Back to Paris: A Duo’s Journey 🇫🇷🇫🇷

After almost three years, my trip in Paris still stays as one of my most memorable journey of all times given it was my first time travelling solo oversea. So, for this bank holiday weekend, I can’t be more excited of going back!

This time, however, instead of travelling solo I will be exploring it with my bestie! 🏃‍♂️🏃🏻‍♀️ And we kicked the first night with a late, boozy dinner at Déviant! 🍸🥂

These octopus ceviche tostada were so delicious! 😍😍
From left to right clockwise: Beef tartare, pistachio gnocchi, pollock pil-pil and rhubarb sorbet

Hoping we weren’t too hungover the next morning, we stopped by a beautiful smelling bakery on our way to the Louvre museum! 🤤 I ordered a delicious gammon quiche which as I was taking a picture, dropped onto the floor!! 😱😱😱 (but 10-second rule right?? 😂)

Smells so good! 😋😋
The Louvre

The Louvre was packed full of people on the day just like last time. However, this time I was smart enough to reserve a ticket beforehand, but it still took quite some time queuing to get in! Finally, I get to meet the famous Mona Lisa (my friend wasn’t as enthusiastic about her though! 😂)

The famous Mona Lisa (so many people around it!!)
I really enjoyed the Egyptian section of the museum
Big and strong Hercules! 💪 💪
Beautiful sculpture
My bestie is having fun! 😂
Napoleon III Apartments at the Richelieu Wing
I do love chandeliers! ❤️ (But also very warm in the room haha! 🥵)
The stunning banquet room

After a brief rest, we then embarked on our long walk towards the Eiffel Tower, passing by Café de Flore and Luxembourg Garden on the way! (Completely broke my record of steps that day haha! 😆🏃‍♂️)

Fro-yo to recharge! 😝
Grand Bassin Rond – the weather was so good that ☀️ ☀️ we sunbathed here for a bit!
Café de Flore
Medici Fountain at Luxembourg Garden
Luxembourg Palace ☀️☀️
Second meal of gelato – needed it hahaha! 😂
Quiet streets of Paris
Dinner time – and bestie absolutely refused to eat the snails! 😂 🐌 🐌
Climbing up the stairs of Eiffel Tower 💪
The view of Paris up at the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower at night ✨✨
Midnight in Paris 🥰🥰
Second dinner – someone is REALLY hungry after all the walking! 😂 (and it’s not me! 🤣)

The next day we then visited the spectacular Petit Palais. A perfect spot for some morning relaxation and a light brunch! 🥰🥰

The golden front gate of Petit Palais
Inside Petit Palais
Beautiful garden 🌿🌿 at the centre
Roast chicken breast brunch 👍

Maximising the time spent outdoor in the glorious weather, we also went picnicking back at Tuileries Garden by the Louvre as well as visiting the rooftop of Galeries Lafayette.

The most sophisticated supermarket packed lunch I have seen! 😆 (Love how the olive oil and vinegar came in a tube!) Also realised many of this packed lunches in Paris don’t include cutlery inside – so you need to buy your own one.
Palais Garner
The rooftop of Galeries Lafayette
Another gelato snack – FYI stracciatella 🍫 and lemon 🍋 sorbet is a magnificent combo!
A final walk down Passage Jouffroy

My bestie was heading back to London a day earlier than me, so after saying goodbye 👋 to her at Gare du Nord, I am running solo again for the rest of trip! My first stop was the famous red windmill of Moulin Rouge (after unknowingly wandered passed the red light district of Pigalle 😂🔞 probably won’t shared pics here in case people needed parental guidance haha! 🙈🙈)

Moulin Rouge

I was initially planning to visit Le Petit Canard nearby in the area for the famous duck à l’orange, but unfortunately they were fully booked up (and also closed for the following day). 😔 So, I took the metro line and headed back to one of my favourites from last time – Le Comptoir de la Gastronomie! The onion soup was one of the best I ever had! 👌

