Sunday, 31 August 2014

Suitcase. Brighton, UK - Travel Guide

For the last day of summer it seemed only right to spend it somewhere by the water... and since I didn't have the luxury of jetting off to Spain or Greece I figured I'd head to England's version of a beachside resort town - Brighton.

I had heard mixed reports about this little seaside town [not so little, it's home to over 200,000] but I'm thrilled to say I really loved it here. For me it was a perfect cross between Sydney's Manly and Melbourne's St Kilda; I'm talking quaint little streets and alleyways, endless cafes and restaurants, an angry ocean far too cold for swimming and a seaside theme park a la Luna Park - complete with an impressive Ferris Wheel mind you!

Start off by checking out the many alleys and laneways in town. They are bursting with designer and nick-nack stores, cafes, restaurants and some incredible sweet shops! From here you can take a walk to Brighton Dome which is a very impressive building that houses the town's theatre and art productions. It backs onto a beautiful park which is well worth a wander and there are plenty of squirrels for spotting if that makes you as excited as me! For a bit of a cultural experience you can wander up St James Street; this is the central gay area in Brighton and there are some great flamboyant stores and characters for spotting! Head south from here and you'll hit the water right at the impressive Ferris Wheel and along to your right is the famous Brighton Pier. And if you feel like a spot of shopping, Churchill Shopping Centre isn't too far away which houses a good range of stores.

Reaching Brighton is an easy one hour train ride from London; departing from Victoria or Blackfriars stations. And once you arrive there's really no need for anything but your legs. Walking around town is great and there's so much to explore on foot. But if need be, you can grab one of the several local buses that go all around town.

You won't be short of choice in Brighton and I think wandering the streets to make your selection is the way to go. The little alleys and lanes host the majority of restaurants and I saw some great looking burger joints and Italian restaurants. If you want a truly beachy experience then you can always opt for fish and chips on the beach!

Whilst I will say that Brighton's beaches certainly can't rival those of Australia, I really enjoyed this little seaside town. It's history combined with an intricate city layout and the endless call of seagulls makes for a lovely experience. Definitely a place to visit when the sun is shining.

Photos by Krissie.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Eat Me. Bodo Schloss, Kensington

Want to know where the royals hang out, well Prince Harry in particular? The whisper is you'll find them at Bodo Schloss, an Austrian pub/bar/nightclub just around the corner from Kensington Palace - makes sense! I got to visit this funky little place on Kensington High Street last week for the post-Notting Hill Carnival celebrations.

Bodo Schloss has a really great vibe and I had such an enjoyable night. Inside is very themed - you'll honestly think you're in the tyrolean alps; there is wood everywhere, vintage ski sets, cow bells and deers' heads on the walls. The bartenders even wear cute little green checkered shirts and most of them have Austrian accents - it's adorable.

I had a lovely chat to the guys behind the bar as I worked my way through the cocktail list here - honestly everything is good. I asked the guys how often they see Harry and whilst they weren't allowed to confirm he actually ever came there, they pretty much guaranteed it with non-verbal gestures.

Bodo Schloss starts every evening as a restaurant before gradually transforming into a full blown night club. Rounds of ten shots are served on vintage skis and the cow bell is rung each time to celebrate - it's definitely a buzzing atmosphere.

The night I was there the DJ was accompanied by a saxophonist which made for the coolest music I've heard in a while. If you're looking for a fun night in some internationally themed surrounds then this is definitely a hotspot for you. 5/5

Photos by Bodo Schloos & Krissie.

Bodo's Schloss on Urbanspoon

Monday, 25 August 2014

One Day. #bbloggers Summer Picnic

If anyone had been wandering through Hyde Park Corner Saturday morning they would have seen a gaggle of girls chatting, laughing and oohing and aahing over some delightful goodybags. The bloggers get together, organised by the lovely Candy Floss Cloud, was the perfect opportunity for me to meet some fellow bloggers on this side of the world. We chatted fashion, style, favourite stores and beauty products and then the usual topics that girls always shift to - boys, movies and plans for Saturday night! As the token Aussie in the group I was a fairly popular addition with stories of beaches, warm sunshine and kangaroos.

