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COVID Travel Diaries: 3 days in Italy, Rome

Italy Rome for 3 days.

Italy is and has always been a beautiful country to visit. There are so many places to view, such as Florence, Rome, Milan, Bologna and many more places to experience and fall in love with. Despite the scares of travelling during COVID19. I was lucky to have a quick escape and travel to Italy, Rome last year (2020). This of course was all for a quick weekend birthday get away with Tiaontour hosted trip – girlswrldtour. And it was fabulous!!!

I agreed to go to Italy because it was one of the countries on the travel corridors list, which at the time simply meant you wouldn’t have to quarantine when you were there and when you returned to the UK……

Rome is the capital city and a special commune of Italy, it has so much character and beauty including sites such as the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, and how can I forget the FOOD! Pizza, Pasta and more Pizza! It was a very much needed holiday after several countries that had been planned where cancelled last year (Jamaica and Jordan) due to the COVID situation.

Can you stay in Rome, Italy for 3 days?

The simple answer is yes. (par the lockdown/pandemic situation) You can easily stay and see Rome, Italy in 3 days. Your time will of course be tight, but there is a lot to see, and if you carry on reading, you will find out what I got up too. Of course, you may not be able to do everything I did, but you can certainly pick and choose what you would like to do – when COVID permits!

Day one of 3 in Rome Italy… Arrival

I arrived in Rome in the late evening, there was some delays with the trains. Due to COVID, trains were not running like they usually do. I arrived at the Giolli Nazionale Hotel. The hotel is very central to the main tourists sites!

The idea was to freshen up and head out to Zuma Restaurant. Instead, I was surprised by Tia and the girls with balloons and a Birthday sing-song! Awwwww! It was great! I wasn’t expecting a birthday surprise and just didn’t know how to react!

3 in Rome Italy

After this we freshened up and as requested dressed in our earth tone** outfits and headed out to the lovely Japanese restaurant.

The dinner was lovely. I had the maiale iberico con yuzu e salsa al tartufo which was absolutely spectacular. We spent time getting to know each other with some dining games led by Channmariee and then headed back to the hotel for a night of rest.

Please note: Some countries are strict on the type of facemasks you use when travelling to their country. For Italy, it was required to wear a medical facemask.

Day two of 3 in Rome Italy… Saturnia Hot Springs

3 days in Italy Rome

It was an early start! As we were heading to the famous Saturnia Hot Springs. The Saturnia Hot Springs is a great way to get away from Rome for a day and explore Tuscany and the Maremma. We left Rome just after 6 am and arrived there just after 10 am.

You would have thought that the place would have been empty! But no! It was completely packed! I still managed to get a few nice pictures – I think so anyway! We spent a few hours at the hot springs, grabbed some lunch in Maremma and headed back to Rome for a cooking class!!

Please note: The Saturina Hot Springs is free entry and is totally worth going for the experience.

This was my very first ever cooking class and it was great! It took us a while to get there! We found the class on Airbnb experiences. The class started with some wine tasting (both red and white). We then proceeded to make some pasta from the stretch. I was quite impressed with how quick and easy it was to make – it just needed a lot of kneeling! I added a tomato-based sauce to my pasta and finished that with some cheese and white wine… Buon appetito!

The night was supposed to end with a party (girls night in) to celebrate my birthday! But we were of course shattered from the very early rise and was summoned to my bed!

Day three of 3 in Rome, Italy… Birthday!

Today was the birthday girls birthday! yeah me! so I was mega excited! It required another early start (7.30 AM)!! to explore the famous sites of Rome, Italy! We had a quick bite to eat for breakfast and then first headed to the Trevi Fountain. We were lucky to have stayed in a hotel that was located so central because the fountain was within walking distance!

Trevi Fountain

Then we headed out to the famous Colosseum to explore some more. Along the way, we continued to take the best shots. Check out some more shots below. We then headed back to the hotel to order an Uber for the Vatican City, which was an experience indeed. We arrived just before the mass service, which to my delight was delivered by the Pope himself. I must say this was lovely for me on my birthday!

