Posted in Bucketlist, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Inspiration, Lessons Learned, note to self, South Korea, Travel

Some more Notes to self…

Yes, I’m still not over it, probably never will I… 🙂

I realized I have missed out blogging about a few more important bits which will be quite useful for me to remember for my future trips (take note, tripS 🙂) to South Korea, yes, not only to Busan, but to other parts of South Korea and probably to Japan.

I live in Manila, we don’t have spring, autumn and winter here. So if I would like to experience other seasons, the nearest that I can go to is South Korea and Japan. My first experience of spring is in Seoul in April 2011, while my first autumn experience was in Osaka & Kyoto in late November/early December of 2015. I am blessed to be able to go back to South Korea, to Busan just recently, but didn’t get to witness “autumn” colours as yet, but definitely felt the lovely autumn weather.

Spring, Seoul, 2011

Autumn, Osaka/Kyoto, 2015

It is likely that I will be going back to these countries because I love them so much for various reasons. I love the weather, the food (this alone is good enough reason for me to keep on going back), the beautiful sceneries, the courteous and disciplined people, the good quality of their products, and a whole lot more!

In every travel that we experience, we learn a thing or two, and we become a better traveler and a better person each time. The things that I learned in Europe are different from what I learned in South Korea. I have shared here some of the lessons learned during my first travel to Europe.

Today, I will be sharing some notes to self which I should remember by the time I’ll take that next trip to either Japan or South Korea.

Early November is a good time to go…

Some friends and even celebrities which I follow in Instagram went to Seoul this week and I actually wanted to go back on a whim! Their videos and photos are so beautiful, the food looks so yummy, I know they are, the weather is sooo cold, the colours are just so pretty and lovely… So I am praying and hoping to be able to go back to South Korea next year, most probably in early November, Godwillling. (The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. – Proverbs 16:9). 🙂

Bring a medium AND a small luggage

Well, I know I should always try to travel light but I’ll make an exception for these 2 countries because I honestly believe that’s it’s okay to hoard all the yummy food they have. 🙂 I wasn’t able to do this recently because I only brought my small luggage. The medium luggage will be for my grocery shopping, not for my OOTDs. My clothes and all other knickknacks should fit inside my small luggage.

When I told my friend Ina that I would be going to Busan, she requested me to buy this pack of honey butter almond, she said it’s yummy. So I bought a few packs for my family and for Ina. I didn’t try it while in Busan, had I known how good it is, I should have bought more and tried to squeeze some more inside my luggage… (I love nuts. Thank you Ina, it’s because of you that I discovered this 😍). There are other variants, which are equally yummy. I tried the mixed nuts, it’s so good too!

IMG_2734I love French Vanilla and Caramel Macchiato, so when I saw these in one of the convenience stores, I bought 1 box each, which has 8 packs inside. I should have bought more if I had more space. Now you know why it is important for me to bring a medium luggage, or maybe just 2 small luggages? Well, it depends on how long will the vacation be and how much will be my budget for food shopping. 😉 Let’s see…

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Try new drinks, both hot and cold…

As I have noted in my previous post, when in Starbucks, I should not only check out the available cards but also try their new hot and cold drinks from Day 1 of the trip so I get to try all by the end of the trip. 🙂

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Find time to check out quaint cafes (they have the cutest cafes!), other food stalls, and eat all the berries and other unfamiliar fruits as much as possible… 😉 I love berries and another thing I love about these countries is that they have the freshest fruits and veggies 🙂

Always thank and praise God, allow Him to surprise you 🙂

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you …” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I have probably said this before, but I’ll say it again, I thought 2017’s highlight would be my Europe trip, THE trip of the year, but God has His way of surprising and pampering His children in ways we couldn’t have imagined. I thank and praise God for our Busan trip as much as I praise and thank him for the Europe trip, they are both very special trips to me, cherished by my grateful, joyful heart. I give all thanks and glory to God for just blessing me with all good things. He knows I love to travel, and He delights in blessing me with wonderful experiences each time.

