Thursday, 7 November 2013

Food in Madrid

Living in London, I rarely eat seafood anymore as it tends to be quite expensive and not very good, but being half Italian I am constantly craving all the seafood in the world, especially if it's cooked in a Mediterranian style. Well Madrid fulfilled all those cravings!

1€ tapas at the mercado de san Miguel
Eating out in Madrid is really really cheap. Ok not as cheap as Hong Kong's $13 congee or noodles, but for Western Europe, it's cheap, especially in comparison to Italy who is essentially Spain's long lost brother. In many of the cafes/restaurants they had lunch deals for 10 which included an appetizer, main course, dessert and a drink. The food wasn't that great in these places and tended to be quite basic (salads, paella, soup for appetizers. Chicken escalopes, fried fish or steaks for mains and then flan, ice cream or store bought mousses for dessert), but it was still a good meal, and a very good price.

At one of these restaurants.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Spotted on street style during LFW! (and day 5 of LFW)

So while casually browsing some of the streetstyle snaps from LFW last month, I managed to stumble upon some snaps of me (and my friend Claire!)

Here are some of them

Courtesy of Vogue

Courtesy of Refinery 29
Courtesy of Adorn London

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

LFW Day 4 : Burberry and Ji Cheng


The day I was waiting for and dreaming about for a month finally came! 

We took a taxi to Kensington Gardens, and were dropped off right in front of the Royal Albert Hall. What happened afterwards was an absolutely SURREAL experience. The second we stepped out of the cab and waited to cross the road to get into the cordoned off path into the massive glass house set up in the middle of Kensington Gardens, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was taking photos of us. Random passerbys on iphones, people with digital cameras, DSLRs, and once we entered the cordoned off path, all we could hear was the incessant clicking of the cameras which lined up on the sides of the path, and all I could think about is DO NOT FALL (as my friend Claire was walking SO quickly and falling in my 6.5 inch heels in front of all the press would've been SO bad.). I can safely say now that I made it to the show without falling, I did almost trip a few times, but managed to steady myself!

Monday, 16 September 2013

LFW Day 3 : Eugene Lin, Paul Smith and Eugene Lin afterparty

Just another windy, cold and rainy day in Landan town today. (How I miss sweating my balls off in the Hong Kong heat!) Not too much of a hectic day today so I didn't pass out at 9pm like yesterday!

Today's Outfit

Coat : Vintage (1970s custom tailored in Hong Kong)
Dress : H&M
Bag : Vintage Chanel
Ring made from Vintage buttons from Milan
Necklace from Hong Kong

My lovely friend Claire lent me her beautiful vintage chanel bag which her grandmother left her.

Eugene Lin

Sunday, 15 September 2013

LFW Day 2 : Lug von Siga, Zeynep Tosun,Liz Black, Alessia Prekop and Sheme launch

Wow. Guess they were right about fashion week being tiring! My feet are destroyed from my shoes and my arms are destroyed by my hand bag but man, was it worth it!

Jacket : Vintage
Jumper : Boutique in Italy
Skirt : ASOS
Bag : Vintage Fratelli Rossetti
Shoes: Boutique in Hong Kong

So yesterday I got to see 4 shows at the Freemason's centre for the Fashion Scout showcase. The first show I saw was Lug Von Siga.

Lug Von Siga

Designed by the Turkish designer Gul Agis, this collection was inspired by the political issues in Turkey and the influence of tribal attitudes in expressing anger within. 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Back in London - LFW Day 1 : Corrie Nielsen "The Forbidden Liasons" show

At 5 my plane from Hong Kong arrived in London, at 8 I got home and by 12:30 I was already running my way through the tube in heels to get to the Connie Nielsen show at the Mayfair hotel.

Today was truly a bit of a disastrous day. I topped up and purchased my travel card on the wrong oyster card, I purchased the wrong travel card, for some reason my laptop's time was one hour behind and so I only had 50 minutes to get ready and get to the show, it was raining, there was traffic. My god i'm surprised I still have a full head of hair and haven't slit my wrists yet!

Luckily I got there on time. Here are some photos!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Things to do in Kazan, Russia

Having a month in a city really does give you time to fully explore it and see everything you can. Here is a list of my favourite things to do in Kazan, if you ever get a chance to visit!

The Soviet Lifestyle Museum (Музей Социалистического Быта) 

A museum like no other. This is going to make me seem very bad, but the truth is, this was the only museum I went to see in Kazan. Yes, terrible of me. It's just the beach always seemed like a better idea... and I wanted to get a tan!

This charming little museum is the only one of it's kind in Russia. It is a fun and very interactive little museum where you can try clothes, hats and even toys from the Soviet Era. This little museum is absolutely cluttered with artifacts and it was very interesting to see mother's reminisce on the past and explain to their children about the era they grew up in. 

