Recently we went to lunch at Mainland China after seeing so many good reviews on Twitter. So did it live up to the hype?
Firstly I have to say that when we entered we were taken aback by the lovely and very tasteful decor. It was much Slicker than I had expected. I even quite liked the glass dragon light and waterfall feature at the reception.
But the main reason I was there was for the food. I LOVE Chinese food, in particularly I love British style Chinese food which is completely different in my opinion to American Chinese which seems to be the main offering in Doha outside of hotels so I had been keen to try somewhere new!
We started with some assorted appetisers. Prawn dim sum, crab wontons and duck rolls which were all outstandingly good. I would say the best dim sum outside of hakkasan in Doha.
This is a monthly feature to let you know where we are travelling to in the following month. We are hoping this page will keep our readers informed, get us recommendations from other travellers about our upcoming locations and let any potential partners know locations of where we are going should anyone want to partner with us while we are there (please contact wandermustfamily at wandermustfamily.com for any potential partnership work).
That being said in October we will be in
Rome staying at the beautiful Westin Excelsior
Staying in a suite on Royal Carribeans Rhapsody of the Seas going to Livorno, Toulon, Corsica, Valencia, Palma and Barcelona
Please add comments about any of your top tips for these destinations and any potential partners please email us wandermustfamily at wandermustfamily.com about potential collaboration opportunities or check our our Contact Us/Work with us Page!
The Wandermust Family
Everybody said that travel would change and in the worst cases stop as soon as we had a baby! We were very prepared for the change but were never going to stop. So how has travel changed in now we have an almost six month old?
The truth is …
In many ways it hasn’t! It has actual surprised us how little it has changed. So what are the ways it has and hasn’t changed.
We have been on several international trips with Baby E mainly to the UK! This is probably the biggest change we have had. As we are expats in Qatar, we have had to bring baby E back to meet family and friends and to hold her christening! Normally we wouldn’t do this many trips to the Uk so close together as we really love exploring new places. However this isn’t a permenant change. Over the next six months we have plans to go on adventures to Italy, France , Spain and the Seychelles so normal adventure service will resume soon.
I am going to start with a disclaimer – that despite the sheer number of superlatives I am about to use in this review, I promise I have no affliation and was not paid or given products to do this review. I genuinely feel this strongly about this hotel.
Buckingham Place on the South Coast of Sri Lanka, is literally the best place I have ever stayed at. So much so I am reticent to tell others about it. However unfortunately for us babies aren’t allowed so we won’t be going back for a while. Buckingham place is a couple of hours down the new highway, you reached a small village called Rekawa. As the main road ends, your taxi takes you down a dirt road, wide enough for only one car, that snakes around padi fielda before eventually arriving at the gates to Buckingham Place and entering paradise.
The name is full of whimsy as is the owner, Nick, who doesn’t want stuffy guests but guests that will see the beauty and fun of life in Sri Lanka. He can be often found in the dining room, talking happily to guests with stories from his life both before and after he moved to Sri Lanka.
For most people, trekking to see gorillas and chimps in Uganda is a once in a lifetime experience and you want to come home with a plethora of memorable shots to show your family and friends. But what is the best way of getting these snaps?
Sometimes you visit somewhere where you wish you could stay longer. This was the feeling we had when we left Ndali Lodge in the Rwenzori Mountains.
The lodge is run by Aubrey and his wife Clare who were unfortunately absent during our stay there but we were well attended to by the manager Gilbert. The Lodge has been in Aubrey’s family since the 1920s but was appropriated during the Ugandan military rule in the 1970s and was only reclaimed in the 1990s and then became what can only be described as a perfect wildlife lodge.
There is a sweet spot for visiting Oxford. You want to hit it when the students aren’t there but also avoiding the summer visitors. Therefore September is the perfect time to visit
So what are the best things to do in 48 hours in Oxford?
We started our day with a walk round the covered market. It’s not huge but worth a look. The butchers inside has the worlds oldest ham apparently.
Then we headed to the bodelian library to see the Radcliffe camera. You can also go into the library but babies and libraries don’t usually mix.
One of the things I hadn’t realized about Oxford is that the colleges are open to the public. We stumbled upon New College while wondering around the city and discovered it was open so decided to go in.
Unfortunately the interior of college prohibits photography so I can’t show you how lovely it was. Our particular favorite room was the chapel, the reredos is particularly stunning.
New college is also great for children who will recognize it as the grounds of Hogwarts from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Another thing I hadn’t realized is how extensive the grounds of the colleges are and we were surprised by the beautiful garden and mound in the grounds of new college which are enclosed by the Oxford city wall.
It was a beautiful spot for photos. We enjoyed walking the grounds and taking some family photos.
After a brief stop for lunch we decided to see what other colleges were open and stumbled open Magdelen college.
If we had been impressed by the grounds of New college, then Magdalen really took our breath away. Inside the college, aside from the stunning cloisters and chapel, there was a lovely garden, a view of the river where we spotted some students punting and most surprisingly a deer park.
