[Short Let London] Your Home Away From Home

Travelling behaviour of millennial globetrotters have, in many ways, been shaped by digital media. Our lives revolve around fitting snippets of travel experiences, ranging from meals to iconic landmarks and scenery, into picture-perfect 1080 X 1080 px squares. You would think that when it comes to choosing a place to stay, accessibility would be the main consideration – but oftentimes friends of mine have chosen picked pretty boutique hotels in not-so-accessible places over conventional 3-5 star accommodation. Gone are days where dream trips warrant 5-star hotel stays, or mainstream luxury accommodation – this I’m sure is a sentiment shared by many people who wish to escape the usual tourist traps, and crave a truly cultural immersion.

So lo and behold ~ I’ve found some affordable, Instagram-worthy holiday apartments in Central London for my next trip to the UK!

So Short Let London is an online letting platform that offers vacation flats for short let mainly in Central London and North West areas. Not only are these holiday apartments incredibly picturesque on the outside and inside, these holiday apartments are fully furnished and self-contained with neat en-suite bathrooms. All apartments also come with a double bed and other essential furniture, a fully fitted kitchen, TV and Wi-Fi connection (thank God, right?).

When in London, live as the Brits do. I find stowing myself away in hotels a crying shame when there’s a whole other world out there. After all, Hilton looks pretty much the same all over the world right? From the pictures below (which I’m only too keen to share), living in these houses pretty much takes you to the heart of London, both geographically and culturally. Plus these apartments are typically close to popular tourist attractions as well as lesser known local hangouts! Ever dreamt of living in an attic? You may just be able to fulfil your dreams…

Onward.

Bayswater & Queensway

Short Let London offers a gorgeous range of 14 apartments in the Bayswater zone. Scroll on if you don’t trust my taste! They’re beautiful. Bayswater is home to my favourite Four Seasons roast duck so there’s no reason why I can’t stay right down the street and have duck rice all day everyday.

What I like about Short Let London’s holiday apartments is their centralised locations, namely in the Zone 1 areas of Bayswater, Queensway, Lancaster Gate, Paddington and Marylebone / Baker Street. 

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Bayswater

An apartment at Bayswater:

An apartment at Queensway:

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Queensway

Bayswater is located in Central London, 1 zone on District and Hammersmith & Circle lines

Kilburn

Kilburn, north-west of London, is my go-to pub-crawl area. It is also home of the The Animals WW1 memorial dispensary which dates back to the early 1930s where the home treated animals wounded by the war. Over 6,000 animals were treated in its first year! There’s an air of sanctity to Short Let London’s Kilburn apartments, totally 12 in Kilburn and another 8 somewhere else in the neighbourhood Kilburn Park.

With all-in amenities, I imagine that the rooms are ideal for couples, friends and families looking for some quality time together.

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Kilburn

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Kilburn 2

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Kilburn 3

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Kilburn 4

Kilburn is a residential area of North West London on Jubilee and Overground Line.

Willesden Green

Whoever chose those checkered curtains deserve a drink – it’s both understated and tasteful, exactly what I would choose for my own apartment. Homeliness of this room draws me in and I might not want to leave that bed.

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden Green

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden Green

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden Green

Willesden Green is located in North West London, zone 2 on the Jubilee line.

Willesden Green – ME9

I’ve always dreamt of hiding away in someone’s attic, and this might be my dream apartment come true. See? I would love waking up everyday to sunlight streaming through those windows. Then climbing down those wooden staircases to have my tea, muffins and scones for breakfast. Mm mmm…

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden

Willesden Green Area – ML8

Also in the popular Willesden Green area, this apartment, separate from the ones above, is chic and homely. Who wouldn’t love this cosy little studio apartments. I picture a couple – first time to London, escaping into and completely engulfed by a world of their own. With the stove merely 4 steps away, breakfast in bed anyone?

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden Green ML8

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden Green ML8

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Willesden Green ML8

 

Aside, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this Short Let London room – it was so adorably decorated for Halloween, it totally put the spook back into the festival (until you see the behind-the-scenes)

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Halloween

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Halloween

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Halloween

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Halloween

Brr…are you getting the chills?Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Halloween

Well, boo ya.

