For those of you who have been flying over to my blog, I was taking you through my South East Asian adventures. I took a break to write about New York. Now I’m going to fly you out of the concrete jungle and get you stuck back into Vietnam!

If you like authentic Vietnamese food as much as I do, get your a** down to Huế.

Huế is renowned for it’s food history. I spotted many Huế themed eateries in the bigger cities like Saigon and Hanoi.

During the Nguyen Dynasty years, the kings were fussy for their food. Nervous chefs churned out (ever-changing) 52-course meals. Yep, that’s right: 52. If anyone wants to cook 52-course meals for me, I think I’d fall in love with you (bonus points if you rolled me out).

I forgot to take a picture of this interesting quail and duck egg dish that we ate, so let’s start this post with my pretty chicken fried rice that I can’t believe, I remembered to take a snap of.

 Huế is a sleepy city, it’s famous for it’s heavy rains, sleepy pace and pagodas. The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for taking your motorbike for a spin. And we did just that. In Vietnam you don’t need a license to drive one. But none of us felt like visiting the grim reaper that day, so our lovely tour guides were the experts in giving us the grand tour of their home town.

For our first stop, we were taken to a film set.

I definitely got my geek on (I put my glasses on for closer inspection and everything).

Our second stop was the Tomb of Tu Duc and guess who designed it? Emperor, Tu Duc. Built by his slaves at his imperial empire (Mr promiscuous had 104 wives), it’s certainly one of the most impressive of the royal mausoleums.

We said goodbye to the Emperor and headed to the Perfume River.

Why is it called Perfume River? You might ask.

If you’re into your floral fragrances like Dior Cherie, Chanel Chance and Marc Jacobs Oh Lola, then you’ll love this. In the Autumn, flowers from the orchards upriver from Huế fall into the water, giving the river a perfume-like natural aroma.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it felt to stand and admire this river in the cool, light air.

Our next stop was to visit this lovely lady to begin our incense making workshop.

It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, you need to be firm, but not too firm, with the poo-like dough on a stick.

I did it! I’m so impressed with myself.

Our lady of many talents, also showed us how she makes the traditional Vietnamese hat.

Unfortunately I don’t think my handmade piece made the cut. Hehe.

The next day, we headed to Hue Imperial City (The Citadel), a fortress that (historically) separated the digs of the Royals and the ‘commoners’. It’s a very strange concept to visit a mini city inside a city.

Once I got inside, I was mesmerised. It felt like walking into a completely different era. Once I spotted the palace and oriental gardens, I decided to live there. I had to put my princess dream to rest as the venue closed at 5pm.

 

With the help of a peeping turtle and a golden lion, this princess lived happy ever after.

Location: Vietnam – Huế

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If you’re a foodie, lover of vintage, flowers and thrift stores, or hell, a resident of a city, then you know how much we love a good street market.

There are two markets I urge you to visit in New York. Dear Reader, meet my two New Yorker friends: Williamsburg and Chelsea.

We have two very different personalities here. I’ll introduce you to Williamsburg first.

Williamsburg market is the hipster of the market gang. He (William) is the king of distinctive trends and thrift.

Go and check out his no-one-else-has-it apparel: real silks & leathers, downtown-cool jewels, literacy book clutches and dapper kicks.

If you’re ever with me, wherever you are, I will point you in the direction of the food.

We were in search of a bite to eat. There was only one problem.

There was too much choice.

Lobster rolls, anyone?

 Saucy (Williams)BURGer?

Parm slider?

(Parmigiana is breaded chicken breast covered with a tomato-based neapolitan sauce and cheese).

 I can’t remember what these were, but they looked delicious! Help me out and comment below, please?

 We walked, and we strolled and then we found what we were searching for in our lives at that time.

Hola Mexican Comida!

 One of my favourite cuisines is Mexican. I never got over a burrito that I once demolished in California. If you’re ever in the US, and you can handle spice, please, please try a burrito from a street market or Mexican food truck. I promise you, it will blow your head off (in a good way), and you will always be craving that burrito (or taco). I’m writing this from London, and I’m desperate for one right now. The secret is in the chilli sauce. It’s Mexican magic.

Cool off with some good ole homemade lemonade.

 Then for dessert, treat yourself to these big a** American donuts. They don’t do food by halves in the US.

 Right, now I’ve introduced you to Williamsburg. It’s time to meet Chelsea.

She’s a little more upmarket than our Willie.

So, I’m walking aimlessly through Chelsea market, and this catches the corner of my eye.

 How much is that doggie in the window? The one with the waggly icing. (Sorry I had to).

Beep beep beep, it’s a Minion cake!

 Amy’s Bread is apparently a must for pastries and bread. I gave it a miss this time because I was after something else, which I’ll get to.

 WELL HELLO, MR LOBSTER.

Chelsea Market’s most quintessential dish — it’s the one and only steamed whole lobster from Lobster Place. The super-fresh Maine lobsters are gently steamed and served with a simple slip of butter and wedges of lemon.

It gets busy, and you probably won’t get a seat. But, it’s a surreal experience to squat with tourists and chomp on a big lobster each, together.

Now, I can’t serve you the main course and recommend you a dessert can I?

My cousin took me to Doughnuttery. It’s like a Subway for donuts. You pick the different sugars according to your taste. I went for a few different ones like Urban Monkey (banana, coconut and coffee powdered sugars), Peanut Butter&Jelly (peanut butter and grape candy) and Matcha (green tea & sugar).

I didn’t get to take a picture because I, erm, was occupied (I ordered several donuts and stuffed them in my mouth all at once).

I wanted to take this baby home.

 Yes. I know what you’re thinking. You want to grab a spoon and join me. Oh I like the way you think.

