Weekend in London

I went back to London for a little visit, its felt so good to be back in London! I made sure that I did all the things that I have been missing, a weekend in London is just a short trip so I made sure I did the most I can do, plus my in-laws were with me this time around so we did some touristy things again. So here are the things that we did over the weekend in London.

1. Borough Market
Who doesn’t love a good market full of local produce, yummy food stalls and get that yummy St Johns Bakery Donuts that I have been craving for. If you are in London on between Thursday to Saturday you really need to visit this amazing market and pig out! (or may that’s just me oopsie!) A weekend in London is not complete without grazing at this amazing market.

IMG_3396                 IMG_3404 IMG_3411

2. Tate Modern
If you like a little art mix with a good view of London, then Tate Modern is a must. After looking at the beautiful artworks that cross the Thames over the Millennium bridge towards St Paul Cathedral.

IMG_3417IMG_3415

3. Watch a West End Show
My mother in law love watching the musicals, so this time around we decided to watch Thriller, which is a musical based on Michael Jackson’s music. It was super fun coz you get to dance and sing along! If you are every planning on going to a west end show go buy your tickets from LondonTheaterBookings.com, you’ll get a better priced tickets compare to others. They have ticket booths around Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

IMG_3419

 

4. Stroll along Chelsea
I mean I love to walk over there, visit the Saatchi Gallery and window shopping plus they have cute houses.

IMG_3365IMG_3364

 

5. Camden Lock
Camden lock is a canal area in London with a market, now if you know me I can’t resist a good market to get some yummy lunch or just looking at different little shop selling trinkets. Now unlike Borough Market you will find stalls selling jewellery, handmade t-shirts and even antiques stuff. So it’s must and on Sunday this place is pack with people especially on a summer day!

IMG_3426

6.Boots
Ok I know it’s weird to put this pharmacy/beauty chain shop in here but I love Boots because they have everything related to beauty and some of the brands that don’t exist in France. I need to stock up my beauty supplies, hubby’s and of course Amalia’s too!

Well that was my fun-filled packed weekend in London, where did you go this summer?

-I, The Nomad-

What I love about Paris

So I have been living in Paris for a year now, things hasn’t been easy at the beginning especially when you don’t speak french. However after learning french and having so much free time before, I started to love Paris. I need to make the most out of Paris before we are gonna relocate again God knows where…

Here are the things that I love about Paris!

The Patisserie

I have a sweet tooth so living in Paris is probably is the best thing as you will find beautiful yummy cakes everywhere you go, plus now I work in a cake shop called Gastel Paris, and I get to drool and eat some broken macarons all the time, definitely not so good for my waistline but who cares, you only live once right!

IMG_2417

This is what I see everyday when I come to work! who can resist that right?

IMG_1571

Aoki is a japanese inspired french cakes! I took Amalia here when she visited me last year

 

 

The Exhibitions

I love going to exhibition and the choice is endless in Paris, sometimes I get confuse as there are too many I want to go to, however it can be very expensive if you do it all. Therefore I have to choose the one I really really like!! Here are a few exhibitions that I went the last few months and still on going up till now.

DRIES-VAN-NOTEN_014_Fotor

*Dries Van Noten Inspirations is currently running at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs just next to the Louvre museums. Photocredit: Musee des Arts Decoratifs

IMG_1320

*Exhibitions on the American Indians in Quai Branly Museum

IMG_1560

 

*Mapplethorpe Photography Exhibitions in the Grand Palais  

 

Shopping

Who doesn’t love shopping? Well Amalia and I, we both love shopping and we always shop for each other. Paris is great for shopping whether you like high-end brands to vintage shopping, you can get everything. Oh don’t even let me get started on the sale seasons, you’ll shop till you drop oopsieee! Not to mention if you are on the brands database, you’ll get an invitation for the private sale before it’s open for public!

SONY DSC
*my last purchase from Sandro Private sale, the white peplum top is an absolute classic must-have! A steal with 30%off! 

Travelling around Paris  

Living in Paris means it’s easy access to visit places in France and within one hour drive from Paris you can visit beautiful château or abbeys and parks. There are always something to do or see if you are bored in Paris. We like to spend our weekend visiting château, parks or other cities around Paris and they never fail to impress us!

IMG_2628IMG_1122

 

Well can’t wait till Amalia visit me again before I move on for my next adventure in a new city!

                                                                                            I, The Nomad

 

Melbourne We Love You To Bits

Melbourne has a special place in our heart for the both of us, it’s where we spend the beginning of our early years as adults. We both love everything about Melbourne, its fashion sense, its excellent gastronomic experiences as well as it’s chilled out attitude towards everything and anything.

