Vietnam Tripping: Cruising in Crochet

 


Vero Moda Crochet Dress
 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress

 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress

 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress

 

Vero Moda Crochet Dress


 

Dress: Vero Moda

Earrings: JL Heart

Photographer: Mr. Ratatouille

 

The best part about being on a cruise is that you’re far away from the crowds. What’s even better is when your ship only has a handful of people on board, so you feel like it’s peace on earth.

 

We had a fun time to ourselves on the deck of our cruise ship that day. Destination: Halong Bay, Vietnam. Time: Shortly after sunrise. Feeling: Relaxed.

 
Continue reading

Vietnam Tripping: Oriental Central Hotel Review

This was the third hotel we stayed at in Hanoi for our recent trip to northern Vietnam. I previously reviewed the first two hotels we picked. You can read about Hanoi Pearl Hotel here and Golden Sun Suites Hotel here.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

 

Oriental Central Hotel is located north of Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, and is ranked on Tripadvisor as #2 of 521 hotels in Hanoi. It is also a recipient of the 2015 Travellers’ Choice Award for its service – and very rightfully so. We booked this hotel via Agoda and had no problems checking in.

 

Location

 

The hotel can be found at No. 39 Hang Bac Str, Old Quarter | Hoan Kiem, Hanoi 10000, Vietnam. It’s right smack in the center of the Old Quarter of Hanoi, is 100m away from the renowned coffee street and also close to the night market, which is open on weekends.

 

Room

 

We’d booked a superior double room, which was located on the 7th floor of the building. The corridors are pretty narrow – which seems to be a common feature of hotels in Hanoi – but definitely wide enough to fit our bulky luggage.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Large comfy bed and pink rose petals.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

So intricately placed.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Little lantern we didn’t use, but which added to the atmosphere in the room.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Complimentary fruits, snacks, coffee and tea. It came with some utensils, which were definitely helpful.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

Gorgeous, gorgeous bathroom.

 

Oriental Central Hotel Review

It’s quite hard to beat a good brass rain shower.

 

Our room was a good size for two people and the interior of the bathroom was such a gem. A brass rain shower and china-esque basin are all you need to make a tiny space look luxurious. Everything was clean and neat, and the little notice on the vanity counter informed us that if we had wanted our sheets changed, all we needed to do was to place the rose on the bed. Now we know why Vietnamese hotel rooms have single stalks of roses in them!

 

Service

 

The service was excellent, if anything. The moment we arrived, there were the usual greetings and an invitation to take a seat in the lobby’s waiting area. While we waited as one of the receptionists checked us in, we were provided with drinks and cold towels. Then, another receptionist came by to ask us about our remaining time in Hanoi and she gave us a little session on where we could visit, showing us everything on a map. If it weren’t for her, we’d never know there was a coffee street just around the corner, where the French quarter was and where we could go for cheap beer and a good dinner.

 

On the final day of our stay in Hanoi, before we left for the airport, the hotel surprised us with a little bag of Vietnamese coffee as a gift. This was such a surprise, and definitely greatly welcomed because Vietnamese coffee is just so one-of-a-kind.

 

Overall & Price

 

It’s totally justified that Oriental Central Hotel is ranked as the 2nd hotel to stay at in Hanoi. The rooms, breakfast, service and price are very reasonable and the staff does its best to make you feel like everything’s under control, like you’ve got this. I’d recommend this hotel in a flash to anyone who’s travelling to Hanoi.

 

At S$66 a night, including buffet breakfast and free-wifi, it’s not the cheapest hotel in Hanoi but it’s definitely one you won’t want to miss.

 

Travel away,

Roxanne

Vietnam Tripping: 3 Cafes You Must Visit in Hanoi

 

The Hanoi Social Club

 

It wasn’t until my trip to Seoul last December with my BFF Alexis that cafe hopping really became a thing for me. This time, visiting northern Hanoi for the first time, I thought I’d check out a few cafes that many people had recommended online, either for their coffee, food or ambience. I must say that all you internet folks have been really kind – all the 3 cafes I ended up visiting were really cool!

 

To save you time sifting through the net space and looking up reviews separately, I’ve combined my reviews of the 3 best cafes in Hanoi here. I hope you’ll find this useful, and that you’ll check them out like I did.

