Our next destination in Singapore was the vibrant, historical (and touristy) district of Chinatown. This was actually one of the places I was most excited to visit. That is because we were visiting close to the time of the Chinese New year and this is the year of the dog (Octavia’s favourite animal). I was also excited to try some good-quality Chinese food and visit the old temples.
Chinatown is historically a Chinese ethnic-centric area in the Outram district. It was actually named ‘Chinatown’ by the British. However, it was originally known as Niu che shui (Mandarin), meaning “bullock water-cart”, because the water supply was primarily transported by animal-driven carts in the 19th century. Chinatown features post-war historical shophouses, street hawking scenes and markets of yesteryear and is the only district in South East Asia that houses three different religious places of worship (Hindu, Muslim and Buddist). Although it is a very touristy place, where you can find plenty of souvenirs, it is also a part of the city where the heritage of yesteryear has been well preserved.
Continue reading “Chinatown: preserving the heritage of yesteryear”
Happy Valentine’s day friends! I hope you had a wonderful day and spent it with someone you love.
Did Valentine’s Day sneak up on you this year? It snuck up on us. I was aware it was coming but I didn’t get a chance to organise anything special for the day. Instead, we decided we would go out for brunch as a family. I actually wanted to start doing brunch somewhere different every week with Octavia (and Marco when available) and post my experiences on here, so this was the perfect opportunity to start today.
We decided to visit the cafe Double Shot Expresso in New Farm. This is one of my favourite areas of Brisbane and it has many lovely cafes throughout this affluent neighbourhood. What I really liked about this cafe was the almost alfresco dining and the extensive brunch menu. They also have an amazing array of sweets and pastries in their cabinet. If you have a canine companion you are also welcome to bring them along as well. Our dogs are no cafe-friendly dogs, but Octavia got a kick out of seeing some canine customers.
We started off with coffee of course, which was quite good. We are a little picky with our morning cappuccino, so it was nice to be treated with a nice one. Marco ordered the Eggs Benedict special with bacon, I had the Caramelised spicy mushrooms with poached eggs and sourdough and Octavia had the fresh baked croissant. All the dishes were nice and definitely above average in care that it took to prepare and generous in size. Marco really enjoyed his dish. I didn’t mind mine either, as everything was cooked well. I just wish I knew the mushrooms were going to be spicy and sweet. I should probably have checked what seasoning they were going to use before ordering since I made noodles the night before with sweet chilli sauce. I probably go with something else next time. Octavia really enjoyed her butter but did not want to eat her croissant. I don’t know what her problem was because it was delicious. It wasn’t the perfect French croissant but it was warm, with soft layers of flakey pastry and had a nice savoury flavour. So it was a pleasant experience at Double Shot Espresso so I would recommend them for a well made, satisfying breakfast or brunch and great coffee.
Continue reading “Valentines Day: Double Shot Espresso, New Farm Park”
Hi guys, hope you’re having a great weekend. How is everyone going with their New Years resolutions?
At the beginning of this year, I announced my New Years Plans and Goals. I had three major plans for this year:
- travel to Singapore
- getting my driving licence
- go back to university.
Well so far, so good. I have already gone and returned from my trip to Singapore. I am currently in the middle of organising my photos and writing my travel series for this trip. My most recent posts were my Singapore buys and experiences in Little India. The next two posts will be about China Town and the Singapore Zoo, so stay tuned.
If your interested in some of my other travel stories I have updated my Travel Adventures page. I have made some colourful tabs so you can click on them to find the posts that are associated with each country.
I have also added a Travel Series page with all my trips chronically ordered. From here you can select by the trip, to see all posts in that series.
Continue reading “4# Life Update: meeting plans and goals”
This is my first post for my travel adventure series to Singapore. As I mentioned, I had ten wonderful days in this amazing island nation. I only got back last weekend, so I’ve still been unwinding, getting back to our normal routines.
This was my second visit to Singapore. I think the last time I actually spent time here was eight years ago. So it was lovely to revisit this country (and city). Singapore is actually tiny in comparison to other countries. You can drive from one end to the other in less than an hour, depending on the traffic of course. Ten days may seem like a lot of time to spend in such a small place. However, there is just so much to see and do here. I tried to make sure we saw most of the major neighbourhoods, sectors and sites. I’m sure there are plenty more things we could see or revisit the next time we return. There are definitely plenty more places to eat and foods we that didn’t have the time or appetite to try. This is because this tiny country has a lot established culture and cuisines. Nearly every Asian countries food is represented, as well as different cuisines within their cultures. That’s not including all the other ethnicities from the Middle East, Europe and Africa. It’s just an amazing mixing pot of people from a variety of cultures, religions and walks of life, who all live in harmony.
For this trip, I organised an itinerary that kept us busy for the whole 10 days from morning until night. To make commuting more convenient we decided to book two hotels. Our first hotel was the One Farrer Hotel & Spa in Little India. I was really happy with this accommodation. The staff were lovely, the rooms were large, beds comfortable and facilities were gorgeous. So it was a nice surprise when we arrived from our eight-hour flight.
Continue reading “Little India: colourful, bustling and spicy”
Hi everyone, I’m finally home again after our 10 days trip to Singapore. I got back a couple of days ago, but I’ve been too burnt out to do much. The time difference to Brisbane is only two hours, so I’m more exhausted from the trip in general rather than jet lag. I was a bit disappointed to come back home to real life. I was enjoying having my bed made, my meals prepared and exploring new exciting places every day. However, I missed my bed, my colouring pencils, soy cappuccinos and my family (in no particular order).
