First Landing in America! (Part 3) ๐ŸŒž๐ŸŒž

Morning, Austin! โ˜€๏ธ
Taterscape brunch in Arturoโ€™s Underground Cafรฉ – fried potatoes, eggs and avocado (for the third time this week!!)

My final post on my week-long trip to Austin as I count down my final few days in my first trip to America! Just like the rest of the week, the sun shined brightly across the river on Thursday with my first stop being the central library by the river. Not only is the library well facilitated, but it also has a rooftop garden overlooking the scenery nearby. And I managed to squeeze some work in there for an hour or so haha (as the reality of being back at work soon was starting to hit me)- such an amazing working environment! ๐Ÿ˜›

Inside Central Library
The rabbit and the Mad Hatter
Depiction of all the famous murals in Austin
View from the library rooftop

I then walked across the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge, enjoying every bit of the scenery nearby as I headed to my next place of interest, which is the the Picnic Food Truck Park in Barton Springs in the south of the city. โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ

Crossing the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge
The cutest bridge I have ever seen! ๐Ÿ˜
Look itโ€™s Pac-man!
The Picnic Food Truck Park in Barton Springs
A funky display of caravans next to the food truck park

I was dying for the toilet when I arrived at the food truck park but unluckily the toilet there was locked, so I decided to sneak to the bar/restaurant next door. Out of embarrassment (and I doubted they will lend me the toilet for free), I ordered a drink to sit in. I unwittingly ordered the cool-looking Earth Rita (not realising it was probably short for margarita, partly blaming the unclear menu who only said โ€œsecret ingredientsโ€โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿน)and OMG that drink was so so strong (literally tasted like pure alcohol)! ๐Ÿ˜ต But I was adamant to finish it since I paid over $10โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ’ต Ended up stumbling my way back to the food trucks and hazily ordered a Louisiana fish and oyster platter that I can just about remember what it tasted like hahaโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅด

This Earth Rita drink literally killed meโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿ˜ต
A Louisiana fried fish and oyster platter – can barely remembered how it tasted haha. I assume it was good cause I finished the whole plate! ๐Ÿ˜‚
Gelato truck
Lemon pie, coconut and hazelnut gelato (the latter saved for my friend)

In a bit of a drunken stumble, I headed back to the central library, meeting my friend there before we headed north to the Blanton Museum of Art together (and I managed not to have the gelato melted all the way haha!๐Ÿ˜€) And it was free entry on Thursday (with free lockers provided)! Here are some snapshots of the artworks inside. ๐Ÿ–ผ ๐ŸŽจ

The Blanton Museum of Art also has a special chapel-like exhibition piece (called โ€œAustinโ€) by Ellsworth Kelly.

โ€œAustinโ€
Beautiful! โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ
Dinner was Tex-Mex grilled chicken with beans and rice. Tasted much better than it looks hehe!

After a brief rest in the evening, we then decided to make full advantage of Austinโ€™s busy night life and headed to clubbing in the downtown! ๐ŸŒƒ Havenโ€™t been out in ages, and it was definitely hot and sweaty on the dance floor there haha! (So unprepared for it! ๐Ÿ˜‚) But it surely was nice to feel like I am back in uni again! ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿ•บ

Clubbing at rainbow crosswalk ๐Ÿ•บ๐Ÿ•บ

Not being too hungover from the night before, we then headed to the Bullock Texas State History Museum the next day (with my history buff friend acted as the tour guide!) Truth be told I know very little about American history, let alone the history of Texas so it is nice to be able to get glimpses of their culture and all the stories behind its making.

Bullock Texas State History Museum
Inside the museum
The shipwreck remains of La Belle
The diary of the captain
Bison ๐Ÿฆฌ
The history of USA ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ
Movie time inside haha! ๐ŸŽฅ
Felt like I was in a western movie ๐Ÿค 
Moon landing! ๐ŸŒ•
๐Ÿคฉ๐Ÿคฉ

We then continued our sightseeing tour, visiting the campus of St Edwardโ€™s University and Lake Austin.

