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
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˜‹

Second Half of Aberdeen: A Life of Travelling

A lifetime of travelling.

I wonder if this really itโ€™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? ๐Ÿค”

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! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ (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 donโ€™t know much about the history of the place in the past, but it was quite a bit emptier than we anticipatedโ€ฆ๐Ÿ˜ฌ (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 โ€˜Connect fourโ€™ basketball ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ€ (basically connect four but played with basketball lolโ€ฆ)

Look at me scoring haha! ๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ€ (My mum beat me thoughโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜…)

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! ๐Ÿ˜Ž) 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 werenโ€™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 greedyโ€ฆ. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

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 uselessโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜‚ 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 staffโ€™s pocket!) Oh my God, I was floored by the kindness of these people! Thank you! Thank you! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ

Our prize! ๐Ÿ† (500 tickets – could not have done it without all the kindness we saw today! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ™)
BBQ lunch at TGI Fridayโ€™s afterwards (one of my mumโ€™s favourite food are pork ribs)
Of course ice cream is a must at the beach! ๐ŸŒŠ

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚.)

River Dee
Duthie Park
Pretty flowers! ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’
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! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค (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 ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ“ consisting of strawberry & basil sorbet, meringue nest, shortbread, strawberry jelly, strawberry & lime syrup and strawberry & gin cocktail ๐Ÿธ

What a feast that was and I felt like I was eating like the king the whole time! ๐Ÿ˜ 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! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿฅด)

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚) and fun in the area!

All these artistic touchesโ€ฆ
My mum and I debated whether this is a house, shop or a storage unitโ€ฆ? (Still donโ€™t know what it is. ๐Ÿ˜…)
One of my favourite houses weโ€™ve seen!
๐Ÿณ ๐Ÿณ (Reminded me of Iceland hehe!)
Back at the beach again!
A few people were swimming ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ and sailing in the seaโ›ต๏ธ but it looked so coldโ€ฆ ๐Ÿฅถ

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 itโ€™s chicken satay > prawn toasts > steamed dumplings > crispy beef, though my mum argued that the steamed dumplings should be before the prawn toasts haha! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ) 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 didnโ€™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 thisโ€ฆ But I tell myself we have the memories to treasure forever and the next time could be ever so near. ๐Ÿฅฐ

Aviemore: The Highlands Train Ride ๐ŸŒฒ๐ŸŒฒ

Since I have been a little kid, I have always loved trains (like honestly who doesnโ€™t lol? ๐Ÿ˜‚) Building model trains and watching the trains moved across the landscape as I fantasied about travelling on them were all such wonderful times back then. ๐Ÿš‚ ๐Ÿš‚ So it should come as no surprise that a long dream of mine is to ride a steam train across the British countryside (and watching great railway journeys during lockdown definitely made me feel more enthusiastic about it haha!) At last, this dream finally came true!

For the start of our road trip up north, my mum and I dropped by Aviemore, a town situated within the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. The town itself is a popular touristsโ€™ destination (evident in the lack of vacancies for accommodation when I booked two weeks ago! ๐Ÿ˜…) and the Strathspey Steam Train is a particular attraction there. The train journey itself is about 1 and an half hours long and travelled across the scenic countryside, passing Boat of Garten and Broomhill stations on the way before returning along the same route back to Aviemore. The afternoon tea ticket cost a very reasonable price of ยฃ35.25 each (comparing to the more luxurious train journeys in London such as the British Pullman which are more than 10 times the price. Probably will never be able to get on those in my lifetime! ๐Ÿ˜ญ ๐Ÿ˜ญ)

Strathspey Steam Train in Aviemore Station (Everyone was marvelling at the steam engine taking photos. This is my first ever time seeing one in front of me!)
Afternoon tea tickets for the train (costing ยฃ35.25 each totalling ยฃ70.50 for the two of us)

