Ushvani Spa, Sloane Square

I don’t visit London spas very often, usually they are tucked away at the back of hotels and feel like a bit of an afterthought. But a few weeks ago I visited a special spa that I am still dreaming about.

Ushvani Spa is a serene and luxurious day spa located minutes away from Sloane Square station, concealed within a beautiful Georgian building on Cadogan Gardens. Ushvani’s philosophy is based on ancient Asian culture and the team take a holistic approach to treat the mind, body and spirit.

Ushvani Spa

Owner and Founder Usha Arumugam has created a blissfully relaxing retreat, and from the moment you step through the door busy city life is a forgotten memory. The warm and luxe decor is Malaysian inspired throughout; an intimate spa with dark wood panelling, carved sculptures, and a fish tank displaying clown fish, a symbol of good luck.

The softly spoken therapist who greeted me at the door immediately made me feel at ease, replacing my worn-out trainers for slippers and placing a refreshing hibiscus-infused towel in my hands. She then took me on a brief tour of the spa, which features a plunge pool, steam room, relaxation room, Sentosa studio (for yoga and meditation classes) and male and female changing rooms.

Ushvani Spa

There is also the Asmara Suite… a specially designed room for couples treatments. The cosy and inviting suite is ideal for any of the two hour treatments and guests can enjoy the private facilities after the joint treatment. I noticed a lovely deep sunken stone bath where I was told that the water is infused with Ushvani’s signature Nutmeg Flower Bath oil. It sounded divine.

Ushvani Spa

After a quick trip to the changing rooms to change into my bathrobe, I was taken by my therapist to a treatment room for the Malay Massage. This signature treatment is one of the most popular at Ushvani, and is renowned for its contouring and toning benefits.

My legs were elevated and I was told to take in a few deep breaths, the fresh smell of eucalyptus filled the air. My therapist was brilliant at responding to my body’s aches and pains. She used long kneading strokes and plenty of nourishing oil to relieve and soothe the spots of tension and stretched out my tight muscles. Without my guidance she knew exactly where to apply pressure and where to be more gentle, and after a few minutes I felt my breathing slow and my body let go.

Ushvani Spa

I didn’t want the massage to end. Afterwards, while hydrating with a nutmeg and ginger tea I realised that this Ushvani treatment had been without a doubt one of the best spa experiences of my life. I felt a deep sense of calm and relaxation… the earlier stresses of the day were now a distant memory.

More information and book a treatment at Ushvani Spa here.

Breddos Tacos, Kingly Street

It’s rare that a sequel is as good as the first film, book or even restaurant. I’m pleased to report that the new Breddos Tacos on Kingly Street is every bit as delicious as the original eatery in Clerkenwell. Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney started London’s Mexican food revolution less than a year ago and thanks to the overwhelming success have brought their undeniably tasty tacos to a more central spot.

Breddos

This central outpost joins a host of new restaurants around Kingly Court and Carnaby Street. It is a bright and vibrant dining room and including the downstairs area seats up to 84 diners (double the number of the East London original). You can get it all here from breakfast to late night cocktails in the Mezcal and Margarita bar… I decided to go somewhere in the middle and try out the lunch offering.

Breddos

Inside, the walls are painted in colourful patterns, small and cosy tables occupy every bit of floor space. It is a dark venue, so those wanting to ‘gram their dinner will have to brave the cold and eat on one of the outdoor tables. Decor is sparse but characterful with particularly lovely handmade pineapple water jugs, that I immediately fell in love with!

Breddos

Many of the favourites from Clerkenwell are found on this menu but their are some more hearty additions thanks to the bigger kitchen and new pizza oven. We loved the melt in the mouth Baja fish tacos and indulgent crispy pork belly chicharonne with red cabbage and tomatillo. Homemade corn chips with gooey and addictively tasty queso fundido (melted cheese) is a great addition to any selection of dishes at Breddos.

From the larger plates, don’t miss the impressive ‘pulpo asado’ with black vinegar, sichuan and soy, and the BBQ onglet steak with tamarind & piloncillo salsa, burnt spring onion crema. Every dish was a careful combination of the highest quality fish and meat with a bright and brilliant punchy dressing, full of herbs and spices.