Classic French onion soup 🧅 🧀 🥖
A meaty Gourmand salad

And on my last day of my Paris stay (which coincided with Labour Day), I visited Marché Saint-Quentin and the Arc de Triomphe before taking Eurostar back to London. Somehow I gradually got a bit lost track of time and ended up being a bit of a mad dash home! (Typical! 😂)

Marché Saint-Quentin
Wandered around for a long time deciding what to eat in the market 😂 but went with this delicious Moroccan place in the end
How can you not try patisserie whilst in France?
Got the Fraisier and the passion fruit chocolate cake
Arc de Triomphe- Happy Labour Day!
Underneath Arc de Triomphe
A very quick sneaky visit to the president palace (hoping to meet Macron haha)- all the roads were blocked off with guards so that’s the best photo I could get 😅
Was running quite low on time and chowed down this duck à l’orange in under 5 minutes and ran to Gard du Nord for my train back to London! 🚄🚄

Second Half of Aberdeen: A Life of Travelling

A lifetime of travelling.

I wonder if this really it’s possible?

I wonder when I become old and frail, would I have still have the energy and passion to see the world and cease the moments we have? 🤔

Aberdeen Beachfront

Continuing to the third day of our visit in Aberdeen, we visited the Aberdeen beachfront as well as the Codonas Amusement Park which apparently has a history of over 50 years! 😱 (First opening at 1970, which makes only it a handful of years younger than my mum lol!)

In front of Codonas Amusement Park

I certainly don’t know much about the history of the place in the past, but it was quite a bit emptier than we anticipated…😬 (a bit unusual for a seaside resort but I guess I will blame it on the cold weather haha!) Wondering into the game centre, my mum and I decided to have a game of ‘Connect four’ basketball 😂 🏀 (basically connect four but played with basketball lol…)

Look at me scoring haha! 🏀🏀 (My mum beat me though… 😅)

We earned quite a few tickets, but the machine was broken so all the tickets were stuck inside. Once we found a staff to fix it, all the tickets were unblocked and we managed to take all those left behind by previous players (sneaky I know lol! 😎) The previous family playing the game came back and was surprised to see the machine fixed. I offered them to have all the ones that weren’t ours, but the guy was so kind to give us theirs (since they were leaving) as well as a few additional tickets they have. Honestly, I felt a bit greedy…. 😬

With 400 tickets now, I thought we could exchange some nice prizes. My mum and I had tried to weigh up what to get but decided most things are pretty useless… 😂 except the mugs which were 500 tickets (I did suggest going back to play more games.) Seeing us struggling, the girl at the counter asked us what we wanted and she ended up adding up all the leftover tickets around the counter to bring it up to 500 for us!! (Including a ticket which was found in an elderly staff’s pocket!) Oh my God, I was floored by the kindness of these people! Thank you! Thank you! 🙌🙌🙌

Our prize! 🏆 (500 tickets – could not have done it without all the kindness we saw today! 🙏🙏🙏)
BBQ lunch at TGI Friday’s afterwards (one of my mum’s favourite food are pork ribs)
Of course ice cream is a must at the beach! 🌊

After taking a brief break in the hotel, we then took a bus to Duthie Park by River Dee before finishing the day (still have some of our Indian takeaways left over in our hotel room from the previous day 😂.)

River Dee
Duthie Park
Pretty flowers! 💐💐
Bridge over River Dee

The next day, we returned to the Aberdeen beachfront reaching further to Footdee where we also visited the Silver Darling to treat ourselves to a luxurious seafood lunch.

