Sunday, February 28, 2016

February Uncut


Hey-ho everyone – it's been a while, and it's been a busy and fun-filled month. I ran away to sunny Madrid for a couple of days and got disillusioned with 'blogging' and whatever that means, so this isn't really a 'how-to' post or any sort of directioned outfit style... to be honest, I wish my life was filled with moments like these, laidback and effortless, which is more of me and less like I'm supposed to instagram every single waking moment.

After a very eventful CNY, we hopped on a very early plane to Espana...





We spent four days in Madrid and walked everywhere, weaving through passageways and rainy alleys. Regretfully, I no longer have the capability of prose like I used to so walking the same paths feels so different than I did five years ago. Everything is more vibrant and less broody, and seeing art in the Prado became more skeptical (sad?) but we did spend ages hunting down delicious tapas, desserts, cakes and tart... nothing I'm complaining about.





Most days, we woke up leisurely and find ourselves a wake-up meal in Malasana before trekking out to one of the many El Corte Inglès in the city. There's so many things to do and see, and I love the the vibe and especially the fashion in Spain - nabbed a couple of last-minute clearance from Pull & Bear and possibly my new favourite store, lefties. It's so much more colourful over in Madrid, and I absolutely loved it!



This past week, I've been running errands and 'getting ready' for starting work next week (itself an entire story but I'm too lazy to repeat it here) and enjoying the last of my free time watching loads of TV. Vanessa also sent over some tea (thanks again) and banana cinnamon is the best tea I've had in a while so I'm eternally grateful... until it runs out <3

Yesterday evening was our housewarming and it was great to see so many of our friends and just catching up. Marie brought us some flowers which are sitting very nicely on the coffee table and now it's a nice and (too slow) Sunday for me so we're heading out for a film later on to anticipate the dreaded week...

Nonetheless - let me know what you're up too :-) and tell me how life has been, my friends!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Weekend in Brussels: Favourite Places + Foodie Recommendations!


Hi amigos! It's been super cold lately and I've just been stuck at home, as I've fallen ill twice – once with the fever, and now recovering from a cold so I did some exploring through our archives and found that I haven't shared these photos from a weekend getaway to Brussels mid-Summer last year :)

I thought it'd be fun to round-up some of our favourite places and more importantly, food recommendations that I (and Matt, I hoped) absolutely enjoyed during our trip!

I'm no stranger to Brussels, and I just wanted a very quick trip where we could have awesome food but not travel too far - so off we went on the Eurostar...

1. ATTRACTIONS & PLACES OF INTERESTS





We were in the Saint-Gilles area, so very conveniently located to Louise - a major hub for trams and walking distance to the city centre where most of the attractions were! From there you could walk ~15/20 minutes to Grand Place and the surrounding parks/museums, so if you're looking for a quiet area to stay but still relative close to the centre, it's a location to consider.

GALERIES SAINT-HUBERT & GRAND PLACE




Grand Place is indisputably the busiest square in Brussels, with its gold façades coming alive as the sun sets behind it – you can really see how vibrant and ornate these buildings are, restoring it to its former glory days. The square itself houses the famous Flower Carpet festival each year during summer, usually during July and I had a chance to see it while I here last time. When it's not on, it's usually occupied by painters, hoards of Asian tourists and their bags of chocolates, and a fair few museums...

My favourite part of Grand Place is the adjoining Galeries Saint Hubert with the overarching glass ceiling, reminiscent of Parisian galleries, but more subdued and understated.

I liked strolling through and getting out through the other to visit the Tin Tin store, grab a couple of €1 waffles (actually amazing and life-changing, trust me) and pop into the many chocolate stores nearby!

We didn't do it this time as I've already been on my own last time but the Magritte Museum is well worth a visit - students get discounts, and adult prices won't cost you a fortune. You can easily spend 3 hours there marveling at Magritte's mind (ngl I'm a very big fan) and the Fine Art museum which is in the same building...

SQUARE DU PETIT SABLON



On the way back to our apartment, we discovered a small garden – literally opposite Grand Sablon and down the road from the museums so we poked our heads into it. It's a cute little place, with fountains running and benches littered around the small enclave... It's not much to boast in terms of space, but because of its tall hedges and statues that greet you once you make your entrance in, you get the feeling you're visiting a royal's home and have been invited to play croquet there (confession: I have never played croquet before).

And you could make this a quick lunch stop with packed sandwiches on your way to the centre, taking the time to enjoy the greenery yo.




I also really like strolling down Grand Sablon leading up to the Ascensur des Marolles aka another fancy word for a lift, which transports you to a upper level street to the Palais de Justice, and back to Louise. There's heaps of antique shops, art dealers, small cafes and independent shops to look at and a pretty damn picturesque street to take photos of....

MONT DES ARTS 





I left Mont des Arts last, despite it being closest to Grand Place. I remember coming to Brussels the first time on my own and although likely the most clichéd place in the entire city, I enjoyed walking here and seeing the evenings become night and then taking the 52 tram back to my underground apartment :) It's a beautiful space during summer, and we savored the moment by taking the last of the sun in and wandered off to find some dinner...

2. PLACES TO EAT 



If you know me, you know I'm a real food snob. By that I don't mean I need to dine at Michelin starred restaurants – not even close - but I love me a delishus meal, whether its a roadside stall or a cramped restaurant!

