Friday 29 August 2014

Thalia in Thailand #1: Bewildered in Bangkok

So for a couple days earlier this month, my family and I visited Bangkok and tried to fit as much as we could into a 48-hour visit. Mum, Keir and I flew for seven hours back from Perth and Dad met us from London, having flown for twelve hours. Meeting half way was rather awesome - we'd somehow managed to plan it so Dads's flight from Heathrow was due to arrive a mere ten minutes before ours, however, as his was delayed, our genius plans went to shambles. Fortunately, we managed to have a mini Fairweather family reunion in Suvarnabhumi airport before going to explore the city.

I've got a collection of photos from the two days we were there which I've just put into a photo diary. As we weren't there for that long, our aim was just to see as much as we could; not spending too long in one place. The end result was a lot of rushing, sweating (it was very hot) and adventure. Bangkok was undoubtedly the most fast-paced of our Thai trio, yet was the perfect place to start off our experience. I hope you like the photos!
View from the hotel window | Before catching the Bangkok Skytrain
Before the scariest tuk tuk ride of my life
Steps to the Golden Mount 
One of the many bells placed along the walk to the top
The beautiful view of the city from above
The top of the Golden Mount

I'll be back tomorrow with my next installment of Thalia in Thailand, when we went further north to the beautiful city of Chiang Mai.

Have you ever been to Bangkok? If so - what did you think of it?


P.S the title 'Thalia in Thailand' simply had to be a thing. Having spent the first six months of owning my phone not to autocorrect my name to Thailand, I figured the similarity was too good to miss.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Back-to-School Stationery Shopping

Wilkopatterned document holders 80p each | bic pens £1 for 5 | bic pencils £1 for 4 | weekly planner pad £2.75 | blu tac 75p

HEMAfine liners £2.50 for 12 | highlighters £2.50 for 12 | pencil case £3.50 | glue sticks £1.50 for 2 | scissors £1 | labels - grey and coloured £1 

So that time of the year has come around once again. The somewhat dreaded back to school season has hit us with full force yet again. Fortunately for some (including myself) this is the very last 'first day back' and therefore we only have a few months more to tackle before we're out. However - having been at school for the past fourteen years I know and understand that stationery shopping is serious shiz and is also very fun too. 

Wilko is my go-to place for stationery and has been for the past four years I've attended secondary school in the UK. Everything there is SO cheap yet lasts a while - the ideal combo. Myriads of pens, pencils, document folders, rubbers, sharpeners, geometry sets...even the little things you didn't even know that you needed can all be found at Wilko. I'm a big fan of their balance range - since purchasing a couple of the folders from the collection last year, I fell in love with the pattern and I'm so happy that they continued selling their balance-y beauties. 

HEMA, on the other hand, is a wonderful place that I've only recently discovered. The Kingston-upon-Thames store is one of only three in the country - the other two are in Bromley and Victoria Station, so apologies if you're not a Londoner! I would describe HEMA as Tiger, except selling things that are genuinely useful. I love Tiger but I wholeheartedly believe that 98% of the bits in there aren't really...necessary. And this opinion is coming from a hoarder. HEMA has makeup brushes, culinary equipment, storage facilities, folders, children's swimsuits, shampoo and everything in between. If I had to go to one shop before moving to uni next year, HEMA would be it. Unfortunately they do not sell online, but I'd definitely recommend you pop in if you're in London. I've not seen the Bromley store but the other two are very well stocked and, well, I could stay in them for hours. No lie.

I bought a ticket holder from Cath Kidston two and a half years ago (vintage fashion galaxies xo haul post here) and over the course of many oyster card bashings and entry card hits, the case wore out and I was in dire need of a replacement. I looked on a variety of places online for a replacement but eventually came back to Cath Kidston as theirs had the upper edge on the others. 3 ticket slots instead of 2 makes all the difference for me. One for my sixth form entry card, one for my oyster card and one for my 16-25 railcard. Simples. Last on my shopping list was a mid year diary as this year, my school has made a switch to the dark electronic side and is now doing all homework diaries via iPads. All of the lower years (7s-11s) have been allocated them, whereas the sixth formers haven't, so we're sticking with the old school, manual vibes and writing homework down. I personally prefer writing things down as I feel I'm more likely to remember them. Anyway, this meant I had to find a planner and my gosh this was way too difficult. I looked everywhere. Too small, too heavy, hardback, thin lines, was all a bit too hard. However, after endless searching (no exaggeration), I came across this wonder in John Lewis and finally left all satisfied and organised. 

Now whilst all of the aforementioned stationery bits are on the relatively cheap side, there is one thing I have to pay premium for and that's paper. It sounds silly, but bad quality paper that rips easily or shows the writing through on the opposite side really bugs me as it makes my notes messy and ultimately means I'll have to repeat the notes completely at a later point. And as a sixth former, I really don't have time for that. My paper preferences are undoubtedly Oxford notepads, specifically the wirebound notebooks as I find sheets fall out of the refill pads a bit too easily. The paper is seriously white (yes, that's a thing) and has a perforated edge, which avoids those horrible incidents when you finish a page only to tear right through the middle of it afterwards. That feeling is the absolute worst. I know from experience. 