 

{Click on the tabs below to reveal my reviews for the individual cafes.}

 

The Hanoi Social Club

The Hanoi Social Club.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

 

The Hanoi Social Club was our first stop the moment we reached Hanoi. I had heard nice things about the food and the decor of the place, apart from the fact that the owners were Australian. It’s located at 6 Hoi Vu | Hoan KiemHanoi 84Vietnam and has a certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

A nice, cosy place for individuals or groups of people. You can even set up your laptop and work here in the day.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Just sit back, relax and enjoy your iced egg coffee.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

I love those fairy lights.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Little details make all the difference.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

The burgers are huge, so big eaters, you’ll be happy here.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

The waitress recommended us an African cappuccino and we weren’t disappointed with it. In case you were wondering why the table looks different from the one before, we changed seats just for fun.

 

You could head upstairs too, if you like, and that’s what we did. On the top floor is an open air verandah, where you can sit and chat with friends if you guys would like some fresh air. It’s not air conditioned, though, so if you can’t tolerate the heat like me, I’d recommend staying on the first floor.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

A little counter on the top floor.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Lovely setting for groups.

 

The Hanoi Social Club

Yes, you’re in the right place.

 

I’d say drop by if you have the time. Although it isn’t exactly Vietnamese in terms of the interior and food, go for the coffee and cosy atmosphere if you can, and maybe pick a book or two off the shelves for an afternoon read.

 

The next cafe you should visit is Cafe Pho Co:

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

The view of the cafe from the top floor of Caphe Pho Co.

 

Cafe Pho Co

 

Cafe Pho Co is a very tiny cafe that goes upwards instead of sideways. To find it can be a bit tricky, especially if you aren’t used to the way buildings are constructed in Hanoi. It’s located at 11 Hang Gai, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam and also has a certificate of excellence on Tripadvisor. If you’re just walking around shopping along the streets of Hang Gai, you might unknowingly pass it by. Just remember, 11 Hang Gai.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

First, you need to pass through this tiny, unlit passageway.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

And after that, you’ll see something that looks like someone’s backyard. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not but it sure looks rustic enough.

 

Once you get here, place your order at the counter on the left, and then head upstairs via the steep steps on the right. If you need the restroom, it’s located under this flight of steps but you might need to bring your own toilet paper. Climbing up the stairs, plus a spiral staircase (which can only take one person at a time), and then another flight of steps will take you to the very top.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

Heading up the steps with such pretty lanterns.

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

On the way up.

 

It’s really something, this cafe. There’s nothing luxurious about it but the quirky decor more than makes up for the lack of fancy mugs or five-star comfort. I could spend an entire hour or so just admiring the knick knacks propped up everywhere. You have to climb all the way up to the fourth floor if you want a nice view of the lake in the city centre, but there is an air conditioned room one floor below that if you can’t take the heat (and if there is space).

 

Caphe Pho Co Hanoi

An iced egg coffee and pineapple juice.

 

We spent some time at the top floor that afternoon. Although my makeup was melting from all the heat, it was nice to just be able to sit down under the shade with some iced beverage. The iced egg coffee was good, just the way we expected it to be and I recommend it to everyone heading here.

 

The final cafe you need to check out the next time you’re in Hanoi is Cong Caphe:

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Cong Caphe sells their own coffee too, and it might be worth a buy as a souvenir.

 

Cong Caphe

 

Cong Caphe is definitely a cafe with character. It has several outlets throughout Hanoi, including one just opposite the cathedral in the French Quarter, but the one you should visit is the one at the start of the famed coffee street (35B Nguyen Huu Huan, Ly Thai To, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi, Vietnam).

 

Like the other good cafes in Hanoi – and the rest of Vietnam, I would suppose – the coffee here is thick and full of flavour. We ordered a normal cup of iced coffee with milk and a juice and had a good time chilling out on the second floor.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

The moment you enter, you’ll step into a tiny counter with staff wearing uniforms that look very military.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Random bottles for sale.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Old photos of Vietnam from eons ago decorate the cafe.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

Such narrow steps! Only one person can walk through this space at a time.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

A little corner near the stairs that really takes you back to history – without the air conditioning remote controls.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

The interior of the cafe that I fell in love with. You can choose to sit on chairs or just cross your legs on the platform.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

On the second level where it was more crowded.

