Yum cha brunch at Hwang Review

All week I had been looking forward to a weekend staycation at the four seasons. Then one look at this weeks weather made me change my mind … rain and thunderstorms. Not exactly perfect weather for a beach break. So postponing our break until the following week we were at a loss at what to do with our rainy Doha weekend. I looked in our entertainer app for inspiration when I saw for this month only there was a 2 for 1 brunch offer at hwang – problem solved! 

The pre arrival I have to admit wasn’t great. It took me several attempts at calling before someone answered and then several follow up calls about our reservation. 

Need I have worried?  Absolutely not! Our table was ready on arrival in a lovely spot and staff were only to happy to help and explain the menu. 

The concept of yum cha is small plates of food almost tapas style served to you at the table unlike most brunches in Doha which are served buffet style. I really like this as with the baby it meant we could still enjoy eating together without having to do a relay for food. 

The menu is all south East Asian food and is split into sections of soups, hot and cold appetisers, steamed, wok,  grilled, curries, rice and noodles, vegetables and desserts. We opted for the soft drink option. What I loved was the range of mocktails offered rather than just soft drinks. I loved the nohito while wandermust daddy loved the jasmine ice tea. I’d love to go back and try their actual cocktail range! 

We started with soups while we perished the full extent of the menu. I had the Laksa which was delicious while wandermust daddy ordered the tom Kha ghai. By his own admission he is not a soup fan but this he loved. I think if it hasn’t been the start of the meal he may have ordered a second portion. 

Next we tried the appetisers. We both loved the lettuce cup and the green mango salad which was particularly refreshing. 

Cold appetisers
For hot appetisers we ordered the crispy wasabi prawns and the Vietnamese sping rolls. The crispy prawns weren’t particularly crispy but were very tasty. 

Steamed appetisers

My personal favourite course was the steamed. I loved the dim sum but our favourite was three steamed grouper which was surprisingly flavourful. 

Next we selected from the grilled sections. We loved the grilled satay sticks. I liked the beef and wandermust daddy preferred the chicken. We were also fans of the fruity tofu which was a surprisingly mix. 

Grilled course

At this point we were pretty full but determined to try more obviously for review purposes. For mains we tried he king po, the jungle curry and the BBQ chicken. We couldn’t face the rice as we were too full but loved the asparagus and broccoli sides! 

Mains, noodles and veg

We had dessert to say we tried it. I’m personally not a fan of Asian desserts. I had the chilli chocolate lava cake which was nice but we agreed the best was coconut tapioca. 

So would we go again? Absolutely! We loved the small plates which allowed us to try a brill range of food and loved he fact that it was served rather than buffet style. The staff were excellent and the decor lovely. I think this might become our go to whenever we are hankering south East Asian food! 

The cost for the soft drinks package was 223qar and was 2 for 1 in the entertainer app. Even for full price I think this is a great value brunch. 

I’d never before been to the intercon the city but after our experience at Hwang I’m keen to try some of their other offerings! 

Have you been to the yum cha brunch? What did you think? 

5 reasons why Parisa should be your go-to Souq Waqif Restaurant!

There are loads of great restaurants in Souq Waqif to eat at but one of my favourites is Parisa, an Iranian restaurant.

So why do I love it?

The decor 

I think this has to be the most opulent restaurant in the souq. From the moment you enter through the mirrored corridor you are transported somewhere else. The mirrored ceiling, the mural walls and the beautiful foundation in the center make this a really stunning setting.

The beautiful ceiling
The beautiful ceiling
the beautiful Parisa Souq Waif restaurant
the beautiful Parisa Souq Waif restaurant

Service 

The staff are always attentive and willing to bring out more bread even after I Have consumed my own body weight in the stuff! They are also really friendly and great with small talk and recommendations.

The food 

You can’t go wrong with a kebab but Parisa excels at them. We love getting the sharing platter so we can try them all as I can never decide which one to order!

I also love their sweet walnut and pomegranate chicken stew which is like nothing else I have ever eaten.

But the star of the show is their rice. They do different kinds, saffron and dill being my favourites. It is truly the fluffiest rice I have ever tasted.

Kebab

The music 

In the evening there are usually a couple of musicians playing traditional music which really adds to the ambiance.

Puddings 

I usually haven’t left nearly enough room for pudding but I always managed to force myself to have one. I particularly love the pistachio ice cream with saffron biscuits

Yummy pudding – photo credit my lovely friend Jen

When to go 

Parisa is great all year round but can’t be beaten when it’s hot and you need interior seating. But in truth go anytime you won’t be disappointed!

There is a second branch of Souq Waqif at the Sharq hotel but Parisa Souq Waqif has to be my favourite.