So that's all from me for now. Where have you been back-to-school stationery shopping this year? I hope this post has been somewhat helpful to anyone going through this mildly fun process before the real work begins. Best of luck to anyone starting too, and remember...only seventeen Fridays until Christmas. If that's not motivation I don't know what is...


I will be back to my travel posts tomorrow with my first Thai installment, focusing on my visit to Bangkok. Watch out guys, Thalia in Thailand was a serious thing.


Tuesday 26 August 2014

Australia 2014 #11: Finishing it off in King's Park

So I mentioned in my previous post that a visit to King's Park was my top priority when it came to places to visit during my visit to Perth. This photo above is why. I fell in love with the view when I was twelve years old and absolutely loved going back to it and seeing how it has evolved. Esplanade station is the large white building in the bottom right corner of the photo - it consists of a HUGE bus station as well as being the train station closest to the central business district. It's an amazing place. But the beautiful views from the Bali Memorial aside, King's Park also flourishes when it comes to food, so naturally I had to put this theory to the test.
Zamia Cafe is an awesome spot to grab food when in King's Park. Despite being nearby to a car park, the building is nicely tucked in the park, surrounded by grass, trees and flowers. Noted as a place that excels in breakfast, lunch and dinner, we felt that a lunchtime visit would be necessary.
I went for a classic croissant for lunch - ham and cheese did me perfectly. It was lovely, don't get me wrong, but it didn't completely fill me up. This is when our second stop in Zamia came along, this time, to grab a slice of cheesecake I'd spied earlier on.
Look at it though. Irresistible. Beautiful. Perfect.
Baked. When you thought things couldn't get better, they could. Because baked. Do I need to even explain?!
Scrumptious and huge. Huge to the extent that after sharing it with my mum and brother (who thought he could get away with just going for the biscuitty bit - hell to the no) we were all stuffed. And not just full-up stuffed, I'm-uncomfortable-and-I've-undone-the-button-of-my-jeans stuffed. Fortunately my food belly was hidden under the dip hem dress I featured in yesterday's post
(Warning: soppy sentence coming up...) I must say, the best thing about my day in King's Park was getting to experience it with my family. Seeing my brother demolish his food with such a smile on his face was heart warming, and having Mum accompany me as I took the view photos from the Bali Memorial was lovely too. (On another note, during that time she also saved my foot from a potentially painful situation as she quickly alerted me that I was standing right in the middle of an ant nest/carnival. True Aussie gal looking out for insects at all times. Cheers for that, M! The efforts we go to for good photos, eh..)

So that's all of my Australian installments done and dusted! After I've published my Thailand posts I'll do a July/August 2014 travels summary post which will combine everything together and hopefully (with a stretch to my creative abilities) look really nice too. If you have any questions about my trip please do ask either by commenting or tweeting me - I'd love to answer any queries in the upcoming summary post!

Have you ever been to Australia? If so - what did you think about the Antipodean beauty?


Monday 25 August 2014

Australia 2014 #10: Back to Basics

grey dim hem dress target (link) | black textured bag dorothy perkins | studded loafers primark | pink chain necklace lovisa | black beaded bracelet cotton on | rose gold rings lovisa | watch casio via asos | nails: sally hansen make waves

On my to-visit-in-Perth list was a firm number one spot for King's Park. The place that has the ultimate views of the city, has beautiful green space and a couple of cafes sprinkled in the place for refreshments. But more on that tomorrow - for today, I'm focusing on the outfit I wore on the warmest day of our visit. 26 degrees and utterly delicious. That's not something I get to say often in London...

This grey dip hem dress is something I would usually um and ah about before purchasing. Being 5'2 and all, in the past I've worried that dip hem dresses would accentuate my midge from within however this Target purchase was quick, rather impromptu, yet completely necessary, obviously. I grabbed this beauty during my first time back in Target after a five year break from my dear love, and wasn't disappointed. $20 (around a tenner) for a causal dress, lovely fabric, nice length was a match made in heaven that I had to appreciate. I didn't even try it on. If that's not me pushing my living-life-to-the-edge limits I don't know what is.

I've worn these black studded loafers on the blog so many times and that's because I really can't get enough of them. And as I love them so much, I feel like I should wear them as often as possible. Especially when I'm abroad, as they are Autumn/Wintery shoes and the odds of staying dry in the UK are scarce.  As you may be able to tell, my justification game isn't quite on point today. Unfortunately I can tell that my beloved loafers are swiftly on the way to their eventual demise, so I'm on the lookout for replacements to take the spot as queen bee within my shoe box. That is, until, it becomes so cold that boots reign. Until then - loafers are the true winners. And I will always, always, appreciate them.


Edit: upon finding the link for the dress online, I realised it was only fifteen dollars. Even better, eh?!

