43 hours in Jakarta

Monday 20 November 2023

I'd never had any interest in visiting Jakarta, but with Bring Me The Horizon playing a gig there I finally had a reason to visit.
Buying tickets for show was no easy feat. The app they were sold through had no English translation so in desperation I reached out to a skating page I'd been following on instagram, that happened to be based in Jakarta and they helped me out. I was so grateful - and excited - we agreed to meet when I arrived.

Jakarta surprised me. Polluted, grey and chaotic, yet oddly charming. I liked it because even though it was mayhem there was an unexpected order beneath it all and noticeable level of quality. Modern cars, well maintained shopping centres, and everyone seemed to be wearing fresh, branded clothes. Plus I don't really know what I was expecting but my new friends all had normal office jobs.

Jakarta seems to me, to be a city of contrasts, which surprised me beyond the initial chaos.
Excited to finally meet, I got a motorbike taxi to meet Rossi in the city centre. A big hug and friendly face was very welcome after 18 hours of travel.

She brought along a couple of friends and after introductions, they took me to a street food stall on the side of a crazy road. We ate food I'd never seen before - a curious chicken foot and pork knuckle soup (I think), with cows skin crackers. Odd but exciting. I love trying new food. The delights continued with some kind of sweet tea and chewy pandan cakes whilst we discussed our respective lives on opposite sides of the world.
After dinner we headed to a Treehouse style rooftop bar which was very familiar. Turns out they brought me there because it is often frequented by Westerners. Figures haha.

We ordered cocktails. And then a plate of nachos turned up, which I assume they ordered for me, because none of them knew what they were or how to eat them which was hilarious. Probably like me and the chicken foot earlier on.

An electric storm provided an unexpected backdrop for the rest of the evening. The skies opened and it poured; very impressive. I love thunderstorms.
It's not totally unlike me to sleep for 16 hours but jetlag-induced slumber aside, the next day brought the disappointing news of a cancelled Bring Me The Horizon gig. I suppose this is the contrast I was talking about. The stage the night before had been structurally unsound so they had to pull he show.

At this point I was in a bit of a daze with it all but my new friends came to the rescue. I headed out for a bubble tea and then met Rossi and another friend, Nasi at the Roller Skating rink. Perfect. I haven't posted much about it here but skating has taken over my life recently so I was pleased to get my fix after a few days away from my skates.
Unlike London rinks, it was two stories and decorated with neon lights and art installations. Nasi taught me a new trick and we had loads of fun sharing skills and practicing together. Skating has become my peace during all that's happened over the last couple of months and yet again, it made everything make sense.
We went to the mall for dinner afterwards and then got in Tulus car for a nighttime tour of the city with a bag full of Indonesian desserts. It's even more chaotic in the dark.

So I didn't get to see BMTH this time but what's another gig to a super fan - I'll see them when they're back in London, or maybe elsewhere, who knows! Instead, I left Jakarta with new friends, happy memories and a newfound appreciation of a city I previously had no interest in.

The best acai bowls in Lagos

Thursday 17 August 2023

I went to Lagos last year and it didn’t really make an impact. It was a different type of trip for me, granted but I found it a bit unmemorable; so when my friends decided it was the location of our big girls trip, I wasn’t fussed.

Having now spent some more time there, I feel like I connected with it a bit more and have a newfound appreciation for the place.

Apart from the spiritual awakening it seemed to initiate within me, (don’t ask) I spent a lot of time away from the group, just wandering around taking it all in. Navigating the cute, cobbled streets in the sunshine and settling down at one of many brunch places with my headphones and an acai bowl. 

I’d say it has quite a Bali vibe to it in that respect and I think that’s why I felt quite so at home. Whilst the girls partied into the night and got up late, I was looking forward to getting up each morning to go and find breakfast - via the beach.

Acai bowls are one of my favourite dishes and one of the few foodie things that London is not very good at. Lagos however had lots of options and here are my thoughts on the three I tried.

Coffee on Waves

Coffee and Waves is a very cute surfer café complete with boards, merch and just a few tables for two.

My bowl here was perfectly presented, topped with peach slices, banana, berries, coconut, granola and some random pieces of sour grapefruit which I did not appreciate. It cost €7.50 plus an additional €1 for the peanut butter – which kick started a new obsession.

The acai itself was quite frozen which is preferable as sometimes bowls can be more like a smoothie and get a bit sloppy. This one held together well. The granola was very good, providing some crunch to break up the textures and the peanut butter, my new joy in life, was smooth and the perfect spooning consistency.