The owner/curator of the museum was a very nice guy, who seemed very passionate about his job and came around to show us how some of the toys were played. Truly a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it! It even has a very nice selection of authentic and replica soviet items (badges, lighters etc.) which make for amazing gifts! I got a beautiful golden lighter with lenin on it. Russian student represent!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Day trip to свияжск (Sviyazhsk)

One beautiful Sunday we were taken on a trip to the beautiful, historical island of свияжск (Sviyazhsk), which is easily accessible from Kazan via a 2 hour boat ride or car ride, though the boat ride is a much more picturesque option. 

Sviyazhsk is full of history as it was the island which Ivan the Terrible's army used to conquer Kazan and the Tatars. Afterwards it became home to many churches, monastaries and cathedrals.

The institute we were studying at offered us this trip at a really good price. The leaflet as well as many websites online promised an island "stuck in the medieval ages", not to mention our teacher told us we could go horseriding and shoot guns, obviously us kids were shitting our pants! In addition we were told that there were no restaurants or food shops anywhere on this island so everyone bulked up on snacks and water.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Cheapest Sushi In Town (with Froyo for dessert!)

This place is one of my favourite places to drop by whenever I'm needing a quick sushi pick me up (let's be honest, when don't I) and also me and my best friend's favourite place to hang out at.
This is me and my sis' FAVOURITE (We call it the jizz salmon roll)!
 When this bad boy starts making its way down the conveyer belt we just stand up and walk over to where it is and snatch it before anyone else gets it. Yup we're crazy!

Why? Its only $8 (hkd) a plate!!!! That's $1USD!! For everything and anything !!!

There's no menu here, just grab whatever you fancy off the conveyer belt! The service is rather mediocre but the sushi isn't bad (considering the price!!) And even sashimi is the same price.

It does get busy here during peak hours, especially on the weekends, but the wait is usually no more than 15 minutes but there is a 50 minute time limit until they evict you. 

Not fat at all (ok we shared that)

They also have dessert like cream puffs, cheese cake or puddings!!  But we usually skip dessert here so that we have just a little bit of space left for some delicious frozen yoghurt across the road at tuttimelon. yum yum!

Green tea, passionfruit, Angel something (Strawberry and coconut) and japanese yoghurt flavoured froyo with blueberries, mangoes (trying to be healthy here!), strawberrry flavoured crunchy dots, GREEN TEA MOCHI and mango flavoured popping bubbles. YUM YUM YUM. yes i realized that I went overboard after I threw everything in...)

Sushi Express

G/F, Taurus Building, 21A-21B Granville Road, Tsim Sha Tsui  
(Opposite The One) 

Shop L308, TheONE, 100 Nathan Road

PS: Some exciting news! I have been invited to London Fashion Week which will be coming up in less than two weeks! So watch this space guys! 

xx Vagabond Girl

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Hello, my name is Norma and I'm addicted to ACCESSORIES.

So after so many Russia posts, here's a quick break for everyone! (There are many more Russia posts to come!)

First day back in Hong Kong, after my classic yum cha/dim sum therapy in my favourite part of Hong Kong - Mong Kok, I had no alternative but to dash to Argyle Centre, my favourite mall in Hong Kong and home to the cheapest and trendiest stuff any young girl would want!

I've been meaning to make a more detailed review of Argyle Centre, with maybe a few recommendations of the best shops, but I still have 6 weeks here so I will try and do it soon.

I had $100 in my pocket, so the equivalent of about 10€. I ended up leaving with $10.

My first stop had to be my favourite store - How much? conveniently situated on the bottom floor near the escalator. The beauty about this store is that everything costs $25! Yup! You read correctly! (Thats about 2.50). Now to be honest, for the last 2 years, everything used to cost $20 only, but they increased the prices with inflation and whatnot, but I still always manage to snap up some amazing pieces which I always get compliments for, not to mention that I sometimes find stuff which is sold in this store being sold in other stores in the mall or in other malls for $60 or once I even found a ring being sold for $240! Insane!

This necklace immediately caught my eye when I saw it in the shop. But at first it was in another colour, and I wanted something sharper. I knew I had to have it when I found this!

Next I've been feeling the need  of a new bracelet. I often find myself buying mostly Earrings, rings and necklaces, mainly because I seldom find a bracelet that I like enough. Well this was a good day as I found this. I actually have a rather similar leaf necklace which I need to be careful not to wear this bracelet with to avoid looking like a character from the jungle book. 

(Left) Hamza Ring $20 (Right) USB ring $25
Last but not least that USB screamed my name and I grabbed it right in time. It is the cutest ring EVER. I love it and have been wearing it non stop for weeks!

