I’ve been making the most of the surprisingly sunny British summer but had a moment to experience some proper heat on a weekend trip to Barcelona celebrating a wedding and generally getting out and about. Barcelona is one of my favourite cities due to amazing architecture, beautiful pristine clean streets and a rich artistic heritage. Barcelona also has some half decent beaches in the centre, making it a dreamy location, plus some more impressive ones on the outskirts, Castelldefels and Sitges. The wedding took me to a quaint suburb, Sarria where I was hosted in a stunning farmhouse and ate the best Spanish and European food til I couldn’t move! I had an action packed weekend and came back needing another holiday but it was all worth it!
Selfie from the amazing balcony at Hotel Zenit
Selfies in Sitges
Sitges town and the Church of Sant Bartomeu & Santa Tecla, & Castelldefels
Ended my day in Sitges admiring a chilled out cat and eating Octopus with Fried Spinach balls
Park Guell and Gaudi’s House
Stunning church in Sarria and wedding of the year!
Wedding outfit and new Rosa Pietsch jewellery coming soon to Realm of Treasure
African print pre wedding party and vintage day on the beach outfits
Am writing this at a time of major change in my life- new job/ career which is fantastic but has also been a quite stressful few weeks. So this is the perfect time for me to reminisce on my blissful time in St Lucia last month where I spent time with my mum who lives there. It was an active trip but I enjoyed every second and restored my energy each evening when chilling on my mums balcony which has a stunning view of the sea and famous mountains and world heritage site, the Pitons. Although I love the beach I could never be a holiday beach bum so managed to pack in trekking through the rainforest, visiting the volcano and sulphur springs, attending the St Lucia Jazz festival, going to a fish themed street party and catching lizards with the national trust on Maria Island! I also got to learn more about the work of the Vieux Fort Children’s home which is being funded by the Jermaine Defoe foundation. You can learn more about there work on their Facebook page- feel free to add them; https://www.facebook.com/vieux.home?fref=ts. or check out their wesite http://thevieuxfortchildrenssociety.weebly.com/who-are-we.html. Due to the good whether, fresh food and general good vibes I still managed to come back refreshed- albeit a bit tired!
At Jalouse beach in between the pitons- its down a steep hill so we took this cute buggy
My grans local beach!
Wild plants, fruit in the rainforest
My friend from neighbouring Guadeloupe chilling at my mums local beach
The beautiful beach, Lizards and view from Maria Islands where I went with the National Trust to watch their lizard survey. One of the poor creatures got panicked and shed its tail in front of my eyes. I had only just learnt they can do this so was quite stunned!
On a boat ride past the Pitons to Anse Chastenet beach, famous for snorkellig. I saw some beautiful fish but called it a day after seeing a young Barracuda and what I thought was a snake but in fact a yellow eel!
One of my final trips and birthday treat involved a meal at Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant and hotel. They only have shops in the UK but the cocoa comes from this plantation. The meal was curry and rice infused with Cacao nibs and it actually went well together. Dessert speaks for itself!
The beauty of the Islands continued to the skies with this incredible cloud formation en route back to the UK. God really is the Great Artist!
Am currently feeling refreshed and jetlagged at the same time having just returned from a trip to my Caribbean homelands Jamaica and St Lucia- plus a day in Trinidad. I’m lucky enough to have family living in my two favourite Islands- mum in St Lucia and grandad in Jamaica so got to spend time with loved ones, get an experience of real life on the Islands whilst doing some touristy stuff – a perfect mix! I started off in Jamaica where I’ve been the past few years in a row but I always find it equally amusing simply watching the energetic often hot headed people and the hustle and bustle in the local markets. I also arrived in time for the annual curry festival. Coming here makes me realise where my passion for food comes from as Jamaicans love their food that they have individual festivals for national favourite food types such as the Crab fest, Jerk Chicken fest, Fried fish Fest and Breadfruit fest(Caribbean starchy vegetable) – these are just the ones I ‘ve seen recently so there are probably more. I made the most of the food and drink and of course the beach.
7 miles of white sand in Negril
With mum at the curry fest in Savanna La Mar
Jerk pork – Jamaicans are not afraid to see where their meat comes from!
Teaching grandad to selfie
Cocktails at a beach bar negril. Am wearing jewellery from www.realmoftreasure.com
Guinness cheesecake at the airport- Jamaica has the best alcoholic treats!