Goji Lounge

The girls wanted to go back to Goji after our first morning because it had a lovely outside terrace and they were all keen for more avo toast. I decided it was time to try the acai since I can get my avo fix in London.

This one cost me €7.20 and wasn’t quite as good as the previous but it did the job. It was much looser which usually would have been an issue for me but actually, that came in quite useful. They didn’t have any granola so it was topped with oats which would have been quite dry had I not been able to mix them in. That being said, I still prefer granola. 

Of course there was the additional peanut butter which I very much enjoyed and some more variation on the toppings with strawberries, kiwis, chia seeds and passionfruit involved. 

Note: it’s cash only.


The final location was pretty special plus the acai was great so probably my favourite all round experience.

It was our last morning and I headed out early in search of some serenity before the chaos of going home started. The street level tables were all full so I went up to the rooftop which was perfectly tranquil - I was the only one up there for a while so found myself a comfortable corner and sat under an umbrella, staring up at the clear blue skies until the girls arrived. We very much enjoyed the boho vibes with cushions, lots of wicker and fairy lights. 
I ordered a fresh OJ and their paradise bowl (€7.50) which came with the usual toppings, plus cacao (although this turned out to just be dark chocolate chips which threw me off) which was served in a coconut. Very Bali.

and of course, a side of crunchy peanut butter. In terms of consistency and toppings, this one was just the right, I felt like Goldilocks.

Golidlocks and the three acai bowls.

How to get the best out of your taste London experience on a budget

Friday 30 June 2023

Taste of London is quickly becoming my favourite social night of the year. 

I have been going consistently for the last few years and every one has been memorable for one reason or another. Whether its discovering a new dish, chatting to owners about their brands or just hanging out with my friends, there's so much to see, I often don't manage to get around it all.

Whilst it is an amazing event, it can end up becoming quite and expensive evening. That being said, there are lots of way to have an awesome time without spending a penny after entry. Here are my top tips from my past experience.

Be friendly to everyone

This is my biggest Taste tip and has afforded me most of my best Taste experiences. Last year we made friends with a group of guys whilst we were all doing a blind date challenge. Turned out there were all there on hospitality passes with work which meant we were able to hang out in (sneak into) the VIP tent with them. This meant free alcohol and a ready made bunch of new friends  

This time around, we stuck to just our group of girls for the evening but that didn’t mean I spent any more cash. I found it was as simple as just chatting to the staff before they asked if we wanted anything from the menu – most of the time, that they were charging other people for. 

Early ticket deals

Last year I managed to get us free tickets through the apartment complex where I was living at the time but we had such a good time that everyone was keen to buy tickets this time around. We went for the basic entry tickets but thanks to being signed up to the newsletter, I found out that if we bought them on a specific date, they came with a free glass of champagne upon entry; so we did that and it was a great way to kick off the evening. 

Get there early

This was something I learnt the first time around (when I went with Georgia all those years ago.) Most of the sessions only last for 4 hours which sounds like a lot, but when you’re having fun, it fly’s by. We were there for almost the whole session and still didn’t get around any of the food stands. There's so much to see and do so make sure you get there early to make the most of your ticket. 

Enjoy the free samples

Most stands sample their product which meant we left at the end of the night, totally full, having eaten free samples all evening. We all loved The English cheesecake Company samples so much that we stood talking to the guys for a half an hour and they just gave us one sample after another until we all felt sick. 

I ate lots of cheese canapes from another stand but our biggest new discovery was the vanilla iced matcha lattes at Blank Street. They were handing out full sized, free samples and it turned out to be worth it from them because most of us have been out buying them every day since. 

As well as food samples, there is usually have something interactive to get involved with. We spun wheels at Mirabeau and won free wine.

If you're after something particular, just ask

It's literally just as simple as asking. We asked the team at Holy Moly for merch and the guy came back with free sunglasses and stickers. The guys at Bol gave me a weeks supply of free lunch because I said I'd be interested to try them all and I got speaking to someone who turned out to the a GM at STK, who gave me a load of coupons for free cocktails. 

Another amazing night in the bag. I came away on a high from having spoken to so many new and interesting people about brands they were passionate about. So in conclusion, maximizing your Taste London experience while staying within a budget is not only achievable but also incredibly rewarding. 

