A long weekend in Launceston….

Since Launceston is home to our daughter’s Grandma, it was the perfect location for an Anzac weekend family trip. As i’ve blogged before, Launceston is a great fix for any faint homesickness, since, as one of the first settlements, it’s architecture reminds me so much of England. It’s also one of the rare cities in Australia where the distances are nice enough to walk, as long as you can brave a few San Francisco-esq steep hills.

img_20160424_151622.jpgFresh off the 50 min Saturday morning flight from Melbourne, we headed straight to Harvest Community Farmer’s Market in the centre of town, where we stock up on Kombucha, organic sourdough and quite possible the best salted caramel brownies in the world. This was followed by Evendale Sunday market. Here I picked up classic 80’s toys in mint condition for under $5 and a Nepalese yak bell, whose sound will forever fondly remind me of my Everest Base Camp adventures.

Amazingly (for parents of a 13 month old) we managed to time our weekend (and our baby’s afternoon nap) to coincide with the Fresh Hop Beer Festival. The rest of the time was spent visiting the fantastic Launceston Aquatic Centre, with it’s awesome toddler pool and water slides. Finally, a must do for anyone visiting Launy with kids; the macaque monkey enclosure at City Park. Again, coincidentally, next to the lovely Victoria Cafe where we sampled Tasmanian white wines and lounged on comfy beanbags in the Autumn sunshine.

 

Istanbul, Turkey

Since I spent most of my time in Istanbul sick as a dog & confined to our hotel (Deniz House) I should really poach some photographs and tales from the BF, who made his Australian pilgrimage to Gallipoli, famous for it’s WWI battle and the origins of ANZAC day. Here are a few quick ones from when I did venture out into Sultanahmet, to The Blue Mosque & the Grand Bazaar.

72 hours in Seoul, Korea…

Here are the top 6 fun/crazy/beautiful things I saw with 3 days in Seoul:

1) A bad-ass tattooed couple in their 20’s paying to cuddle a kitten….

Cat cafe’s are increasingly popular in Asia.  Not just with 10 year old girls, but because young couples often live in tiny, pet-free apartments.  Plus the National obsession  Hello Kitty probably helps.  I visited Toms Cat  where for 8000 Won (the price of a tea/coffee)  you can stay as long as you want and hang out like a crazy cat lady.  It’s surprisingly therapeutic.

2) Socks, socks & more socks…..

Forget Gangnam.  Hogndae Street is the new fashionable area. Weirdly it reminds me of an alpine ski village with all it’s second/third story  alfresco  coffee chains, or maybe it’s just the cool March air.  It’s close to Hongkok University so has a ton of  graffiti, clubs & funky boutiques nearby. One question though Korea; What’s with all the sock shops?!

3) I’m gonna pop some tags, I got 20 Won in my pocket…

Outside of  Ewha Women’s University is the warren of vintage flee market stores also know as ‘that street you want to visit.’ Correct. There’s rows of  shoe shops that remind me of UK 90’s chain Garage (with a 60,000 won price range.) Plus your usual Asian-esq slogan tees and rails thrift shop jumpers. It’s also waay better than the oddly popular Namdaemun Market.

4) The Bukchon ‘Observatory’ (some guy’s 3rd floor balcony)…

Bukchon & Insa-dong areas are both worth a little meander for arts & crafts. The maze of alleyways around Buchon Hanok Village are full of galleries & teeny tiny tea cafes. An enterprising guy has done a sterling job pinning flyers to lampposts to advertise  his 3rd floor balcony as a ‘private observatory.’ For 3000 Won you can get some nice get some nice shots of the Seongbuk-dong mountains and Gyeonbokgung palace rooftop. Plus he throws in a free orange juice.

5) Businessmen in suits hopping over stepping stones…

Cheonggyecheong is a 6km stream running through the center of the city. It’s definitely worth a spot of people watching as the city workers take their lunch break, just to see guys in suits with briefcases skip over the stepping stones like little girls in a woodland :)

6) Cheery blossoms come early….

I thought these were a Tokyo thing, so what a nice surprise!

Getting there: $350 SGD Singapore to Seoul (via Taipei) with Scoot Air

Where I stayed: $25 SGD shared dorm at The Closest Hostel (1 min from Hongik Uni MRT)

Where I ate:  BistroRE just off Yanghwa-ro 18 gil, Hongik University. (Home of the freshest mozzarella in Asia!)

 

 

 

Glebe Weekend Markets, Sydney…

Every Saturday and Sunday at 40 Glebe Point Rd  Glebe NSW 2037

www.glebemarkets.com.au/

Vintage Shopping on a Shoestring: Five Hidden Singapore Gems

So the second I get a job, the next posts are about holidays and shopping. Guess that’s November’s wage spent already.

The photo is of course ironic. The closest I come to Dior is accidentally walking past on my way to Marina Bay MRT.

When I say ‘shoestring’ I don’t even mean TopShop/Forever21.  I’m talking Primark/Camden Market prices, just so we’re on the same shopping wavelength.

This post is for all the ex-backpacker, vintage magpies or thrift store junkies amongst us. Enjoy!

1) Arab Street, Kampong Glam

‘Glam’ indeed. Arab Street is a warren of vintage-esq independent boutiques. Best of all they are sandwiched between shesha restaurants serving falafel and Lebanese flatbread. Do it for the food if nothing else. Some of the old Chinese shop-house stores are interconnected via secret back alley staircases along the terrace. A couple give off that ‘fashionistas only’ vibe, but others are friendly enough. It’s especially great for more quirky accessories & jewelry.

2) Weekend thrift market at Scape.

Hop off at Somerset MRT & shun that Orchard Row exit. A meer 5 min walk through the skatepark (panic not, this is not an indicator of the fashion) and behold. Words cannot describe how excited I was to first set eyes on this place;  maybe 20 or so courtyard stalls of beautiful things. It’s not just jewelry (you can pick up charms for bracelets at $2) or the free hanging rails of $10 clothes, but its gorgeous postcard sets & trinkets. Weekend only 2pm – late.

3) Bugis Markets & Little Red Dot

I’ve gushed about this old favorite incessantly, but it just gets better every visit. Floor 1: bargain fashions & a cheap nail salon in the heart of the maze if you can find it. Floor 2: More individual boutiques, nicer quality dresses, leather belts, $30 heels, and a couple of bargain bin $5 samples. Floor 3: More of the same, definitely worth the escalator ride. Although best of luck finding your way out.

4) O-Mighty Weekend Vintage Snap Um Up Store – 7 Ann Siang Hill

Since Club Street is a lovely spot for Sunday brunch anyway, it would be rude not to pop into this hidden  treasure trove. Vintage style without the second-hand smell, you can pick up one-off dresses for $16. It’s a little annoying nothing is priced and the sizes are a little on the miniscule side, but definitely worth a drop in. Plus it’s a beautiful walk back along the tiered decking of Ann Siang Park. Serenity wedged amongst the skyscrapers.

5) Home Club Weekend Flee Market – Clarke Quay

Truly a miracle if you stumble upon it, since their dates are near impossible to find advertised online, but that makes it all the more special I guess. Dam it’s a dangerous worldfor the bank balance  indeed when Singaporean girls decide to jumble sale their never-worn and immaculate wardrobes.

30 days and counting until payday…..

Previous Older Entries

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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