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Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above… – James 1:17 ESV

Posted in Bucketlist, Busan, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lagom, Lessons Learned, South Korea, Starbucks, Travel

A full-day well-spent :)

As promised, I’m back to share more of our recent Busan adventures.

IMG_2186On our second day, 15 October, it was a Sunday, Eia proposed to go on a tour via hop on hop off. We boarded the bus at around 10:40am, we didn’t get off to most of the stops because it was raining, so we just enjoyed the view from the bus.

The bus had a 15-minute stop at the Fisheries Science Museum. We just stayed inside the bus and didn’t go inside the museum, but I got a bit bored after awhile so I stepped out a bit and took some photos and videos.

The first and only stop that we all decided to hop off was in front of an outlet mall. ;P

Since it was cold, I looked for something hot to drink, I loved the berry berry tea. I love everything with berries, oh, how I miss Europe, it’s the only place I was able to eat lots of berries because it was cheap!

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Gill and Eia had some things to buy for their family/friends from some shops at the mall. Me, I bought some facial masks at the Lotte Supermarket, and some goodies too for family and friends. I bought a few packs of this Cafe Latte & Pepero Biscuit because I like anything that’s coffee-flavoured and the packaging is just too pretty!! I thought of giving them as Christmas gifts but I ended up giving them away as pasalubong. I left 1 box for me so I can try it, I loved it! I’ll hoard it next time. #notetoself ;P

I joined Gill while she was looking around. I went inside Coach with her, and I actually liked a wallet (forgot to take a photo), a pair of ballerines and sunglasses. Of course, I still found them pricey despite the big discount. ;P So as I advised in one of my posts, taking of a photo of it might do the trick, it did for me that time. 🙂 And I happily move away from them (as fast as I could). ;P

Gill and I met up with Eia in front of the mall after an hour and a half of malling. Our plan in the afternoon was to go to Nampo-dong, it’s a central commercial and shopping area, so more temptations to shop were waiting ahead of us! 🙂

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Us, while waiting for the bus 🙂

The waiting was taking quite awhile, so I took it as an opportunity to photoshoot. 😉 Thanks to my lovelies who support me, as always. Hahaha

#whenyourumbrellamatchesyourOOTD 🙂

When we arrived at Nampo-dong, it was past lunchtime, so we looked for a place to eat, one of my agenda on this trip was to try jajangmyeon (noodles with black bean sauce), I always see it in Korean series so I got curious… Eia brought Gill and I to a resto where jajangmyeon is served. Well, it was okay, I liked it with the yellow radish, I actually liked the yellow radish so much, we ate a lot, unli-side dish. 🙂 Next year, Godwilling, eating jajangmyeon will still be a part of the agenda. 🙂 I want to try eating unli-fried chicken, too. 🙂

Another agenda is to buy sunscreen, serum, lipgloss and bb/cc cream at Skinfood, my favorite Korean skincare/makeup brand. Since I am working on a budget, the challenge was to stick to it. Before going on this trip, I made an inventory of what I have at home so I would not be easily tempted to buy things which I don’t need. I said on my previous post that “Inventory is the Key.”  Well, I guess, aside from inventory, the most important factors, when you are trying to work on a budget because you want to save up and focus on the more important things, are discipline and self-control. These two go hand-in-hand and sometimes are being used interchangeably. Either way, we need both to be able to overcome temptations, including the urge to spend too much on stuff we don’t need.

Discipline –

a control gained by enforcing obedience or order
b orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior

 

Self-control – restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires

So I actually was able to buy what I intended to:

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Serum and sunscreen from Skinfood and lipgloss from Muji. I decided not to buy a bb/cc cream because I still have two tubes from HappySkin.

BUT I also bought a few more stuff…

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The saleslady at Skinfood told me that a serum works best with these two products, Essence and Cream. I thought about it many times, but I finally gave in because of the discount when I buy the package and she promised me with lots of freebies. ;P I also bought a nail polish in my current fave color, an acetone and a pretty set of nailcare.

