Bella on Rivonia Road in Johannesburg is a perfect place for lunch. Airy, friendly, relaxed staff, serving easy on the palate light food, which is consistently good, with a wide choice of specials of the day. It is very much the place for ladies who lunch.

Safe and ample parking.

Outdoor heaters to supplement the winter sunshine.

The fare is light bistro-esque. Quiches, salads, delicious fish-cakes, chicken pies in winter, generous open sandwiches, and delicious in-season puddings.

It’s not cheap, to be honest, but the food is good – although crab-cake and a small side salad at R 90 did strike me as a tad pricey.

Lunch for 2 with no alcohol, no pud, just a main course, fruit juice and a coffee each cost R237.

I have eaten at Bella about 5/6 times over the past 2 years.

66 Rivonia Road

Tel : 011 883 6665


Gondola lift in Gulmarg, Kashmir

The pretty hill station of Gulmarg in India’s Kashmir state, is already high enough for many people who fly into Srinagar.  The first day can leave you a little breathless from the altitude  – 2699.6 m/8856.9 ft.

So wait a day or two before taking the gondola up to Apharwat.  This French-built lift takes you up to 3,979m, just below the summit of Apharwat, making it the world’s highest ski lift. The latter is a fact we were told many times.  The locals are very proud of their gondolas.

The system is in 2 stages, and you buy separate tickets, so if you only want to experience one stage, you can do so.

Gulmarg-Kongdori is the first stage and costs Rs 300 per ticket, while the second stage, Kongdori-Apharwat, costs Rs 500, so the trip isn’t cheap by Indian standards.  But it is well worth it. (These are round trip tickets, obviously)

The views are lovely, as you climb ever higher, the gondolas are clean, perhaps thanks to the cute sign inside each cabin :

We went in the summer, and the queues were long, but surprisingly orderly (this is India, after all) and move pretty quickly.




The ultimate office wishlist toy, tried out in shopping malls, and then, one day, given as a Mother’s Day present.

You simply fit the massage cover onto a chair – an office high-backed chair is ideal –  and for 15 minutes at a blissful time, your back can be pummelled, shiatsu-ed, gently massaged – all via the remote control.  The seat can vibrate, and can warm you up in winter.

There is even a car-charger, so theoretically you can be massaged during long journeys, though the instruction booklet does have the standard health and Safety advisory against using it whilst driving.

Available in India at a cost of Rs 15000 from OSIM.

011 41070000


Personal recommendation


Visiting nurseries in Delhi is a real joy because, in an ever-more crowded and noisy city, most nurseries are luxuriously spread out, with an old-word feeling of space.  You can wander though greenhouses and under yards of shaded gardens, choosing your plants and trees, at you own pace, without any hustling or pressure to buy.

One such stalwart is Rajdhani Nursery in the pleasant south Delhi district of Jor Bagh.

Whether you require plant pots or packets of seeds, shade cloth or “lucky bamboo” shoot, Christmas trees or orchids, this nursery has it all.  They are brisk, knowledgeable, slightly off-hand in their service, and speedily efficient.  There is ample car parking space –  a rarity in itself in Delhi –  and for a few rupees, the staff will cheerfully load everything in your car for you.


Kar Bala
Jor Bagh,

New Delhi 110003
Phone : 011 24629199

Personal recommendation.

One word of warning –  Delhi’s idea of a Christmas tree may not be exactly what you expected, but it’s the best the city can offer.

Where is a good chemist in south Delhi ?

One of the joys of India are the local chemist shops.  There you can often buy one tablet rather than a whole blister pack, as you have to do in Europe, most of which you end up throwing away, or hoarding till well past its sell-by date.

Indian chemists sell everything and everything, and are expert at finding equivalent Indian versions of expensive foreign medicines, which are invariably far cheaper.

One such little place in south Delhi is “Ajay Enterprises”, a quiet, unpretentious chemist in the DDA Market in Shanti Niketan, in south Delhi.

Small, family run, and open from 9 am – 9 pm every day except Sunday, this efficient little chemist stocks everything you could possibly need, is knowledgeable about homeopathic medicines, and will deliver free within the neighbouring colonies. They also sell a wide range of toiletries, both imported and local.

