Jess Cantoni

Recipes, reviews & lifestyle

Friday, 1 September 2017

Iced Tea Masterclass @ T2

Recently I was invited to the T2 store in Cheltenham to partake in an iced tea masterclass. Of course I took up the offer, being a fan of iced tea, and of T2. I always gaze into the store when i'm walking by; admiring the endless stacks of tea, just waiting to be explored. 

The iced-tea masterclass setup

We started off the masterclass with a touch of history; the very first documented iced tea: The Old Virginia. It was discovered in a book published in 1878, called 'Housekeeping in Old Virginia', and is made from green tea. Jak, the girl running the class at T2, made it by mixing a combination of the following teas:
- Chinese Sencha (I could only find Japanese Sencha available on the website)
- Turkish Apple fruit sugar (this gives it some sweetness)
She also added some lemon to the mix too. 

Old Virginia - lovely and lemony. Refreshing on a hot day!

Next, we moved onto brewing using a pretty cool gadget - the T2 Teamaker, one of their most popular brewing tools. We brewed Twinkle Berry which consists of Apple, Raspberry, Beetroot and petals. It was fruity but not over-powering. After it had brewed, we strained it onto one of their glass tea pots. I just love the colour! We left it to cool and then added some ice. This one is perfect for those who love fruity teas. 

We decided to move onto something a lot more fruity: Fruitalicious! 
This tea is full of pieces of blueberries, dragon fruit and goji berries. We used my favourite tea maker, the Jug-a-Lot. It just makes me think of that artist Sir Mix-a-Lot - i'm sure that's a thing, right?? Correct me if I just made that up, ha! 

My favourite is the pink one! These are great for picnics or if you're having a garden party. 

Me attempting to mix the tea with this super-long spoon

The lovely Jak successfully getting the fruit to sink to the bottom (trust me, this is difficult to achieve!)

We decorated our tea with strawberries and blueberries. We served it in these glasses which feel like plastic but are a type of glass. They're great because if you want to serve hot tea in them, they stop you from burning your hands because they're double-walled. Clever eh!

Jak asked me if there was a tea I would like to try. As there are so many available, I had trouble choosing! I then remembered that the strawberries and cream tea had caught my eye, and so I chose that one. I really love Eton Mess, so that in tea-form sounded good to me! We used a quicker way to make the iced tea: pouring some ice into the hot tea; straining it through into another jug and doing the process again until it became cool. We added some more ice in after, just in case. 

Eton Mess in a glass! Just look at that vibrant colour!

I really love this little gold-flecked tea cup made of glass. I love its simplicity. I couldn't find it on the website unfortunately. 

T2 always impress me with their displays.

They do books too! I hadn't realised this before. I've heard some have pretty cool tea-related dessert recipes - I may have to look into this!

Have you tried any of T2's tea flavours as an iced-tea before? If so, I'd love to hear which and if you liked them!

I was asked by T2 to partake in the Ice-tea masterclass, however all opinions are my own. This post is not an ad. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Let's have a chat... Enjoy the Adventures

On the blog today, I'm going to be having a chat with the lovely Jessica (obvs the best name ever) from Enjoy the Adventures, a travel blog which features travel guides to places such as Croatia and the beautiful city of Bath. Jessica's photos are also on point, pulling you in, making you want to visit the destination straight away. 

The lovely Jessica trekking in Sapa in Vietnam

Jessica blogs at and is currently based in Surrey when she is not travelling the world, seeking out the best places to visit. 

First things first, how would you describe your blog?
My blog is a collection of travel tips across the world and fun days out in the UK.

Full time or spare time blogger?
Spare time blogger. I work full time in a hospital. I would love to be a full time blogger!

So, how have you been blogging for long?

Nearly a year, although there have been gaps in posting when I first started.

Yeah it's sometimes hard to keep up the consistency of posting. What was your reason for starting a blog?
When I was travelling around certain places in Europe such as Slovenia, Luxembourg and Bosnia I couldn’t find that much information about how to get around; what buses to get and how much they’d cost, so thought I’d start writing a travel blog.

Sounds like a pretty good reason to me. Do you have a blogging schedule or do you write what you fancy at the time?
I don’t normally have a schedule although I need to create one to get more organised.

Yeah, me too. Do you blog in an office or on the sofa?On the sofa or in bed, anywhere comfy really.

Being comfortable is a necessity when blogging, I agree. So, where would your ideal place to blog be?
Somewhere comfy where I can listen to music and have a hot drink.

And what's your blogging daily routine? How do you manage your time?
I’ll try to complete or start a blog post first and then spend time posting on social media. 

I think it's time for a drink! A coffee, a brew or a herbal tea? 
I'd love a Jasmine herbal tea.

Hmm, I do love a good herbal tea as well. So let's talk about the serious stuff - future plans. Where do you see your blog in the next year? And the next 10 years?
Ideally I’d love to grow my blog, create a lot more travel posts and work with more brands and other bloggers.

And if you could develop your blog in anyway, what would you do? 
A brand ambassador role with a travel company would be ideal.

That sounds like a good plan! So where do you get your inspiration for a post? 
I love checking out other travel guides and looking on Instagram for pretty places to go.

And do you find it easy coming up with ideas?
At the moment I do, as I have quite a lot of places I’ve been to that I haven’t blogged about yet.

Any advice for those who find it difficult?
Write about what you love. If you have certain types of places you love to visit e.g museums, then write a museum guide. Write about products or places that you would recommend.