We met as we were about to finish our university years, doing a little independent project together and it was unique experience and we had a blast! So let us introduce you to why we love Melbourne so much!

Coffee Coffee Coffee
We both coffee lovers, living in Melbourne for so long we develop a very critical taste for coffee and since then we always searching for that the same quality coffee wherever we go, whether it’s in Jakarta for Amalia or in Paris where Irene lives at the moment.

You can never go wrong getting a cup of latte or cappuccino in Melbourne, if it’s not good enough for the Melbournians,the cafe wouldn’t last long, that’s how serious Melbournians are with their coffee!

IMG_4315

Market Lane’s Coffee

 

Head out to Market Lane coffee in Victoria Market or Prahran for excellent coffee, they even have coffee tasting class. Seven seed for a good coffee and brunch!

 

Dynamic Gastronomy 

We say dynamic because Melbourne is a culinary mecca for gastronomy from all over the world, you can eat different cuisine from the different countries everyday. We are definitely spoilt for choices. New restaurant or food stall keep coming up, better concept then the next so you wouldn’t get bored and always finding something new to try. But having said that we both still love our usual uni days restaurants that we go to, we will visit them without fail every time we are back in Melbourne.

IMG_4496 IMG_4330

 

Well  don’t get us wrong we also love the fashion, the lane ways, the sport events and the fact you can drive one hour away to visit the wineries and stock up your cellar.. double score!! However we miss those two things the most :P.

The  Travelling Aquarians

 

 

 

I’ve been dreaming of Saigon …

I found this picture dated back to my business travel almost 5 years ago.

DSCN0884

To date, my trip to Viet Nam is still one of the most memorable trips in my life. It has that Indochine charm with a little bit of French colonial flair evident in their little boulangerie, pot roasted rice and their own version of escargot. A very charming country I must say. I got the chance to visit one of the main cities Saigon (Ho Chi Minh), Da Nang and the ancient city of Hoi An. But it was all done in a rush because I was so busy preparing for work related event. I haven’t really got the chance to savour the country and all its glory. So I’ve been putting Viet Nam in my wanderlust list for the longest time. Maybe this year or next year, I really need to make it happen. First Saigon and probably a short sea side trip to the renowed Mui Ne.

Where have your wanderlust takes you this year?

– A, the wanderlust

#TravelJournal: Our 2 Days Itinerary in Belitung – Day 2

DSC06001

It’s our second day in Belitung, and we were so disappointed waking up to heavy rain outside.  But it didn’t deter us from exploring the island.  We adjusted our itinerary  so we could still get the most of the Island and have a great time in the process. No rain is gonna stop us from having fun!

Day 2

We started the day with breakfast at the hotel, which offers a pretty good seafood porridge and a good selection of other breakfast menu including a made to order egg station.  After charging our energy with cups of strong coffee, we hopped into our rental car and got ready to explore.

The first stop was the Kaolin (clay) Lake.  It used to be a clay mining site but as it was abandoned and filled with rain water the crater has now turned into a beautiful blue turquoise colored lake. We did stop for a bit and looked at it from inside the car as it was raining so heavily! I bet it is magnificent if we could actually get out and explore the lake and take some pictures.

DSC05976

Then we continued to visit a Buddhist Temple called the Quan Yin .  It is also called the Burung Mandi Temple as it’s located just a stone throw away from Burung Mandi beach.  You could get a good view of the beach on a clear day as the temple is situated on top of a hill.  It is a little different then other Buddhist temple in Indonesia because it is dominated by pink color instead of red.   You  also could get your fortune read by one of the temple keeper who happens to be a fortune teller.  Fun, right?

DSC05973

photo 1-16_Fotor

Laskar Pelangi School

It was still raining at this point so we decided to have a quick visit to the Laskar Pelangi school , a school featured in Laskar Pelangi movie  which has now became a tourist destination in Belitung. We looked around a bit and then decided to head out to Manggar, a pit stop for every coffee lovers, after lunch.  Manggar, located on the East of Belitung, is also known as the city of a thousand coffee shops (Kota Seribu Warung Kopi).  Ok, technically they don’t have a thousand coffee shop, but they do have lots in this area 🙂  History has it, this was the place for mine workers to have their coffee break back in the Dutch colonial era. As you may well know by now,  @Deszellfd and I can’t stay away from a good cup of coffee.  We had to do a coffee stop here. Besides, what could be more perfect than having a good cuppa on a rainy day, right?