Our final stop was grabbing some lunch at a local restaurant close to the Vatican City before heading back to the hotel and catching my flight!

Must things to do in Italy, Rome for 3 days:

  • Saturnia Hot Springs
  • Italian Cooking Class
  • Trevi Fountain
  • Colosseum
  • Vatican City
  • Spanish Steps
  • Pincio Hill

I always say that you must celebrate your birthday abroad! Lucky for me I was able to do so as I know many people are not able to do so! Hope you are able to save this post to at some point visit Rome, Italy!

In the meantime, have you been to Rome, Italy? How long were you there for and what did you get up too?

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Restaurant Review: The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe at Harrods

Tiffany Blue Box Cafe at Harrods was absolutely divine. Who doesn’t love a cheeky brunch date with a close one, the girls or the babe?

I’ve been meaning to start writing restaurant reviews for a while now. Many have even asked, and I thought why not write one for my most recent brunch date with my Relationship and Lifestyle Blogger AliceTheeBlogger?

We had originally planned to go to Tiffany Blue Box Cafe to celebrate our birthdays. You know to celebrate the end of Virgo season *the best season in like the world – haha. Anyways, with life getting in the way, we didn’t end up going on the last day of Virgo Season, so just decided to go for our birthdays and call it a day. I reserved a slot with Open Table to ensure that I can start collecting my points.

First Impressions

If you know me you will know that I love the ambience of a restaurant. I love to be greeted accordingly, and I absolutely adore how a restaurant can make you almost feel like you’re away from reality. Going out to eat whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner should always be an experience from the minute you walk through the door. 

My first impressions of the Tiffany Blue Box Cafe was how cute and small it was. It was just the place for a boogie little brunch.

I was greeted kindly by a waiter and ushered to my table after scanning the track and trace barcode. 

Looking around you could see that they didn’t come to play with the theme. The cafe was covered in blue with blue and white plates and pure silver cutlery! It screamed Tiffany! The chairs were also comfortable and the atmosphere was aesthetically pleasing.

It was noted that we only had the table for 1.5 hours. Social distancing was observed accordingly with tables set 3 metres apart with all staff wearing masks.

The Menu at The Tiffany Blue Box

Time to peruse the menu! The menu wasn’t entirely clear for me to understand to begin with. It only had three options and didn’t really have the option to just have something small as a side order. 

I was grateful when the waitress came out to explain the menu to us, which cleared things up a little. From memory, it looked like there were only three options with the cheapest being around £69 pounds. It included the following: 

Sandwiches

  • The New York Salt Beef – with pickles and mustard, white pain de mie
  • English Cucumber & Pink Peppercorn – with Dill mascarpone, white pain de mie
  • Smoked Salmon – with lemon and chive cream cheese, wholemeal bread
  • Egg & Black Truffle – with Black truffle butter, white pain de mie
  • Warm Parmesan Madeleine – with sour cream, caviar and chives

Sweets

  • Times Square Dark Chocolate Cake
  • Summer Berry Tart
  • A crisp tart shell filled with red fruit compote and crème patisserie, Tiffany Blue Egg
  • Lemon curd and Mascarpone cheese mouse in the original Tiffany’s blue colour inspired by the Robin’s Egg

Service

I would say the service was a 4 out of 5. We were first asked what drinks we would like to drink. I asked for a hot chocolate as I don’t like tea or coffee! My friend ordered a latte. The staff were somewhat friendly, with smiles. They paid particular attention to my friend’s daughter which I loved. The starter was quickly severed with our afternoon tea set shortly after.

The Food at Tiffany Blue Box

I was a little hesitant about the food, to be honest. I am always hesitant about decor and food going hand in hand, but I have to say the food was delicious. Afternoon tea is always a good choice.

The starter was a prawn cocktail which satisfied my taste buds. It was crisp and creamy. 

Then there were sandwiches. I wasn’t entirely pleased with the meat beef one but that might be because of my fussy taste buds.