The Silver Darling
Seafood feast! 🤤🤤 (Grilled and chilled oysters, hot smoked salmon, gravadlax, Rollmop herring, crevettes, deep fried white bait, mussels Mariniere and Stonehaven langoustines)
Dessert was a strawberry tasting platter 🍓🍓 consisting of strawberry & basil sorbet, meringue nest, shortbread, strawberry jelly, strawberry & lime syrup and strawberry & gin cocktail 🍸

What a feast that was and I felt like I was eating like the king the whole time! 😝 My favourites of the seafood platter was the grilled langoustines and mussels (that cream sauce was yummy!), but I also really enjoyed the crispy white baits. (Mum also really liked the crevettes, but I think I just generally preferred the hot stuff more than the cold stuff.) We also enjoyed the dessert, especially that heavenly sorbet (plus the cocktail was getting into our heads a bit haha! 😂🥴)

After lunch, we then explored the old fishing village of Footdee before returning to the sea view once again. Loved all the artistic touches around the village! It really gave it a touch of sunshine (even without it was lacking that day 😂) and fun in the area!

All these artistic touches…
My mum and I debated whether this is a house, shop or a storage unit…? (Still don’t know what it is. 😅)
One of my favourite houses we’ve seen!
🐳 🐳 (Reminded me of Iceland hehe!)
Back at the beach again!
A few people were swimming 🏊‍♂️ and sailing in the sea⛵️ but it looked so cold… 🥶

Finally, at the final day of our trip, we visited Thaikhun at Union Square (which was the shoppping mall attached to the bus station) before boarding our bus back to Edinburgh.

Thai Street food platter of chicken satay, steamed dumplings, prawn roasts and crispy beef
Grilled pork with tamarind sauce & sticky rice and Tom Kha Gai with prawns

Really liked the street food platter (ranking wise I will say it’s chicken satay > prawn toasts > steamed dumplings > crispy beef, though my mum argued that the steamed dumplings should be before the prawn toasts haha! 😂 ) I dare say this was probably one of the best I have had in a while lol. The Tom Kha Gai was also really good with a strong taste of lemongrass and lime, and the grilled pork I will say was overall decent. (We didn’t finished the grilled pork which we ended up taking back home and I ended up mopping it up for dinner haha.) But what impressed me the most was the presentations of the food, it really made me felt like I was eating at the street of Thailand haha!

Throughout this trip, I was so pleased of the time I get to spend with my mum after some time apart due to the pandemic. The scenery, the people and the kindness we came across on this trip were unforgettable. Life is short, and sometimes wonder how much longer we get to be doing this… But I tell myself we have the memories to treasure forever and the next time could be ever so near. 🥰

First Half of Aberdeen: The Grey City

Welcome to Aberdeen – the famous ‘Granite City’ or the so-called ‘Grey City’! After some delay in our bus from Aviemore (about 15 minutes then we were further delayed by like half an hour in the second bus when it stopped in Dundee 🚌 🚌 ), we finally began our 4-night stay in the city!

Aberdeen Harbour at night from our hotel room ✨✨
Colourful ships at the Aberdeen Harbour
Steak dinner on the first night 🥩

On our first night, we settled for a rather relaxed evening with a steak dinner in The Brig O’Don. The restaurant was bit away from our hotel and we were already late for our booking due to the delayed bus (though the restaurant was very kind in keeping our seats for us.) We decided to walk over as the weather was actually quite nice at first, but it started to rain heavily as we were about 10 minutes away from it! ☔️☔️ (Classic turbulent Scottish weather urgh 😓) And just as typical as it could get, that was the only time we left our umbrellas in the hotel, so we arrived at the place all drenched and soaked! 😂 💦 💦

The prices were fairly cheap and the food were of good to decent qualities. I really liked the sweet potato fries and the breaded mushrooms, and the seasonings were on point overall – just a bit of a shame that my steak was over cooked (I asked for medium-rare but I think I got medium-well 😅) and the fried squids were a bit soft.