The afternoon tea set is all inclusive in the price including teas/coffees plus a free, small bottle of Prosecco per person! ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿฅ‚ You will be asked to pick the options for the sandwiches (we chose the egg mayo and tuna mayo) which will come along with the scones and cakes. Honestly I didnโ€™t have high hopes for the food, but they all turned out to be of good qualities. Tuna sandwiches and the fruit cake tasted great! And I have never been a fan of scones and Victoria sponges, but they were both surprisingly good and moist. (I used up that whole jar of delicious strawberry jam ๐Ÿ“๐Ÿ“ to spread on the scones hehe. Perfection with the clotted cream! ๐Ÿ˜‹)

English Afternoon Tea Set
The Prosecco with the view is just simple perfection! ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ (Think we got a little tipsy at one point hahaโ€ฆ)

FYI the first part of the journey was very bumpy, so we were swinging side to side as we drank our tea/coffees. (Almost spat it out! It was hilarious!! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ ๐Ÿซ– โ˜•๏ธ ๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ)

Beside the food and wine, we certainly made sure we didnโ€™t missed any of the beautiful scenery along the route! So many cows and sheep ๐Ÿ„ ๐Ÿ‘ across the vast land and the nature just looked amazing!

Beautiful countryside ๐ŸŒฟ๐ŸŒฟ
Wonder how life is like living on a farm? ๐Ÿค”
The train making a stop at Broomhill Station
Boat of Garten Station
The vast landscape of the Highlands
Moo moo moo ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ๐Ÿฎ
Baa baa baa ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ (You can even hear them from the train!)

Finishing the train ride, we settled for an early evening in our B&B and were greeted by the two very friendly owners! They were both so attentive and welcoming that they have made it such a nice stay! (We got some Chinese takeaways for dinner and they were so nice setting up tables for us to eat the food in their dining room. ๐Ÿฅฐ)

Cute little pug in the B&B ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’• (sat there and ate dinner with us)

The next morning we explored Aviemore a bit more before departing on the bus to Perth, changing to Aberdeen.

Vegetarian Scottish Breakfast the next morning (Loved that veggie haggis! ๐Ÿ˜‹)
Came back for a second serving of this delicious green apple ๐Ÿ ice cream! (Had it twice in the two days hehe!) Also ordered the melon ๐Ÿˆ ice cream too!
Following the water
Very relaxing ๐Ÿ˜Œ
Such clear water and you can see the fishes in there!
Into the woods – felt like a scene from Totoro
Did a bit of re-enacting of the movie before we left ๐Ÿ˜‚

Isle of Wight: Beyond the Sea

This weekend I really needed a recharge! ๐Ÿ˜ฉ Whilst it is not far away until my long summer break, things have been a bit intense lately so I really felt the need to detach myself from my work life in order to be able to refocus myself again later.

For this weekend getaway, I decided to do something I have never done by myself before- taking a ferry โ›ด and sailing across the sea to the Isle of Wight. ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŒŠ To get to the island, it is a rather straightforward one hour trip across the water from Southampton via the Red Funnel Ferries. So I opted for an overnight stay in Southampton on Friday and going on the ferry the next day. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Ocean Village Marina in Southampton
Giant cruise shop by the harbour (not my ferry tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜‚ but certainly made me a bit envied!)
Westquay shopping centre ๐Ÿ›
Enjoying a Chatime bubble tea๐Ÿฅค (havenโ€™t done that in a while ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ‘)

After a cosy night in the hotel, I woke up early in the morning at just before 6 (saving enough time for a long bath ๐Ÿ›€ of course! ๐Ÿ˜‚) and made sure I am on time for the Red Funnel ferry at 9. (I booked in advance but I believe it is just as easy to buy ticket there at the time.)

Breakfast before departing โ›ด
Red Funnel Ferries
Very busy inside the ferry today ๐Ÿ˜–
Eating my second breakfast. So busy I had to sit by the window (also raining โ˜”๏ธ outside…)
On the deck after the rain has stopped (couldnโ€™t sit on the chairs though as they were all soaking wet ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’ฆ๐Ÿ’ฆ)
Sailing time ๐ŸŒŠ
Arriving at East Cowes in the Isle of Wight

To get around the Isle of Wight, I opted for a 24-hour bus ticket for ยฃ12. Even though it is a small island, locations of interests are quite spread out and not really walkable, so I decided that was the best option (as I neither drive nor cycle… ๐Ÿ˜›) As I was only there until Sunday morning, I focused exploring on the east side of the island (unfortunately missing out on famous landmarks like the Needles.)