They take credit cards, which is useful.

Ask for Anoop – he is the young man who runs the shop, and he couldn’t be more quietly helpful.

And lately they have started selling a few choice imported goodies, mainly of the chocolate variety, as an extra sideline – see below :


You cannot fault the design and style aesthetics of the hugely successful “Anokhi” stores, purveyors of upmarket, rather pricey sort-of-Indian-but-also-sort-of-Westernised clothing to many thousands of women in India.

Beautiful, instantly recognisable prints. Good designs, that are regularly updated.  What’s not to like ?

Well, to be honest, their exchange policy and their staff.

Wildly successful though brand Anokhi may well be, the staff across many of the stores visited seem to be united in their inability to smile.  Perhaps they feel success doesn’t require pleasantness.

The male employees are marginally better.  The female staff, sad to say, are by and large indifferent, bordering on surly.

Which leads this reviewer to their exchange policy.

No refunds.  Ever.

No exchange from one state to another, which means visitors buying, for example, in the flagship Jaipur store cannot exchange at a store in Delhi : from personal experience, this has happened several times to overseas visitors.

And even when you go to do a routine exchange, within the 14 days, with the bill, as this reviewer did just a day ago, there is always a hint of suspicion.

“Why are you exchanging ?” was the unsmiling enquiry.

“Because I don’t like the colour”

“Why is the corner with the price torn off the label ?”

“Because it was a gift”

Whatever happened to the customer is right ?



Where can I find a good homeopath in Delhi ?

The softly-spoken, utterly charming Dr. Nandini Sharma is a no-nonsense Delhi-based homeopath.  She gently questions you in great detail, remembers every little thing you have told her on previous consultations, and her medicines really do seem to work.  Even for initial sceptics.

Dr. Sharma’s no-frills practice is in Geetanjali Enclave, in south Delhi :

E-14, Geetanjali Enclave

New Delhi 110017

email :


Personally recommended.


When it’s hot in Delhi, the only thing to wear is cool, “chikan” work clothing.

And the classic place to buy these light, summery clothes is at Lal Behari Tandon, an unassuming, low-key shop in Aurobindo Place market, to which shoppers have been beating a path for years.

Selling only Lucknowi chikan, and only classic designs, the prices are more than reasonable, the service unfailingly polite, as they open kurta after kurta after kurta for you to choose exactly which embroidered design you wish to buy.

Nothing fancy about the interior.  Nor the prices, which suits most shoppers just fine.

The Aurobindo Place shop, below

Helpful sign in the changing room :

4 Aurobindo Place market

Hauz Khas

New Delhi 110016


Phone :011-26986552

I have never told the staff, over the years I have been shopping there, that I write and blog, and obviously I buy my own clothing.


Personally recommended. 



This unassuming South Indian restaurant in Delhi’s Hauz Khas village is always busy at lunch-time, testimony to the delicious food, quick service and all-round nice feel.

3 of us went to Naivedyam on a boiling hot May lunch-time, relishing the cool interior and (paradoxically) the complementary glasses of piping hot, spicy rasam.  Service was friendly and prompt, the food was as delicious as it has been on every previous visit and the bill for 3 of us, who were too full to finish the crispy dosas, was less than Rs 600.

What more can you ask ?



The full 9 yards – a paper dosa.

Great address, too : 1, Hauz Khas village.  Phone numbers to reserve are on the bill (above)


For anyone who loves paper in all its avatars – irresistible notebooks, gorgeous stationery, greetings cards, gift bags, fabulous wrapping paper – the clever, low-key, diffident Anand Prakash is your man.

Selling from his studio in Shahpurjat, Anand has everything a paper lover’s heart could desire, and then some, and all at reasonable prices.

A selection of his paper and brass products can also be found in Delhi’s Full Circle bookshops, and you can browse online at

Particular personal favourites are cards with a design of detachable brass ear-rings, and his pretty book-marks, which make perfect presents, and which can be ordered online.


Anand’s studio address is :

32, First Floor, Shahpur Jat

Near Asian Games Village

New Delhi 110049


phone : +91 9911886677.