Thanks for the tip! How do you interact with other bloggers? Does this help grow your blog?
Commenting on Twitter, Instagram and blog posts are great ways to interact. I think it does help grow your blog; it’s great to engage with your audience and other bloggers.

So, have you ever collaborated with another blogger? And how would you approach them to collab? 

I’ve had a blogger guest post on my website and I’ve done a small guest post on a blog before. I was looking on twitter for #bloggerswanted and came across people looking for this. I think it’s a good way to connect to a different audience and get to know other bloggers.

An interview Jessica did for Life at 139a

A guest post on Jessica's blog

Gmunden Lake in Austria. Austria is one of Jessica's fave places.

Have you got a blogging idol who you follow for inspiration?
I really love World of Wanderlust, her photos and travel tips are amazing!

Omg me too! Now, do you think it's better to blog about many things, or to have a niche?
I think you should blog about whatever you’re passionate about. At the moment I don’t have a particular niche in travel as I like going on budget trips sometimes, but occasionally want to go somewhere more fancy like a nice restaurant.

Totally agree with you. Now let's talk money. What do you think is the biggest cost in blogging?
Paying for a web domain. Blogging is also very time consuming - it can be hard to fit it in around work.

Yeah I don't think people realise how long it takes to organise a blog post. Have you been able to attend any blogging events? 
The only one I’ve attended so far is Traverse. I also really want to go to World Travel Market.

I think I will have to look into those! Do you feel it's difficult to be in the know about events? If not, how do you find out about them?
I found out about the events from reading blogs about what events are worth going to.

So what's your main goal when going to a blogging event? 
Learning how to improve your blog - if there’s workshops, write down some notes. It’s also a great way to network with bloggers and companies.

Good tips. Do you feel that there should be more acknowledgement and promotion of bloggers in the press?
Yes blogging is a great way to market brands and a lot of the time bloggers are expected to do it for free. It takes a lot of time to take and edit photos and write reviews. I’ve already started to see a lot of bloggers in fashion campaigns or magazines, which is great.

Blogs are used a lot these days to raise awareness on contemporary issues such as mental health. If you could use your blog as a platform to talk about something taboo, what would talk about and why?I’d probably talk about mental health as that’s the area I work in. I think it’s great there are so many blogs about it and that people suffering can read about people going through similar situations.

Yeah, it's great people are raising awareness on this. Any tips for a novice blogger starting out?
Stick with it. At times you might feel like giving up because you aren’t getting many views. If you are passionate then it’ll be worth it.

Okay, now the fun stuff. What was the best place you have reviewed on your blog?
My first ever press trip was with Visit Wiltshire. It was such a fun trip. Me and my boyfriend stayed in a cute house in the countryside and went to Stonehenge and Longleat Safari Park.

So what's your top travel tip? 
Research a lot before you go so you know which places you definitely want to check out.

Fave place that you have visited?
I did a 4 month internship in Austria (see photo above). It’s such a beautiful place; one of my favourite places was Salzburg.

And lastly, if you had to live in one place forever, where would that be?
At the moment I’m happy with the UK as there’s still a lot of places up North that I haven’t visited. London’s also great; there’s so much going on there.

Thank you for the lovely chat, Jessica. 

If you want to check out Enjoy the Adventures visit / Jessica tweets at: @enjoyadventures

Come back next week when I'll be sitting down with another amazing blogger. If you want to take part, drop me a tweet with your email address: @fessjarmer


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Rock Pool Cafe Mousehole Review

If you read my previous post you would know that I recently took a trip to Cornwall to see my family. 
It was a gorgeous, sunny day, so my sister and I took a trip down to Mousehole with a plan to eat at the Rock Pool Cafe; a place my sister had recommended. 

If you're not familiar with Mousehole, it's a small village and fishing port not far from Newlyn and Penzance. 
To get there you need to drive straight through Penzance and Newlyn. Eventually on your left you will come to a long line of cars parked up. This is where we parked because we didn't want to risk the car park being full and having to turn back! The nearest car park however, is right near the cafe, and it's just along from the parked cars on the left. We walked down to the cafe because it was such a hot day and we were getting pretty stuffy in the car!

As you can see from the picture above, it was a pretty nice day! To get here (above), you just need to walk down the steps from the bottom of the cafe and you can walk into the main village of Mousehole from there. 

Here are the menus - we didn't have a hard time choosing! To drink  I opted for the Belvoir Coconut and Lime presse because i'm a big fan of Mojitos and this just sounded so refreshing. My sister went for the Belvoir Cucumber and Mint presse; also nice and cooling. 

For food, I couldn't resist the Newlyn crab sandwiches (can't get fresh crab like that up here in Cheltenham - see picture at top) and my sister decided to have the Cornish cheese platter because she's a cheese fiend. We did however decide to share because we both wanted what the other had too, so it seemed like the best option. 
The crab was exquisite. SO fresh. The plate it came served on was also super cute. I wanted to take it home!  
The cheese platter was comprised of Cornish Yarg, Helford Blue (not a fan of blue but it's local so you gotta love it) and St Endellon Brie. The chunks of cheese served were pretty generous and the side salad was also good - loved the edition of the slice of watermelon.  All in all, a lovely cheese platter. Oh and the chutney was nice too.