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I only bought the green one for myself, I bought a few bottles of nail polish and gave them to some of my friends, they didn’t choose the black and white, so they are now mine. 🙂
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This nailcare set is just too pretty, I have a weakness towards pretty packaging, this looks so classy and classic to me, so I gave in. I don’t regret it at all, they’re pretty good products, I love everything about it, even the scent! Gosh, I’ve used the word “pretty” too much here, but they deserve it, right? 😉
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I bought a concealer from Muji and this makeup brush. I’ve always wanted to buy a brush like this, I first saw it from Peony Lim. 😉

Here are some of the freebies I got from Skinfood which I kept for myself. The other freebies which are not in the photo, I will give them to my aunt in the province, she likes those small stuff.

After buying the Skinfood products, we went to a very lovely cafe. I didn’t buy anything there, I just wanted to rest while Eia and Gill were across the street, looking for sports shoes for their brothers.

After awhile, I followed them to the sports store, and these two beauties called me. 🙂 I am not the sporty type, I only buy rubber shoes for running/traveling, since my current Merrell rubber shoes, the one I’m wearing on the photo are still in good shape, I restrained myself from buying a new pair. 🙂

We had a long day at Nampo-dong, on our way to the train station, Gillian showed me this, so we had to stop and Eia took these photos… Haayyy.. Nice seeing you, Oppa! 

We wrapped up the day with a super yummy dinner at a nearby Korean resto, it was past midnight already, my meal was a steaming hot beef soup, it was so yummy, and equally enjoyed the yummy unli-side dishes and fish paste.

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We enjoyed our last night together. So chilly and breezy, and so lovely as well. ♥♥♥  #gratefulbeyondwords

On my next post, I will share with you how I fared againts the Travel Challenge I imposed upon myself. So stay tuned! 😉

God’s best! 

Posted in Bucketlist, Busan, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Gratitude, Lessons Learned, Shoes, South Korea, Starbucks, Travel

Train to Busan..

errrr Trip to Busan. 🙂

Back from a very special lovely quick getaway from my lovelies, Eia & Gill, for almost 2 weeks now, but still feeling so happy just thinking about it and browsing through the photos and videos. 😀

This trip is very special because it’s my first time to Busan as well as Gillian’s, while it’s Eia’s 99th time, just kidding! ;P This trip is one of those spur of the moments’ thing. I shared how it happened in my post here. It’s special because it’s the shortest out of the country I’ve experienced so far, we basically just wanted to experience the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), had hoped to see some of our actor-crushes, half-wishing Gong Yoo, So Ji Sub, So Joong Ki, amongst others, would pop before our expectant eyes & ♥♥♥. 🙂 We also just wanted to eat Korean food (street food included!), watch movies, relax by the beach, and shop, a little. 🙂

Before the trip, I thought of using this hashtag #TRIPnotTrainToBusan, but ended up using a more fitting one…

#kdRamaloveliesGoEstoBusan = R, G and E = our initials are capitalized ♥♥♥

We arrived in Busan late night of 13 October, on our way to our accommodation, we were already hungry and feeling cold, so eating some hot and spicy Korean street food was the best thing to do, we ate one of my faves, Tteokbokki (rice & fish cake). Because I’m too happy and hungry at the same time, I only took a video of us (via IG stories) eating while standing with our luggage, but failed to save it. 😦 So here’s a photo from google…

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Tteokbokki – first meal in Busan … just looking at this photo makes me so hungry …. aigoo….

The next morning, Saturday, the first order of the day was to eat brekky at Bread & Cake. When I went inside the patisserie/boulangerie, it felt like I was back in Paris, lots of very pretty breads and pastries. I ordered a croissant, a cheesecake with fig on top, cappuccino, and took home some madeleines too. 🙂 All were very yummy!!! 😀 I loved the cool weather so much, the fresh air, and the experience of having coffee (and pastries) alfresco with my lovelies. ♥ #justpriceless #gratefulbeyondwords

After brekky, we went to buy our movie tickets to watch one of the BIFF entries. We’re lucky that there was no queue and one of the movies we hoped to watch entitled “Old Love” still had available tickets.

