A midsummer sunday’s dream in London

Unlike what you have been reading in the Daily Mirror and on Facebook, the ongoing summer in the U.K. has been non-existent with sparks of heatwaves here and there (a couple of very hot days over a span of a couple of months) and the past few weekends have been rainy and cold. However, we had a bit of luck last Sunday, as the temperature was pleasant and it’s cloudy and only rained for about 5 minutes so we decided to leave the comfort of our sofa and venture outside for the day.

We first went to get a bite for breakfast at the Breakfast Club near Spietafields Market – I love their pancakes but as it is very popular, the wait is often more than half an hour and it is very convenient to book beforehand. 

67650272_1363267263821680_1656135021355859968_n (1)After stuffing our faces with amazing pancakes, we went to the amazing Pettycoat Lane Market, a non pretentious street market where you can find many nice fashionable clothes for a few £ – the vibe is very different from your average Borough Market. The good news is that I love fashion and I definitely love a bargain! I honestly think that this market is very underrated, if you look closely you’ll find items of the past or current season of brands like Top Shop, New Look, Next, Urban Outfitters and just at very low prices. I got myself a £45 blouse by Urban Outfitters which I only paid £10! The tricky part is that it doesn’t have a “tourist vibe”, it’s not fancy nor tidy at all, there is a wide choice and to explore it all will take you half a day – as I previously said, I’m always hunting for bargains so I don’t mind at all! In my opinion, all the possible “downsides” are not relevant at all. This is the market to go to if you’re ever hanging out in East London on a lazy Sunday and you like the whole street market experience.

As usual, I ended up spending too much than I had planned before leaving my place that morning and since we were in the area and since it was still quiet early, we walked from Liverpool Street to a Columbia Road Flower market which is in fact, only open on Sundays.

Columbia Road Flower Market 

The market is really overcrowded so I would suggest you to visit it in the morning, but it is a must-see, especially if you have done all the basic touristy stuff. There is a long line of market stalls where you’ll find only flowers and vegetable plants. There are stalls entirely dedicated to every kind of orchids,  flower bouquets, seeds, giant apartment plants and tiny cacti.

Before today, I only had been there once a few years ago (in winter) and I have to admit that this time I enjoyed it more, even if the weather wasn’t the best we could ask for, Summer vibes change the whole perspection. The market itself is not big, but it will roughly take you half an hour to visit it all – unless you go there to actually buy flowers, in which case it may take you a bit longer. 67817064_353602015531392_5186656679072104448_n

I didn’t buy anything there today as I didn’t plan and I may move soon, but as soon as I know what is going to happen to my housing situation I will go there and raid the market. There are plenty of good deals! Where else in London you can get away with 2 beautiful healthy orchids for a fiver (not even in Tesco!)? FYI: only a couple of sellers accept cards so make sure you bring plenty of cash or you may end up leaving your flowers there or missing on the best deals because you need look for an ATM!

There are also a lot of vintage and independent artists’ shops. Amazing to look at and get some inspiration! My favourite shop was the Mexican shop (not sure how they are called but they are very easy to see). They have crafts, furnitues, decorations and even chocolate from Mexican artists and companies! Here’s a few example below:

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I also learned a new quote while I was visiting this shop: ”El que lava un puerco con jabon, pierde el tiempo y pierde el jabon” (when you wash a pig with soap, you waste your time and the soap). Great quote that suggests that sometimes we just waste time and precious oxygen on people who don’t really deserve and will never change.

The Columbia Flower Market is probably the only market in London where you won’t find any food stalls. Don’t panic though, there are plenty of cafes around and even today, we’ll go on a diet tomorrow.

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Abu Dhabi in 24 hours

I actually started to draft this post in October 2017 and I am only posting it now. Can you believe how lazy I am? Haha! Yep, that’s me.

I had the idea to visit Abu Dhabi and Dubai on a long weekend, I loved the cities but things didn’t go quite as planned – are we even surprised here, guys? I am sure that if any of my friends are reading this knows what I mean.  😷 As many of my holidays or breaks abroad, this one was basically planned a couple of days before. Well, I  actually didn’t plan anything as I often do and this has often got me in weird or dangerous situations in the past, thankfully I am able to laugh about most of them now!

Anyway, right after work I jumped on a cab directed to Heathrow Airport and quite surprisingly, the flight from London to Abu Dhabi ran surprisingly smoothly. The flight lasted about 7 hours and  I slept for the whole time and what is the best way to start a holiday?

As I landed in Abu Dhabi and stepped out of the plane, it was clear to me that the sun was burning my skin like never before and I had to ran quick indoors because the heat felt unbearable. It never occurred to me that there were human beings actually living in that heat. Pardon my ignorance, until then I never thought that 50C actually felt like T H A T .

I went through security and got a stamp on my passport – YAY (not sure what excitment is for though). Finally I got out of the airport, back in the heat again so I jumped on the first cab I’ve seen towards the Centre of Abu Dhabi, where Clara lives.

I got to Clara’s building at around 8am (poor her, I woke her up! – Clara is one of my oldest friend who now is based in Abu Dhabi. In the morning we chilled a bit, caught up on the last juicy gossips and with our crazy lives in general.

