If you fancy a chilled evening dining out, and to experience exquisite dishes filled with great herbs and spices. Then Mint Leaf Lounge is the place for you. The cosy restaurant provides a great atmosphere with soft lighting and relaxed music.
Based in the City of London, the restaurant offers a variety of different menus to suit everyone, from a romantic meal for two, to a group dinner, and even business lunches.
Diners have the choice from a selection of set menus as well as an à la carte menu to choose from. And as always great cocktails, wines and spirits are on offer. We chose to sip on chardonnay wine for the evening which went down nicely with our meal.
To kick start the evening we chose the Chilli Calamari which was perfectly crisp fried and tossed with roast cumin and green chilli. Alongside a plate of Tiger Prawns with black onion seeds and spiced yoghurt. Both dishes were so tasty, we wanted more!
It took a little longer than usual to choose what we wanted to eat, as everything on the menu looked too good. So we decided on a dish each, and to share the love lol.
We enjoyed the Murgh Tikka Makhani which is a free range chicken, chargrilled in fresh tomato and fenugreek sauce. With Lamb Rogan Josh that included a braised leg of lamb with brown onion, tomato and Kashmiri chilli and Saffron Pulao Rice. Both dishes tasted really well together.
Mint Leaf Lounge is located near to the Bank of England in the heart of the City. If you are based in London the restaurant is easy to travel to, and a great choice to enjoy chic and sophisticated dining.
Pixar is the brains behind many film classics such as Toy Story, The Incredibles and they have now gained yet another classic to add to their franchise. Pixar’s latest release Soul was a great but emotional watch. The award-winning animation skipped the cinemas and was released by Disney+ on Christmas Day last year, becoming the first Pixar movie to debut exclusively on the streaming service.
Soul is Pixar’s first animated film to feature an African American lead character. The film hosts the voices of a stellar cast including Jamie Foxx, Graham Norton, Angela Bassett and many more. I was pleasantly surprised when I heard Norton’s voice, appearing as Moonwind, a spiritual sign twirler. I’m so used to watching him on the Graham Norton show, it was good to see Graham make his first ‘voiced’ movie debut.
Soul tells the story of 46-year-old Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), a music teacher who isn’t totally happy with his career and is still waiting on his life to begin. He has a lifelong love of jazz music and fortunately gets the chance to play the piano at one of the best jazz clubs in New York City, for the legendary jazz musician and band-leader Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). Joe cannot believe his luck as he begins his walk through the streets of Queens, New York with an extra spring to his step. But he is on his phone, distracted and not paying any attention to what’s going on around him. Joe’s walking into roads without looking, nearly getting knocked over by several cars on his travels. This scene left me feeling quite nervous and on the edge of my seat as Joe narrowly misses death several times, until he falls into a deep open manhole.
My first thought was “Is Joe dead or alive?” then “Really… he’s actually died so early on in the film?” It turned out though, that he isn’t quite dead. Joe has crossed over to The Great Before – this is a place in the clouds where unborn souls are living – and are assigned different personalities before they go to earth.
The ‘souls’ reminded me of characters in the 90s classic ‘Casper the Friendly Ghost.’ Their mentors are allocated to souls that need a little help to give them the push and encouragement they need to truly live.
Joe, who wants to return to life, is paired with Soul 22 (Tina Fey), who has the total opposite view to him and is adamant that she wants to stay put. But Joe learns that she is a lost soul and tries his best to explain and show her the joys of living. Soul 22 accompanies Joe as they evaluate his life and embark on a wonderful journey. Throughout the film they end up being mentors to one another as Joe reminds Soul 22 of her time on Earth. She eventually goes back to Earth and Joe accompanies her until he heads back in line for the Great Beyond. As he awaits his turn, Joe is stopped by “counsellor” Jerry who works at the Great Beyond and tells him that he gets a second chance at life.
