Travel: Melbourne Trip Round up (+ Links)

Hello! I’m back! I’ve missed blogging and just sitting down and going through all the blogs I’ve subscribed to, so I’m really glad I’m back 🙂 As you might have seen, I just got back from my 2 week trip to Melbourne where I saw family and friends and ate (and ate and ate and ate and ate). I’ve been awful with keeping up with my Instagram so I decided that I would make a post about my trip using some of the photos I took and have yet put onto Instagram. Hope you enjoy it!

(Links of the places I’ve mentioned will be at the very end)

Has anyone else noticed that Africa looks like a sad person with a beard, horn, and oddly shaped head?
Right before I got off the plane, this caught my eye. Has anyone else noticed that Africa looks like a sulking person with a beard, horn, and oddly shaped head?
My cousin and I were too hungry to take a photo of our lunch (Jimmy Grants - I had the 'Nonna Maria' So. Good.) but I snapped a photo of her paying for our pre-dinner snack - froyo @ 'A Thousand Blessings' The chocolate hazelnut was my favourite!
My cousin and I were too hungry to take a photo of our lunch (Jimmy Grants – I had the ‘Nonna Maria’ So. Good.) but I snapped a photo of her paying for our pre-dinner snack – froyo @ ‘A Thousand Blessings‘ The chocolate hazelnut was my favourite!
Brunch at 'Sardie'. I got the Acai bowl, my cousin got a raspberry muffin(?), and we shared sweet potato fries with a really yummy avocado dip. I would definitely go back!
Brunch at ‘Sardi’. I got the Acai bowl, my cousin got a raspberry muffin(?), and we shared sweet potato fries with a really yummy avocado dip. I would definitely go back!
Reunited with one of my most favourite people ever and what do we do? We spend 4 hours making felted wool animals from Daiso for $2.80 AUD each. She made George the Penguin and I made Percy the Pig. They're best friends.
Reunited with one of my most favourite people ever and what do we do? We spend 4 hours making felted wool animals from Daiso for $2.80 AUD each. She made George the Penguin and I made Percy the Pig. They’re best friends.
Also reunited with the lovely Belle (the best friend of Putt Putt) who (as we can all see) was stoked to see me.
Also reunited with the lovely Belle (the best friend of Putt Putt) who (as we can all see) was stoked to see me. It’s okay, she loves me. Really! She came to snuggle in bed with me 🙂
We went to the  Abbotsford Convent then snuck over to the Collingwood Children's Farm and stared a lots of animals. We met....
We went to the Abbotsford Convent’s bakery to check out their lovely baked goods, then snuck over to a part the Collingwood Children’s Farm and stared a few animals. We met….
IMG_4558
a bunch of goats/sheep, cows, horses, and a donkey.
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This one was NOT amused… or it just had a RBF (resting beach* face)
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While this one kept posing for me. I have about 15 shots of this one smirking/grinning 🙂
We also sent to Lux Bite for some dessert. It was really cute and relaxing and the service was fantastic. The desserts we picked were beautiful but was lacking the wow factor taste-wise.
We also sent to Lux Bite for some dessert. It was really cute and the service was fantastic. The desserts were beautiful but lacked the wow factor taste-wise. Not too sure if I’d go back.
This is one of the deserts we chose. It was a giant raspberry and lychee macaron. The other one we picked was a chocolate mousse which I think I devoured before even realizing I should have taken a photo.
We picked a giant raspberry and lychee macaron and a chocolate mousse (which I devoured before even realizing I should have taken a photo).
We also got a hot salted caramel chocolate drink. It was less 'hot chocolate-y' and more 'hot cocoa/malt' (which I think was written on the menu but we were too eager and misread it).
We also got a hot salted caramel chocolate drink. It was less ‘hot chocolate-y’ and more ‘hot cocoa/malt’ (which I think was written on the menu but we were too eager and misread it).
