India Mini Palace

While staying in Jaipur, India we got the chance to stay in two palaces. The second was booked special for our last night to spend as “royals”. The first happened because all the hotels were originally tried to book were sold out. 
After looking at the online pictures of the Shahpura House I knew it was where I wanted to stay in Jaipur. This two hundred year old “house” was converted into a hotel in the 1990’s. The decor was very ornate and detailed. The hotel oozed character.
Unfortunately we were put on the ground floor which was slightly damp and pretty noisy from the sounds of people in the hallways. We are pretty sound sleepers so could get through the sounds but I didn’t like that all my clothes continually felt damp the entire stay. We also had a mishap with the laundry that had us delayed an hour for our next day of sightseeing. I suggest being very vocal about your expectations with the staff and you shouldn’t have any problems. They were very friendly otherwise and I would recommend a stay here (just not on bottom floor).
Most beautiful breakfast area ever

As with most of India, you don’t want to go wandering around town by yourself unless you really know where you are going. Not wanting to call our driver we decided to have dinner at the lively restaurant upstairs. The food was decent and we had dancers to entertain us.

Upstairs restaurant

Shahi Tukda dessert

Beer of choice in India

India cordial
Rajastan Kulfi Ice Cream
Beautiful light fixtures in hotel

Nice pool but too cold to use
Colorful door to our room

Lounge areas 

Shahpura House is definitely a more authentic India hotel experience.

February Garden 2015

Night Winter Sky from my backyard

It has been a while since the last garden update. Garden has been neglected a bit but seems to be doing well on its own.

The one citrus plant that was healthy but has yet to bloom is blooming in full force. I did some estimation and we might have 55 limes when it is done this season. Unfortunately it is falling to the same disease as all the others. I have applied some proactive fertilizer (see the brown water on the leaves). The hope is that I can keep it healthy enough for it to fight the sickness off itself. I haven’t found a product that will treat whatever this is that is slowing killing my citrus plants.

Sickly key lime plant is still blooming

Grape vine is still dormant

We have big beautiful collards
The tomato seeds that I planted are doing well through the winter.

We are happy to have our fresh dill back.

Hopefully we won’t lose our blueberries again this year. Have not had luck with them the past two years.

My husband has chopped up our christmas tree. It is supposed to be used for mulch but I might end up composting/throwing it out because it is in the way.

My late fall project is growing in nicely. I replaced one of the gardens with sod and a lavender sensory garden. The grass is green as can be but the lavender is slow to grow.

The lavender is quite beautiful up close though.

Next up some tomatoes, citrus and hopefully blueberry crops in the spring.

Downtown Orlando Food and Wine Fest

My husband and I were fortunate enough to score free tickets to the Downtown Food and Wine Fest at Lake Eola in Orlando. The festival consists of over 30 food vendors that festival visitors can sample.
We rode our bikes there since it is only a 4 mile ride from our house. We were famished so after buying our first ticket pack we headed to the Primo food booth. At the booth was Melissa Kelly herself (the chef). I don’t get star struck much but being next to a national known chef did make me slightly happy.

I am assuming that is some form of lard.

Build your own Meatball sandwich
Next up was the Porch in Winter Park. I have been wanting to check out the porch but never seem to find the time. Their food while not photogenic was very tasty.

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Flower Sprouts were awesome!

I took some time to stop and enjoy the steel drum.

I had a craving for both the pork belly and Lobster Mac that was available at Old Hickory Steakhouse. They weren’t mind blowing but they did hit the spot (although I could have used more pork belly!).

Pork Belly

Lobster Mac and Cheese (short on the lobster)

 I used some of my tickets for a wine break.

Finally I finished off with the offerings from The Pub.

Bread Pudding

Welsch Dip Sliders

Belhaven Beer Cheese & Pub Pretzel

Bands could be heard playing all day at the nearby stage. Loverboy finished off the night.

It was a fun sunny day sampling some good food.

Thanksgiving 2014

Sorry this a delayed post but we hosted Thanksgiving at our house once again last year.
Our families live in separate cities (in the same state) and it just makes sense for us to host most of the time to bring the two families together.

Turkey is getting ready


Mixed Green Salad

Shrimp and berries to hold us over until food is ready

Yams with marshmallows


Roasted butternut squash

Turnip Fries

Mashed Potatoes

Green bean casserole



It was a nice and carbohydrate filled meal. I need a nap just from looking at the pictures. zzzzz…..

UK : Bath

As part of one of our day trips from London we stopped in the town of Bath. It was my second trip to bath, my first being during a coach tour in 1995. It is a lovely city that can be visited in a day but probably worth an overnight stay.

The main attraction for Bath is the Roman Baths.

Our tour guide gives us a coin that is our admission ticket to the baths.

The baths were created by the Romans and the town later enjoyed by Britons. The ancient baths are pretty well preserved.

Geothermal energy makes the water temperature warm where it would normally be cold.

They had a nice little light show with this set of artifacts.

Little notes were passed back and forth in the baths.


Outside the baths the Bath Abbey isn’t bad to look at.

We stopped at little tourist cafe for lunch and were pleasantly surprised by the food.

Almond tart.

Loaded bake potato

Nice big Mediterranean style salad.

Finally we had some nice views of the famous Pulteney Bridge. This bridge always makes me think of Jane Austen.

I love all the house boats in English waterways!

I really wanted to try these but I resisted.