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Nicky makes Sri Lanka Proud in Canada



Nicky Bin Sadoon is a Sri Lankan entrepreneur operating an award  winning bed and  breakfast property overlooking the picturesque Niagara Falls in Canada. She has won many Trip Advisor’s awards for best B&B. Nicky shared her thoughts on how she rose to the top and how she is above others in running this competitive business.

Tell us about how you got into the business of becoming B&B?

We were introduced by a close friend to this concept to utilize our talents, diverse and professional experience in the industry. We were lucky to get this It also gave us the opportunity to operate a business from the confines of our home…

How do you ensure you stand out from the others amongst competition?

The cutting edge is to provide service excellence consistently and deliver our promise above and beyond. We also never say “no” to a customer until we find an alternative. To quote, “in the quest for excellence there is no finishing line”

Since you have been in the hospitality industry do you feel the guests expectations are high in Bread and Breakfasts?

Of course,our guests always want the best and they expect full value for their money. They want to experience the best comfort and Graystone. Guests forget what we have offered but will never forget how we made them feel. So, it takes a major effort to ensure their arrival and departure is a memorable journey. After all at Graystone we live by the adage that hospitality is part of our business.

A little bit background, about Graystone and what made you to run a B and B?

Bin and Nicky

Nicky and Bin have been in the hospitality industry for innumerable years in Sri Lanka, we both worked for international brands in many countries as well. We can proudly boast of over 62 years in the industry. We were inculcated from the very onset that the cornerstone of this industry is “Guest Care” which we closely nurture…

You definitely hit the ground running by winning awards every year. What type of personality would you say it takes to run a successful bed and breakfast?

You need to be intuitive, savvy, transparent, socially and emotionally intelligent,friendly and always anticipate guests needs. We firmly believe our guests are special and make sure we give them a home away from home

Who would you say are your main customers?

We have a mix of baby boomers from the US (we live close to the US border the closest city being Buffalo) our guests are avid fans of the Shaw Theatre and wineries, domestic tourist’s comprising mainly of millennials who are lured by wine tasting, Casino’s, and bike trails. We also have international travellers from UK and other continents.

Nicky’s daughter Aaliah

Give me an example of when you thought outside of the box?

When the pandemic hit us unexpectedly we had to think quick since the business landscape changed overnight. For a couple of months our occupancies took a “nose dive” but domestic tourism started to pick up. However we made ways and means to attract numbers by giving them the much needed confidence to return. We took drastic measures towards their personal health and safety. We promoted Graystone as a safe haven and made it compulsory that all guests complete a COVID questionnaire prior to their arrival in order to protect all of our patrons. All guests were compelled to wear face masks in public areas of the property, hand sanitizers were placed in all rooms, body temperatures were checked upon arrival and social distancing during breakfast etc. These pro- active preventive measures went viral on social media and guests were enticed by rave reviews in social media and newspapers. Personal health and safety of our property went viral and our rooms were full always.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

To maintain consistency, and give our guests the best always and meet thier needs and challenges at all times.

Is owning a bed and breakfast was your dream?

It never was a dream until we migrated to the Great White North 20 years back and then by chance, got this opportunity. We have not looked back since then and we have grown from strength to strength. .

You have a unique style at Graystone. What influenced your design?

Ours was a turnkey operation when we purchased this property. We give credit to the previous operators for maintaining high standards, and of course the architect for his unique ambience. All bedrooms are in the ground floor and there is a large patio for guests to relax and unwind. Weather permitting we serve breakfast in the patio which is well received by our guests against the tranquil and scenic surroundings…

How does the self service work for you. Do you work around the clock to make your guests happy?

Yes ,I enjoy what I do. I love my guests and I am a firm believer of the cliche “do what you do, do well”. It has obviously paid rich dividends and the journey so far is nothing short of being enriching and fulfilling in the lens of an operator.

What is your B&B best known for?

My attention for impeccable cleanliness in all areas especially bedrooms, my home cooked gourmet, the flexibility we exercise to make our guests feel at home. Our ultimate satisfaction is when our guests arrive as strangers and leave as friends. We always create a memorable experiences for our guests to come back.