So before I share some of my travel adventures and stories, I thought I would show you some of the stuff I came back with. I didn’t do that much shopping really. I planned on coming back with a lot more. Marco, on the other hand, thinks I came back with more than enough. He only came back with a couple of pairs of shoes. I guess for the amount of time I allocated to shopping I thought I would have found more things I really wanted, but I guess I’m more sensible these days. So I’m happy with all my buys.
Continue reading “3# Life Update: home again, Singapore buys”
During the Black Friday sales, I bought a full set of Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils from Amazon. I had never seen them in art stores and sale sparked my curiosity to try another product from one of my favourite brands. I recently got these pencils out to experiment, so I thought I’d let you guys know what I think of them.
Continue reading “Review: Prismacolor Verithin Colored Pencils”
I have been admiring Tanya Bond’s Inkling colouring books series for a while. As soon as Christmas rolled around I had to add some of these books to my Christmas List. My mum was all too happy for me to buy something for myself on her behalf, so I purchased Inklings and Inklings 2 colouring books. This review is for the first and original colouring book in the Artist Edition.
Before I tell you about this book I will give you a bit of insight into the illustrator. Tanya Bond is a self-taught artist from the Irish Midlands. She has been painting professionally for several years and considers her art-style Pop Surrealism. She is known for her signature style of big-eyed girls with adorable companions. The amazing artworks she has created were turned into a colouring book via the KickStarter in 2015. After the success of that campaign, she continued to publish Inklings and then also published four more colouring books, Inklings 2, Astro-Zodiac, Mini-Inklings and Inklings 3.
Continue reading “Book Review: Tanya Bond’s Inklings (Artist Edition)”
My Euro trip of 2017 series has finally come to an end. I hope you enjoyed reading about my travels and looking through my photos. I hope I have inspired you to visit some of these amazing places or just experience another culture from your own hometown.
This is a round-up of all the countries and cities we visited on our Euro trip in 2017. They include France, Italy, Switzerland, Serbia, Sweden and Belgium. Press the images below to visit the corresponding travel post.
If you would like to read about my other travel stories from across the world see my Travel Adventures.
Continue reading “Roundup of Euro Trip 2017”
This is my first life update for 2018 and only the second so far on the blog. I did promise you more about my personal life in my New Years Plans and Goals. So I thought I would let you know whats going on in my January, as I make the trip across the sea to Singapore today.
Continue reading “2# Life Update: January 18, Singapore”
Our very last city on our Euro Trip 2017 was the beautiful Belgian city of Bruges. I never knew anything about this city, just that it was the birthplace of Doctor Evil. I had no idea how gorgeous it was and I’m so happy we fit this visit into our last stop in Belgium.
Bruges is a medieval town, which looks like it came out of a fairy tale. The cobbled stone streets are lined with old Flemish homes, the gothic-styled buildings and churches loom from overhead and the dreamy canals bring a touch of whimsical beauty. Flemish language and culture still dominate this Belgium city. Bruges is also home an extensive amount of museums and hosts numerous music festivals throughout the year.
Continue reading “Bruges: a medieval Flemish beauty”
Before I take you to my last travel stop in Bruges, Belgium for my Euro Trip for 2017, I thought I better take you somewhere else first. I actually completely forgot that I made another stop in Switzerland. While I was in Italy staying with my family in Luino, my cousins took me to the Swiss city of Bellinzona.
Bellinzona is the capital city of the canton Ticino of Switzerland. It is in the Italian-speaking southern region of Switzerland, just north of Lugano. This city is famous for its three medieval castles, Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro.
We visited the Castelgrande, which overlooks the other two castles. This castle was fortified from the 1st to the 13th century. Although the original Roman fort is no longer visible, parts of the High Middle Age castle are visible. Most of what stands is from the 11-15th century.
To get up to the castle we had to take an elevator from the foot of the rock. There is a museum, which covers 6500 years of human inhabitance from this hill. There is also a restaurant, had a function on the day of our visit.
This castle was truly an amazing site to see. Not only are the views of Bellinzona spectacular, but the sheer majesty of the castle blew my mind. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to visit the museum on this afternoon. If you’re interested in human history, I think it would be fantastic.
Continue reading “Bellinzona: Castles of Montebello”
Belgium is our final destination on our Europe trip for 2017. We spent one day and an afternoon in Brussels and one day in Brugge. I absolutely loved Belgium, or as the locals say Bruxelles. It’s such a melting pot of different ethnicities and French flare. The chocolates and desserts make this a place I would definitely return for. Just give me another 24 hours of chocolates, waffles, fudge, croissants and Belgium frites. It’s definitely not the place to visit when you’re on a diet.
This was my first time visiting Belgium, so I had no idea what to expect from Brussels. I knew that French was the prominent language, so I was expecting it to be a little bit like my visit to Bourdeaux. I wasn’t expecting it to be a full-on tourist destination like Rome or Paris. I didn’t mind it though because the rest of the destinations on this trip weren’t big tourist meccas. It did mean we had to try to avoid tourist traps to get the best out of our trip. Our friends also met us in Brussels, since they live just over the English Channel in Kent. So it was lovely to discover this amazing city together.
So since we visited so many parts of Brussels over a couple of days on foot, I have split this post by neighbourhood. The areas we covered include the Center of Brussels (surrounding the Grand Place), Îlot Sacré, Stalingrad, Marolles, Sablon and The Upper Town (Haut de la Ville).
Continue reading “Brussels: chocolate, frites and so much more”