TRAVEL: Sri Lanka (2018)

I love going away on a holiday for my birthday. What’s a better way to spend the day than being away from work, relaxing under the warm sun, and enjoying good food and good company?

To be honest, Sri Lanka was not my first choice of destination for my birthday this year. I was hoping to spend some time in Melbourne (or any city in Australia) instead. But after watching some travel videos on Youtube and some convincing from my partner, I decided to give it a go.

Now, I’m completely sold and I am already looking forward to returning for another trip. My favourite things about Sri Lanka are the friendly locals, the delicious curries, and their aromatic teas. I am not a huge travel blogger, but I thought it would be nice to share some of the places we went to, things we did in, outfits I wore and snaps I took…

Colombo

We spent only 1 night in Colombo and I’m sure that’s all you need. Colombo is such a large, busy city and we just didn’t think we needed that since we were coming from Singapore! Our first dinner was at a Sri Lankan buffet at Nuga Gama at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel where we discovered hoppers and my love for unsweetened ginger tea. It’s a little pricey compared to everything else you could have (since it’s located in a hotel), but it was such a beautiful alfresco dining experience and it gave us a good introduction to Sri Lankan cuisine for us.

Kandy

Mountbatten Bungalow

Our first meal at Mountbatten Bungalow

We travelled to Kandy from Colombo via the train. Our first class tickets were purchased in advance via the Visit Sri Lankan Tours website. After we arrived in Kandy, we took a tuk-tuk to get to our accommodation, the Mountbatten Bungalow. This is where we spent most of our time in Kandy.

Breakfast at the Bungalow

There’s a pool and fully-equipped kitchen. Everything we needed was available here (WiFi included) and we enjoyed all the hours we spent lazing at the pool under the sun. Of course, I also spent some time to knit my Beauty School Turban (pattern by Amy Appel on Ravelry) by the poolside!

Galle

The Lighthouse

Our next big stop was Galle Fort. We travelled from Kandy back to Colombo via train, and then hired a car to take us to Galle from the Colombo Railway Station. We would have loved to enjoy a scenic train ride from Colombo to Galle. Alas, the timing didn’t match up and we didn’t have many days planned our for this entire trip, so a hired car was the most time efficient method of travelling.

Knitting my turban outside our room at Rampart View Guesthouse in the morning light

We stayed at the Rampart View Guesthouse, in a cosy room that was located right next to the fort. We loved taking walks along the fort in the morning and watching the sunset in the evening.

Hoppers and roti at Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

There were also many restaurants and cafes that are worth visiting within the fort. My favourite tea place was a little “dive” tea shop called Royal Dutch Cafe. They were so many different types of tea available from the menu, and the tea I ordered came in a beautiful teapot in red and gold. Of course, the tea was brewed to perfection, like all the other pots of tea I had in Sri Lanka.

Unawatuna Beach

We also spent an afternoon at the Unawatuna Beach near Galle where I got harassed by a little monkey kept in chains called “Lala” and bought some peanuts from a toothless septuagenarian.

Matara

While we were in Galle Fort, we realised that we had more time in the area than we thought, so we decided to take a little day trip out of Galle to another nearby town. We ended up taking a train to Matara for a walk along the beach and some restaurants. As we didn’t have any train tickets booked beforehand, we ended up purchasing second-class tickets which was only about SGD0.70 each.

Check out the metal straw they use at The Doctor’s House!

Butter Chicken Woodfire Pizza xoxox

We had a delicious lunch at The Doctor’s House and briefly discussed the possibility of us abandoning our city lives and live in a quiet town like Matara. The conclusion was that we simply could not live the life of a beach bum.

And so, here we are, back at our city lives in Singapore.

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SHOP VINTAGE: Perth (2015)

And here we are, finally, a blog post about my vintage shopping haul from Perth! I am awfully sorry that this has taken a lot longer than I initially intended. Work has been keeping me busy, and so has my crochet project.

As some of you may know, I had a short vacation in Perth about a month ago. Now, there are a few things that I must do every time I go on a holiday:

  1. Shop vintage
  2. Buy craft supplies
  3. Dance rock and roll

When I’m lucky, I get to do all 3. If not, I’ll be happy to be able to do just one of those. During my last vacation in Perth, I got to do both #1 and #3. Yay!

As it was a short trip, I was only able to squeeze some vintage shopping in on the last day of the trip. To save time, I decided to shop around the Northbridge area where all the shops I went to are within walking distance from one other.

Here are some of the shops I visited:

  1. Beleza Vintage Microshop
    (located in Fi & Co., 289 William Street)

    Beleza Vintage
    vintage shopping Perth beleza vintage
    vintage shopping Perth beleza vintage
    The vintage stocked in this microshop within Fi & Co. is eclectic and quirky. I love the range of handbags and jewelleries available. Just look at all those cute necklaces in the display case! The wooden animal necklace really caught my eye but I was already busting way out of budget, so I couldn’t take it home with me.

    Apparently Beleza Vintage has a bigger shop located on 282 William Street. Somehow, I missed it.. So, if you ever stop by William Street in Perth, make sure you pop by both shops!