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Define your style with cargo pants



You are unlikely to miss someone wearing cargo pants in a crowd of people. Cargo pants are loose or baggy pants with several large pockets originally designed for outdoor activities and rough work routines.During the World War era, military uniforms were needed to allow soldiers to carry more personal belongings and amour, hence the need for an outfit with a lot of deep pockets, ‘cargo’ pants.

The pockets at the side of the pants are what distinguish them from other pants as well as the quick-drying synthetic cotton material.

Other names include cargo trousers, combat pants or combat trousers. They come in different sizes and shapes. The mantra of wearing these pants is ‘as long as the waist fits, the rest does not matter’.

However, there are several types including jogger pants, which like any other cargo pants contain numerous pockets, but some of these pockets are just decorative, not functional.

Slim-fit cargo pants are designed to be fitting and are tapered at the ankle, while EMT ones are loose since they are designed for comfort and durability.

Other types include tactical, denim, hiking and high-end cargo pants.

Gents can achieve a casual official look with a polo shirt and slim-fit cargo pants. The other types match well with a t-shirt, fitting or oversized, and can give a ‘hot’ casual outfit.

In Kenya, the prices vary depending on where you want to buy your clothes. If you are ordering them locally from Kenyan online sites, be ready to part with Sh1,500 to Sh2,500.Cargo pants have made major comeback among the fashion conscious.

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Life style

Corridors of Time : Artistic narratives of Heritage and Nature



Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo inspire a spirit of conservation to aid efforts of WNPS.

Experience the captivating beauty of Sri Lanka’s heritage and nature through the exquisite fine art of Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo in the upcoming exhibition, “Corridors of Time.” This remarkable showcase promises to transport art enthusiasts on a journey through time, archaeology, architecture, history, human form and culture, with an exploration of the intricate narratives that bind heritage and nature in this enchanting island nation.

The “Corridors of Time” exhibition will be held at the Harold Peiris Gallery, located in the heart of Colombo. The grand opening is scheduled for 2nd November 2023, and the exhibition will run until 5th November 2023. Art enthusiasts, collectors, and anyone with an appreciation for the beauty of Sri Lanka and its cultural heritage are encouraged to attend. Visitors will have the opportunity to engage with Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo, gaining insights into their creative processes and the inspirations behind their exhibits.

The “Corridors of Time” exhibition is a collaboration between two visionary artists, Royden Gibbs and Dillai Joseph Rodrigo. This unique partnership brings together their distinctive artistic styles, blending contemporary interpretations with deep-rooted Sri Lankan traditions. Their artistry harmoniously converges to depict the rich tapestry of Sri Lanka’s heritage and the awe-inspiring beauty of its natural landscapes.

Royden Gibbs, a Sri Lankan artist, exhibited locally and internationally and is celebrated for his mastery of intricate details and subject matter, showcases his profound connection to Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage in this exhibition. Through his paintings, Royden captures the essence of ancient temples, historical sites, and traditional rituals, inviting viewers to delve into the heart of Sri Lanka’s past.

This one-of-a-kind exhibition will showcase Royden Gibbs finest, unseen works. He is renowned as one of Sri Lanka’s top watercolorists, who also works in diverse mediums, receiving well-deserved awards and recognition.

Several structures painted by Royden have regrettably ceased to exist at present. These artworks hold significant historical value, and their recognition has been duly acknowledged by the esteemed institution, the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology. Royden’s use of watercolour and acrylic brings vibrancy, drawing inspiration from light. Capturing essence, this shift expands the creative palette.

Dillai ‘s ethos fosters a renewed connection with nature, beautifully conveyed through her paintings, which inspire a profound love for the natural world. Her bold use of colours and innovative techniques breathe life into her work. Dillai discovers the extraordinary in everyday scenes, employing palette knives and textures to emphasise and exaggerate her unique perspective.

“Art has the power to evoke emotions, provoke thoughts, and inspire action,” says Royden Gibbs. “Through ”Corridors of Time”, we hope to ignite a sense of pride and responsibility among our audience, urging them to protect the cultural and natural treasures that make Sri Lanka so extraordinary.” Each piece tells a story, inviting viewers to embark on a journey of discovery.

“We believe that art should not only be admired but also understood,” says Dillai. “Through our conversations with visitors, we hope to foster a deeper connection between our art and the stories we aim to tell.”