As you can see from the pictures, we sat inside. We didn't however, sit inside the main cafe, we sat inside a little shed/summer house, which houses about 4 people on little benches. It's super cute!
There's are seats outside but they were full when we arrived and also it was pretty hot, so we went for the sensible option of shade. 

The cute and quirky decor inside the shed

The lowdown

Rating: 10/10

Service and staff friendliness: 10/10

Location: 10/10 

Price: Low to mid-range ££ (£8-£9)

Breakfast: No

Lunch: Yes

Dinner: No

Children's menu: Yes

Opening times - 

Monday - Sunday 11am - 5pm


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Let's have a chat... A Beautiful Chaos

As usual, pull up a chair and make yourself a cuppa, a brew... or a smoothie (as Nicole says she prefers!) because today, in my second edition of interviewing another fellow blogger, I'm sitting down and having a chat with Nicole from A Beautiful Chaos. 

The beautiful Nicole

Nicole from A Beautiful Chaos

Nicole blogs at - a mental health awareness blog based in the South West of England; another Southern blogger (not on purpose, I promise!)
Nicole thrives on promoting mental health and has recently launched an amazing online magazine (I just bought her first issue!) - A Beautiful Minds - more on this below, but let's first see what she has to say about blogging...

First things first, how would you describe your blog?
My blog is a mental health and well-being blog which focuses on educating, raising awareness and supporting those who struggle with their mental health. I also like to sometimes cover a bit of lifestyle and topical discussions as well.

So, how long have you been blogging for?
I've been blogging for just over three years now. 

Full time or spare time blogger?
I blog in my spare time.

What was your main reason for starting A Beautiful Chaos?
My blog started as a fashion and beauty blog. I wanted a place to share my latest outfits and style tips. That clearly isn't the case anymore.

Do you have a blogging schedule or do you write what you fancy at the time?
I try and upload two times a week, on a Monday and Friday at 6:00pm.

Are you a sofa blogger or do you prefer to sit in an office?
I blog in my office!

So where would your ideal place to blog be?
I really like blogging in my office, although I wish it was a bit bigger sometimes. 

What's your blogging daily routine? How do you manage your time?
I don't really have a routine. I just try and make the best use of any 'dead time' I have, so on public transport or when I can't get to sleep etc.

We've been chatting for a while now... do you want a cup of coffee, a brew or something herbal?
Can I say neither... I'm more of a smoothie kind of gal.

Now you have your smoothie in hand, let's talk about future plans. Where do you see your blog in the next year? And the next 10 years?
In the next year I don't think much will change. I have to focus on my A-levels. However, I'm hoping in 10 years I'll still be blogging, but also running a successful mental health magazine called Beautiful Minds, which I've already started the ball rolling with.

If you could develop your blog in any way, what would you do?
I guess I'm kind of doing this with the start of my mental health magazine and shop, which sells mental health awareness stickers.

Yes, and I'm loving the magazine so far! Where do you find inspo to write a blog post?
The blogging community, recent news headlines or just my own personal experiences.

Do you always find it easy coming up with ideas?
Pretty much because it's just based on my personal experiences, thoughts and opinions really.

That's true! Any advice for those who find it difficult?
Don't force any ideas. Just let them come to you...

I totally agree. So, how do you interact with other bloggers? Does this help grow your blog?

I am always on Twitter talking to new bloggers and joining in with Twitter chats. It really helps your blog grow, but it is always a lovely way to make friends with like-minded individuals.

Have you ever collaborated with another blogger? And how would you approach another blogger?
I've worked with lots of other bloggers and brands. For working with other bloggers, I think building up a friendship with them first is so important. As for brands, I think it's so important not to fear rejection. You have nothing to lose by just reaching out to them first.

Do you have a blogging idol?
My blogging idol is anyone who loves what they do, and who blogs about things that really matter in society.

Do you think it's better to blog about everything and anything or to focus on a niche?
I think it's really down to the individual. I like to blog about mainly mental health but a few other topics as well, and I don't think it matters that much.

Let's talk about money now. What do you think is the biggest cost in blogging?

Time spent on writing, taking photos, editing, scheduling tweets, interacting with others. You can't put a price on time.

That's very wise of you. So, have you attended any blogging events?
I've been to a mental health meet up at the start of this year, but I have never been to any official press events.

Do you feel it's difficult to be in the know about events? If not, how do you find out about them?
Yes! I think just keeping an eye out on Twitter and being part of blogger Facebook groups will keep you in the know.

What's the main goal when going to a blogging event?
I've never been to an official one, but if I did I would want to have the most fun possible and get to know lots of other lovely bloggers.

Do you feel that there should be more acknowledgement and promotion of bloggers in the press?

Yes, there should be for sure; we work so hard.

I've really enjoyed this chat! So, last question - any tips for a novice blogger starting out?
Keep at it! Sucess will not happen over night. You have to work very hard but don't let other's success put you off. We were all beginners once.

Thank you Nicole! If you want to check out A Beautiful Chaos, visit / Nicole tweets at: @beaut1fulchaos_

If you want to go and buy the first issue of Nicole's fantastic magazine, A Beautiful Minds, go visit her Etsy shop:

Come back next Sunday, where I'll be sitting down with another amazing blogger. If you want to take part, drop me a tweet with your email address: @fessjarmer

Friday, 14 July 2017

Porthgwidden Beach Cafe, St. Ives

I recently took a trip to my home county, Cornwall (expect a lot more posts in the near future!) and during my trip I visited Porthgwidden Beach Cafe; a little hidden gem. 

