The 10 Travel Experiences that will Change Your Life (Going Places)

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There are so many reasons why we travel: for business, pleasure, rest and relaxation, to see the world, to visit family and friends. Maybe the most important reason is to change ourselves and allow our journeys to be as much about self-discovery as they are about experiencing new destinations.

Have a look at our list of 10 top ideas for making the move to move yourself in the direction of wonder and self-awareness.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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4 Great Cafes in Vienna (espressoCrazy)

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Last month found me in Vienna for a week or so of work and sightseeing. To be sure, I made time to snoop around town for exemplary cafes that lived up to Vienna’s reputation as a famed coffee lover’s destination.

Here’s the scoop of four of my faves from my visit.

Read my complete post at espressoCrazy.

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Mia in Mauritius: Julia’s Top Three

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For more tips to make the most of your time in Mauritius, blog contributor Mia shares more highlights from her visit. In this post, Mia lets us in on the preferred doings of another from her entourage: her sister, Julia.

An almost single (don’t ask; it’s complicated) lover of art and culture, Julia loved the bustle of the market and glamming it up at a resort as much as she did being on the beach. Here’s a list of her three faves from the trip. Continue reading

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Adventure Junkie? Top 10 Places to Find Excitement on the Cheap (Going Places)

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Looking for an adrenaline rush that won’t crush your bank account? There are affordable adventures to be had and budget-friendly places to visit that pack a wallop without too much of a high price.

Here’s our list of 10 of the best places for you to discover adventure on the cheap.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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For a Relaxing Holiday Look for a Bed and Breakfast

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If you are planning any type of trip with your family, loved ones or that special person in your life, you definitely want to consider going to London as part of your holiday. London has so much to offer to everyone that you can spend an entire week in the city and still not get to do everything you want to do.

Millions of people travel to the city each year to experience the great sightseeing, shopping, entertainment, dining and more. As you start to plan your trip to London, think about just what kind of hotel you should book for your visit. Continue reading

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Mia in Mauritius: Elena’s Top Three

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Continuing with her … in Mauritius series, Mia shares her travelling companion Elena’s top three highlights from their trip.

Always with her Canon camera, passionate about travel, sailing and sports – and still single at the time of publication – my friend Elena’s top three to-d0 list for Mauritius is an active and outdoorsy one. Let’s have a look: Continue reading

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7 European Cities You Must Visit in Your 20s (Miles Away)

AmsterdamDennis van de Water / Shutterstock

Hey you twentysomething you! You’re young and full of energy with your whole life ahead of you. So what are you doing just sitting there? It’s time to hit the road.

Traveling abroad in your 20s is a rite of passage that broadens horizons and sets a meaningful global perspective that will inform the important decisions you’ll being making for years to come. It’s also an absolutely fantastic way to have a blast!

Read my complete post Miles Away.

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8 Breathtakingly Beautiful Train Rides You Have Got to See (Going Places)

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All aboard for a ride through eight of the world’s most beautiful spots! As it is so often said, the journey itself and not necessarily reaching one’s destination is the most meaningful part of a trip. Such sentiment rings particularly true when it comes to rail travel.

So sit back and let the chug-a-chug rhythm lull you as you ponder the world outside your window.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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Mia in Mauritius

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While I’m ‘out of the office’ for the next week or so, my friend Mia is sitting in at tikichris to share a short series of posts she wrote about her recent trip to Mauritius.

If you are planning a trip to Mauritius – which is not a honeymoon but for a group of thirtysomethings (a single mum with her toddler son, her almost single sister, and her very single best friend in the rainy/cyclone season –then this series is for you.

Over the next several days, I’ll be sharing the highlights from my – and my travel companions’ – time in Mauritus. Continue reading

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Spring Focus (Going Places)

jiratto : Shutterstockjiratto / Shutterstock

Spring has sprung. And oh it feels so good. It tastes great too, and the air is filled the heavenly scent of flowers in bloom. One of the best things about springtime is getting to experience nature when it’s most full of vital energy, even if the opportunity is brief. So why not highlight this most fleeting and frisky of seasons with a look at what makes it such a fun and beautiful time of year?

Here’s a teaser course of some of spring’s prettiest, tastiest and most splendidly fragrant moments.

Read my complete post at Going Places.

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Wiener Demeanour: Just the Beginning

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Sure, Vienna isn’t the biggest city in Europe. But the role it’s played in shaping European and Western culture cannot be overstated. And the many distinctively Viennese things to see and do while visiting are span broad and deep whatever your interests may be.