Rachel had gathered us all together to talk about the wonderful world of blogging and we all shared some helpful tips about our own experiences - it is like a full-time job after all! And as a bonus we got some wonderful goodybags with the latest beauty products. I was in heaven.

There were some goodies from Yves Rocher, Scent City, Face the Future, Time Bomb and Cocoa Brown. I am now feeling bronzed and moisturised with great nails, luscious lips and smelling great. I really enjoyed trying all the products, especially since most of them were brands I hadn't encountered before. My beauty cabinet is complete!

Photos by Krissie.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Eat Me. Purl Marylebone, London

If you are one to love the 1920s era then have I got the place for you. Tucked away underground in Marylebone is Purl; a sassy cocktail bar that will transport you back to the days of the traditional 'speakeasy'. This place is truly the whole package with vintage decor and furnishing, a soundtrack straight out of a WWI bar, waiters dressed in century-old fashions and a cocktail list that promises a selection of drinks you've definitely never tried before.

One of the things I loved about this place is the fact that they serve their champagne in those old-fashioned champagne saucers, I felt like I was on the Titanic. The cocktail list is for the adventurous and most drinks come with a weird and wacky accompanient like an icy pole, a toffee cup or a bursting balloon that releases an essence. It's all designed to compliment flavours and the showmanship element is quite the sight to behold.

Definitely a place to visit if you're in London, I guarantee you won't come across anywhere else that has this amount of charm.

Photos by Krissie and Purl.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Suitcase. Moving to London from Australia

Now I'm not the kind of person to make any decision lightly; it doesn't matter if it's travel plans, cooking, eating out or buying clothes - you can always trust that I'm the person who has done the most research. [My friends know that if we go out for dinner, chances are I've already looked at the menu online and chosen what I'm having.] Not embarassingly dorky at all, I like to call it being prepared because no one likes a nasty surprise.

When I decided to move to London, which was rather a spur of the moment decision mind you [very unlike me!], the first thing I did was hit up Google. Search words: living in London, moving to London, Australians in the UK, dressing for freezing weather, white Christmas, city rentals, weekend breaks from London... you get the idea. But no matter how much research I did there were a few things that caught me out when I got here, aside from the language barriers. Here are all the things I wish I'd known...

  • If the weather heats up, don't panic and go out and buy an entire summer wardrobe, chances are it will be cold again within a week and the clothes will sit unworn in your drawer. Note to self: there is no summer in London.
  • Where you live in London says everything about you so choose your area wisely. For example, if you live in Shoreditch you are an alternate, red-trouser-wearing artist; Chelsea/Belgravia/Kensington you come from an established line of wealth; Clapham you are 99% certainly Australian; Fulham you are a Chelsea-wannabe whose wallet doesn't extend that far; and if you're in Camden there's a high chance you work in media.
  • Expect to be broke, all the time. No matter how much you earn, your rent, bills, food, clothes and daily-required-cocktail-intake will always outweigh your paycheck. Sad face.
  • Never, never, never leave home without an umbrella. I don't care if the forecast tells you it's fine and there is not a cloud in sight. Chances are you'll go into a store/work/cafe/tube and you'll come out to the world ending with torrential rain. Don't. Risk. It.
  • If you do temp work (yay for finding a job) you'll need what's called an umbrella company. Don't panic it's not as complicated as it seems just Google a few and make your choice; they are all much of a muchness.
  • If someone is talking about a 'Chav' they are referring to what I call a bogan - so keep your distance.
  • Recruitment agencies are the way to go. Honestly, 95% of jobs here are through an agent. Send your resume and go for an interview and if impressed they'll put you forward for positions. Just call them your guardian job fairies.
  • Doing a weekly food shop is pretty much an impossibility; unless of course you are hercules with endless strength. I'm lucky that my walk from the supermarket is about 600m but even that is too far. I've made the mistake twice. I won't make it again. Small shopping trips from now on.

Hope you've soaked up all my wisdom.

Photo by Krissie.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Eat Me. E&O Notting Hill, London

Being the foodie that I am, one of the things that most excited me about London was all the restaurants it had to offer. And I can tell you I'm off to a good start. I had the pleasure of dining at E&O in Notting Hill last week for dinner. This restaurant is one of the four that make up Ricks Restaurants. Rick's Eight over Eight in Chelsea is particularly famous so that one is next on my list.