Cruise embarkation day packing list for families with babies

Cruise embarkation day packing list for families with babies

One of the first holidays we did with baby E was a cruise around the western Mediterranean. As experienced cruisers we knew what to pack for us and for Baby E so thought we’d put together the essential list for others considering taking a baby on cruises. Whether you are new to cruising or perhaps new to cruising with a baby we hope this list will be of use

Remember

On embarkation day you leave your main baggage in the cruise terminal which will be delivered to your stateroom later in the day. If you are lucky it will arrive quickly. If you are unlucky it might not arrive until after you have had dinner. So here is what you should bring in your carry on

  • Enough milk / food to last until the next morning ( longer if the next day is a sea day)
  • Enough nappies and related paraphernalia to last until the next morning ( longer if the next day is a sea day)
  • Pram if you want to use to take to dinner or go for a stroll around deck
  • Outfit for dinner and other clothing changes as required
  • Toys
  • Medicines
  • Swimwear if your cruise allows babies and toddlers in the pool (has a baby pool)
  • Pjs for all the family

 Remember:

It is mandatory for all cruise guests on the first day to do an emergency evacuation drill. To prepare for this you will need:

  • Sun-hat, sunscreen or cold weather clothing depending on cruise location i.e Caribbean or Alaskan!
  • Baby carrier – A baby carrier is an essential. If you decide not wait for the lift and use the stairs you will definitely need the carrrier for safety on the stairs.

Have you cruised with a baby? What do you recommend bringing on in embarkation day?

Borghese Gardens: Finding Peace in Central Rome

I love Rome. It’s architecture, history, culture, food even its’ chaotic traffic evokes a real sense of place however sometimes its nice to escape to tranquility, especially now we have a baby and that’s where Villa Borghese Gardens comes into it! The Gardens are in the trendy Via Veneto area and are located close to the Spanish Steps. I don’t know about you but after a visit to the Spanish Steps I always need to time to recharge my batteries and escape the crowds so really the Gardens are a perfect tonic! Alternatively if you want to avoid the Spanish Steps there is an easy entrance on Via Veneto.

The Park
The Park
The Gardens are Rome’s third largest public park and along with being a beautifully landscaped garden it also has a number of buildings and museums, the main attraction of these being Galleria Borghese, the Museum of Modern Art and the Globe Theatre. Tickets for gallery entrance must be pre booked and are time limited. However, if you don’t manage to get tickets there are plenty of sculptures to keep any art fan amused.

Art in the Park
Art in the Park
The Piazza di Siena, close to the Via Veneto entrance, hosted the equestrian events during the 1960 Rome Olympics and is a perfect place to go for a run.

Piazza di Siena
Piazza di Siena
The Gardens also offer some great viewing platforms to take in some great and interesting perspectives of Rome such as that at Piazza Napoleone.

In the centre of the gardens is a beautiful lake overlooked by the stunning Temple of Aesculapius. The lake in front can be boated in good weather, but on our last trip we weren’t lucky enough to do this! But I am sure when we return when Baby E is a bit older this is something we will definitely do!

Temple and Boating Lake
Temple and Boating Lake
It is also one of the best places for families in Rome. It is easily accessible with a pram, there are large open spaces and plenty of playgrounds for children and lots of lovely shaded areas to sit and relax if you are there in the summer heat.

In my opinion every great city has a great park and for me Villa Borghese is Rome’s great park!

Things to remember:

  • There are several restaurants within the Gardens or alternatively take a picnic
  • Tickets to go into Galleria Borghese must be booked in advance
  • Prams and bags of any description are not allowed inside the gallery.

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Coming up – September 2016

This will be a new 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 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 next month we will be doing a tour of the great B’s of the UK

  •  Bath and surrounding area
  •  Birmingham
  •  Berkhamsted
  •  Henley upon Thames (ok I know that doesn’t begin with a B but we are going)

It is also Wandermust Daddy’s birthday next week and we have both been desperate to try the food at Nobu Doha so going to see if we can book in there before we head back to the Uk

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

Kyambura Gorge Lodge – luxury hotel review 

Located on the edge of the queen Elizabeth national park, the kyambura gorge lodge is in an enviable location. From there it is only a few minutes drive to the gorge itself where you can see a fascinating and unique group of chimps. These chimps are comepletely isolated from other groups, like no other in Uganda. You can read about our experience and find out why here

It is also a great point to jump off to see the park either by car or boat down the kazinga channel. You can read about our experience here

The grounds and lodges

But the grounds itself are also very interesting. One of my favourite things was walking with Francis in the lodge birdwatching and finding out about local flora and fauna. Our guide was really knowledgeable and I particularly enjoyed finding out about plants relating to treatments and remedies they for malaria. We also got to see some amazing animals on our hike like this blue lizard.

A blue lizard

If it wasn’t such an activity filled area I would have been happy to spend make time in the lodge itself. The lodges are separate so you have total tranquility and privacy. My particular favorite spot was the balcony where I enjoyed sitting watching animals on the other side of the gorge.

