[THAILAND] o17. AYUTTHAYA – OF RECLINING BUDDHAS AND WISHING WELLS

Following a seafood-induced food coma and a brief exposure to Thai Buddhist rituals at renowned Wat Phanan Choeng, our local Thai friends took us on yet another cultural tour – the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, also known as Wat Lokkayasutharam. At this point it would be useful to note there are more than 2 Temples with Reclining/Sleeping Buddhas in Ayutthaya – one of which is indoors at Wat Pho, and 2 others are documented below.

In good faith, devotees typically purchase incense sticks for prayers, which came with flowers, candles, joss-sticks and 2x2cm flecks of gold paper for ‘dressing’ the Buddha. A huge test of devotion often involved patience for adhering the flimsy pieces of gold, bound to escape like seeds of the dandelion in the wind.

The first thing about ‘Sleeping Buddha’ at Wat Lokkayasutharam that amazed me was its absolute size, followed by the sense of peace upon seeing the gentle unassuming smile of the sacred giant. Putting aside fatigue of travel and accumulated stress, an aura of serenity took precedence as all else fell into the background. Away from the bustling city was this figure of faith on which many troubles were unloaded, to which hopes and dreams were articulated.

IMG_6601
Gold Flecks on the Reclining Buddha

IMG_6605

It suffices to say that the Kingdom was wealthy, to be in possession of enough to construct multiple such shrines in praise of its gods. IMG_6665

IMG_6657

IMG_6649

IMG_6644

IMG_6643

IMG_6623

IMG_6638

IMG_6637

IMG_6635

IMG_6629

IMG_6619

IMG_6615

IMG_6597

IMG_6591

Within the shrine more surprises were in store. Wishing wells, treacherous stairs, relics from another life. To make a wish at this particular wishing well, you have to conquer a tough flight of stairs.

IMG_6627
Wishing well for the weary – only by conquering a treacherous flight of stairs could you be deemed eligible to cast your wish

If one reclining Buddha wasn’t enough, we visited and prayed to yet another, this one albeit with a much brighter smile in my opinion! Don’t you feel instantly cheered up by this mega-watt beam? For a truly cultural experience this part of Ayutthaya is definitely not to be missed. I thoroughly enjoyed immersing the the local customs of praying and showing respects to local monks, as well as learning to different eacf part of the city from another by events that went down post Burmese-invasion. I don’t think there was any other way I could have learnt more from the trip.

IMG_6722

IMG_6725

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge | Part (IV)

This is the part we say goodbye to an awesome biking expedition:
from stopping at various landmarks at San Francisco bay, to biking till the foot of the bridge, and then across the bridgeto exploring the city of Sausalito, I had so much fun that I forgot to feel tired.

20140307-164645.jpg

From the pier at Sausalito, we booked ferry tickets bound for Embarcadero at 10USD each (inclusive of our bikes). The ferry arrives and leaves the pier at frequent designated timings, making it uber convenient to come and go from the island. As we wheeled onto the ferry, I found myself comparing Sausalito’s residential houses to Cinque Terre. So beautiful in the sunset it was!

20140307-164659.jpg

20140307-164708.jpg

Saying goodbye to the Golden Gate! Looking at you from afar once again. The sky was such a lovely addition to this landscape.20140307-164727.jpg

20140307-164718.jpg

Ladies and gentlemen, the island behind yours truly is the Alcatraz. This is the closest I’ve ever come to snapping a shot with the prisoner island; I will come back to set foot on it!20140307-164738.jpg

A kind gentlemen took this for us. Alcatraz, here you go.20140307-164747.jpg

A beautiful shot of San Francisco bay – I’m still mesmerised.20140307-164758.jpg

20140307-164831.jpg

20140307-164815.jpg

20140307-164848.jpg

So we bid farewell to the iconic structure, and to this crazy road trip which was a reckless idea borne from wanting some adventure. We spent a total of 6 hours and in this span of time, covered 8.5miles/13.5km of land on our bikes. I was so tired on the flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong, and my butt/calves/thighs/toes were hurting so bad. Still, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything ^^ and I strongly urge everyone to go for this bike trail if you’re in San Francisco. You have to, at least once in your life.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Sausalito – Biking the Golden Gate Bridge | Part (III)