Saturday 23 August 2014

Australia 2014 #9: Relatively Fancy Breakfasts

Now, when it comes to breakfasts I'm not a fancy sorta girl at all. Very low maintenance. Give me some semi-skimmed milk, an incredibly oversized bowl and either cornflakes or weetabix and I'm sold. That is all. 99% of the time I'm strictly no-added-sugar, not because I'm trying to be overly healthy, simply because I love those two aforementioned cereals just the way they are. 

When in Perth one day, Mum and I had to run a few errands in the city so took the train down a few stops along the Joondalup Line and arrived at Perth Underground station. (Disclaimer: to Londoners, 'underground' either means physically underneath the ground or along an underground line. In this case, Perth Underground fits neither of those labels. It is just a name to differentiate it from nearby Perth station). Walking around, we came across Carillon, a shopping arcade that both my Mum and Grandma worked at a while back. Hunting, yes, hunting for breakfast (we were v. hungry at this point), we found Pancakes at Carillon, the closest thing to our ideal going-out-for-breakfast dish of waffles.
Mum may be Australian but she's committed to her English pride when it comes to tea. Maybe it's because she's lived in the country for over twenty years. Maybe, it's because the pommies do tea better. (Sorry Straya!)
Whilst waiting for our order, I drank some of their beautiful cappuccino as I convinced myself I was a young, classy woman, having a hot drink in Winter at a restaurant because I was very fancy and all. Obviously this image disappeared upon discovering the astronomical maple syrup jars, and then staring at it in awe and take photographs.
Can we please just appreciate pancakes for a minute. I wrote a post on Pancake Day about how my love for them is unconditional. I have since then discovered the superior beauty that is waffles, however I'm still all about dem pancakes. Served with strawberries and whipped butter, Mum and I were in for a real treat. We ordered 'regular' stacks, consisting of 3 pancakes per serving, however we both felt that we could have downsized to a 'small' and sacrificed one, as we were both a little too full after the meal. Delicious and completely worth it though. You can find the menu for Pancakes at Carillon here. Massive thumbs up for brekky if you're in the city and want something that will really keep you going all morning.
One word I heard all the time when in Aus was 'Dome'. Whether it be within a recommendation or swiftly slotted into conversation, Dome seriously was the talk of the town. Having insisted that we go there at one point during our Australian trip, my second cousin Robyn kindly took us there for breakfast on a Sunday morning. Here they specialise in the one thing Mum and I were yet to find in Perth - waffles.
The Berry Bliss smoothie, was, as the name suggests, bliss. Ice cream and berries together are ideal, right?!
The waffles marked the point where things got serious. Not only are they physically huge (I struggled eating one and a half of them), you can have your pick of three out of fresh strawberries, sliced banana, maple syrup, vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream. I went for the classic ice cream/syrup/strawbs did all of my family members who also ordered waffles. At $12.95 they're a treat but definitely worth it. If you're not someone who can cope with eating loads in the morning: share's that simple. The portion size would be better that way for a majority of people (unless you're an athlete or something..which I most certainly am not). An even bigger thumbs up goes to Dome! It's incredible. I will always remember the smell of that place. Note to take into consideration though: if you go, don't bother with the airport comparison to the full-on restaurant branches, they're a bit rubbish. Waffles complete Dome. They are the things that seal the deal. They are worth it. The croissants, however, are not. WAFFLES FOR THE WIN EVERYONE. 

Where are your favourite places for a relatively fancy breakfast? I definitely want try a few breakfast places in London - if any of you have any recommendations, please let me know. Waffles and syrup are a huge selling point for me.


Saturday 16 August 2014

Australia 2014 #8: Velvet Blouse Adoration

velvet blouse charity shop | grey long sleeve crop top american apparel (link) | black a-line denim skirt asos (link) | thick black tights primark | black chelsea boots topshop (link) | black textured bag dorothy perkins | watch casio via asos | black beaded bracelet cotton on | nails: sally hansen make waves

There's something about this oversized velvet blouse that makes me very happy. It may be the colour, one that I strongly argue is a shade of pink whereas ninety percent of my friends are defiant it's purple (it's pink...right?) Whatever the colour label on it is, it's simply beautiful. And only cost 3 quid at a charity shop in Shrewsbury, Shropshire's county town. It was my first (and only) Midlands charity shop buy and it has a serious spot in my heart. Comfy? Oui. The texture? It's there whilst still being soft. And the collar? Well, that's a funny one. Not that you can really tell in the photos, but it reminds me a little bit of the collars on my old school shirts in India called Nehru collars -  which I should note that everyone detested and used to fold it over to make it look a little more...European. However, contrary to this it still works and is fabulous. And was a mere three pounds. I have no complaints's a keeper. I actually received a spam-like email a couple of weeks ago (from a man, I must add) asking to buy this shirt and my velvet blazer (see here) for 150 Euros. As nice as the offer was, naturally I ignored the email...'twas a tad on the creepy side. Sorry Charlie - I'm keeping the velvet beauties. 

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