Thursday, 18 July 2013

3 week holiday

My desertion of this blog for well over a month can be attributed to two things: Firstly, working and studying nonstop, and secondly, flying off to London for a 3 week stint as a tourist to empty my bank account.

Having spent over 24 hours travelling (20+ hours of flying and the rest stuck in transit) and fallen asleep for 14 hours, I believe that I am well on the way to recovering from jetlag :)

So what did I get up to?

London - where I spent the most time

  • I have family in London, so it was nice to catch up with them :) They live in Notting Hill, which meant we didn't have to trek to go anywhere central

  • Notting Hill = Portobello Markets

  • Borough Markets

  •  Lots and lots of eating

- Lunch at Oblix in the Shard, tallest building in the EU

The Shard

Entree buffet - the Israeli cous cous was to die for
 - High tea at Claridges - refills unlimited (but aren't really needed)

Under their selection of rare teas - White-Silver Needle tea


Scones with jam and clotted cream


Good coffee

I didn't think I would ever find good coffee in Europe (except perhaps Italy, which I haven't visited yet), but my cousin showed us a few good coffee places in Notting Hill, which made me miss Sydney a little less:

- Granger & Co (175 Westbourne Grove London W11 2SB)


Ricotta hotcakes with banana

 - Ottolenghi (63 Ledbury Rd, London W11 2AD)

- Daylesford (208-212 Westbourne Grove London W11 2R)

An organic store and cafe rolled into one, it's a great place for caffeine addicts, organic-produce-consumers and vegetarians.

  • Watched a matinee (afternoon) performance
Tickets to plays and musicals are sold at discount to clear out last minute tickets, often on the day of the show. We bought ours through the official ticket vendor, TKTS at Leicester Square (Chinatown), so we didn't have to worry about getting scabbed like what happened to a couple of friends of mine. Although you can only purchase them in person, you can check what might be available via their website. There isn't much of a queue at the ticket stand - we went there around 11 in the morning. The seats weren't bad either, as we were only 7 rows away from the stage and near the middle.

  • Visited Bicester Village and a few others in Oxfordshire

  • And because we don't have enough in Sydney, we visited one of the new Westfields to see Despicable Me 2


Bruges, in Belgium, is a quaint town in Belgium. It was full of chocolate, canals, frites (fries), horse-drawn carriages, Belgian chocolate and set menus with 1/2 roast chickens/ Flemish beef stews/ mussels/ chocolate mousse.


By this time, my relatives were craving Asian food (and I was craving soup). So we had ramen and pho, which were surprisingly delicious. I was told I shouldn't be surprised about the Vietnamese, since the French used to occupy Vietnam. As for the Japanese, I don't know how a little Japan of sorts ended up around Rue de Richelieu.

Fauchon cake

Mozart Requiem at La Madeleine Church



Pho 14

Pho 14 spring rolls

Le Bon Marche

French bubble tea - not great, sadly

Ramen - extra rich, which we misconstrued to be spicy

Marche des enfants rouges

The market was just starting to open

Merci, a French store, was connected to this book cafe

This is not a book

Pickup lines

The Marais district

Antique store in Village St-Paul

French parking

Sunday brunch at Coutume

Lovely latte

  • I also managed to cross off all the items on my 'to buy' list:
    • Beige Burberry trench
    • Dark brown leather jacket
    • Numerous dresses, pants, etc.
    • Perfume
    • 2 pairs of shoes
    • 100+ euros of makeup from Sephora
    • Belgian chocolate
    • Innumerable socks and other undergarments
 Not a bad 3 weeks.

EDIT: Due to the popular demand of Spidey, I have included a photo of our frites and moules.



    1. Where are the pictures of frites?
    2. Those British markets look awesome
    4. Ramen and pho in Paris? How was it compared to Sydney?
    5. THERE'S RAMEN IN PARIS?!?! Actually not as surprising as it should be, there is a fair bit of French influence in Japan, so not a surprise it would be the other way around too.
    6. I want some frites.
    7. Paris looked AWESOME. So picturesque.
    8. Screw high tea, just give me a basket of croissants!

    So jealous. Looks like a heap of fun!


    1. I didn't take any nice photos of the frites. You'll have to fly to Belgium yourself ;)

      The pho wasn't bad - but I have to pay a visit to Cabra to make a fair assessment haha. The spring rolls were done really well though.

      Ramen was good (though it's difficult to compare because everyone makes different broths)! Had a look through a window of a ramen shop and it was jam packed with apples. Really wanted to try that one but I was dragged along :(