Took a snapshot at this lovely residential estate cum diner by the bay! Loving how the baby blues of the house were in perfect pastel harmony with the cloud-streaked blues of the skies and crystal clear turquoise of the sea. We were finally in Sausalito, after biking from the pier, then across the Golden Gate Bridge!

20140307-164053.jpg

Insanely steep downhills, narrow roads and strange sudden curves were characteristic of bike paths on Sausalito. The whole wind-whipping-in-face and look-ma-no-hands! as we careened (at times uncontrollably) down the slopes into Sausalito’s town center, felt sooo good! I had my fingers curled around the brakes, all ready to slam it, but we never stopped at the downhills which were the best parts!

This statue of a Marines soldier stands at the gateway into Sausalito, just before the bike trail hits the endlessly steep highways downtown. If you see him, you’re on the right way!

20140307-163908.jpg

20140307-163919.jpg

20140307-163929.jpg

Sausalito took my breath away, not just from the sheer exertion of biking!! This San Francisco Bay Area city in California stands at an elevation of 13 feet. With a small population of slightly more than 7000, it was once was home to an indigenous settlement known as Liwanelowa before the site was invaded by the Europeans.

20140307-163943.jpg

20140307-163957.jpg

Basking in the afternoon sunshine! That said, the temptation of taking a dip in (the shallow end of) the ocean had to be greatly resisted.

20140307-164021.jpg

20140307-164031.jpg

20140307-164043.jpg

The whole town was really quiet, except for us biking stragglers who, having reached our intended destination, had our vehicles docked in the bike-parking lots as we settled down for celebratory lunch. At Sausalito, there were a couple of novelty stores and vintage souvenir houses which looked pretty amazing.

20140307-164103.jpg

20140307-164114.jpg

20140307-164126.jpg

20140307-164135.jpg

20140307-164143.jpg

20140307-164203.jpg

20140307-164213.jpg

20140307-164223.jpg

Early dinner at Le Garage Bistro Sausalito, overlooking the bay! We dined to the sounds of lapping waves and seagulls flapping above our heads.

20140307-164155.jpg

20140307-164234.jpg

20140307-164243.jpg

20140307-164255.jpg

Some pasta and smoked salmon crepes, anybody? I guess cycling left me famished, I ate in record time.

20140307-164310.jpg

20140307-164319.jpg

20140307-164340.jpg

20140307-164349.jpg

20140307-164413.jpg

20140307-164426.jpg

Though it’s a tiny town, Sausalito has a myriad of public attractions: the Cazneau Playground, Cloud View Park, Martin Luther King Park Langendorf Park and so many more, as well as  Schoonmaker Beach, Swede’s Beach and Tiffany Beach.

FYI Sausalito is currently home to Darren Hayes (singer-songwriter, and former lead of the awesome band Savage Garden), Amy Tan (novelist who brought us The Joy Luck Club and The Bonesetter’s Daughter), as well as Ken Pontac ( author of the sadistic internet series Happy Tree Friends).

After a really short, yet very refreshing and memorable afternoon at Sausalito, we booked a ferry ticket to take us, along with our bikes, across the bay to San Francisco. Was glad for the biking journey to be over, but sad, as that meant we were about to leave Sausalito and San Francisco behind.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge | Part (II)

Part 1 saw us through the journey from Pier 39, and in Part Deux we finally peddled past the threshold and across 1.7 miles of galvanized steel!

20140307-163431.jpg

We did it – was my first thought, taking the first step onto the gate. The 2 of us only just saw the gate from the start-point miles away and then in the span of 2 hours…  Armed with only a map and scattered bike trails, I can’t help feeling this tremendous sense of accomplishment. Cheers to taking a step into the unknown!