Spotted this unfortunate lonely fish washed up on the shore in Trinidad
Beautiful morning on Macqueripe beach, Trinidad, before flying to St Lucia in the afternoon- a busy 2 days! Oh and i spotted Levi Roots on my plane after seeing Nick Canon in Negril- my lack of pics shows I’m not too much of a celeb follower as it took me too long to put the faces to names.
The final part of my trip involved a boat trip to the stunning islands of Frioul. The most famous one is If, which is the where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned ( I don’t know much about the story but found out its fictional) but I was only able to go to Pomegues and Rattoneau- more than enough! The boat ride in its self was an amazing experience- I love being near, on or in water so will never pass the opportunity for a boat trip but this one was really special. The views of Marseille were some of the best I’ve seen and even rivalled those from the top of the hill at Notre Dame de La Garde cathedral. The actual Islands were one of the most serene places I’ve ever visited but due to my spontaneous decision to go quite late I seemed to be the only person there which was a bit creepy at times, especially for a Londoner! I was still able to make the most of the serenity and stand in awe of mother nature and the beauty of my surroundings.
The Mucem is a Fort transformed into a concert venue!
One of the many stunning views of Notre Dame de la Garde
The Island of If with the infamous prison
One of the many hiking trails on the islands I visited- this is the only one I managed thanks to the steps!
The walkway connecting Pomegues and Ratonneau
To make the trip even more memorable the friendly ticket guy invited me into the drivers cabin on the way back and also treated me to a serenade with songs in French plus his native Russian and Italian- He even added a little dance!
Back on land I took in stunning views of the Vieux Port harbour at night
After my mini hike (even if there were steps) I had a well deserved Bouillabaisse (fish stew) for which Marseille is famous. I went all out having mine with lobster. It was a very messy but worthwhile eating experience which involved adding whole not deboned fish- plus the lobster into the stew so there’s were lots of splashes, bones and lobster shell everythere- not the best dish for someone as clumsy as me- but tasty.
On the last day the sun ironically decided to shine- I sadly left in the afternoon but at least got an hour of it and enjoyed a view of Notre Dame de La Garde without the clouds. I wore a bright dress to celebrate the sun’s appearance and took one last photo of a sunny Marseille from the plane before heading back to a cold London- where I will remain until further notice.
Amazingly strong and tasty Soju and passionfruit cocktail at Jinjuu Soho
Its that time of the day where I count down to my lunch which I eat almost religiously at 12pm. During this time I often think about the culinary pleasures that have enriched my life and recently I’ve really been spoiling myself. My previous post hinted at my favourite travel destinations South Korea and Japan so this months I’ve sampled some of London’s finest Korean and Japanese cuisine. Firstly I finally made it to Jinjuu in Soho, the brainchild of TV chef Judy Joo, who also creates menu’s for Gordon Ramsey. This place is a far cry from many of the traditional restaurants I visited in South Korea with a trendy bar ( I spent my first night there dancing with the DJ), but the food is equally delicious. Jinjuu is the place for a modern fun night of signature Korean dishes such as Bibimbap and fried chicken ( I was surprised how popular fried chicken is in the country but its actually everywhere- and nothing like KFC thankfully!)
Then I headed to Tenshi in Angel (not on the same night- or even the same week!) for some heartwarming Japanese grub. I have moments when my stomach can only tolerate warm comforting food so I opted for Gyu Don- rice with thinly sliced cooked beef which I was surprised to see is very similar to bibimbap- I was clearly having a rice and beef craving. In comparison it was equally full of flavour absorbed beautifully by the veg (making me feel healthy) but the beef was slightly more thinly sliced which I loved. This place is not the best location for sufferers of food envy like myself. Even though I was craving hot food the sushi platters surrounding me looked spectacular and I couldn’t help but stare wide eyed. Will definitely be going back for Sushi.
Finally I had to mention some of my favourite treats at Broadway market where I do my market stall for www.realmoftreasure.com . This is just a quick mention of a couple of things I’ve tried recently but over the past few months I’ve seen , tasted and LOVED so much of the food there so I will do a fuller post on it soon! For now here’s a taster.
Bad Brownie moved back to the school Yard just a few spots down from me so I couldn’t resist! I went for what is officially Londons best brownie, salted caramel flavour with a caramel layer!
Who knew you could do so much with Marshmallows like making cakes and filling them with lemon curd. Dulci Bella are clearly experts!