After a night’s rest, we started to explore the city the next day. Looking at all marvellous architecture, it is very apparent how Aberdeen got its nickname of the ‘Grey City’! 😂

Town House & County Hall
Marischal College
Mercat Cross
St Nicholas Church
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption
A burst of rainbow in the ‘Grey City’
Want to fly free in the sky like that!
His Majesty’s Theatre
Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums

We then paid a visit to the Aberdeen Art Gallery. Not going to lie I was not a huge fan of a lot of the arts in the gallery. 😅 Whilst there are some good art pieces I think a lot of the stuff on display are rather too ‘out there’ for me… 😓 (There was a room showing a video showing a pool of eels which was quite gross… 🤢🤢)

Inside Aberdeen Gallery
War memorial sculpture
Starry arts ✨✨
We solved the puzzle! 😂 💪 💪
Relaxing out in the balcony
Enjoying the view at the top

After our visit to the gallery, we wandered down the busy Union Street in the Aberdeen city centre looking for a place for lunch. We stumbled upon a rather grand-looking Thai restaurant called Chaophraya, which was doing a rather sweet deal of a 3-course lunch menu costing £16 (or 2-course for £13.) And I am so glad we found this place! 😋👍

Starters: Tamarind marinated pork skewers & Coconut red curry chicken tacos
Main courses: Green papaya salad & Chicken Pad Thai
Desserts: Chocolate fondant with coconut ice cream & Clementine chocolate pastry tart with vanilla ice cream ❤️❤️

Both of the desserts were absolutely amazing (especially that tangy clementine tart! 🤤🤤) I was also very impressed by the green papaya salad with the dried shrimps and the spicy sauce. (Actually tasted perfect when eaten with my mum’s Pad Thai haha! Yeah we like mixing things together… 😂) Loved the Tamarind pork skewers, but was also pleasantly surprised by the red curry chicken tacos. The taco resembled more to a very soft pancake, and worked perfectly with the toppings! ❤️

We then retreated back to the hotel after exploring the city centre a bit more and ordered an Indian takeaway to enjoy in the room to wrap up the day. 😌

As the sun rises, another day begins! 😊

Day 3 & 4 in Reykjavik: The Land of Ice ❄️ and Fire 🔥

Nature in Iceland is definitely one to behold! It’s a shame my schedule didn’t allowed me to see more of it (which is why I intended to come back again in the future! 😂) But for my final days in the country, I was blessed to witness many beauties of nature within this short amount of time! 🥰🥰

Rainbow over the terrain by Blue Lagoon 🌈
Foot soak in Hljómskálagarður Park to kick off the day! 😂

My first stop after a brief morning soak in the park was Perlan Museum on the hill just by Reykjavik Airport. It was a tightly packed day as I needed to make sure I wouldn’t be late for my bus to the iconic Blue Lagoon at half one, so everything was a bit snapdash in the morning! 😂

Perlan Museum
Inside Perlan Museum
Nature video in the exhibition – beautiful scenes! 😍😍 (Definitely saving them for my revisit!)
Bird island replica
Interactive puffin camera video – it’s really fun!
Throwback to the whale watching yesterday 😂
Finally I see whales! 🐳🐋

The best part of the museum for me was definitely the ice cave! The temperature inside stood at -10 degrees Celsius 🥶, but it was a lot fun running around and exploring as if you are in a real frozen fantasy world! ❄️❄️

Into the unknown! ❄️❄️
I find the magical stone! 😉😂
Almost bumped my head! 😂 🧊🧊
Wow! 🤩🤩
This light is stunning!
Who will be the last one sitting on the ‘Ice Throne‘? 😏🤔😂 (*Cut to Game of Thrones music 🎵🎶🎶*)
Exploring the rest of the museum
An important message to us all!
Amazing Aurora planetarium show! ✨✨ (Unfortunately I can’t share it with you guys as we are forbidden from filming! 🎥❌)
View from the top of Perlan Museum- you can see Hallgrímskirkja from the distance
The mountainous view at the background 🏔
Reykjavik Airport below

After the museum visit, I had just over an hour to use before meeting my scheduled pickup at the bus station by Hallgrímskirkja (where I was staying just on the other side of the road.) So I headed to Kol Restaurant next door to my hotel as well as conveniently dropping off some stuff in my hotel room. 😛 The restaurant appeared to be a fusion Japanese place. They were doing a brunch sample menu but I felt like eating something lighter, so I ordered just the tuna tacos as well as the duck & waffle. The tuna tacos were delicious as the tuna tartare in the centre was perfectly seasoned and sandwiched between the crispy wonton skins. 😋 (Honestly I could have eaten another two!) On the other hand, I will say the duck & waffle was more average – seasoned well but I would have personally liked my waffle to be crispier.