South West London's best Riverside pubs

Thursday 15 June 2023

One of my favourite things about living in Southwest London is the proximity to the river. For me, it's a 10 minute walk to the waterfront and during the summer, you'll find me there almost every day.

Whether it's a relaxing Saturday morning stroll, an afternoon cycle to Battersea park, or heading to a bar for a drink with my friends, being by the water makes me happy.

I've discovered some real gems along the way. Here are a few of the best riverside pubs I've come across in Southwest London:

The Crown and Bell

Tucked away just about a meter from the Chiswick river bank, this one feels like a secret local spot, a hidden gem that I've only just discovered. They serve food out on the terrace which you can easily reserve in advance to avoid any table-hunting stress. 

If you don't fancy stopping by to eat, the wooden chairs along the river wall out back provide a perfect spot with a peaceful view. The friendly service is definitely a plus!

The White Horse

I've driven past this place in Barnes countless times, but only stopped there last week and it's absolutely lovely. The inside is spacious and inviting, with a cool kitchen island-style bar, while outside, you'll discover multiple nooks and terraces, including an undercover balcony, benches by the river, and a cute deck adorned with fairy lights. 

The Ship

A Southwest London institution. 

The Ship has a lively and youthful atmosphere, especially on a warm, sunny evening.  It's practically hanging over the river, giving you a fantastic view of the sunset so you'll have to get there early if you want a table. More often than not though, the crowd spills out onto the street so there's always somewhere to stand. 

Ship Sundays are legendary and although I've not been, bank holidays there are supposed to be crazy too. I spent my 29th birthday there and it was an absolute blast.

The Waterfront

Just on the other side of the bridge, The Waterfront is like The Ship's more sophisticated sister.
It's situated in one of my favourite stretches of the river - Battersea Reach - and has a big terrace and a much more peaceful ambience. We often head there for a late afternoon riverside spritz

Megan's at the power station

 I love Battersea Power Station but the selection of riverfront restaurants and bars do not do it justice. What it lacks in quality however, it makes up for in location.

Despite my mixed feelings about Megan's, their great happy hour, pretty decor, and picturesque spot overlooking the river usually make it my go-to choice.

Each with its own unique charm and atmosphere, these riverside finds, old and new, have and will become my go to spots. So, next time you're in the mood for a riverside break, I highly recommend checking out these amazing pubs.

Why I went all the way to Thailand for a week

Friday 12 May 2023

This was a question I got asked over and over again - by friends at home, by people I met there and by strangers on the Internet.

Before covid, I was booking flights and jumping on planes on my own at every opportunity. Solo travel in Southeast Asia is something that has changed my life not only in the experiences it has brought but also the confidence and trust in myself that I have gained from doing it.

I’ve had a lot going on recently and in an (successful) attempt to disconnect from my daily routine and reflect on my life, I booked a week off. I had the choice of anywhere but I picked Thailand because it makes me happy.

So regardless of only having a week spare, I was more than happy to sit on at 14-hour flight if it meant I could spend my holiday where I wanted to spend my holiday.

One of the main reasons why I decided to travel alone was to rest. I experience crazy fomo when I'm at home and can’t say no to anything, but being in Phuket, I was able to slow down. I spent hours lounging by the pool, reading, journalling, taking photos and swimming. All alone. And I loved every minute of it.

And in the evening, I ate and I went to bed early. It was blissful; not only in the fact of having an early night but in that I wasn’t stressed that I should be doing something ‘fun’ instead.

Thai food was another highlight and one of the reasons I go back again and again. I eat at some of Londons best restaurants usually, but the food markets are my favourite thing in the world. There's nothing quite like watching a Pad See Ew being made fresh in the vibrant street markets, something I did multiply times a day. I was also able to satisfy my Thai tea addiction whilst I was there.

I also very much enjoyed the freedom to do exactly what I wanted, when I wanted. I woke up naturally at 6 am, so I got up and went for a walk, one morning I spent an hour throwing myself around on a surf machine and another, I journalled on the balcony. I ate when I got hungry and I went back to the same 5* hotel three times because I liked the spa there. I booked luxury transfers instead of buses and postponed a boat trip I had scheduled because I could. I didn't need to follow anyone else's itinerary but my own.

Solo travel has always been a great way for me to feel good about myself and build trust in my abilities, and three years after my last solo trip, that was something I desperately needed.

It reminded me that I can do things alone and that I can be happy doing it.

If you're considering traveling alone, I highly recommend it. It's a chance to gain clarity and perspective, try new things, and create unforgettable memories. 

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