Strength in numbers – migration of feathered flock in an orderly formation, with absolute faith in their leader’s ability to lead them to a place where they can call home. As photographed from the bridge where we were standing, there were many many many flocks of birds flying across the bay ocean in similar fashion.20140307-163441.jpg

20140307-163448.jpg

20140307-163458.jpg

20140307-163509.jpg

20140307-163520.jpg

20140307-163530.jpg

The view of San Francisco and Oakland from Golden Gate Bridge is spectacular. You have to be there to feel the grandeur.

20140307-163541.jpg

20140307-163601.jpg

20140307-163549.jpg

20140307-163639.jpg

20140307-164506.jpg

20140307-164520.jpg

20140307-164530.jpg

The wind-in-your-hair, sun-in-your-cheeks (and hair-all-over-my-face) sense of liberation cannot be captured in words. At downhill points, the speed is at once within your control and also out of your control. You decide how much control you render to the elements and how much grip you retain. Mostly, I let myself careen downhill and almost threw up both my hands and shouted HURRAY!! It was so amazing.

In the next part, we cross over from San Francisco to Sausalito, with bike trails that were insanely steep yet at the same time liberating ^^ you just let the roads take you where they go.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

P.S. I’m glad to have given up my sleep for this biking trip. Post-biking muscle cramps and fatigue was worth it!

Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

Friends, I can finally say that I’ve been to Hong Kong. Cannot believe that for the past 4 – 5 times I’ve been here for work / holiday, I’ve never made it up to the highest mountain (1,811 ft) on Hong Kong island!!

It was close to 9 p.m. when we dropped Samantha back at our hotel at Causeway Bay. The tram took us to Central Station, and we walked for 10 minutes to the Peak Tram Lower Terminus. Tickets to the peak were pretty affordable (75HKD) and we were pretty surprised at despite how late it was in the night  the tram was still operating!

20140301-002523.jpg

20140301-002536.jpg

On the way up: the tram actually tilts way more than 45 degrees sky-wards, I wonder how it has never in the history of its operations backflipped towards the foot of the mountains.20140301-002556.jpg

 

Right, to backtrack to the process of getting tickets: there was still a queue at 9pm so you can just imagine how popular this destination is to tourists and locals alike. They say you should mount the peak with your lover at least once in your life, if you’ve got the chance to.20140301-002604.jpg

 

After getting tickets, it’s a short walk through the museum which takes you through the history of the tram’s operations. Similar to the one at the peak of the mountain, but less wordy.20140301-002612.jpg

 

The tram ride takes a mere 10 – 15 minutes, but it’s definitely one of those moments which you’ll be stunned by shifting perspectives of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon as the carriage ferries you and another 20 odd passengers to the top.

Mandatory shot with Bruce Lee after we alighted from the tram and began the walk to the peak (yes you need to walk a bit).20140301-002624.jpg

20140301-002632.jpg

 

And then here we are…20140301-002645.jpg

…at the top!20140301-002705.jpg

20140301-002728.jpg

Pictures can’t produce the same effect – the view was spectacular and absolutely breathtaking. You can see the whole of Hong Kong, literally. It was soooo windy and cold, our fingers and faces were numbed. Professional photographers are stationed at the peak to take shots of you and your companions as well, but expect to be charged a high price.20140301-002742.jpg

Pardon how ghostly I look in the shots, camera flash does that to my pale complexion.20140301-002752.jpg

20140301-002818.jpg

20140301-002844.jpg

 

There’s a lot more to this: you can choose to dine at Bubba Gump or various other cafés and restaurants overlooking the skyline from bird’s eye view, or just walk around the spherical walkways at the peak. Madame Tussaud’s Museum is also at the peak of the mountain. There’s also a board in the open space to pen down your love notes/confessions/declarations or whatever…which is kinda cheesy but sweet if you’re into it.20140301-002856.jpg