Grabbed a fried chicken and burger whilst waiting for the bus ๐ŸšŒ๐Ÿฅค๐Ÿฅค
St Edwardโ€™s University
View of Austin from St Edwardโ€™s
Beautiful sunset ๐ŸŒ… at Lake Austin
Tea break at Mozartโ€™s Coffee Roasters by the lake

And on my penultimate night, after making a quick pass through Waterloo Park, I finally get to sample some Texan BBQ brisket. ๐Ÿ”ฅ I went to Stubbโ€™s which was very close to my hotel. It wasnโ€™t highly recommended by a lot of people I spoke to (Franklin which was quite well known was pretty much fully took up ๐Ÿ˜•). However, I actually did enjoy my brisket which was tender and also the sides of mac and cheese and collard greens. ๐Ÿ˜‹ (Though the cheese and jalapeรฑo sausage were slightly on the dry side for me).

Waterloo Park
Inside Stubbโ€™s
Finally a Texas BBQ! ๐Ÿ–

On the last day, before heading to the airport, my friend and I managed to squeeze in an All-you-can-eat meal in a Japanese restaurant near to him. The food was average but I thought $27.95 was quite reasonable for the quantities you get! ๐Ÿ˜™

All you can eat in 1 hour!

And finally after saying a proper farewell (also slightly ready) to my friend, it was also time to say bye bye to the city. ๐Ÿ˜ข Until the next time, Austin! I hope I can come back soon!

Bye bye Austin! ๐Ÿ‘‹

First Landing in America! (Part 2) ๐ŸŒƒ๐ŸŒƒ

Four days into Austin, and I still need to get over my jet lag problems! ๐Ÿฅฑ๐Ÿ˜ด Hence I started my morning with a very Tex-Mex brunch of tacos! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐ŸŒฎ๐ŸŒฎ (Weather was as glorious as ever! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ Though I still canโ€™t get over the extra tax charges at the end of bills! ๐Ÿ’ต)

Spicy chicken taco and Mexican egg taco ๐Ÿ˜‹โ˜€๏ธ

After a filling breakfast, I then visited Harry Ransom Center within the UT campus to see the Julia Child exhibition inside (recommended by my friend living here). I started this blog back in 2019 after watching the movie โ€˜Julie & Juliaโ€™, so it did give me a sense of nostalgia and coming back full circle to see snapshots of her journey again. ๐Ÿ˜ (And also at last grabbed a copy of her famous cookbook for myself!)

Harry Ransom Center
Julia Child Exhibition including some original letters and photos that reminded me scenes from the movie
I do love a French onion soup! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿง…๐Ÿง…
There is also a exhibit of the Gutenberg Bible – one of the earliest bibles made using printing press
Have to be done! ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ
A lunch break back in the Taiwanese eatery near the UT campus – ordered a lychee slushie and a satay beef lo mein

Following some more wanders around the city centre, I headed back to the hotel for a change of clothes before meeting up with my friend again to head to the upscale Japanese restaurant Uchiko. And what a feast that was! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Some of our personal favourites were the soft shell crab makimono rolls (absolutely love their unusual use of apple in them! ๐ŸŽ), foie gras sushi, unagi sushi and the jasmine cream dessert.

Uchiko
Inside Uchiko
Beautiful lights on the ceiling
A complimentary yellowtail appetiser ๐Ÿ‘Œ
Sake toro (Scottish salmon belly) and Masu (Tasmanian ocean trout) sushi
Our favourite dish of the night- soft shell crab makimono with honeycrisp apple! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค
Tiger Cry rolls with Wagyu beef, vegetables and rice paper
Hot rock Wagyu beef grill
Unagi (eel) sushi
Foie Gras sushi – my personal favourite! ๐Ÿ˜
Kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) tempura with a delicious shishito pepper aioli
An incredible dessert! ๐Ÿ˜ Jasmine cream with cilantro granita ๐Ÿ’š and pineapples ๐Ÿ

After having such a satisfying meal, it was even more of a treat to use the outdoor hot tub in my friendโ€™s apartment to round off a perfect night! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ› ๐Ÿ‘Œ ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Crab crepe in a classically French brunch

After a good night of sleep, I woke up for a crepe brunch before visiting 99 Ranch Market, a Chinese supermarket in the northern area of Austin by Crestview Station. I thought it was a perfect day for some home cooking for a change after days of eating out! ๐Ÿ˜‰

The railway tracks
99 Ranch Market
Inside 99 Ranch
My favourite daikon! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
Never seen white onions before!
Giving these Anaheim peppers a try!

