Fancy Turquoise Turkey?

Have a look at this great competition to win a trip to the south coast of Turkey. Sponsored by London’s V&A Museum in conjunction with the latest Jameel Prize, you could win a trip for two people to explore this ancient and beautiful area – walking the Lycian Way and paddling over the lost city at Kalkan.

I’ve sailed this coast before on a traditional Turkish gulet and I still have memories of swimming in the clearest water and basking in the most amazing sunsets.

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A Beach-y Resort-y, Tropical Related Guest Post

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So, I very cheekily asked the admin of this turquoise tinted travel blog if I might steal a bit of space on it and guest post. She said of course but all the better if my content were “beach-y, resort-y or tropical related”. Fair enough I suppose.

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But that got me thinking, it’s been awhile since I’ve gone anywhere “beach-y, resort-y or tropical related”. Well, I hit the Spanish sands of Galicia in August. And as beach-ily wondrous as that trip was, it was in a rented house and obviously north of the tropics. As far as the tropics go, it’s been far too long since (Thailand and Laos way back in ’09) since I went on any equatorial adventuring. As with respect to living la vida resort-y, it’s been far too long.

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Maybe it’s time I contemplated a quickie visit to a resort. I’ve got a few city breaks lined up (New York and Paris) but those are somewhat work related and, quite honestly, going from London to another conurbation doesn’t always add up to relaxation – something that could really do me a world of good. Perhaps looking into some Caribbean holidays is in order? I reckon the last time I was down round there was more than five years ago. Too long! The idea of lounging on a white (or even pink!) sand beach with of course a turquoise sky and sea would be so appealing with little to do but soak up some sun and leave my cares behind if only for a few days.

Thanks Kristiana!

By Chris Osburn

Qype: The Montcalm Hotel in London

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Went here with a friend to use a voucher I had purchased for a pair of cocktails. ALthough the lobby looks like it is still being finished off, the bar and resturant area is all brand-new. I liked the style now, which is classically modern and sleek – especially as I seem to remember this hotel being a bit chintzy before.
The bar is called Barre Noir, and noir it is. Black chandeliers and columns in the sort of circular space contrast perfectly with the onyx-lit bar. The theme is old Hollywood glamour and rich upholstery and tiled-look walls add to this.
Cocktails were really well-made – I went for a cosmopolitan which was potent and pink, and my friend had a standard mojito with blessedly-little ice. At £9.50 they’re expensive, but not as much as most hotel bars.
A nice place for a revive stop after shopping on Oxford Street perhaps?

Check out my review of The Montcalm Hotel – I am kristianak – on Qype

Qype: Terra Nera in London

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Why this coffe shop hasn’t made it onto Qype earlier I’ll never know!
It’s a small Italian espresso bar and shop in the front corner of the Stables Market ( well, Camden Lock Place actually) with the best service ever! Yes, you do wait a while for the artistry of their espresso-based drinks with perfectly-frothed milk to be ready – but it’s so worth it.
As tourists and locals alike huddle patiently in the ‘shop’, they can browze seemingly hundreds of varieties of loose-leaf tea and roasted coffee beans to take home. There’s even those pretty chinese hand-made tea bombs that slowly unfurl in hot water to reveal coral-like garlands and explosions.
Anyway, on Saturday afternoon after freezing up the high street, I was presented (after my 15 minute wait) with the prettiest latte EVER! A delicate caramel flower drizzled on top sprinkled with edible purple glitter.
POW!
Go now! HURRY!

Check out my review of Terra Nera – I am kristianak – on Qype

Qype: Yumchaa in London

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I love this branch of Yumchaa – the first and the best in my opinion.
I was working back up in Camden for a week in my old office and was taken right back to the heady days of summer 2007 as soon as I walked through Yumchaa’s door. They give £1 coffees for traders or local businesses – bargain, but even for full-price I think it’s great value coffee.
The chocolate cake is rich, fudgey and decadent, better than the brownies which can be slightly dry. The sandwiches are fab doorstops of goodness.
It is a smaller and therefore more friendly branch, oh, and they let me take plates of cake back to the office until I’ve scoffed them and return their crockery later. Bliss.

Check out my review of Yumchaa – I am kristianak – on Qype

Qype: Le Cafe Du Marche in London

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You know you’ve had a good night when you wake with the cheese sweats at 3.45am the next morning. Luckily it was totally worth it.

Last week I attended the very special tasting event with Qype hosted by Le Café du Marche restaurant in partnership with Cheese Cellar and Great Western Wine.
This fantastic, romantic French restaurant is tucked away in the alleys off Charterhouse Square and offers a different place in time – a traditional brasserie-style dining with rustic ambiance. The night started well – champers on arrival in the private room upstairs and then 20 dedicated qypers sat down to be educated.
The inimitable Tom from Cheese Cellar started us off on which cheeses not to love, before passing around amazing platters of cheeses starting from ancient sheep’s cheese to the lactic Cirencester, old and rich gouda, acidic and moist Lancashire, pungent Mont D’Or, and finally my favourite, the strong agressive blues of the Roquefort and Gorgonzolas.
Coupled with these presented by Joel from Great Western were different wines from all over the globe, including prosecco, Gewurtztraminer, a Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Spanish Rioja, Trinity Hill Syrah from Hawkes Bay and a Castera Cuvée.
After the tasting finished I tried a few charcuterie platters and fresh-baked breads before heading home to dream of goats rolling cheese in ash.
I really want to return soon to try the full a la carte menu as the food we did have was sublime.
Best quotes from Tom the chhese-man:
”In the Pantheon of cheeses, roquefort and gorgonzola are at the pinnacle – the Holy cheeses of Zeus himself”
”Wensleydale is effectively failed roquefort”
”The Swiss version of Mont D’Or killed more people than any other cheese”
”Let me demonstrate milk proteins on my fingers if I may”
”Ironically, hatred of your neighbours is responsible for some of the best cheeses”

Never has delicious cheese been presented in such a knowledgeable and acerbic way.

Check out my review of Le Cafe Du Marche – I am kristianak – on Qype

Qype: Graze in Feltham

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Well looky what I found in the post today!!!
I signed up for Graze prompted by a freebie in the metro advertising their special blend of goodies delivered to your door at no cost. I totally applaud the concept and found it really easy to use. Sign up on http://www.graze.com and choose how often you want a delivery. Then have a scroll through the different heathy options, sweeties, fruities or seeds. You can choose from various ‘themes’ of food as well. Before I knew it I had happily clicked away to let them know how much I loved black olives, those funky japanese rice crackers and how much I hated flapjacks. The site is really user-friendly, everything is pictorial and you can request things you really like and make suggestions.
I ordered on Wednesday and got the first available delivery as Friday, every box is £3.49 but they have special joining offers on the site. Best of all, you can order one-off deliveries as gifts etc – kind of like a squirrels gift basket. Also, at any time you can opt out and cancel membership.
For me, it’s not something I’ll use regualrly as I should buy my own nibbles but if you can afford this ( and to be fair, many of the things you get to try are ‘gourmet’ and would cost a lot more to buy from the health food store) then I think it’s a great idea! Each of the four parcels is seperately vacuum-packed so you don’t have to open them all on the arrival day – if you have more willpower than I you can ration them!
A+ idea and really respect the dedication to eco-friendly, healthy snacks.

Check out my review of Graze – I am kristianak – on Qype


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