 

Cong Caphe Hanoi

On the top floor, which wasn’t open yet as the lower floors still had space. The staff was kind enough to let us poke around in here for a bit.

 

The inspiration for Cong Caphe is undoubtedly the Viet Cong, as seen by the communist themed decorations (and the name of the café). The walls are made pock-marked and rugged-looking, as if there was no time to place tiles over the cement as it dried. The seats are wooden and simple, matched with bright red cushions. It’s air conditioned but with the doors and windows open, all you feel is just a little respite from the heat outside. If you aren’t a fan of chairs, you can also plop yourself on one of the cushions on the floor around a table and have your cuppa like how they used to do it in the good old days.

 

If you do drop by this branch, it would be nice to spend some time checking out the bits and pieces of props all over the place, such as the old-school green metal boxes that act as makeshift tables and pictures that show the history of Vietnam. They also sell their own coffee beans, which you can buy as a souvenir for loved ones back home. Just don’t be surprised when someone in military wear approaches you for your order when you enter the cafe or when you pay before you leave.

 

Drink up,

Roxanne

Vietnam Tripping: Of Hot Shorts and Sequins

 

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Cross Body Bag

 

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Cross Body Bag

 

Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac Cross Body Bag

 

Mondo Sandals

 

Sequinned Peplum Top: Zalora

Tailored Shorts: ASOS (similar here)

Mini MAC Cross Body Bag: Rebecca Minkoff

Shades: Tory Burch (similar here)

Sandals: Mondo

Ear Studs: Mimco

Photographer: Mr. Ratatouille

 

The thing about Hanoi is that it’s way too hot! It’s a pretty crowded city with crazy traffic that knows no direction. If you do a lot of walking in the city, you’ll have to watch where you’re going.

 
Continue reading

Vietnam Tripping: Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

In our recent trip to Vietnam, we stayed a night at Golden Sun Suites Hotel in Hanoi. I previously reviewed Hanoi Pearl Hotel on the blog, and if you missed it, you can read it here.

 

As this was our second time in Hanoi, we were more familiar with the area and had a good time just chilling out and cafehopping. Currently, it is ranked on Tripadvisor as #8 of 521 hotels in Hanoi and has won the 2015 Travellers’ Choice Award for its service. We booked this hotel via Agoda and had no problems with our reservation.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

We got upgraded to a suite on the top floor.

 

Location

 

The hotel is located in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, at 35 Hang Quat, Hanoi 1000, Vietnam. It’s extremely affordable for a decent hotel with great service and the location is super convenient if you’re into walking around the area to explore it. It’s located pretty near the night market, which is open on weekends. Walking around will take you through street vendors and stores selling souvenirs and shoes.

 

Room

 

We’d booked a deluxe room but were pleasantly surprised when the hotel gave us a free upgrade to their suite on the top floor. The top floor can only be accessed by taking the elevator to the 7th floor and then walking up the stairs to the 8th floor. So, if you can’t carry your luggage up, you’ll need a drone to do it for you.

 

I’m kidding. I’m sure this hotel didn’t win a service award for nothing.

 

Our suite was lovely. It was larger than what we needed, though no complains here at all. I love how they have little white stones and the wooden panel in the shower, which make showering quite a relaxing activity. The bed was definitely comfortable, as was the soft chaise at the side. After 2 days of trekking in the countryside, this was such a welcome.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Watching National Geographic (not the channel shown here) is our final activity before bedtime – always.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Pretty bathroom.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

A pink rose for you?

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Some necessities provided as well.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

Rain shower included.

 

Golden Sun Suites Hotel Review

The wooden planks and pretty white stones to zen you out during shower time.

 

Service

 

The service was great. As we had reached the hotel before the check-in time, we were allowed to place our baggage with the reception before leaving for our day trip to Hoa Lu. Upon returning that evening, we were informed by the reception that there was a problem with our cruise booking for the next day (the cruise company had called the hotel up to check on our reservation). The receptionist was so kind as to act as a translator between the cruise guy and me when I couldn’t understand a word he was saying on the other end of the line. When everything was settled, and we’d gone up to our suite, our baggage was already placed in it as promised.

