I don’t think I could ever get tired of Paris. It doesn’t matter how many times I go, or how many times I visit the same landmark, or how many times I go to Disney – there’s always this sense of familiarity which makes me feel comfortable and I know that I can visit again and again.

Last November, my friend and I went to Paris for a few days where we also spent a whole day in Disney. You can’t really go wrong with a trip to Disney and it really is the happiest place on Earth. Don your Minnie ears and join me on a Parisian adventure!

Theme tune for this trip 💕

I think this will be my third post in relation to Paris. My last post was a detailed account of how to spend less than 48 hours in Paris – it’s crazy how many things you can cram in in such a short space of time.

If Disney is the main focus of your trip then I would suggest staying in one of the hotels near the Disney area. If you have £££ then definitely check out the hotel in the park itself. As we are only young 20 somethings still trying to establish ourselves in the world and don’t really have moolah like that, we stayed at Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel

British Airways do really good package deals and ours only cost around £200 – that’s flights and hotel. We also had breakfast included, which is definitely a bonus. When I’m booking packages, I always like to look for the hotels that have breakfast included just because it can save you so much more money. You can fill up your belly in the morning, then you just have to grab a light lunch and save your money for dinner.

Again, I booked our Disney tickets through Attraction Tickets Direct. You only save a couple of £s booking through them, but it is still cheaper than booking directly with Disney. Also, they have e-tickets, so no waiting around for the post hoping your tickets come on time! The website also offers deals on tickets for attractions in other major cities, as well. 

Our hotel had a free shuttle bus to/from the hotel to Marne-la-Vallée – Chessy station, which made things a lot easier. Because of where the hotel is situated it isn’t that easy getting there – you can get to the station perfectly fine, but once there without the free shuttle bus you’d have to get a taxi, which is just extra £.

Disney, as always, was amazing. We got there early enough to have to queue and wait for them to open the gates. There’s always a feeling of happiness I get whenever I see the castle at the end of Main Street.

The day we chose to go happened to be the best day because we managed to go on some of the rides more than once because the queues were so short!

Favourite rides 🎢

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – I’m absolutely crap at this and my hand/eye coordination skills are questionable, to say the least, and yet I still LOVE this ride
  • Hyperspace Mountain – sorry, this will always still be Space Mountain to me. 
  • Star Tours – love how interactive this ride is!
  • Hollywood Tower – this makes your heart drop out your butt, so really not for the faint-hearted. My friend said she thinks a little boy fainted on the ride when we were on it 😭

The highlight of the day was definitely the Stars on Parade and the Disney Illuminations. We managed to get a good view of the parade as we were sitting down at the front, and gosh! You could feel my happiness all the way from Paris to Timbuktu.

I loved seeing all my favourite Disney characters dancing and singing (I attempted to sing along until I realised that it was the French version of the song 😅)! The fireworks were out of this world and standing there taking it all in with delicious hot cocoa was definitely the best way to end the day at Disney.

Just before we flew back home, we spent our last few hours in Disney Village and exploring the shops. I may have spent a stupid amount of time in the Lego store…

I reckon the next time I go back to Disney, I will definitely be wearing a Princess dress because if little kids can do it, why can’t I? And don’t tell me it’s because I’m not a little kid.

We only spent a couple of days in Paris, but still snuck in a lot of sightseeing. We started off by taking the train into central Paris and getting off where the Louvre is located. Unfortunately, the day that we visited the Louvre there was tarpaulin over it so we didn’t get its full glass glory. 

From the Louvre, we wandered through the Tuileries Garden – I have no idea if it was the same goat that I saw when I visited back in 2016, but nevertheless, there was a goat right next to the statues munching on grass. 😂 We need to appreciate the number of statues there are of people who look like they’re having a crisis. Falling down and all sorts.

The Tuileries Garden led us to the magnificent Luxor Obelisk. This is a 75ft high Ancient Egyptian obelisk and I craned my neck so much to try and take it all in. It is an extraordinary landmark and it definitely stands out. Next to the obelisk is the Fontaines de la Concorde, which are stunning as well. Good architecture is like eye candy to me.

You can’t visit Paris without visiting the Arc de Triomphe, no matter how cheesy and touristy it may be. We only saw it in passing, but I managed to capture a photo whilst standing in the middle of a crossing with lots of traffic. 📸 The things we do for the ‘gram, eh?

