Sunday, 18 June 2017

REVIEW | Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar, Melville

It isn't a secret that brunch is by far my favourite meal of the day and it's safe to say that I've become quite the mid morning meal connoisseur - tough job but someone's gotta do it. Whilst Johannesburg is known for it's buzzing creative scene, it's vibrant energy and in particular, it's friendly people, the hustling city is quickly becoming a trendy hot spot for stunning cafes, restaurants and bars.

From sipping quality coffee at hip cafe, The Father in Braamfontein to sampling sushi with an African twist at The Blackanese in Maboneng, the city of Johannesburg's food scene is becoming very exciting, very quickly.

As one of our favourite cities in the world, we decided there was only one place we could be for the last week of our year long trip, and for Rosie's 25th birthday and so on the hunt for the perfect brunch spot,  I found Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar and immediately knew this was the place to kick off the day of celebrations.

Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar, situated in the suburb of Melville, is, if you hadn't guessed already, an egg themed restaurant and a place that brunch addicts go to heaven. Whether you're looking for a traditional egg and soldiers with a modern twist or want to try something a little different and sample their infamous shakshuka, this place has it all.

The menu is packed to the rafters with diverse and unique dishes, so much so, that you're almost definitely going to need to ask for 'a few more minutes' from the waiter because there is so much damn choice that all sounds too damn good!

With a bottle of bubbles on the table because duh, it was a celebration of 25 years of life, I decided on the Yemeni flat bread with Israeli salad and hummus, served with boiled eggs sprinkled with olive oil and origanum. It was utterly, utterly stunning and easily one of the best dishes I tried on the whole trip.

Birthday girl, Rosie went for the traditional eggs and soldiers which, with a unique twist was served with bacon wrapped asparagus spears and grated parmesan on rye or sourdough bread. From the complete lack of food on our plates at the end of the meal, it's safe to say that both dishes went down an absolute treat!

Whilst the food was incredible, the service was also really great with our waiter being extremely attentive and definitely supporting our mid morning drinking... The restaurant itself is pretty 50s themed with 'industrial art-deco touches' - the central bar station a stand out feature - and the original heritage features such as the marble flooring has been retained and polished up.

However you like your eggs in the morning (I think I'm so punny) (no but really), Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar is certainly a must try if you are in the edgy area of Melville. With great food, fantastic drinks and a relaxed atmosphere, there's little surprise that it is quickly becoming one of the most talked about eateries around.

The only downside is that we didn't get to sample any of their infamous cocktails - we just might have to go back again...

Have you given Pablo's a visit yet? Where are your favourite places to eat in Joburg?

Add me on Snapchat - charlottehall95


Thursday, 15 June 2017

Travelling along the Garden Route with Baz Bus

South Africa is quickly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, with Cape Town being voted the best city in the world so many times now, it's actually becoming quite boring (I kid, I kid). Along with the beauty of the mother city and the arty and edge Johannesburg though, is one of the most stunning coastlines in the world, with the southern coast of South Africa fast becoming one of the 'must-see' parts of the country.

The Garden Route is, to put it in simple terms, utterly incredible and a part of South Africa that cannot be missed. Last year, I managed to explore the coastline from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth where we rode horses through stunning foresty, got up close and personal with wild elephants and took a little champagne sunset cruise to, you know, just celebrate life.

There is a whole lot more of the Garden Route to explore after you pass Port Elizabeth however and whilst it can be a little tricky to figure out where is best to go because let's face it, everywhere has pretty amazing reviews, I've put together a little itinerary of what we did to perhaps help you along the way...

(Warning: a lot of relaxing is involved)

Day 1 - Durban


After spending almost eight months in South Africa and hearing a lot about Durban, we couldn't possibly have missed the chance to venture over to the east coast. We'd heard about the tropical climate, the scorching sun and the warm sea, the temperatures that don't change much the whole year round, the countless outdoor restaurants and bars to spend an evening or three in, so of course when we arrived...there was a storm and it rained for the first three days.

