The Next Chapter: London

-the-next-chapter-london

After a very hectic August I have finally found the time to write a post. My apologies, I’m aware I’ve been slacking a bit. As some of you may know I got a marketing job in the big smoke last month for an Anglo-Chinese digital marketing company… hallelujah!

I must admit, I have found the past month quite stressful. One week I am unemployed and applying for jobs, the next I’m attending interviews, and then the following week I have got the job and I am moving to London. I guess this is just the normal process for applying for jobs, but in all honesty, I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself in for. Two weeks to find a place in London, pack my bags & get settled – it was a pretty quick turn around if you ask me. I certainly wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the summer, nor to the student life! When it actually hit me that I got the job, I actually fell into a wee bit of a panic…which unfortunately a couple of weeks later has turned into some horrible breakout of eczema on my face (not pretty lol). I found myself stressing out over the tiniest of things, and was asking myself: Is going into full time work what I actually want right now? Should I have done a Masters this year? Do I want to be living in England?

Anyway, fast-forward a couple of weeks and here I am today, very content and still in disbelief that I have got a job in a full service marketing company for Chinese consumers. Could I be any happier? The answer is, no. After a pretty stressful month moving to London (I actually found it just as stressful as moving to China – and that’s saying something), I am so content with life & so proud that I have managed to find myself a job in a business that I’m genuinely interested and passionate about. Boy does it feel good knowing that that 4 year Chinese degree has paid off!  And to top it off, all the ladies on the team are absolute gems! I’m so excited for the next few months ahead as I settle into the company & continue to take on new challenges.

I am also over the moon that I am now living and working in London.  London is definitely one of the places that I wanted to tick off my list before I die (lol). I am  super contenta that I have got most of my best friends here in Laandaan with me, so bring on the chilled autumn and wintery nights ahead! I am also very excited to check out all the yummy brunch places in London. If you know me well, you’ll know that I am a HUGE foodie. Food is literally the way to my heart, lol. In the past couple of weeks that I have been here I have eaten so much asian food – I actually feel like I am becoming a lot more asian (especially with those Korean face masks too), but if anything, it has reminded me how good the food was in China, Hong Kong and Japan!  So expect a post on my favourite places for yummy asian food & my best brunch recommendations soon! 😉

If you have any questions feel free to leave me a message.
Thanks for reading! Peace and love x 

Au revoir Ciao Adios 再见 Auf Wiedersehen

 

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Nothing beats throwing tomatoes at people and it being perfectly ok…

Two years ago one of my best friends and I decided to take a wee road trip to  Valencia for the annual festival  of La Tomatina which takes place on the last Wednesday of August every year. By the way, I say “wee road trip” because I had driven to Spain the month before and had spent all summer there, so venturing to Valencia was easy.  For those of you who have never heard of La Tomatina it is basically just a MAHOOSIVE  tomato throw fight, where you get to lob tomatoes… yes that’s right, LOB tomatoes at people’s faces, backs or at someone’s forehead, as you can see from the photo below.

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Back in 2015 my friend and I bought tickets for the festival earlier on in the year, like in February/March as we knew we definitely wanted to go and tick it off our bucket lists… yeeah baby!! The prices of the tickets at the time were fairly cheap at about £180pp which included two nights at a hotel & entry to all the events for the three days. Crackin’ deal if you ask me. The first night kicked off at L’Umbracle in the heart of the zone Las Artes y Las Ciencias. If you have ever visited Valencia I am sure you will have seen these buildings and if you didn’t then I’m worried. 😉

The first night of the festival was insane, imagine watching the sunset and then partying in this tropical garden. Yup, the vibes were real. And to top it off my friend and I gatecrashed a Scottish stag do of about 10 men, which was absolutely hilarious and so we ended up continuing  to gatecrash the stag for the rest of the festival. We also met some amazing Australian girls (shout out to Carly and Lauren if you are reading this!). So, a little tip that I would give if you’re planning on going is; party as hard as you want the night before, but just make sure you don’t miss the coaches that leave at 7am the next day to take you to Buñol for the actual festival (I met a few people at the La Tomatina After Party that missed the actual tomato fight as the first night at L’Umbracle was just sooo good).