Here are our favourites from our weekend, and I really really do recommend them all :)

WAFFLES 

Try the streets down from Grand Place, which serves you the most basic waffle (only icing sugar) to the most elaborate: strawberries, chocolate sauce, whipped cream etc. and eat your heart out! We had a few from there and loved it so much we grabbed some on the day we left just so we can remember it :') we also had one at Galeries Saint-Hubert (picture below!) and it was decent with the ice cream I additionally ordered ;)



SALE PEPE ROSMARINO 

Rue Berckmans 98, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium





Open for lunch and dinner, a cramped but cosy Italian restaurant which was, arguably, my favourite and the highlight of our trip! At first, we were intimidated by the curtains (?? hah) blocking the door but eventually braved ourselves to venture in with my rusty French and sat down, elbows touching the couple next to us on a date night.

To start, I had the artichokes and squid and mains was a delicious prawn and tomato-based linguine! Mmm. We had to ask to waitress to translate the entire menu but her efforts weren't in vain as I finished off the two dishes with glee.

I think they do a seasonal menu, so it changes with fresh ingredients every now and then!

LA PERROQUET 

Rue Watteeu 31, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium




La Perroquet is a pita specialist. Yep you read that right, my friends. Pita bread filled with amazing and wonderful food - chicken, beef, rice, salad... you name it they have it. They had on their menu a curry chicken which Matt absolutely loved and we tried recreating it back home but we wished we were back there every lunch time!

The bar has an art nouveau interior and outdoor seating, vegetarian-friendly and loads of drinks options. This was my second time there and I really enjoyed it. Just be careful with the spillage from the pita...

PIERRE MARCOLINI

Rue des Minimes 1, 1000 Brussel, Belgium



If you're looking for decent and quality chocolate, my favourite chocolate store ever (I know it's a grand claim) is Pierre Marcolini at Grand Sablon. Their flagship store is two-storey high, and you get to feast with your eyes and your mouths... Ask to sample from their hundreds of handmade chocolate delivered fresh to the store each day and buy home the most perfect gifts!

While many people flock to Neuhas, Leonidas, Ladurée or Godiva, I have to say that PM wins the artisanal chocolate crown hands down. Its concoctions are never too sweet, and the dark chocolate is ever so subtle with flavours like earl grey, orange and coffee.

OKAY SO I KNOW I SOUND SO HIGH MAINTENANCE WITH CHOCOLATES (like, omg why can't I just eat Dairy Milk right?) but man try it for yourself and let me know. If you're a fan of good chocolate, then you should definitely head there. Matt is a pure milk chocolate fan so he wasn't too fazed but worth a try eh?

If you want something even more special, PM has a sit-down cafe down the road from its flagship, serving the most delectable éclairs and tarts... We had two to take aboard the train journey home and it was yum yum yum.

COOL BUN

Rue Berckmans 34, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium


I saved the best for last, you lucky biatches.

OK, so... we forgot the camera because we were so hungry but we had the GoPro AND A VIDEO IS MORE IMMERSIVE ANYWAY. Here's a more in-depth experience for you. IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE BEST BURGER OF YOUR LIFE (and I don't even eat burgers usually, FYI) - Cool Bun is your muthaeffin' homie. This is not a joke. Honestly just look at that combination of food items. If there's no tummy screaming in satisfaction by the end of it, then I have failed you miserably.

I realise this recommendation looms largest and grandest but I swear, the free range meat and Belgium frites got me, guys... it was delicious.

So there ya have it - my foodie recommendations! So I know loads of people say Brussels is boring and how it'll never compare to Paris, and while its sights and size aren't comparable, it houses some amazing food places that I haven't seen in Paris, and never within the same price range too...



What are your memorable places to eat anywhere in the world? Leave some interesting places below so I can add it to my ever-growing list! ;)

Monday, February 1, 2016

Winter Hideaway: Barbican Conservatory







Happy February my friends! Thanks for sticking around the messier parts of January – but we're back in biz as I count down the days to Chinese New Year and starting work in March soon (eeek!). Anyway one fine, freezing weekend, Matt & I decided we (me) wanted some nice shots of my super awesome OTK Public Desire boots and my stylish coat I picked up in the sales. But we also wanted somewhere warm and walking the streets with icy winds in my face ain't going to work.

Barbican Conservatory it was! I've always wanted to go - plentiful of bloggahs flock to this location since it's supposed to be a peaceful oasis, not to mention, pretty cool backdrop. So let me get this right out first, the Conservatory itself was pretty underwhelming. But I'm not complaining given the scarcity of space in London, a small green space in the City was a nice respite from the grey skies.






So happy I got to talk to everyone about the overwhelming travel excitement in my previous Seoul post, and I'm heading to Madrid in two weeks for some sunshine so it'll be a good refresher before everything starts and I have a real life.

Talk aside, I am totally diggin' these OTK boots because they're the perfect fit for me and insanely comfortable (and trust me, I have very princess-y feet) which do not cost as much as Stuart Weitzman but totally looks the part. I've worn this look in my Columbia Road Flower Market post and you and totally see that I can strut in style, without falling over, because of the block heel! I paired this with a ~sophisticate~ wraparound coat from Zara in the sale :) let me know what you think!

Underneath is also a new piece from COS - a fave colour of mine: salmon-y pink (yes totally qualifies) which is soft and comfortable for layering over my Uniqlo Heattech ;)




As we know, I'm the number 1 comfort fan so everything I wore here was just really easy to walk/breathe in so hurray for that. I'm spending the next couple of weeks with my mama since she's in town at the moment, so it's been really great to have her round to show her what mischief we get up to...

Let me know what your special Valentine's plans are (if you're celebrating, that is), personally I'll be indulging in all dat CNY food to be bothered! Or generally #febgoals or random things like that... Drop me a tweet or two to chat or say hi below :) see y'all soon! 

Wearing: Topshop Hat (similar) / Zara Coat / Dorothy Perkins jeans /  COS sweater (similar) / Public Desire Nancy Over the Knee Boots / Coach bag 
delicately © . Design by FCD.