Sadly when I popped in during preview week the deep fryer wasn’t working so I missed out on the legendary churros dessert sandwich, but I fully intend on visiting again soon and I’ll report back!

In the meantime get yourself down to Kingly Street to feast on London’s best tacos, they taste even better without the trek to East London.

Find more information and see the full Breddos Tacos menu here.

Eating Out at Puente Romano, Marbella

Puente Romano is a hotel and foodie destination by the beach in sunny Marbella. I first visited the property a few years ago to write about the rooms and area… my second trip (last month) was more of a culinary tour to experience some of the top restaurants on site.

Puente Romano

The flights from London to Malaga airport are quick, cheap and regular, making this hotel particularly popular with British holidaymakers. The skies are blue almost year-round and we were able to sunbathe, even in October! I was visiting with three other brilliant bloggers Mondomulia, Urban Pixxels and Elensham… we all checked into luxurious suites around the property and settled in before our first feast.

Puente RomanoPuente Romano

Our first lunch was spent at El Chiringuito, one of the more recent restaurant openings at Puente Romano. Located on the edge of the beach, this eatery has a relaxed and carefree vibe. Pop in for a snack or indulge with a three course meal. The menu has an assortment of easy and tasty dishes, from antipasti to burgers, grilled seafood and colourful salads. Highlights from the menu for me were the creamy burrata with peppers and fried capers and the Smoked aubergine with homemade pesto. I also loved the spicy coconut mojitos!

Puente Romano

The hotel are very proud to be home to the new Nobu outpost in Marbella. These refined and renowned Japanese restaurants serve the finest sushi, sashimi and classical Japanese dishes with a Peruvian twist. Even though I don’t eat fish, I was stunned by the exceptional Wagyu Beef Miso Anticucho, though at 45 euros a plate it’s not easy on the wallet! For vegetarians, the vegetable tempura and vegetarian sushi are both fresh and delicious, and perfect for a light lunch in the blazing sunshine.

Puente Romano

There are plenty of opportunities to taste authentic Spanish food whilst staying at Puente Romano. Try the food of Dani Garcia at his tapas restaurant or have a cooking lesson with one of the hotel chefs. We learnt the basic rules for making paella – the traditional Spanish rice dish. Most often this hearty recipe includes fresh seafood, but we also tasted a rustic rabbit version, which was wholesome and delicious.

Puente RomanoPuente Romano

Health-conscious guests should try Rachel’s Organic Cafe, a colourful eatery serving flavoursome salads, wraps, smoothies and juices. Enjoy your lunch on the lovely sheltered terrace before relaxing post meal by the quiet and idyllic pool. From the menu I can highly recommend the ‘No Pasta Pasta’, courgetti with bolognaise sauce or pesto and topped with parmesan. For dessert we all gorged on sweet and refreshing coconut ice-cream, freshly made at the hotel.

Puente Romano

Mid-afternoon snacks and coffee kicks are best enjoyed at Celicoso, the gluten-free cafe. Opt for a slice of cake or a mini macaron… amazingly most of the sweet treats are also vegan suitable.

Puente Romano

We enjoyed a particularly colourful breakfast in our suites each morning. The morning feast included churros with chocolate sauce, toast with a light tomato dressing, the sweetest fresh fruits, croissants and coffee.

Puente RomanoPuente Romano

Many guests who visit Puente Romano don’t step foot outside the hotel, everything you need is here. But I would encourage you to hire a bike from the hotel and take the short ride, along the sea, to Marbella old town. Here you can enjoy a drink and churros in the orange square or take a fascinating olive oil class from the expert team at D’Oliva. We learnt that Spain produces 55% of the world’s olive oil and also tasted the award winning number one oil… a strong and fruity oil with depth and a lovely smooth finish.

Puente Romano

Thanks to the great company and tasty food I had a great time on my foodie pilgrimage at Puente Romano. If you, like me, love sun and food, this luxurious culinary retreat is the perfect place for you to enjoy a few days away from city life.

More information and book a stay at Puente Romano here.