Viktoria Jean - Short Let London, Halloween

With decorations like these, Halloween doesn’t happen often enough.

Honestly, I’ve been planning for another UK trip for the longest time without getting actually getting down to it. I like the idea of getting more for less, as well as making my trip worthwhile by capturing Instagram worthy pictures that would speak more than the 1000words I’ve written thus far. I’m thinking of spending some days in various Short Let apartments, in various locations in London, to get the most out of my stay.

So out of all these I’ve highlighted, which are your favourite Short Let apartments?

Don’t forget to check out Short Let London at http://www.shortlet-london.com/ for more.

You may find more information on their holiday apartments at this link: http://www.shortlet-london.com/central-holiday-apartments

Till next time my lovely readers.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

J65 @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

Just last week, I gushed over my weekend at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore (HJTS), and promised to share more about J65 – HJTS’ very own F&B outlet. So here’s a long pictorial essay. As a precaution, do not proceed on an empty stomach as it will be sure to growl at these food-porn up ahead.

I had the pleasure of trying the hotel’s dinner and breakfast buffet during my stay. With a name inspired by the Singapore international dialing code (+65), HJTS’ new all-day dining restaurant J65 is open to diners for breakfast, lunch and dinner. HJTS is one of the only hotels in Singapore to offer net pricing at it’s F&B outlet, meaning that diners get no unpleasant surprises at the end of their meal. HJTS’ other dining outlet – Jen’s Kitchen On-the-go – offers locally roasted coffee and snacks 24-hours a day.

First, let’s talk about Hooked! – Seafood Dinner, which is available on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 10pm. The vibrant restaurant with a modern market look and feel offers an eclectic fusion of authentic Southeast Asian cuisine alongside the buffet’s signature selection of fresh Fin de Claire oysters, sushi and sashimi, tiger prawns, Boston lobster and Sri Lankan crab. Hot dishes include soup-baked cumin red mullet and lobster bisque, poached sweet clams, grilled sea bass and other seafood treats.

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 2

The layout of the buffet starts with the salad bar and cold dishes in the middle, and grilled meats and hot dishes at the side, but I couldn’t make up my mind, and so decided to attack the grilled meats for starters. The hand-carved meat cuts offered all kinds of red and white meats, including Iberico ham and roast with fancy trimmings. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Pork knuckles, anybody?

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin grilled meat

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin grilled meat

A trayful of cheesebaked mussels for my birthday pleaseJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin baked mussels

Fancy meat, bread pudding, cheesebaked mussel: a plate full of (sin and) happinessJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin on my plate

This corner of the buffet is built to resemble the classic Singaporean hawker centre: note the hanging roast ducks and chicken, layout of a gazillion chillis and sauces, plus satays and authentic peanut sauce. 6 types of regional laksa (Singapore, Penang, Johor, Thai, Sarawak, and curry) are cooked on the spot by the skillful chef. J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 3Here’s all 6 of the laksa selection!Hotel Jen Tanglin J65 Laksa SelectionJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Laksa

It was sooo hard to make a choice! Finally went with Penang Laksa.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Penang Laksa

Singapore chicken rice with all its accompanying sauces and condiments; once you’ve eaten at J65, you’d have tried a big portion of Singapore’s renowned delicacies
J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin chicken rice
Hotel Jen Tanglin J65 Chicken Rice Booth
And my favourite: SATAY! A pity they only offered chicken. Would have loved me some lamb or beef.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin satay

This is one helluva fascinating buffet area: the YUSHENG BAR. As it was nearing the end of the Chinese New Year, you could make your own yusheng at J65, and toss in fresh salmon from the Japanese sushi bar right beside it. Staying true to the Southeast Asian/Singapore tradition indeed.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 1

There ain’t no lack of fibre at this buffet with this well-stocked salad bar. Tantalizing bowls of pre-tossed Thai-style mango salad, a mixed deli couscous, delectable choices of cut beetroot, shaved carrots and tomatoes are all the fibre you’d need in a meal or two.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin saladJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin salad barJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin salad

