Eine Unvergessliche Reise (Teil Eins)

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One time on Sunday afternoon early March, we had a chat on what we wanted to do.

It was around 2 o’clock and I did say from the beginning:”Anything about best food or sort, I trust you.”.

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I didn’t do any research on things to do, not even must-visit spots or something like that (coffee shops excluded of course). I only had one clear purpose of the trip: nothing less than to enjoy every single moment.

I flew on May 5th. A flight from Cape Town with two hours transit in Dubai was smooth yet exhausting. I didn’t make time to sleep on the plane yet I couldn’t blame myself cause those questions why Hong Kong anxiously came out twice. I had a very good seat and entertainment on board with choices of good movies. I did watch some movies yet I knew, I lied to myself if I wasn’t bored. It was only a hot coffee I requested just before landing time which made me felt better.

I should have felt excited because a pleasant week from South Africa would continue in Asia. But there was a reason why Hong Kong was a bit peculiar: I never thought I would fly all the way for such a busy crowded city for a vacation. I did think Hong Kong was never on my top list.

I never landed but I could feel the heat. I was still on my window seat witnessing a typical iconic Hong Kong skyscraper tucked with thick clouds. The sun was bright as I was gathering my excitement and pushing one by one questions of why Hong Kong in 2018.

I was inside an airport train to immigration when I finally felt the Asia vibe again. “Damn, I’m close enough to home. Should I pay a visit on my three last days here?”, I never even started my trip but thought of going home was echoed inside my mind. I knew I was exhausted but somehow, I loved the sensation being on a very tight train among strangers.

I remember, I hugged Andreas twice to ensure he was real. Lé pardon if the sentence before this was too much. I did hug him twice to reassure it wasn’t a dream. When he stood there with my name handwritten on a piece of paper, my mind excitingly remembered to this magical note, “We both do not know where that will be, but we know it will happen.” As much as I remind myself to strongly believe that every dream will find its way to be real, someday, with some shiny glittering magic in between, a beautiful moment at that airport had proved it right. My peculiar feeling of why Hong Kong was evaporated in the air and suddenly showering different kind of excitements.

We took a fast train to the central. The day was sunny as I could see from the window. Andreas sat where my will-always-be-my-spot a.k.a window seat while I asked him twice, “Isn’t this strange? Don’t you think so?.” He answered it was. I felt it was strange in a very good way that hours we spent on Skype for the past two and half years brought us to real a life again. As we were on the train passing some typical Hong Kong residences, my heart was ready for some new surprises. I sat with memories when we had a chat twice in Tokyo which weren’t long. In a morning I repacked my things from Kyoto and a to-midnight short conversation at the lobby that has a wide clear glass somewhere in Akihabara.

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Here how our travel time through four memorable days was documented.

On a sunny afternoon, I finally felt glücklich to be in Hong Kong and let Andreas showed the best Hong Kong has to offer.

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Off from the airport, we went straight to my hostel (yes with S, you didn’t read wrong). I didn’t rent a portable pocket Wi-Fi since I found it was expensive, so on the first day Andreas was my live-Google-Map. Well, I had some screenshots on my iPhone to where I should have headed but I trusted him to lead the way. I remember we were off from the train and stopped at one train station heading to where we stood for a bus. When we realized the bus was heading to the opposite destination, we changed to the right one by burning calories under the sun until we finally arrived at Shek Pai Wan Road, Aberdeen.

I was managing myself to sort everything out very quickly while Andreas was waiting. I even forgot to enjoy my bath under the shower (best part: there are two with clear glass to enjoy the view outside, oh ofc not from floor to ceiling). I felt better and fresher after changing that faded green Zara tee with more comfortable one in black.

When I stepped out of the hostel, I looked up. It was after 5pm and the sky turned to grey.

I was a little worried if it started raining. In front of where we stood for a bus, Andreas was checking the route on the information board. I thought that time, he wanted to reassure we won’t just get in to a wrong bus again. I was admiring the environment around us, the Cantonese in the air, and typical Hong Kong tight crowded flats with ACs placed outside the building. The first thing Andreas did and I loved it so much: he brought me to the upper deck of the bus that has a wide clear glass (and it was empty!) where we could actually see different scenes on the road.

