getting personal #2

30 September 2014

When Zoe from the lovely foodie blog Love and Limoncello tagged me for the One Lovely Blogger Award (thanks Zoe!), I thought it was a good opportunity to do a "get to know me better" post, as it asks you to state 7 facts about yourself. So here goes!

1 :: I don't work a 9-5. I'm a self-employed/freelance kid and for the most part, I love it. Although I have a regular weekly routine, my schedule is different day-to-day and I really appreciate the flexibility and change. It's just the nature of my work and it fits in well with the lifestyle that I want for myself, and I enjoy the challenge of being my own boss (though obviously I'm technically employed by others). Plus, the majority of my work doesn't require a computer, which allows me to blog without getting burnt out on screen time overdose! A nice bonus is that E's also self-employed, so we get to have lunch together often and generally get snippets of time with each other throughout the day.

2 :: I love children. A lot of my work involves young kids, and although there are many challenges that go along with it, it's something that I'm very passionate about. I remember certain people in my life who made special impressions on me and guided me when I was very young, and in my own small way, it's something I want to pay forward. I also just love the funny side of kids - they just come out with the most hilarious stuff sometimes! We definitely want to have our own one day, but I'm absolutely not ready yet.

3 :: At the ripe old age of 26 (soon to be 27), I still get IDed every time I try to buy booze. Last year for my birthday dinner with friends, I wanted to buy a can of Guinness to bake Guinness chocolate cake, and I had to beg them to let me buy it without my ID which I'd left at home - "Please let me buy it, I really need it to make this cake, I don't even like beer and never drink it!!". A few years ago I was at the supermarket with my mum, who was in her late 40s at the time, and she was asked for ID to buy a bottle of wine. I can only hope I have her ageing genes!

4 :: Parent Trap will always be one of my all time favourite movies. My sister and I watched the DVD over and over when we were younger, and I think of it as "our" movie. She used one of the songs from the soundtrack for a surprise wedding video she made for us and it was the best gift ever.

5 :: I passed my driving test on my first go, but I've barely driven since. I don't think I'm a naturally good driver, so I'm quite shocked that I even have a licence - when I told my mum that I'd passed, she said, "It's because they pass people like you that the roads out there are dangerous!" - but I think I got lucky. We will most likely get a car sometime in the next couple of years, so I need to take a few lessons again!

6 :: People often tell me that I usually look smart and well put-together in my appearance and general presentation. And then they're shocked to discover that I am, in fact, extremely messy! When I was in boarding school, my housemother would generously award me with the messiest room prize term after term. My poor ex-roommate, who is still one of my best friends, unfortunately may have caught a bit of the messy bug, and now her boyfriend blames me for it! Sorry guys.

7 :: Just in case you're curious, I may not look or be British, but I speak with a completely English accent. If you heard me without looking at me, you'd probably not realise that I'm Japanese. I always find that when I read people's writing, I read it in my own voice and accent in my head, until I hear what the writer actually sounds like - and then I hear it in their voice. Well now you know!

I'd like these ladies to share their 7 facts and tag others:
Elizabeth from A Dash of Wanderlust
Marla from A Weekend Crossing
Setarra from Quaintrelle
Jennie from Sailboat
Mei from Ice Pandora

All photos from my Instagram
You can read my first "Getting Personal" post here.

Lake Como :: Villa Melzi & goodbye Dervio

28 September 2014

This is the last of the Lake Como posts - sad face! It's been wonderful for me to sort through my gazillion photos and document the trip on here. 

Sentimentality aside, let's get cracking.

On our very last day, we headed back to Bellagio to visit the famous gardens of Villa Melzi. As with most mornings, it was raining quite hard during our ferry ride there, but it started to clear up once we had started walking around the gardens. No wonder all the greenery keeps its colour!

The grounds and the buildings are quite the grandiose sight. The gardens are dotted with sculptures by notable artists from the 18-19th centuries, and it was a place where such creative souls (including Franz Liszt the composer) stayed and drew inspiration for their craft. 

It was easy to imagine, amidst such beauty and understated glamour.

After our last hurrah in Villa Melzi, we reluctantly dragged our feet back on the ferry and headed back to Dervio, where we took a last walk along the lake and said our goodbyes. 

I hope you've enjoyed having a peek into our holiday, and maybe inspired you to go if you haven't been before - I promise you, you won't be disappointed.

Ciao, Lago di Como!


26 September 2014

When C and I decided to go for a girly mid-week dinner date, I suggested that we try Pix in Notting Hill (there are also other branches in Central and North London), because it seemed like a good choice for a dinner on the lighter side. I was trying to not overdo it before an inevitable amount of food and drink would be consumed in France over the weekend, and C wasn't after a heavy meal either.

I seem to be featuring C a lot on the blog lately! It's true though, we do spend quite a lot of time together, between our girls-only times and the get-togethers with the boys. I'm just lucky she puts up with my snap happy self! 

Anyway, onto the food. Pix offers an interesting experience, where you help yourself to canapé-style dishes that are on small or large sticks, the smaller being £1.95 and large ones £2.95. They count up your sticks at the end, so if you go very hungry and forget to keep track, it could add up to quite a large bill.

Aside from the original concept, the food was good - I could tell that the ingredients were high quality, and they had a fairly large variety of dishes to choose from. They also come out with new, freshly prepared ones so every time you go to the buffet, there's something different to try. We didn't have dessert that day, but some of them looked nice too, especially the churros!

As I said, I don't think it's an ideal place to go if you're after a filling and hearty meal - it would take a lot of sticks for J (C's fiancé) and E to get full! - but for a casual dinner or lunch with a girlfriend, it's a fun little place. It was quite busy for a wednesday night as well, so clearly it's a popular one for locals and after work drinks and nibbles.

We spotted that they have a £29.95 all you can eat deal on Sundays, eat & drink as much as you want for an hour and a half per table - that's actually not a bad deal if you go super hungry and super thirsty! 

Have you tried any original dining places like these lately?

picturesque provence

24 September 2014

We were recently down in Aix-en-Provence, to attend a wedding of one of E's childhood friends. The wedding itself was wonderful - quite intense, as we were up 'til close to 7am! - and it also gave us an excuse to soak in a bit of the summer sunshine we were missing in London. 

When people think of South of France, their minds often turn to the likes of St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice and all those well-known places - and while they're popular for a reason, the quaint and charming smaller towns in Provence are probably the true gems of the region. Aix is one of those places, and if you're visiting you could stay there for just a couple of days and feel like you've got to know it quite well - and you'll get to see the beautiful Saint Victoire, the mountain that was the muse for so many of Cezanne's paintings. There is a reason why we chose to get married there after all! (that and the small detail of it being E's hometown...)

The day before the wedding, we had a lovely day out in town with E's dad, eating ice cream and drinking iced coffee and inevitably, a sneaky Sephora trip for me! It was a gorgeous afternoon, and in the evening we headed to the bride-to-be's family home for a casual and fun dinner with families and friends. 

There is a direct train from Paris to Aix that takes about 2 hours, so if you're off to Paris any time soon with a bit of time to spare, I would highly suggest visiting Aix. The weather is usually stunning there all year round (it does get colder but it's more often than not very sunny!) and it is quite beautiful.