Tuna crispy wonton tacos (left) and duck & waffle (right)

And now, for the main event of my trip- and this is the iconic Blue Lagoon! The place is extremely popular among tourists (honestly the place was packed!) For someone who loves bath like me, this place will be number one on any visiting list! 😁

I pre-booked my visit online before travelling to Iceland, including the tour bus to and from the spa. (Met a lovely American lady on the bus and chatted for some time!) If you don’t drive, there aren’t really much other alternatives from buses besides taking very expensive taxis. (The place is located around 45 minutes drive away from Reykjavik, though a fairly short 20 minutes drive from Keflavík airport.) I went for the cheapest Comfort ticket, costing 8990 ISK (about £56). The prices depend on the day. (I came on Saturday which I think it’s more expensive than weekdays.) The Comfort ticket covered a free drink and a silicon mask, and doesn’t include any bathrobe or sandals and you only get a towel in the end (that caused a lot of confusions with some people including me because we were all like how do we dry ourselves after the initial shower then!? 😂)

Entrance to Blue Lagoon (a big hit of sulphur smell as you near the place! 🤭)
Beautiful hot spring 😍😍
The main area of Blue Lagoon 🔥🔥

The rule is that you must shower (without swimwear) and clean before entering the lagoon. Past the changing rooms, there are cafes and other services which you can paid with the band they provide on entry then finishing any payment when you exit. And to put it quite simply, this place is just heaven to visit with the comfort and the amazing views it provide! 🥰🥰 (I stayed there for a good 4 hours! 😂 Just make sure you stay hydrated/not overheated and don’t miss your return bus!)

Relaxation time 😌😌
Very busy in here though!
Hidden cave
Heaven right here!
The blue lagoon and the blue sky
Grabbing my free drink 😉🥤

Returning to Reykjavik, I finished the day with a dinner of local Icelandic delicacies in Fjallkonan. I have always been bold enough to try different things (being raised in a Chinese household, we pretty much eat everything haha! 😚) hence I went for their signature Icelandic platter. That whale meat was definitely my favourite of the three – it’s like a really soft steak topped with a delicious sauce and purée! 😂

The Icelandic platter: Minke whale with malt glaze (top left), puffin with crowberry gel (bottom left) and lamb tartar (right)
Ice cream again by Rainbow Road 😂 (Lemon 🍋 & coconut 🥥 flavour- Yum! 😋)

On the rainy morning before my return flight, I decided to head to the top of the Hallgrímskirkja tower, gazing down to the colourful city from above. (It was just before Sunday service as well, so there were a lot of people coming inside the church and the place was super busy.)

Colourful view from the top of Hallgrímskirkja! 🔴🟠🟡🟢🔵🟣
(You can see my hotel at the bottom!)
Other side of the tower
And more! Super windy up there! 🥶

And after checking out the hotel, it was my last Icelandic meal (for the time being) in Apótek restaurant. Talk about saving the best ’til last though! Both dishes were outstanding- I dare to say that beef carpaccio is a 10/10! 🤤 💯 The lamb rump steak was also super tender and perfect with the delicious sauces! 🧡🧡 (Definitely worth a revisit in the future!)