Of course.

On the fourth day of our week in this supposed tropical city (I'm still bitter, I really am), the morning sun lifted it's little head and we practically sprinted down to the beach and spent the next few days there topping up our tans.

I wrote a detailed post about our week in Durban (click here) where I explained much more about where we stayed, where we ate and what we did however a special mention for the hostel we stayed at, Curiocity, because whilst I just love their original Joburg place, their new branch is stunning and definitely a must if you're in the city anytime soon.

Durban is known for it's incredible Indian food and I have way too many recommendations because, well, I ate way too much but Mali's in particular is just utterly amazing and you won't be disappointed. Don't just take my word for it either - it's named as the number one restaurant in the entire city and even better news, without the price tag!

Hints and tips:
For a great bunny chow, head to House of Curries.
For a stunning Indian curry, head to Mali's.
For great coffee, head to Antique Cafe.
For tasty chicken, head to Afro's Chicken.
For cocktails and jazz, head to the Chairman

Day 8 - Durban to Chintsa

After a week in Durban, it was time to say goodbye and head on down the coast to Chintsa, with Baz Bus. Chintsa is a small little village in the Eastern Cape and boasts stunning natural scenery, a clear 15km stretch of beach and a whole lot of outdoor activities (which I did none of but I can appreciate it all the same, looking on from the bar).

Buccaneers is the only hostel in Chintsa and oh boy, they have got the hostel thing, down. It's pretty much like a resort really, with home cooked meals served every night in a cosy dining room, a pool area, a lively and sociable bar and an all round great atmosphere every day of the week.

After a lo-o-o-ng drive from Durban, we checked in and immediately headed straight down to the beach for sunset - it was just spectacular and definitely one if, if not the, best sunset we'd ever seen in South Africa.

Our two days in Chintsa sped by and with very little action really. We chilled out at the beach, watched the sun rise and the sun set and that's, pretty much it. Fear not active people who aren't lazy sacks like moi (!), a lot of people head to Chintsa, and a few other places along the Garden Route such as Jeffrey's Bay, to get active with the hostel offering surf lessons and horse riding right along the stunning coast.

Hints and tips:
If you don't have a car & want to cook your own food, buy it before you get to Chintsa. There is only a small convenience store in walking distance.
Bring cash with you to the hostel, there is no ATM and they only accept cash at the bar. 

Day 10 - Chintsa to Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth was our next stop and having visited here before but only for one night, we were excited to see what the small coastal city had to offer.

You know what that ended up being?

Rain, and a whole lot of it.

Port Elizabeth was pre-e-e-tty much a write off really, with the rain pouring down both days we were there so boringly, we caught up on work, sleep and kept our kidneys live and functioning with a drink or three at the hostel bar.

We have stayed at Lungile Lodge both times we've been in Port Elizabeth and both times have absolutely loved it - definitely recommend.

Day 12 - Port Elizabeth to Jeffrey's Bay

The infamous J-Bay was our next stop and one that so many people had recommended to us. Laid back and welcoming, this little town is a renowned surfers spot and so is the ultimate place to head too if you are at one with the sea.

Island Vibe Backpackers, which has a few hostels up and down the Garden Route, is set right on the coastline, with stunning views overlooking the beautiful beach. It's a renowned party hostel, so if you enjoy drinking, possibly a game of beer pong or pool and don't like heading to bed too early, this place is definitely for you.

Day 13 - Jeffrey's Bay to Cape Town
And then, it was time to head back to Cape Town, our home for the last five months.

We travelled along the Garden Route from Durban with Baz Bus, a hop-on, hop-off backpacker service which delivers you from one hostel door to the other. You can hop on and off as many times as you like, whether you buy a 7, 14 or 21 day pass and it's a super safe and secure way to travel along the south coast. I'd particularly recommend it to those who are travelling alone and want to meet new people along the way! For more information about Baz Bus and the services they offer, click here.