Heading south,my first stop was the beautiful beaches on Shanklin- only though it was raining (again) when I arrived. I managed to shelter at a nearby cafรฉ (that was part of a hotel lodge) and enjoyed a nice bowl of chips. ๐ŸŸ The staff there was so friendly and let me charge my almost dead phone, and I ended up spending the idle time doing some work (so much for the detachment I know lol! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ’ป They thought I was so in the zone that they didnโ€™t want to bother me! ๐Ÿคฃ) By the time I was ready, the sun was out again! โ˜€๏ธ What perfect timing!

Shanklin Beach
A seaview is only as good as the ice cream you have! ๐Ÿฆ (I went for the โ€œfunky bananaโ€ and jelly & ice cream ๐Ÿ˜‹)
Coastal walk to Sandown
Cute little beach huts! ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿค
By Sandown Pier
Sandown Beach โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ
The vast blue sea and sky
Maybe one day I will hire a beach hut! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Being a dinosaur fan, I then also dropped by Dinosaur Isle. ๐Ÿฆ•๐Ÿฆ– Some nice exhibits – but the museum is just a bit small for me (good for kids but I think itโ€™s a little too less for an adult like me who likes dinosaur ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Inside Dinosaur Isle

I then also visited Wildheart Animal Sanctury (which was just right next door) ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿฏ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿท๐Ÿฐ and I made it in time just 10 minutes before last entry! So glad I did – this definitely reminded me of visiting many zoos during my childhood. (And also how difficult it is to snap pictures on moving animals! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ“ธ)

Wowza! Canโ€™t remember the last time Iโ€™ve seen a tiger this up close! ๐Ÿฏ
Little kangaroo ๐Ÿฆ˜
Cute ring-tailed lemurs! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ
Felt like this meerkat is giving me a look! ๐Ÿ˜‚
The lioness
๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ’ค๐Ÿ’ค
Oink oink oink! ๐Ÿท๐Ÿท There were also a lot of farm animals in the sanctuary
Cute bunnies ๐Ÿฐ๐Ÿฐ

Following this, I took the bus ๐ŸšŒ heading back north to Ryde where my hotel is. (Almost fell asleep on the bus! ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ด)


After checking in the hotel and enjoyed some chill time in the bath ๐Ÿ›, I then headed out for dinner followed by an evening walk along Ryde Pier.

Dinner time at Ryde – look at the giant cauliflower wings! ๐Ÿ˜†
Ryde Pier
What a fun day! ๐ŸŒ™โœจโœจ

Journey to the End of the World

Today marks my last day in Folkestone, but there is still plenty of time to kill before I make my way back home. There is so much to do in this small town, I wish I am staying around for longer!

Lobster & Scallop Sunday brunch by Folkstone Harbour

After checking out the hotel, I visited a seafood bar right in front of the harbour and enjoyed a luxurious brunch (it was a ยฃ20 whole lobster ๐Ÿฆž, which to me was quite a bargain!) Though I needed to keep warring off a seagull who had been eyeing my food from the get go! ๐Ÿ˜  Once I finished and left the table to get some tissue, it wasted no time hopping onto my leftovers and took off with the empty lobster shell! ๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿ˜‚ (Sneaky bird!)

Mermaid on Sunny Sands Beach

Todayโ€™s weather was much more pleasant compared to how it was the past days, so I decided to journey along the other side of the coast, heading into the Folkestone Warren area.