Beef carpaccio with mushroom duxelle, Parmesan chips and foie gras
Lamb rump steak with carrot purée, carrots, cauliflower, spring onion and black garlic sauce

And now it’s finally time to fly home (popping to Edinburgh to see my mum there for the summer!) ✈️ And I bid a rather tentative farewell to Iceland (for the time being!) ☺️

SIDE STORY: That journey in Keflavík Airport to the Edinburgh flight ended up as an absolute mad dash! 🏃🏻🏃🏻 After arriving a bit later than I intended in the airport (missed my first transit bus… 😓), all was good with checking in (after all the COVID-related checks and I was sure I will be on time) but the security check proved to be my undoing. It was so packed full of people, I had to ask to be moved to the priority queue when I realised there were 10 minutes left until gate closing. (Even then it was still moving way too slow… 😖) Hearing the announcement that the gate was closing after I just passed security, I sprinted and leapt through the airport and passport control (it was one of the furthest gate away too! 🙀🙀) and made it just in time! (Didn’t even have time to put my iPad and laptops back into my bag and was carrying them all in my hands! 🤣) One good thing that came out of it is maybe I have burnt a couple of calories from all the food I ate! 😝

But I also just want to say how nice and helpful all the people in Iceland were ☺️, especially the drivers who alway let me cross the road! (I never get that in London lol! 😂) Can’t wait for when I come back to visit again! 👋

Two Foodies’ Trip to Brighton

So it’s finally half term, which means I will be taking off a week away from work! YAY! 😁👏👏 It also just happened to coincide with with my mum’s work break, so we decided to travel together this time. 👵Obviously, with the current pandemic, we had to think long and hard about which was the best place to visit, and we finally settled on visiting Brighton for a four-night stay! 🌊

I baked some egg tarts the night before to take with me on the travel 😂

It wasn’t a long train ride to get to Brighton (and I took off immediately after work! 😂) This time, we had to travel separately, so I ended meeting my mum at the hotel there. With her working as a chef for a hotel group, we were also very lucky to get a free stay in the city. 😁👌

Greetings from the hotel! How cute are these! ❤️

Since my mum and I were both enthusiastic foodies, we were so happy to get to enjoy so many great food on this trip! 😋 One of the first places we visited was Riddle and Finns just by the Brighton Seafront. Nothing can really beat a luxurious seafood lunch by the sea! 🦀🐙🦪🐟 (And how can one possibly say no to seafood when you are in Brighton? 😉)

The view from the restaurant (before it started raining heavily! ☔️☔️) We were so lucky we chose to eat inside (not that my mum could stand the cold 🥶 anyway! 😂) as the people eating outside were then ushered back in all soaking wet!
Complimentary bread basket with four different condiments (our favourite was the mackerel 🐟 I really enjoyed the horseradish too but my mum wasn’t a fan! 😂 ) I thought it was really cute for them to serve the butter on a shell.
Starters: braised octopus with confit egg yolk and miso yoghurt (left), New England clam and bacon chowder (centre) and tempura monkfish cheeks with a jalapeño and basil dip (right)
Jersey oysters three ways: (From the left clockwise) Porthilly (deep fried with pickled vegetables), Oysters Rockefeller and creamy champagne sauce. 🦪🦪🦪
Malaysian style wok fried whole crab 🦀
My mum is working hard to try to get all the crab meat out! 🤣

My favourite dishes there were the oysters (the Rockefeller style was the best of the three for me), octopus and the tempura monkfish cheeks (loved that dip!) The clam chowder was okay, but I personally would enjoy it less thick and the vegetables more cooked. My mum (who is even pickier than me with food) really enjoyed the oysters too, but she also liked the crab, though it was hard work and a messy job getting all the meat out! 😂 💪 Actually felt like a proper workout after! 🤣 (I found the dish okay, but we both thought the Malaysian coconut sauce was slightly too sweet and I wasn’t a massive fan of crab to begin with… 😅)

Luckily the rain stopped pouring when we finished our lunch, so we got to enjoy a stroll around the seafront and the city, including visiting the famous Brighton Pavilion. We snapped many pics! 😆📸

Look at the waves! 🌊 🌊
Brighton Palace Pier
Brighton Seafront
Beautiful sky! ❤️❤️
Brighton Beach
Glorious sun above ☀️
Brighton Pavilion
Royal Pavilion Gardens
The Lanes
Mural in the Lanes
Love the market feel here with all the boutiques

Brighton is truly hidden gem with its ambient, relaxing atmosphere and a beautiful seaside. Over the new few days, it was such a delightful surprise to discover all these great food places within the city! 🤤🤤 Here are some of the best ones!