This is how it feels like to have Hong Kong at your feet…such an amazing view of an amazing city!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

Charles Dickens Coffee House, Covent Garden

Charles Dickens Coffee House

Evening cuppa at Charles Dickens Coffee House! This was once the busy office where Dickens published his periodical All The Year Round from 1859 until his death in 1870. I sipped on weak herbal tea with milk and had a slice of cheesecake to calm a crazy stream of thoughts. Can’t even begin to count the reasons why I love Covent Garden: accessible WiFi hotspots, neat indie cafés and hangouts that remain open way past midnight.

Charles Dickens Coffee House London

Tasteless herbal tea and one of the worst cheesecakes ever. Still, I’m liking the serenity and mad affordability.

Charles Dickens Coffee House Covent Garden

20140207-204235.jpg

Charles Dickens Coffee House Cheesecake

20140207-204248.jpg

 

Covent Garden at sun-down: only then can you see this district come alive!

26 Wellington St,
London WC2E 7DD,
United Kingdom
+44 871 426 3659
Mon-Sun:
7.00am – 12.00am

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

The Love Lockdown

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt Love Bridge

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 2

Couples lock down their vows over the Eiserner Steg in Germany, which stands proud over River Main linking Frankfurt’s city centre to the district of Sachsenhausen. Another lover’s bridge marked with everlasting passion symbolized by the act of locking with a sense of resilient security and firm, unyielding permanence. The irony of these very metal locks surviving way past expiry of its owners’ heartfelt promises, we may never know.

Eiserner Steg 1

Once you look beyond the riveted steel truss, everything else can be forgotten. The scene of River Main from the centre of the bridge took my heart and mind away, just for a little while.

Eiserner Steg 2

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 4

Eiserner Steg Frankfurt 5

Eiserner Steg
Mainkai, 60311 Frankfurt,
Germany

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: Vintage Shopfronts

Shops like these you’ll never find them in Asia. Especially where I come from, space is so constrained that anything below 3-floors will be extinct in the next 5 years or so. Baffled by re-modelling works of architecture in the European cities where its aesthetic appeal lies in its vintage houses! Swarovski is sandwiched between a neo-classical shophouse and a modern, ever so significantly highlighting its contrast.
London Swarovski

London Marylebone 2

These Victorian shopfronts in West End seem to live and breathe with age-old wisdom. Walking along the streets of London, I come alive with the promise of lessons in the cultural vibrance of the British!

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: City Grandeur

Vint London 3

Vint London 2

Overeager to see everything on my first trip to London, I took to exploring West End on foot. My fingers were working the shutter overtime, attempting to capture everything. Which I soon realised was impossible!

Damn, the rush to see it all wasn’t worth it.

Why click fast and leave for another touristy scene, only to ogle at photographs in the privacy of hotel rooms? So I let the images roll around in my head a bit before snapping.

For the life of me I cannot name all the buildings and streets, but certainly I can tell you how I felt at the moment, soaking in the grandeur of the grand London city.

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: St Christopher’s Place

The plethora of alfresco dining choices had me drawn in. The colourful interior beyond its ‘landmark purple clock’ delivered its promise of an eclectic shopping mix, right up the alley where London’s best bars and restaurants laid in wait. St Christopher’s Place sits at the heart of the West End and can be found between Selfridges and Bond Street station. I’m still a big fan of Pret A Manger’s latte, salad and sandwiches.

St Christopher's Place London 4

St Christopher's Place London 3

St Christopher's Place London

St Christopher's Place london 2

St Christopher's Place London 5

xoxo,
Viktoria Jean

London Lovin’: Covent Garden

What exactly is in Jamie Oliver’s Secret Basement?
20131107-164128.jpg
Found this green door whilst exploring the outskirts of Covent Garden!!
When the celebrity chef bought an old bank building in Manchester, his workers uncovered old Joy Division and New Order master tapes, as well as a million dollars worth of treasures (including gold, jewelry and a gun) in the basement!!

