Thursday, 2 April 2015

Brunch at HotBox

My brother and I have always been close and I like to make sure we see each other often. We both love food and eating out so we often meet for dinner but this time I fancied testing out a brunch I had heard good things about, Hotbox in Shoreditch. So on one very sunny Sunday morning, I crossed the river to meet my brother and Charlie for a feast of a brunch.

They don't take bookings and I don't like queueing so we made sure we were there for 11am when it opened. The setting is simple, long tables with benches and bar stools around the windows. It's very casual, loud and fun. They bring you bottomless coffee or tea while you get stuck in to the menus. I'm one of those people who find it really hard to settle for just one thing. I want a little bit of everything, I want to try it all. Luckily the other two obliged, sharing is caring after all.

We also got the bottomless cocktails, a variety of bloody mary's, bubbly and mimosas.

We ordered the truffle egg toast and it was as good as it sounds.

The beef rib tacos, amazingly tasty and surprisingly light and fresh.

Chicken Belgian waffles, super crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside.

Fluffy pancakes with very thick cut bacon, unfortunately my least favourite.

Mac and cheese that I could happily live on for the rest of my life.

And finally the skillet smoked meat hash, very tasty and meaty.

We ate for ages, and I am not ashamed to say that we finished absolutely everything. I was determined to sample the puddings too but we were just too full. There is always next time right?


A Sunday morning well spent in the best company, I will always cheers to that!

I recommend giving Hotbox a try, you can check out their website here. Let me know if you loved it or loved it! 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Saadiyat Beach Club

This place is one of our favourite places in Abu Dhabi. It's a gorgeous beach club located on Saadiyat Island, on a natural beach. It's always super relaxing and you feel like you can truly unwind here. They have a gorgeous pool area with luxurious, huge fluffy towels, a couple of lovely restaurants, two bars, gym, spa, library and various different areas just to sit back and relax. It's a members club but you can also buy a day pass, perfect if you are on holiday.

We got to Saadiyat in the morning and spent the first few hours just lounging around the gorgeous pool, reading while Ibiza style tunes play in the background. Closer to lunch time we jumped in for a refreshing swim to build up an appetite. The pool is amazing!

Around one o'clock it starts to get busier as people start to arrive for lunch, from ladies that lunch to business men. We headed to the restaurant for some lunch, a glass or crisp cold white wine and a couple of games of connect four. 

I had a delicious burrata salad and crispy baby calamari, he had a club sandwich.

After lunch we retired back to our sun loungers to digest and catch the afternoon sun.

As the sun starts to set, the temperature drops slightly so we decided to go for a run on the beach to balance out all that lazing around. Saadiyat beach is my favourite out of the beaches I have been to in the UAE, probably because it's a real one. You get great views of the Abu Dhabi sky line and stunning sunsets.

This time we didn't have time for the spa, but its the perfect end for the most relaxing day. Get ready in the beautiful and luxurious changing rooms and then head out for a drink to watch the sun set over the Arabian Gulf.

They also organise parties and events so it's worth taking a look at their website if you want to visit.

On a different note, I have been considering writing in Finnish as well as English. Would love to hear your thoughts and whether you would be more keen to read the blog with Finnish text as well?

Kiinnostaisiko tämän blogin lukeminen myös suomeksi?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

When you are in Abu Dhabi, it's hard to miss this mosque. It is absolutely stunning and almost looks like a vision or a painting, not quite real, from far away. It's open for everyone and they even have free guided tours a couple of times per day. The tour lasts about an hour and is so worth doing. The guide talks you through the history of it, how everything was constructed and you can ask all the questions you want. I wanted to go in the afternoon as thats when it looks the most beautiful, just as the sun starts to set and the light illuminates the huge white surfaces.

You need to wear a hijab and cover your hair, men can go without if they are in trousers and a long sleeved shirt. You can collect these free of charge before you go in.

The Mosque is even bigger and more beautiful than I was expecting. The courtyard is made up of tiny mosaics with different kinds of flowers and surrounded by corridors with gorgeous beams.

Every where you look you see tiny details that must have taken ages to finish. It's almost like a huge work of art. 

As you go in the guide tells you you are looking at the smallest of the mosque's 7 chandeliers. You laugh and think it's a joke. It's not. 

This is the first one.

This is the second one.

You just can't stop looking up! It really is incredible.

Even the soft thick carpet is hand woven with incredible detailing, and it's huge.

After the tour, we wondered around the courtyard for some more pictures and although beautiful, I believe the place has to be seen to understand how truly grand and exquisite it really is.

I can't recommend this place enough and if you want to read more about it you can click here and visit the website.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Brunch at the Fairmont

The boyfriend got a new job so we decided to get a bit of winter sun before he started. We packed our bags, booked our flights (in that order) and headed to Abu Dhabi where his parents live. We are so lucky to have my parents in Finland and his in Abu Dhabi for snow or sun while getting to spend time with our families!

In the UAE Friday is like our Saturday and brunches are huge in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They are held at hotels normally and often restaurants join up to put together a huge feast. You can choose a non alcoholic package, a wine and cocktails or a champagne package and your drinks are unlimited and constantly topped up.

We headed to the Fairmont for the Brunch hoping that we could sit outside by the pool. Unfortunately there was a slight sandstorm so for health and safety reasons the outdoor seating area was closed and we sat inside but got a lovely table by the window. Brunch is a seriously fancy affair and I felt slightly underdressed in my maxi and flat shoes. Girls wear sky high heels and glamorous mini dresses and men are all very smartly dressed.

We ordered cocktails and headed to get some food. There is so much to choose from its a good thing you have 4 hours to eat!

I am a huge lover of sushi and could live on it. The sushi was absolutely delicious and I went up several times for it!

The set up is buffet style but you also have a selection of beautifully presented individual dishes such as this foie gras.

Before dessert we had to go for a bit of a walk to make some space. The hotel grounds were lovely and you get amazing views of the Grand Mosque on the other side of the creek. It was a very hot day but you can see the fog like sand in the air.

 Then for dessert, a huge selection of goodies that I only attempted to finish as well as some gorgeous cheeses.

Sunglasses: Chanel

Dress: Asos

Sandals: Charles and Keith

Super full, we did some more walking and popped into some shops in the Souk before going home for a well earned nap before heading into the night again. Safe to say we skipped dinner!