Delicious, healthy salad lunch in Foodilic 🥗 That mango and avocado salad was so yummy! It’s great value for money too – only £8.50 to sit in with one hot main and three side salads. Very generous portions too! We were so stuffed afterwards! 😬
Blue cheese pizza in Fatto a Mano. Simple and scrumptious! And I introduced Burrata to my mum – which she absolutely loved! 😂 (We wandered into this restaurant as a shelter when the sky suddenly started pouring 🌧🌧 one day. Weather hadn’t really been on our side throughout this trip… 😅)
When I visited Salisbury last month, I found a Roly’s Fudge store and bought some of these back for my work colleagues. They absolutely loved it and devoured the whole box before I got to try any. 😛 So I finally got to have some this times around, but I found them rather too sweet for my liking… 😖

Our last meal in Brighton was a French dinner in the Petit Pois Restaurant. 🇫🇷 And we managed to finish on a high as this was our favourite meal throughout the trip! 👍

Complimentary appetiser: apricot and chestnut croquettes
Starters: pan fried scallops with artichoke purée, apple and hazelnut salad (top) and classic garlic and parsley snails (bottom)
Bouillabaisse- fish soup with sea bass, mussels, squid, king prawn, seaweed and potato
Duck breast with celeriac Dauphinoise, grilled spring onions and blood orange sauce

We absolutely loved the earthy nuttiness of the croquette appetiser! 😋❤️ The dish of the night though was the scallops. The artichoke purée and the acidity of the apples marries perfectly with the lightness of the scallops. 🤤 My mum also really enjoyed her Bouillabaisse. For me, the duck breast was also very yummy with a medium-rare cook (which it’s how I always like my duck) and I wished they gave me more of that delicious blood orange sauce! 😂 I couldn’t get enough of it!

Once we finished dinner, we ran back into the hotel passing through a storm ☔️ ☔️ as the rainy night marked the end of our trip. 😝

Day 4: The Next Julia Child…?

Bonjour from Paris again! The hot weather stepped up to an even greater level today (setting a new record of 39C…!🔥😰😰) Despite an exhausting day yesterday, I still made sure that I headed out early to visit Angelina (near the Louvre) which my best friend suggested was an ideal place for breakfast/brunch. It took me ages to find it as well since somehow I ended up in the wrong part of the road. (I blame my maps app!)

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict is my favourite breakfast dish. The crispy bacon and toasted bread accompanied well with the soft poached eggs and the silky hollandaise sauce. 😋As I was eating it, I was trying not to think about the amount of butter and fat in the dish…😓

Fraisier (hazelnut biscuits with vanilla cream and fresh strawberries) and Douceur abricot-miel (Pistachio biscuit with apricot jelly and honey mousse)

The shop had a large range of patisseries to choose from, but I decided on these two. I absolutely loved the Fraisier! ❤️❤️ The light vanilla cream with the biscuit was such a great combo, and the tangy sweetness of the strawberries cut right through. 🤤 (I actually wanted another one lol!) The Douceur abricot-miel was good but a little on the heavy side for me personally. Though, they both looked stunning! 👍

I also tried their signature chocolate drink. (It was way too hot for hot chocolate, so I went for cold instead. 😂) Rich and velvety, I would say it was definitely one for chocolate lovers. Though for me, it was slightly too dark and bitter… 😅

After being roasted in the heat at the Catacombs yesterday, I decided to take a more indoor approach today. (Quite honestly, I was very sick of the heat by now!) However, I did managed a quick stroll around Tuileries Garden where a carnival was being held. (As to who would want to go on rides under this heat, I had no idea!) The walk didn’t last long at all before I ran into Carrousel du Louvre to avoid the intense heat… 😓🏃‍♂️🏃‍♂️ The park would have been nice to visit in fall season.