Our next stop was the Eiffel Tower. I think I’ve been up the tower a grand total of 4 times now and it never ceases to amaze me. The views are breathtaking no matter what level you end up on. Although the very tip-top of the tower can get crowded because it is quite small, the views are definitely worth it. 

StorytimeWe eavesdropped on a couple arguing. I say arguing, more like the man was popping off at the woman whilst the woman was standing there sulking. I caught him saying things like, “It’s not about getting the most expensive ticket”, “You have been miserable this whole trip” and “You say sorry, but you don’t mean it.” *sips tea*

Our last stop was NotreDame Cathedral, which brought back memories for both of us because the last time we had both visited the cathedral was back on our year 8 trip. That was god knows how many years ago. We went to check if the little park was still there and it was! It was relatively unchanged, just missing a few things but wow. We couldn’t believe it.

We also went inside the cathedral as it was free entry. I’ve mentioned this in a few posts, but I really like cathedrals and the insides are always so stunning. Especially the stained glass windows. 😍

Overall, it was a nice little getaway. It always is great to just go away for a few days, take a breather and then return back to normal life.

 

Notes

  • If you get your Disney tickets through ATD, then you get a percentage off food/drink/merchandise at Planet Hollywood and Earl’s Sandwich
  • Choose to go to Disney when the kids are still on break. During the week is definitely better too. We unintentionally chose a day just before they put up their Christmas decor, so it was extremely quiet. As we leaving to go back home, we saw floods of people coming through because of the Christmas and it being a weekend.
  • I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: a travel card is so much more efficient. I use Revolut now! You can use their app to check the balance, easily transfer money from your own account and send money to other people, as well as being able to freeze your card in case you lose it and other additional security features. You also get a notification when you’ve made a transaction straight away. I still carry cash with me, but I love having this card as well. Plus it’s contactless!

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been a century and a minute since my last post.

I briefly mentioned this restaurant in my Paris post, but I feel this place deserves a post all for itself. Hardware Société, located in Montmatre, is a café-inspired restaurant putting an Australian twist on French breakfast classics. Originating in Melbourne, the owners Will and Di decided to open up this restaurant in Paris after falling in love with the city (I can attest to that sentiment).

Picture this, it’s mid-morning and you’re starving, but you’re not really sure where to go because you’re not familiar with the city you’re currently in. In steps TimeOut and out comes Hardware Société. I wasn’t quite expecting such a queue when we arrived, but alas there was one, and a waitress to take our names whilst we waited for the table. 

I eagerly watched a couple eat a delicious looking dessert whilst sitting outside and tried desperately not to drool.

After a little while (somehow a couple who arrived after us managed to get a table before us, but I’m not bitter or anything), we were led to our table in the slightly elevated sitting area near the back. It was nice and airy, especially with the big windows complimenting the room. Made for a lovely view.

My only slight gripe is that it isn’t that spacious. The smaller tables for two are round and grouped close together with other tables, so it’s like you’re sharing your dining experience with people you don’t know and you can practically hear their whole conversation. Also, we had to do a bit of juggling when our food came to fit everything on the table. Nevertheless, I loved the decor in there: marble table tops and black and white tiled floors with tea cups hanging on the wall. Quaint, af.

I really need to talk about the menu, more specifically the quote by Virginia Woolf that is on the front page: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Hallelujah, someone finally said it.

I immediately ordered a house-made chai tea latte, which definitely hit the spot and was almost too pretty to drink (almost), alongside a butter croissant that came with orange and grapefruit jam. I love that the word for grapefruit in French is pamplemousse. It makes me laugh so much. Paris definitely knows how to turn it up when it comes to pastries, and my croissant was soft, buttery, flakey and delicious. 

croissant

Obnoxious flatlay alert.

The fact that I have a stomach that never ends is what had me ordering my main: Pork Belly & Fried Eggs – potato and bacon hash, spiced tomato and apple relish, smoked sourdough. It was ridiculously good. I usually only have potato hash, so the fact this had bacon in it as well made me so much happier. The crispy skin on the pork belly sent me to lechon heaven and it took me so much strength to not swallow my meal whole. The relish complimented the food, and there were all these different flavours; sweet and savoury – so, so good!

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Exhibit A: Foodgasm

As we were in a rush to meet my cousins at Marché Bastille, we went and paid the bill at the counter where we came across this punny sign:

change

?

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Hardware Société and would definitely visit again! I would love to visit their first café in Melbourne, as well. The staff were really friendly and I loved the overall laid-back, friendly atmosphere, and it makes for an awesome place to have brunch. Bonus points for getting to see the Sacré-Cœur after you finish eating, too!

