Camden Market, A colourful part of London

I like markets, but not just any market. For example, I don’t like fish market or vietnamese market. Camden market is one of the many that I like. There are several markets in London, but I’ve only been to Camden so far. It’s so colourful, full of tourists, have variety of stalls from old vintage shop to hard core heavy metal shop. The food stalls are also great lots of varieties.

Camden Market

Inside the Market

see the full set of pictures here http://www.flickr.com/photos/43588537@N07/sets/72157623829005746/

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How we spent a sunday in a cold weather… suitcase hunt

Yesterday we went to London to look for a suitcase. I’m going abroad on Sunday to Jakarta, Indonesia to visit my grandma. Before yesterday, I’ve been eying on Mandarina Duck Suitcases. I took Ryan to check them out. Ryan thought, the duck was not good in terms of functionality.  I gave up so i let him choose. I always look for design and colour first, then functionality. Well Ryan is the opposite, he looks for functionality first so he started to weigh every suitcase, open it, check it… it took hours. After checking 3 department stores, Selfridges, Debenhams and House of Frasier, we found the perfect one at Selfridges. It claims to be the lightest and strongest with patent technology. It’s a huge 85cm suitcase by Samsonite and admittedly very light as it’s claimed to be. The material is made with “Curv®” technology http://www.samsonite.co.uk/cosmolite/category-en.htm?or=0570605311&od=004773505 It’s not cheap but Ryan said it’s worthed since it has 10 years international warranty. By the time we bought the suitcase I was so tired and needed a glass of wine. We were at Selfridges so we went to the champagne bar and I tried a delicious Green Apple Bellini. It was a great drink to end the day. Well, I’m not going to look for a suitcase for a while now, it’s just so exhausting.

What I like about living in England…

Time travels fast. I said this because i just realise I’ve been living in England for 5 months now! I was very excited about moving to England from Melbourne, Australia. I had lived in Melbourne for 9 years and I just needed a new environment. So a new country would be good.

Well since I moved here, I’m a bit disappointed. I found England a bit depressing. Maybe it’s the weather, i’m not really sure. Most of the time, it rains here and not just a drizzle of water, but heavy rain, where you can get really wet. I hate to get wet. Surely it’s the food. I found it very tasteless here. Any cuisine i have tried here is lacking of flavours that make your tongue dance! I also like to dine out, but eating out is very expensive here. I found England to be dirty, especially in London. Off course there are a few nice cities like bath.

The thing that I like about living here is the live gigs. It’s cheap to see your fave artists live and the chance is greater too. Since I’ve been here. I saw Radiohead, Mew, Muse, The Yeah Yeah Yeah, Deerhunter, Phoenix, … and many more. The art culture is also great here, there are a lot of options for exhibitions, theatre, and dance.

It’s also convenient. It’s cheap to fly to Europe. We’ve been to Paris and next week we’re going to Bruges in Belgium (yummy chocolates and beer!!). And we’re thinking of Florence, Italy next. It’s such a short flight just to go to a different country. I love Paris and I think I will love most of the European countries. They have a totally different vibe from England.

Shopping also great here. More options and also cheaper. However, I’m a shopaholic and it’s not so good for our bank, especially while i’m still jobless.

I miss Melbourne so much and I still think Melbourne as my fave livable city in the world. However, I’m making the most of it while I’m here. But, honestly, I will not choose to live here for a long-term.

Autumn in Paris

It’s been almost 3 weeks since my last post. Yes I’ve been a bit of a slack lately, well I had been here and there. I’ve been to London a few times for several different reasons and I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Borders to finish a book. Oh well too many excuses! I think I just had been lazy and focused too much on winter shopping.

As you can read on my previous post, I was so excited about our trip to Paris. Paris is in the list of countries I had to visit before I reach 30. The most exciting bit was I went with my gorgeous fiancée. We got a really cheap flight deal from Ezyjet. The flight was on 7 am in the morning, not too exciting for Ryan because he’s not a morning person, but I didn’t want to waste any time at all. Me & Ryan have a different style of travelling, I’m a planner and want to see everything I can when I visit a new place while Ryan likes to have a relaxing trip and he’s not much a planner. Well, the flight was on time but we didn’t get to sit together since Ezyjet is a budget plane so they don’t allocate seats. But it was ok, it was only an 1 hour flight. Yaaay we arrived in Paris at 9 am, early hours happy me, sleepy Ryan.