Am excited that http://www.realmoftreasure.com/ has now started a regular occupancy at Broadway Markey in London Fields, Hackney, which is in my humble opinion the best market in London’s East End and one of the best in London! Broadway has all of my favourite things in one place; amazing food, cool vintage and quirky handmade jewellery and crafts. Am happy to be contributing to some of the amazing handmade jewellery that can be found there and have been motivated to find some fantastic new suppliers to meet the demands of the discerning and lovely customers. I’m currently in the School Yard which is just round the corner from the main street and opposite the park so if ever in the area coma and say hi!
I managed to kill two birds with one stone and accomplish visit two of my bucket list destinations South Korea and Japan and neither disappointed. I only spent a weekend in Tokyo but it made a lifelong impression. It is definitely one of the most unique and quirky laces on the planet. Like South Korea it has the perfect mix of cultural and heritage sites vs modern architecture and lots of randomness. People like to dress up- I only went to the infamous Yoyogi park at night so I didn’t see the crowds of people casually dressed up as Anime cartoon characters but I did see my fair share of Harajuku / lolita girls. I was also equally fascinated with the fashionistas with a style similar to us here in London but with their own take and also the breathtakingly beautiful Geisha girl costumes which I thought were only worn in Kyoto. It was truly a fashion Paradise although a bit pricey. There were also several equally fascinating sights and scenes that I will definitely have to rediscover some day!
Green tea Mr Whippy!
The first thing I saw when I stepped out Mejiro station where I stayed (very central on the Yamanote line in a (cheap house share from air bnb) was this amazing dance show!
Me in a vintage blazer from a store in South Korea (cheaper than the Japanese vintage shops)
Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and views from the top
Park outside the government building with random friendly guy who asked to be in my pic.
Sensoji Temple and market in Asakusa
The coolest family dressed up for a day at the shrine and the lovely mother insisted I took a pic with her adorable children!
More people dressed up for the visit to the shrine
Birthdeath Vintage store and stylish staff
Cool reggae inspired record and sportswear store
Yoyogi park at night
Main street in Harajuku
Artwork in Comme Des Garcons store
Poodle in Lee Jeans- they take doggy fashion very seriously
Harajuku / Lolita / Punk style
On my way back to rainy London I did a 24 hr stop in Dubai- which was very different to my main trip but I loved it too!
Aquarium in The Dubai Mall
Souk style section of the mall
After writing these posts I’m desperate to start planning my next trip especially as the gail force winds blow outside my window – we have stormy weather here in the UK. If any of you guys are travelling- happy travels and would love to hear about your trips!
Traditional Korean meal friends shared with 2 friends (I’m not that greedy!).
I’m so excited to finally write this post after a little break- have had a lot on with a new job and my new business; www.realmoftreasure.com, which I did a post about last year. 2013 was also the year that I fulfilled one of my dreams, visiting South Korea and Japan. I spent most of my time in South Korea, with a designer friend who showed me the coolest paces in this uber trendy country. Yes you heard right, South Korea is modern, fun, and very hip- not to be confused with North Korea which could be a separate universe. Sadly whilst the neighbouring people in North Korea endure terrible suffering with a nutjob dictactor, South Korean’s are lucky enough to enjoy a normal life and I can only hope and pray that one day the North will be the same (unlikely to be something accomplished by Dennis Rodman). Despite the occasional threats of war from the North which aren’t really taken seriously, South Korea is extremely safe, and the people were friendly and welcoming. Seoul, the capital city has a perfect mix of old traditional heritage sites juxtaposed against a modern urban setting with an abundance of chic bars, restaurants, shopping malls and edgy architecture. Here are my South Korea highlights and my post on Japan and a mini breaks to Dubai and Paris will be coming soon.
Spicy Octopus cooked on my table
Shared giant chicken and noodle dish
American brunch- with green tea ice cream with waffles for an Orienal twist
Fashion / vintage
Traditional Kanok houses
Beautiful Gyeongbok Palace in the city centre
Close up of the palace in the day
Stunning traditional clothes / jewellery and ornaments from the National Museum of Korea
Traditional Korean dance show
Random English names of bars / restaurants – Loved seeing the London influence and the bizarre cat cafe (which are coming to London soon I’ve heard- the irony).
Innovative interior of a restaurant
Love the design of the worlds largest church, Yoido, with over 1 million attendees.
The view from my friends apartment block (my South Korean residence) roof terrace
Psy is a big deal here
I escaped the city to visit the amazing Spa in the mountains, Resom Spa Castle which had green tea, and Chinese herb infused spring water pools with steam rooms and Saunas- heavenly!
Wishing I was back there! Oh well the rainy London will have to do for now.