By the beach ๐Ÿ–
Wasnโ€™t too cold for a mango ice cream! ๐Ÿจ
Hidden path leading straight to the sea
Sign to Folkestone Warren

The hotel receptionist did warn me it was tough to get to the beach area down Folkestone Warren, and boy, was he right! I somehow picked the more difficult route along the coast too (typical me- as I found out later I would have had a much easier time walking uphill past the golf courses then back down.) The slippery mud along the path ๐Ÿ’ฆ resulted from the rain the previous days certainly didnโ€™t help (and I really should get a different pairs of shoes besides my usual flat trainers… ๐Ÿ˜“) The views were definitely worth the effort though! I would take it as my workout for the day done!

The โ€˜easierโ€™ path uphill which I didnโ€™t take… ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™‚๏ธ
So many graffiti around the place!
Journey on! ๐Ÿฅพ
Was so knackered by this point… ๐Ÿ˜‘ (My trainers were covered in mud by then!)
Finally down by the beach! ๐Ÿ˜€ (Getting through that large pile of rocks was also tricky haha!)
Took the chance to rinse off my trainers in the water! ๐Ÿ˜‚
So calming here! ๐Ÿ˜Œ
Had this โ€˜End of the Worldโ€™ ๐ŸŒŽ feeling here ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

โ€˜Exerciseโ€™ done – itโ€™s time to head back to the town centre to get a bubble tea to recharge! (The two ladies in the shop were so nice and funny. Turned out they were both from London too! We had a great chat about Folkestone and why they decided to settle here. Maybe I should do the same? ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Reenergise with bubble tea! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜

I am going to miss little town! What a special place Folkestone is! ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’š

A Long-Waited Weekend Getaway

A weekend like this has been a long time coming! With lockdown easing finally allowing overnight stay this week, I wasted no time a few days ago booking my city break from London. As soon as I got off work on Friday, I jumped on an Uber to the train station and away we go! ๐Ÿšž๐Ÿšž

Welcome to Folkestone!

For this trip, I picked the coastal town of Folkestone just to be close to the sea. The town overlooks the English Channel and is a nice little touristsโ€™ attraction along the English coast. Taking that into account, I also picked a hotel situated by the seafront. Weather, however, was not on my side from the get-go with strong gusts of wind ๐ŸŒฌ๐ŸŒฌ (and rain ๐ŸŒง) throughout the Friday evening. (Mind you I did expect it as the weather in London have been absolutely miserable this past week too โ˜น๏ธ) In fact it was so windy, I was struggling to even walk (and snap photos ๐Ÿ“ธ – in fear of my phone getting blown away into the sea! ๐ŸŒŠ) So, I basically retreated to my hotel room and restaurant for dinner.

Storm in the harbour ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’จ (You might just be able to make out the large ripple on the water)

Knowing lockdown easing will probably mean that restaurants may be fully booked up, I spent some time before my trip calling up restaurants to reserve tables for me. (Which is very unlike me as I usually just go on the fly! ๐Ÿ˜‚) After going some researches online, I decided to head to Marleys for dinner on Friday. Absolutely loved the food there and itโ€™s cute, cosy interior! ๐Ÿ’“

My cosy little spot! โ˜บ๏ธ
So cute! (I do miss playing Scrabble! ๐Ÿ˜‚)
Crispy sweet potato balls with beetroot hummus
The best tuna steak ever! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค (It even smelt incredible!)
Perfect cook! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

The staff were all very warm and welcoming, and to top it it off – I think I had the best tuna I had ever eaten in my entire life! ๐ŸŸ Perfectly cooked to medium rare and well seasoned – I couldnโ€™t get enough of it honestly! ๐Ÿ˜‚

The next morning after enjoying some โ€˜me-timeโ€™ in the bath ๐Ÿ› (and the night before! ๐Ÿ˜‚) I decided to head along the coast as the weather took a nicer turn! (Thank goodness! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ)

Looking upon the English Channel

The Folkestone pier was just simply breathtaking. The sea was so calming and the view truly did throw away all my worries for the week out the window (albeit temporarily! ๐Ÿ˜‚) It really let me appreciate the freedom of being able to travel again.