The sweet desserts were an absolute delight with a selection of cakes and treats. The Tiffany egg-shaped egg was my absolute fave. 

Finally, the scones – with real strawberry jam and clotted cream, finished me off nicely. I wasn’t able to finish everything so was really pleased when they packed it in a Harrods box for me to take home.

Photography

Below you will find some pictures of the dishes, table setting, decor and of me – of course! The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe is the place for Instagram lovers, food photographers and anyone that just loves a cute little brunch date. 

Just outside the restaurant, there was a space to take pictures in the blue styled Tiffany box, which I think is soo cute. Lucky for us it wasn’t busy at all – I presume due to COVID19.

Final thoughts…

Overall, I very much enjoyed my experience at the Tiffany Blue Box Cafe. The service was good and the food was even better. I mentioned earlier that my friend brought her 6-month-old daughter, which was absolutely fine. The staff were extremely accommodating to everyone.

It certainly is the place to go for a birthday trip, but for the price, I don’t think I would be going every other day. You know £79 is one week’s shopping! However, a one-off treat to Tiffany is always good for the soul. What about you would you go?  

To get to the restaurant please see the details below:

Location: The Tiffany Blue Box Cafe at Harrods 87-135 Brompton Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL

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Review: Cotton Bag Co. The Foodie Bag

Please note: This product was sent to me for review. 

The Foodie Bag was kindly sent to me from Cotton Bag Co and it just happened to be perfect timing for me. With Cooking Travels Talks already in Season 2, I thought the bag would be great to up my food photography game!

I have never been one that takes amazing photos when going out to eat or dining at home, but I am trying, and I think this bag might be a good start for me to find my style.

Who are Cotton Bag Co?

Cotton Bag Co is based in Wiltshire and creates bags for lots of wonderful business, including Wagamama, M&S, Schuh and many other well-known high-street and household brands.

What’s in the bag?

This bag has been created for those that enjoy taking pictures of their food including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Are you a fellow foodie? Then #TheFoodieBag is just the thing for you. The bag was developed for foodie enthusiasts in mind. It includes some fantastic features including stylish backdrops, some handy photography tips to help you take pictures that will really make your food photos stand out compared to all the other food bloggers!

  • The stylish 12oz black canvas bag with internal pockets comes with a:
  • Mesh divider and zip closure,
  • A 5 in 1 pop up reflector,
  • An 8 postcard set with handy tips on how to take photos and finally,
  • 4 photographic backdrop
Foodie Bag

Everything you need to take and share the most beautiful Foodie pictures.

What the Foodie Bag can be used for?

I’ve used the Foodie Bag for numerous food photos, mainly for my Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. The Foodie Bag costs only £39.95 and can be purchased via Paypal – easy.

What will I be using the bag for?

There are so many places I will be using the Foodie Bag for. I’ve already been using it for my food collaboration posts at home, and will certainly be considering using the bag for my travels. It will certainly provide a useful tool when out on my dinner dates with my camera.

#TheFoodieBag for any posts you put out on socials.
Please note: This product was sent to me for review.

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#CookingTravelTalks: How to Make Arepas with Black Beans and Mango Salsa

#CookingTravelTalks is back again and today I relive the moment where Eulanda @dipyourtoesin transported us to Latin America with Arepas, Black Beans and Mango Salsa! It tasted divine!

What are Arepas?

Arepas is a type of food made of ground maize dough. It is known to originate from Northern regions of South America and is a notable cuisine of Colombia and Venezuela. The arepa is a flat, round dough that is patted to make into a sandwich-style food. It is completed with various types fillings including meat, chicken, cheese, salad etc. You can try it with anything! I learnt that you can also add beetroot into the arepas!

In this particular live show, we enjoyed arepas which were vegan/vegetarian and gluten-friendly with plantain, black beans and mango salsa!

