. What I didn't quite expect is to see so many shades of it, quite akin to our experience in the Maldives last year (posts here, here for part 2 and here for part 3) but truly, the Indian Ocean did not disappoint and we were literally mesmerized by the lagoon surrounding the East of Mauritius, which is where our lovely hotel The Residence was located. 
Beach holidays are perfect when you have a toddler in tow, and the Residence hotel was just right for our family, offering the perfect safe environment for her to blossom under the sun and for us to have a bit of breathing time in the middle of our busy lives. We even had time to go on a few excursions, more on that in the coming posts.

Monday, 21 November 2016

DIY advent calendar

Way before each and every single brand started having their own advent calendar, I started making those DIY advent calendars for friends and family. After a couple of years they had generated enough interest from colleagues that I started batch-adventing on a much bigger scale.
I have left this post a bit late in November, but do not despair, readers, it's not too late to put your own DIY advent calendar together for your loved ones!
Head out to the nearest high street near you this weekend, and keep your eyes open to spot all the lovely bargains, like the adorable mini Lindt chocolate bears pictured above ( I got 3 for £1). My best shops for gathering advent calendar supplies are supermarkets for chocolates and fancy cooking ingredients (for example this year one of my calendars has fancy little cake decorations), Boots and Superdrug for their mini-sized toiletries, and places like Tiger, which offer the wacky alternative options.

For me the best surprise is that you never really know what you're going to get, so I purposefully wrap a real mix of things like those mini toiletries or single-use face masks.
If you know the person you are wrapping for, even better, you can tailor their calendar and make their day virtually everyday :)

This year for example, I haven't really pushed the boat out, but I've been a bit cheeky and am trying to encourage someone hooked on pizza to try their hand at a bit of cooking. I hope they'll take the challenge and have a go at some of those easy-cook recipes. Another day they might try their luck at the lottery and buy their weight in pizza!

The worse part of the whole process is the wrapping. Man, do I hate it! Back in the day I used a single paper, but thought it ended up a bit dull, so the year after I used a different wrapping for nearly every day - what a crazy person I was! Last year I went for brown paper with simple red-and-white  twine, and guess what, what goes around comes around, and this year I am back on the simplest possible wrapping paper for every surprise.
After all, it's the thought that counts, and believe you me, whoever gets one of your DIY advent calendars will love you for putting all this together for them. So, with just about a week to go, don't hesitate, hit the high street or your local supermarket, wrap everything up, put in a decorated box or small basket, and hey presto, make someone happy for a whole 24 days in a row!

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