DSC05986

After having a good dose of coffee, we went to see Belitung’s Batik creation. And guess what?  It was actually located in Ahok’s house.  Yep, you are right. It’s that Ahok, the vice-govenor of Jakarta. Unfortunately for us, it is closed on Sunday.  However the guard was nice enough to let us in for a look at the workshop. I wish I could buy one as a souvenir and to add to my batik collections. I loved the cotton materials and the patterns.  I am still dreaming to get a hold of one, sigh!

DSC05989

DSC06004

Our last stop was the Tanjung Tinggi Beach.  The beach is made famous by Laskar Pelangi movie being used as one of the featured location in the movie.   Luckily, the rain stopped  when we arrived so we could explore the beach further and chilled out by drinking fresh coconut water!  The beach looks spectacular.  The white sandy beach is surrounded by massive boulder rocks. You can actually climb the boulder rocks and explore. However it was too slippery after the rain so we didn’t have a go.

DSC06039

And that’s all.  That was our 2nd day itinerary in Belitung.  It ended up being a wonderful day even though we spent most of it in the car, but hey, we had more girly chat time. All good! And we managed to spend some time in the beach too,  so woohoo!

So when rain pour on your holiday, never  ever let it stop you from having fun!!

 

– As previously published in Travelers Daily, 20 December 2013

#TravelJournal: Our 2 Days Itinerary in Belitung – Day 1

DSC05884_Fotor

Belitung Island is definitely the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Why? My friend, Deszell and I managed to explore the island in 2 days  with plenty of time to spare at the end of the evening which we spent it by lounging around by the pool at our historic Hotel Billiton.  How, you asked? Easy. The key is maximizing your time by arriving very early at the destination.   In our case, we took the first Citilink flight at 6 o’clock in the morning and went home early Monday morning to arrive in  Jakarta with enough time to get ready for work.

This is what our itinerary in Belitung looked like:

Day 1 Island Hopping

Luckily enough we were allowed to check in early as we arrived at Billiton Hotel at around 7.30 am in the morning, so we had time to get change to our islands hopping outfit before heading out for the day.

Breakfast:   We had  Mie Atep, in Tanjung Pandan;  a typical Belitung local noodle dish with seafood and a thick shrimp soup or sauce.  Tasty!  You all should tried this when visiting this Island.

Get our lunch ready before Island hopping:  We headed to  a takeaway place to get a packed lunch for our island hopping trip.  Read @DeszellFD article here to get some ideas on what to bring for Island hopping in Belitung.

DSC05881_Fotor

Island hopping:   This activity will take you all day.  So it is good to schedule it for the whole day in your itinerary.  Our first day was filled with islands hopping.  The boat cost around IDR 400,000 + extra IDR 20,000 for  snorkelling googles and lifejacket.  If you are planning to snorkel, which I highly recommend,  please always strive to be a responsible travelers.  I can’t stress this enough. Please be mindful and don’t do anything that would damage the ocean. I was sad to see that the pollution has already started to show in the corals in this island.  Please don’t touch the corals and don’t feed the fish with crackers or bread.  Sadly, our driver did, which annoyed me.  Crackers or bread are not supposed to be fed to fish.  It’s not their natural food and it contains yeast which is harmful to fish when eaten.

Batu Berlayar Island

Batu Berlayar Island

First stop:  Batu Berlayar Island.  This island is  full of massive granites, which is very interesting to see as it consist of, well, basically, sands and massive granite boulders.  We stopped to take pictures and did a little bit of a swim.  Further description as well as tips on Batu Berlayar Island can be found here

Next stop: Burong Island;   we had a quick stop to swim hereAccording to our driver,  the island is called Burong for its surrounding granites that shaped like birds.

Third stop: Near Lengkuas Island for our chance to snorkel.  The water is crystal clear, you can even see the corals and fish from the boat without having to jump in. I was mesmerized by the amount of beautiful colored fish swimming around me.  I’ve been snorkeling in other countries before, but this is the first time I was surrounded by hundreds of little colorful fish! The corals are so beautiful. That’s why I can’t stress enough the need for us as travelers to help preserve it by not polluting the sea and be mindful about the corals while we are snorkeling, so we can enjoy this beautiful nature for many years to come and keep the ecosystem balanced.

DSC05926_Fotor

DSC05929_Fotor

Fourth stop: Lengkuas Island;   Tired from snorkeling we headed out to Lengkuas Island, where the 129 years old lighthouse is located. We stopped here for lunch.  By the look of things everyone stops here for a picnic lunch. You could go up the lighthouse if you want, but we both were too tired to climb up the stairs so we decided to get changed and  cleaned ourselves up.  The sad thing was, I noticed there was  a lot of rubbish left here by the people who went for picnic in this island.  Please don’t let this be you.  Make sure you put away your rubbish properly or brought it back with you to the main island  to be disposed in the proper trash bin.

