When is Seoul the most beautiful one might ask… Having been to Seoul many times but never during spring, my favourite time to go is in the autumn. The weather is refreshing, not cold and not hot and the warm autumn breeze is just wonderful so that you can almost do anything.
If you are like me, who has been to all the tourist places in Seoul and is looking for something a bit different then Haneul Park is highly recommended! It is a 15 minute walk from the World Cup Stadium subway station and since the name of the park means ‘sky’ in English, you will have to brace yourselves and climb up 291 stairs to reach the park.
The park itself was breathtaking. Everywhere I looked, gleams of silver grass were blowing in the light breeze and this was at the end of November. The sky was as blue as sky blue could get. The silver grass flowers were still visible at this time but if you go earlier then I think you would be able to see more of them but I had no complaints when I went!
You can find yourself just walking through the grass fields and just enjoying the fresh air around you. Obviously not to mention that this place is very picture worthy so get snapping!
Give yourself at least two hours to walk, enjoy and take pictures in Haneul Park. I would definitely visit this place again, I have already been here twice during my trip to Seoul this autumn. This is one of the few tourist spots that is not crowded, making it a very pleasant trip for you, your friends and your loved ones to enjoy.
As I have had my fair share of afternoon teas in London, it is a wonderful way to catch up with friends especially if tea, cakes and savoury bites are involved. I have wanted to try the afternoon tea at the new Ham Yard Hotel nestled behind Piccadilly Circus since it opened and being the latest edition to the Firmdale Hotels group, I was even more intrigued to go. Having had the afternoon tea at the Charlotte Street Hotel, the Haymarket Hotel and the Covent Garden Hotel (all part of Firmdale Hotels and the latter being the better one of the three), I was curious as to what Ham Yard would offer as their menu changes weekly and it is priced very reasonably at £19.50 per person.
Their afternoon tea can be served in either the main restaurant area or the orangery. If you prefer a quieter environment, then request to be seated in the orangery area otherwise they will by default seat you in the restaurant where the bar is. I requested to be seated in the orangery area and we had a table outside in the lovely garden.
The savouries were spot on and my favourite was the salmon bites. There were 4 plain and sultana scones hiding underneath the canvas bag which were both warm and crumbly to enjoy with the clotted cream, raspberry and strawberry jams. The sizes of the scones were perfect, not too big or small to devour at once.
The selection of cakes and desserts went down nicely as neither of them were overly sweet. Overall I was very pleased with the afternoon tea at the Ham Yard Hotel, it is closely tied with the Covent Garden Hotel, the only difference being that there is more than one choice of menu for the afternoon tea at the Covent Garden Hotel. However given the location of the hotel, the stylish decor, the lovely scones and the very reasonable price tag, what more can you ask for?
When you find yourself wandering around Shoreditch which is now the hip area to be in if you are in East London, there are many streets and alleys filled with boutique lifestyle shops, independent cafes and not to mention, restaurants. There was one coffee shop that I had walked past many times whilst working in the City but never could find the time to visit.
This was CREAM and it is located along New Inn Yard where the fitness studio Frame is. I was determined to visit as the exterior and interior was very inviting and I had read that their food and coffee is worth a try. As you step inside, the large dropping lights are the first thing one would notice, followed by their neat and simple array of tables and chairs with white walls and a high ceiling. It is very refreshing to simply sit down with a cup of coffee while still having the space to breathe and talk as many independent coffee shops are rather small with limited seats.
We visited on a weekday morning so we had the pleasure of trying out one of their breakfast options. We opted for the french toast with fresh figs and maple syrup which was a great balance as it was neither too heavy or too bland. The fresh figs tasted so sweet and was an excellent accompaniment. The waitress who served us kindly cut the toast in two as we were sharing.
For myself the atmosphere is what would make me come again as it is very relaxed and the staff are friendly. The food and drink are all at reasonable prices so do pop in one day but make sure to go before 4pm because that is when they close during the week.
Swedish bakeries have been making their mark across London and the latest addition comes from Fabrique who has just opened their second branch in Covent Garden. They open from 7:30am on weekdays and are famous for their cinnamon buns. I happened to be around the area around 8am so decided to make my first visit as I was very eager to try their buns after having read so many good reviews about them.
As I entered the cafe, I realised I was the only person there at that time which was great! The decor is bright and cosy with a hint of a middle eastern flair with their flooring but very much a Swedish affair all around. Most of the buns and bread were laid out behind the counter and I was greeted by two friendly staff. I opted for a cinnamon bun along with a latte to start my day.
This was the first time I had sampled a Swedish cinnamon bun and it was soft and not too sweet. The flavour was neither too strong or weak and the slight stickiness of the bun made it a joy to devour. I was amazed by how large one bun is and took my time to finish it with my latte. I do recommend a trip to Fabrique and bring along a friend so you can share the bun between the two of you as one is definitely more than enough to keep you full for the next few hours. A delightful way to start your Monday or any other day of the week.