Below you will find the ingredients:

#CookingTravelTalks: How to Make Arepas with Black Beans and Mango Salsa

Makes 3-4 Servings | Cooking Time: 1 hour

  • Maize or cornmeal (fine ground polenta is fine)
  • Water
  • 1 Plantain
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 can of black beans
  • Chilli flakes
  • Garlic powder or 2 cloves of garlic to mince
  • Sea salt
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 mango (can get pre-cut kind)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 purple onion
  • Fresh coriander
  • Tahini or yoghurt to drizzle (optional)

How to make Arepas with Black Beans and Mango Salsa #CookingTravelTalks?

Want to know how to make Arepas with Black Beans and Mango Salsa? Follow the video below. If you do make this delicious dish – then please tag me @mybreakingviews and use the #CookingTravelTalk. I will of course share on my socials!

After that live I will certainly be visiting Latin America to taste and experience more of the continent!

Thank you for joining me. I will be sharing all my #CookingTravelTalks episodes on my blog so stay tuned!

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#CookingTravelTalks: How to Make Nasi Goreng

#CookingTravelTalks has taken quite a turn and I was very fortunate for my friend to transport me to Singapore and show me how to make Nasi Goreng. We were also able to learn about living in Singapore as a local and ask questions while cooking.

Chilli Crab, Chicken Rice, Stingray and Nasi Goreng are some of my absolute faves! I absolutely adore Singaporean food! Singaporean food is known to influenced by Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and China and to some extent, India. It is known for its leafy green vegetables, chilled fish and variations of meat.

What is Nasi Goreng?

“Nasi Goreng” simply means fried rice in Malay and is a staple in many Asian households, from the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans in the North East to the Malaysians, Singaporeans and Indonesians further South of Asia.

When did I first have Nasi Goreng?

I would say I first had Nasi Goreng at my dear friends Fathin of @fathinungku invited me to her mother’s restaurant in Malaysia. I was lost in the richness of different flavours.

The ingredients:

nasi goreng cooking travel talks
Ingredients of Nasi Goreng (pin)
Makes 3-4 Servings | Cooking Time: 1 hour
  • 250g Jasmine Rice (cooked the day before)
  • Red onions (about half a red onion) or shallots
  • 4 Eggs
  • Coriander
  • Asian Birds Eye Chilli
  • Fish Sauce
  • Soya Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper

You can make the dish with almost anything left in your fridge, I made mine with chicken, but you can also make it without like Fathin did!

How to make Nasi Goreng #CookingTravelTalks?

Want to know how to make Nasi Goreng? Follow the video below. If you do get to make it – don’t forget to tag me @mybreakingviews and use the #CookingTravelTalk.

Thank you for joining me. I will be sharing all my #CookingTravelTalks episodes on here so stay tuned!

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Eat Out to Help Out: 10 Great Restaurants That Will Make You Feel Abroad

We are slowly coming out of a Lockdown and there seems to a sense of normality happening. The new Government scheme ‘Eat Out to Help Out‘ has grabbed many of our interests – well mine! So I thought it would be a good idea to write a quick post on some of my favourite restaurants that have joined the scheme in London. This post is for those of you that love a cheeky date night with a loved one, a brunch date with the girls or even a solo date stay reading.

What exactly is Eat out Help Out?

The new Eat Out to Help Out scheme is a new Government initiative which will hopefully encourage people to eat out in restaurants. The scheme will be available across the UK and begins on the 3 August till 31 August 2020. 

You will have to eat out between Monday and Wednesday where you will receive a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks. Some restaurants vary so please check out the T&C before visiting.

You will notice there is a maximum spend of £10 and this is discounted for each dinner. To find out what restaurants have joined the scheme please check out GOV.UK

Now please be aware that not all restaurants have taken part in the ‘eat out to help out’ scheme so please do take the time to check. Otherwise, read on to find some of my favourite restaurants that have taken part in the scheme. If you do go out to any of the restaurants below please do tag me on Instagram – @mybreakingviews! And I will share! I enjoy seeing people enjoy food lol!

Enjoy! 