Porthgwidden Beach Cafe is in St. Ives but away from the crowds of tourists that jam up the front street down by the harbour. 
If you are feeling adventurous, follow the beach to the end and head towards the St. Ives 'island'. It's past the Wayside Museum. Ask any local for directions and they'll be happy to help. 
You should notice a big hill in the distance; you'll know you are there when you see it. There'll also be a small beach (see above) - this is Porthgwidden beach. Take note because this beach is perfect for taking the kids to, as it's hidden and not many people know about it. 

The cafe stands above the beach, with its many colourful beach huts peering over. It's a beautiful sight with the rolling hills above.

Walk along, looking down on the beach, and on the right you will come to the entrance of the cafe (above). I would recommend booking ahead if you're looking to eat dinner. We only wanted coffee so we managed to nab a seat outside, which was exactly what we wanted on a sunny day like it was (below). 

Obviously I couldn't resist getting a little something, so my nephew  and I shared a sticky toffee pudding, and my sister had the cheese board (below). The sticky toffee pudding (of what I could get of it after my nephew ploughed in!) was moist, sweet, and the addition of the caramelised walnuts added a nice crunch. A side of Cornish vanilla ice cream only seemed right. 

The cheese board looked interesting, with a selection of Cornish cheeses and a variety of crackers. I didn't try any but i'm pretty sure it tasted good - you can't go wrong with cheese!

I would recommend coming here for the amazing views overlooking Hayle beach on the opposite side. Try and book outside if you can - there's an umbrella overhead in case there is any drizzle (you can never be too sure!)

In terms of other food on their menu, the cafe focuses mainly on Mediterranean and Asian flavours. There's a lot of seafood, such as Cornish crab linguine and Seafood Paella (you are in Cornwall after all!) The maximum price for a main is £17.95 (sirloin steak), so it's not pricey either. There's also a small children's menu available. 

The lowdown

Rating: 7/10 (since I didn't try the mains)

Service and staff friendliness: 9/10 (a bit slow with the drinks)

Location: 10/10

Price: mid-range ££ (£10-17)

Breakfast: Yes

Lunch: Yes

Dinner: Yes

Children's menu: Yes

Opening times - 

(Until 30th Oct) 

Breakfast 9-11am
Lunch 12-3pm
Dinner 6pm-late

(31st Oct to March 2017)

Closed on Mondays
Open for brekkie, lunch, teas and coffee, tuesday - Sunday as above
Open for dinner thursday - Saturday from 6pm


Thursday, 13 July 2017

The Ultimate Guide to Kuwait

Not a lot of people know the real Kuwait. You may have heard of the country and assume it's just like every other in the Middle-East, but it's there that you are wrong. Kuwait has its own charm and many features which will draw you in, begging you never to look back. I nearly didn't!

The Locals

It wouldn't be right if I didn't start talking about the people, because without the famous kuwaiti hospitality, the country wouldn't be like it is, and my trip wouldn't have been the same. 
Forget what you hear in the news, Arabs are the most generous. Kuwaitis however, go just that step further, I feel. 
I was lucky to have the most amazing opportunity to be invited into not one, but three Kuwaiti homes, to see what they would eat during the fatoor; the meal that Muslims end their fast after sunset.
I don't think you will be surprised to hear that I came out of each house, stomach full of food (at the time I honestly didn't think I could ever eat another mouthful) and hands full of gifts. A prime example of the generous Kuwaitis. 

Kuwait Airways

I decided to fly with the National carrier because thankfully it's direct and I'm not a fan of changing half-way through a journey. I will always fly direct if I can afford it! The price was pretty good apparently - £430ish for a return. According to the Kuwaitis I know, this was an usually good price for this airline. It may be because I booked it last minute, or the fact that I flew on a Monday and returned on a Sunday, but you can never truly tell with flight prices. 

What can I say, the flight was good; nice and smooth with little turbulence. It was quite an empty flight both ways, so I was able to stretch out across the two empty seats next to me - bonus! 

For plane food, it was good quality. I was offered a drink after take-off - a selection of juices or water? After much thinking, the lovely cabin crew guy said he could make me a cocktail of all of them. He even shook it with ice, like a proper cocktail! It was delish - so if you happen to be like me and have a problem with decisions, ask for a mix of all of them, you might find someone happy to do it! 
I think after the juice, I was offered cookies and coffee or tea. And then for the main meal there was a choice of a biriyani or lamb stew - I chose the latter. The strange thing was that the choice on the menu was a bit different to what was offered - like the dessert was different. This didn't affect my experience anyway, as I wasn't too bothered about dessert. 

On the whole, the service was pretty good. However, the only one thing which could have been improved was: I was asked if I was finished with my food, and I wasn't, so they said they would come back, however they didn't. I was left with my tray of food next to me for the whole journey. I mean, this isn't a big problem, but it just made it a bit difficult when wanting to get out of my seat to go to the toilet. Apart from that, the service was good. The crew were really friendly. One little thing which I found really nice was when the lights were dipped at night on the return flight, and a lot of people, including me, decided to have a sleep (stretched out over all the seats); the crew came over a put a blanket over my body. It almost felt like a parent tucking you in a night! I was so snug and comfy. And I'm talking economy class as well! I would definitely fly again with this airline. 