The time we sat I believed that evening would be a great start of wonderful travel experience.


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Off from the bus, he brought me to another simply exciting experience: we took a Hong Kong open tram and we again sat on the upper deck. “Azis, come with me, I’ll show the best spot to be on this tram. You’ll love it.”

And for God-sake, it was beautiful. I sat with California Dream in the air. By writing this, I still remember the sensation sitting behind him gazing out to the people on busy roads, different shops with neon signage lights, the breeze, the rush. My travel bugs were flying high and danced gleefully until I didn’t think it was necessary to capture the moment with my camera but my own brain. And keeping it somewhere safe.

Andreas brought me to a place where we had dinner. It was such a food court kind of that was crowded and sonorous but somehow, it was epic. The sensation was distinct where I could feel the strong Hong Kong vibe surrounded. I had delicious Vietnamese Pho while Andreas had curry noodle. That evening was a bit cloudy but warm. We took a walk for a ferry ride to peninsula afterwards.

It was a great experience on the ferry but more than that, I did enjoy all the simple things that evening. It was a kind of travel style I love the most: no plans, just surprises. Going to places with no expectations but ended with some memorable memories. I remember crystal clear, a young lady was singing a Cantonese song with guitar behind us, I joked I could take her mic and sang better. I crossed my legs on the hard cement floor when we had a slow time for friendship talk. He got a cold canned beer which I opened and had a ship. My first beer in my life at the Hong Kong harbor I said, proudly.

It tasted so weird but the view in front of my eyes was picturesque. I captured and remembered it.


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I sat on the second floor at Kowloon mosque. It was around 4pm-ish. I never sent a text asking if Andreas had time to accompany me again on the second day until I later got one. “I just finished my research at uni. Any idea of what we should do?.” I had waited for a while for something stated in my reply; “Something to eat.” He later answered with an idea of where to go.

I remember the mosque was near Tim Sha Tsui station. Andreas was standing near exit C and I came to him with an empty tummy. I had no idea what he had in mind but I trusted every decision he made. We later found ourselves at Tim Ho Wan Olympian City 2 in West Kowloon. As we entered, I only had one request to him: a seat by the window for good lighting, what else?

The best part of our lunch was the restaurant wasn’t crowded then so it gave us a good time to talk in between pleasantly. The meal was great, not to mention he was the only one who had schweinefleisch in warm buns. He joked I should have tried a little taste of heaven. We spent an hour plus then we were heading to Ladies Market, a bet of eating durian (which he didn’t try! he should have tried when in Asia! even though I can’t eat raw durian too), passing some interesting stalls with Cantonese everywhere.

Everything was really interesting.


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He used to spend eight months in Hong Kong years ago as an exchange student so trusting him to show all best sites was the best decision (if I shouldn’t mention it was such an excuse for being lazy). When the day got dark we sat at one of the famous traditional Hong Kong restaurants in Jordan called Australia Diary Company.

He told me to taste the popular meal: scrambled egg served on toast. I must say the scrambled egg tasted so good but sadly I couldn’t finish eating it. I was full from Tim Ho Wan but the best part was the milk tea. Oh God, it was heaven. The best I ever tasted.

As a milk tea lover, he was blithe having a full glass with generous ice. I remember he was laughing when looking on how I looked after he told me not to expect a polite service and eating slowly because the waiter could forcibly get you to stand out from your chair. It was a typical Hong Kong restaurant service when they could roughly drop a food you order on the table. But that wasn’t a big deal for me because the way I enjoyed the most that evening apart of the milk tea was the vibe, the strangers’s chats, and some unique details my mind had captured: pen scribble on a waiter’s pocket that clearly showed on his white shirt, six vertical stacks of white coffee cups behind where Andreas sat, the grumpy face of the man behind the bar brewing Vietnamese coffee, and of course, the yellow menu card.

We ended the day by sitting near TST promenade for a random friendship talk with a view of Hong Kong skylines. Andreas told me we could get in The Peak Tram if the weather was friendly. Thought I won’t mind to experience the famous view of Hong Kong with her skyscrapers, there was no necessary apologetic from the nature.

Staring to the clouds up there, deep down in my heart, I sent my gratitude to the universe for giving me a privilege such travel.


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~ to be continued to part ii ~

When Friendship Turns To Blue

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There is one particular thing I learned when I have entered thirty.

If my opinion about this has become sharper than when I was on my twenties, it is just because life is full of lessons.


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I remember a talk with one of my good friends when I couldn’t answer him back a question. This happened when we were at university. We had a casual talk and a question about the way I thought about friendship appeared on the air. He asked, “So you are such a picky, you won’t call these friends as your friends? They must be good for you until you call them “friend”, huh?”

What he meant “these friends” were our friends in class.

In my mind was loudly echoed with an answer, “Of course they must be good that’s why there is the same word attached to it.”. But I couldn’t say anything. I thought twice on what to answer. Was I picky? Was I? I stayed silent. I thought my statement was wrong. Should have I opened a wide door for some people easily to be a friend with and told them “You all are my friends”?

Back then I was quiet. I wasn’t brave enough to say what I had in mind but time has taught me as growing older.

I have some personal thoughts about friendship which it’s been stored in my life dictionary for the last few years. Friendship has stages: a friend, a good friend and a best friend. The last one is formed by three essential things: heart, time and history. The heart gives you signs for good or bad, good and bad. Time is a key to why “just” a friend could be a good friend, and a good one could turn in to a best friend. History formed by times. History is what I value. And these three are flexible.

Looking at my different friendships from the past and present, there are tons of things I’ve learned including how important maintaining it because sometimes it goes low, sometimes is high. Friendship also has its own age, by remembering this we all know time is the essence. Never buy friendship, cause it has to be genuine and pure from both sides.

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Have you ever sat alone staring at the clear blue sky and thought of an old friend just popped up in mind? With some questions like how is he doing right now? Where is she living for all these years?

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Time is changing in flash. There was a time in silence I thought about how blue my friendship with a friend who used to spend hours and hours laughing on the phone when both had problems, something to say, or even for stupid jokes. We live a thousand miles apart yet distance and time zone do not matter. She was one of my best friends and still be, but our friendship has changed drastically. I used to think the way she disappeared was such vexatious reality which made it faded. I was like “I didn’t get it” at the beginning. Questions in mind for some mistakes I did, might be, disappearing in the dark.

I wondered if there were one or two things I did wrong. I wondered if it was just something she wanted by creating distance between us. I wondered and kept wondering until I stopped worrying about it. Our friendship was sweet but it didn’t have a long age as I thought it would be. Our friendship turned to blue and unfortunately, the blue was dark enough. Was I sad? Remembering the first time we met, together we travelled in our twenties, laughter on the mountain and sunshine we shared with fog on the lake, all those moments. I might be wrong expressing my feeling into words but I learned, no matter how much joys and tears we had in the past, nothing lasts forever.

I sometimes think the way it turned blue and later faded with no single trace is such a new lesson I must take. But I won’t let all the worries haunted me if, on the other side of our friendship, she didn’t feel the same. Just like a phone call, it can only last as long as the person on the other end of the line is willing to talk. As I will never buy a new friendship, I won’t begging for such a blue to be bright.

The feeling of loss is still there. One time in a darkened room, a restless thought was jumped in my mind.

 


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How about a dear friend I love right now, when will our healthy and bloomy friendship end? Three years? Five?

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I used to write It Feels Like An Autumn when I felt restless if my friendship with one of the very best friends would change bit by bit. He is one of the most important persons in my life. We have gone through monumental moments in life together. He was there when I was nothing. When I crawled to reach what I’m having this day. My insecurity was increased just because he started his new life chapter.

Let me take you to my mind.

As I am right now who do not think of marriage in the next few years, the feeling of loss is something I must take. As someone whose kindness is real to me decided to take a new life chapter as a family man, I felt insecure if we won’t have much time to talk like before. Or to even have a five minutes phone call. I was worried if someday the way we both walk in a very far distance without some hellos or goodnights. If you are having the same feeling with me, I need to tell you one thing; if the friendship lasts for more than ten years, there is no need to worry too much for such things. I later realized that my friendship with him is still strong no matter how our life has changed. And that’s all because those three essential things: heart, time and history are all still solid. Our hearts are strongly connected. Time makes us closer while we cherish our friendship by creating more memories. People say by growing older your circle will be smaller, and that’s a hundred and ten percent true.

We may not have a weekly phone call or even texting but when both minds are connected through the spirit, the friendship is real. I used to think about him if he was doing good one time in the afternoon. Five minutes later I saw his text of how are you appeared on my iPhone. That was enough to prove how strong the friendship we have until we ended by spending 45 minutes over the phone. Talking about life with laughter in between.

This heart-bounding moment also happened in another scene.

I’m currently having a three good year of friendship with a dear friend whose background and culture are totally different. If you read this blog, you might know how many times I’ve mentioned his name. As a genuine kind-hearted human being who I respect from the day we became friends, he taught me that our friendship must be mutual, it has to be two ways of love, respect, understanding and also, communication.

There were few monumental moments I could count as true-friendship bond. And all of them meant a lot to me. He was there when I failed on something precious which I had waited for so long. The worse part it had happened twice. The first one was deep while the second torn me to pieces. I had fallen for this particular “thing”. He might not realize how much his text at 2am when all my fingers were frozen while writing a text of failure meant to me. He might not realize his voice recording to cheering me up after the second fail was something I keep till date. Even though he always there when I need to talk, I feel something different recently.

The way I look at myself as someone who always asks his time to listen to my problem but never heard any of his, it takes me back to the meaning of mutual friendship. Do we really have this friendship? Or am I become demanding? As I write this sentence I will be honest and raw on this. I just feel that mutual friendship doesn’t really work both ways. If this is a weight scale, the left side is heavier than the right. I might be fallacious.

But it’s bothering me sometimes if it’s not most of the times.

I used to take steps back when I was just about to call him for something just because he was the correct person to talk to. I’m sure if I did, he won’t mind picking my call. As we both are getting busier this day, I could include this as a perfect reason to leave the phone call hanging for months. I am the kind of person who always asks for permission by text if I need to speak to my best friends, except there is something bad happens. Apart from that, it’s rude to make a call directly, this just me. It applies to him as well, particularly he is European. There is such a culture of politeness which is different from how Asian would take. As much as I seriously take this reason of politeness, the phone call never happened. I was wondering perhaps a part of me was trying to test the mutual friendship from his side by not making a call or sending a text.

From the day I had a will to ask a question till a month, he later sent me a text written in German. And this is the funny thing. I thought about him an hour before I saw his text on my iPhone wanted to find out if he was doing great. But my fingers stopped typing so I went back to a thought of “is this mutual?”. Funny enough, I still keep the question behind with a vocabulary of touchy on it.

Till date, I’m still learning the state of this friendship. Perhaps, I should appreciate more to kind gesture as simple as a text of how are you after a while and count it as proof.

I do intensely cherish this precious bond though there are still many insecure feelings like, I never know how long this friendship would last.

Divide Blue

 

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There was one colour popped out in my mind when I was about to repainting my room. It is one of my comfort colours after black and white; dark grey. I always find it classy and soothing. But I changed my mind.

Dark blue came as an option and ended with a colour accident. I got the blue (well, I didn’t go to get the paint. I wish I could that day), the blue was okay, it was quite dark but bright enough for a room. I worried if it was too dark it wouldn’t bring a good mood in the morning when the sunshine falls on it.



I always found the white before was great cause it was easy on the eye, versatile, and clean. Okay, the day to apply the blue I had to face one issue: it was not enough for one wall. I just wanted only one wall and the rest would be repainted on white. Long story short, I got somebody to get one more tin with the wrong blue which was ridiculous (he didn’t even bring the code to the store, Lord). I sent him again and got the same blue. Walla ;), the same blue looked different when I was applying on the first blue. Another issue. Problem solved by quick thinking: I mixed the wrong + the right blue and ended looking like the blue on Ed Sheeran’s Divide Album cover.

I found it was such a step from my comfort colour. It doesn’t look bad, does it?



I have two things to do every Sunday morning for this room: cleaning is compulsory, rearranging those things every week refreshes the look.


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Lazy Breakfast


When I was checking the date I took these photographs, I gasped a bit, ten days ago?


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I actually woke up with a will to make my day happier. That morning was cold after rain but thank God, the sunshine came through my windows. Of course I dreamt to be on the bed for a whole day but again, no free lunch.

 

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I do love preparing my breakfast like a normal human being. If I have to leave my apartment for work outside like 2 to 3 days you could imagine how bad I have to manage my meal. As long as I have a nine-to-six schedule that day, I’ll start building my mood with a cup of hot coffee, decent breakfast, favorite songs on my playlist called Morning Boosters.

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Two Nights At

Back to where I spent two nights in November last year.


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Even this sounds mainstream but Ubud would always be one of my favourite getaway destinations.

Ubud always has my heart. Last year after I had a very hectic, if this is another word to replace a hard time, I flew to Bali for five days and decided to respect myself by ran from affordable hostel to a little fancy private room. It’s called AIR Ubud, an artistic Airbnb (it was a second time after my first try of Airbnb in Cape Town) located at Jalan Kanjeng. It’s near downtown Ubud, but getting there a bit tricky at the beginning. Thanks to the host whose quick response was helpful.

I stayed only for two nights which later I felt the regret. Not because it was too short, but my plan to do nothing was totally failed. I was on vacation but had to do some design concepts for one renowned brand for their annual biggest concert. I had no choice but did the work for the office. Although the room was so cosy and gave me good energy to finish the work, I finally squeezed myself for having a me-time.

My me-time was set on the last night till the next morning before I checked out. I finished my work early morning on day 2 (ofc after I did sleep for three to four hours only) so I could have my nap. If you see the bed, you’ll understand why it was calling my name. Taking a proper nap when I’m having a vacation is one of the favourite things to do. Walking to Ubud downtown looking for lunch was the next thing I did, it wasn’t long of course cause it’s mandatory to relax in a beautiful place like AIR. Why bother leaving your room?

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I later had to tell myself on my way back coming to a restaurant nearby. I had Balinese mixed rice with a view the day before, rather than I came back with nothing, just in case I starved at midnight, I packed vegan fried rice (vegan, me? not now :)). It’s not funny to look for food while the location is a bit remote. The day became dark and as far as I remember, walking through the rice field was relaxing. Near the alley I had to pass, I found a torchlight rayed a spot on the ground which later I knew it was a little frog. Marian, a friendly lady from Spain, was the one who answered my curiosity about what someone did with a frog. From there, we spoke and shared some stories until the next day we had breakfast at the Cat Cafe. She travelled to some cities in Indonesia then (she was in Borneo to see Orang Utan. I should consider putting Borneo for a future destination).

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I came back to my room, having a packed dinner on the floor when I was on Skype with Andreas, and the rain was pouring outside.

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“I did find myself feeling comfortable when I stepped my feet in front of my room for the first time, I said, “it’s perfect”. Perhaps, I should have stayed one night longer”

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Canggu

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I was in between two things for the rest of my stay in Surabaya. Staying in the house, shopping some last minute needs, coffee hopping with friends. Or quick escape for the sound of the ocean, sunset at the beach, a little fancy food, alone. I had dreamed of spending three days in Lombok since my new friend, Hayyi, stays in Lombok. But that time, it didn’t go well. In my fickle heart, I picked the second option to Canggu: booked a return ticket and a $5 new hostel two days before departure (counted as a little present for myself after I passed my German Prüfung).

I did mostly nothing: napping, 5pm to the beach, 7am sitting at Avocado Factory and Shady Shack on the next day, cookies ice cream at Kynd Community, affordable Javanese food in between, looking at all those strangers with dogs happily running around by the water at the beach, back to Pison for a hot cappuccino before flying back to Surabaya.

The most favorite part of my quick escape: witnessing the glory of the sunset while thinking about life.


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“I came as the first. It has a rice field right in front of the small space where I ended sitting with a bowl of greens, vegan chocolate mousse, and a cup of matcha made in heaven. It was a perfect way to start a morning in Canggu.”

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“I sat alone on the balcony at Pison. An afternoon wind was quietly chilled. I opened a book and read a few pages, I looked at my wrist watch when I finished with my meal and left a little coffee in the cup.”

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“Two nights at Socialista Hostel Canggu where it was easy to reach the nearest beach and felt the breeze of the ocean. Thinking about life, about most things I experienced lately. That was the main reason why I grabbed my bag and did a very short runaway”

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“Updating sugar dose on one fine afternoon at Kynd”

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“At Shady Shack, I had a blueberry smoothie bowl with pineapple smoothie on my last morning after reading some pages of a current book I was having. The sunshine was bright before turned into grey with a little drizzle from above”

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“And I got what I imagined and expected for, two sunsets on my two evenings at the beach. When I was staring at the gift from the universe, I  felt there are so many things to be grateful for this worth living life.”

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Einem Deutschkurs Und Neue Freunde

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Soll ich im Deutsch schreiben? 

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I’ve been neglecting this blog for almost two months (that’s pretty bad) but right now I’d like to share some new life updates!

If you scroll to the last two posts, you’ll find “This time around, my time would be a little longer”. That means I have three months in Indonesia to be exact. Having such an opportunity to stay longer to finish a few things I’d been dreaming of comes to two things. One, you’ll never have enough time if you can’t cleverly manage to accomplish your goals. I did try from the first day I arrived even though it wasn’t such a pleasant time. I was sick from the day I travelled until it got worse when landed. I had to tweak my plan for three nights stay at the hotel from “I just wanted to laze a whole day as a reward” to “holy crap all my systems are weak, a fluffy white blanket couldn’t even warm me up”. Two, to enjoy every second of the day is a wise thing.

I do realize every time it comes to end: it is always hard. Here’s the middle of April, that means I would soon back to reality. Do I feel a bit maudlin? Yes, I do. Am I ready to be back to my daily routine? Well, I have to.

There are three major things that I put as goals for these three months. Thankfully, two have accomplished and one is still on. What is still on? It’s for my tiny house! Why was I so excited even though it was quite exhausting? Because I’d neglected it for more than two years ;|. I have finally started building the back part of the house where my little kitchen would be, my little ‘hopefully it would turn simply stylish’ bathroom as I thought, and the remaining space where I would have my dining room. Then what were the two?

The two were some mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. One, I finally made a spiritual trip to the holy Mecca last month which I would share the story on a separate post. Another one was I finally attended a German course while I’m here! It was a very basic A1 course which made me excitingly realize, learning a new language was stressfully fun. Stressful in a very good way, ofc.

The course itself was 4+ hours von Montag bis Freitag for almost two months. The class for me personally was perfect: there were just 9 students and that made our Super Intensive Class became very intensive. Apart from the main thing I liked when learning German (read: when I had to push my brain to follow the lessons, it’s a good thing when your brain is always being challenged, isn’t it?) I felt glücklich for all the eight new friends in the class and our teacher, Frau Yusi. All of us were pretty close and that was a great vibe if I may say.

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On the first day I came, I was quite surprised by the fact that most of them already had their plans on what to reach in Germany. That was impressive, isn’t it? If you are wondering “how about me”, I honestly thought about having my Master Degree in Germany (fingers crossed) in the next two years (Ich hoffe nächste Jahr! *fingerscrossedagain). So I took a chance to learn the basic which I’m still struggling on the Grammatik and German Artikels as a first step to reach later on I called my next dream. Forty-plus days have gone so fast and it led to the time we’d planned as a lovely Mittagessenzeit two days ago :)

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Rather than starting the maudlin vibe here, it’s much better to share more photographs during our time together for the sake of beautiful memory.

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I’ll miss how hilarious Firman truly is, how impatiently Hayyi to Frau Endang ;), funny words from Klein, sharing laughter with Ivan, Ratri and Frau Yusi. Oh, I couldn’t resist attaching Tika & Adit’s last photograph again, I’m surely going to miss this cute young married couple ;)

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When I woke up yesterday morning, I already missed my schedule when I was still in the course. The games in the class, stupid jokes, impromptu trips, täglich Hausaufgaben, fun times after class from culinary hunting till crazy vibe in the karaoke room (I was glad we made the time to do that, Van!), all were pretty unforgettable.

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There are so much to learn and I’m really looking forward to planning to the next grade hopefully next year. Apart from the main reason to reach the next dream to study in Germany, to be able to speak German fluently would be wunderbar. The latest thing I need to push myself on is for die Prüfung next week. Wish me luck!

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