Folkestone pier
Little orange house by the sea
Look at the waves! ๐ŸŒŠ
Beautiful view for a drink! ๐Ÿธ
If only I can get a little sun… ๐Ÿ˜‚ โ˜€๏ธ

I also headed to the creative quarter – a quirky, colourful area of the town. Marleys where I visited yesterday was also situated in this unique alley.

Creative Quarter
Meet Oliver the Octopus! ๐Ÿฐ ๐Ÿฐ (so impressed by the artistry of this cake!)

When you are in a coastal town by the sea, surely seafood is a must, right? ๐Ÿฆช๐Ÿฆ๐Ÿฆ€๐ŸŸ Hence my visit to the Harbour Inn for lunch (again booked in advance.)

The Harbour Inn
Beautiful deco inside
The dining area I sat at โค๏ธโค๏ธ
Delicious dressed crab! ๐Ÿฆ€
Can one wish for more seafood? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿคค
Yum! Yum! What a feast!

After the luxurious seafood lunch, I left the restaurant just as rain poured heavily over the town. โ˜”๏ธโ˜”๏ธ Just so happened I left my phone charger in the hotel, I walked back into my room with my trousers ๐Ÿ‘– all soaked. ๐Ÿ’ฆ


After taking yet another hot bath and a brief nap in the room, I decided to head to the beachfront (umbrella in hand of course!) as the rain started to fade. Walking gradually into the sun, I was taken by surprise of an amazing view from behind! ๐Ÿฅฐ๐ŸŒˆ

Breathtaking! ๐ŸŒˆ ๐ŸŒˆ

And more colourful surprises down the beach! (I think folks in Folkestone really do love their colours haha!) Maybe I should think about moving here lol? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿค”

Rainbow on land! โค๏ธ๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’œ
Canโ€™t get enough of these colours!
Felt like a hidden paradise
Want to live in one of these! ๐Ÿ 
The vast blue sky

To cap off the day, I went back to the Folkestone harbour for some light seafood snacking by the water.

At Rocksalt by the harbour
Whelks and Prawns
And a nojito – canโ€™t get better than this for a Saturday night! ๐Ÿธ

And lastly, a few more snaps of the pier as night falls. โœจโœจ

Oh, and also, happy Eurovision day! (Caught the last hour or so of it back in my hotel room! ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Two Foodiesโ€™ Trip to Brighton

So itโ€™s finally half term, which means I will be taking off a week away from work! YAY! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ It also just happened to coincide with with my mumโ€™s work break, so we decided to travel together this time. ๐Ÿ‘ตObviously, 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! ๐ŸŒŠ

I baked some egg tarts the night before to take with me on the travel ๐Ÿ˜‚

It wasnโ€™t a long train ride to get to Brighton (and I took off immediately after work! ๐Ÿ˜‚) 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. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘Œ

Greetings from the hotel! How cute are these! โค๏ธ

Since my mum and I were both enthusiastic foodies, we were so happy to get to enjoy so many great food on this trip! ๐Ÿ˜‹ 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! ๐Ÿฆ€๐Ÿ™๐Ÿฆช๐ŸŸ (And how can one possibly say no to seafood when you are in Brighton? ๐Ÿ˜‰)

The view from the restaurant (before it started raining heavily! โ˜”๏ธโ˜”๏ธ) We were so lucky we chose to eat inside (not that my mum could stand the cold ๐Ÿฅถ anyway! ๐Ÿ˜‚) 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 ๐ŸŸ I really enjoyed the horseradish too but my mum wasnโ€™t a fan! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ) 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 jalapeรฑo and basil dip (right)
Jersey oysters three ways: (From the left clockwise) Porthilly (deep fried with pickled vegetables), Oysters Rockefeller and creamy champagne sauce. ๐Ÿฆช๐Ÿฆช๐Ÿฆช
Malaysian style wok fried whole crab ๐Ÿฆ€
My mum is working hard to try to get all the crab meat out! ๐Ÿคฃ