The beautiful balconies
Enjoying the view

The lodge also had An amazing pool which given we went in off season was a private pool.

The pool

For me when doing such vigorous activities such as chimp trekking you want to come back to complete relaxation. On top of the amazingly comfortable bedrooms, which were all beautifully decorated, the lodge offers daily complementary massages which are amazing after long hikes.

The lovely bedroom

If you want complete relaxation in and around queen Elizabeth national park then kyamabura gorge is the place for you!

This hotel also features in Top Ten Things That Make a Luxury Hotel Luxurious

Essential guide for visiting Rome with a Baby

I don’t know about you but when I use to book a city break I would get straight onto google – best restaurants, best things to do etc. Now we have a baby however our search terms have changed substantially … where can we buy x, is y available and what I found is that it is hard to find all the information in one place. That’s where I hope to come in!  So this will become a regular feature telling where you can buy essentials, details about changing facilities and accessibility of various locations and anything else that would be on use to parents – so first up everything you need to know about taking a baby to Rome.

Rome is a great city for families
Rome is a great city for families

Continue reading Essential guide for visiting Rome with a Baby

5 reasons why Purple Island, Qatar is a perfect desert experience for kids!

When you think desert you think sandy, hot and inhospitable – perhaps not the first place you think of going with children. But Purple Island is a perfect destination for kids’ first taste of the desert. Purple Island is usual our first port of call whenever we have children visitors. Here;s why:

Continue reading 5 reasons why Purple Island, Qatar is a perfect desert experience for kids!

Top Reasons Why Rome is a Perfect City Break for Families

We recently spent some time in the beautiful Rome. Rome stole my heart when we first visited ten years ago so I was really keen to take Baby E to visit our favourite city and wondered whether we would have such a good time as parents. but really Rome is the perfect city break for parents with small children. Here’s why:

FOOD

Depending on what stage of the weaning process you are in, the food in Rome can be very child friendly. Who doesn’t love Italian food?! Pizza, pasta and gelato need I say more.

ACCOMODATION

There are lots of family friendly accommodations from AirBNB to luxury high end hotels. We chose to stay at the Westin Excelsior, (you can read a full review here), a 5* hotel on the lovely Via Veneto which was absolutely great for a family travelling with a baby. The rooms were big (I’ll admit we way overpacked so needed a large room) and the staff were very accommodating with the Baby.

Baby E enjoying the super comfortable bed at Westin Excelsior
Baby E enjoying the super comfortable bed at Westin Excelsior


 

ACCESSIBILITY

Many people say it is impossible to do Rome with a stroller. I am sure in some places such as the colosseum and Metro this is true. But if you are anything like us and enjoy walking, Rome is actually a very easy place to get around with a pram or stroller. We managed to visit the Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain all in one day walking with a stroller.

We found Rome very stroller friendly

PIAZZAS 

Many of the Piazzas are pedestrianised which means that you aren’t worried about safety. It also means that if your child is at the toddling stage, there are plenty of safe places to give them a run around in the city. Most also have a fountain, a Bernini one if your lucky ! It’s also a great place for weary parents as most Piazzas are filled with restaurants and bars to sit and rest your tired toes!


THE PARKS

For me all great cities have at least one great park. In Rome this is Villa Borghese Gardens (you can read a full review here). It is filled with plenty of places for kids to run around, suitable playgrounds and even a small boating lake. There is also plenty of shade if you need to escape the summer sun.

But for me the top reason to visit Rome is …

THE PEOPLE 

I know its a cliché but Italians really love babies! There was no where we didn’t feel welcome. From small cafes to 5* hotels Baby E was literally welcomed with open arms. Waiters would keep  her amused which gave us the rare chance to eat a meal somewhat together and helped with any request. Everywhere we went our Principessa or our Bella Bambino was showered with attention and love. It was like going on holiday with a celebrity. Baby E loved the attention and we loved the welcoming family atmosphere.

For me Italy really is one of the best places to take a baby on holiday. If you would like further advice on travelling to Rome with a little one take a look at our Essential Information Guide for Travelling to Rome with a Baby! (Coming Soon)

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy our practical guide for parents visiting Rome including top tips about where to buy baby products, changing facilities and getting around in Rome.

If your kids are slightly older why not check out this guide of things to do in Rome with kids by our friends over at Learning Escapes

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Luxury Hotel Review: Westin Excelsior, Rome

I love modern and chic hotels but sometimes I want a hotel with a real sense of place that connects with the history of the city. That’s when I was looking to book a hotel for our couple of night stay in Rome I decided on the Westin Excelsior.

The hotel was purpose-built in 1906. From the outside it screams baroque style opulence. Located on the trendy Via Veneto one wouldn’t expect anything less than luxury and opulence!

So did it live up to expectation?

Continue reading Luxury Hotel Review: Westin Excelsior, Rome