London Day One- Hilton Park Lane

After spending the weekend at Norwich, it was time to go to one of my favorite cities in the world, London.

We hired a bus and the journey took around four hours plus due to some traffic along the way and I think the driver spent half an hour trying to locate the hotel.

Aslan looking very tired here...

Busy for next year's Olympic!

Trafalgar Square!

We’ve done budget the whole trip, now it is time for something a bit more luxurious. We are staying at Hilton on Park Lane.

My room is located on the Executive Floor, quite high up and the view from my room is amazing!

The best hotel so far!

London from my room!

The bathroom

The 'business' area... :p

Once you've taken anything out from the minibar, you will be automatically charged. Boo...

While everyone else was tired from the journey, Aslan and I went down to Podium Restaurant and Bar for an early dinner.

A variety of bread for starter

Aslan waiting for dinner...

In order to cut down cost, we decided to share dinner. We did this throughout the trip. Such a big traveling party on this trip we wanted to help auntie and uncle saved money by sharing meals.

Smoked salmon, potato salad and orange crisp

Smoked Mackerel and Moroccan couscous

Goat Cheese and Walnut Tortellini with Beetroot Sauce

Warm Apricot Tart with Pistachio Ice Cream

Dinner was lovely, although the portion was quite small. Then again, it was supposed to be a set meal for one person, explains the size.

Once full from dinner, back to the room for an early nighter, tomorrow’s plan is… Shopping!

The London Eye at night, zoomed in from my room.

Love,
E.

 

Raw Emotion

"A Picture Paints A Thousand Words"

 

A few days back, I had a good cry. I never realize I needed a cry so bad to let out all the negative emotions in me. But then again, what else can crying do? Well, at this point, any form of relief is appreciated than having none at all.

Have a fantastic weekend, everyone. I will try my best to blog about my holiday in the UK. Yes, I definitely owe a LOT of entries. Almost a thousand photos. AGHHHH.

Love,
E.

P/S: Don’t worry about me, I am fine now. I will survive. Amen.

One Day in Edinburgh, Scotland

Aslan and I took a quick train ride to Edinburgh. The last time we were in this royal city was February last year. One day trip will never be enough to cover a city with so many interesting locations. That is why we have chosen to do two to three things at a time in order to gain maximum satisfaction from the trip.

This time, we went to visit Camera Obscura on the Royal Mile and the usual lunch at World’s End Pub.

We took the 8am train, not as early as 630am last year!

Me looking very sleepy

The downside of taking the 8am train would be the crowd. Anxious people rushing for work, school etc. It was hard enough to find a vacant seat, so, we had to sit in different aisles. Beggars can’t be choosers.

The weather in Edinburgh today was a bit overcast. Not as gloomy like my first trip there though. It was quiet but as we walked through the city area, it was slowly awakening with activities.

What would Scotland be like without whisky? No, what would the world be like without Scottish whisky???

This distorted mirror indicated we were quite near to the intended destination... Camera Obscura, Edinburgh

This photo was taken from the rooftop. We climbed around five flight of stairs to get here. No elevator because it is an old building.

We then went for the camera obscura presentation

The entrance fee for this attraction varies but we only had to pay  £8.95 as we used our student ID.

The camera obscure presentation was fantastic. It was fascinating to hear the history of this establishment and how camera obscura came about. Even with all the technologies we have, we were very impressed with the whole thing. Imagine, you could spy on anyone within the radius of your camera obscura, which is quite big!

Can you see the image of the city?

Amazing, isn't it???

Once the presentation ended, we went to explore the whole building. Enjoy the photos:

Fourth floor is the Magic Gallery.

On to the third floor called the Light Fantastic

These are not real licorice, they are merely optical illusion!

I love the illusion in the following photos…

Regular sized Effa

Big/Taller Effa!

The second floor is the Edinburgh Vision

Odd machinery. Plays some funny tune.

In a room full of stars!

Creepy family portrait!

It was challenging to go through this 'tunnel' but I survived!

The first floor had the gift shop, we didn’t buy a lot of things, just an odd bit and bop here and there.

It was fun visiting Camera Obscrura Edinburgh, click here for more information. After all that fooling around, we got hungry. Next plan in mind… Food!

Started raining after we left the building...

By this time, Edinburgh was already filled with European tourists, especially from France and Spain.

Did not buy anything here because price was expensive! Obviously a tourist trap. :p

We went to World’s End pub because we loved it there the last time we were here.

Patiently waiting for food!

Steak and Ale Pie

Cream of Vegetable

Vegetarian Haggis

All fueled up and energized, we decided to walk around the city and checked out the malls. That was our Edinburgh trip.

Guess what Aslan bought?

Young at heart!

Love,
E.

The Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow

One of our favorite pastimes when in Glasgow is none other than eating. And I wonder why I always gain weight after the holidays. Meh.

While waiting for Aslan’s parents to do some banking, we somehow ended up in the Willow Tea Rooms at Buchanan Street.