 

Now, what is trekking and moving luggages if you don’t break a nail or two? As expected, the nail on my index finger was the first to go – but it didn’t go quite entirely. I needed a nail clipper or a pair of tiny scissors and simply wouldn’t head to bed without first tidying it up. The exasperated boyfriend headed back to the reception and returned with a pair of scissors. Although I don’t expect hotels to stock up on nail clippers – though they would definitely make money out of selling them – having a spare pair of scissors is definitely handy. I’ve stayed in hotels in the past that wouldn’t lend their guests scissors unless they brought whatever it was that needed cutting to the lobby. This was such an improvement in comparison and it saved my knitted cardigan from any potential tugging accidents.

 

Overall & Price

 

Most hotels in Hanoi have roses placed in them (you’ll find out why in my next post), and I liked how the ones here are pink. At S$53 a night for a deluxe room, which includes a buffet breakfast and free wifi, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable and affordable stay in Hanoi.

 

Live young,

Roxanne

Vietnam Tripping: Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Hello from sunny Singapore! I’m finally back home and feeling pretty recharged from our recent trip to Vietnam. After all the hotel stays, long bus rides, day trips to nearby cities, trekking with Hmong tribes in Sapa and a wonderful cruise in Halong Bay, it’s time to write about the places we’ve stayed in.

 

In this first edition of my travel tales in Vietnam, I’ll be reviewing the first hotel we stayed in the city – Hanoi Pearl Hotel.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Cute colonial-looking sleeping area, I’d say!

 

At the moment, this hotel is ranked by Tripadvisor as #124 of 521 hotels in Hanoi and has a certificate of excellence under its belt. We booked this hotel via Expedia and had no problems with checking in.

 

Location

 

The hotel can be found at Number 6, Bao Khanh Lane | Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi 844, Vietnam. It’s located in the charming Old Quarter of Hanoi, not far from Hoan Kiem Lake. Price-wise, it’s pretty affordable and location-wise, it’s very convenient for exploring the area.

 

Room

 

Our room was a superior room, and its size suited two people just nice. The room was clean and neat, and had everything that I needed as a guest. However, one thing struck me as odd: We didn’t have any windows!

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Lovely little work desk.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Tidy bathroom. You can see the little window that opens at the bottom.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Basin area, which fits one person nicely and two people a bit snugly.

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

Some necessities provided by the hotel. So thankful for the cotton buds!

 

Hanoi Pearl Hotel Review

The sleeping area once again.

 

The only window we had was a small one in the bathroom, which opened up to the wall of the neighbouring building, which was about 50cm away. So although you don’t see much from there, at least you’ll know if it’s raining or not.

 

Service

 

The service in general was good. The receptionists and manager on duty were always smiling, seemed relaxed and happy, and were up for a little chat when they weren’t too busy. They have umbrellas in the lobby that you can borrow, and how awesome that was, for on our second day in Hanoi, it rained. That same evening, as we waited (again, in the lobby) for our pick-up to arrive to send us to the train station, I requested for the receptionist to call our tour company to confirm that they were on their way to get us. It all went ahead without a glitch.

 

Overall & Price

 

The first thing you’ll notice about the hotel is the musky scent the moment you enter. While it might not suit some people, I didn’t really have a problem with it. Breakfast was decent as well, though nothing absolutely fancy. There’s the traditional Asian porridge if you’re craving for some hot food in the morning but you’ll have to add some garnishing to it (these are also provided and placed beside the porridge).

 

The overall ambience of this hotel is relaxing, welcoming and pretty chill. I’ll let you decide if you’d like to reserve a room at this hotel, but if you’re not fussy and are just staying in town for the night, this hotel serves its purpose. At S$80 a night for a superior room, which includes free wifi and a buffet breakfast, I’d say it is generally all right if you’re not picky about the view.

 

Never lose sight of the explorer within you,

Roxanne

Home Inspo: 7 Gorgeous Bar Cart Styles

 

Bar Cart Styling Introduction

 

Moving into your own apartment is so tiring but it’s also so rewarding. You’ve got all these things, which you’ve accumulated over the years to pack, move and unpack into your new place; and there are tons of other adult stuff that you need to be responsible for. Like signing up for internet service that’s within your budget (preferably one that allows you to watch Netflix wherever you are), registering for a new billing account, getting new furniture, and deciding on the layout of your new space.