In my quick series of posts, I shared some of the best bits from my recent visit to Vienna – focusing mainly on the excellent cafes, restaurants and bars visited as well as the coolest galleries and a handful of other artsy and design-oriented stuff I enjoyed checking out. However, there is so much more to experience than I was able to cover in this go. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip, and that it might come in handy when you plan your own visit. Continue reading

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2016 UK Blog Awards: The Big Night is Soon!

Park PlazaSwish digs at the Park Plaza, host of the UK Blog Awards ceremony

This Friday night the winners of the 2016 UK Blog Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony that promises to be an especially swish affair.

Shortlisted for Best Travel Blog and Best Food and Drink Blog (thanks to all who voted to put tikichris over the edge in both categories), I’m so bummed that I won’t be able to attend. True to form though, I’ll be away. And yep, I’ll be travelling somewhere tasty – Appleton Estate rum distillery in Jamaica (don’t hate) – with the idea of keeping notes and taking pics to share the very best of the experience in a series of blog posts. Continue reading

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New Menu at The Drift and All Drake & Morgan Restaurants

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London bar and restaurant group, Drake & Morgan, has launched a new spring/summer menu focused on “Mediterranean flavours and sun-kissed ingredients.” An invitation to have a taste of the new menu led to a lovely Sunday lunch for Kemey and me at D&M’s airy, expansive and pleasant The Drift at the base of Heron Tower.

Kemey and I liked all the dishes we tried during our visit and were especially impressed with the service (we were in kind and competent hands with our server Maria who looked after us so well). Continue reading

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Wiener Demeanour: Galleries, Art and Design

DSC_3304 Heir Häfliger at Bäckerstrasse 4

Not content to rest on the laurels of its imperial past, Vienna’s more contemporary forays into art and design can be just as – if not sometimes more – compelling, and decidedly more dynamic.

Schönbrunn Palace … St Stephen’s Cathedral … the Belvedere … the Albertina … even a cursory list of Vienna’s top attractions packs the sort of artful wallop that would delight even the pickiest of culture vultures. And by all means as many of these (and so many other) places should be included in any sightseeing itinerary of the historic Austrian capital. But that doesn’t mean visitors to Vienna must relegate themselves to an urban escape set only in the past. Continue reading

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Plenty, Berners Street

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Folks foraging for food in Fitzrovia listen up! Mediterranean and Middle Eastern eatery, Plenty on Berners Street, offers a tasty range of healthy options for breakfast and lunch at reasonable prices.

I had lunch at this friendly little café and comptoir recently with a friend. Continue reading

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Recipe: Hazelnut Comté Mac n Cheese

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Craving a mac attack? Then you’ll love this recipe for Comté mac ‘n cheese with a hazelnut panko crust.

Yeah, I know. That was a really cheesy way to introduce this recipe. Even a little bit nutty. Doh! There I go again. Anyway, however much my dumb rhymes and pathetic puns might cause you to cringe, I’m certain they’re worth it for the taste of this easy to make version of macaroni and cheese. Continue reading

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Spice Deli Supper Club

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A love of spices and how they boost immunity and flavour are the inspirations behind North London supper club, Spice Deli.

With children of her own, professionally trained chef Kim Wilshaw has worked to teach mothers how to cook baby food which incorporates spices and has taught Indian cooking classes. Keen to carry on spreading the good news about spices, she recently started the Spice Deli supper club, cohosted with her husband, Tarun, in their Golders Green home. Continue reading

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Win a Three Piece BBQ Toolset from Napoleon Grills

Win a Three Piece BBQ Toolset from Napoleon Grills

COMPETITION IS OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Can you feel it? The days are getting longer – and warmer – and everybody’s in a much better mood than seemed to be just a few weeks ago. Spring is in the air, and summer’s not too terribly far off. It’s BBQ season, folks! And I’ve teamed up with Napoleon Grills to help one lucky reader make the most of this gorgeous time of year. Keep reading for your chance to win a three piece BBQ toolset for free.

That’s right, I’m giving away an ace trio of utensils to made your outdoor cooking go more smoothly. Continue reading

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Theo’s Simple Italian, Earl’s Court

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Newly opened Theo’s Simple Italian is Chef Theo Randall’s second restaurant, this one near Earl’s Court and tied to The Hotel Indigo. Like his eponymous restaurant at The Intercontinental, this venture features expertly prepared dishes of top quality and seasonal Italian ingredients just with a smaller menu (fairly ‘smaller’ prices too) that changes on a more frequent basis and is presented in a more casual setting.