This tea room is one of the popular tea rooms in Glasgow, it was not a surprise we had to wait for 15 minutes for a table in the white dining hall.

It was worth the wait, we were seated at the table near the window!

View from our table

Quite packed!

Due to the outstanding number of patrons, we waited for another 15 minutes before our food and drinks arrived.

My very own tea set. Hehehe.

Aslan's mocha

For starter, I ordered the Cullen Skink. It was divine! I wonder why I never ordered this dish before. Mmm…

Basically a seafood chowder!

Toasted Scottish Mature Cheddar with Pickle Sandwich

Aslan love his cheese sandwich with pickles. To be honest, I can’t stand the smell of pickle.

Chicken and avocado sandwich

Don’t get me wrong, the filling was nice but it was a bit too creamy for my liking. Perhaps if there were less amount of mayonnaise, it would be nicer.

A visit to a tea room won’t be completed without ordering dessert!

Willow’s Famous Meringues served with fresh cream & fresh fruits!

Absolutely lovely! I must warn you, it is a bit rich and sweet but heck, I only come to Glasgow once a year, must enjoy this moment! Hehehe.

Love,
E.

Waxy O’Connors Glasgow

Aslan and I were wondering about around Buchanan St looking for a place to have lunch. We were about to make our way to Georges Square through the little alley that connects Buchanan St with Queen St Station when we stumbled across Waxy O’Connor, an Irish pub.

The exterior of the establishment looks pretty ordinary but once you get in, you’ll be amazed by the impressive interior, well decorated and themed.

Can you spot me?

The view from our table

Aslan’s usual drink order when he is back in his other hometown…

Irn Bru!

I ordered a pot of Earl Grey tea.

Since this is a pub, we ordered our drinks and food from the bar. It took 15 minutes before our food arrived. This place is so big, it was so quiet even with other patrons around.

Irish Stew: A wholesome dish of stewed tender lamb, carrots, swede, potatoes and fresh herbs, served with soda bread.

Soup of the day served with soda bread.

Corn tortilla chips with melted cheese & topped with sour cream, salsa & Jalapeño peppers topped with chill beef.

Smoked haddock and potato with smoked cheddar, shallots and chives

I truly enjoyed the smoked fishcake. Not a big fan of the soup of the day, I think it was chickpeas and carrot. Aslan liked the Irish Stew and plan to come back here again to have a go for their Steak and Guinness Pie.

Click here to find out more about Waxy O’Connors!

Love,
E.

 

Shopping in Glasgow

Seriously, I didn’t do a lot of touristy things in Glasgow during my holiday here. In fact, I’ve been shopping and eating (in no particular order) all the time. My favourite shopping street in is located in central Glasgow, from Sauchiehall Street all the way to Argyle Street.

Buchanan Galleries: One of the mall I always visit whenever I am in Glasgow

Among my favourite haunts are H&M, Next, New Look, River Island, Primark, Evans and Dorothy Perkins.

Buchanan Galleries stretch all the way down the hilly street

Opposite the BG are HMV, where I always love to look out for great bargains on dvd, cds, games, Dorothy Perkin and a few other shops.

I was surprised to see the development works going on at one of the building which includes the Buchanan Hotel where the Willow Tea Rooms used to be. The construction area is troublesome.

Among the shops closed due to the development work.

A candid of me wondering which shop to go to first. Hehehe.

This long stretch of street housing numerous retail industry is called the Style Mile.

I find it hard to take photograph here because I don’t like to take out Cammy in super crowded place. I read in the newspaper that street crimes in the UK have risen, therefore, I was extra careful with my belongings.

If I were to upload the photos of my shopping conquests, this entry would definitely be longer. Hehehe.

Love,
E.

Bradfords, Glasgow

Aslan and I went to Bradfords at Sauchiehall Street for brunch. The first time we went there was in February 2010 with his mom. It is a very nice place for tea, I love their desserts!

 

 

You can either dine in at the cafe upstairs or simply buy what you want at the bakery.

 

The bakery and take away area

 

They sell both savory and sweet treats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aslan and I wanted to sit by the window but all the seats were already taken up.

 

The view from our table

 

Patiently waiting for our meals...

 

We shared a bowl of Minestrone soup as starter and had a main meal each.

 

MInestrone Soup: I know it is a tomato based soup but it was too tomato-ey for my liking. Still nice though.

 

Being on a diet as always, I ordered egg mayo and crest sandwich and went for the whole grain bread. The next time I am in Glasgow, I will pay a visit to the Thistle Hotel just to have their egg mayo and crest sandwich! Mmm…

 

Egg Mayo and Crest Sandwich: Nothing special about it, borderline mediocre.

 

Aslan ordered an Angus beef burger.

 

He said it was not the best burger he'd ever tasted. It was a bit bland.