Fifty percent of proceeds from the exhibition will be dedicated towards conservation efforts driven by The Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS), the third oldest non-governmental organisation of its kind in the world, and the oldest conservation body in Sri Lanka. With a heritage spanning over 129 years, the WNPS is deeply intertwined with the rich natural history of this captivating island nation and continues to work alongside communities to safeguard the unmatched beauty and diversity it offers even today.

“Art is universal; it transcends the power of the written word and serve as a powerful medium that drives conservation. We are confident that these outstanding portrayals of our natural world will communicate the importance of conserving these vibrant and life-giving resources and help us create new avenues to protect them for the posterity of future generations,” stated Jehan CanagaRetna, the President of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society.

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Life style

Whipping up the best cakes in town!



It’s the creative aspect of cake making that attracted me to the cake world. I have always enjoyed being creative and liked using my hands to make things said Buddika Sri Nissanka Fernando

She is known for her commitment to high quality cakes with innovative designs and ethically sourced ingredients . Her cakes are also renowned for their pretty designs that are elegant and understated with an emphasis on skilled craftsmanship and most importantly luxuriously delicious. Dedication to perfection, good taste and understanding of what people want and the skills to translate tingredients to sugar are her trademark.

Q Tell us about your background and why you started ?

A I come from a family where cooking and baking have always been a big part of our lives. My father inspired my love for baking, and we often spent quality time experimenting with new dishes and perfecting our baking skills. This passion eventually led me to start my own journey in the world of cake making.

Q What is your area of speciality?

A My specialty lies in creating custom-designed cakes for special occasions, especially weddings. I love the challenge of turning a couple’s vision into a delicious and visually stunning cake that adds a magical touch to their celebration.

Q Where did you get your inspiration and idea from?

A My inspiration primarily comes from my family, especially my father, who instilled in me a deep appreciation for the art of baking. Additionally, I draw inspiration from nature, art, and current trends in the culinary world, which help me come up with unique cake designs and flavours.


Q What do you find the most challenging aspects of cake making?

A The most challenging aspect of cake making, in my opinion, is achieving perfection in both taste and aesthetics. Balancing the flavours and textures while creating intricate designs can be quite demanding, but it’s also what makes the art of cake-making so rewarding.

Q Which cake is your favourite and/or your preference?

A It’s tough to pick a favourite because each and every cake I create holds a special place in my heart. However, if I had to choose, I’d say I have a soft spot for classic vanilla bean sponge cakes with fresh fruit fillings. They’re timeless and universally loved.

Q How has your journey been since then until now?

A My journey in cake making has been incredibly fulfilling. I started as a hobby and gradually turned my passion into a profession. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of creating cakes for numerous weddings and special events, and the positive feedback from my clients has been a driving force in my career.

Q What is the hardest thing about being a cake maker?

A The most challenging aspect of being a cake maker is managing the pressure that comes with creating something so significant for someone’s special day. The expectations are high, and any mishaps can be devastating. It’s a constant quest for perfection.

Q How do you stay up to date with the latest trends?

A To follow trends with the latest cake trends, I follow industry blogs and social media accounts, and network with fellow cake artistes. I also experiment with new flavours and designs to keep my skills fresh and innovative.

Q Cakes for weddings? What are your preferences for the magical making?

A When it comes to creating wedding cakes, I prefer to work closely with the couple to understand their vision and style. I love incorporating personal touches into the cake design, such as elements from their love story or cultural traditions. It’s all about making their day truly magical and memorable.

Q Any cake disaster stories?

A One memorable cake disaster story involved creating a multi-tiered cake for an outdoor wedding on a scorching hot day. Despite our best efforts, the room temperature soared, causing the cake tiers to shift and the fondant to droop. It was a frantic race to rescue the cake, and we had to do some last-minute repairs. Thankfully, it all worked out in the end, but it was a nerve-wracking experience.

Q What are new wedding cake trends that you have seen in 2023 in terms of cake designs and flavours?

A In 2023, we’ve seen a trend toward minimalist and elegant cake designs with a focus on natural elements like floral and botanical motifs. Couples are opting for unique flavour combinations, such as vanilla, and lemon, and experimenting with more exotic flavours like passion fruit. There’s also a growing interest in eco-friendly and sustainable cake decorations and packaging to align with the overall theme of environmentally conscious weddings.

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