Finally onto the seafood bar. The mussels are especially fresh. Some of the oysters tasted a little strange, but it could have been just my taste buds. The crab was amazing though.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin seafoodJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin seafoodJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin seafood

I must say, the sushi platter and fresh salmon / sashimi are the fastest to go, once restocked. I loved the fresh salmon! The selection was not bad at all (though I couldn’t waste anymore tummy space on rice)J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin sushi

Here’s a peek at what filled our plates at dinner:J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin salmonJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Meat FestJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin PlatesJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin MusselsJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin plate

What’s dinner without desserts? It’s like I have a separate mood centre in my brain that lights up at the sight of desserts (and coffee, too). So much happiness on this table right here.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin dessert bar
Look at this spread!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin coconut tart desserts

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin DinnerJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin cakeJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin cupcakeJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin chocolate cakeJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin mango mousseJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Cakes and DessertsImpressed by this selection of ice cream, really! The matcha was to die for (actually had the matcha at breakfast, scroll down for my matcha with sprinkles)J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin ice cream bar

This pistachio cake with chocolate fudge, and chocolate cupcake were out of this world.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin DessertsThe pistachio bits were really darn goodJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin pistachio cake

Feel free to order one of these:Hotel jen Tanglin J65 Desserts Foodporn yummy

These go into your ice cream, or wherever you’d like them, even on your sashimi if you pleaseJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Ice CreamJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Ice CreamMore desserts: osmanthus jellyJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin jelly

If you need to load up on carbs, again, no lack of them. Shelves and shelves full of them, to your fancy.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin BreadJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin JuicesJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin 6

J65 Hotel Jen TanglinSeafood galore:J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Bar

At dinner, we made our own Kueh Pie Tee!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin DIY kueh pie tieJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Kueh Pie Tie

So we added everything that was available at the DIY area. Was so tempted to throw in random junk like ice cream and sprinkles in my Kueh Pie Tee shell, but that would be untrue to local traditions, and I suppose is a nono at J65, which has such strong roots in local flavours and cuisine. The buffet isn’t all, there’s an ala carte menu if you’re looking for something more.

I learnt that on other buffet nights, pizzas and other Western dishes would also be available.
Hotel Jen Tanglin J65 Pizza BuffetTravellers hunting for authentic Southeast Asian food should definitely make it a point to try J65’s Hooked – Seafood Dinner, because this is where you get the best of both worlds – Western, Singaporean, Asian – you name it, they probably serve it.

Now onto breakfast! After an awesome night’s sleep, we woke up refreshed, and ready for HJTS’ breakfast selection.

At J65’s Sunday morning breakfast, we were greeted by this table full of cold cuts to pair with the great salad bar. And as all good breakfasts should, there were hash browns, sausages, baked tomatoes and bacon. In addition, we also got to choose from a variety of Hong Kong style dimsum (chicken paus, rice rolls), and Malay style beehoon and curry. Good ol’ Peranakan style Kuehs were also available!

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin BreakfastJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast meatsJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Salad BarJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Bacon Grease

J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin BreakfastJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin buffet paoCereal table, and shelves full of bread behind. Carbs heaven!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin cereal barJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin eggsJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin buffet kuehJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin tabao bagWhat went onto our plates:J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast plateJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast choiceYes there is KIMCHIJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfastAnd aforementioned to-die-for matcha ice cream!J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin breakfast dessertsI went for 2 cups of ice-cold desserts: the vanilla and matcha, both decked in my favourite crunchy choco/malt balls.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin ice cream breakfastJ65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Matcha Ice Cream

Breakfast was just as satisfying as dinner, with the mad selection of meats (which were too heavy for us), and sweets.J65 Hotel Jen Tanglin Breakfast Buffet

Really grateful to HJTS for this staycay opportunity and for a chance to taste their signature weekend dinner and breakfast spread! Definitely spreading the word, and keeping this place in mind for future staycays. Do click through this Link for HJTS’ room rates and deals!