We took the opportunity to take some lovely family photographs while the grounds were empty before heading buck for the day.
On our second day we continued with our tours of the Oxford Colleges with a visit to Christ College. The most expensive of the colleges and with perhaps the most stunning dining room. This college is great for potter fans as this was used as the hogwarts dining room in Harry Potter and the philosophers stone. Entrance also includes access to the church.
We then spent our afternoon visiting some of the museums of Oxford – worthy of a post themselves The ashmolean has to be a family favorite.
We ended our day with a shopping trip including to a trip to Sanders of Oxford map shop where we bought the below map. It shows pacific currents for the part of our round the world trip we are doing by boat. We couldn’t resist.
Wandermust family top tip for families
Be warned Oxford is very cobbled and our pram took a beating. Baby carriers are probably a good idea here
We love Puglia! It is one of the undiscovered gems of Italy that still isn’t swarming with tourists.
We usually stay in Ostuni as it is central and a great hopping off point to the rest of the area. It is also stunningly beautiful in its own rights. It is known as the white city and I will never forget out first evening drive towards the city. It was breathtaking. Unfortunately I was driving so couldn’t take a picture.
It is however beautiful by day too. The cathedral and churches of the city are lovely and the city walls worth walking.
We had a pretty good idea that my 30th birthday might be our last sans baby! Therefore wandermust daddy organized a day of treats that you can’t do with a baby – the first being a speedboat down the Thames.
The trip started at embankment and headed westwards towards the Houses of Parliament. We had a great view of the sun setting over Parliament.
The trip then took us past the London Eye , Tate Modern and The Shard.
The trip was accompanied by a guide who pointed out all the main sights of London. Given the age of our group the guide added some saucy humor to the commentary that went down well.
Heading east, we went past the Tower of London and had a great view of traitors gate. A view that many dreaded and never saw again.
Once we had headed back east out of the city the boat was able to open up and get to high speed hitting waves and causing much delight among our group.
As we headed back towards embankment we got the best view of tower bridge I’ve ever seen. Despite being a Londoner and being there for many years I had never actually seen the bridge open. This was a great birthday treat and a highlight of our trip.
Our two chimp trekking experiences in Uganda could not have been more different.
For the up close and personal encounter we got in Kibale National Forest, with the Beta asserting his dominance and naturally interacting with humans, The experience at Kyambura Gorge, was a far more distant experience but in many ways a more natural experience in my opinion.
You arrive at the visitors centre in Queen Elizabeths National Park and then drive in small groups to the site where you will be entering the gorge. Now I am going to admit I am not the most surefooted hiker but even so the hike was difficult. I definitely needed a my hiking stick (For those who are interested, you might want to read our guide to what to wear for gorilla and chimp trekking).
As you descended into the Gorge, you really feel like you are descending into nature and a less sanitised experience (though the chimps at Kibale are wild, you can tell the are more used to seeing humans).
There was no guarantee down in the Gorge that you would actually get to see the chimps. The Gorge is a large area that the chimps move through, and the Gorge is split into areas by rivers, which are filled with hippos and you can also easily stumble across other wildlife while down there which means you may have to chose another route sharpish! This happened to us on two occasions. The first we found a male elephant on our path and quickly had to retreat. The second, a fresh lions footprint caused another retreat. It was both exhilarating and also slightly terrifying but the Rangers were excellent and carried weapons to scare any animals away. Our rangers told us that in all their years they had never had to fire their guns!
Down in the Gorge we came across two unexpected – the first was a 40 foot spiders web (the picture doesn’t do it justice). Not a place for arachnophobics!
The second was an elephant graveyard. It felt like we had stumbled into the real life Lion King!
Now, our trek hampered by stray elephants and lions, was further exacerbated by a constant rainfall. The perils of going to Uganda in the wet season and we were giving up hope of actually seeing the chimps here.
As we were about to give up, we noticed a flash of fur in the distance. The only problem, there was a river between us and them. Our guides were undeterred and managed to get us across the rapidly rising river, but had concerns about whether we would get back.
It was worth the perilous crossing. We got five minutes to watch the chimps at a distance – they had placed themselves on a small island in the middle of another river but we got to watch them swinging front the trees. In many ways I am glad we couldn’t get closer. The Kyambura Gorge chimps are cut off from both chimps and human contact so it felt like we were;t intruding in their space. I also feel really privileged to see these chimps as they won’t stay this way forever. There are great concerns over the chimps at Kyambura Gorge as if they don’t make contact with other groups, there will be issues related to inbreeding. However, these chimps have been cut off for so long, if other chimps were introduced into this area, the Kyambura Gorge chimps would be unlikely be able to compete. I feel really privileged to have had this experience.
Our joy at this experience, was soon replaced by slight fear as we realised the river had risen even more rapidly wile we had been watching. There was a great hurry to get back. Wandermust Daddy ended up wearing the female rangers wellington boots, which were about seven sizes too small while I was carried over by the male ranger. It was an exciting way to end the day.