The second day of the festival is the tomato fight. Come prepared – don’t wear your good clothes, in fact, the less clothes the better. I think I ended up throwing away a t-shirt before the tomato fight had even begun as the Spanish locals who were all stood on the balconies of their flats tipped buckets of cold water over us. I would also highly recommend bringing a pair of goggles – getting tomato juice in your eye really isn’t that fun & some people had really bloodshot eyes for the rest of the day. If you decide to go and you decide to not wear goggles, because lets face it, it’s not exactly the most attractive look… then don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂

The actual tomato throw festival itself is ABSOLUTELY INSANE. There’s such a big build up over the course of the morning, there are lots of TV crews filming and half the people are still drunk from the night before. Also, during the morning loads of people attempt to climb a large pole, which just so happens to be covered in grease in order make it really difficult (borderline impossible) to get to the piece of jamón at the top.  If you manage to get to the top you are basically the La Tomatina Champ, however I don’t think anyone was able to reach it in 2015. (Check out the link above to see a video of it)

 

From what I remember the tomato fight starts at about midday, after a long morning of waiting everyone is buzzing for the tomato fight to begin. The trucks which are full of tomatoes come down the street with people in the trailers throwing tomatoes – it’s at this moment where you get a massive adrenaline rush and realise it is game on. Loads of people had their Gopros with them and there are also lots of people selling protective cases for phones in the village, but to be on the safe side I didn’t bring mine, I just had a disposable waterproof camera. So, unfortunately my photos aren’t the best. Also another tip, after the tomato fight is over there is a little stream you can go to for a wash, the other option is to be hosed down by a local who will happily help rinse you, but the queues are extremely long!

Overall, the whole of the 3 days is really well organised and there is even an Official After Party after the tomato fight, again this was insane. The coaches pick you up and take you to an old industrial estate (“polígono” in Spanish) which is like a good 45 minutes away, I remember thinking we were in the middle of nowhere, but boy was I wrong. The venue was amazing…

 

I don’t think I have experienced anything crazier than this tomato fight, I actually can’t put into words how fun it was. So my advice is to go and try it for yourself. Obviously it’s a lot cheaper if you book in advance and book cheap flights… but it still isn’t too late to go this year! It’s an unforgettable experience, so go try it 🙂

 

 

If you have any questions feel free to leave me a message.
Thanks for reading! Peace and love x 

Au revoir Ciao Adios 再见 Auf Wiedersehen

 

Finally joined the blogger bandwagon… better late than never!

So after a good few years of contemplating about writing a blog I have finally decided to join the bandwagon and get blogging… better late than never.  I recently graduated from the University of Nottingham with a 2:1 in Spanish and Contemporary Chinese Studies (woohooo hallelujah!), it seemed like it was going to be a long old 4 years, but surprisingly it flew by. Without a doubt I have literally *Kardashian voice* just lived the best 4 years of my life in Nottingham, Spain and China, and I honestly can’t describe the amount of amazing people I have met over the past few years. I have made some AMAZING friends from Nottingham but also America, Mexico, Italy and the list goes on… so I may have got a 2:1, but for sure I have left uni with some First Class friends (*cringe* how cheesy!).  I am absolutely gutted that it is all over, but onwards and upwards, here’s to the next chapter of my life! 🙂


At the moment I’m now living back at home with my parents which is so nice after spending 4 years away from home, but at the same time I can’t wait to start working! Over the past couple of weeks I have been applying for jobs in London, Barcelona, New Zealand (because of my sister and brother in-law) and China… not going to lie I didn’t realise how tedious the process is for applying for jobs, BUT luckily I have heard back from a Chinese marketing company in London & have been invited for an interview, so my fingers and toes are crossed!


Anyways I’m not going to ramble on anymore, all that you need to know is that I’m going to be blogging about my past travels from the top places that I would recommend to visit, to the best places to eat and stay in Asia (China, Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam) and Europe (mainly Spain). So sit back , relax and enjoy 😉

Thanks for reading! Peace and love x 
Au revoir Ciao Adios 再见 Auf Wiedersehen

 

p.s It’s early days so any feedback is appreciated 😉

 

MY TOP 10 BEST EATS IN BARCELONA

Did somebody say Barth-e-lona?! 