To book, visit

Movenpick Hotel Kuwait 


It may seem strange that I chose a Swiss hotel to stay in whilst in Kuwait, but the Movenpick Hotel seemed like a good choice to me in terms of location, price and amenities. 

The hotel is located in Shuwaikh Bay in the Kuwait free trade zone. It does have that business hotel feel to it, but as I stayed during Ramadan, it was pretty quiet. It's only a short ten minute drive to Kuwait International Airport and really close to the Avenues Mall. I took a taxi there and during peak traffic, it took about 20 minutes. 
According to the website, the hotel offers a complimentary airport limousine, but I didn't take up this offer because I had friends that were picking me up. That does sound very cool though - maybe next time!

In terms of facilities, the hotel has the main restaurant called Bays International Restaurant which offers a breakfast buffet, lunch and dinner. As I stayed during Ramadan, I didn't eat there during the day. I could have since i'm non-muslim, however there was also the option of room service, which I would often call during lunch. The room service food was really good. On the first day, I ordered hummus with Arabic flat bread and fattoush (a typical Arabic salad). The delivery of the food was average, but the quality was good. The food always arrived hot and the friendly person delivering would always bring it straight into the room, placing it on my coffee table. 

The hotel also offered a buffet in the early hours of the morning, for the Suhoor (the meal during Ramadan before sunrise). On my first night at the hotel I experienced this with my friends who had picked me up and brought me to the hotel. They were all fasting, so they needed to eat. The buffet was really good with a lot of choice, from traditional Arabic foods, to an array of International choices (there were naturally plenty of Swiss foods too - think hole-y cheese). 

You can also opt to eat in the garden restaurant which serves lebanese food and plenty of shisha, which I had the opportunity to try many times. It was something I came a bit addicted to during my stay.. The cute thing about it is there are private tents you can sit in, since it's still really hot outside in the evening. Inside the private tents there's a table, long bench-style seats and a tv. The waiters come and take your order from the tent; I highly recommend the shisha flavours, grape with mint and berry. 

There's also Cuts Restaurant, a Brazilian style restaurant which I didn't have the chance to try; Al Dente (italian) and a tea lounge which is just off the main reception. I was too busy eating out to try all of these unfortunately. 

Outside there's a 'lagoon-style' swimming pool which I didn't try! I know, am I crazy? It was SO hot though, like 45 degrees most days, and stepping outside was effort. I think if I had gone in the pool, I still would have burnt to a crisp. However, I can't say much but a pool is a pool - right? It did look inviting when I tried to sunbathe that one time, lasting only 10 minutes in the searing heat. 
My room did have a balcony, so that's where I spent most of my time when I was brave enough to leave the cool territory of my air-conditioned room.. 

I stayed in the superior room, which was quite frankly, amazing. At 41sqm, there was plenty of room for me on my own! 
There was a balcony that looked right out onto the pool, where like I said, I would spend most of my time. 
The bed was king size - so much space for me to spread out! There was a sofa and chair with a coffee table, which I found really useful when ordering room service; somewhere to eat and feel a bit civilised. A dressing table with a large mirror - useful for when I decided to straighten my hair. There was a large chest of drawers and also in the room off the bathroom, a large wardrobe with a safe, iron and ironing board; plenty of room for all my clothes. 
I think the highlight of the room was the walk-in rain shower. There was also a bathtub and separate toilet room.
There was also the following facilities which I didn't really take advantage of, but here they are anyway: free wifi, LCD TV, ihome MP3 player, kettle with coffee and tea, mini bar. 

Gigantic bed just for me

Plenty of space

View into the main bathroom from the 'wardrobe room'

Little toilet room to the right of the 'wardrobe room'

Rain shower - a room in itself!

The amazing view of the pool from my balcony

To book, visit

Where to shop

The Avenues Mall 

The Avenues Mall describes itself as 'the ultimate shopping experience', and they're not wrong. I'd heard a lot about this mall before coming to Kuwait, and a part of me thought that it can't be that amazing, can it? It's just another shopping mall? I was SO wrong. The Avenues is like a dream. I could literally live in there.  Here's why it's so amazing...

It's made up into 7 sections. Let's start with the 1st Avenue. The 1st Avenue is, I'm guessing, the older part of the mall. I'm only saying this because I know they built it in sections and keep adding onto it all the time. 
The 1st Avenue is full of international and local brands, such as Boots, Bobbi Brown, The Body Shop, Mothercare, La Senza, Victoria Secret, H&M, Topshop... I could go on forever. There are more than 200 shops alone in this section! In terms of food, you can eat at American restaurants such as Chilis and Shake Shack, as well as Pizza Express and the famous Indian chain, Asha's (did you know there's randomly one in Birmingham? I used to think it was a one-off!) There are also millions of Starbuck's to get your caffeine fix. 
This section also has a Cinescape cinema. What I love about the design of this section is that you feel like you are outside. The design was inspired by the forms of the desert sand dune and the sky, giving you that outdoorsy feel.

Hello Kitty Spa

The glass-roof lit 2nd Avenue focuses more on the mid - high-end international brands, such as Guess, Mont-Blanc, Baby Dior, Boggi, Ted Baker and Pandora. For little girls, there's the super cute Hello Kitty Beauty Spa. I was so jealous as I wanted to go in there myself! Girls can relax, get a spa treatment and then chill in the Hello Kitty cafe afterwards. Talk about luxurious! This section also has a Carrefour supermarket, if you're looking to get in some food shopping; a kid's entertainment centre, two spas for the adults (thank you!!) For dining, you can eat at the Food World on the 2nd floor, which houses places like KFC, Cinabon, Hardee's, Taco Bell, Elevation Burger, Entrec├┤te (see below for a review), Benihana and Wasabi, as well as many others. 