J65 at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore

J65 HJTS BuffetWeekday Lunch Buffet
S$29 net per person
Monday to Saturday
12pm – 2.30pm

Hooked! – Seafood Buffet Dinner
S$78 net per person
Friday to Saturday
6pm – 10pm 

Sunday Champagne Brunch
S$128 with free-flow Champagne, wine, beer and cocktails, or
S$88 net without alcohol

Every Sunday
12pm – 3pm

Book online for a 15% discount on the total bill.

For more information, email J65@hoteljen.com or call (65) 6831 4374.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Staycay @ Hotel Jen Tanglin

Welcome to Hotel “Jean” Tanglin, a cuppa hot chocolate anybody?

hotel

Fooling around with Club Lounge amenities as though this place was my own. ‘Local flavour’ and ‘home’ are indeed the overarching themes for the old Traders Hotel at 1a Cuscaden Road, which has gone through a SGD45 million makeover to become the spunky new Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore!

The establishment was reopened just December last year. I was thrilled to get a weekend stay at the spanking new building, and even more excited to share these pictures of my experience! One of the highlights of the stay was dinner and breakfast at J65 – the hotel’s new restaurant with the look and feel of a local farmer’s market, serving the freshest seafood and other authentic Southeast Asian cuisine.

Well, that’s a story for another day.

There should be a disclaimer at HJTS to warn travellers they might end up not leaving the room altogether. No, seriously. I had a really well-rested stay-in weekend at HJTS. I believe business or leisure travellers looking for a good night’s rest at a convenient location, as well as local staycationers looking for a change of scenery, would find HJTS fulfilling for all their needs!

Ready for pictures? Here we go!

1713

My room at 1713 is a fine sight to behold – I was thrilled to get a room on Level 17, which was on the Club Lounge floor.
Hotel Jen Tanglin 1

HJTS’s 565 new, contemporary guestrooms come with four modern, locally curated wallpaper designs highlighting different Singaporean themes (bicycle, orchid, goldfish and shop house). Each room includes thoughtful touches such as free WiFi, USB charging outlets, high-pressure walk-in showers and king-sized beds with 300-thread-count linens. So I guess mine belonged to the shophouse theme. I love the thoughtful furniture and comfortable colour scheme. The incredibly soft comforter and sheets trapped me between them for most part of Sunday.

bed @ hotel jen tanglin

wall @ hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin 5

Everywhere is OOTD-worthy!

Queen at Hotel Jen Tanglin

Hotel Jen Tanglin 2

It’s a crime for pillows to be this fluffy.

Hotel Jen Tanglin 12

And the bed.

home hotel jen tanglin

Hotel Jen Tanglin interior 3

In other new, the view outside is incredible. We lounged on the couch overlooking this amazing view, and just talked for hours. 

view outside my window hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin 6

hotel jen tanglin 7

love live laugh hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin shoes

hotel jen tanglin floor

lights hotel jen tanglin

Business travellers, your needs will be serviced. The ultra comfortable chair, fuss free desk and password-free WIFI access gives you unlimited usage for multiple devices, so you can get work done in peace. I would have spent more time on that chair if the bed wasn’t so inviting.

business hotel jen tanglin

bright blue chair hotel jen tanglin

See what I mean about fixtures? Very tasteful.

Hotel Jen Tanglin Amenities

And this housed the minibar/fridge:

fridge at hotel jen tanglin

colours hotel jen tanglin

FLUFFY PILLOWS hotel jen tanglin

selfie at HJT hotel jen tanglin

bathroom hotel jen tanglin

bathroom hotel jen tanglin

The Club Room’s stay-in pull has a room service menu to match, so you won’t have to leave the premises. Penang Char Kway Teow, anybody?

room service menu, hotel jen tanglin

And for all other F&B needs, you have the Club Lounge at level 17!