In the past month I have had a few people message me about where are the best places to eat in Barcelona. Before I get started, I haven’t lived in Barcelona so I have obviously got limited knowledge on the best places to eat; I have however spent a good few weeks in Barcelona over the years and have visited a handful of restaurants from fine-dining, to brunch cafes and bakeries. Whilst it is still technically the summer I thought it is only right to do a post on my favourite places to eat in Barcelona and help some of you lovelies out!

 1. GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL // @ghotelcentral

Whether you are on holiday with your friends, family or your partner, one of my top recommendations for an amazing sunset dinner (very romantic) with a unique view overlooking the city is the Grand Central Hotel. Ok, so at first it might not sound particularly amazing, you might be thinking that it is just a hotel, so how on earth is it going to be amaaazing?! But, believe me, if you decide to go for dinner here you will not be disappointed. As you take the lift from the lobby to the Skybar you will be struck by one of the most beautiful and serene outdoor spaces and views that Barcelona has to offer. The rooftop bar and restaurant with a terrace lounge on one side and an idyllic infinity pool on the other will take your breath away! As the sun sets over the city and the infinity pool changes colour you will feel like you’re on cloud nine! (Or at least I felt like I was on cloud nine anyway!) The food here is absolutely delicious (a little pricey) but totally worth it for a magical sunset dinner. You do have to make reservation if you’re not a hotel guest – so be sure to go around 8:30pm to catch the beautiful sunset over the city.  I will 100% remember this dinner and the incredible views to go with it for life, so I recommend that you go and see if for yourself.


2. BOCA GRANDE // @bocagrande

This restaurant is a little hidden gem tucked away in the city centre of Barcelona! Unlike Grand Central Hotel this restaurant doesn’t boast incredible views of Barcelona’s skyline, however what it does offer is an incredibly sophisticated setting for dinner with the freshest fish and seafood in town. Boca Grande meaning “big mouth” has a very unique atmosphere; the restaurant feels very intimate with an exceptionally stunning interior design.

But also the downstairs toilets are equally amazing too… perfect for all those selfie addicts out there! As well as the stunning settings inside the restaurant the toilets are also beautifully decorated – the toilets are dimly lit with lots of hanging mirrors and in middle of the toilets there is a large well, it’s tres cool.

I was lucky enough to go here to celebrate my best friend’s 21st birthday, so as you can imagine we took full advantage of the cool toilet settings for a selfie! But it doesn’t stop there, if that wasn’t enough there is also a photobooth inside the toilets, where you can get some pretty cool black & white snaps to remember the night! I may quickly just add that these toilets are unisex, so you may just find the odd man enter and look rather bamboozled thinking he is in the wrong toilets when he is not!


3. BRUNCH AND CAKE // @brunchandcake

Brunch and Cake is one of my all time favourites! I have been here every time I have been to Barcelona and I’m sure that I will continue to go until I have tried everything on the menu! Brunch and Cake offers big portions with fresh and high quality ingredients which is perfect if you’re a brunch lover/foodie (pig) like me! You can find Brunch and Cake in two very cool locations in Barcelona; the first is by the sea (close to Barceloneta beach & the Mare Magnum) and the second is tucked away in the heart of the city not far from Las Ramblas and Plaza de Catalunya. I personally would recommend going to the one inside the city. Although I haven’t been to the one by the sea, the one tucked away inside the city on a quiet side street gives you a more authentic experience of Barcelona, as opposed to being situated on the busy street by the beach with hundreds of people and motorbikes going past. One of the best things about the restaurant is the price! It’s not too expensive & it’s really good value for money considering that the portions are big! Everything on the menu is also beautifully presented too – even the coffees! So, if you are in Barca, I would definitely check this delicious spot out!


4. CDLC  // @CDLCBARCELONA

Another one of my Barcelona favourites is Carpe Diem Lounge Club (CDLC). Located on Barceloneta beach and decorated with Buddha statues and golden lanterns, this is the ultimate restaurant for good vibes and sophistication. Nothing beats watching the sunset with the W hotel in the distance and the relaxing atmosphere of this elegant bar and restaurant. They do amazing sushi platters here and amazing chicken satay, literally mouthwatering. (If you know me, you’ll know that I am a BIG foodie, so I’m not exaggerating when I say mouthwatering… I felt as though I had died and gone to heaven after that chicken satay skewer!) But one of the best things about CDLC is that it has it all: it’s affordable, it has an incredible atmosphere and most importantly  it has fabulous food!


