Long time, no blog. I don't understand how people can keep this up as a full-time job...I can barely remember to post once a month, let alone once a day. It's been a while though, so I figured I would come on and write about my most recent day-to-day life...I got a new job! Finally (my dad says) lol no but really I DID graduate in December so it's overdue. Regardless, I am now an employee of Echo Design in Midtown Manhattan and absolutely LOVING it. For those of you who have known me for a while, you'll know that working in fashion in NYC was a farfetched dream of mine...and it's now a reality...I am so pleased!
The company is a family owned business going on 95 years, built around their passion for silk scarves. Since its inception however, the brand has branched out to swimwear, outwear, hats, gloves and other accessories. Based out of NYC, Echo has such a great working environment with great employees (and I'm not just saying that to suck up to my boss...she doesn't even read my blog posts lol). Everyday is different, fun and so fast paced. Fashion in New York City is no joke, but so exhilarating. My position, if anyone cares, is Sales Assistant..which doesn't really give much away about what I do day-to-day and to be quite honest it's different each day. I work for two great ladies who deal with department store and off-price store sales and assist them throughout the week with various tasks - whether that be running reports, hanging clothing, interacting with our buyers, etc. It's so versatile and ever-changing and such a great learning environment. One of the best parts about the job, as we pride ourselves on the beautiful accessories, is we wear the pieces each day as part of our outfit...no better accessory than a gorgeous silk scarf...Echo made of course! Anyway, if I filled you in on my tasks since I started a month ago, I would be here a while so I'll spare you the details.
Life is good, I love my job. Steve, after working a while for a fragrance company, decided to move into the world of pharmaceuticals and is now an employed chemist at a company nearby. We spend our weekends lounging around the house, after long days at work during the week. We've planned a few trips before the end of the year - Busch Gardens over Labor Day Weekend and more importantly - Glasgow and London over the Christmas Holiday..at long last! I've been wanting Steve to come home and visit my extended family for years now, but it never seemed to work out and finally it has worked itself out - flights are booked! Were also spending a few days in London as Steve has never been to the UK and wanted to do a bit of traveling while we were there...so we've got some days out in London to plan over the next few months - recommendations welcome!
I have no recent photos to post with this blog as I spend most of my time in the office, I'll try and get a few of my walk to work over the next few weeks and maybe I'll remember to post again before the next solar eclipse!
That day, I spent wandering around the local mall in clothes provided to me by the hotel (see above photo) that were not so glamorous to say the least lol but it was that or stinky 24-hour airplane clothes, beggars can't be choosers. While I wandered round the mall, I felt like a spy making sure I didn't spot my mum or any of her friends incase they would mention a sighting...after single handedly helping the Singaporean economy and a few outfits/makeup/necessities later I was back at the hotel. Still wondering about my suitcase, I was calling and contacting as many numbers as I could my hands on - to no avail. So, as any 21st century millennial would, I took to social media to solve my problems. I DM'd (as you say) United on Twitter to see if they could help me. After a very prompt response (probably because they're on thin ice lol) I was informed that my bag was in fact IN SINGAPORE and has been since 7am (when my flight landed) 🙄 so all along, my bag had infact made it on my tight connection and had I not assumed it hadn't made it, I would have been able to take it straight for the airport. So, with a few hours to spare before surprising my mum, I ubered back to the airport and picked up my "not so lost" case and ubered back to the hotel. After I'd put myself together a bit after the case catastrophe I got myself yet another Uber and made my way to quayside where my mum and dad were waiting (unbeknownst to my mum) for me. I appeared around the back of their table and my mum did a double take, followed by a "what the f*** are you doing here???" And waterworks...LOL..the surprise went brilliantly and she was thrilled that I was there. We spent the night drinking with friends who were equally surprised I had showed up..
Never did I think I would be back in Singapore so soon when I left only a month ago. The surprise was planned only days before leaving, so it was a nice surprise for all of us really. Glad I was able to spend a few more days in this wonderful place before my family leaves for good in June. The rest of the week was spent relaxing and seeing friends, eating food and spending money - my 3 specialties LOL. It all felt like a dream as soon as I arrived back to the US, such a short (yet sweet) trip.
This post won't be a long one...however it is one that is near and dear to me.
Just last week, I said goodbye to a place that I have called "home" for the past 4 years on and off. It was where I would go over Christmas and over Summer in between college breaks to visit my family. Although it was never my permanent home for longer than a few months, it was one of my favorite places to spend my time. It is unlike any other place I have been in the world and I am grateful that I was able to spend the little amount of time there that I did. Even though my families time in this beautiful little country is coming to a close end, I think we have really made the most of our time here and I know I will make a point of going back one day. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Singapore, don't hesitate! Take it from me - it's a wonderful place to be!