I had to stop myself from blubbering as Soul is most definitely a film that pulls at the heartstrings. It really gets you thinking about life and portrays the Great Before, as many of us have only ever heard of the afterlife and not life before your own human existence. It was a great watch, which can be enjoyed with the whole family. There is one thing that Joe says in the film that will stick with me forever “Life is full of possibilities, you just need to know where to look.”
A few days spent in the city of Las Vegas (pre-lockdown) was breathtaking. The city honestly felt like a different world! From bright lights, to fine dining, night life and great entertainment. We guarantee that there is never a dull moment when spent in Sin City.
So if you’re looking for some adventure where no two days are the same… look no further than Vegas baby!
Some people may believe that Las Vegas is just partying and gambling but this little Nevada city has so much more to offer.
Here’s our top places to visit for the ultimate girls trip to Las Vegas.
Welcome to Vegas!
You can’t start your trip without checking out the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. It’s the perfect selfie opportunity but be prepared to be met with crowds so get there early to get the best shot.
The sign is at the start of the 4.2 mile strip so be sure to get a drink, preferably a tequila cocktail and start exploring.
There is so much to see and do on the Las Vegas strip. We do recommend that you wear your comfy shoes before you begin sightseeing as it’s one heck of a trek! From gambling hotels to a variety of different restaurants and shops, the strip is lined with something different for everyone. Vegas is a great place to watch your favourite artists in concert – Caesars Palace and the MGM Grand are Vegas’ concert hotspots. You may even fancy seeing a circus act and we also recommend seeing the Bellagio fountains.
Where to stay
Las Vegas strip is known for providing a host of unique hotels, from Wynn, Excalibur Hotel and Casino and many more. We stayed at the Luxor Hotel and Casino which is shaped as an Egyptian pyramid. The hotel is named for the city of Luxor (ancient Thebes) in Egypt. It felt so surreal walking around the hotel, which is buzzing 24/7. If gambling’s your thing the Luxor has a 120,000-square-foot casino with over 2,000 slot machines and 87 table games. Luxor LasVegas includes bars, clubs, spas and restaurants. We had so much fun lounging at the outside pool which has four swimming pools and whirlpools and also has one of the largest pools in Las Vegas. The Luxor is so easy to get around and is connected to the Mandalay Bay hotel to the south and the Excalibur hotel to the north. All three hotels are connected by free express and local trams as well as walkways to get around.
The two of us love to eat out at restaurants and are keen dining-enthusiasts. We were only in Vegas for three days so we didn’t get to experience all the restaurants, but have picked out a couple of our favourites.
TAO: We are massive fans of TAO and was lucky enough to experience dining at TAO in Uptown New York City. TAO Las Vegas is just as good and is known for its unique ”fine dining” experience. If you enjoy Pan-Asian food then TAO is the restaurant for you. Located inside The Venetian hotel, Tao also has its own nightclub next door if you fancy it.
Hakkasan: This restaurant is an all time favourite of ours. The whole experience from when you enter Hakkasan is five-star, the whole vibe is just perfect. The lighting is dim which creates a peaceful atmosphere and when the smell of good food hits you, you know you are in for a great time. The different courses were so mouth-watering whilst washed down with great cocktails. We recommend Jasmine tea after your meal which is so refreshing and really helps the digestive system.
Things to do:
Bus Tour: There isn’t anything better than to spend the day sightseeing in Las Vegas. We did just that on the hop-on hop-off bus tour. We traveled through Downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip, enjoying views from the upper deck of the open-top bus. We saw the iconic ‘A Little White Chapel’ that is famously known to be the site of many quick celebrity weddings. We saw the Harley Davidson Parking Lot, Circus Circus Hotel and decided to jump off at the Mob Museum.
The Mob Museum: We love museums and thought why not visit The Mob Museum when in Vegas. A historic museum located in Downtown Las Vegas, dedicated to featuring the artifacts, stories and history of organised crime in the United States.
The Chandelier Bar: This beautiful three-floor bar is surrounded by shimmering strands of around two million beaded crystals. We sat on the top floor taking in the scenery whilst enjoying a cocktail or two. The bar is located in the centre of The Cosmopolitan Hotel. If you are looking for a sophisticated evening decorated by shimmering lights then The Chandelier Bar should be on the top of your list.