I had a helluva good time uncovering the hidden treasures of Covent Garden on 2 separate occasions:
20131107-164405.jpg

The first was Jubilee Market at Covent Garden! Was sourcing out the vintage craft stores and cafès. The perimeter is also surrounded by pretty cafès and patisseries such as Patisserie Valerie and Ladureè, as well as a myriad of indie cafès.
20131107-164219.jpg

Within Jubilee Market, a dizzying selection of accessories, cosmetics and items of fashion were dazzlingly on sale, flea-market style.
20131107-164326.jpg

20131107-164617.jpg

20131107-164526.jpg

20131107-164550.jpg

The second occasion involved the outskirts of Covent Garden, covering The Lyceum Theatre, Neal Street’s Dr Martens, and further out! Was on the hunt for Dr Martens’ designer store, obviously.
20131107-164652.jpg

20131107-164707.jpg

Found: Charles Dickens Coffee House!
20131107-164723.jpg
After this shot was taken, the man in the brown shirt kinda tried all means and ways to communicate while I was hurrying away. Kudos to him, he could say ‘HELLO’ in about Mandarin, Korean, Japanese, English and Italian.

20131107-164747.jpg

20131107-164811.jpg

There’s just too much to do!! No matter how many times I’m gonna return to London it’s never gonna get old. I love this district.

Travel-diary: the Beauty of Christchurch

Or rather, the beauty of Peppers Clearwater.
Wouldn’t mind waking up to lakes and greens everyday!
20131103-160310.jpg

Facts: The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake of magnitude 6.3 killed 185 people. 4,423 earthquakes were recorded in the Canterbury region above a magnitude 3.0, from 4 September 2010 to 3 September 2012.

20131103-160349.jpg

Nevertheless, the city still retains such scenic beauty! Some economists estimated that it will take the New Zealand economy 50 to 100 years to completely recover…

20131103-160400.jpg

20131103-160446.jpg

20131103-160455.jpg

20131103-160530.jpg

20131103-160520.jpg

20131103-160809.jpg

20131103-160505.jpg

20131103-160558.jpg

20131103-160540.jpg

20131103-161055.jpg

20131103-161106.jpg

The villa we were staying in: right by the lake.
20131103-161118.jpg

20131103-161129.jpg

20131103-161149.jpg

20131103-161159.jpg

Definitely adding sky-diving and bungee-jumping to my wishlist for the next trip!

“There is nowhere else in the world where, within two hours of an international airport, you can ski at a world-class alpine resort, play golf, bungy jump, raft, mountain bike, hot-air balloon, wind surf, whale watch and visit internationally-acclaimed wineries and gardens.”

London Lovin’: Windswept

Good morning London!
DSCN4109
My face is so not ready to see the world,
but this face is so ready to brace the autumn winds hitting the streets today at 24km/h.

I’ve heard that some flights leaving London were cancelled in lieu of bad weather. Ironically I’m hoping it stays this way!

Have prepared a ready stash of emergency food in case we’re locked in, but I doubt a hurricane can stop me from exploring the city.

DSCN3925

Book Review: I Heart London

12980294
Published June 7th 2012 by Harper

Book Number 5 brings Angela back in full circle. She is summoned home for her mom’s 60th birthday party to a weed-rolling dad, and an ex-fiance who still wishes to stick his tongue down her throat. Plus her mom convinced the family and friends to hold the Angela-Alex wedding in 6 days’ time – right in her own London backyard!

Jenny, her best-friend-since-running-from-a-ruined-wedding-to-New-York, heads the wedding convention like a fashion tyrant, taking charge of decorations, makeup, stag/hen night, music, wedding vows…
but when New York clique meets London pals, things start falling apart.