Then while cruising around the mall I also came across this new store which I discovered back in April with really cheap accessories too. I was also going to get this really cute 3-fingered lobster ring as they had a $30 for 2 rings deal, and I really really wanted to get another ring as it's cheaper but it was cutting into my finger and I knew I wouldn't wear it if it hurt, so I ended up paying $20 for just one ring, as I think hamzas look cool and i've always wanted a hamza accessory of some sort.

How does it look?

xx Vagabond Girl

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Russian Food

One question I got a lot after my stay in Russia was, what do they eat there? Not going to lie, I had no idea what Russian cuisine was either. I just assumed it involved potatoes, meat and..well vodka.

My family were so worried that I was going to starve to death as I don't eat meat, while I just saw my trip in Russia as a "pre-bikini-season-diet" since there was probably not much I could eat. Oh how wrong I was....

For starters, everyone remembers the insanely gigantic portions I got for breakfast from my crazy babushka right? Well I was told by a Russian teacher that Russians always say "At breakfast you eat a lot, then for lunch you give half of it to your friend, and for dinner you give half of your lunch to your enemy" and to be quite honest, that is actually good for you...

Anyway, on the top left we have these pancake things made of grated courgettes, egg and smetana (my arch-nemesis) which is sour cream and is put in everything. However it is not the normal sour cream that you find in your nachos, but like his weird Russian cousin. Those were alright, but the smetana in it gave it a very strong sour, off-milk kind of taste which I wasn't a big fan of.  To the right we have that nasty fish which I refused to touch (I think it was herring). Then to the right of that, is a sort of scrambled egg thing with beans and tomatoes, sometimes it would just be tomatoes, and once I got scrambled egg with macaroni, it wasn't bad. Oh and let's not forget the vast quantity of dill that would coat that dish. And most other dishes of course. Honestly, the word DILL sums up my Russian experience - it's everywhere! Pasta! Pizza! Sushi! Soup! Salad! Now even i'm hooked and resort to buying Dill and putting it on everything! (#truerussian)

Next we have some strawberries, they were always smaller and wild looking, not those massive British ones that i'm accustomed to, but they were nice. Sometimes Babushka would use a fork to mash them up, but sugar and then pour tea on it to make some delicious strawberry tea. Yum! On the yellow plate is just a boiled potato. To the right is a type of "kasha" or porridge. Babusha made me many different types of kasha, like normal kasha which was like oats cooked in milk, "Manna" kasha which was like semolina cooked in milk and this one here which has rice and pumpkin. Babushka always used to bury a massive lump of butter somewhere in there too! There was also the obligatory glass of milk, which sometimes looked very watery with lumps of cream floating on the top, but hey if it tasted fine, I drank it. Whatevs. Never got delhi-belly! Usually there was also a boiled egg in the corner, begging to be eaten, and also that bowl of biscuits which just chills there.

Baked milk via

Babushka also sometimes made me some food for tea, as that woman was forever trying to feed me, and trust me, I'm not a skinny girl! She sometimes made plain cake with those strawberries in them, "buterbrot" which is just a slice of bread with cheese on top (like an open sandwich), or I would just eat the damn boiled egg.


One thing I really liked was tea with "baked milk" or топлёное молоко which is this kind of milk which has been simmered for 8 hours or longer and has this brownish tinge to it and a caramel-y kinda taste. When added to tea, it reminded me of Hong Kong style milk tea and made me feel right at home.

Obviously there was Mcdonald's in Kazan. Conveniently situated on the main street, Baumana, it was where most of my friends had lunch and hung out after class while taking advantage of the free wifi. Being not a big Mcdonald's fan myself, and also not being able to eat much that's on the menu anyway, I think I ate there once, and it was just for a hot fudge sundae. I mean, I WAS in Russia to try it's cuisine! Right....?

 Not really... Being the incredible sushi whore that I was, I frequently had sushi. And that means every 3-4 days. Sometimes even two days in a row, because this bitch don't care. This was a "5 person sushi set", and we beasted it in 3...and left the restaurant still hungry. (We paid about 400 roubles each, so like £8 each?) But it was a very fancy restaurant!

Ресторан "НАО"(Nao) 
Адрес: Казань, ул. Галактионова (Galaktionova), 6
Телефон:  236-16-94  link

Yes caught in the act here! This time it was after a long day at the beach! One thing which was very popular in Kazan (and maybe in the rest of Russia? I'm not sure) are "Pizza-sushi" places. Although it may sound like a weird combination (I mean come on Pinocchio/Small Tokyo was the name of this place! ^ ), it worked out very much in my favour because I was always annoying the hell out of everyone, trying to get people to have sushi with me. However with pizza-sushi places, they could choose to have pizza if they weren't cool enough to have sushi with me! Win win situation! This restaurant was nice too and rather decently price, (a sushi set like what you see on my plate there was about 300 roubles? so £6)

Pinocchio/Small Tokyo
улица Профессора Нужин (Professora Nuzhin, right off Pushkina)

Thanks to Pola for the photo 

However, bad service in restaurants and shops are the norm when in Russia. Here are me and Pola happily munching away while Ellie just sits and starves. Her food arrived when we finished!