Apologies for the slight delay in my blog post for London, but it was quite hectic as soon as I returned from my trip. I flew from Heathrow to Singapore, spent one day in Singapore (packing and saying goodbye) and then flew back to the U.S. the following day. So, I have finally had the time to sit down and write about my trip!
The trip itself was intended for my sister, Mica to audition for drama schools in the area. However, with no parent available to take her...I volunteered as tribute hehe. So, off we went to spend a week in lovely London....
It had been over a year since I had been back to the U.K. and of course, there are a few things you MUST do/see/eat while you're there. My top few are 1. A boots meal deal (it's the little things in life) 2. Chocolate (duh) and 3. Shopping! And let me tell you, I did more than enough of all of the above.
My first day I reunited with one of my oldest best friends, Holly. We met in The Woodlands, Texas over 15 years ago and have kept in touch ever since. She now lives in London and is pursuing a career in Law. We spent the day together doing what we do best - eating, drinking and shopping. We walked the high street and enjoyed afternoon tea at The Berkeley (a must do tea in London!) Overall, it was a fantastic day of catching up and enjoying each others company - friends for life.
The next day, Mica and I met with our Auntie Natalie, Granny Grace, and cousins Emily and Martha in London for lunch. They kindly made the commute from Cheltenham to see us. We had lunch at Bill's and chatted away!
Monday, Mica had her first audition in Chiswick. It just so happened that one of my best friends from Geneva lived there...so I went along and spent the day with Caitlin while Mica auditioned. Ella, our mutual friend from Simply Theatre (our theatre school in Geneva) met us as well and we spent hours catching up over lunch and too much Prosecco...lol
Safe to say this trip was FULL of reunions. It was great to see so many old friends faces after being apart for so long. It really shows how fast time flies and how so much can change in a few short years. Even years later and miles apart, it was great to be able to fall right back into the swing of things with all these people I've met all over the world. My heart is so full and I can't wait to reunite with many more of my friends in the near future - I hope!
The inevitable outcome of packing too much or too little for a trip away, forgetting a swimsuit on your beach holiday, bringing just a light cardigan for 0 degree weather....let me tell you - been there, done that, bought the t-shirt (well actually, bought the jacket to keep me warm). In fact, most of these mistakes I've made in the past few months, let alone throughout my whole life. However, through the years I've learned some tips and tricks on how to pack like a pro...
Step 5: Final check. Make sure to check with your airline of choice what the restrictions are for both checked and carry-on luggage. How much weight are you allowed? How many carry-on bags can you have? Etc. These silly facts could save you from paying an extra $100 at check-in (trust me, I've been there). Once everything is packed and zipped up, set your suitcase aside with your travel outfit on top, along with your hand luggage (and passport, duh) all ready for your departure. Bon voyage!
In the most populated country, in one of the most populated cities in the world, lies Beijing. A city much like those we are more familiar with such as New York or Glasgow (maybe partly because it was below 50 degrees)...nonetheless the atmosphere felt somewhat familiar. The main difference, the visibility in the air due to the expansive manufacturing economy causing mass air pollution. Despite its poor visibility and cold weather, the city was full of such rich history that was waiting to be explored.
Our first night we enjoyed the traditional Peking (or Beijing) Duck and walked around the underground maze of a mall to window shop through the never-ending luxury shops. Our next morning, after the most amazing buffet breakfast I have ever seen (Kerry Hotel) we were picked up at 8:30am by our lovely tour guide Amanda. Our first stop was Tiananmen Square – a 400 sq. meter area where many historical events occurred…both good and bad. Just behind the square was the Forbidden City with the famous photograph of Mao overlooking the people of China. Each architectural decision was intentional and every doorway, window, even brick was put there for a reason. We began the long walk through the special city, located in the dead center of Beijing (again, completely intentional). We stopped to take a photo in front of the entrance, where my Mum stood for the same photo 20-30 years ago (notice the belt). (Side note: as a pale light-eyed Caucasian female, you are the subject of attention and frequently asked for photographs with surrounding locals).
The vast amounts of land in each “palace” so to speak was immense…there was plenty of space for hundreds of thousands of civilians to visit when the emperor would hold an event or speech. Even with the thousands of tourists visiting the city, the space surrounding was still plentiful. We spent a few hours walking around and through the Forbidden City learning all about the rich history of China and how time was measured in Dynasty’s rather than decades/centuries for example, as well as the interesting habits of the emperor’s years ago.