I try to go a bit more budget as some of the items (particularly meat) are actually quite expensive, but they sold quite cheap seafood, hence I went with some peeled shrimps and squids (dissected and cleaned the squids all by myself – havenโ€™t done that in years since my last visit back to my home city of Hong Kong! ๐Ÿ˜‚) It was also quite challenging as my friend didnโ€™t have stoves installed in his kitchen (beside one self heating electric pot), so I kept things quite simple for the night.

Japanese fish cakes and daikon stew
Salted egg shrimps and squid stir fry with peppers and beans

Austin is a vibrant city with a busy night life, so after dinner, we both went for a walk along Congress Avenue Bridge and explored the beautiful Downtown Austin and its amazing skyline. ๐ŸŒƒ๐ŸŒ™๐Ÿ’ซ

๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
Also grabbed a nice fro yo before heading back! ๐Ÿจ๐Ÿฅค

First Landing In America! (Part 1) โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

For the first time in my 28 years, I have finally leapt across the pond of the Atlantic Ocean to visit our neighbouring country of the USA! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ This was a long trip coming but was delayed due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, and I used my half term break to grab this opportunity! ๐Ÿ˜‰

For my first ever trip into the State, I decided on Austin (since I have a friend there who can help me with the navigation if needed ๐Ÿงญ๐Ÿ˜!) Resting in the heart of Texas, Austin is a city with a very diverse culture and artistry. ๐ŸŒƒ A perfect place for someone like me!

Austin at night ๐ŸŒƒ
Downtown Austin
Capitol of Texas
UT Tower
Rainbow Cowboy ๐Ÿค ๐ŸŒˆ
Rainbow crosswalk ๐ŸŒˆ ๐ŸŒˆ
Frost Bank Tower from the distance
My friend calls it the โ€œchubbyโ€ pigeon ๐Ÿคญ
Beautiful pavement โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ
Love these!
A beautiful building that turns out to be just a car park! ๐Ÿ˜‚
Love the look of this neighbourhood!
Quite empty traffic (surprisingly!) ๐Ÿš— ๐Ÿš™
More colours of Austin! ๐ŸŽจ ๐ŸŽจ
Vietnamese dinner at Pho Thaison on the first night (my friendโ€™s recommendation haha!) That lime soda was huge lol!!

Despite being firmly in winter, my first few days in Austin were blessed by glorious sunshine and heat! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ After finishing the hotel breakfast, my friend (being a political student) took me to a political rally featuring the amazing AOC that was reported in local news.

Never ate hotelโ€™s breakfast on a sofa with paper plates before! ๐Ÿ˜‚ The sausage was dry but the patties arenโ€™t actually that bad (went back for seconds haha!)
AOC at the political rally
Lunch at Chili Parlour
Top: Queso (Mexican Cheese Dip) with Chips; Bottom: Pork Tamales and their signature chili

We then headed over to lunch at the Chili Parlour (cause I was dying to try some local Texan/American food! ๐Ÿ˜‚) Really enjoyed the homemade nachos chips which were nice for a change. The cheese dip and salsa were nice too but the heat was getting to me haha! ๐Ÿฅต Loved their chili especially the fact they are chucks of meat rather than mince which I was used to. ๐Ÿ˜‹ The tamales were slightly on the dry side, but I did enjoy the flavourful rice and beans they came with. Following this, we paid a visit to the Capitol of Texas and UT campus at the heart of the city.

Inside the Capitol of Texas
The incredible ceiling of the Capitol
The rotunda floor
Courtroom inside the Capitol
UT campus (blending in quite well with all the college students!)
UT Tower and the two โ€œballsโ€
UT Tower up close
The famous cat of the campus- Domino ๐Ÿˆโ€โฌ›
Eating zongzi again after so many years remind me of my late grandmother ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿ˜ข (Also ended up missing pretty much the whole of Super Bowl during this haha!)