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On our way to BIFF, we saw a big billboard of Oppa Gong Yoo at Shinsegae Mall, so we had to stop and take photos, of course. 🙂

I had hoped to be able to watch atleast 2 or 3 movies but our limited time didn’t allow it. It’s okay, we’ll make up next year, Godwilling. 🙂 While we were waiting for the 2pm showing, we went malling and tried to look for some beauty products which our friends requested from us to buy.

After watching the movie, we headed to Haeundae Beach for a Meet & Greet session, there were many Meet & Greet sessions but we only decided to witness one given our limited time. We saw some actors upclose, but unfortunately, Gillian and I haven’t watched any of their movies or series, but it was still a unique & fun experience to actually go to the Beach where BIFF events are held each year. 🙂

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We tried to have a decent group photo and requested a friendly looking lady to take our photos but an uninvited gentleman decided to join us. Oh well! 😀

Our trip wouldn’t be complete without the “Grilled Pork Belly BBQ (samgyeupsal) with lots of side dishes” experience. Korean food is sooooo yummy and comforting… haaaayyyy 🙂 I’m feeling hungry again. ;P

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And these are some of the food that I’ve had during the trip and I’m actually missing them so badly… Pls take me back to Korea, now na! 🙂

Before I dream of these yummies, I better sleep now, I’ll share more of our Busan adventures tomorrow. 😉 Promise!

Goodnight, friends! Kamsahamnida (thank you) for reading my post. 🙂

PS. I hope I will be able to share some videos from our trip but my current subscription plan for this site won’t allow it. I’m still thinking if I should upgrade my plan… For now, let’s just enjoy the photos. 😉

Posted in Bucketlist, Busan, Friendship, Gifts, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, South Korea, Travel

Travel Challenge ;)

😉 I’m taking this challenge upon myself for the first time.

I thought THE Europe trip would be THE only trip I’ll experience this year. But of course, God always has better plans. 🙂 He delights in blessing and surprising His children, and I do love surprises so I am one happy daughter. 😉

You probably know that I love Korea, of course, the one in the South. 🙂 I’ve been in Seoul only once in 2011 but my soul longs for it since then. I have hoped to return in 2012 and the following years but it didn’t happen, just not meant to be back then…

It was at this dinner for Mark’s birthday celebration when I remembered to ask Eia when is she going back to Korea, she goes there atleast yearly. I asked because I would request her to buy my favorite sunscreen which she bought for me early this year. She said she would go back in October and invited us to go with her to Busan, she said it’s just a weekend trip. So Gill and I entertained the thought quite quickly, a few days later we had our flights booked! 🙂

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As of this writing, we only have a month and 4 days before that #TRIPnotTrainToBusan. 🙂 I’ll post more about it after that quick getaway. So before and during this trip, I thought of doing some sort of a travel challenge. Since this trip is not “planned,” I have to be within budget this time, well I should always travel within budget but since it was my first time in Europe, I didn’t know much what to expect and how much to spend so I think I kinda went over the top. ;P Don’t worry, I learned a lot so the future trips would be better, budget wise. 😉

For the #TRIPnotTrainToBusan, we only have 3 full days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday). The target overall budget is Php 30k, that includes the airfare (almost 10k), accommodation (around 6k), visa processing (Php 800), so I only have around Php 13k for food, transportation and shopping(?!). So for 3 days, my budget is around Php 4k per day which is fairly decent. ;P

So the challenge(s) is keeping within the budget and travelling light. This seems so easy, but for me, believe me, it’s tough, and it’s an understatement. I have travelled a few times and I have to admit, I always, that means without fail, felt that I spent more than I should (because I didn’t set a budget for each trip) so I wouldn’t actually know how I fared. For the Europe trip alone, I think I shopped more before the trip than during the actual trip, I bought camera, luggage, clothes, shoes, etc. When it comes to packing light, I’m still not good at it, I only have a couple of short trips which I packed just enough ensembles, but for most trips, I overpack, period.

For this trip and the trips to follow, I hope to get better as time passes by. So I’ll start with this short trip, if I do well this time, it is likely I’ll become a better traveler in no time. 😉 Well, I believe, I’ll become better at this, I know I can, always by God’s grace. 🙂 Pls cheer me on, okay? 😉

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Japan trip with Eia & Gill (December 2015)

 

“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” ~ Matthew Karsten

“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

77++

When I travel, I am happy with the reality that I am with family and/or friends, and we will share lots of wonderful memories together in a different place. That’s why I only have very few musts – must see, must eat, must buy – the rest of the trip, I happily go with the flow, go where my family or friends wish to go or what they wish to do.

For my recent trip to Europe, my dream destination, I’ve been listing my musts even before I bought the ticket for it, that’s why when it’s already actually happening, my list came in (so) handy. 🙂

I posted this list in my previous post, I was able to do 12 out of 19. I am very happy because the 7 things which I wasn’t able to do were replaced by 77++ more beautiful experiences (trip to Bellagio, Lake Como / Lugano, Switzerland / Brussels & Gent in Belgium) which I wouldn’t trade for anything else. 😀

France

  • Eiffel Tower – ✔
  • Eat macarons at Laduree Pierre Herme – ✔
  • Coffee at pavement cafes (done in Italy) – ✔
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book – ✔ not in Paris, but in Notting Hill, London

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato! – ✔✔✔
  • Leaning tower of Piza – ✔✔✔ Kim and I even climbed up the Pisa and we were stunned by the gorgeous view from the top!
  • Colosseum – ✔✔ We saw it both day time and night time, in both times, absolutely picturesque, right Caye? 🙂
  • Buy leather bag in Florence San Gimignano – ✔ So happy to find a very lovely but not pricey brown leather bag

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel (and auntie too!)- ✔✔✔ I was happiest in London because I was able to spend time with them, so love them!! ♥♥♥
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids – ✔✔✔ Happy to catch up with Bong and Iris, such precious time to be with friends 🙂
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon – hopefully next time I’ll get to watch this
  • Eat at monocle cafe – no more time, maybe next time
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – ✔✔ Yes! We went to Notting Hill bookstore and the apartment where the character of Hugh Grant lives 🙂 I loved the bookstore so much, if only I have the space on my luggage for those lovely hardbound books…
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set – nope! hopefully next time!
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉 – she was in Miami when I was in London, not meant to be ;P
  • Photo op with real peonies – ✔ no photos with peonies but I got to see them in real life (I think in Milan and Rome) So beautiful!!!
  • Umbrella park at Bath – nope! next time 🙂
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir – not available, guess only few were released
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room – nope, next time, too!

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I thank and praise God for the 77++ unfathomable beauty that He showed us and made us experience in this trip. I trust He has much more wonderful things in-store for me. 🙂

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Lessons Learned, Travel

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled.

Image-1Back from my dream travel for almost a week, I wouldn’t want to miss this chance to glorify God for causing it to happen.

A prayer is answered, a dream is fulfilled. 🙏🙌 My 💖 is full. 😊
Europe is my dream destination. I had it in my heart in my late teens. Can’t remember how and why, I guess it’s one of those dreams that God has planted in my 💖.
I’ve been open about it, family and friends know about this dream. I believe in the power of proclaiming your dreams, believing God to will it in His time and prepare for it as you wait for Him to make it happen.
Everything is kept in my 💖, lessons learned included.🙋 The photos and my nonexistent photography skill couldn’t make justice as to how I beautifully see it, feel it, and reminisce of every single precious moment I experienced, every single person I spent time with and those who I briefly encountered all throughout the trip. I am grateful (beyond words) to GOD who give great gifts to His children (James 1:17). 🙌He has blessed us, spoiled us, showed us marvelous, unfathomable beauty and kindness (yes, still exists) in the world (despite all the scary things happening around), and protected us.
I’m back to my normal life, but I am equally grateful and happy because this is where God wants me to be at this time. Bloom🌻 where you’re planted, right? 😍
God knows I will always want to go back to Europe, He knows what’s in my 💖 but I trust His will & want His best for my life, far more than my version of what’s best for me. ☺
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬
#oldsoul®
#GODspoils🙌🙌🙌

#LivingTHEdream💞💖

#gratefulbeyondwords💞💖

Posted in Bucketlist, Europe, Good gifts, Travel

Europe…we’ll see you soon!

FullSizeRenderIf you are a loved one or a very dear friend of mine, you sure know that Europe is a big dream of mine. I actually have 3 big dreams, only God and me know what these 3 dreams are. One of these big dreams is to live, work and retire in Europe with my family. In 35 days, I will get to see, smell, taste, feel and experience Europe in the flesh. 🙂

I think I was in my early 20s when I started dreaming of travelling to Europe, it was so far-fetched back then because promo fares were still unheard of. Thanks to the changing times, travel has become affordable to many.

In 2010, mi amiga Lianne and I promised to each other that we would go on our Europe trip, we were taking Spanish language classes during that time, the agreed year was 2015. Fast-forward to 2015, mi amiga got married and had her first baby. As for me, tax issue hit the Filipino staff in our company, we had to pay our taxes and had to push back all our travel plans with friends.

In early 2015, I got promoted and transferred back to my first department in ADB, OGC. I met new set of friends. My default travel buddies had different travel plans so I had no one to go with me to Europe. In my new set of friends in OGC, Caye and Kim were keen on going to Europe, my prayers were answered, thank you, Lord! Each of us has different reasons for wanting this Europe trip but God has caused us to be each other’s travel buddy. Thank you so much, Lord. 😊

Last year, a few days before my birthday, Caye, Kim, and I booked our ticket via Qatar Airways! We started out counting from 200 plus days and now we’re down to 35 days!

As of this writing, we already have our Schengen visa. We are hoping to get our UK visa in early May. I have practiced packing my clothes, I will edit it some more but I think I’m 90% good. We’ll be meeting a couple of friends and we’ll visit my cousin Jel and her adorable family in London.

So far, here’s my personal list of the things I want to do/experience subject to Caye & Kim’s approval 😊:

France

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Eat macarons at Laduree
  • Coffee at pavement cafes
  • Buy Little Prince hardbound book

Italy

  • Pasta, pizza & gelato!
  • Leaning tower of Piza
  • Colosseum
  • Buy leather bag in Florence

UK

  • Bond with Jel, Jelan & Mariel
  • Visit Iris, Bong & Kids
  • Watch a theater play – Miss Saigon
  • Eat at monocle cafe
  • Go to UK landmarks, Notting Hill – Friday morning
  • Buy twinning teas, ‘after 8’ mint chocolate, Jane Austen’s cloth-bound classic set
  • Meet Peony Lim 😉
  • Photo op with real peonies
  • Umbrella park at Bath
  • Get Jane Austen pound coins as souvenir
  • National Gallery via Trafalgar Square- Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in Room 43

My hashtags for this trip are ready too:

#GODspoils®️

#LivingTHEd®eam

#®️yahINeu®️ope2017

Before we reached to this point, we had gone through a lot of challenges and loss along the way, but in all of these, God remained faithful. He caused us to endure everything and believe that this Europe dream is not only our dream but most importantly, HIS dream for Caye, Kim and me. 😊

And we are too grateful and blessed to experience the fulfillment of God’s dream for us.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: – Ecclesiastes 3:1

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with the answer to my prayers, my lovelies, Kim & Caye

♥♥♥