Chelsea Market is the former home to the famous National Biscuit Company. I would recommend you give New York biscuits a try. They’re much more crumbly than in the UK.

Chelsea Market does have an eccentric side to her. There’s an Artists & Fleas seasonal pop-up bazaar. Expect to find trendy and non-commercial gifts, locally made and well crafted.

 *Phew*. I think we all deserve some margaritas after all of that walking.

Have you been to any of the markets of New York? Let me know if I’ve missed anything so we can all share places to go!

Location: New York

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 Playing around in fields with the summer sunlight is pretty much how I spent my time growing up. Grassy native corn filled fields provided the perfect backdrop for this editorial. You know what I love? Easy-to-wear dresses. And this is one of them. This Warehouse lightweight shift dress is constructed from a soft crepe and features a v-neckline, zip-through front, two breast pockets and short sleeves in a military green colour. I’m going to miss summer come October. Batten down the hatches: winter is coming. I’m preparing for battle.

Location: West London

Warehouse Crepe Dress | Women’s VANS

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No summer in New York is complete without taking a trip to (at least) one of the islands.

They’re really easy to get to and (at certain times) some ferries to the islands are free!

The Staten Island ferry is always free and runs from 12am – 11.30pm. Buy a ticket to the Statue of Liberty and hop on a ferry for free to Ellis Island.

After (practically) throwing your cash out of the window on the flight — a free and relaxing boat ride is just what you need.

Today, I’ll be your tour guide and I’ll be taking you through Governors Island. Head to Governors Island before 11.30am on a weekend for $0 (summer only).

On route, you’ll be shown an incredible view of the concentre jungle, where dreams are made of, on a boat, there’s nothing you can’t do, now that you’re in New York.

 


Governors Island actually used to be a military base (it protected NYC waterways from British Invasion during the War of 1812) and they’ve preserved many historical goodies for you to see.

Today, it’s a social spot with occasional music festivals, outdoor art, games and 1920’s parties (which I’d definitely go to if I lived in NY).

It’s car-free oasis. I would recommend grabbing your bikes — or renting one out if you’re a tourist. Admire the pretty scenery and don’t forget to stop by the monuments for some very American history.

 New Jersey (left) VS New York (right).

White Dress/a>

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 Below is Castle Williams. A sign on the fort reads, “Castle Williams, with its twin fort, Castle Clinton in the Battery, was built to guard the waterway between Governors Island and New York City. Together these forts provided such a formidable defense that the British fleet never attempted to attack New York City during the War of 1812”.

Ooohh.

 This is the old Governors abode. How American is this house?

 Even though no one lives on the island, I think it would be an amazing place to live. It’s like a little community town: with a little hospital, church and (Wisteria Lane type) suburbian houses. Sadly, no one resides here whilst Mr Trump decides what to do with it.

New York, I love your islands!

God bless America.

Location: Governors Island, New York

I love grabbing an iced frap’ and strolling around the shops.

Especially in New York.

There are many reasons why I love shopping in NYC.

It’s a destination of sartorial satisfaction.

With its wide, open pavements, glorious old buildings, fluttering American flags and every shop from Bloomingdale’s to Sephora, it’s a shopper’s paradise.

Grab your purse and hail a yellow cab — we’re going shopping!

Guys (and ladies too) if you’re not into shopping: get yourself dropped off at Barnes & Noble, put your feet up, grab a coffee and lose yourself into a good book.

 In the meantime, fellow shoppers — If you’re a scrimper with a thirst for designer goodies, I would take you to Century 21.

I warn you, it’s always packed with keen tourists. And with good reason — you won’t leave empty-handed. I fluttered past discounted Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton & Mulberry bags, Versace watches and Timberland boots.

Pleased with myself, I left with: a-very-American Tommy Hilfiger bag, some shiny statement jewellery, a pair of designer sunglasses and a huge grin.

Nordstom Rack is another discount haven — check it out online to avoid the crowds.

 Seeking the latest designer collections? Do your friends compliment you on your new season styles?

You’ll be squealing with excitement in Macy’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.

 Did you know that Macy’s has 11 Floors?! I couldn’t cope.

 If you’re a make-up and beauty hoarder buff — you’ll heard of Sephora.

A department store dedicated to the likes of NARS, Urban Decay, bareMinerals, Bobbi Brown, Lancome and every beauty brand you can think of.

It’s a beauty blogger’s paradise.

 Cheers, Sephora.

Right ladies, it’s time to treat you to some underwear. You sexy thang.

What’s the most famous lingerie brand in the US? (Shh, I’ll tell you a secret Victoria, you’ll know it when I give you a clue: angel wings.)

Victoria Secret, obviously! See what I did there? (I’ll stop calling you Victoria now.)

 My lovely friend Tineal couldn’t resist a perfume purchase. During my uni years — I worked in A&F / Hollister, so I’m not really a fan of apparel store scents.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Victoria Eau de Parfum. It’s my kind of scent — it’s light, floral and summery.

Tineal and Ana also brought some PJ’s, bras and underwear.

I much prefer a different American lingerie brand.

It’s called Aerie.

Created by American Eagle. This is the first thing you see when you walk in.

 Besides Aerie’s engaging brand values, I much prefer their prints, touches of ribbon and lace on flirty shapes. I also brought a bikini — it’s like Seafolly but without the price tag.

 One of life’s greatest pleasures is strolling into a beauty salon after a long, hard day of shopping.

 You jump back into the world feeling and smelling a million dollars.

Welcome to Red Door Spa New York by Elizabeth Arden.

 Tineal is very happy with having her hair played with here. Bless her.

It was time to be released back into the streets that never sleep.

Are there any shops that you think I’ve missed out on this post? I’d love to hear from you.

Location: New York

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