wish list: travel accessories!

Petite Clarity by Truffle

The Petite Clarity Pouch by Truffle – it’s clear, lies flat, and it’s perfect for your carry-on!


The Chapel Convertible Backpack by Kelly Moore – it’s a camera bag, messenger bag, and backpack in one! *birthday wish alert! Hot Pink please!*



Tom Binh Travel Tray


Travel Tray by Tom Binh – it’s such a simple product, but oh-so practical. This is great for going through airport security; you could put in your watch, coins, and digital camera in it. If you’re a Messy Bessy like me and just dumps coins, receipts, metro cards, etc. on the hotel nightstand, this is perfect for keeping things in one place.

Sweet treat in Edinburgh

If you’re in Edinburgh and have a sweet tooth, I highly recommend a visit to the Fudge House located along the Royal Mile. After hours and hours of walking, the fudge served there is a well-deserved treat.

Fudge House

With so many fantastic flavors offered, it was hard to choose which to try.  The variants ranged from chocolate fudge like classic hazelnut and chocolate pecan swirl to special flavors like lemon merengue pie and peppermint. After a lot of thinking, I went for butterscotch, pistachio & white chocolate, and chai latte. I immediately devoured the butterscotch fudge – when it melts in your mouth, it turns into a rich, creamy, and sweet treat. So good. I saved the other two flavors for the next day, which I think made them even better. Day-old fudge is really good. Among the three, I’d have to say that the chai latte was my favorite. It’s such an unexpected flavor and the sweetness of the fudge and the spice of the chai latte is a great combination.

Fudge House

We stayed a few minutes in the store to watch part of the fudge-making process. Noting that it would be hard to resist all the deliciousness in the store we asked the fudge maker if he ate fudge every day. He said he has to taste it, it’s part of the job.  Lucky. He would, however, resist the temptation to feast on it all day, every day. I’m not sure if I would.

Fudge House Fudge House

The Fudge House
197 Canongate

twitter: @FudgeHouseEdin

TNT Travel Edinburgh

Aside from the city’s beauty (even when it rained!), Edinburgh is memorable to me because I got to TNT, or Try New Things there! 🙂

While I do enjoy appreciate alcohol, I have never tried Scotch Whisky. Thanks to Mad Men, the drink looked sophisticated in my eyes and made me fantasize about offering Scotch to anyone who would visit me in my office. What better place to try Scotch than its origin? After hiking to the Edinburgh Castle, I went on a Scotch Whisky Experience to know more about the whisky making process, the regions where Scotch is made, and to taste-test.

The Barrel Ride is similar to theme park rides, but instead of little dolls singing “It’s a Small World”, there’s a ghost that takes you through the entire process of Scotch Whisky production.

TNT Travel Edinburgh

After the tour, a Scotch expert introduces the different aromas and the different regions where Scotch comes from. To determine which aroma you prefer, there are scratch-and-sniff cards. From the regions of Highlands (there can only be one!), Lowland, Islay and Speyside, I chose the Lowland because of its fruity, fresh and citrusy aroma.

TNT Travel Edinburgh

I chose wrongly. Haha. While citrusy is perfect for my mojitos, caipirinhas and gin fizzes, I didn’t quite like it in my Scotch. As it is the most light-bodied Scotch, it is usually preferred by beginners though. Maybe I should have gone with the Highlands with its sweetness with a touch of smoke. Oh well, that leaves more room for experimentation in finding my Scotch. When that day comes, you’ll see me swirling Scotch in a nice little low glass and sipping it slowly before I offer you a drink.

TNT Travel Edinburgh

My favorite part of the tour was seeing the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky. The collection belongs to Mr. Claive Vidiz, who started collecting in the 1970s and has amassed almost 3,400 bottles!

The bottles range from the old…

TNT Travel Edinburgh

the royal …

TNT Travel Edinburgh

and the quirky. Yes, that’s Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster!

TNT Travel Edinburgh

Okay now this is was my absolutely my favorite new thing I got to try in Edinburgh. Sometimes I still daydream about it.

The deep-fried Mars bar.

OMG. Look at it. It doesn’t look as pretty or special as other sweets like cupcakes and macarons, but it’s heaven.

TNT Travel Edinburgh

Deep-fried in batter, the Mars bar is warm and gooey. When you bite in, the chocolate, caramel and nougat melt together and swirl in your mouth. It’s the best. This is coming from someone who doesn’t even prefer regular Mars bars over, say, Milky Way or Twix. I ❤ you, deep-fried Mars bar.

TNT Travel Edinburgh

where the magic began

Elephant House Edinburgh

During our trip to Edinburgh in Scotland in October, my friend Elki and I scored with the location of our hotel. Hotel du Vin is charming, cozy, and near everything. Admittedly, it wasn’t easy lugging our suitcases uphill, but it was worth it. We were a little creeped out to find out that it was also near the cemetery where we took a Haunted Graveyard Tour. While walking around to acquaint ourselves with the area, we passed a coffee shop named The Elephant House with a sign saying it’s Harry Potter’s birthplace and wondered what that could be about. Hours later, I remembered that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in a coffee shop in Scotland. (When I was still a student, my friends and I would ask each other trivia questions about Harry and J.K. – such geeks!) We figured it must be a really popular tourist spot, so when we passed by it at night and there was no queue, we took advantage and went in. All tables were taken, but luckily there were some free seats at the bar.

Elephant House Edinburgh

The café has a certain enchanting and comfortable vibe – a personality that lacks in the run-of-the-mill coffee chains that we see so often nowadays. No baristas shouting your name (or made-up coffee house names) across the room, and no fancy synonyms for small, medium, large. I really loved Elephant House’s assortment of teas. I ordered tea and Malteser cake made of Maltesers, caramel and shortbread. If I could, I would only eat Malteser-everything. So good. Perfect for ending a cold, rainy evening.

Elephant House Edinburgh

Unfortunately, I did not get any magical, best-selling idea for a book while there, but I did get to sneak a pic of me pretending to think while having tea.


Elephant House Edinburgh

The Elephant House
21 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh EH1 1EN
Tel. 0131-220-5355
Fax. 0131-220-4272

Stockholm Card – worth it or not?

The Stockholm Card

That’s the Stockholm Card. I was a little bit apprehensive to get it at first because at 795 Swedish Crowns, it’s really expensive, but it was really worth it. For our short trip, we wanted to cover as much ground as possible, and at the same time not spend too much time inside museums. Without much advance planning though, we just decided to visit the major sites, while being spontaneous along the way (“oh look, there’s the Nobel Museum! let’s go in!” “hey, that’s the Spritmuseum, we can get in there for free”).

Let’s have a look at all the attractions we visited in three days and the figures:

Transportation costs & tours and entrance fees

  • 72 hour public transportation card – SEK 230
  • Historic Canal Tour – SEK 160
  • City Hall Tour – SEK 100
  • Drottningholm Palace – SEK 215 UNESCO World Heritage Site alert!
  • Storkyrkan – SEK 40
  • Nobel Museum – SEK 100
  • Nordic Museum – SEK 100
  • Vasa Museum – SEK 130
  • Spritmuseum – SEK 100
  • Skansen – SEK 150

TOTAL: SEK 1,325
Stockholm Card: SEK 795
Savings with the Stockholm Card: SEK 530

Verdict: WORTH IT!