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After a nice shower and nap, we headed to the Royal Palace. The luxury left me speechless. It is a huge palace, covered in GOLD. Golden doors, elevators, posh furniture. There are huge Rolex clocks hanging from the walls. That is where I had the most expensive cappuccino of my life: a cappuccino with sprinkles of gold instead of the more common sprinkles of chocolate. A Cappuccino Stellare, finally something matching my fantastic personality – haha I’m joking!

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There is even a pastry section: a good selection of cakes all covered and decorated with golden pieces. I was speechless, I occasionally have to attend flashy events and places for work, but I would have never even thought about having a coffee like that in a place like THAT as beside always being poor AF, it’s really not my cup of tea so I wouldn’t normally do that on my time off. However, where else can one find something like that if not in the UAE?

After visiting this sick place, we got on a taxi and went to Saadiyat island, where we got into an exclusive beach club called Saadiyat Beach club. Once again, I was more surprised to be in a place like that on my time off (I’m more of a backpacker/hostel/saving money lover-type). However, I don’t absolutely regret it! The staff was really nice, the swimming pool was big, there was good music. I even dared to venture on the beach. I would like to clarify that the first time I went to the Emirates was

August and as you are picturing yourself in head right now, as I walked on the beach, the sand was melting my feet away, the sea was boiling hot and in general I could only get around by taxi.

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I am not even joking, I had never been to a place where the sea was as warm as my hot tub! I picked some shells and sand to bring back to my mum, took a couple of selfies because why not, then ran back to the club to cool off in the swimming pool while feasting on a very well presented fresh fruit platter.

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Chatting with Clara was awesome. I realised that sometimes or maybe even more often you need to catch up, have a laugh, exchange juicy gossip with people who really know you and whom you know that your friendship will never change.

After the beach club, we went back home to have a take-way dinner, got ready and off to the Grand Mosque. This mosque is one of the most significant buildings in Abu Dhabi and that you absolutely cannot miss. This is a religious place, so as a woman, you will be asked to wear a traditional dress, to cover your body and your hair. I guess you can bring your own gown, but at the entrance of the mosque, you go through security then if you are not wearing an abaja, you will be given one before going in – I guess this how it is called, please pardon my ignorance! The mosque is huge and breathtaking. It is obviously a religious place, so be respectful and expect a much more religious silence. The grounds are huge, on the floors are covered in white, shily marble. The marble is so polished that you can admire your own reflection. Drywall delicate flowers climb up the white walls. All around the main place, where I guess people go to pray, there are hallways, white and gold columns. What a dreamy place, it is unforgettable a made me feel like I was living a Thousand and One Nights story.

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It is a massive building and it will take you roughly an hour to visit it all.

After the visit at the Mosque, we went to have a drink drink at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal. Only a drink was enough to make me realise how tired I was, so we just got back to sleep after a very interesting and satisfying day 🙂 Since October 2017, I only went back to Abu Dhabi once for a layover to the Seychelles…but this is a new story. Stay tuned!

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Aruba, One Happy Island

This is my very first post on this new blog and I will try to commit as much as I can. Life is life and sometimes get in the way so we leave things that we like to do on aside, but I will do my best.

I wouldn’t say I am a traveller – at least not anymore as I have settled in London since a few years and as previously mentioned, life got in the way more than once which prevented me from travelling as much as I would have liked to.

Today I am going to tell you all about my most recent holiday in Aruba, in the Caribbeans. This was a much-desired holiday and part of my boyfriends’ Graduation gift to myself – I considered myself very lucky. As you might have guessed, we went to Aruba together. We booked last year after seeing a video on my Facebook wall, we really fell in love and as it is not a popular destination where I am from, we decided to go and experience it ourselves.

Let’s get into it!

On Friday 7th of June, we jumped on a plane in London City Airport towards Amsterdam, had a layover for a couple of hours and boarded another plane to Aruba. I guess that the flight lasted for about 12 hours but surprisingly enough, the flight went fast and Jean-Dominique (my boyfriend) and I just watched films, played Pokemon on the Wii, played cards and so on.

We finally landed in Aruba and the heat just engulfed us, coming from London it was quite overwhelming but obviously in a good way. We got a cab to our Airbnb in Oranjestad. We had to stay in an Airbnb because SOMEONE aka Jean-Dominique book the wrong dates for our hotel and noticed only a few weeks before our departure – this is a funny story though and very JD-style!

As we got to the Airbnb at about 5pm, we just had a shower and immediately head to the beach! We were knackered, but we also wanted to make the most of our time in Aruba and beat the dreaded jet-lag.

We walked and got to the first beach we have seen in Aruba, it looked very plain at first, but the water was warm, there were divi-divi trees and the vibe was amazing! We kept walking and slowly our bodies were restoring from the long haul flight which just brought us there.

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We walked up to the very last square of the beach where there was a couple of beach bar/restaurant and collapsed at the least pretentious bar we’ve seen. The setting was very simple, the food was nothing special but there were tons of tables directly on the beach and the sky blessed us with the most magnificent sunset I have ever seen in my life. Maybe I was a bit stoned by the jet-lag, but that sunset & Latin music played by the live band made my sad Ceasar salad taste nicer than it should have.

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This is the picture that our lovely waitress took of us. As you can see by my hair and the position of my fat back, this photo is not staged and the sunset colours are not retouched. The waitress simply came to us showing her the picture she took by surprise because she thought we looked cute together. Despite my fat, I absolutely agree!

It got dark quite early, so after dinner, we just headed back to our accommodation and fell asleep like two rocks just shortly after 9pm.