But my favourite place of all was Планета Суши, which is a big chain sushi restaurant in Russia, but the lunch set was such a good deal that we always tried to make it in time to have it! 210 roubles (just over £4) for a drink, an appetizer for example, 8 sushi rolls (i always got the Philadelphia roll) and a main course, like noodles or rice (The mushroom and Salmon noodles with sesame sauce was my fave!). So cheap and SO filling, we always walked out clutching our bellies and desperately finding the nearest bench to have a food coma in. The a-la-carte menu is also amazing with really funky sounding fancy rolls and even dim sum! But it is a little pricier than other place for that!

Russia also had an amazing selection of crisp flavours. Here i'm holding up a packet of the new Salsa flavour by Lays. Yum! They also had many other amazing flavours like Mushroom, potato with butter and dill, pickles and dill, smoked cheese, bacon, crab, sausage, salmon and cream sauce and my favourite flavour of all : RED CAVIAR
The root of all my problems.  via
Another hotspot for us poor students was the кулинария "5 рублей" (Kulinaria pyat rublei), a self service type cafe right on Baumana (number 21, opposite Dom Knigi) where everything is lacto-ovo-vegetarian, and incredibly cheap while being incredibly delicious. From pirozhki (these baked or fried pastries with fillings such as potato, cabbage or mushroom and cheese) to semi fried buttery potato cubes, to soups, to rice, to kotlets (cutlets) made of beans or cabbage and salads too. It was just a great place to go and eat as it was so cheap and delicious.

(Left) Rice with mushrooms and carrots (it even had a saffrony taste to it!) - 30 roubles, (Top Right) Baked пирожок (pirozhok) with mushroom and cheese - 15 roubles, (Bottom Right) Mushroom and potato salad with mayonnaise and spring onions  - 30 roubles.  Total of 70 roubles which is £1.40!!! )

The inside of the cafe. There were always long lines at lunch time. Lots of students and workers eat there. Great place for a quick bite.

Another similar buffet/self-service style cafe we went to every now and then (especially if this place was too packed) was чак-чак (chak-chak), just up the road on Baumana as well. It was slightly more expensive with a similar meal costing about 180 roubles but with a little more variety and meat dishes as well.
Credits to Pola

 Of course the infamous дом чай (Dom chai) which is also on Baumana is also another similar place with similar food again. However the prices just cannot compare with кулинария "5 рублей".

A salmon пирог (pirog) or pie! yummy!

We also went to an Ukrainian restaurant once, which was recommended by our Russian teacher called Корчма Млин which is right off Baumana. It was my first time having Ukrainian food and being the massive dumpling fan that I am, I decided to try the Varyenky. These dumplings can either be boiled or fried (being the fatty that I am these are obviously fried), and typically have fillings such as mashed potato, cabbage or even cherries! I decided to go for the mashed potato, and I also chose to have some fried onions with it (though I thought it was going to be inside the dumpling), and there was also the option to have other toppings such as fried mushrooms. Also please note the giant dollop of evil semtana in the corner (die bitch die). These dumplings were definitely not what I had in mind (when I think fried dumpling, I think gyoza/gao zi style things with thin crispy skin) however, the skin of these dumplings were very thick and doughy, it was almost like a panzerotti (or just like a mini pirozhok). I thought that it was a very carby meal with the dough and the potatoes together and it was a little bland, but very nice and interesting nonetheless! 

Корчма Млин
Островского 39/6 (Университетская)
Dessert at the Nation-wide cafe chain Shokoladnitza (theyve got good food!)

Buterbrots with red caviar which we had at the theatre while watching the ballet as well as a Russian cheesecake thing which my friend was obsessed with.

And of course, there was vodka.A lot of vodka. My dear friend Ellie (check out her blog here!) bought me a bottle of this "Norma" vodka. (No it's not "Hopma" but the "H" is a N and the "p" is a R). It sure was good vodka!!! This bad boy is only about 240 roubles (under 5 quid.) Yeah, the amazing thing about Russia was that all the naughty, sinful vices were DIRT cheap. Pack of cigarettes? 72 roubles for the nicer ones (£1.40 - cheaper than duty free!) Half litre can of beer? about 40 roubles (80p. YES) Oh Baltika 7, I love you.

xx Vagabond Girl