 

Apart from realising you’re finally on your own, there’s also the independence and freedom to have guests over whenever you like. That’s when your collection of whisky, champagne and wine glasses get to be presented in all their glory.

 

What better way to do that than to have your very own bar cart? Here are 7 gorgeous bar cart styles I’ve found, that could give you all the inspiration you need for your very first one.

 


7 Gorgeous Bar Carts for Work & Play

7 Gorgeous Bar Carts for Work & Play
Picture 1 of 7

Fill it up with a supply of San Pellegrino and flowers.

 

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

 
Continue reading

Glam on the Go: A GlamPact Tutorial

 

GlamPact Tutorial

 

A couple of weeks ago on the blog, you saw the GlamPact up close and personal. Today, I’m sharing a tutorial on how you can use the GlamPact by Glam-It! to look glam on the go. Everything I use in this tutorial are from my own customised GlamPact, where the shades and product modules were selected by me beforehand. To find out how you can customise your own GlamPact, you can head on over to my blog review here.

 



 
Continue reading

5 Comfy Footwear for the Girl with the Pointed Toe

 

Comfy Footwear

 

Apparently, according to Chinese feng shui masters or fortune tellers, if you’ve got tiny toes, you’re said to be responsible and make a good spouse. If you’ve got relatively long toes, you’re famous and influential. I wouldn’t say mine are long; They’re of a good enough length, I suppose. But my longest toe has got to be the first big toe, the one that everybody gets stubbed in the door. And that’s where my shoe woes come in.

 

By now, you should have tried on enough shoes to know that what fits one person does not necessarily fit another as snugly. The shapes of our feet are as varied as the number of Vogue issues and even our own feet aren’t exact mirror images of each other. For someone like me who has a pointed first toe (followed by the rest of the toes in a gradual slope outwards), here are 5 comfy footwear types, which are also stylish and functional, that can take you through your day.

 

{All items recommended are from Shopbop, ASOS, Nordstrom and Zalora.}

 

Flip-Flops

 



 

Flip-flops are my staple. I own 3 pairs of them, on top of a couple other variations with wedges and heels. They are superb footwear for ventilation, quick trips to the grocery store and lounging days by the beach. They are the easiest thing to slip on and off, and come in all sorts of design to match whatever bikini you’re wearing for the day. As you can tell, I’m really a beach kind of girl.

 

Open-Toe Sandals

 


 

Open-toe sandals allow your first toe just enough space to peek comfortably out. Each time I put on a pair of these, I can almost imagine my toe heaving a sigh of relief. Space! I have space! The effect is kind of like taking off your belt after a full buffet dinner, now that I think about it. It helps if these sandals are flat as well, but a little heel won’t hurt either.

 

Peep-Toe Pumps

 


 

Sometimes, we all have to wear some high heels to boost our confidence. Be it at work or at the clubs, regardless what naysayers feel about heels, these shoes can make you the star of the night (or day). Platforms provide some support for the balls of your feet and give you some added height, so I say go for these first. In any case, peep-toes also allow your first toe to peek out and get that extra space it needs to feel comfortable. Do take note of possible chafing near the nail bed (of your first toe), though it can easily be solved with some candle wax.

 

Flat Boots

 


 

If you’re more outdoorsy and love a good hike, you’d probably want to thank the inventor of flat boots. They can be tall, mid-calf or just short booties. There’s one for every significant occasion you can think of, such as travelling solo in a new city, or experiencing winter for the first time.

 

Pointed Flats

 


 

We all have those days where we really want to look like we made an effort to look good but just didn’t have the energy to do so. That’s where pointed flats come in. They’re comfy, sleek, stylish and they cover up any chipped polish on your toes. ‘Nuff said.

 

Stay classy,

Roxanne

 

Image credit: I Hate Blonde

Link Love: A Summer in Wanderlust

 

Wanderlust

 

If you’re a lover of travel, then you’re just like me. Oh, if only travelling isn’t so expensive, and if only I had all the time in the world to travel to anywhere I want. But I suppose for now, that’s why blogs exist – websites where people can share their stories in bundles of pictorials and prose.

 

I’ve just returned from a trip in northern Vietnam and I’m already missing all that is out there to see. So for today, let’s just make do with some summer travel tales and daydreams of untold seafaring.

 
Continue reading