5. SHOKO CLUB // @shokobarcelona

If you are a sushi lover then head here! This restaurant is a few doors down from CDLC. I personally prefer CDLC as the hanging lanterns and the Buddha statues make the outside terrace very pretty at night; however Shoko is definitely worth checking out too, especially if you are a sushi lover! I actually went to this restaurant for the lunch time menu. My friend had been before and said it was really good value for money and boy was he right. If you go here for lunch you can get the delicious 3 course lunch menu (with lots of options available) for around €16.50. What an absolute bargain! The menu is actually a fusion of Mediterranean and Asia cuisine, so you have got the best of both worlds!


6. EL LOBO // @grupotragoluz

El Lobo meaning “The wolf” is located just off Las Ramblas and is a very good value for money restaurant. The restaurant is beautifully decorated offering a very modern and unique atmosphere as the unusual décor of books hang from the ceiling. The restaurant also boasts an outside terrace; I would recommend eating al’fresco if it is a hot sunny day as there will most probably be musicians performing on the streets, and as it is located on a side street to Las Ramblas the outside terrace is the perfect place to escape and sit back and relax from the madness. I have been to El Lobo a few times and it never disappoints. They offer traditional Spanish tapas and it is soo good that I keep going back. So, if you ever find yourself on Las Ramblas and you don’t fancy a McDonalds, a Burger King or a Wok to Walk, then put El Lobo into your phone and head here for tapas and sangria!


7. ELX // @maremagnumbcn

In the heart of Barcelona’s port  is the Mare Magnum which is a beautiful and modern shopping centre with a number of restaurants. My friend and I decided to go to ELX restaurant as it was the last night of our trip and we craved paella; we read that ELX was one of the top places for paella in Barcelona so we decided to book ELX for dinner. If you fancy a change of scenery from beach views or rooftop views, this restaurant offers  beautiful sunset settings overlooking the port. The service is great here and the food isn’t that pricey which is a bonus, so if you fancy a romantic dinner by the port with a top paella then ELX is the one.


8. CHöK // @chokbarcelona

In at number 8 is my beloved little krönut café aka Chök. Unlike the others this isn’t actually a restaurant, it’s a bakery (tiny café). If you have never tried a krönut, then PLEASE, if you are ever in Barcelona go to Chök . You will not regret it. You will be amazed at their krönuts  which are all so deee-licious and beautifully decorated. When I went with my friends we sat at the back of the bakery eating our krönuts whilst the guy was decorating the fresh ones and giving us more krönuts to eat. Yup, as you can imagine I was loving the extra free krönuts. But I’ve since found out that the bakery offers a workshop which is something I would quite like to try out in the future. So, if you are in Barca, give Chok a google and try a krönut!

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9. LA MAMOUNIA // @lamamouniabcn

Right, so it just took me about 10 to 15 minutes to remember the name of this one… so I hope this recommendation will benefit someone! If you love Morrocan/Middle Eastern/ Lebanese style food then you will love La Mamounia! The restaurant itself is tucked away in the heart of the city not very far from Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Batlló. It may be a little difficult to find compared to the other restaurants I have mentioned, but if you love morrocan food then it is definitely worth eating here! From what I remember the food is absolutely delicious – it is very fresh and the insane flavours will make you feel as though you are in the gran plaza of Marrakesh!

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10. LA BOQUERIA 

Last but not least is La Boquería! So, I am sure you have all heard of Barcelona’s famous food market? Well this is it! If you find yourself by Las Ramblas during the day and feeling peckish then go here! La Boquería everythings from fresh fruit, to fruit smoothies, to tapas, to fresh fish, to asian food, to italian food… whatever you fancy, I am sure they have got it here. As this food market is famous it is usually packed full of tourists so it can be difficult to get a seat if you want to sit down and eat, but if you just want a little something whilst you are on the go exploring then La Boquería is the one!

                                                   la boqueria

 

If you have any questions feel free to leave me a message.
Thanks for reading! Peace and love x 

Au revoir Ciao Adios 再见 Auf Wiedersehen