New York is a city you have to visit at least once in your lifetime. We decided to spend a long weekend in style and thought what better way to do so than in the city that never sleeps!
NYC has one of the highest rates of any tourist attraction in the world, with around 60 million people visiting each year. There are around 800 different languages spoken in New York making it the most diverse city in the world.
We had the best time and have made so many memories, there was only one issue though and that was the weather. It was absolutely freezing! The coldest we’ve ever felt in our lives. We highly recommend layering up if travelling during the winter months, we’re talking thermals lol!
We decided to spend a long weekend in NYC but we will definitely stay longer next time. There was so much to do and see with such little time, so if you’re travelling to New York for the first time we suggest writing up an itinerary before you travel with the places you want to see and eat. It really does help organize your day ahead.
This is the second trip we arranged through Travel Counsellors (here) who specialise in luxury travel and really look after you, making sure you have a trip to remember. We stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel (here) situated in the best part of town! The hotel is located at Madison Avenue in the centre of Midtown Manhattan which is great as it is a short walk from Times Square and very close to Grand Central station. We were taken aback by the decor of the hotel which is very grand and looks more old school glamour which is so nice to see as hotels are a lot more modern nowadays. We fell in love with the chandeliers but The Roosevelt’s is on another level.
It is actually a crime to visit New York and not see Times Square (just joking). During Times Square’s busiest time around 460,000 people walk through the iconic streets. Known for the massive billboards, sparkly advertisements and not forgetting the yellow taxis which constantly drive through the busy New York traffic. The home to many great Broadway shows Times Square has so much to offer. From loads of clothes shops, the M&M store, Mac make up, sweets and milkshake shops, Disney stores and loads of bars and restaurants, there is definitely something for everyone.
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station is the most beautiful and picturesque stations we have ever visited. Located at Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Grand Central opened in 1913 and is one of the busiest stations in the world. We loved the turquoise decor to the ceiling.
It was great to experience travelling on the subway as we’ve seen the Subway featured in so many films and music videos. Shout out to Jlo ‘On The 6’ album lol.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is the 28th tallest building in the world, standing at 1,454 metres tall.
We took a lift to the top of the building and as it was so cold, being on top of a tall building…the wind was ridiculous! It was a struggle trying to take pictures battling the wind and cold, but being up there made up for it. The views are just breathtaking, we could see the whole of NYC!
NYC Sightseeing Cruise
A fantastic way to explore New York is by taking a boat trip. We took a ferry cruise from Midtown Manhattan on the Hudson River and it travels to the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge. We were lucky that it was a very sunny day, so although we had to brave the cold it was a really lovely way to see New York on water.
If you fancy a spot of fine dining, we highly recommend TAO restaurant. The Pan-Asian dim lit restaurant was full of the most delicious food and cocktails. We dined at the TAO Uptown which has a ‘Sex and the City’ vibe to it. It is known not only for its amazing food and cocktails but the giant Buddha centerpiece in the middle of the restaurant. Once you have finished your meal, why not head downstairs to the main bar area, for some more cocktails and good music that has a club like ambiance.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner
If you want to experience a unique dining experience, you have to visit Ellen’s Stardust Diner. You can enjoy your food with singing waiters/waitresses. It is not that cheesy stuff either, the staff are true performers that will blow you away. It is a family friendly restaurant and is worth a visit if you are ever in NYC. Also, the cocktails are so good!
We could not go to to New York and not visit the ‘Queen of Soul Food’ Sylvia’s restaurant in Harlem. It is truly Southern home made comfort food and is a place you have to experience. The restaurant has a home like feel and the walls are filled with the likes of Barack Obama, Whoopi Goldberg and Nelson Mandela who are few of the famous faces who have eaten at this famous restaurant. From warm biscuit, chicken wings, ribs, macaroni and cheese to peach cobbler, there is something to suit your taste buds. Sylvia’s is a place not to miss!