Ping Pong Southbank

I absolutely, love Ping Pong! It’s the perfect place to go to before a night out with the girls! I’ve been here with friends and on many solo dates! If you like dim sum – then this is the place for you. There are a few Ping Pongs in London, all of them have, amazing decor and will have you feeling like you have been transported to Asia. 

Eat Out to Help Out Ping Pong
Dumplings

Address: Southbank Centre, Festival Terrace, London SE1 8XX

The Breakfast Club Croydon

Oh, I do enjoy The Breakfast Clubs Pancakes! Another restaurant that has a few chains in London. If you would like to feel like you’re in America, then this is the place for you! They have all things burgers, pancakes, wings and waffles! 

breakfast club - Eat Out to Help Out

Address: Unit 48-52, Boxpark, 99 George St, Croydon CR0 1LD

Burger & Lobster

Get London vibes by getting yourself to Burger and Lobster! The restaurant started in 2011 on a London rooftop. This restaurant is another one for date nights or dinner with the girls. I have only been a few times, and I always get lobster. 

Address: Unit 109-125, Knightsbridge Belgravia, Fifth Floor Harvey Nichols, London SW1X 7RJ

Shake Shack Victoria 

I was recently #invited to Shake Shack to get a taste of their new – Chick’n Bites. You will gain an American vibe when visiting this restaurant. There are many Shake Shacks in London, so be sure to check their website for the closest one to you! 

Chick'N
Burger, fries and Chick’N

Address: 172 Victoria St, Westminster, London SW1E 5LB

Thai Square Strand 

I used to go to Thai Square for lunch at least once a week! I love Thia food! The restaurant was right next door to my University/College, so it only made sense to visit regularly – haha! If you love Thai food this is a fabulous place to go to and get this – it’s affordable too! 

Address: 148 Strand, London WC2R 1JA

Roka Aldwych

A great place to go if you want to feel like you’re in Japan and love some sushi! I went last year with a close friend and enjoyed their tasting menus. Every single plate that was served went down a treat. Check out their deals on TimeOut! You can thank me later! 

ROKA Eat Out to Help Out

Address:  71 Aldwych, Holborn, London WC2B 4HN

Christopher’s

I really enjoyed Christopher’s. I went with one of my close one’s last year. I’ve also been here on a cheeky girls night too. It’s a super chilled bar and very central, so can work as a great location before a night out. Go for great martinis, music and great food!

drinks Eat Out to Help Out
Alcoholic Drinks

Address: 18 Wellington St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7DD

GAUCHO Chancery Lane

Gaucho is a place I’ve been too for a cheeky date night. I would say the restaurant is great, especially for those that love steak! It’s known to be UK’s best Argentinian steakhouse, so you’ll feel like you’re in South America! 

Address: 125 Chancery Ln, Holborn, London WC2A 1PU

inamo Covent Garden

Oh good old Inamo! Another great place for everyone! What I love about Inamo is the games you can play while waiting for your food. They also have a satisfying ordering feature which I won’t spoil for you! Well I mean it’s in the picture!

The last few times I’ve been to Inamo I’ve been able to purchase a good discount with TimeOut – so be sure to check them out regularly. 

Eat Out to Help Out Inamo
Sushi

 Address: 11-14 Hanover Pl, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9JP

Sticky Mango

I’ve been to Sticky Mango for a few birthdays. I don’t know it just seems to be a location for birthdays! I would say it’s good for those that love Asian food. When I was last there I enjoyed a pineapple curry and it went down a treat!

sticky Mango - Eat Out to Help Out

Address: 33 Coin St, Bishop’s, London SE1 9NR

Final thoughts on the Eat Out to Help Out…

In my opinion, this a really positive scheme to get people to eat out again in the UK. Of course, there are several other chains, restaurants that you can go too – like Nandos, McDonald’s, Subway and the list goes on. If I’ve missed out any major ones please leave them in the comments below! Finally, if you have any small companies that you know need support and a shout out let me know! I love trying out new restaurants!

Remember the scheme starts on 3 August and ends on 31 August 2020. Before you head out to your chosen restaurant please check out the T&C. on Gov.UK

Where will you be going?

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