Tag Archive | Manningtree Archive

Fashion for comfort & love!

This is Bianca’s second guest post here, introducing one of her favourite fashion designers from Spain. So come and let her show you around this amazing store in Madrid.

Hii everybody and welcome back!

I know it’s been really long since any of you have heard from me and I’m truely sorry about my disappearing act. So here I am with a new article yet again. This one is about one of Spain’s most famous designers ‘Adolfo Dominguez’. So here’s a small brief about Mr. Adolfo Dominguez.

Adolfo Domínguez, born Adolfo Domínguez Fernández, is a Spanish fashion designer. He took over his father’s fashion boutique in Ourense in the early 1970s. Afterwards which he spent the following years developing his own designs, and finally made the big jump with a presentation of his work in Madrid in 1981. He also became the first Spanish designer to open his own brand-name store in Madrid, which soon mushroomed into a chain with outlets across Spain and abroad, including New Delhi here in India and in Bangkok/Thailand. The company went public in 1997.


Store at Central World Plaza, Bangkok, Thailand

The people at the store were most welcoming to say the least. Here we met the manager of the store Kristian Nesic, a wonderful and charming man who was absolutely helpful and informative. And if I even start to talk about the store, it was amazing, to say the least. Absolutely brilliant architecture and interior! It was set up to look like the interior of a house, each floor like different rooms with wood panelling, brick walls and nice lighting.


That is the coffee shop on the topmost floor of the store. With a wide variety of choices it was quite a perfect place to sit after an exhausting shopping session and enjoy your coffee or choose from a small but most delicious selection of wonderful salads, for example. It was here that we met with Mr. Kristian. He told us all about the company, their different lines, their history and how they are planning to expand the company etc. He also told us about their latest butterfly themed and eco friendly collections mainly designed by Adolfo’s daughter Tiziana Dominguez who is the creative director of the company.


And that’s him handing me his card.

Looking at the work table set up they have in their store. It looks cosy, homely and like your own personal studio with small sewing machines, ironing table, places to hold threads and all.


Now to talk more about the brand, they have their own women swear, menswear, accessories, wedding gowns and even dog wear! Yes! You heard me right, they have specialised clothing for dogs!! And I have to tell you, it’s pretty amazing and really cute!! Here are some pictures clicked at the store, maybe this will give you an idea. These are some of the garments on display at the store.


I thought that was brilliant use of tie and dye on the shirt



Looking through some of the t-shirts on display.


Checking out this really pretty dress at the store. It was a really pretty flouncy and summery party dress in white with paint splatter kind of print on it.


This really classy dress on display at the store. This one also happened to be a favourite of mine.

Now for the OMG! Oh so cute section, the dog section, I don’t think I have ever come across anything as cute as this!


They had personalised dog outfits of different varieties, toys for them, accessories etc. It was one of the cutest things I had ever come across.



Now isn’t that a cute outfit?!

Now for my favourite section…the ‘bridal wear’ one!! It happens to be my favourite section among everything. And the dresses out here were absolutely mind blowing!! Each one of those dresses was soo pretty in itself and done up with such beautiful detailing. I guarantee you that you would definitely feel like a princess in them on your special day.



Haha! Crowning Glory!!

16aKristian showing me more of their lovely garments on display at the store.



Isn’t that such a fun dress?!

Believe me! If I had the money I would have been having a wardrobe hanging with more than one Adolfo piece in it!


So that’s all for now all you lovely people, until I come up with yet another catchy topic to interest you all, this is me Bianca signing off over here. Ciao!! Baci Baci!


My thanks goes to Kristian and his colleagues for their kind help and before I really sign off for today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Kristian from all of us –  have a wonderful Sunday

(Photographs: Bianca and Carina/Manningtree Archive)



…… and Prawn Mango Curry

(Part 2 of 3)

We arrived in Kovalam early afternoon, having stopped for lunch en route down south.




Turning right into the approach road to our hotel for the next few days was like driving through a colourful picture postcard. Just in front of the hotel entrance are a few large trees showing off their seasonal blossoms in all their glory. The road was thickly littered with fallen petals (just like at one of our many wedding functions here) in bright red and orangey yellow. In order not to spoil the magic I just concentrated to photograph the crowns of the trees, because for once I did not want evidence of everyday life turning up in my shots.


Slowly we went through the strict security control into the property and uphill towards the actual hotel entrance where we were greeted with huge smiles, a cheerful “Namaskaram” (Welcome) and a pretty necklace made entirely out of tiny local seashells. As much as I like fresh flowers, they sadly do not last long in this tropical heat – but those sweet necklaces do!!!!