The next stop – Huohai was an old neighborhood of Beijing, now becoming a trendy waterside location full of bars and restaurants. We walked deeper into the old streets and past the plenty of houses where up to 10 families would share one kitchen and an outdoor bathroom with many other houses. The feeling was quite surreal; It was as if we had stepped into a different world where everything was quiet, gray and the buildings were almost too small for the average person (felt like a black and white Legoland lol). Just outside of the neighborhood we stopped for lunch at a local Chinese restaurant and allowed our guide Amanda to order for us. We ended up with dumplings, wantons, chili beans, and a tofu dish all just as delicious as the last. We completely filled our boots and learned all about our guide and her life in China.
Next, we visited the Temple of Heaven – another special location for the Emperor where he would spend a few days out of the year to fast from the luxuries of life (meat, sex, alcohol). Much like the Forbidden City, each building was decadent and colorful which was quite visually effective against the gray sky in the background. Finally, one our way back to our hotel we stopped at the famous Silk Street shopping mall to get silk pillows and pillowcases…we may have ended up leaving with far more but shhh ;)
Up again at 7:30, off to breakfast and ready to meet Amanda at 8:30, we dressed for a cold day up the wall. We began the journey to the famous Great Wall of China which took about 1h40 by car. We reached the bottom of the summit and took a bus to the cable car entrance before we journeyed up. The 7,000km long wall that took over 200 years to build, expands across the border of China that once protected the Chinese from the Mongolians. This famous wall, now a massive landmark and wonder of the world was in a word – great! We walked a few kilometers toward the highest point of the Wall and stopped for photographs along the way.
Although not necessary to mention, I find it important to bring to the attention of any readers I have from any part of the world…we passed a group of American (students, I presume) around 20 that were storming through the Wall wearing a tacky tourist Chinese hat and blasting the infamous “Bad & Boujee” whilst discussing the Mongolians in a disparaging manner – RUDE! No, but in all seriousness…it is really disappointing to see my generation to act in such a disrespectful way in such a sacred place. Anyway, we kept our distance from the group and enjoyed our walk in the brisk hazy weather. After a decent walk along the spectacular landmark, we descended on the cable car and enjoyed lunch at another Chinese restaurant – yum!
The next stop – Summer Palace was an 1h30 away, just in time for a wee kip...zzz. The walk around the Summer Palace was serene and peaceful despite the traffic of people. I imagine even more so during the summer time with all the blossomed trees and lotus flower filled lake. The story of the famous Dragon Lady and the Emperor was an interesting one – how they both came to stay in the palace from April – September of every year in a palace of over 400 hectares… a humble abode…not!
Our two-day tour was a fantastic experience of history, shopping, and cuisine. Our guide Amanda was fantastic, patient and very polite (if anyone is would like her contact details, please let me know!). Our hotel was perfectly located in the city-center and very accommodating – The Kerry Hotel (part of the Shangri-La group). All in all, a wonderful trip to Beijing…just enough time to see everything we wanted. An amazing once in a lifetime experience!
'Walk' may be pushing it a bit, but my wonderful boyfriend did travel 10,000+ miles to come and visit me this past week! From Tampa, Florida all the way to Singapore and then on to Langkawi together.
Our time in Singapore was spent doing the classic "touristy" things like visiting the Aquarium which we had done before, but was one of Steve's favorites so we went again. We did the famous Singapore Night Safari which was FAB! I'm definitely not an avid zoo-goer, but this was quite spectacular...we were there for about an hour and managed to see every animal...definitely worth the visit if you have the chance! (50% this month for any Singapore Residents reading this!)
On Monday we flew to Langkawi and spent the next few days relaxing by the beach and pool together. We stayed at the Vivanta by Taj on Rebak Island. It was a nice hotel located on its own island - 5 minutes away by boat from Langkawi. I wouldn't rush back, however it was good value for money and it perhaps just needs a few extra touches to make it that much better. Our first full day we went to the famous Sky Bridge - a bridge suspended over a mountain side...definitely not everyone's cup of tea! The journey to the bridge was by taking one of the steepest cable car journey's in the world...again, not everyones cup of tea lol, but fun if you aren't afraid of heights! It was a great day, albeit extremely hot...
The rest of our day was spent walking up and down the strip of the main beach where we dipped in and out of shops and killed some time before having dinner at a lovely restaurant on the coast. 'The Cliff' was the name of the restaurant (if you ever visit Langkawi, it is located right underneath the massive "Langkawi" sign on the mountain side) recommended to us by a family friend. Our food was fantastic and relatively affordable for the location and quality.