10 Rue Lamarck
Paris, France
 
+33 1 42 51 69 03

The beauty of living in London is that you have the rest of Europe literally just across the sea. It’s a great, cheap and an awesome way to get some culture in on the weekend. You really don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a quick getaway.

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Can you believe it’s already September?

August was pretty dope, I can’t lie. Aside from going to Barcelona, I also celebrated my 24th birthday, Mutay’s 24th birthday and went to Notting Hill Carnival. August is when legends are born. Huhuhuhuhuhuhuu~

1. I turned 24

24 is such a non-age, if you know what I mean? Still, I’m determined it the best year before I turn halfway to 50. I really do need to focus on my life goals and also find a new job. All in good time.

Celebrations started the night before, where Mutay and I met our friend Tilly at an underground nightclub in Dalston called the Alibi. As soon as it hit midnight, we were doing shots and dancing our asses off. Best night ever. We ended up in Voodoo Ray’s, a late night hangout where they sell New York-style pizza. Delicioussss.

During the day, Mutay whisked me away to OXBO Bankside, an upscale restaurant located in London Bankside Hilton hotel. Coincidentally, someone else was also celebrating their birthday. It is absolutely beautiful inside, and we were even treated to live music from a guy singing and playing his guitar.

We got to help ourselves to unlimited starters; from potato salad to prawn cocktail to sushi, it was so delicious. For our main, as it was a Sunday, we had Roasted Sirloin of Gloucestershire Beef served with Yorkshire Pudding, duck fat roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Although a little more rare than I’m used to, it was still tasty. Our meal was a bottomless brunch, so we had glass after glass of Prosecco. Tipsy and full – a great way to start 24. 

Roasted Sirloin of Gloucestershire Beef served with Yorkshire Pudding, duck fat roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables

Roasted Sirloin of Gloucestershire Beef served with Yorkshire Pudding, duck fat roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables

I didn’t really want anything for my birthday, but when Mutay asked me what I wanted I decided to ask for a MAC makeover. I don’t wear makeup except eyeliner and mascara, and the last time I wore a full face of makeup (foundation, etc) was at my cousin’s wedding and I absolutely hated it. I’d seen a few people on Instagram who had a MAC makeover, and I thought it looked like fun so Mutay happily obliged and we made our way to Covent Garden!

Thanks to Gurdeep, my face was completely transformed and I fell in love with myself. LOL. It’s great because she asked what kind of look I was going for, to which I said bold. She went for a smokey eye and did it step by step and made sure I was happy with everything that she was doing. The great thing is that you can redeem the booking fee for the makeover against MAC products, so essentially the makeover is free! I went for the fake eyelashes and lipstick, and Mutay got a blush. I also found out my foundation shade, which is great for future reference.

If you’re interested in what products Gurdeep used see here > [1.’Constructivist’ Pro Longwear Paint Pot, ‘Swiss Chocolate’ Eye Shadow, ‘Black Black’ ChromalineKohl Power Eye Pencil, No. 36 Lash, ‘Chestnut’ Lip Pencil, ‘Persistence’ Lipstick]

It was a great day spent with the best friend, and in the evening I went to visit my Lola and Lolo. My Lola got me flowers for my birthday, which were lovely 🙂

2. Foodie Adventures 101

As usual, I am always eating. 

For one of my friend’s birthday we went to Côte Brasserie. They have several branches, and we went to the one in Battersea Rise. Côte is inspired by the brasseries of Paris, championing relaxed all-day dining and serving authentic French classics made from great quality, fresh ingredients. 

The service wasn’t that great, and we had to wait ages toward the end when waiting for the bill/paying, but the food was amazing! I opted for 10oz Sirloin with frites and garlic butter and a side of creamed spinach. 

Their steaks are from 30 day aged grain fed cattle and served chargrilled with frites

Their steaks are from 30 day aged grain fed cattle and served chargrilled with frites

Would definitely go back! It was cute, as well, because my other friend mentioned it was my friend’s birthday and they bought out a souffle with a candle and we all sang Happy Birthday. Adorbs. 

After attempting to visit this absolutely atrocious place called Clutch and feeling thoroughly disgusted when we turned up (for very different reasons to what you’re probably thinking, but more on than later), Mutay and I decided to go to BIRD in Shoreditch, instead.