After a rather early night back in the hotel (fell asleep ๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ’ค with the Winter Olympics playing at the background ๐Ÿ“บ lol), I then visited the Austin city hall on the next day as well as the LBJ Library.

Austin City Hall
Inside the city hall
LBJ library
๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
As a child, I loved Sesame Street! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
LBJ
More inside the exhibition – love the old TV ads ๐Ÿ“บ
A replica of the White House
One of Ladybirdโ€™s dresses
Olmec Statue outside the library (reminded of something I saw in a childhood anime movie! ๐Ÿ˜‚)
So sunny in Austin today! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ (Quite hot too ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ! Is it really February!?)
Brunch at a sidewalk ๐Ÿ‘ Really enjoyed this sandwich made with Jalapeรฑo & Cheese bread.

When the night falls again, I met up with my friend for a Italian dinner in Quattro Gatti Ristorante e Pizzeria! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค (Also Happy Valentineโ€™s Day, everyone lol! โค๏ธ) FYI everything tasted amazing! ๐Ÿ˜‚

What a treat! ๐Ÿ‹๐Ÿ‹
A classic Italian dinner: Meatballs and rosemary focaccia; lobster ravioli with vodka sauce; truffle sausage rigatoni; and finally chocolate and Strawberry with a cookie that tasted the cannoli shells! Yum! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค

Happy New Year from Edinburgh! ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2022 be your best year yet! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ Hope you had also enjoyed your holiday – my new yearโ€™s resolution definitely needs to be to work off all the food I have eaten over the past weeks! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Edinburgh at night ๐ŸŒ™ (not reallyโ€ฆ this was before 5 in the afternoon ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜…)
The Balmoral Hotel
St Jamesโ€™ Shopping Centre ๐Ÿ’ซ
Christmas tree in St Andrew Square ๐ŸŽ„
The Dome
Beautiful lights! โ›„๏ธโ›„๏ธ
The winter season in full swing! โ„๏ธ
Delicious seafood lunch in Mussels Inn (one of my favourite seafood spots here! ๐Ÿ˜‹)
A pot of mussels to ourselves! โค๏ธโค๏ธ
The Pakora Bar – popped in for a quick snack!
Got to love a bit of Wahaca! ๐Ÿ‘Œ
A nice, warm bowl of ramen is perfect in this chilly weather ๐Ÿฅถ
And got treated to a nice dinner in the hotel my mum works at! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

A belated Merry Christmas! ๐ŸŽ„โ˜ƒ๏ธโ„๏ธ๐Ÿ’ซ๐Ÿ’ซ

A slightly late Merry Christmas from me!! ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŽ‰ I got a little carried with a lot of stuff lately (work, uni essay and readings among many other things ๐Ÿ˜ฌ), but finally found some time to do some festive baking in the past month. ๐Ÿ˜ What kinds of festive baking have you done?

And also a quick shoot of the beautiful Christmas lights here in Edinburgh!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Half Term Getaway to Spain: Part 2

Beautiful view of Valencia from the top of Torres de Serranos

Valencia really was a beautiful city with a very interesting mix of cultures, history as well as modernness to it – evident from the buildings across the city.

Plaza de Toros de Valencia (bullring)
Valencia Nord Train Station
Valencia Central Market

Being a my usual foodie self, my first stop on my last day in Valencia was the impressive centre market. It features a wide range of food ranging from the famous Spanish Jamรณn, fresh meats, fruits and sweets as well as different kinds of preserves. It certainly took a long time to go around the entire place! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course it wonโ€™t be Spain without Jamรณn! ๐Ÿท
Love all these exotic fruits! Shame I canโ€™t buy them all home!
โ€œSnackingโ€ in the food market (from top left going along the row): spinach empanada, pepito carne (fried stuffed sandwich), mandarin juice, Jamรณn and an apple semifreddo dessert ๐Ÿคค (thought it was a cake but it turned out to be ice cream!)
And a surprise buy! ๐Ÿ˜‚

I then headed the city centre of Valencia, visiting the grande and historical town hall as well as the central post office.