Louisa, Angela’s best-friend-since-childhood, is now a mom and she definitely has different wedding plans for Angela. Adding to the mix is Angela’s brass-band-trumpet-playing dad who insists on trumpeting horny love songs alongside the wedding march and a cake-maker who bakes one giant car-sized cupcake instead of dozens of small bite-sized ones…

Is every consummation of love destined to be a disaster for Angela?

Alex as usual, is the perfect sweetheart in this one. Occasionally there are mentions of his slutbag days in Brooklyn, which adds to the wedding tension, but never once did he fail to make Angela the most blessed girl in London.

Aside from the big wedding, Angela, Jenny and Cici Spencer’s twin Delia are about to launch a transatlantic fashion magazine. Angela is scheduled to make a powerpoint presentation to the UK Management of Spencer Media while Delia does the French version in Paris.

With Cici Spencer back for revenge, this could possibly spell disaster!

I promise, no more spoilers. I really loved the ending, and like many readers I hope this is the end of it! It’s too perfect, a London wedding or not. I can’t imagine reading another Angela Clark in possibly a I Heart Singapore with her arms full of babies…
Although if there were any followups to the I Heart series…I know I would read it anyway.

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, (as seen in I Heart New York)I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas-Hoult001

JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
Cheryl-Cole-HD-Wallpaper-1024x768

GRAHAM (gay drummer of The Stills – Alex’s band): Dan Stevens
danst

Craig (bassist, ladies’ man, playboy): Chace Crawford
chace-crawford02

JAMES JACOB: Cam Gigandet
cam-gigandet-rocks-fauxhawk

LOUISA: Diane Kruger
diane kruger

SADIE: Shannan Click
13618242_ori

Because I loved the series too much…
20131015-180535.jpg

SYNOPSIS
Home is where the heart is. Right? Angela Clark has fallen in love with America — and it’s starting to love her back. Throw one expired visa into the mix, and things quickly take a turn for the worse. She might love her life as a Brit in New York, but now she has no choice but to return to London. Not only does she leave behind her gorgeous boyfriend Alex — she must also face unfinished business back on home turf. There’s the ex-boyfriend — who she moved to New York to get away from. Then there’s her best friend, with her perfect new baby. And there’s her mum. Now, there’s another wedding in the offing — and everyone remembers how well the last one went …

Book Review: I Heart Vegas

lindsey-kelk-i-heart-vegas
Published by Harper, 2011

Unemployed: check.
Deportation notice: check.
Next stop: Las Vegas!

Best friend Jenny treats Angela to a weekend at Vegas with her new room-mate, supermodel Sadie. Concurrently, Jenny’s ex-boyfriend Jeff, currently engaged, takes his posse on a stag night slash strip-club weekend to Vegas. Something smells fishy…or does it?

The chapel of love, Vegas, is where you take the quick leap of marriage, with le super hot rockstar boyfriend, in a bid to keep your American Visa. He doesn’t even need to know you’re about to be deported. What your boyfriend doesn’t know can’t hurt him, right?

Enter James Jacobs of I Heart Hollywood, fresh from a breakup and ready to rock Vegas with Angela. With her devil-may-care attitude, her wild adventures in Vegas is as funny as it gets.

The Strip proves to be unable to handle Angela-Sadie-Jenny trio and superstar James. Where then, does Alex come in? Her relationship enters a rocky stage after an argument. It appears Alex does not want to marry Angela. The idea of having kids and starting a family invokes too much of his ex-fiancé. Or rather, both their exes.

Is Angela about to leave New York and her new life for good?

There’s trouble in paradise. Does it get resolved?

Since I’m already on I Heart London, all I can say is…Viva Las Vegas!

20131015-182008.jpg

Fancy kicking off your heels and sinking into a couch with a light, fun read? I Heart Vegas, as does the rest of I Heart series, keeps me giggling in my seat and takes the edge a rough day. I’m drawn into Angela’s world, and more than anything, I’m extremely sad over my impending completion of the series. More sequels, please!