  2. Oh Henry Vintage
    (312 William Street, also on Etsy at www.etsy.com/shop/OhHenryVintage)

    Oh Henry Vintage
    vintage shopping Perth oh henry  vintage
    This shop = vintage heaven. The range of dresses available in this shop is unbelievable, from 1950s tea dresses to 1970s maxi dresses, and vintage wedding dresses, there’s bound to be something for everyone! I absolutely adore the way the clothes are organised according to their colours. They all looked bright and cheery in the spacious and well-lit store. It is no surprise that I was spoilt for choice in the shop, but the shop assistant was very helpful and I managed to find this cute, 1960s yellow number.

    vintage shopping Perth oh henry  vintage 1960s dress
    P.S.: The white vintage Ferragamo pumps are not from the shop, but are probably what I am going to wear with this dress.

  3. Vinnies Retro Boutique 
    (267B William Street)

    St. Vincent is doing it right with the concept of gathering all the retro and vintage beauties in a single op-shop. Sure, scouring through racks and racks of preloved clothes to find a vintage gem is part of the fun, but when you’re pressed for time like I was, you’ll want a shop just like this. I bought a total of 3 items in this shop, including an absolutely divine 1960s baby doll nightgown. It’s been a while so I can’t quite remember the cost of each item, but I don’t think I spent more than $100 in this shop. So if you want to buy vintage but haven’t got enough dough, this is the place to go!

    vintage shopping Perth oh henry  vintage 1970s prairie dress

    1970s Prairie Style Maxi Dress: This dress is wayyyy too long for me so I am planning to do something about it. *Hint* it’s gonna be another blog post!

    vintage shopping Perth oh henry  vintage 1960s nightgown dress

    1960s Babydoll Nightie: Sweet dreams are made of this…

    vintage shopping Perth oh henry  vintage 1970s maxi dress

    1970s Baby Bluebells Maxi Dress: Disney called… they want Cinderella’s dress back. Once again, it’s too long for me, so it will need to go under the knife first.

So, have you been to any of these shops I mentioned? Tell me all about your experiences and purchases! x G

TRAVEL: Perth (2015)

The last time I visited Australia was in 2012 when I flew back to Sydney for my graduation ceremony. That’s 3 years ago.

My, my, how time flies.

Imagine my excitement when my boyfriend and I decided to visit Perth for a short getaway! All I could think about was the dancing and shopping I would do. My boyfriend, on the other hand, wanted to pet little roos.

Fortunately, we sorted out our different expectations and managed to get everything we both wanted during the short 4 day trip to Perth. Here are my highlights of the trip (complete with ootd photos, of course):

DAY ONE

Touched down in Perth! Our flight was delayed by 6 hours because, you know, Jetstar. You know, the Australian sunshine is a wonderful thing.

Wearing: Freddies of Pinewood Lana jeans, tailor-made tartan blouse (from my trip to Vietnam earlier this year), thrifted vintage style woven straw bag

Wearing: Freddies of Pinewood Lana jeans, tailor-made tartan blouse (from my trip to Vietnam earlier this year), thrifted vintage style woven straw bag

I made my way to Mustang Bar in the evening for some good ol’ rockabilly and rock n roll dancing. It was a Saturday night and Shotdown from Sugartown was playing. It has been ages since I got to dance rockabilly and rock n roll, and I have to say it was nerve-wrecking at the start. But fortunately I met some really lovely folks who were happy to dance with me. If you saw an awkward Asian chick on the dance floor that night… that’ll be me.

Mustang Bar Rockabilly dancing Perth Western Australia

DAY TWO

Perth skyline tourism Western Australia

Perth Western Australia

I enjoyed a stunning view of the Perth skyline while we waited for the ferry to take us to the CBD. Oh, and I had my second cup of soy chai latte for the trip.

After brunch, my boyfriend and I walked along Cottesloe beach, where the sand was white and the sea was green. Then, we spent the rest of the day wandering around Fremantle Markets and the rest of Freo (a local pet name for Fremantle).

Perth Tourism Western Australia Cottesloe Beach

Perth Tourism Western Australia Cottesloe Beach vintage style

Fremantle Markets Freo Western Australia Tourism

Wearing: Me-made gingham dress (here), thrifted woven straw bag, new sunnies from Freo Markets

Wearing: Me-made gingham dress (blogged here), thrifted woven straw bag, new sunnies from Freo Markets

The day ended with a drink at the Little Creatures brewery and a taste of Fish and Chip flavoured gelato at Kailis. The latter was.. odd.

DAY THREE

While my boyfriend was sweating it out doing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at a local gym in the morning, I roamed the Perth CBD alone. All the old architecture in the CBD looked so amazing to me. His Majesty’s Theatre was my favourite.

His Majesty's Theatre Perth Western Australia architecture

His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth

And of course, I did a little shopping in the CBD. A trip to Australia will not be complete without a trip to Target. I scored some really cute things, like this pineapple mason jar.

pineapple mason jar target australia

In the afternoon, my boyfriend had one thing checked off his bucket list – he petted a kangaroo at the Caversham Wildlife Reserve Park. Yep, the roo was a real cutie.

