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Travels: Zanzibar

1 Apr

Continuing on from my previous travels post, I’ve got a bit to share with you from my trip to Zanzibar. I spent a week on the island, starting with 2 nights at Mbweni Ruins hotel, 2 nights at Chumbe Island Coral Reserve and 2 nights at Warere Town House in Stone Town.

This was my first experience of ‘proper’ Africa (it was very different to Morocco and South Africa with their strong connections to European culture). The prices of the resorts we stayed at were heavily inflated, and Stone Town was the other extreme – we stayed at a backpackers guest house with daily power cuts and no back up generator.

The highs were beautiful sunsets and warm waters, but the lows were tourist-savvy locals, polluted beaches and mediocre resorts at high prices.

Stone Town is a UNESCO world heritage site and did have it’s own cultural beauty, but it isn’t being maintained even with tourism bringing in a large amount of the island’s income. I loved walking around the House of Wonders – a Sultan’s home (the first to have running water and lifts) – now a “museum” in a loose sense of the term; I was the only visitor at the time, nearly all the exhibits were shut and there was a thick layer of dust on the bannister as I walked up the grand, ornately carved, mahogany staircase. The whole experience had some odd charm about it.

I also fell for the handful of Aladdin’s cave style Curio’s – even if I was sneezing every couple of minutes. I am a sucker for a broken 19th century timepiece and empty food/cigarette tins with their lovely vintage typography and imagery.

kilimanjaroFlying from Nairobi to Zanzibar we got an epic view of Mount Kilimanjaro

beach umbrella sunsetBeach Sunset at Mbweni Ruins Hotel

way to chum beOn the way to Chumbe Island

chumbe arrival lighthouse

Arrival to Chumbe Island (it really reminded me of the Lost Island!)

DSC09609Inside our Eco-bungalow

bungalowsEco-Bungalows

forodhani sunsetSunset from Forodhani Gardens, Stone Town

turtlesSeriously cute turtles at Jozeni Turtle Reserve

jozeni monkeyAnd cute monkeys at Jozeni Forest

stone townStreets of Stone Town – beautiful carvings

zanzibar doorOne of Stone Towns ornately carved doors – and me in my Traveller gear!

Curio StonetownAn amazing old till (and old divers helmet to the right of it!) in one of Stone Town’s Curio’s.

I’d definitely recommend a short visit to Zanzibar alongside a safari, but don’t go out of your way to get there.

Have you been to Zanzibar? Do you agree with my overall perception? Let me know in the comments section.

LDNshopaholic xxx

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Travels: South Africa

24 Mar

Yes people, I’ve been away on my jollies for the last few weeks. I had the pleasure of visiting Johannesburg, South Africa and Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Here’s a little photobomb of what I got up to in Joburg:

intercontinental sandton poolThe Lush Rooftop Pool at the Intercontinental Hotel, Sandton

casalinga weddingMy cousin’s beautiful red and white wedding at Casalinga Joburg

wedding outfitShameless selfie of What I Wore to the Wedding (taken in the Venue’s ladies room!):

Topshop White Blazer

American Apparel Coral Lace and Chiffon Dress

Gold Topshop Sandal Heels

Pearls (from a charity shop)

cub

Hanging out with a little Lion at the Lion Park.

scarface lionwhite lion

Do these two remind anyone else of Mufasa and Scar from the Lion King?!

giraffe

Also discovered how large a giraffe actually is!

My Lion Park outfit consisted of:

Neutral t-shirt: Monki

Khaki shorts: River Island

Little tan bag: Primark

Tan ballet pumps: Dune

Beige Cardigan: H&M

Ombre Tortoiseshell Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters

It was a very short trip to South Africa (just the weekend – sad face) and I’d love to go back and visit Cape Town as I’ve heard it’s absolutely spectacular. My family and I jetted to Zanzibar next and you’ll be finding out all about that in my next post so stay tuned!

Have you ever been up close with big cats? I was pretty petrified! Haha.

Has anyone had any memorable trips to Africa? It’s pretty different to our very own LDN to say the least.

LDNshopaholic xxx

American Dream

1 Aug

So apologies for lack of postage lately people, I’ve actually been away for a little while. I went on an epic holiday with my family….. and it all started on a cruise from LA’s South Beach:

20120730-023225.jpgThe cruise was with Carnival and our first stop was Catalina Island, a small island where the Hollywood elite used to holiday back in the 1930’s and 40’s. It’s a really beautiful place with a tiny community. Here there are some lovely little shops and the biggest ballroom in the world inside the Casino (built by Mr Wrigley – yes the chewing gum!). And there’s also The Tuna Club (for those of you who don’t know… I’m a little bit obsessed with tuna sandwiches). Day trips leave from South Beach regularly so check it out if you are in LA and want a little getaway!

20120730-023255.jpgOur next stop was Ensenada in Mexico… it definitely felt like a shady port town and I was slightly put off by the random marriage proposals I received from total strangers! The highlights for me were the seals and sea lions swimming around in the marina. And how can I forget to mention the icon that is the second biggest flag in Mexico?!

20120730-023306.jpgWe returned to LA and hit Venice Beach for the ‘freak show’, it was very entertaining! The highlight was the lady playing her piano with her cat sleeping on top of it! I also was lucky enough to view the partial solar eclipse from Santa Monica Pier and did a spot of shopping at American Apparal along the 3rd Street Promenade.

20120730-023321.jpgA visit to LA isn’t complete without a studio tour or two. My family and I spent the day at Universal, highly recommended!! Highlights were the Waterworld Show and Wisteria Lane…! The Simpsons ride was an unexpected favourite too!

20120730-023346.jpgWe then hired a car and headed off to Grandest of Canyons, we went to the North Rim for a less touristy experience. It’s pretty phenomenal…

20120730-032000.jpgThen we hit Zion National Park, we were staying in a lodge nearby so it just made sense. Zion NP is like the Grand Canyon was thousands of years ago, it’s pretty cool to see the canyon forming! There’s also a ridiculous number of cute friendly squirrels here. Do you like my adventure gear?!

20120730-032025.jpgWe decided to end our trip in the one and only Las Vegas, we stayed in the Bellagio but due to high winds we didn’t get to watch the famous fountains sob sob! I did however play my first Blackjack game in a proper casino (losing $100) and went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s “O”, both of these (maybe not losing at gambling but hmm…) are highly recommended by moi.

20120730-032044.jpgOur main occupation whilst in Vegas was snooping out other hotels, I was pretty impressed by Luxor, Excalibur and The Venetian. The Venetian’ shops were pretty dangerous and I fell in love with a beautiful Céline bag that I was hoping I could buy with my intended big Blackjack win (see above). Alas, it wasn’t meant to be!

20120730-032103.jpgSo I’ve barely mentioned any shopping related stuff in this post you say? Fear not! Here’s a vlog encompassing my purchases from Sephora, American Apparal, Urban Outfitters and more!

 

Leave me comments below on your favourite places and shops in the US. I’m off to Dallas in September and would love to hear any recommendations!

LDNshopaholic xxx