Correos (Central Post office)
Grande ceiling in the post office
Valencia Town Hall
Beautiful chandeliers!
The Laws of Valencia standing at the centre of the room!
Exquisite ceiling
The Valencian Flag
The old parliament

After a long walk in the heart of Valencia, I then headed back to the direction of Plaza de la Virgen where I was last night to visit the Valencia Cathedral. But before that, I stopped for a little tea break sampling a local drink called Horchata, which is a milk made from tiger nuts, typically accompanied with a sweet pastry called Farton. ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Horchata with Farton
Valencia Cathedral (entry for 8 Euros – though I got away with a student discount again! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘Œ)
Main altar of the cathedral
Beautiful chapel ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ
Love stained glass whenever I visit a cathedral!
Amazing!
Underground of the cathedral
Eek ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿฆด๐Ÿฆด

After wondering through the town some more, I then rode the bus to the more desolated Pinedo beach which sat on the outskirts of Valencia, enjoying the breezes from the sea before riding back to the city again. ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŒŠ

Pinedo beach

And after a few drinks at some bars and places across town (getting a little light headed lol), I settled for a final light dinner at a couscous bar near to my hotel in the Russafa area. The waitress was so lovely and welcoming, and we had such a nice chat about the city and travelling (turned out she is from Miami, so we got chatting about America which I longed to visit!) ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

Couscous buffet bar for a light and healthy dinner! ๐Ÿ˜‹

And donโ€™t forget itโ€™s Halloween this Sunday! ๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿ‘ป Stay safe and enjoy the festival! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Half Term Getaway to Spain: Part 1

After a very busy month of work, it was time for another one of my getaway trips! ๐Ÿ˜ Taking full advantage of my week-long break, I jetted of to a popular neighbour of ours – the exotic county of Spain! ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ

Hola, Spain! ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ
Early flight today! ๐Ÿฅฑ

This time, I decided on a cheap early flight that set off from Stansted airport to Valencia at 7am in the morning (which meant I had to leave home at about 4am in the morning haha ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿฅฑ barely even slept lol!) The airport is known for cheap commercial flights, but just annoying itโ€™s a bit far away from the city centre (about one hour of train journey from Liverpool Street Station.)

Sunrise!๐ŸŒ…
The view of Valencia as we descended ๐Ÿ›ฉ
Beautiful view outside the balcony from my hotel room
Spanish tostada with ham

Upon descended in Valencia, I visited a local cafe for the Spanish tostada and then the famous beach of Malvarrosa. The weather was sunny but with just enough of breezes in October, so it was a nice day to be out chilling in the sands for some time! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

Playa de la Malvarrosa

After a brief break in the hotel, I then walked to a futuristic part of the city where the Hemisfรจric and the science museum are located. The area is such an iconic wow factor of the city! ๐Ÿคฉ Felt like I took a time machine straight to the Year 3000 haha!

Hemisfรจric
Valencia Science Museum
The sky garden of Umbracle

My initial plan was to visit the science museum on the first day, but once again (I know itโ€™s a running theme lol) I didnโ€™t pay attention to the fact that opening hours change between seasons (closing time at 9pm in summer but 6pm in winter) ๐Ÿ˜…, so I decided to then head to dinner early. Though, it turned out restaurants in Spain open really late (most dinner services here start about 8/9pm and finished at about 11pm), so I ended up trying my luck to a few closed doors ๐Ÿ˜• before finally stumbling upon an open tapas place called El Temple. (Was wanting to find a paella place but had completely no luckโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ž ) Though it was still a very nice dinner and I absolutely loved their Patatas bravas! ๐Ÿ‘

Quartet of tapas (from top left clockwise): Patatas bravas, squid ink croquettes, grilled prawns with guacamole and grilled pork tenderloin with Camembert cheese and caramelised onions

The first day ended with a rather early night (mainly down to the exhaustion of waking up early in the morning for the flight lol! ๐Ÿ˜ด) In the next morning, I headed to a popular cafe called Dulce De Leche nearby (recommended by the receptionist in my hotel) and decided to do a takeout breakfast on my way back to the museum area.

What a selection! ๐Ÿ˜‹
Bocadillo and carrot/orange/apple juice ๐Ÿฅค (One of the best sandwiches I ever had seriously!)