Caversham Wildlife Reserve Park kangaroo Perth Western Australia

vintage style 1960s Aloha gingham uniqlo sunjellies jelly shoes

Wearing: Mint jellies from Sunjellies

DAY FOUR

vintage style gingham tailormade handmade

Wearing: Tailor-made yellow blouse (from my trip to Vietnam earlier this year), thrifted woven straw bag

Alas, the last day of the trip. I finally got the chance to do some op-shopping and vintage shopping. I won’t go into much details yet because I will be talking more about vintage shopping in Perth CBD in my next post.

Oh Henry! Vintage shopping Perth Western Australia

Then, we made a final stop at Whisk in Subiaco. The mint milkshake was divine and I tried a cronut for the first time in my life. I wish I could go back for more now!

Whisk Creamery Subiaco Perth Western Australia

Whisk Creamery Subiaco Perth Western Australia

Do you live in Perth? Tell me all about your favourite spots and let me know if I should be trying something new the next time I visit! x G

 

Caversham Wildlife Reserve Park - B/99 Lord Street, Whiteman WA 6068
Cottesloe beach - Cottesloe, WA 6011
Fremantle Markets - Corner South Terrace & Henderson Street, Fremantle WA 6959
His Majesty's Theatre - 825 Hay St, Perth, WA 6000
Kailis - 46 Mews Road, Fremantle, WA 6959
Little Creatures Brewery - 40 Mews Road, Fremantle, WA 6959
Mustang Bar - 46 Lake St, Northbridge, WA 6003
Whisk - 151 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco, WA 6008

 

TRAVEL: Vietnam (2015)

Ho Chi Minh City Hall, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam - Love the French colonial architecture style of this building

Ho Chi Minh City Hall, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

If you follow me on Instagram @gwenstellamade, you would have seen several photos of my adventures in Vietnam a few weeks ago. Yes, my boyfriend and I went on a 9-day trip to Vietnam and it was such a good trip! One of the best things about being a Singaporean and living in Singapore is the ability to travel southeast Asian countries easily and quickly. Most destinations are just a few hours away on the plane and there is no need for a visa.

There are so many things we did and ate on the trip, here’s just a selection of some of the memorable moments I managed to capture in photo.

These retro floor tiles caught my eye while my boyfriend was getting his feet measured for a pair of custom-made leather shoes. He got a pair of simple brown shoes made to measure for USD50.

Retro floor tiles, Hoi An, Vietnam

These retro floor tiles caught my eye while my boyfriend was getting his feet measured for a pair of custom-made leather shoes. He got a pair of simple brown shoes made to measure for USD50.

Reaching Out Tea House, Hoi An, Vietnam

Reaching Out Tea House, Hoi An, Vietnam

It’s no surprise that I found my way into a teahouse while on a holiday. This teahouse hired people with hearing impairment and the entire teahouse is a sanctuary for people who want to get away from the busy market streets just for a while.

Dinner against the beautiful sunset

Dinner against the beautiful sunset, Hoi An, Vietnam

Did I forget to mention that this trip was also part of my birthday celebration? My boyfriend booked a sunset dinner cruise with Cinnamon Cruises in Hoi An for my birthday dinner. We were lucky because there happened to be NO ONE ELSE on the same boat with us.

Shopping for craft supplies, Hanoi, Vietnam

Shopping for craft supplies, Hanoi, Vietnam

And then boom! We were in Hanoi and there was a street with every single store selling craft supplies like zippers and beads! As you can see, I was a very happy girl.

Street banh mi stall, Hanoi, Vietnam

Street banh mi stall, Hanoi, Vietnam

In Hanoi, our search for the best banh mi (aka Vietnamese cold cut sandwich) began. It wasn’t this streetside stall. Get your best cold cut traditional banh mi for just 1USD at Banh My Ba Dan on 34 Lò Sū.

Hanoi springrolls freshly fried in a cooking class, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi springrolls freshly fried in a cooking class, Hanoi, Vietnam

These fried Hanoi spring rolls were so tasty and easy to make! I can’t wait to try the recipe we learnt in our cooking class now that we’re back home.

Tam Coc, Vietnam

Tam Coc, Vietnam

And because we got weary of the busy streets of Hanoi, we also spent a day in Tam Coc. The tour guide described it as touring Ha Long Bay on land. He was wrong. We travelled around the rice fields and countryside with Ha Long Bay in the background.. on rickety bicycles.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

And of course, we travelled to Ha Long Bay by boat to see the UNESCO World Heritage site up-close and personal. We travelled and stayed overnight with ANNAM JUNK which kept us well-fed with 8 – 9 course meals. I will never forget the experience of kayaking along one of these limestone beauties.

Coconut coffee smoothie in Cong Caphe, Hanoi, Vietnam

Coconut coffee smoothie in Cong Caphe, Hanoi, Vietnam

Last but not least, this coconut coffee smoothie has got me hooked! I have never been a coffee drinker, but this little devil has got me wanting more. Does anyone have any good coconut coffee smoothie recipe to share?

And there you go, that’s my little adventure in Vietnam.

Have you travelled to Vietnam? What was your most memorable experience?

 

xo G