Club Lounge

Most of everything you’ll need can be found at the business cum amenities lounge, where anything from a quick caffeine fix or a highball for the night is within reach. Here, we fixed our much needed morning cuppa and bedtime hot cocoa. Fruits, snacks and tea are available 24/7, with a wide selection of cakes and finger food between meals, so you’ll never go hungry. This is a also great business meeting place.

hotel jen tanglin - club lounge coffee

Care for our ‘National Drink’?

singapore sling, hotel jen tanglin

club lounge HJT hotel jen tanglin

seats @ club lounge, hotel jen tanglin

club lounge business, hotel jen tanglin

Spoilt for choice at tea break!

tea break HJT

club lounge hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin - club lounge eats

strawberry cheesecake, hotel jen tanglin

tea break @ hotel jen tanglin

hotel jen tanglin tea club lounge

Hotel Interior

Millennials’ll be delighted by the abundance of Instagram-worthy spots at HJTS! From hipster bicycle walls to inbuilt swings and a Singaporean theme wall – there are no lack of OOTD spots for the new age soul.

Hotel Jen Tanglin

Hotel Jen tanglin 11

rooms hotel jen tanglin

Hotel Jen Tanglin 10

I'm Staying With Jen - Hotel Jen Tanglin

Yup, I’m Staying With Jen!

Stay tuned for mouthwatering foodporn at Hotel Jen Tanglin’s J65.

Thank you HJTS.

Hotel jen Tanglin welcome

blogger hotel jen tanglin

Also just learnt that a colleague of mine is holding his wedding banquet at HJTS in June. Can’t wait to be back here for another stay.

Book a staycation at Hotel Jen Tanglin Singapore today!
Click through this Link for their room rates and deals.

About Hotel Jen Tanglin:

This stylish modern hotel is 6 km from the lively Marina Bay Sands and 7 km from Universal Studios Singapore.

The polished rooms with midcentury decor come with free Wi-Fi and luxe linens, plus flat-screens and tea and coffeemaking facilities. Suites offer separate living rooms, while upgraded suites have Nespresso machines and microwaves. Room service is 24/7.

Amenities include a lounge with city views, casual dining and cocktails, plus a chic restaurant and a cafe. There’s an outdoor plunge pool, an exercise room and a spa area with massages. Free shuttle service is available.

Address:
1A Cuscaden Rd
Singapore 249716

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[Kuala Lumpur] Toast And Roast

If like me, you had imagined ‘Toast and Roast’ to be a brightly lit cafe with piping toasts and artisan coffees, then you’re in a surprise. KL’s Toast and Roast is a distinctly traditional coffee-shop serving old-school teas, best-for-a-hangover hot Honey-Lemons, chewy Hakka noodles, bouncy beef ball soup, and what they became famous for – roast pork / chicken. When your foodies friends make the recommendations, you know you’re in good hands. It was there that I had the best charsiew ever. So as I popped my first caramelised, melt-in-your-mouth charsiew, I must have died and went to charsiew heaven.

See that plate in the middle? It’s the charsiew.


Don’t think about the fats you’re consuming, because fighting this is a losing battle. Put tht first piece in your mouth and you’re hooked. Okay, but seriously I could taste the layers of fats, and thick caramel sauce, which makes it sooo good. Usually my friends and I are a bunch of locusts sweeping across a harvest field when it comes to food, but we couldn’t finish the meat at Toast And Roast. This servings here were for our party of 8. Guess we’re not big eaters after all, or they’re really just generous with their portions.

For all fans of wanton mees or whatever mees, this bowl of Hakka noodles will get to your sweet spot. It’s all kinds of chewy without making your jaws ache. Don’t let the meagre pieces of minced pork fool you, cos there’s a whole heap underneath! So, so good.
 Look how happy my friends were with their food.
More about the other dishes: I’ve never been a big fan of meat processed into balls, aka fishballs/meatballs/chicken or egg balls, because I’ve always felt they weren’t au naturale. What even goes into ’em balls nobody knows. Nonetheless I found myself liking the bouncy beef balls that came with the soup. It’s tender, and didn’t taste like supermarket frozen meatballs. With that said, T&R also serve a mean iced white kopi, which is basically what all South Malaysian food places are good at making. I’ve not had a bad kopi anywhere in Malaysia.
  