The Prestige section says it all in the name. It's full of luxurious brands, but don't let this put you off if you think you can't buy anything, because it's worth walking around due to it's amazingly ornate design. It houses brands like Chanel, Dior, Valentino, Prada. It doesn't have many places to eat, but they do have Laduree which is one of my most favourite places to buy macarons from, so if you're looking for a touch of France.. 

Now, the Grand Avenues section has been compared to walking down Oxford Street in London, or the Champs-Elysees in Paris. It's lit by its transparent roof and is stone-paved and lined with palm trees, giving it that European feel. You really do feel like you are outdoors. It is 400m in length and full of major international brands that were debuted for the first time in the Middle East, such as Jo Malone, Abercrombie and Fitch and Jack Wills. You can eat at places like Godiva, Pinkberry and the Cheesecake Factory, which you cannot miss as it's gigantic! 

The Mall section is more traditional in style, however it does have a water fountain (as do most malls!) Here you will find many brands, as well as the 'Jewellery zone' and Kids Zania, a kids entertainment area. It's also where you will find giant home stores such as Centrepoint and Home Center. So maybe head here first if you're looking to deck out your home for a bargain of a price. Also, if you're fancying dessert, this is the place as you will find the likes of Ben's Cookies, Chocomelt and Nina's Paris Tea Salon. 

The Soku section, which stands for South of Kuwait, has influences from NYC's Soho district. Its youthful style reflects on the shops it offers, such as Nike, Adidas, UCLA and Yamaha. It's a great section to hang out in, offering places to stop at like Cafe Coco and Salad Works. Soku is also home to a men's spa, so perhaps book your man an appointment here while you head off into the mall for an hour... or ten! 

Lastly, the Souq section represents an old Kuwaiti souq; a market place selling traditional wares. The narrow alleys and low-roofs really contribute to the feel of being in a souq. Here you will find authentic cuisine at places like Haleeb O Hail, Bazza Cafe and Zwara Restaurant. Try some traditional sweets and dates from Albaraka Dates (I can vouch that these are amazing!), Babak Sweets, Hallab 1881 + many more. This section is a great place to buy souvenirs to bring home, as you'll find Arabic spices, textiles, traditional clothing and the fantastic smelling Arabic oud perfume. 


360 Mall

credit: 360 Mall.

If you're thinking is there any point there being another mall in Kuwait after Avenues, well, there is. The 360 mall is unique in its circular 360 degree design and also its brands. I didn't spend as much time here as I did at The Avenues, but I did notice that they have a frickin' Bloomingdales! That's definitely one reason alone to visit. If there's another reason to visit, then it's for B+F Open Flame Kitchen (A.K.A B+F sliders). This place is literally food heaven. The burgers are to die for (see below for a review). 
If you like to be entertained, why not head down to the Cinescape cinema or play a spot of bowling at The Bowl Room? Also if you've fancied yourself a pilot, there's a flight simulator to have a go on! Nothing like some retail therapy and then heading off to navigate a Boeing 737! 


Souq Sharq

Credit: Souq Sharq

One reason why you may be drawn to this shopping mall instead of the Avenues, is that it's situated by the sea, surrounded by promenades that you can walk along after a day shopping. Open since 1998, Souq Sharq is more traditional than the other malls. Unfortunately I visited at the wrong time, during Ramadan when nothing was really open! However, here you will the usual shops like Debenhams, Mango, H&M, Mac and The Body Shop. There's a food court overlooking the marina to refuel at, with places such as KFC, Applebees, Fatoosh, Starbucks and Haagen Daaz. For the kids, there's a Cinescape cinema and outdoor playground. Definitely worth visiting to escape the crowds!


Traditional shopping

Souq Al Mubarakiya

Located between Mubarak al-Kabir and Ahmad al-Jaber and Ali al-Salem streets in Kuwait City, follow the smell of the sweet oud perfume mixed in with grilled, spicy Shawarma meat and fruity shisha smoke. This may sound like an odd mix, but it works. This is the smell of the traditional Souq. Souq Al Mubarakiya is one of the oldest Souqs in Kuwait and has been around for 200 years.
Walk down the market alleys in the evening and you will see hoards of people shopping for adorable mini thobes for their children; spices, vegetables, meat and fish for their dinner and then afterwards, resting outside, sitting in one of the many air-conditioned (with fans), water-mist-sprayed (cooling effect) outdoor 'restaurants' (they are more like shawarma shops that have extended to have outdoor seating - plastic seats and tables). It's nothing fancy but it's the best experience as this is the old way of living. It's the traditional Kuwait. 

Food and Drink

Kuwaiti Home Cooking

As I mentioned above, during my time in Kuwait I was lucky enough to eat at 3 Kuwaiti homes to experience the Fatoor (the meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan). 
The most common foods that I ate during these 3 meals, were the following:

Jareesh (A.K.A Harries) 
Jareesh is almost like a yellow porridge made with cracked wheat, mixed with meat. To me, it tasted like a very thick lentil soup. It was very tasty but very filling!