We also visited Phillipa's Bakery. We thought we would have made it early enough to snag ourselves a nutella cronut but at 10:30am we were too late. However we bought ourselves a loaf of sourdough (we also wanted the brioche loaf but it was sold out) and also....
We also visited Phillipa’s Bakery for a nutella cronut but at 10:30am we were too late. However we bought ourselves a loaf of sourdough (we also wanted the brioche loaf but it was sold out). Lesson learnt? Get there EARLY.
A tuna sandwich on a charcoal bun (which was delicious) and also....
Just because they were out of cronuts didn’t mean we were going to leave without food though! We split a tuna sandwich on a charcoal bun (which was delicious! Sorry for the awful photo, it’s so hard to make tuna filling look good…) and ….
a cup of really nice coffee. The service was on point. We found that one store was friendly than the other. When we popped into the other store in the city to see if they had any other bread left, the workers seemed a touch impatient and fed up. However, I would definitely recommend popping in to try their stuff!
a cup of really nice coffee. The service was on point. We found that one store was just a bit more friendly than the other. Regardless, I would definitely recommend popping in to try their stuff!
This photo is actually in my instagram feed (Whoops!) but I could't not mention the amazing macarons from La Belle Miette. The macarons are  so good I could easily polish off a whole box of them (who's to say I haven't done that before....). The boxes are gorgeous and so lovely to keep or give as a present.
This photo is actually in my Instagram feed (Whoops!) but I couldn’t skip past the amazing macarons from La Belle Miette. The macarons are so good I could easily polish off a whole box of them (who’s to say I haven’t done that before….). The boxes are gorgeous and so lovely to keep or give as a present.
It's a shame I didn't get a better photo but anyway,in that cup is a scoop of ice-cream and waffle. It was perfectly coffee-y and hot and cold and mmmmmm.
In that cup is a scoop of ice-cream and waffle and I swear, something else… I just can’t quite remember. What I do remember is that it was perfectly coffee-y and hot and cold and mmmmmmMmmmm. Well done Waffee!
It didn't hurt that their store was so cute too. The place was decorated all over, had a cosy feel, and the staff who worked there were smiley, jokey, helpful and really sweet. It was the perfect place to sit down for waffles and coffee and a good old chat :)
It didn’t hurt that their store was so cute too. The place was decorated all over, had a cosy feel, and the staff who worked there were smiley, jokey, helpful and really sweet. It was the perfect place to sit down for waffles and coffee and a good old chat 🙂
We went to Messina's twice.... It's so flippin amazing. I'm sad I didn't get any photos because we went at night and it was dark and a tad crowded but umfgh. We had apple pie + 2 special flavours the fist night, then the lychee + mandarin + panda coconut sorbet the second night. If you're around this area, its a place you should visit!
We went to Messina’s twice in a row…. It’s so flippin amazing. I’m sad I didn’t get any photos because we went at night and it was dark and a tad crowded but umfgh. We had apple pie + 2 special flavours the fist night, then the lychee + mandarin + panda coconut sorbet the second night. If you’re around this area, it’s a place you should visit!
We also stopped by Brunetti for some dessert. the Minifreddi (? the one that is pictured) tasted like a giant Ferro Rocher. If I could... I'd have this everyday. This is a place you must stop by if you're in the city.
We also stopped by Brunetti for some dessert. The Minifreddi (? the one that is pictured) tasted like a giant Ferro Rocher. If I could… I’d have this everyday. This is a place you must stop by if you’re in the city.
Spent my last day being silly with my cousin and my aunt :)
I spent my very last day (Queen’s birthday!) being silly with my cousin and my aunt 🙂