After about a 40-minute walk, I arrived back at the science museum and bought the all-around ticket which covered the science museum, Hemisfรจric and Oceanogrร fic (costing about 38 euros – though I did mange to get a student discount thanks to me now doing my Masters course part-time lol. ๐Ÿ‘Œ) The three places are all very big, especially the Oceanogrร fic aquarium (which basically itโ€™s a โ€œsmallerโ€ theme park on its own) so there is an option to have the ticket covered over 2-3 days in order to allow yourself enough time to see everything gradually. As I was only here for a few days, I obviously opted for the reckless one day option haha! ๐Ÿ˜‚ (Yeah, was exhausted by the end of the day from all the walking I did lol!)

The entrance of Oceanogrร fic
Jellyfishes are always so stunning to look at!
Beautiful Mediterranean Sea!
๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚
The whole park of Oceanogrร fic- itโ€™s massive!
The giant bird cage in the park
Under the dome! (Watching out for ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿ’ฉ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ)
Pink flamingos ๐Ÿฆฉ๐Ÿฆฉ๐Ÿฆฉ๐Ÿฆฉ๐Ÿฆฉ
Mine! Mine! Mine!
The famous Galรกpagos tortoises
Never seen these before! (Apparently there are called Western crowned pigeons)
Sharks and manta rays
Never seen this kind of shark before!
Memorising!
Under the sea

My favourite attraction in Oceanogrร fic is the Artic centre, which features the amazing Beluga whales. It was my first time seeing them ever in real life and I was absolutely blown away!

Beluga whale
Amazing Beluga whales!
๐Ÿง ๐Ÿง
Cute little penguin walk!
Dolphin show! ๐Ÿฌ๐Ÿฌ
Needed to cool down like them haha! ๐Ÿฆญ ๐Ÿฆญ

Going back to the science museum, I was intrigued by this egg incubator exhibit – everyone was surrounding it and anticipating all these chicks hatching from the eggs and it was such a cute and miraculous thing to see! ๐Ÿฃ โค๏ธ

Egg incubator in the science museum
Watched this little guy trying to come out for hours – finally itโ€™s here! ๐Ÿฅณ๐Ÿฅณ
๐Ÿฃ ๐Ÿฃ ๐Ÿฃ
Hemisfรจric in the twilight

After finishing the all-around tour with a science movie screening in the Hemisfรจric planetarium (it was nice but the film was a little too educational and too work-related for my holiday mood ๐Ÿ˜), it was finally dinner time again (and I timed it right to fit the Spanish opening hours that night haha!) and I headed to the beautiful Plaza de la Virgen.

People dancing under the bridge in the park on the way lol
๐Ÿ’ƒ ๐Ÿ•บ ๐Ÿ’ƒ ๐Ÿ•บ Totally feeling the vibes haha! ๐Ÿคช
Plaza de la Virgen
Beautiful lights in front of Virgen de los Desamparados Basilica
Paella! ๐Ÿฅ˜ ๐Ÿฅ˜

And at last, I got to try the authentic Spanish paella (which apparently originated from Valencia) to mark the end of a busy day! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

Birthday Weekend @ Eastbourne

The past month had been absolutely hectic ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’จ, hence I have took some breaks away from my blog and baking. It did start to feel a bit depressing as I had been spending most of my evenings and weekends doing work stuff ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช, so honestly this birthday weekend did come at the right time for me to find any excuse I can to get out of London! ๐Ÿ˜‚

For this getaway trip, I decided on Eastbourne (kind of come out of blue to be fair lol) as I hoped some rare sunshine ๐Ÿ–โ˜€๏ธ will be a perfect change of scenery to the miserable weather in London in the past week or so.

Straight after work on Friday evening, I took the tube to Victoria Station to board my train to Eastbourne. Though my initial train was cancelled, there were plenty of replacement lines which meant I only arrived slightly later than expected. ๐Ÿš‚ However, it was pitch dark by that time, so I headed out straight to dinner after checking in the hotel.

Charlie Brownโ€™s Diner
A Statue of Liberty as tall as me lol ๐Ÿ˜‚
Charlieโ€™s Special Burger (with egg and bacon) plus a Blue Lagoon cocktail ๐Ÿน
And Snoopy!