Finding out about the opening of Theo’s Simple Italian presented a very simple choice for an Italian food lover like me. I had to try it. And I’m so glad I did. Continue reading

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You’re a Mess Too? This Hassle.com Promo Code Can Help.

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Thumbs up to Hassle for a phenomenal service keeping my house the cleanest it’s been since I moved in. I’m happy to recommend this online and app-based cleaning service and to do so with a bit of promo code incentive to boot for £12 off your first repeat clean.

Thanks for sticking with me and reading my I’m a Mess series of posts about my hassle-free experience trying out Hassle. Continue reading

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Wiener Demeanour: Cafes, Restaurants, and Bars

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I had a delicious time in Vienna – a city that perhaps more than any other best exemplifies European café culture and presents visitors with a delectable array of food and drink options ranging from down-to-earth comforts to upscale innovations.

Here’s a look at the tastiest bites and most satisfying sips from my visit. Continue reading

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Recipe: Tamago Miso French Toast

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A cache of miso paste and a few other Japanese ingredients, the last thirds of a loaf of bread, a handful of eggs, and some stray refrigerator stragglers looked like a disparate assemblage cobbled together on my kitchen counter when rooting round my kitchen for something to eat one recent morning. But hunger pangs and inspiration prevailed for what turned out to be a super yummy breakfast – tamago miso French Toast. It’s a recipe I made again soon after and definitely plan to enjoy again and often.

Talk about a pain perdu! My eggy bread took a long detour through Japan on its way to France! Continue reading

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Good Stuff #56

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Good stuff and lots of it! Here’s the low down on some fine things to see, sip or savour – all of which I’ve recently come across and thought were worth sharing with you. Enjoy.

Continue reading

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#Shaveril: Shave Your Beard This April in Support of Mental Health

A photo posted by Chris Osburn (@chrisosburn) on

Shaveril is a new concept asking beardos to shave it all off during the month of April, then post a before and after picture/video to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #shaveril and make a small donation to mental health charity – Mind – via text code or website. Newly clean shaven participants are invited to pass the challenge to their bushy faced friends.

And that’s what I’m doing now. Continue reading

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Shepherd Market Wine House

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Kudos to Shepherd Market Wine House for its easy-going expertise and the wonderful setting for enjoying great wine.

The more I’ve come to appreciate wine the more I’ve realised there’s still a lot I don’t know and that such a lack of knowledge tends to be the case with so many so-called connoisseurs. Similarly, as I continue to acquaint myself with Mayfair – one of my favourite parts of London for a meandering mosey – the more I feel smoke and mirrors of the brashest affluence and exclusivity for its own sake have obscured and tarnished this upscale and historic neighbourhood’s resplendence.

So, bravo to Ben Van de Meutter – manager, buyer, and Head Sommelier at Shepherd Market Wine House – for knowing his stuff and backing it up with enthusiasm and presenting his wares in an approachable manner and in an easy-going and comfortable setting. Continue reading

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Win £50 Worth of Free Healthy Eating from Pod

The Pod-uctivity Report

COMPETITION IS OVER AND THE WINNER HAS BEEN CONTACTED. THANKS SO MUCH FOR READING TIKICHRIS. PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR LOTS MORE FUN AND FREEBIES TO COME!

Not feeling at that pod-uctive? It might have to do with how you’re eating. Or so I learned at a recent Pod-uctivity Report hosted by Pod restaurants with nutritionist Helen Money sharing insight into healthy eating.

I left the report with a spring in my step (thanks to the zingy smoothie I had during the session) and feeling especially keen to share what I had learned with folks. More than that though, I wanted to share a taste of good food options Pod has on offer. Fancy £50 worth of free food and drink that’s super healthy and guaranteed to increase your pod-uctivity? Keep reading. Continue reading

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Greek Cheese and Wine Tasting at Isle of Olive

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Isle of Olive – Hackney’s home of Hellenic hospitality and great Greek food and drink – continues with its delicious charm offensive by offering wine tastings and related events.

A few weeks back, I was glad to attend a Greek Cheese and Wine Tasting at this lovely shop just off Broadway Market. The event was by Isle of Olive’s sommelier, Uli Gamber, who guiding the small assemblage (there might have been 12 of us in total?) through pairings of eight wines with an assortment of cheeses. All the wines – listed below – were available for purchase in shop. Continue reading

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Roba Bar & Restaurant

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Welcome to the brand new Roba Bar & Restaurant in Paddington where a young executive chef – Andrea Secchi (ex-Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley) – a focus on in-house aging of beef and smoking of salmon, and a menu designed largely around a robata grill add up to a hearty dining experience.