A fluffy hot towel to refresh our faces and a cooling tender coconut drink arrived. Check-in was completed in no time


and soon we were driven in a golf-buggy uphill to our room, where our luggage was already waiting for us.


A short refreshing nap, shower and a change of clothes put us in the right mood to enjoy the view of the Ocean from our little terrace – and savour a decent cup of coffee.


A short time later we were joined by Mathew Thomas, GM of our hotel and also a close friend of Jo’s from Cochin.


We all travel quite a lot and so there was much catching-up to do.

We of course had been over the past years many times to this hotel but then had stayed away  for some time, since we felt something was very much missing from this particular TAJ property.

But now it became very quickly clear to us that many things had changed for the better since Mathew had taken charge at the helm – once again, like previously before in the TAJ properties he had managed, he in only a short time had put his very own personal stamp onto this Kovalam property. For one the staff looked so much happier than before which proved to us, that his motto “…COME on, and not GET on” worked wonders here.

–         For more details on this property and bookings please refer to the following link: http://www.vivantabytaj.com/Kovalam-Kerala/Overview.html

This wonderful secluded property is build on a 10 acre hillside, but comfortable

Golf buggies take you more or less straight to your own front door.


The swimming pool is so inviting and offers a much needed respite from the tropical heat and the staff is always there to attend to your slightest whim.



And for you, who would not want to miss out on their daily exercise find a more than adequate gym within the complex.


After a quiet dinner “a deux” and watching a beautiful floorshow by local dancers,


we were ready once again to be driven back to our suite, where we sat on our little terrace


enjoying our drink and watch the many fishing boats far out at sea, their lights blinking – like giant fireflies so far out there. It truly was a most romantic sight, the flickering lights out at sea in competition with the flickering stars up in the sky. Not a sound to be heard apart from the occasional bird in some tree nearby. This poses the question; do birds talk in their sleep? (Joke!)




The breakfast buffet laid out in the semi open poolside restaurant “Jasmine Bay” is quite extensive and offers a wide choice of delicious Kerala and European fare.

We spent the morning down at Kovalam Beach (see my previous Blog entry) and taken lots of pictures to share with you.

For Lunch we were back at our Hotel, in our “Deluxe Allure Suite” for a brief rest and a cold drink before meeting Executive Chef Elangovan who, knowing how much we like prawns  “in all shape and sizes” and taking into account that it is the mango season here right now, he had prepared a truly wonderful Prawn dish for our Lunch and of course for you, my friends out there.


(from left to right: Ankit Tandon, F & B Manager, Executive Chef Elangovan, Chef Vishnu and Basil)

Chef Elango (as he is popularly known) is a truly welcomed addition to VIVANTA  by TAJ Kovalam. He hails originally from the culinary city of Trichy in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.  He finished his further education in Malaysia before he returned to India and joined the TAJ Group of Hotels in Chennai before taking up his present position here in Kovalam.  He specializes mainly in his home cuisine – typical dishes from the South, from Kerala.

I briefly joined him and Chef Josephkutty in their kitchen to catch them “stirring the pot”,


before we sat down and enjoyed his truly delicious Prawn Mango Curry





200 g Prawns, peeled and deveined

100 g Mango , raw (green), sliced into medium size pieces

20   g Coconut Oil

10   g Shallots, sliced

2      sprigs of Curry leaves

5      red dried chillies, whole

3      green chillies, each cut into 3 pieces

5      cloves of garlic, sliced

Small piece of fresh ginger, sliced

A pinch or two of salt

1 tsp of red chilly powder (or more, if you like!! J

½ tsp of turmeric powder

5 Tbsp thick coconut milk (can be made from powder)

½ tsp of black Mustard seeds

Heat coconut oil in a wok, crackle mustard seeds, red chilly powder, curry leaves, green sliced chilly, ginger, garlic and sauté well.

Add sliced shallots and cook nicely, then add a pinch of turmeric, salt and the prawns. Add sufficient water and cook gently for a couple of minutes.

Add raw sliced mango pieces and cook this for 2 more minutes until prawns have turned pink and are done. Add thick coconut milk and add the tempering made out of sliced shallots, curry leaves, red whole chillies and a little curry powder.

Check the seasoning and serve hot with garnish of fried curry leaves.

Serve hot with the garnish of tempering, kerala paratha and/or plain rice.

That’s for today my friends – more from me and Chef Elangovan in a couple of days. Hope to see you then.


(Photos: Carina/JS-Manningtree Archive)