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! ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ’ช Actually felt like a proper workout after! ๐Ÿคฃ (I found the dish okay, but we both thought the Malaysian coconut sauce was slightly too sweet and I wasnโ€™t a massive fan of crab to begin with… ๐Ÿ˜…)

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! ๐Ÿ˜†๐Ÿ“ธ

Look at the waves! ๐ŸŒŠ ๐ŸŒŠ
Brighton Palace Pier
Brighton Seafront
Beautiful sky! โค๏ธโค๏ธ
Brighton Beach
Glorious sun above โ˜€๏ธ
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! ๐Ÿคค๐Ÿคค Here are some of the best ones!

Delicious, healthy salad lunch in Foodilic ๐Ÿฅ— That mango and avocado salad was so yummy! Itโ€™s great value for money too – only ยฃ8.50 to sit in with one hot main and three side salads. Very generous portions too! We were so stuffed afterwards! ๐Ÿ˜ฌ
Blue cheese pizza in Fatto a Mano. Simple and scrumptious! And I introduced Burrata to my mum – which she absolutely loved! ๐Ÿ˜‚ (We wandered into this restaurant as a shelter when the sky suddenly started pouring ๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง one day. Weather hadnโ€™t really been on our side throughout this trip… ๐Ÿ˜…)
When I visited Salisbury last month, I found a Rolyโ€™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. ๐Ÿ˜› So I finally got to have some this times around, but I found them rather too sweet for my liking… ๐Ÿ˜–

Our last meal in Brighton was a French dinner in the Petit Pois Restaurant. ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท And we managed to finish on a high as this was our favourite meal throughout the trip! ๐Ÿ‘

Complimentary appetiser: apricot and chestnut croquettes
Starters: pan fried scallops with artichoke purรฉe, 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! ๐Ÿ˜‹โค๏ธ The dish of the night though was the scallops. The artichoke purรฉe and the acidity of the apples marries perfectly with the lightness of the scallops. ๐Ÿคค My mum also really enjoyed her Bouillabaisse. For me, the duck breast was also very yummy with a medium-rare cook (which itโ€™s how I always like my duck) and I wished they gave me more of that delicious blood orange sauce! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I couldnโ€™t get enough of it!

Once we finished dinner, we ran back into the hotel passing through a storm โ˜”๏ธ โ˜”๏ธ as the rainy night marked the end of our trip. ๐Ÿ˜

Another Weekend Getaway

After a very busy first month to start off 2020 (and some may say that this hasnโ€™t been a great year so far given Brexit and the current coronavirus crisis… ๐Ÿ˜”), I decided to reward myself with another weekend getaway trip. This time, I chose to explore the historic town of Rochester after passing it on my last weekend trip to Canterbury. (FYI I was still a bit hungover and sleep deprived from the cocktail night before when I boarded the train… ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜ต๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ)

Thankfully, I was blessed with great weather today โ˜€๏ธโ˜€๏ธ and I was really impressed by the historic vibes of the town. ๐Ÿ˜€

This painting is a mood ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚

After a brief walk along the High Street, I settled down for a cosy Italian lunch in a restaurant called Mamma Mia. โค๏ธ

For the main part of my sightseeing, I then visited and explored the famous Rochester Castle – a historic site which is said to be around 1000 years old. And I had a great time exploring inside!

My view from the top of the castle was magnificent! โค๏ธโค๏ธ But it was so windy ๐Ÿ’จ ๐Ÿ’จ when I was there, I was just trying to not let my phone get blown off. ๐Ÿ˜‚ The castle wasnโ€™t very big itself, so it almost felt it went too quick!

After a short rest in the hotel, I decided to go across the river in the evening to head to the town of Strood on the other side of the shore, and also got to enjoy the beautiful evening view of the piers. ๐ŸŒ…

For dinner, I stopped by a Caribbean eatery called Jerk Cafรฉ. What a delicious meal that was! ๐Ÿ˜‹ Tender steaks, rice and beans plus mac and cheese – who wonโ€™t love that? โค๏ธ

Three Days, Two Nights and Plenty of Foods

Hurray to me for finally being able to catch a break from work! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿ™Œ For my week off, not only my mum is visiting me right now in London, but we were also able to make a city getaway trip to Bristol and Bath for the past three days and two nights.