  

‘Nuff said.

Toast And Roast
No.20, Jalan SS2/72 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, 47300, Malaysia

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[Kuala Lumpur] Alexis Cafe

Rocking the ghetto streets of Bangsar is this classy, off-the-beaten-track bistro cafe that has maintained its name with a fine selection of cakes and a sleek price to match. Not a conceptually-strong bistro, but Alexis banks its traffic on excellent word-of-mouth and high quality desserts.


  

Having heard a great deal about their Tiramisu, the 8 of us couldn’t resist getting a couple to share. Their fruit meringue and lemon tart were so darn amazing too.

With tasteful decor, scattered art pieces, white chairs and pale wood tables, Alexis needed little else in their concept to be a decent chill-out spot for afternoon tea. While the wall of wine bottles added a layer of sophistication, it was a tad lacking in the bar/pub factor. Nonetheless I loved how they stacked up all their collection so patrons could literally check the bottles out.
  

Again, random installations – this one is ‘crowdsourced’ since everybody could add their graffiti to the paper chandelier. It’s both sleek and rustic at the same time.
  
Ta-Da! Tiramisu & Fruit Meringue. Interesting how they glazed pecans and an assortment of nuts over the traditional tiramisu coating to create that crunch in your mouth that is oh-so-satisfying.

Nothing beats coffee and cakes with the best of friends. Totally did not expect these 2 to join our KL trip…till they literally surprised me by appearing in the hotel room!! They planned this all along for my birthday. What sweetie-pies!
  
  
More from that lovely afternoon.

 

A short snap from my snapchat above. Couldn’t bring out the tastefulness in Alexis (which coincidentally is one of our friends’ name). But all in all, the cakes were to die for. I’ve had amazing tiramisu cakes, but the uniqueness of this one was rather memorable.

29, Jalan Telawi 3,
Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[L.A.] FOOD SNAPS IN LOS ANGELES

Tribute to all the food-snaps I take that go un-posted as soon as the physical item gets devoured / forgotten. Here’s a post to say, you’ll always be remembered. Tralala.

I love you, Los Angeles.

▷ Breakfast @ Denny’s for the first time and I liked it! Western portions are way too generous. With a selection like this it won’t be anytime soon for us to taste it all. A tad bit greasy on the side of mashed/fried potatoes but all else’s good.

All American Slam, French Toast Slam, Peanut Butter Cup Pancake Breakfasts
Breakfastception

▷ Late post-shopping lunch with the elder folks was Seafood Port Chinese Restaurant on Hawthorne Blvd Torrance

As much a visual feast as it was physical! Curry crabs and the works, totally Chinese through and through
Highlight of the evening
Managed to get my fortune told

▷ Sneaked in a pizza at Sbarro, Del Amo @ Torrance Bay. Nothing like salad, carbs and mozzarella to complete your trip to the States.

▷ Dining in near pitch-black darkness at Santa Monica Pier Restaurant, whilst chilling to the strong sea breeze at the restaurant’s namesake. Food’s amazing. Mojitos were cray.            

▷ Santa Monica Pier in all its midnight glory. America is gorgeous.  

▷ Too much to eat, too little time and space.

 

 

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[NEW YORK] EAT. SHOP. REPEAT

“I love New York. You can pop out of the Underworld in Central Park, hail a taxi, head down Fifth Avenue with a giant hellhound loping behind you, and nobody even looks at you funny.”
Rick Riordan

Eat, shop, dream, repeat! was all we did in New York during the winter. In early February, 0°C felt like much less, thanks to bone-chilling winds and an insufficient wardrobe. We had 3 days to spend right smack in the city, where you could literally shop all day and stay up at Times Square without realising it’s already midnight, and not even subzero temperatures could deter them creatures of the night.

Rick Riordan’s quote rang true when I realised literally anybody could dress up in anything and sell their crafts/ideas on Times Square. I forgot how many Big Birds, Cookie Monsters, Madagascar Penguins, Mickey Mouses and Eeyores I’ve seen accosting strangers in the streets, handing out pamphlets or just attempting to sell you something. Nobody found it weird and the reverse is true. The ones wearing them don’t feel judged at all.