Perched on a corner in Notting Hill, E&O has a sultry front bar area and a restaurant in the back. Expect high-end service, dim lighting and a buzzing atmosphere. The wine list is extensive and I was pleased to see there was a selection of Aussie and NZ wines; they are fail-safe for me as I'm yet to understand how European wines work. There's also a great cocktail list if you're feeling adventurous.

E&O is essentially Asian-fusion with a great assortment of classics and inventive dishes on the menu. I tried some Dim Sum and Sushi and both were fantastic. For a perfect selection I suggest going for some edamame beans (it's not an Asian dish if you don't start with these!), some chilli salt squid, the crispy pork belly (the crackle on this is amazing) and the spare ribs are stickily delicious. Then top it off with some spicy salmon sushi for a flavour sensation.

A great place to try for a date night or if you feel like indulging in some pricey but delicious food with friends. I would definitely return. 4/5

Photos by Krissie and Rick's Restaurants.

E&O on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Suitcase. Monte Carlo, Monaco - Travel Guide

Money, money money. If I were to sum up Monaco in three words that would have to be it. This little place sure does pack a punch despite only being 2km squared. Yes that's right, as far as countries go, it's tiny. In this principality lives approximately 38,000 people, 99% of which I'm guessing are multi-millionaires. Monaco is renown for being home to the rich and famous; several F1 drivers live there, along with Novak Djokovic and former James Bond actor Roger Moore.

My experience in Monaco was simply in and out on a day trip because unless you have a pocket full of cash and a hefty credit card limit, a weekend there is really going to hurt your budget. But not to worry because I think you can easily see it all in a day. Start down by the coast and check out the infamous Monaco Casino and across the road is Hotel de Paris, this iconic accommodation has been featured in several movies including two James Bond films. Take a walk along F1's most famous [and spectacular] track before heading up to the Prince's Palace that was home to Grace Kelly.

Honestly, all you really need to get around Monte Carlo are you legs, the city is so small you can easily walk everywhere, although be warned as it's set on a hill you probably will suffer from burning thighs. If walking isn't your style there are a few buses that get around town and this might be handy if you want to visit the Prince's Palace of Monaco which is furthest from the city. In terms of reaching Monaco itself, you can easily get a train from Marseille, Cannes or Nice.

I didn't actually experience much of the food in Monaco although I can tell you I saw several cafes where a cappucino will set you back 15euros ($22); no joke. From what I've heard, restaurants in Monaco are top notch and the pick of them is probably Le Louis XV Alain Ducasse at Hotel de Paris, although I believe their meals come with a hefty price tag. Despite that, some locals from Nice did assure me that there are a couple of reasonably priced Italian places worth a visit - unfortunately I don't know their names.

This truly is a playground for the rich and famous and somewhere to splash your cash, perhaps save it for your golden years because you won't need the money when you're in heaven.

Photos by Krissie.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

One Day. UK/Aus Communication Barrier

Who would have thought that moving to another English speaking country would require a translator – but it really is true, the Brits speak a different language to us Aussies. It’s probably partly the accent and partly the different words we use for things but I have definitely encountered a bit of a communication barrier. Here are a few words and phrases that I’ve come across so far:

If someone asks “you alright?” it doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you, to Brits it simply means “how are you”. It has particularly been causing a bit of a translation problems when anyone says sorry to me and being Aussie my reaction is to say “you’re right” like “no worries”. I bumped into my housemate in the hall yesterday and she said “sorry” and I said “you’re right” and she goes “I’m fine”. Honestly, so confusing. 
It’s not a doona, it’s a duvet; people here have never heard of a doona so don’t use that word – you’ll get funny looks in store.
Likewise with pants, here they think you’re talking about underpants, if you mean pants the word is trousers.
Lollies are referred to as “sweets” – makes sense.
Thongs are always “flip flops”, no exceptions.
If you’re sick you are “poorly” – I giggle because it makes you sound so pathetic.
I’ll update the list as I encounter more, I’m sure there will be. This list is merely two weeks in.

Photo via Pinterest.