After a nap in the hotel, I headed to my most anticipated event in my entire trip and that was to attend an amateur cooking class! 👨‍🍳 So the class I went was run by L’atelier des Chefs (a friend who speaks French recommended this to me) and unfortunately they don’t run any English classes. But when I asked for information yesterday, they said that they do get a lot of tourists attending and most people can follow without even speaking any French, so I decided to give it a try anyway.

Including me, there was a total of ten people in the class (and I was pretty sure that I was the only tourist 😂!) I was the first person to arrive (probably looking a bit too keen haha), and the reception lady was incredibly welcoming to me and said, ‘For this evening, treat this place as your own home and look around however you want!’ (Aww! ☺️) The two-course menu we made were king prawn skewers with fennel salad & mashed potatoes and also an apricot Tarte Tatin. Despite being pretty much muted for the duration of the class (everyone was speaking French, I couldn’t join in the conversations lol…😅), the class was very enjoyable! We cooked the dishes simultaneously so they would be ready to eat at the same time, and we started with preparing Tarte Tatin first. For a baker like me, I was super excited!

Everyone would take turns trying out the individual steps, and we were all so gracious in passing stuff to each other and letting other people had a go. It felt like we were a big family cooking together for a family gathering meal.☺️ (I was like one of those wind up toy repeating ‘merci’ every few minutes. 😂 😂) Though, I felt a little awkward when my ‘perfectionist’ side came out as I was adamant in arranging the apricots in a flower pattern (you can see at the bottom right on the photo) when everyone else was dumping theirs into the mould… 😅

With the Tarte Tatin ready to go in the oven, we started dicing up the potatoes for the savoury course. And to be frank, I was really embarrassed by my appalling knife skills (as my mum would agree…) and the chef had to warn me to be careful with my fingers. 🙈 Here is also a video of the chef demonstrating how to peel and de-vein the prawns. (I know my mum would love to have all the heads we ended up throwing away! 😂)

I hate this mandoline!! 😡😡

I felt quite comfortable with preparing the prawns as it was something I did before. (Really reminded me of Hong Kong where we used to cook the fresh prawns we bought straight from the market. ☺️) The fennel though was a different story…

While I had seen many times of people using a mandoline on TV, I had never used one. 😬 The chef stopped me to show me how to hold the fennel correctly so I didn’t slice off my fingers, and even then I was struggling with it so much that I abandoned using it altogether and used the knife to chop up the fennel. I thought I was doing a decent job until I looked around to see how everyone cut their fennel very thinly and mine were large chunks! 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️ I tried to trim mine down but they were still nowhere near as thin.😕 (The guy next to me was chopping them up so quickly and skilfully, I literally wanted to find a hole and hide! 🙈) Most of the group then went to the stoves to help with the cooking, and I was still chopping up the fennel! 😂 (I was actually really embarrassed about adding my large pieces of fennel into the bowl…) I guess Julia Child must be shaking her head at me… 😅

With the prawns and mashed potatoes ready, we moved on to plating. (I was like in my head, ‘Yes! Forget stupid knife works, this is something I am good at!’ 😂) I was again being such a neurotic perfectionist, I was the last one to finish plating. 😅 (Literally digging through the bowl to find spinach leaves of similar sizes lol…)

King Prawn Skewers with Fennel Salad and Mashed Potatoes
Apricot Tarte Tatin

But, finally after all the hard work, it’s tasting time! Bon appetite! 😋 😋 😋

(And after the dinner, I also got a souvenir for myself! 😉)