I keep forgetting to document my travels, but I think that’s generally okay because I had fun and I still noted down all the places you guys should visit! I didn’t do many tourist-y things because I’ve lived in Melbourne for 4 years and so it was a really chill type of trip. Most of the things I’ve noted are more local-y things.

Other best parts of my trip were:

  • Getting to see my extended family and spend time with them. They’ve done so much for me and been there for me over the years, so getting to see them is always exciting.
  • Catching up with one of my oldest and best(est) friends who I haven’t seen since 2012/2013. She ended up in Canada while I was in Melbourne. It was really sad 😦 but it’s okay, we had Yum Cha this time.
  • I also got to spend some time with my best friend’s family (I pretty much consider them my family) and say goodbye to Putty (one of the best cats ever).
  • Got bahn mi (Vietnamese sandwich) twice from Phouc Thanh and had the biggest Vietnamese feast at Loi Loi.
  • Using my (new) camera!
  • Had Balinese food. They make surprisingly delicious ribs!
  • Remembered to take photo-booth photos with my best friend (it’s a tradition!)
  • Got coffee and donuts for breakfast from Adeney.
  • Saw an amazing video of my cousin’s wedding. I cried. It wasn’t any old video either, it was made like a movie/documentary thing. Eesh, setting the bar high much?

 Links to places I went to (that I think you should consider putting on your list of places to visit!)

Outside of the city: Abbotsford Convent (Bakery) Ripples (Yum Cha with the push carts!) Sardi Collingwood Children’s Farm Phouc Thanh Loi Loi Adeney Lux Bite

Within the city: Waffee A Thousand Blessings Daiso Phillipa’s Bakery La Belle Miette (Rating: 4.9 from ‎3,141 votes. Just saying!) Brunetti Jimmy Grants (They put chips in your souvlaki!!!! YES.)

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Taiwan: Cat Cafe ‘Mr. Cat’s Friends’

I went to a cat cafe! It’s been on my to do list ever since I knew they existed. Food and cats, is there a better way to spend an afternoon?

Getting to and Leaving the Cafe.

I took a cab to this cafe and I actually fell asleep in the cab so I have no idea how much it cost from Banqiao (the area I stayed in) but the cab ride seemed pretty long: 25+ minutes I’d say. I took the subway when leaving, but before I left I walked around the area which was really nice and had some interesting shops. If you go and aren’t busy I’d suggest going for a wander! The subway station ‘ZhongXiao FuXing Station’ was really close by.

The Cafe + The Food.

I wish I was less sleepy and took more photos because the entrance had flowers was really cute and the door knob was in the shape of a cat! The inside was really nice and well air-conditioned which I appreciated because it was really hot in the cab. They had wi-fi (always a plus!). The workers there were really sweet and friendly. They also seemed to be really close to each other which added to the really homey atmosphere.

The drinks approximately ranged between 100-200TWD and the food cost a bit more + a service charge too (for both food and drink). The currency conversion made the cost pretty reasonable to me, but some other people did mention that they thought the price is a bit high for what they have to offer but definitely not unreasonable. The food and drinks were presented nicely and tasted ok. Not amazing, but not awful either.

IMG_3969The Cats.

From what I understood, there originally was 1 cat (the grey fluffy one in most of the photos below) and now there are 3 others, making it a total of 4 cats.

The original cat is really fluffy and is known to be chic but is supposed to be super playful otherwise. I think he/she’s a bit internet famous too!

A black and white cat (you can catch a glimpse of him/her on the chair in the photo of the cafe.) who seemed to really like head and neck scratches.

A pretty tiny cat who had amazing regal ‘big/great cat like’ fur and couldn’t resist playing with the feather on a stick.

The cat with the blue bow tie who was really sweet looking and had us all laughing when he hopped into the box for a nap. The lighting was just too funny!

I only got proper photos of 2 cats because I was too busy eating and petting all the cats. There was just too much excitement going on for me!

Wanting to join in the game of 'catch the feather'
Intense staring match….
Next minute. Nap time with some ... interesting lighting.
Next minute. Nap time!
The original cat napping when we arrived
The original cat napping when we arrived
Got woken up by the smell of food. Unfortunately for me, not for the cats.
Got woken up by the smell of food.
Apparently the cats really like it when you roughly pat their behinds. (light bum smacking)
They enjoy their behinds ‘roughly patted’
They like it THIS much
Bum ‘patting’. They like it THIS much.
Bum patting? Check. Next? Nap time!
Bum patting? Check. Next? Nap time!
Goodnight!
Goodnight!
  The
Overall
Would I return? Yes definitely, I would stop by for a drink and to hang out with some cats and kill some time! The atmosphere was really nice and the workers were so friendly.
What would I order to drink? I’m not a huge coffee fan and the smoothie was a bit too sugary sweet, so I think I would like to try juice or a hot/iced chocolate.
What would I order to eat? I think I would order the pancakes again! They give you a nice chunk of butter, and some mini marshmallows and sprinkles. That’s pretty darn good to me!
Do I still want a cat? Yes. Yes a million times.
Mr Cat’s Friends Information: Facebook
P.S. You might want to call in and see if you need a booking for whichever time you plan on going, I’ve heard that it sometimes gets really full.

Travel Tips: Eating

aaaaaI’m back home from my Taiwan trip! I ate so much good food that I actually had trouble enjoying my food by the end of the trip. I always get too excited and I eat everything in sight as soon as possible.

I thought it would be nice to cover my tips for eating while travelling so we can all make the most of our next adventure.