Checking into The Paramount Hotel at Times Square felt like entering a club – dim lights, velvet couches, a DJ spinning on the console and bar drinks in the corner.

Straight off our flight, we headed for Koreatown in search of piping hot and spicy Korean food! Decided on New Wonjo because it looked spanking clean and boasts a really strong heater (we felt the emanating warmth just by walking past). Not once during our entire meal did we regret our choice. We had an amazing meal: Bean paste stew (된장찌개), Spicy Tofu Stew (순두부찌개), Short Rib Soup (갈비탕), Beef Glass Noodles (잡채), Rice Cakes (떡볶이), and Seafood Pancake (해물파전 ). Daresay this was one of the best Korean restaurants I’ve been to outside of Seoul.
    

During the trip I had one of the best Thai dishes in NYC too! New York’s melting pot of culture gives rise to an international array of good cuisines within the city centre. Yay me, who’s not a big fan of fast food. This was Thai green curry chicken from Pongsri Thai, a hip diner tucked between Broadway & 8th Ave, bringing you awesome Thai food since 1972.

The sweet-tooth in me jumped for joy at MAGNOLIA BAKERY, NYC’s very own vintage cupcakes store! This is one patisserie that I would seriously cry with happiness if it ever makes its way to Singapore…and guess what!! I just read this on their webpage:
In addition to our current locations, Magnolia Bakery is continuing to franchise internationally and will soon open in Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

OH LORD I’LL SHED REAL TEARS OF JOY. Let me show you why:

Day One: Red Velvet Cupcake and Banana Pudding.
I’ve always been a huge fan of red velvet, but this is a whole new level of velvety goodness. It was so soft and creamy, that there was nothing cake-y about it at all. Just melt-in-your-mouth smooth satiny velvet, made red with cocoa, vanilla and “a little southern mystery”, topped with  special whipped vanilla icing and chocolate chips.
  

I’ve never eaten a banana pudding, and my first was pure orgasmic. I totally get why this is Sex-and-The-City-approved! Layers and layers of banana and melted vanilla wafers in a cup blended in rich vanilla mousse… this is helluva showstopper. Omg, so good I swear!

Banana-pudding-and-kindle kinda night

Day Two: Lemon Cheesecake and Magic Cookie Bars
Lemon cheesecake was my breakfast, and it was so totally amazing, I wanted to trudge back to the store in freezing winter just to get another. I love how moist their cupcakes are in the grand scheme of how cupcakes tend to be, and it’s sweet without being sinfully so (or at least they don’t taste sinfully sweet like a pure bar of sugar)
Curious about Magic Cookie Bars and just how magic they were, I tried one, and went to cookie heaven. Still wasn’t sure what was in them until I went over to their page:”Graham cracker crust with chocolate chips, walnuts and coconut topped with sweetened condensed milk then baked.  

Enough talk about food, moving on to the shopping part of my whirlwind stay. For me shopping is the main activity in the States. Without driving to outlet stores, NYC has a convenient selection around our hotel and down the streets. Big names are all listed on city maps designed with easy-to-navigate grids. Sephora awarded me their VI(B) thanks to my patronage every time I’m in the States.

We went into the Lego Store! – always such an innocently happy place. Larger than life-sized figurines such as the Statue of Liberty and Lego Movie characters were made of lego blocks only. I applaud the makers’ patience and their eye for details. This was where we took most of our shameless selfies that must have prompted many to judge us overenthusiastic Asian girls.

In the day, Times Square is incredibly, vividly lit. In the night, it’s not so different. Shopping from late evening on, I didn’t even notice that daylight was gone because the billboards were so intensely bright that they lit up almost the entire sky if you were to stand right in the middle of the streets. I’m reminded again of why NYC is the City that Truly Never Sleeps.

When it was time to go, I was just incredibly sad ): But knowing that I’ll be back someday makes me incredibly excited to explore new parts of the state and venture beyond the city centre!

Of course my bag suffered the brunt of my shopping.