Bristol and Bath are major touristโ€™s attractions in the UK, the latter especially for its historical significance. I actually visited both cities once before around two years ago, so this time was more of an opportunity for my mum to visit herself! ๐Ÿ˜› However, why would I deny the offer of a getaway trip haha? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

The City of Bristol
Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, where we stayed

Bristol was apparently the hometown of Banksy. Now, I got to confess I actually donโ€™t know much about Banksyโ€™s works, but street art is definitely a big part of the city wherever you wander.

I donโ€™t know if any of these is by Banksy, but they sure do look amazing! โค๏ธ

Our first stop for arrival was at Little Chinatown (sticking well and truly to our Asian roots lol…) The food wasnโ€™t bad at all, but we did end up waiting for over half an hour before we were fed after they confused our orders with another table… ๐Ÿ˜กโ˜น๏ธ (and my mum was definitely not a happy woman by that point haha! ๐Ÿ˜…)

Food at Little Chinatown
Za Za Bazaar

After the very filling lunch, we decided to go back to rest in the hotel room. (Our unlucky streak though continued when we went back to the hotel… The reception checked us into the wrong room TWICE! ๐Ÿ˜“) Having then recovered slightly from the food coma after a quick lap, we went for a stroll by the sunset ๐ŸŒ… around the Bristol harbourside and had dinner in Za Za Bazaar, an international food buffet restaurant. Turned out to be a big mistake because we were both beyond stuffed afterwards! ๐Ÿคข

On the second day, we decided to take the train from Bristol to Bath. It was a very short journey between the two cities, lasting just under 10 minutes! ๐Ÿš‚ The biggest two attractions in Bath are the Roman Baths and the Thermae Bath Spa (how could one not wonder where the name of the city came from lol!), but my mum was uninterested in either, so we decided to simply stroll around the city… ๐Ÿ˜— (I have been to both places in my last visit and the Thermae Bath Spa was right up my street with their rooftop pool! ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ The Roman Baths was nice to see for its history though with a very hefty ticket price…)

Outside the Roman Baths

The other noticeable thing in Bath was its many pastry shops selling the traditional Cornish pasties. However, it seemed all the shops label their own Cornish pasties as โ€˜award winningโ€™ or โ€˜bestโ€™, which made me sceptical about who to believe. ๐Ÿ˜… Nonetheless, we did manage to sit down in one and had a taste of their Cornish pasty, but ended up falling in love instead with their Cornish pudding (which tasted like a custard-rich bread pudding to me. ๐Ÿ˜‹)

The Cornish pudding on the right was absolutely delicious! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

Afterwards, we decided to head to the famous Pulteney Bridge by the river, bathing ourselves in the feelings of autumn. ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ‚

On Pulteney Bridge
Secret Passage by the Bridge!
By Pulteney Bridge
Beautiful! โค๏ธโค๏ธ
A Walk in the Fall… ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

And we decided to have one quick meal at a spicy noodle bar before jumping back onto the train back to Bristol! It was delicious! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹

Beef Tripe Salad (top) and Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Roasted Duck (bottom)

Our hotel stay came with a free use of the swimming pool and it was perfect to make up for my lack of spa time in Bath! ๐Ÿ˜ (The odd thing was that the hotelโ€™s fitness centre was located in a different building next door, so I needed to walk out the hotelโ€™s entrance, cross the street with my towel and sandals and back lol.) I swear I could doze off there just by lying on the bench lol ๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ˜‚ (Meanwhile, my mum was sound asleep in the hotel room haha! ๐Ÿ’ค ๐Ÿ’ค)

Relaxing by the pool ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž (There was also a jacuzzi!)