Love fried chicken? Great! GO VISIT BIRD, RIGHT NOW. BIRD serve free range fried chicken, which is my favourite type of chicken. I want to say we went overboard in ordering chicken, but I really have #noragrets, so whatevs. Alongside, the two portions of chicken wings we ordered, I also got a Single Bird combo: Drumstick, thigh & 2 wings with house-made glaze with fries & one of their daily doughnuts.

The different glazes we ordered for the wings were: 

  • Korean gochujang (sweet & hot)
  • Sticky soy garlic

I also got to choose a glaze for my own combo, and I went for Honey ginger. OMG. Guys. It was delicious. Absolutely amazing. Out of this world. Everything was just amazing. Crispy. Juicy. Delightful. Delectable. Warm. Hot. Spicy. Sweet. ALL OF THE MOTHEREFFING ADJECTIVES. We also had Cheesy Korean fries: American cheese sauce, house mayo, gochujang glaze. Mmmmmmhmmmmm, get down with the GET DOWN. Yassssss. ALL OF IT. IN MY BELLEH. YES.

In short, go visit BIRD and prepare to be blown away. (Also, I got a doughnut with my meal and that was 10/10 chocolatey goodness)

Now, about this place called Clutch.

UGH. Just, ugh. We didn’t even set foot inside the place because it set our skin crawling. You know how gentrification is the word on everyone’s lips nowadays, well Clutch is the epitome of gentrification. There is so much wrong here it’s hard to know where to start.

The location of it begs the question, who the fuck thought this was a good idea? Located down a side road near Hoxton station, literally planted in front of a block of council flats, did the owners really think the people who live in that area could afford over priced guilt-free, ethical fried chicken?

Fair enough, put it on the high street – that would actually make much more sense. In front of a council estate? Yeah, you’re delusional. The fact that it looked empty when we got there spoke volumes. Never setting foot in there.

3. Notting Hill Carnival

It’s become an annual thing for me, now. The past 3 years I’ve gone to Notting Hill Carnival, and really it’s all about celebrating my Caribbean roots and shaking my butt. 

The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that has taken place since 1966 on the streets of Notting Hill, and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, England, each August over two days (the August bank holiday Monday and the preceding Sunday). It is led by members of the British West Indian community, and attracts around one million people annually, making it one of the world’s largest street festivals, and a significant event in British culture. – Wikipedia

Despite the massive amount of people, and being crushed all the time, it can still be pretty fun. Except for the part when men think it’s okay to grab you and call you ‘Jamaican spice’. Ah, fuck off. Love me a bit of jerk chicken and dumpling, though. :3

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4. Ping Pong @ Bounce

Mutay’s birthday actually fell on the day of Notting Hill, a bank holiday, so we spent the majority of the day there and then ended up in a random Mexican restaurant drinking frozen daiquiris at the end of the night.

One night after work, I met up with Mutay and two other friends to play ping pong at Bounce, located in Holborn. Such a fun night! Despite having to wait until midnight for a table, it was worth the wait and we ended up playing randomly with these guys who joined our table. 

The music was popping, and the drinks were really good. We also had pizza: Smoked mozzarella, rocket leaves, smoked garlic & speck ham. 

Bounce is Europe's largest purpose built 'Social Ping Pong Club'

Bounce is Europe’s largest purpose built ‘Social Ping Pong Club’

Ladies’ Delight No.2 -- Tanqueray gin, passionfruit & cloudy apple juice, vanilla syrup & lemon juice

Ladies’ Delight No.2 — Tanqueray gin, passionfruit & cloudy apple juice, vanilla syrup & lemon juice

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH84sdcDPs8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tH84sdcDPs8

 

multitasking ?

A video posted by Chynna Ashley (@chynnashley) on

Would definitely visit again! It’s actually a great way to work out and also get pelted by small balls. Heh.

Other things

  • One of my friends actually came to my house the morning of my birthday and got me this awesome Sherlock card
  • I bought Mutay volume #7 of Invincible Iron Man, which features Riri Williams, a 15-year-old, black, genius MIT engineering student — who will the next Iron Man ?
  • I’ve still got the holiday blues, BUT I will be in Paris later on this month. Woo!

How was August for you?

disneylandpark

I should get a trophy for procrastination. I am obviously the queen of it.

Moving on… As the best big sister in the world (yes, I am tooting my own horn because if not me, who else will?), I treated my sister to a weekend in Paris for her 16th birthday, last November. (See really big procrastination in writing about my travels)

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