 

Till next time,

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[SINGAPORE] PINK DOT SG 2015 / PARKROYAL ON PICKERING

☼ Supporting the Freedom To Love #PinkDotSG

Attended my first Pink Dot last Saturday (13 Jun) with ChaiArmy, and celebrated the weekend with a wholesome staycation at the Park Royal Hotel on Pickering Street.

I was curious about Pink Dot campaign which had gathered much talk and controversy (pink versus white) when I felt the cause inherently bore no ill-intentions at all. In fact Pink Dot was very much an outdoor family affair! Singaporeans from all walks of life were clad in pink, from babies and toddlers to the very old, soaking up sun at Hong Lim Park’s open field. I loved the warm (literally, though) atmosphere, complete with picnic mats, cheerleader stunts, pink balloons and mascots, as well as booths with activities to partake in, resembling a carnival of sorts. Picnickers began choosing their spots at 1-ish PM. Decked in all shades of pink, supporters of the Freedom To Love movement gathered and mingled with fellow pink friends all throughout the afternoon, at times releasing iconic pink helium balloons (a move I’m not too crazy about).

The highlight of the annual event was the evening concert which culminated in a traditional lighting up of a clustered ‘pink dot’. Experienced the gorgeous light-up first-hand from our vantage point – a 6th-floor room at Park Royal! Here’s a snippet (just the highlights) of the lighting up, enjoy:


At 3-ish the crowd was still beginning to gather…
By 5, the place was close to packed, forming this sea of pink
With my dear friends at the event. C for #ChaiArmy

 

☼ Staycation at the Park Royal on Pickering Street

Loading up on carbs and chilling with beers with these bunch at the Park Royal, which evidently was a popular staycay spot every year on Pink Dot day. When we checked in, there were tonnes of people in pink. Being a very new establishment, the interior was spanking clean, and the rooms spotless. Just as the exterior moss-green decor suggested, the rooms were in sync with the woodsy organic theme.  Service was also uber efficient when we asked for extra duvet, towels and water!

Wholesome movies and stay-in party night, drinks provided HeinekenSG.
With the Enqi / Hannah at the staycay


The pool was amazing, if only it wasn’t raining.
  

My frolicking friends
I’m sometimes amazed by the picture quality of iPhones. Landscape shot of the indoor sundeck. Great for reading a book by the poolside in your bikini if you’re not looking to get tanned.

  Clearly swimming wasn’t on my agenda. I walked around snapping photos of the pool and Park Royal’s signature ‘birdcages’ that housed lounging couches for the pool dwellers.

I must say I had a great night’s sleep, having been awake for >24hours prior. The woody interior just ups the bed’s appeal. Crispy white sheets against mild rosewood. Sleeping just got better. But be extra careful: draw the blinds for privacy and especially when showering, because otherwise, guests from the next building can see everything you do. Like literally, every single thing.  

Such different feels from the other Park residences. Thoroughly enjoyed my first Pink Dot experience made even better with the weekend staycation ❤ just what I needed to recharge for the rest of the month.

How’s June going for everyone?

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

[THAILAND] o19. AFTER YOU DESSERT CAFE 

After You Dessert Cafe bangkok - Viktoria Jean

If you could only make one dessert pit-stop in Bangkok, it has to be AfterYou Dessert Cafe! In the absence of distractions (animals, excessively hipster embellishments) the establishment focuses on a competitive menu  and plain awesome desserts! Since Taiwan’s Dazzling Cafe experience and toasty good times in Korea’s trendy coffeehouses, I’ve not had good toasts in a while. Until Shibuya Honey Toast and Ferrero Icecream Toast came into my life at AfterYou and my life is worth living again. Teehee. Scroll for toastporn, millefeuille and photos of the cozy cafe interior, featuring the ChaiArmy up to our usual shenanigans, this time in Thailand for Red’s birthday celebrations (all pictures taken with my old iPhone 5 because 6+ had to stay home, in case it decides to stay in Bangkok and to never come back)

                  

 

Just waiting for the day that AfterYou comes to Singapore too, like all other high-profile franchises.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean