Personal, travel

Rüdesheim, der zweite und dritte Tag.

After a terrible sleep, we went down for breakfast to find that our friends had bought us presents… some super cute fluffy, penguin socks on our table, which are perfect for this cold weather! I absolutely love breakfast in Germany. It’s one of the best things on earth.

We walked around the Christmas market, which during the daytime was much quieter and definitely more enjoyable!

Then we spent an hour in this fantastic museum called RheinWelt, which mainly consists of German Riesling wines, from vineyards along the river Rhein. You buy tokens for €20, which allows you to try wines, dispensed from a special storage tank. Such a fantastic idea! They also had beautiful artwork and a lovely deli, where you could not only eat, but also buy gifts to take home. I was 110% in my element! Trying wines, keeping tasting notes…

We spent the afternoon and evening in different towns at Christmas markets, wine houses and then we had dinner at this beautiful old restaurant / winery with our friends, and their friends.

Today, we woke up at 2, 3, 5 and 7am. Each time to check 1) if the snow was falling and 2) how much. At 7am our Dad banged on the door whispering “snow, snow!” So we jumped up and headed out within about 5 minutes. We drove up into the hills as the snow stormed down around us. There was SO MUCH of it.

It was absolutely beautiful! We stopped to buy fresh bread and coffee, came back to get ready for the day before jumping on the train to Wiesbaden, to go shopping! We had a few hours to look around the shops, before having a buffet lunch at Karstadt, one of my sister’s favourite childhood things to do!

my new friend, the camel

I had a power nap this afternoon (it was AMAZING!) and then we went on the cable car / Seilbahn as a family. The views over the town were just beautiful. Absolutely stunning!

We had to warm up with a slightly odd-tasting coffee, before wandering through the Christmas lanes again! Running back to the hotel to put on another pair of socks, touch up my make up and dash back out for dinner!

We went to a restaurant we’ve been going to for at least 25 years, with friends who we’ve known our whole lives. Our parents have been friends for 32 years, the eldest ‘children’ are 27, the second two are 25 and the youngest is 20. The last time we were all together was over 6 years ago! But we were chatting for 3 hours, as if we only saw each other last week. The friendship between us is like gold dust! So rare and wonderful. I only wish we saw each other more often…

P.s check out my new shoes a few photos up… they are amazing! From the German company Rieker.

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Photography, travel

Holiday resumed. Tuesday in Taipei City.

Last night was one of the most solid sleeps I’ve had in 13 days since arriving in Taipei. Five and a half hours of solid, peaceful sleep. Only to be jolted awake with stabbing pains in my stomach, but hey ho! This is the life of (suspected) endo! Anyway, this is not about my pains and what-nots today. This is a positive, happy, vibe-y post about how much I love my life at the moment. Read along!

Stunning morning in TianMu

How should you spend a day in Taipei? Well, I started my day by talking to my favourite person, just as he was going to bed on the other side of the world, and headed off to uni with my sister as she returned her graduation gown and hat – exciting times ahead for the newly graduated! 

Moving out day at NTNU – great memories of my student days!
Beautiful art on the walls outside NTNU

We wanted to grab smoothies from a place called Vegg Out, on ShiDa road, but when we arrived it was completely packed and the queue was to the door. 

Instead, I took my sister to Ooh Cha Cha, one of the coolest cafes I’ve ever been to, and totally vegan! Located on NanChang Road, just a few minutes walk from Guting MRT station, this small cafe serves plant-based meals from Chickpea Smash on Sourdough, to a range of burgers to salad and hummus bowls. They are absolutely delicious and go perfectly with any of the yummy smoothies they make too, my favourite being the Acai Twist! 

Falafel burger, hummus beet bowl and orange juice

From here my sister and I walked around the corner to catch the 278 bus towards the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, in XinYi district (only a 20 minute walk to Taipei 101), and on our way there we stopped at ICE MONSTER for mini ice lollies that cost us NT$30 each. 

Mango and strawberry lollies

They were actually pretty cute and in 36°C and 87% humidity, we needed that cool-down to keep us going! We also had a quick pit-stop at the Hello Kitty shop where we snacked on typical Taiwanese pineapple cakes, and mini waffles!

Hello Kitty, we love you!

The park has some beautiful, quaint little cafes and temple-style shelters scattered around, vending machines and rubbish bins, making it a lovely place to visit as it’s peaceful and extremely clean. 



The Eslite building is fantastic and absolutely not to be missed. With four floors of souvenirs, handmade gifts, stationery, teas, candles, clothing and so much more! You must spend some time here. One of my favourite discoveries of my holiday was made here today. 


A pop-up shop of Cafe Solé serving pour over coffee from Taiwan’s A Li mountain (阿里山) – for NT$130 not only did I receive nearly two cups of coffee, but I watched this amazing barista grind the beans and filter the coffee in front of me, letting me smell the coffee throughout the stages. For a coffee obsessor like me, it was wonderful! And delicious coffee as well. 


After an hour or so of wandering through the individual stalls, we began walking to Taipei 101, stopping st various points along the way to take silly photos, or in most cases, stop at the dreaded traffic lights! 

Meimei 妹妹
Jiejie 姐姐

We ended up at Street Churros, which considering how many issues I have with my stomach, I definitely should not have eaten, they were absolutely amazing! Hot churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce… is there anything better?! 


Followed by a little wander through ATT4Fun mall and looked at all the clothes, trying them on, then putting them back as we certainly couldn’t afford them. 


As my feet blistered and head throbbed from lack of water today, we made our way home on the MRT. (Taking a few photo booth snapshots before we left) 


Oh my god. That cold shower was the best welcome home after being on my feet for 9 hours, and I spent the evening eating rice cakes and watching Shanghai Noon with my little sister. 

Feeling very grateful for having such a wonderful, positive day.

Taipei, I love you.

Food, travel

Vegans in Taipei

The two weeks before my holiday started I decided to try out being vegan. It was tough some days. All I wanted were crisps or chocolate, but on the whole I felt pretty energised and healthy.

Since arriving in Taipei I don’t think I’ve had an entire day without eating something I shouldn’t have. My body is rebelling. I’m feeling sluggish, exhausted, grouchy and sick.

Tonight however, I decided to be healthy!


 I raided the local Night Market food stalls for some fresh fruit and veg to make up a little vegan dinner. 

Avocado, tomato, onion, sweet corn, mango and chilli – my favourite mix!

travel

ShiLin Night Market

Oh the joys of growing up in Taipei and having a night market like this as your weekend hang out. 

However, before I continue I would like to point out the biggest difference about this place… NO MORE PHOTO BOOTHS. Y’all know what I’m talking about. Those out-of-this-world, state of the art, Japanese photobooths which for NT$200 you would get about an hours worth of photo taking, picture decorating time and having sticker-photo keepsakes forever. It’s true, they no longer exist. Talk about devastating.

Fortunately, for those of you who don’t remember, or never experienced such excitement, Shilin Night Market (士林夜市) is buzzing with locals and the occasional foreigner from about 5pm through to the early hours of the morning. During the week it’ll be 11/12, on the weekends places stay open until around 1am.You’ll find quirky fashion items, millions of phone cases, socks, earrings, handbags, silly claw machines, balloon-bursting games and local, authentic street stalls! 

You can take the Red line MRT and either walk down from ShiLin station, or get off at JianTian, which leads you into the very heart of the market.
It gets busy! Go with the flow, be prepared for the occasional scooter and if you see the food sellers move promptly, the police are probably on the way and you need to be careful, in case you get barged into during the frantic dispersal!

It’s a great place to spend the evening and a must-see when in Taipei! 


travel

Taipei Travelling

When I say travelling, what I really mean is staying undercover as much as possible because this monsoon weather is absolutely horrific. So, I haven’t taken any decent photos or gone anywhere crazy yet.

So until I have a blog-worthy post, enjoy a few of the photos I have managed to take.
At the fantastic coffee shop Milkglider – I’m in awe of these baristas. They are insane!!


Feasting at our favourite restaurant, Kunming Islamic Restaurant. Address: No 26, Lane 81, Fushing North Road


All together again after 10 months apart!


Eddy’s Cantina in TienMu! Eat Mexican, Drink Craft.

 

Personal, Sheffield Life

Thriving Thursday.

What a rebel I am, not setting my alarm last night.

Luckily, I woke up early enough and managed to get myself ready in enough time and make myself some lunch and snacks. #GoClaire

I had my listening Chinese lecture in some maze of a building (Bartholome House) and it really was quite ridiculous. I must admit I struggled with it. Half the time I didn’t know what the lady was going on about, but I’ll get there.
Then I went to the job and volunteering fair with my lovely friend Maddy, put my email down for some great organisations.
 
Working hard.
Working hard.
We decided to have lunch, ate potato wedges and sat in the sunshine on the restaurant balcony and it was just beeeeeeeeeeeeeautiful. 
Maddy's were covered in cheese and bacon #omg
Maddy’s were covered in cheese and bacon #omg
Speaking class wasn’t too bad at all, the lady was two years younger than me. It’s insane, but she’s so sweet and quietly spoken. She said my pronunciation was excellent and I could even move up a level if I wanted to.
Then I went and wondered around town, looking for ‘Never Let Me Go‘ but Waterstone’s wanted £9.99 and WHSmith had none. Instead, I did something wonderfully exciting.
I have signed up to sponsor the most gorgeous little guide puppy called Dasher and he is just beautiful. I can’t wait to get all of my puppy updates!
Signing Up!
Signing Up!
Then I went to the One World cafe afternoon event, which is aimed at international students but hey, I’m pretty international. I turned up alone. (SO not something I would do). Met a really nice Japanese girl called Yuki, then we met Eduardo and Duman, and then we were joined by the lovely Taiwanese Jenny. We all just sat and drank coffee, ate cake and biscuits and laughed at the most random of things. Then we all did a quick facebook add. Such good fun!
Coffee, Tea, Cupcakes, Bourbons and new friends x
Coffee, Tea, Cupcakes, Bourbons and new friends x
Rushed off to babysit the most adorable little girl called Annie. She is unbelievably cute and even tucks her self in at night, with about 5 bears, tigers and kitties. 
Watching Frozen together
Watching Frozen together
Came home and had fajitas and a bit of a movie night with the housemate ladies, of course we watched Eastenders, Family Guy and finally 50 ways to kill your mammy. Talk about hilarious.
This was the best midnight snack.
This was the best midnight snack.
I am having the best time I’ve ever had in my life.
I’m just so stupidly happy.
                                  xo