DSC05934_Fotor

After lunch,  we head out to Kepayang Island or Babi Island which is known for  the sea turtle conservation center.  Be sure to bring some money for donation as a token to visit the center.  As we were heading home from Kepayang Island, we passed the Pasir Island.  It is a little island made of  sand that you can walk on during low tide. We couldn’t stop here as there were already around 15 people on the island.   It was quite funny to see people circling the island and looked like they were floating on the sea.

DSC05952_Fotor

Babi Island

DSC05962_Fotor

Pasir Island

We decided to skip the trip to Tanjung Tinggi (a beach that got famous for being featured in the Laskar Pelangi movie)  because we were too tired from all the snorkeling and island hopping.   We decided to save it for tomorrow and then headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest.

We had coffee and pisang bakar at the hotel  before heading out for Seafood Dinner at Keramika Restauran.  It is only fitting to have a seafood dinner when in Belitung, right?   We both thought that the price for dinner is about the same as a seafood dinner in Jakarta so don’t expect anything cheaper.

Day 1 was concluded by souvenir shopping.  The typical Belitung souvenir is packaged seafood snacks such as Krupuk Bangka (seafood crackers) or Getas (mackerel crackers) which we managed to get plenty for friends and family back home.  Then we headed back to hotel for a girly catch- up session by the pool while seeping ginger tea.  Bliss!

Well our trip is not over yet, to be continued to our second leg of the trip!

– As previously published in Travelers Daily, 16 December 2013

Top 3 Must Try Dishes in Belitung

A big part of traveling is always about the culinary experience while you’re in your destination. I’m a foodie and I always believe that there’s new dishes out there await me to try it out. However, my recent trip to Myanmar has made me a little bit careful when it comes to food. Appreciating good food may come naturally for me but there are time where I have to accept that not all food may bode well with my taste bud. Fashionese Daily’s editor Dhany has forewarned me before my trip to Myanmar that there’s a slim chance that I might like the food – and I ended up agreeing to her. So when this happened for the second time before my trip to Belitung, a fellow foodie told me that most of the dishes there are not noteworthy, I take note of that and starting to do my research of what I must try.

Mie Atep or any mie Belitong

SONY DSC

One of the most well-known culinary destinations in Belitung where tourist will make it a must to visit Mie Atep where it serves mie Belitong. Located right at the heart of the city near the Tanjung Pandan market, it’s a perfect place to have a hearty plate of breakfast. Our hotel, Billiton, located just stone’s throw away from Mie Atep. This dish is made from thick egg noodle combine with thick shrimp broth which reminds me of the more famous Mie Celor from Palembang. Steamed bean sprouts, fried tofu, bitter nut cracker (emping) and crushed Belitung’s chilly are added to the mix of this savory and fresh dish.

Fresh Gangan soup after a hot sunny day, anyone?

SONY DSC

This soup is so flavorful! It combines tumeric, galangal, lemongrass and chilly. But what contributes to its sour and very refreshing taste is actually the mix of pineapple into the dish. Oh, how I love pineapple in my food! The combination between the hotness of the chilly, strong aroma of tumeric and sourness of the pineapple is so unique that it appeased my taste bud perfectly. While the taste varies according to the choice of fish it’s cooked with, but the most common fish used for this dish are ikan ketarap, ilak and libam (baronang).

In its other form, the spices for Gangan are also used to make Pais or grilled fish with herbs that is similar to the Sundanese pepes. Where Gangan is in soup form, Pais used the same variation of spices that are inserted inside the fish and then grilled to perfection. The same spices are also used to cook crab, but with the addition of coconut milk. Both of these dishes I could not vouch for, as Irene and I didn’t really try it.

 Kick your day forward with a cup of coffee at Manggar

SONY DSC

The local would call Manggar as the “city with a thousand coffee shops” or “kota seribu warung kopi“.  There wasn’t that many 🙂 But it’s definitely a good place to visit after spending your morning cruising around Belitung Timur. The whole strip of street is filled with warung kopi which you could just easily order your Kopi O (black coffee) or coffee with milk. Mine is the latter, where it uses condensed milk to balance out the heady strong coffee taste that is just a perfect pick me up coffee. I like that it has the right balance of acidity as well as roast. Irene and I enjoyed our time sitting in nonchalance and away from the pretentious feel of Jakarta’s coffee shop.  We truly enjoyed the simplicity of a simple warung kopi by the street chatting our afternoon away under the drizzling rain that day.

So girls, next time you visit Belitung, make sure to have these three items on your to try list.

 

– As previously published on Travelers Daily, 20 December 2013