Wednesday, our last full day, we spent lying by the pool for the majority of the day soaking up the sun. We had planned to go scuba diving off the main land, however the scuba company was unfortunately fully booked for the rest of the week...our fault for not calling or planning ahead! Anyway, we were able to get some R&R by the pool before heading back onto the mainland for some lunch/dinner. Again, we ate and returned home at a (much too) reasonable hour lol. In typical 20+ year-old fashion (NOT), we fell asleep before 10pm...knowing we had to be awake for our early flight back to Singapore in the morning.
Steve's last full day was Saturday and I was still bed-ridden with the cold...luckily we still got to spend time with each other which was great after being apart for over 2 months. We spent the day watching movies, getting bagels and just enjoying each others company...albeit with a floor full of tissues (glamorous, I know...). Steve left very early on Sunday morning and we said our goodbye's...he's now safely back in Tampa where we we will reunited once again in a months time..yippee! Great week with great company :) <3
After a few weeks rest back in Singapore, it was time for us (Mum and I) to explore a new part of Southeast Asia. We debated on where to go and decided upon Krabi - a coastal village of Thailand. A quick up and down flight of 1h30 mins from Singapore. Our resort, Amari Vogue was about a 45 minute drive from the airport located on the coast with a gorgeous view out to sea. Not meant for anything but relaxation, we spent the majority of our time sunbathing by the pool, eating and drinking.
Our first day (Monday) we arrived in the late afternoon and wandered around the resort, located on a steep hill that had villas leading down to the beach. Our first stop was Happy Hour (quelle surprise) where we sat by the sea and drank margaritas. We made a dinner reservation at the hotels Italian restaurant and went to our suite to freshen up. For dinner we had Bruschetta, Crab Cakes, and a Parma Ham Pizza. As we ate dinner we watched two women perform traditional Thai dancing in front of the restaurant.
Overall, the fish was overpriced for what it was and although it was decent, it was definitely not the best fish I've ever had. If you do find yourself at this resort, I would opt out of the seafood dinner and choose a seafood dish directly from the menu to avoid confusion. Other than that, our evening was lovely aside from the quick rain that came over the restaurant, but nothing we weren't used to.
In my opinion this was the best option..as opposed to being dropped off at a crowded beach with no chairs, bathrooms or restaurants for 4 hours. Instead we were able to visit 4 different islands, including an amazing lagoon where the water was crystal clear. Our trip took about 1h20 and we were back on dry land at 9:30am. They advised we visited early as the weather is usually better in the morning and it doesn't get busy until later on. The rest of our afternoon we spent lying by the pool and reading. Our evening was a quiet one...we chose to eat at the closer restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious selection of Thai food before having an early night before leaving the next day! Nothing like some R&R!
After indulging in a 10-day trip to Australia and New Zealand I felt it was time to explore a culturally important part of Asia and learn about its rich history. A visit to Siem Reap, Cambodia was just the ticket for a spiritually awakening, historic and educational trip.
Our time was spent doing a variety of things. We (my mum and I) spent our stay at the Victoria Angkor Hotel & Spa just far enough away from Pub Street, but close enough to the livelihood of the town where we could Tuk Tuk into the center. With three days to fill, we used our time wisely to do a variety of things in the city. Our first afternoon was spent lying by the hotel pool before heading to the Park Hyatt for afternoon tea (super Cambodian and culturally awakening...lol). We then took a Tuk Tuk to Kandal village to visit friends with businesses in the area. The first Louise Loubatieres - a gorgeous boutique with homeware, jewelry, artwork, etc. owned by Louise - a French/English/Cambodian lady. Next, we visited The Village Cafe - a restaurant under renovation owned by my mum's friend Stewart, who she flew with when she worked for British Airways. We spent the evening drinking and eating their delicious food while being treated by the wonderful staff. After our day of travel and exploring part of SR, we went back to the hotel for an early night.