We took the RER from Charles de Gauelle airport to the central of Paris, the train was a pleasant journey with buskers entertaining us. We went straight to the hotel, Hotel de l’Avré located near the Champ de Mars and Eiffel tower. It was still to early to check in but the hotel staff were very nice and offered us to keep our luggage.

We went for a walk along the streets to Eiffel tower holding hands and continued to Louvre and Les Halles. At that time I already found Paris beautiful, the city is so pretty. Ryan with our big camera took pictures of the city and his only model —->ME. The architecture, the buildings and the gardens were so magnificent. We walked past Jardin du Carrousel and Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel. The sky started to spit but it was ok, it made the atmosphere even more romantic. We went inside Musée du Louvre and spent hours there. The museum was so huge that you need more than a day to see all the exhibitions. Ryan was amazed by all the statues and took a whole lot pictures of them, especially the ones with a weird genitals! The apartment of Napoleon Bonaparte is also inside the museum. It was so pretty and bourgeois. After museum visit, we walked along Rue de Rivoli to the Les Halles. There were plenty of Brasseries, Patisseries and Cafés around this area, we sat down and had champagne, divine. We also bought some delicious cakes to take home and I tried to eat a pot of créme brulée with my tongue because we didn’t have a spoon. We got back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit, it had been a long day. We got ready and went to the Latin Quarter for dinner. There were plenty of cheap set menus in area. French food can be really expensive but this area offered at quite a bargain. We tried Escargot (snails) and no i didn’t like it, but it was worth an experience, so Ryan ate the rest, hahaha.

Paris was so easy to get around. Metro (underground train), RER and trains are everywhere and not as busy as London tube. We started our second day in Paris with a french breakfast at the nearby patisserie, I just loved the smells of fresh pastries and in Paris, they were everywhere. I loved my croissant but Ryan was not happy with just croissants for breakfast, oh well. Then, we took an RER to Versailles. Our journey got interrupted by a bunch of obnoxious young Americans, who were so loud. Ryan got cranky at them. We got to Chåteau de Versailles and queued for 1/2 hour behind the Americans so Ryan got even crankier, and then we entered the amazing palace. The Chåteau was busy with tourists and the place was so big it took us 4 hours to admire it. We went to get some lunch in the area and hardly anything was open except one Chinese restaurant and kebab place. I’m not a big fan of kebab so I finally found a patisserie and bought an almond croissant and french pizza, while Ryan ate his kebab. We took an RER back to the centre of Paris and went to St Germain des Prés, the place reminded me of St Etienne, one of my fave french indie band. We walked along Blvd St Germain and I stopped by to get crepes, yummy !! one of my fave snack, they are everywhere in Paris and I love them. Then, I turned around and these Paris roller (mass skate) went pass us, loads of people on their roller blade rolling the streets of Paris and apparently it’s a weekly thing. We went back to the hotel to get ready for Eiffel at night and Montmartre.

Eiffel was so much more beautiful at night. In the daylight, it looked like a piece of metal. Ryan loves lights, so he was loving the lights on the tower. The night was cold, and he hugged me tightly on the way there. We went to the top and it was full of couples and yes, somehow most of them kissed, it might be cliché but I like it. The view from the top was amazing, and the atmosphere too. We didn’t realise that it was already late so we jumped on the metro and headed to Les Deux Moulins Café in Montmartre. This Café is very special to me because Amélie Poulain from the movie Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain worked there. It was one of my fave movie of all time!

paris

There was an incident when we just got off the metro station. A french guy approached us and started talking really fast in French and we told him we could not understand him and he went away. Ryan told me the guy tried to pickpocket him but Ryan did not bring his wallet with him. Well that was lucky!

Day 3, our last day in Paris 😦 We decided to have a relaxing day. We went to Bastille for breakfast and then walked along Rue de Rivoli to Centre Pampidou, a Paris cultural centre that has a distinctive architecture. Then, we went to Champs-Élysées and walked to Arc de Triomphe, took pictures just like other tourists. There was this Chinese guy who posed in so many different poses for ages, it was funny to watch. Our last stop was the Opéra and we tried to find this Japanese restaurant that was recommended by lonely planet and ended up walking up and down the street trying to find it. We finally found the place but it was not open yet. Not a good sign since we had to catch the train to the airport soon. I was craving for Japanese food, because in UK, they’re just hard to find. We walked a bit and found a few Japanese restaurants in the area and we were not disappointed.