It was difficult for me to find information on this dish because of the name. It's very popular during Ramadan, however as the name is the English way of saying it, I couldn't find any results on how it is made. All that is left is the memories in my mind. I remember it being a dish made of bread, soaked in a tomato-y juice. It was nice however its soggy texture may be an acquired taste for some.

This must be the dish most eaten all over the Gulf. It can be chicken or lamb which has been cooked so the meat is falling off the bone, served on top of the best rice you have ever tasted! It's a simple dish, but very moorish. 9 times out of 10, if you get invited to a Kuwaiti home, this is what you will eat. And you will NOT be disappointed. 

Ghormeh Sabzi
This must be one of my most favourite dishes. It's traditionally an Iranian stew made with herbs. It consists of parsley, leeks, bitter green leaves, coriander (you can't taste it - i'm not a fan), and fenugreek leaves. It's cooked into a sauce with lamb and served with plain rice. The lamb literally falls off the bone and is so succulent. You have to try it when you get the opportunity. 

Similar to an Indian samosa, samboosa is a fried snack which can be filled with meat, cheese, potato - a variety of fillings. I tried these tasty snacks at all 3 houses, and each were different and unique in their own way as they were all homemade by the Mothers of the houses. You will be tempted to fill up on these before your main, so beware! 

I was delighted to try this traditional Egyptian cake at one of the houses I visited, homemade by one of the daughters. This delicious cake is made with semolina and soaked in simple syrup. The one I tried was topped with crushed pistachios and a small flower head (see below). It was perfectly paired with a cup of Arabic coffee. I will have to give this recipe a try one day!

Basbossa and Arabic coffee

Umm Ali 
Another Egyptian dessert which is very similar to rice pudding. Umm Ali literally means 'Mother of Ali'. It's made of milk, double cream and nuts and has a sweet taste. It really is just like a thicker rice pudding. If you're a fan, it's worth trying and is very popular during Ramadan.

Balah El Sham
These little sweet fritters are very tasty. They're so similar to the Spanish churros, apart from that they are dipped in sugar syrup and not sprinkled with sugar. They are typically served during Ramadan after the fatoor, with Arabic coffee of course. 

Now these are similar to the Balah El Sham, but shaped into a ball. They're described as 'sweet dumplings' and are made of flour, corn flour, yeast, sugar and water. Again, they are dipped in simple syrup, and can break your teeth if you're not careful! Every house makes them differently, some leaving them plain, some topping them with sesame seeds - they are all however, very good. 

Arabic Coffee
Every Kuwaiti will offer you Arabic coffee, even if you have only just met. I would take up the offer because it's an experience. I think it's definitely an acquired taste, but one that I enjoy. It's spicy because it's made with crushed Cardamon pods, and is boiled in a special pot called a Dallah. It's served in small cups, but I warn you not to have too much because it is strong! You'll be up all night after drinking several cups - it's worth it though. 

Restaurants/Coffee shops to visit

Al Dhahia Juice

There are 3 locations for this reputable juice shop, which has been running since 1978. We drove by on a hot afternoon and picked up a juice made of crushed mango and strawberry, mixed with ice cream. It was so refreshing and creamy. It was nothing like I had ever tasted before, which I wasn't expecting. I really wish I knew how they made it because I miss this juice a lot! I only tasted it once, but if I ever go back, I will be sure to visit several times! 


Pause Coffee

Situated in the up and coming Mubarak Al Kabeer street, this coffee shop is hip and serves a very good 'Spanish latte'. Now if you are wondering what that is (I had no idea at first), it seems to be the latest craze in Kuwait. It's basically a coffee frappucino made with condensed milk, and oh is it good. I wish we had this back in the UK! I could probably make it myself, but it wouldn't be the same. I recommend trying it at Pause. Also, all the coffee here is artisanal and freshly roasted. There are the options to have your coffee brewed in many many ways. If you are a coffee expert, or a wannabe, it's the place to be. 
The atmosphere is a little bit like walking into a trendy bar back in the UK, with all the youth hanging out here, drinking coffees late into the evening. We need this in the UK. I'm all for promoting coffee over alcohol! 

It's so new, it doesn't appear to have a website yet. You can find Pause Coffee on Twitter and Instagram:

Toby's Estate


Pause Coffee's rival (located on the same street), Toby's Estate is MEGA popular right now. The famous Toby's snapchat/insta picture in front of the Toby's sign (see above) is like a rite of passage in this place. Their Spanish Latte is really good. It's a lot creamier than Pause Coffee, but I think I prefer it because I like milky drinks. Again, it has that bar feel to it, with the friendly Baristas dancing to the reggae tunes they play through the speakers. Everyone is happy on coffee, and it feels good!

Follow them on insta: @tobysestatekw

The Chocolate Gate 

Conveniently located next to the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Center (the opera house), this is the perfect place to come for dessert. It looks like the person who decorated it didn't have any idea, with floral seats and British tea cups and plates matched with the industrial bare-brick wall and chess board tables. It's a real mix but it sorta works! 
The menus are on iPads, and the choice is astounding. I went for the chocolate fondue which was served with mini brownie pieces, strawberries, pineapple and Kiwi. If you're a chocolate lover, this is the place to be. 

Follow them on insta: @thechocogate

TGI Fridays

You may be thinking why I'm including TGI Fridays on this list, when you can easily visit in the UK. Well, in the UK we don't have potato twisters. Potato twisters? I hear you say. Well, they sound simple but are SO good. It's basically a plate of plain crisps topped with cheese and some sort of garnish. Like nachos, but better! I would go there just for this. 