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, (as seen in I Heart New York)I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas-Hoult001

JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
Cheryl-Cole-HD-Wallpaper-1024x768

GRAHAM (gay drummer of The Stills – Alex’s band): Dan Stevens
danst

Craig (bassist, ladies’ man, playboy): Chace Crawford
chace-crawford02

JAMES JACOB: Cam Gigandet
cam-gigandet-rocks-fauxhawk

SADIE: Shannan Click
13618242_ori

SYNOPSIS:
Angela Clark loves her life in New York. She loves her job, her friends and her gorgeous musician boyfriend, Alex, who is finally ready to move in with her and start planning their future together. Everything is perfect.

But, after Angela loses her job, her world starts to crumble around her – her visa is revoked and she’s given the disastrous news that she must leave New York and her life behind and go back to London.

Confused, heartbroken and desperate to stay, the last thing Angela needs is a girls’ trip to Vegas just before Christmas – especially when Manhattan at Christmas is so perfect that she never wants to go home…

Book Review: I Heart Paris

12980295Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date Published: January 1st 2010
My Ratings: 7 / 10

Yes I truly heart Paris!

With all due bias, this is my favorite in the series. Set in my dream city to live in someday, the third installation captures the mystery and allure of Paris.

The Alex/Angela relationship takes a nosedive into an all-time low as the duo make their way to the city of love. Here, not one but three jealous women attempt to backstab Angela via an array of unscrupulous means. With her blog and career in jeopardy, she’s got everything to lose, including her work visa at New York. Alex’s relationship commitment also apparently slackens as he comes face-to-face with his French ex, Solène.

Honestly I’m not entirely taken by Paris, because the Angela/Alex/Solène/Virginie/Cici drama took all the attention away. There were no loving afternoon coffees by the sidewalks whilst gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. The people she thought she could trust (aka her lovely assistant Virginie) are not who they seem to be.

In terms of perusing Paris’s hot destinations, Angela was zipping through downtown hipster crowds where Alex’s band was doing gigs rather than big names like the Pont Neuf, taking away the allure of a textbook Parisian retreat.

Lindsey Kelk wrote as if she were a true Parisian, taking us on a tour of trendy local spots and chill-out spaces. I found myself enjoying the lesser-known parts of Paris which one would not be able to find out about from popular guidebooks. The spirit and joie de vivre of Paris comes alive in bits and pieces gleamed from Angela’s (mis)adventures.

Eventually Angela straightens things out with her backstabbers. Her evil boss Mary seems to soften a whole lot more and claims she doesn’t want to lose a ‘good writer’ – a huge compliment in The Look’s history of employee flattery. Taking the leap, Angela moves in with Alex in the New York apartment. That said, I’m already moving on to I Heart Vegas, next in the series of Angela’s quests and explorations.

If I HEART was ever to be made a movie, (as seen in I Heart New York)I would cast:
ANGELA CLARK: Alicia Silverstone
as

ALEX REID (the rockstar): Nicholas Hoult
Nicholas-Hoult001

JENNY LOPEZ (the best friend!): Cheryl Cole
Cheryl-Cole-HD-Wallpaper-1024x768

GRAHAM (gay bassist of The Stills – Alex’s band): Dan Stevens
danst

Craig (drummer, ladies’ man, playboy): Chace Crawford
chace-crawford02

SYNOPSIS:
Angela is in the city of love — but romance is taking a nose-dive! When Angela Clark’s boyfriend Alex suggests a trip to Paris at the same time as hip fashion mag Belle asks her to write a piece, she jumps at the chance. But even as she’s falling for the joie de vivre of Paris, someone’s conspiring to sabotage her big break. And when she spots Alex having a tete-a-tete with his ex in a local bar, Angela’s dreams of Parisian passion all start crashing down around her. With London and her old life only a train journey away, Angela can’t decide if should stay and face the music or run away home!

One more for the road 🙂 (taken in Dubai’s Movenpick Hotel Deira)
20131012-182938.jpg