The journey to the airport however was not as smooth as we thought. The train line for the airport in the station was closed and since our french was not that good and all the announcements were in French, it was difficult to find a way. We asked some of the locals and got a bit of clue. There was a protest so the line had been diverted. We had to be in the airport soon so we just followed our instinct and prayed we would get to the airport in time. Finally we got into the right train and got to the airport early.

It had been a wonderful trip and totally new cultural experience for us. Au revoir Paris. We can’t wait to come back in the summer.

Goodbye My dear friend..

Yesterday I said goodbye to my dear friend Arief Said. He just came back from a trip around Europe and visited me in UK. He went with this crazy tour to lots of countries in Europe in 4 weeks by bus. I can’t tell you exactly how many he visited but it was lots. He flew into London from Melbourne on the 1st October and stayed with us for 3 nights. Then he went off with his tour and came back on monday night. So I went to London yesterday to see him.

It was a wet day, very heavy rain when I came out from our apartment. Lucky I wore my trench coat (investment buy!). The umbrella I had with me didn’t do the job at all. It was windy to, so my cheap umbrella turned inside out and I was trying to fix it while I was getting wet. I thought, damn I just did my hair this morning so I would not risk to get all wet when my trip just started! I stopped by at the supermarket and looked for a new umbrella. Sainsbury is so huge, when you were in a hurry it was not that easy to find an umbrella section. After a good 10 minutes looking I finally found it but then, there were so many to choose from. Big ones, thin ones, fat ones, expensive ones, cheap ones whoa, i just needed one that would survive the bad weather. So I chose a medium size, medium price black one. I went to the self check out register and the signing pad didn’t work, God what a bad start for  a day! Finally it would let me pay and I glanced on my watch, great I missed my train. So I went on walking on the heavy rain and my umbrella survived. My trench coat protected me from the rain, but my hair was a bit wet. I just needed to sit down for a little bit. I grabbed an apple from my bag and started munching. An old man gave me a smile, i thought that’s very nice. I felt better already and head of to the platform. It took 1/2 hour in the train and when I got to London the rain had stopped. I took a tube to Oxford Circus and wander in the shops while waiting for Arief. We met and were starving so we went to soho to get some asian food which I had been craving for weeks! The restaurant was malaysian / indo influenced but the owner was malay-chinese. I ordered Meehoon goreng istimewa (Wok fried rice vermicelli) served with satay, fried egg and rendang. Arief told me about his trip which sound amazing and overwhelming. He spent approximately a day in 1 city and then continued to the next one. He said all of the cities he visited were wonderful and I couldn’t agree more from the pictures he’d shown me.

After late lunch, Arief told me he had not have his coffee yet, and he’s a coffee addict so we went to Bea’s of Bloomsbury which serves divine coffee. We talked more while we had our drinks, about everything mainly and it was nice. I’m so glad he did the trip. He told me he got me present (yaay) so we went back to his hostel to get them. Firstly, he gave a box of chocolates (yummy) and then he gave me a mask!!! which he got from Venice, aah I was jumping around with excitement, it’s a great present.

Venice Mask

The Gift

The mask was beautifully handmade and I just love it! We talked more about travelling and how it changes people life. It was so great to see him in UK, it created a different experience somehow.

I’ve known Arief since high school and we were in the same class for 3 consecutive years. In high school we were close but we had different friends and different activities. Since high school, I always knew my next study would be in Australia as planned by my parents. So when I found out that Arief was also going to Melbourne for tertiary study, I was excited to have a friend in Melbourne that I already knew. He took care of me when I got to melbourne. He introduced me to all his friends and asked me hang out with them (I actually didn’t get along with them). He also the one who introduced me to one of my ex-boyfriend. I used to hang out at Arief place when I got nothing to do and he used to make me lunch. Most of the time he’s often disgusted with some of my behavior but i know he actually love me (haha). We have always been bestfriend but we don’t necessarily hang out together. He knows everything about my life and my love life and vice-versa.