TGI Fridays has many locations. I visited the one in the 360 Mall.

Elevation Burger

With 7 locations in Kuwait, you can already tell this place is popular. Originally an American burger joint, you'll know these burgers are good. I went for the simple Elevation Burger - two burgers with lettuce. The unusual thing is that they serve bacon there, which is strange for a Muslim country. Although on the website it notes that some places use beef bacon. I wish I'd tried that now as it sounds interesting. 


Rock House Sliders 

Another place with 7 locations! Rock House Sliders is not to be missed. I chose the original slider, which is a beef patty with lettuce, dressing, gherkins, cheese and tomato. It sounds normal but these patties are VERY good and not to be missed!

B+F Open Flame Kitchen 

The King of the King of burgers. Located in 360 Mall, this low-lighting, designer concept restaurant is probably one of the best places I ate at during my time in Kuwait. Their inventive sliders are so intriguing, you feel like you want to try them all. I went for the 'dangerous' slider - southern fried chicken with melted monterrey jack cheese, fried jalape├▒os, lettuce, chimichurri aioli, topped with a beetroot bun, which was really unusual but tasty. We all shared a plate of home fries topped with cheese (OMG) and a side of maple sticky buffalo shrimp. Now the shrimp would be the reason I would return. Again. And again. And again. These were 100 times better than the shrimp at TGI (sorry). You have to try them if go there. They also made a rather nice non-alcoholic mojito, if you want to drink something other than coke for a change.



Located in the Grand Avenues, overlooking the Cheesecake Factory, this one-dish restaurant is perfect for those indecisive people. They only serve steak with a secret sauce with fries and salad. They do offer desserts, but for main, that's what you're getting. However despite this, it's worth it because the steak is tender and the sauce is so good. I would describe the sauce as like a pesto but more vinegary. It's really hard to pinpoint the ingredients, but it's so good you won't care. They also come and top-up your steak and fries when they see you are finished; perfect for big-eaters too! 

They don't seem to have a website but they have a Twitter account for their London branch: @LeRelaisLDN

Masaha 13

Step into this 'art-infused community space' coffee shop and you feel like you're in a hip part of a city in the UK. This warehouse-based coffee shop located in the Waves Warehouse industrial area of Shuwaikh, is a unique place where you can get coffee and work; choose from the many board games and chill with friends, or have some alone time and enjoy a book from their library. I really enjoyed my time at Mahasa 13; it was the perfect place to spend the evening playing jenga and Uno with friends. 



Al Sunawba
Whilst in Kuwait I enjoyed shisha every night. I know, it's bad for you, but it's not like I do it every evening back in the UK. I don't even smoke! I mainly smoked it back at the hotel, but one place I tried it outside the hotel was at the Al Sunawbar restaurant. This spacious restaurant is located in Salmiya and serves Lebanese cuisine, but you can also go there just for coffee and shisha, which is what we did. It's really nice because it's located by the water and the walls of the restaurant have a fountain flowing through it. It's a really nice place to go and chill with friends, and the shisha is top-notch. 

There's no website for this place, but here's a link to it's location:,48.0924858,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0xc21ee81ca3cc85ae!8m2!3d29.3279823!4d48.0924858

Things to do

Al Shaheed Park

If you're into walking or just fancy an evening stroll, Al Shaheed park, the 'largest urban park in Kuwait' is the place to go. We went in the evening and enjoyed amazing views of the lit-up high-rise buildings. It's a really good place to snap some skyline photos. Here you will also find botanical gardens and two museums; a visitor centre and a lake. At 200,000 m2 there's plenty of space to explore!

The Scientific Center 
Perhaps after some shisha at Al Sunawbar, you can visit The Scientific Center which is also located in Salmiya. This place is a great to take the kids...or the adults, like us! Buy a ticket for 5.250 KD and you can access the aquarium and Discovery Place. For both places it took us about 1hr 30 to go around, however with kids i'm sure it would take longer. The aquarium is pretty standard, but it does have some pretty funky looking sharks which had us in stitches for a while. At the Discovery place you can expect to find many hands-on science activities, which are always great fun. There's also an Imax cinema but you have to add that onto your ticket price, so decide at the beginning if you want to go there. 
Outside the center there's the fantastic dhow harbour to look around. It was so hot when I visited (40 degrees in the evening!), that we didn't look around properly, but it was did look very impressive. It gives some good insight to Kuwait's heritage with the only surviving sailing ship from before the country became rich from oil, docked up in the harbour. Definitely worth a visit if you're stuck for something to do. 


Kuwait Tower

Lastly, there's the famous Kuwait Towers (apparently referred to as 'Kuwait Tower' even though there are 3 of them). You can't miss them whilst driving into Kuwait city. Built in 1979, the towers are a symbol of economic boom as well as being a great tourist landmark. They also look pretty cool; almost a bit sci fi. The main tower offers amazing views over Kuwait at 187m tall. There's a restaurant, cafe and lounge at the top, and the viewing deck spins slowly around - although it's so slow that it would take you hours to get around the whole sphere. The cost is 4,700 KD. 

These were taken near Souq Al Mubarakiya

Have you ever been to Kuwait? If you have, I'd love to hear what you got up to and if you have any further recommendations!

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