Favorite Things, My Gratitude Journal

Flashback Friday: A trip to Shoreditch, London, 2018

It’s flashback Friday! Since we can’t really travel right now, I thought I would reminisce about the time my son and I went to Shoreditch, London in 2018. My daughter was living there at the time and we took 10 days off to visit her. She had just completed her Master’s Degree from King’s College and was working full time remotely for a small company. She was quite busy but we still had some time to galavant around town.

My daughter and son in Shoreditch

We visited my daughter in Shoreditch during the last few days of October, including Halloween through the first week of November. We saw a few little children dressed up for Halloween while walking around with their parents around town. My daughter bought my son a bucket of Halloween candy similar to the kinds we have in America but different because of the names, packaging and brands. I think the only candy I recognized was Milky Way. They were good and before we left London, we stopped at the store to buy more to bring home.

Yummy candy…

Our first few days in Shoreditch were spent walking around (a lot of walking around) and checking out the boutiques and street art. Here are a few samples of the street art that we saw:

We also ate at my daughter’s favorite restaurants, one of them being Nando’s, a South African restaurant. The chicken and sides are so good! We also made a lot of stops to Pret A Manger for coffee, hot chai tea lattes, toasties and crisps. We didn’t want to pay extra to eat in, so we always took it for takeaway and ate and sipped while we walked.

I wanted to do the Big Bus Tour of London. I didn’t get to do it the last time I was in London. My kids weren’t interested in doing it, but they indulged me and we finally went! I got a chance to see the Buckingham Palace again, the London Eye and a few other landmarks. I didn’t get to do the full bus tour around. My daughter saw her favorite clothing store and wanted to stop. We ended up shopping for clothes and didn’t hop back on the Big Bus when we were done because it would take forever to get back to her apartment. We walked it (I told you, lots of walking) instead. I definitely got my 10,000 steps in everyday, if not more.

Another thing we did in London was get a daith piercing. My daughter and I suffer from migraines. We went to the London Migraine clinic to get it done. A daith piercing is a piercing through the smallest fold of cartilage in your ear. Basically, it is done for vagus nerve stimulation. The piercing stimulates the vagus nerve in the ear and helps reduce migraines. The clinician used a special device to locate the vagus nerve. Yes, it hurt. Yes, it was pretty. No, I don’t have it anymore. Unfortunately, the earring fell out of my ear and it was very difficult to put back in. It happened just recently and maybe after the pandemic, if the hole it still there, I will go to the tattoo and piercing shop to get it put back in. Interestingly, the week after it fell out, I had the worst migraine which lasted for the usual three days. It’s been awhile since I had one and I’m not sure if it was coincidental.

We visited Kew Gardens to look at the flowers and while we were there, we had afternoon tea. We also went to Notting Hill to sightsee and had the best charcuterie and pizza. We also visited a spot where farm animals lived, a flower mart and parks… a lot of different parks. They had the best parks in London with really awesome play and climbing equipment. My kids and I had the greatest time playing in the park.

Some art we saw while in the park

This flashback to Shoreditch, London was fun! It’s one of my favorite memories. I hope someday to go back to London. Until then, cheerio!

Today, I am grateful for 2018 trips to London, walking 10,000 steps a day, frequent stops to Pret a Manger, calling chips “crisps”, fries “chips” and hot sandwiches “toasties”, big bus tours cut short but done, eating British candy for Halloween, daith ear piercings that fall out 2 years later, street art, eclectic boutiques, afternoon tea, charcuterie and pizza, and playing in the park with my children.

Favorite Things, My Gratitude Journal

Boodle Fight Night

Boodle Fight Night

I had my first Boodle Fight meal. I can’t believe that I have never engaged in the style of eating before, especially since I am Filipino. It was a great and delicious experience.

Boodle Fight is a Philippine military style of eating a meal. It’s a style of eating that celebrates camaraderie and brotherhood (or in our case, sisterhood). Banana leaves are laid out on the table  (usually a long table) and food is served in a pile in the middle. No plates are used. You use the banana leaves that are on your side as your “plate”. You also don’t use utensils. You use your hands to eat which is called Kamayan. Kamay is the Filipino word for hand. Traditionally, Filipinos eat food with bare hands which is a a centuries old practice. It’s messy but fun.

So how did this Boodle Fight Night come to fruition? Well, every year, my friends and I get together for our birthdays. This year, we decided to do wine and game night which later turned into seafood night and eventually turned into a Boodle Fight night. As you can see, we added wine to our Boodle Fight.

We had king crab, shrimp and corn on the cob. We also added some roasted garlic to the pile. The sauce was delicious and even a little spicy.

There were only 5 of us. Boodle Fight is best when done with a big group of people. However, our little sisterhood of 5 women  was perfect for this night. We had plenty of food and even some leftover shrimp and corn.

What a great way to celebrate camaraderie with your friends.

Today I am grateful for sisterhood, camaraderie and Boodle Fight Nights.

Favorite Things, My Gratitude Journal

Paris, baby

During our trip to London, we planned a weekend getaway to Paris. We took the Eurostar which was a 2 hour train ride to Paris. When we arrived, it was already late at night. The next day was our first full day and it was raining!

Rain in Paris

Our first stop was to a restaurant that Sabrina really wanted to try. This restaurant only serves steak and fries (steak et frites). Sabrina really enjoyed the food at this restaurant and the experience was so Paris. It was also Josh’s first time eating steak and he thought it was delicious.

We then took a walk to see the Eiffel Tower and on the way, we passed the Arc De Triomphe.

On the way to the Eiffel Tower, we also stopped at the stores to go shopping. We also bought macaroons at Laderee.

Inside the Laderee boutique

Our macaroons

My choices for the macaroons were orange blossom, vanilla and rose. Even though vanilla is a basic flavor, it ended up being my favorite because it was the most flavorful.

We finally made it to the Eiffel Tower.

The next day, we took a walk to see the Louvre. On our way, we passed the Eiffel Tower again and this time, we had crepes for breakfast.

Chantilly Crepe for breakfast under the Eiffel Tower

We finally made it to the Louvre.

Unfortunately, we didn’t go inside.  We were talking about seeing the Mona Lisa. Maybe next time. Afterwards, we went inside the Carousel De Louvre to go window shopping.  While there, we stopped at McCafe and ordered cappuccinos and macaroons. They weren’t as good as the Laderee macaroons but it was fun  to buy macaroons at McDonalds in Paris!

McCafe coffee and McMacaroons!

I loved visiting Paris and I will certainly go again.