It was time for me to go and we said goodbye, I wish him good luck for the future ahead of him and I’m sure I will see him again soon.

MeandArief

Me & Arief in London

2 weekends away from Paris..

I’m in love with Paris, although I never been there yet.

I started dreaming about Paris since I met Ryan and fell in love with him. Prior to that, i never thought about Paris that much. Now i know, I want to experience Paris with the person I truly love, my first love and that’s him.

Before I met him, I wasn’t sure if I had fallen in love. When I met a guy and being head over heels, i thought I was in love but when I broke up with the guy, i questioned myself, Was it love or was it just convenience?

I was always in a relationship since my teenage years or since my puberty started and when you’re always in a relationship you always ask yourself, do I really love this guy or do I just need him or use him?

So when I met Ryan and fell for him, i questioned myself, was this love or was it just the same triangle again? but it was different, I never felt anything like that before, I like the things that I hated before, that was a sign! it was strange but it was certain. It was love.

I’m committed to him like I was never committed before. Then, I started to dream about Paris, me & him in Paris in love just us. People always told me good story about Paris, never bad ones. It makes me more eager to go and impatient.

The funny thing is Ryan never been to Paris before and He’s British! He lives in England for 25 years but he never set his foot in Paris.

It’s meant to be. It’s going to be our first time in Paris. We’ve got tickets we’ve booked the hotel and we’re going in two weeks.

I can’t wait.

London cultural experience

Wednesday 14/10/09, I had a cultural day at London. I took a 12.19 express train with Virgin train, very standard train i prefer the London Midland train, but unfortunately the London Midland takes extra 1/2 hours.

First destination was art culture at National Portraits Gallery http://www.npg.org.uk/ which hosting a gay icons exhibition, it was amazing. 10 famous gay people were chosen and their task is to choose 6 people who inspired them. http://www.npg.org.uk:8080/gayicons/index.htm

Other highlights of the gallery is the Tudor gallery and the current display of Twiggy: a life photograph celebrating the 60th birthday of the actress, which i found very exhilarating, she is a fashion icon famous for her cropped hairstyle in the 60’s and stunning actress.

Twiggy

Twiggy

It’s just amazing that time is worthless when you’re in a museum or gallery, you can spend hours without realising the time and feel restless even though you stand on your feet all day, if you’re enjoying it.

Second destination was fashion culture, I did some research the day before, where to find the cute and vintage shops, well I went to Twenty8Twelve http://www.twenty8twelve.com/ a clothing brand by Savannah Miller, the sister of Sienna Miller. I went to the shop in Newburgh St near Oxford circus, lots of cute shops and cafes on the same streets. While i was walking on Carnaby St, a woman stopped me and offered me to be a haircut model (free cut and colour), ooh i wanted to say yes but since I’m growing my hair I had to refuse 😦 honestly i hate the stated of my hair but it’s all about sacrifice.

After Carnaby St, i went into Liberty my fave department store in London http://www.liberty.co.uk/, it was quite busy since it’s a tourist area (Oxford circus!) i was admiring all the glamour when i entered the Hermes counter. They were having a photo shoot for the shoppers absolutely free! so you got to wear a Hermes scarf styled by a stylist and got your photo taken by a professional photographer and got your chosen photo printed!, so i joined the queue! I got three scarfs knotted and put around my neck, once a lifetime fashion experience! Too bad you didn’t get the scarf to take home! After the photo shoot i realised i had a long day, and my foot started to feel tired, so i went to the cafe and had a Japanese tea with a rich chocolate cake, indulgent!I actually still had a list of shops that i wanted to have a look at but my feet had refused.

Third destination was music culture at the Barbican theatre http://barbican.org.uk/, where i planned to meet my other half Ryan. A bit of drama because he was late, but we only missed a bit of the supporting artist, Taxi Taxi. Kings of convenience played a sold out gig! great venue and great performance! Peaceful and fun at the same time 🙂 We enjoyed it very much.

Well it was a great long day so we went back to the station and the train was delayed 😦 1/2 hour of wait. At the end we were home and snuggled under the blanket and closed our eyes. Goodnight London, thanks for the delightful day.