 

Maybe it was not our luck. Bradfords did not satisfy our taste bud this trip. We were a bit disappointed with their food. :(

Usually we would go for desserts but since we were too full, we skipped it. Oh well, maybe next time and hopefully, Bradfords will get its magic back!

Love,
E.

P/S: To vent out my frustration, went to Sainsbury Express just next door and bought a few snacks.

Healthy and not so healthy snacks.

 

P/P/S: Cathedral cheddar cheese is THE BEST EVER. Mmm…

 

 

Belfast to Glasgow

We did a quick tour of Belfast, where we toured the city by bus,

 

Europa Hotel, the most bombed hotel in Belfast.

Belfast is a beautiful city but with a haunting past. We were taken to see the peace lines or walls at Falls Road and Shankhill Road that separate Catholic and Protestants communities due to the violence that occurred during the Troubles back in the 60′s.

quick drive by at the Parliamentary House,

to the dockyard to see where the Titanic was built,

after a light lunch at Sainsbury, we boarded a ferry,

While waiting to board the ferry...

crossed the Irish Sea (Luckily, it was quite calm but boy, it did still rocked the ferry a lot!),

Aslan and I changed seats so many times.

took yet another bus,

On the road to Glasgow...

 

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Theaterland City Center which is situated next to the Holiday Inn Express. Honestly, the name does not make much difference coz my room felt like an express more than the regular Holiday Inn.

 

My room

 

The wee bathroom

Not much of a view outside the window...

An early night in for all of us after a long day out.

Love,
E.

A Stormy Afternoon at Newcastle

After our relaxing stroll around the town centre, we got back just in time to board the bus to Newcastle, a seaside town just about 45km from Portadown.

The weather was not on our side, it rained the whole way and it continued to rain harder when we reached there.

 

The view of the town from the restaurant we were at, The Stone Boat House Restaurant.

 

The Irish Sea was so choppy and rough, it made me quite nervous because the next day, we will leave Northern Ireland to Scotland via ferry.

Not exactly smooth sailing and yet...

 

There were people crazy enough jet skiing in this even crazy weather.

 

The most I did is to pose at the verandah and I was already shaking like mad! Not only it was raining, but boy, the wind blew and blew and the temperature was freezing!

 

Channeling my inner Tyra when in fact, I was trying my best not to shiver too much.

 

Anyway, while waiting for our meals to be ready, we were entertained by this group of lobsters in the tank. There was this huge alpha lobster and he kept on bullying the rest of the crowd.

 

Mr Big Bully himself. Luckily, his claws were tied up!

 

I wanted to have lobster but the price turned me off. I’d rather wait till I get back in Kuching, cheaper! (In Ringgit, everything appears cheaper…)

I had two starters and one dessert which I shared with Aslan. On top of that, he ordered a main meal.

 

Prawn Cocktail: It was decent but I've had better.

 

Leek and Potato Soup: Gerald's starter

 

Mussels baked in lemon butter sauce: It was nice but if the sauce was much thicker, it would be nicer.

 

Grilled Salmon: Nothing too special about this meal, quite standard, really.

 

Fish and Chips: Gerald thought it was a bit too dry and not so tasty, stale!

 

Sunday Roast Lunch: Not the best, it was meh.

 

Apple Crumble with Warm Custard Sauce: Made my day, it was delicious! Apple was sweet and sour, paired with the creamy custard, HEAVEN!

 

After a very filling meal, we quickly made our way back to Portadown using this very windy road. Honestly, it felt like a roller coaster ride! Another family reunion at night and that was how our last day in Northern Ireland went.

Stay tune for my flying visit to Belfast!

Love,
E.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking around Portadown

Today Aslan and I decided to walk around the town of Portadown. Being a Sunday, most shops were closed or not open till about 1pm or so. Since we will leave to Glasgow tomorrow, we thought, when else can we have a proper walk around town?

We decided to walk from the hotel to the town centre. It took us around half an hour and we stopped by this pub called the Tavern Bar, in order to rest for a while.

 

See the benches outside? Well, we sat there for a quick pitstop. :D

 

 

When I was resting, I noticed something odd…

 

Not sure why they put up the dump wood in the middle of the roundabout. I found it odd.

 

Close up.

 

This was how I dressed today:

 

My Sereni & Shentel Block Party in Black is one of my must bring when I travel. You'll never know when a bad hair day can happens to you...

 

We crossed the Bann Bridge and of course I did take photo here.

 

I look very gangster here... Hahaha!

 

The bridge led us to the town centre which looked almost like a ghost town! Totally different compared to the first day we were there looking for a decent jacket for me.

 

Almost empty...

 

 

 

The town centre is usually like this every Sunday.

 

 

War memorial statue, I find this one hauntingly beautiful.

 

The town centre didn’t cover a lot of area. Due to that, we decided we better walk back to the hotel.

 

Cycling group

 

On the way to the town centre, we took a shortcut through the park and the street was called…

 

Bachelors Walk!

 

Anyway, that’s all for now!

Love,
E.