If I were to pick my favourite places along the whole Garden Route, I would choose Knysna for it's stunning natural beauty and the chance to be within yards of wild elephants, Plettenberg Bay for the incredible Robberg Nature Reserve with one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever done and Chintsa because I will never, ever forget that sunset, ever.

Are you heading alone the Garden Route soon? Let me know where you've chosen to stop by!

See what I'm pinning on Pinterest
Add me on Snapchat - charlottehall95

*Baz Bus kindly invited me to travel along the Garden Route with them for review purposes however all opinions, as ever, are completely and utterly honest (otherwise, what's the point, hey?).

Just a head's up, this post contains affiliate links but if ya don't wanna use them, I won't really know so you are by no means obliged. 

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

UPDATE | What's going on?

Well, you could say it’s perhaps been a while since a new post popped up on here and it seems as though I’ve lost the hang of it a little. There’s a whole lot to catch you up on but firstly, and most obviously by the sudden influx of politics talk on Twitter for all you tweeters out there, I’m home after a year of travelling! Yep, as I sit here in my back garden, the sun trying to shine and the dog whimpering for attention at my feet, it’s safe to say I’m back and I would be lying if I said I was happy about it.

Well, that’s a little harsh. It’s a really, really strange feeling coming back home after a year away. By the nineth, tenth and eleventh month, you really begin to miss the little things about home - the cup of ‘proper English’ tea, the chocolate, the Sunday roast - the mundane things that you’re yearning for after being deprived for so long. You miss family, you miss friends and it’s those things that keep you glancing at the calendar, counting how many days you have until it’s time to get on the flight home.

It’s only when time is truly up, when you’re packing your belongings up on the last night, in the last hostel room, when you’re having your last drink and your last meal. It’s only when everything becomes the last that you realise you want it to be your first again, and you’d do anything to make it happen. You glance over at your travelling companion in the last Uber ride of the trip to catch your last flight and it’s then that you realise that actually, home could wait a little longer.

But it can’t.

It couldn’t.

I’m back.

And whilst it’s so great to see family in actual real life, to catch up with friends you’d only managed to keep in touch with through Whatsapp, to squeeze your dog so tight it actually coughs for breath a little bit as it continues to pretend like you don't exist after abandoning it for so long… It’s just, in all honesty, really hard not to cry.

For the first week, each time someone asked me, ‘how was your trip?’ or ‘what was your favourite part?’, I felt like crying. Not because the questions weren’t genuine or the trip wasn’t amazing, but because, the past tense really is a killer.

After so many weeks and months of telling people what we’d done so far and what we were going on to next, this time, the answers were final and the time had come to an end. For the first two weeks, I didn’t want to talk about it and actually, I couldn't really talk about it - even now I struggle to particularly find the words to describe stories or the trip as a whole because, how can you? How can you put a whole year with such different experiences and cultures and countries and people into a few sentences?

So, yeah. I’ve been home for a month now and honestly, I’ve just began to find my feet again. I’m currently looking for a job in London and yes, for those that have followed my travelling trials and tribulations over the past year, that is with my travelling partner in crime and BFF, Rosie and yes, we’re living together. After a year you’d think we’d have had quite enough of each other but nope, still speaking every minute of every day seeing each other approximately 3 days a week despite our home towns being 3 hours apart.

A tad unhealthy perhaps? Bless us.

It’s extremely welcome for the fog to be slowly lifting on my brain and for it to be clicking into action. Hopefully now, instead of staring into the computer screen, willing a job offer just to jump up and tap me on the shoulder, I can actually start living a productive life once more. Travelling plans are in the future, as well as a few other exciting endeavours which I will spill the beans on soon but yep, here I am, finally writing on my little part of the internet again just letting you know that no, I haven't done one too many stupid things on the trip and died, I’ve just done the rather silly thing of coming back to the UK.

 Posts to resume as normal…starting from NOW!

                                Want to chat? Let's get social...

Blog design by aleelily designs | Powered by Blogger.