The following morning was spent visiting the famous temples of Siem Reap. With an early wakeup call, we enjoyed the amazing hotel breakfast before meeting with our guide - Prom, who took us around the temples that morning. We headed to the temple government building to pick up our passes ($37/day for those interested). Our first visit was Ta Phrom - a temple surrounded by trees and shrubbery with gorgeous and old architecture. Our next temple visit was the famous - Angkor Wat and let me tell you - it was just as amazing as everyone says it is. Gorgeous from every angle, the temple housed Buddhist Monks where they practice throughout the week. As the day went on, the temples began to get busier and our last visit to Bayon was very crowded. This temple, famous for its faces built into the sides of each temple was amazing experience. Unfortunately, the crowd slightly ruined the experience of the visit as we found ourselves rushing through the site to avoid people. After the 3rd visit, we found ourselves "templed-out" as they call it and went to lunch at the recommended 'Chanrey Tree' and enjoyed shared appetizers. We returned to our hotel, showered, slept and got ready to go out for the evening. At about 5pm, we Tuk Tuk'd to the Old Market and did some shopping before going to dinner at 'Malis' - a well-known restaurant along the river (another recommendation). Good food and drink, however lacked atmosphere for the potential the restaurant had with its size and design. Again, we returned to the hotel for a quick night-cap before having another early night.
Our final morning was spent lounging around the pool during the morning before indulging in the 'Frangipani Spa' package and getting a body scrub, massage and facial in the afternoon. The spa was fantastic; everything from the service to the staff to the small details like flowery foot baths and 'magic' tea. After our much needed (lol not really) spa trip, we met Stewart at his restaurant. We jumped into his drivers Tuk Tuk and he tuk (lol see what I did there) us to a far away resort (where Angelina Jolie stays when she visits) for sundowners. The resort Phum Baitang was unlike anything else in Siem Reap, not only was it miles from the main village but the individual huts and wildlife set it apart from surrounding hotels. After our drinks, we went to yet another recommended restaurant - 'Olive' before going to bed before our early morning flight.
The trip was fantastic and another country to check off of the list of travels!!
Safe to say I am now a professional wine sommelier…NOT! But I have definitely drank enough wine for all of New Zealand. I spent the last week in wonderful Auckland - a large city full of beautiful little boutique villages, each with their own beach alcove. Lucky me, my aunt and uncle live in the area of Torbay where I spent (most of) my time here in NZ living like a true Kiwi. We toured museums that depicted the history of the Maori culture (the traditional people of New Zealand) and visited both the North and West sides of the city where we visited different beaches and quaint markets. Although extremely windy, everywhere you looked, there was something beautiful to see. Whether it was a beach, a vineyard or even a strawberry farm…there was always something. Our days were filled with activities both outdoors and in, including many coffee trips (side note: think I may have fueled a coffee addiction over the past few days…I’m looking at you, Auntie Linda! hehe) It was all wonderful and great to meet and spent time with family, including Linda’s beautiful grandchildren Quinn and Eden. We enjoyed a special Friday night dinner (and a show) at Caluzzi’s; where we were entertained all night by Auckland’s famous drag queens…we ate, we drank and we danced the night away. Definitely one of the books!
The remainder of my week long trip was spent in Waiheke…one of the MOST beautiful islands I have ever visited in my lifetime. A 45-minute ferry ride of the coast of Auckland, Waiheke is paradise for anyone interested in wine and sun (Me! Me! Me!) Unfortunately, the first few days were cold and rainy due to the South-Westerly wind bringing weather up from Antarctica. FORTUNATELY, that meant all our time was spent at wineries…woohoo! Over two days, we visited a total of 7 wine farms – Stonyridge, Cable Bay, Mudbrick, Obsidien, Peacock Sky, Batch and Man O’ War. All absolutely stunning and all gorgeous for different reasons. If you’re looking for a view and upscale wining and dining – must try Mudbrick and Cable Bay (both just a 10 minute walk apart). If you’re wanting a personal experience with the wine sommeleiers – Peacock Sky sat down with us and talked us through each wine and degustation pairing as we drank and ate. A smaller, yet cute and quaint, vineyard was Obsidien – also a personable experience with a great group of staff and a great deal on wine tasting. If I were to ever get married in NZ – Batch would be my choice of venue – aside from the gorgeous view, there is plenty of space and different areas to celebrate.
Our final day in Waiheke was spent on the beautiful Little Oneroa beach where we met with Linda’s mum, daughter and grand-daughters as we spent the day running around in the sand and diving in and out of the sub zero water (lol). Our evenings throughout the trip were spent in what Kiwi’s call a ‘Bach’ or what we may call a bungalow/villa. Our cute little bach was located in Surfdale with all the necessities for our two-night stay.
My trip to New Zealand was unforgettable. An amazing country that I’m so happy I had the chance to experience thanks to my wonderful Aunt Linda and Uncle Doug! They spoiled me rotten and I’m so lucky to have spent the time with them this week! I will be back one day – I promise!