My mum was a big fan of Snoopy and Charlie Brown, so growing up I did read a lot of the Peanuts comics. (Immediately sent pics to her after! ๐Ÿ˜›) The diner was a quirky little place with a lot of American references and deco. The menu wasnโ€™t exactly wow, but the portions were absolutely massive (just like America would lol- I barely finished the whole plate.) And that Blue Lagoon was certainly getting into my head afterwards haha! ๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ๐Ÿฅด๐Ÿ˜ตโ€๐Ÿ’ซ

Tipsily walked into the supermarket to get a chocolate and mint ice cream hahaโ€ฆ

After a rather early night (for me at least lol), I woke up to the worst weather possible on Saturday morning! ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒงโ˜”๏ธโ˜”๏ธโ˜”๏ธ So I settled for a more indoors day (far from what I had initially plannedโ€ฆ๐Ÿ˜“) and ended up going to a cafรฉ in the shopping mall for a nice brunch and doing some work stuff on the laptopโ€ฆ (The wind was so strong that day, I actually felt absolutely battered by the time I got there! ๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ˜ต)

Mushroom Brunch – and then worked some more lol ๐Ÿ’ป๐Ÿ’ป

Even by late afternoon, the rain seemingly had no plan of stopping. ๐Ÿ˜•๐Ÿ˜• After some long pondering, I ended up buying an ice cream takeaway back to the hotel (sticking to traditions regardless of weather lol!)

Awful weather outside!! ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Whilst I took a semi nap soaking in the bath tub ๐Ÿ› , the rain somehow miraculously stopped (honestly I had totally given up hope by then lol!) So I decided to brave the winds (it was still super strongโ€ฆ actually used that to dry my wet clothes earlier ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘Œ) and headed out to an Italian restaurant called Rostick.

The rain has finally stopped ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
Eastbourne Pier at dark
Rostick
The sizzling Brodetto di Pescatrice (mussels, clams, prawns, scallops, monkfish, skate wings, razor clam, langoustine and baby octopus)

I ordered their signature Brodetto di Pescatrice which is cooked in a hot clay pot (it was still sizzling when it served.) The flavours of the broth were good, but some of the seafood was a little overcooked (octopus and monkfish was good, but the scallops were a bit rubberyโ€ฆ)

The next morning, the rain and wind has completely ceased, with rays of sunshine shining brightly across the beach front. Finally got to enjoy what Eastbourne was really about! ๐Ÿ‘ (Essentially squeezed what I wanted to do yesterday into 3 hours before I hopped on my train back to London!)

The weather has finally calmed down
Eastbourne Pier
Victorian Tearoom at the centre of Eastbourne Pier
Inside the Victorian tearoom – beautiful chandeliers
The classic combo of sandwich ๐Ÿฅช and soup ๐Ÿฅฃ
The sun is finally out!! โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ
Where was this weather yesterday lol??
Glorious weather
Always love to see beach huts in these coastal places
Glimpses of Beachy Head (was supposed to hike across yesterdayโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฃ)

Whilst the trip didnโ€™t go fully as planned, it was still memorable in many aspects! After arriving in London, I caught up with some of my old pals from my uni judo club in Mercato Metropolitano- all in all not a bad weekend to complain! (And I had one too many mixers whilst with them lol! ๐Ÿฅด)

Had this delicious Korean fried chicken with my drinks! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

28 Today!

Another year flew by and so much had happened during these timesโ€ฆ Went through months of lockdown; adapted to the new working environment; dazed through hundreds of online Team calls; forged new relationships with new people; rethought my careers path, enrolled to a new university course; felt the highs from the Tokyo Olympics and explored parts of this amazing world I have never encountered before… Going to a new year of my life, I feel like I am certainly turning over a new leaf. ๐Ÿ€

There are many future plans I would like to share with you all, but I shall keep things under wrapped for the time being as the dusts settled. Meanwhile, I thought a new biscuit selfie profile pic is in order to celebrate the beginning of yet another chapter! ๐Ÿ˜‰ The background is in light of my trip to Paris a few years ago – the stunningly bright Eiffel Tower under the midnight sky was a memory I would never forget!