  1. Pace yourself.
    1. Order to share if you’re travelling with others.
    2. Just eat enough to satisfy your hunger so you can fully enjoy the food and eat a variety of dishes throughout your trip.
      I know this is so much easier said than done! 😦
  2. Popular.
    1. Lines are a pretty good indication that the food is good and safe, after all, people wouldn’t be returning if the food tasted awful or if they got ill from eating there.
    2. Besides asking what the most popular dish is or following the menu, take a look around to see what everyone else is ordering. If many people seem to be liking it you’ll probably want to give it a go.
  3. Own utensils. I don’t personally do this, but I do think that it is a pretty good idea. I would suggest bring disposable utensils.
  4. Cook it, peel it, or don’t eat it. To be on the safe side, you eat thoroughly cooked/boiled food, or food that can be peeled (e.g. fruit).
  5. Allergies. If you have allergies, always double-check and make sure that ingredient isn’t used. If someone has ordered that dish, take a good long peek. From my experience, I know that many Asian places will incorporate sesame seeds in their dishes even when it’s not written as part of the ingredients. This can be such a pain and risk for those who are allergic!
  6. Key words. Learn what the dish/ingredient is called in the language of whichever place you are going to. I suggest writing it down so you can show them the actual word to avoid miscommunication. You could even opt for a voice recording or a photo of the dish/ingredient. This could save a life or even just save you from ordering a random dish you didn’t want.
  7. Spicy food. Eat spicy food the way you (would/should) drink alcohol. Eat something before you venture to the dark side so you don’t end up curled up and moaning with bleary eyes at 3AM while becoming fast friends with the porcelain throne. Trust me. I ate a extra-super spicy (but oh so delicious) dish in China for breakfast and ended up in pain for the rest of the day. I mean sweaty, teary-eyed, groaning and, curled-up-in-a-ball pain. Not a pretty sight.
  8. Tipping. Research the tipping etiquette. It’s always so awful when you’re caught unsure and end up having to spy on the other people.
  9. Bring medication. Be prepared! You might feel poorly because you ate something bad or because of the change in your diet (I know I’m guilty of eating anything I want, anytime I want when I’m on holiday!).
  10. Trust your instincts.
    1. Street food. I don’t buy into the whole “I eat street food” superiority some people seem to feel. While it’s great to keep an open mind and give things a go, it’s important to know that it’s okay to give it a pass too. Not everyone will react well or enjoy street food or certain dishes and I think that’s perfectly alright. It’s your trip, your food, your body, your consequences.
    2. Dodgy Dishes.  I once ordered spaghetti bolognese and was served this white-grey lumpy pasta dish. I shouldn’t have licked it. I ended up so ill that when my uncle (who is a doctor and was staying in the same room as me) came to make sure I was still alive, I didn’t even recognize him.

General tip: Water

Research if tap water is safe to drink, if it’s not (or you’re not too sure) purchase bottled water. This means that you need to also make sure your drink doesn’t have ice and to brush your teeth using bottled water (I always forget about these 2 things!).

Do you have any tips for eating while on holiday? Let me know!

5 Things to Check Before You Travel

aI’m currently waiting for my plane to call for boarding, so I thought I’d quickly post this! I’m now going to Hong Kong and then Taiwan soon after for about a week. Hopefully I’ll be able to post about both places!

Here are the 5 things I always check for before I leave home for the airport/station:

  1. Passport + Boarding pass/ticket + Visa. In the age of technology and electronics, the boarding pass/ticket isn’t so much an issue, but I like to print one out just in case. I always check that I have my passport, and if I need a visa that I got it!
  2. Money. I always make sure I have some money in the currency of the place I’m going to. You never know if you need any emergency money. Better safe than sorry!
  3. Other people are notified. I like to make sure that someone knows where I am going, when I leave and get home, and when I get to airport. It just makes me feel safer, and if anything happens there is information of my last whereabouts.
  4. Spare clothes. I like to pack a light change of clothes just incase anything happens. If I spill anything I don’t have to sit around in wet clothes for hours.
  5. Home. I make sure I turn off all electricity, pull all the plugs, turn the lights off, close the blinds in necessary, make sure there is nothing in my fridge, lock all the windows and doors, and that someone has my spare key so they can pop in once in a while to check on it for me.

This is my check list of things to do before I leave the house. I’m not going to lie.. I think I have some strawberries in the fridge, better call my cousin (see! this is where the spare key comes in handy). My plane is about to call for boarding so I will see you all when I’m in Hong Kong.

If there’s anything you check for before you leave the house, let me know!