As for dinner that day, we kept it easy and dined in the hotelโ€™s restaurant before heading out and bought a bunch of ice creams back to the room! (My excuse- it was discounted in the supermarket! ๐Ÿ˜œ)

Dining in the hotel
Ice Cream Feast! โค๏ธโค๏ธ

We didnโ€™t have much time on our final day in Bristol (as our bus was scheduled for the early afternoon), but we did manage to visit the university area and catch a good valued Italian lunch at Sergioโ€™s before heading back to London! ๐ŸšŒ (We didnโ€™t quite manage to finish so we took the pasta away with us haha! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

Our Italian lunch! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Day 2 in Glasgow: Back in Time

After what seemed like a very short night of sleep, we continued our second day in Glasgow after checking out the hotel at 10am (yes, that was the official final check out time… ๐Ÿ˜›) We headed to Billโ€™s for a conventional full Scottish breakfast (how I missed black puddings lol!), then decided to stop by the Riverside Museum and the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum today before heading back in the late afternoon.

Full Scottish Breakfast in Billโ€™s

We decided to go by the route via the Glasgow Subway. Unlike the London Underground, it felt much cosier and I actually found their small carriages quite cute lol. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Subway entrance
Inside the subway
Wall painting outside the subway station
Hurry up so we can avoid the rain!! ๐Ÿ˜จ๐ŸŒง
Riverside Museum from a distance
Here we are at the Riverside Museum

The museum itself is a transport museum where many of the displays are interactive for visitors, so many of the transports can be climbed inside.

Inside the museum
I do like trains! ๐Ÿš‚
This reminds me of the mini vans in Hong Kong.
Inside the van. A nostalgic feeling for my mum.
Donโ€™t miss it! ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿƒโ€โ™‚๏ธ

Or, even better, walk in the old streets of Glasgow and taking the old subway. Itโ€™s like being transported back in time. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Back in time…
I can see the subway! ๐ŸšŠ๐Ÿ˜‰
Anyone wants a pint? ๐Ÿบ
Guess I can come here if I need some cash…?
๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚
Inside the old subway (it actually smells a bit… ๐Ÿ˜…)

The museum is also well known for the Tall shop from Govan parked outside by the harbour. The ship was built back in 1896 as a cargo ship and visitors were able to also go on board to take a look around. (Totally felt like I was in the Pirates of the Caribbean lol ๐ŸŒŠ๐ŸŒŠ)

The Tall Ship
Does this remind you of the Titanic?
Make sure you scrub it clean! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช
View from the deck
Tea or coffee, anyone? โ˜•๏ธ
Now, I feel like the captain! ๐Ÿ‘จโ€โœˆ๏ธ
Could actually imagine me bathing here lol ๐Ÿ›€
The childrenโ€™s bedroom. Aww kitty… ๐Ÿฑ
Exploring to the depth of the ship… ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ (actually only a cafรฉ and a souvenir shop down there ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)
The bottom of the shop (there is a children playground right next to this! ๐Ÿ˜†)

Before my mum started feeling too seasick (lol), we then decided to move on to the Kevingrove Art Gallery and Museum not too far of a walk away.

Kevingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Greeted by an organ performance upon entering (thought we accidentally stepped into a church service lol)
A bit freaky lol… ๐Ÿ˜…
Beautiful paintings ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘
Probably my favourite painting of the ones I saw โค๏ธโค๏ธ

Tired from all the walking and sightseeing, we finally decided to head for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafรฉ. The portions were absolutely massive! ๐Ÿ˜จ๐Ÿ˜… (Still delicious though haha!)

Inside Hard Rock Cafรฉ
Nachos, Spicy Prawns and Buffalo Sliders

We loved the nachos (No joke, it was probably the biggest plate of nachos I had ever come across in my life!) with its overload of cheeses and spices. The spicy prawns were okay but slightly too much mayo in the coleslaw. I liked the sliders but just couldnโ€™t really taste the blue cheese. The portions were so big that we had to take a huge doggy bag with us on the bus back home! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ (P.S. we were still having it for lunch today… ๐Ÿ˜…)