Travels with my coffee mug

If you are a coffee-holic & a bit of a coffee snob to boot, then this review is tailor made for you.  Especially if you travel/hike/climb/trek.  And even more so if you can’t stand instant coffee.

Wearied by frankly revolting coffee in so many (otherwise amazing) places, uncaffeineated at the start of days in (otherwise amazing) remote parts of the globe, this gift, below, from a fellow coffee-holic & trekking friend was beyond perfect.


It’s a thermal portable coffee plunger mug from Kathmandu – the company, not the city.

So all you need to do is pack a bag of ground coffee, get boiling water from your hotel/camp cook/boil it yourself (hey, you can figure this bit out, right?) and Bob’s your uncle.

The only teensy flaw in this jug is that when your pour out the coffee, it leaks a little from the top, but that is such a small price to pay for having one’s morning caffeine fix that it hardly counts.  I checked the website just now, when sharing the link with you and, guess what I found?

  • Lid is not completely spill proof

There you are, then.

In the 3 years I have had this mug, it has travelled all over the place with me, since it weighs virtually nothing and saves my life every morning.  It’s tough, and in 3 years in backpacks it has precisely one scratch, and I’m still trying to puzzle out where it came from.

Together, we have been up to the Himalayas (I live in India), we have been climbing in Ladakh, to Africa (where we used to live) to Myanmar, Sri Lanka.

Kathmandu mug_4029

Kathmandu mug_3715



Have Kathmandu coffee mug, will travel is now my new mantra.

Stylish coffee mugs from Tiffinware

I am a big fan of the Tiffinware range of gorgeous household items, and have shared them with you in two earlier blog posts – here they are, to remind you.  Review one and two.

Risham Chawla, the talented Delhi based designer, has recently introduced some delightful coffee cups, and for a caffeine addict like your truly, these are an immediate must have.


Gorgeous colours.


Keep your coffee beautifully warm.

What more can you ask?

Mugs in a row


Coffee mugs


Irresistible, right?

Personally recommended.  I have a lovely bright pink cup, and I love it and it cheers up my day no end.



The mugs cost £15 each, or £27.50 for 2 and for Indian shoppers, the price is Rs 2750 for 2.

Order them online.  Now!  Start your new year in colourful style.

Where to find excellent coffee in downtown Johannesburg

On a recent holiday in Johannesburg, where we used to live, we went wandering through Braamfontein, a part of town that was hardly on our radar screen when we lived in Joburg, because it was downtown and perceived to be unsafe.

Fast forward several years (oh dear me, how I miss living in wonderful Joburg) and a brilliantly highveld winter morning, and we were headed to Braamfontein to meet up with friends and to explore the newly revitalised part of town.

Father Coffee is a small, elegant coffee bar and, as luck would have it, it was celebrating its first birthday that morning, hence the cake.  This cool little haven is partly owned by the son of our friends-  here he is busy at work :


I loved the feel and pared down space :


Outside is equally cool :



My cappuccino was delicious and very reasonably priced.  I’m told the espresso was perfect.  Ditto the birthday cake.

They sell their Africa sourced coffee beans.

What’s not to love?







Personally recommended.

I didn’t tell the staff I blog and write reviews until we had finished and after I asked permission to take photos, which was graciously granted.

Lovely place.




A good shopping & eating combo in Leh, India

I mentioned in a review posted earlier today of a restaurant called “Bon Appétit” in Ladakh’s capital Leh, that this little city’s eating and shopping profile has changed hugely over the 4 years since my previous visit.

Another great discovery on my trip earlier this month was the Open Hand Espresso Bar & Bistro.  In fact, this was a double discovery because once I had ooh-ed and aah-ed myself silly in Open Hand, I then discovered that there are outlets in Delhi, where I live, and that as a concept, Open Hand has been around since 1999.

Travel really does broaden the mind, in more ways than one…

So, we went for lunch at Open Hand, 6 of us, and the food met with everyone’s satisfaction.

So, food first (and curiously, I can’t find our bill, so forgive me in advance for this).  Rather foolishly, I didn’t choose a salad -mainly because I felt like soup, which was delish, so no complaints there –  but these salads looked perfect.  I helped myself to the feta from hubby’s salad, and it was as creamy as you could wish.

So, big thumbs up for fresh, crisp salads and creamy feta cheese at 3500 meters – Leh, you really are astonishing.




Gita had this veg fried rice dish (below) which she said was OK, but not rave-worthy:


My veg soup (below) was, as I said, delicious, filling, and just what the doctor ordered – though if I am allowed a quibble, I would’ve expected better bread than sliced white.


I was in need of a caffeine fix, and this espresso milk shake did the trick


Now, not only is Open Hand a café, complete with loungers in the sun, and ‘firangs” a-plenty checking their email and sipping coffee, it is also a fair trade kind of shop, which I enjoyed pottering around :



You can shop from all over India…




…or closer to home, from the Himalayas…


and you can support any number of good causes


This was a clean, relaxing place to spend a few hours.

Good food.

Wifi (though s-l-o-w, but hey, it was free) and a nice vibe.

We paid our own bill, and I did not tell the staff that I write reviews and run 3 blogs.

Next time, I will head there for breakfast and coffee, though 2 of our party tried that one day, just as a coach party of the ubiquitous Leh summer visitor foreigners rocked up.  Apparently the Open Hand staff were very sweet and told our friends that it would probably be better if they tried elsewhere, since there was bound to be a long wait otherwise –  a refreshingly honest approach.