Opened this week and set at the base of the Norfolk Towers hotel near Paddington Station, Roba aims to appeal to locals and tourists alike as they bobble about in search of something good to eat. I reckon such customers would be in for a fine meal indeed should they happen to give Roba a go. I was pleased with what I had to try and impressed with Chef Secchi’s doings enough to want to pay his restaurant another visit. Continue reading

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St George Cheeseburger at BRGR.CO

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Slay the dragon of deep carnal cravings and celebrate St George’s Day throughout April with BRGR.CO’s limited offer St George cheeseburger – a blade steak patty topped with a Cheddar and a Red Leicester cross and served with a side of sweet, sticky caramelised onions and a portion of fries for only £10 (or upgrade to hanger steak for an extra £2 – I did).

Back in 2012, soon after BRGR.CO had launched I went round to review and was not aimpressed with what was on offer. I thought the offering was bland. But everybody deserves a second chance. Plus, a lot can change over the course of a few years. So I’m pleased to report that the invitation to drop by for a taste of the St George cheeseburger led to an opportunity to see how this burger joint has upped its game and updated the menu for the better. Continue reading

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Cork Report | Obrigado

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From ancient oak forests south of Lisbon to state-of-the-art processing facilities near Porto in the north, tracing cork’s route from the tree to the finished product turned out to be a fascinating journey across Portugal.

Since the trip, I no longer take for granted a cork stopper whenever opening a bottle of wine (and I have developed an educated disdain for screw caps and synthetic stoppers). I see cork applications all over the place as well – not just the walls of my house either, but shoes, gadgets, housewares, toys, flooring, furniture … Cork is an incredibly versatile material and as green a resource as any. Continue reading

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Wiener Demeanour: Visit Vienna

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Wait a second. You’ve never been to Vienna? Wien not!? It’s a terrific city – one of the world’s most beautiful – teeming with culture and plenty of fun things to do.

I’m just back from a recent visit and am keen to share the best bits of my trip with you. So keep an eye out for more posts to come in my Wiener Demeanour miniseries. Until then, take a gander at this list of practicalities to help you make the most of your time in Vienna.
Continue reading

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I’m Still a Mess. But at Least My House is Clean.

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Welcome back to this messy series of posts about my experience with Hassle.com – the online and app-based cleaning service offering vetted cleaners, online payments, and 100% money-back guarantees. I’ve been booking cleanings via Hassle for just over a month now and thought it was time to share my thought about the service with you.

So far so good. No technical or scheduling hiccups. And my house has never been cleaner. Continue reading

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Cork Report | Bringing It Back Home

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So impressed were we with our cork tour of Portugal that Kemey and I wanted to bring back home with us a more substantial than usual souvenir as a keepsake. Before we knew it we were making plans to clad an entire wall of our house with cork tiles. Having now lived with the tiles in place for several months, our choice seems more and more sensible and aesthetically sound as the days go by.

The tiles came by way of Wicanders, a brand of Portugal’s top cork producer Amorim, and were imported to the UK by Siesta Cork Tiles. Wicanders’ main business is flooring, but its line of Dekwall applies the same knowhow and use of sustainable material for tough, flexible wall tiles. Continue reading

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London Coffee Festival

London Coffee Festival

The London Coffee Festival returns to the Old Truman Brewery for a long weekend of everybody’s (or at least my) favourite warm beverage. I’m heading over tomorrow for my morning cup o’ Joe. See you there?

I’m looking forward to checking out, tea and kitchenware brand – and festival sponsor – Bonavita. The Seattle-based brand will be on hand during LCF to host masterclasses and to showcase the UK launch of its two best selling products: 8-Cup Coffee Brewer with Stainless Steel Lined Thermal Carafe and the Digital Variable Temperature Gooseneck Kettle. I’m especially keen to take a gander at the 8-cup brewer.
Continue reading

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Good Stuff #55 | Southbank Centre Food Market

Paella made with Label Anglais free range chicken - DSC_3558I *heart* paella made with Label Anglais free range chicken.

This latest list of good stuff is filled with street eats enjoyed during a forage through Southbank Centre Food Market, which celebrated its one year anniversary last Friday. Located at South Bank Centre Square behind Royal Festival Hall, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX, the market is open every Friday (noon to 8pm), Saturday (11am to 8pm), and Sunday (noon to 6pm) and on Bank Holiday Mondays (noon to 6pm).

Continue reading

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