Friday, August 31, 2012

Nice: L'Auberge des Baous (The Frogs House) at Saint Jeannet

it's Friday again! no idea where all the time flies to :( but i've been diligently editing photos, so i can continue my Europe travelogues! this time round, i think i'm doing pretty good with blogging all my travel entries, hehe. #proudofmyself

i always tend to lose steam halfway through, so i think this is a huge improvement already mwahahaha.


(image from google images)

my last travelogue post here was about our day trip down to Old Town in Nice, France, and today's entry is a prelude: it's about our journey from Torino, Italy, to the little village of Saint Jeannet, which is one of the twelve perched villages that can be found in the Alpes-Maritimes, close to Nice. we stayed in an amazing bed-and-breakfast for three nights: L'Auberge Des Baous, also known as The Frogs' House.

in order to get from Torino to Saint Jeannet, we had to take a train from Porta Nuova, the main train station in Turin, and transit at Ventimiglia station in order to get to Nice Ville, after which we needed to get another ticket for a train from Nice Ville to Saint Laurent du Var. after which we could get a bus up the mountain that would bring us to Saint Jeannet!

thank goodness for my experienced and resourceful travel partners, i don't think i would have attempted the tricky journey by myself! i'm terrible when it comes to directions and traveling around in a foreign country :(

Fish and i! with our insanely heavy luggages (i'm guessing we each had a suitcase that weighed at least 25kg) it was no easy feat to lug them about the train stations and on to the trains. there are virtually no escalators or lifts, and there are lots of stairs leading up and down to train platforms, and steep steps to get up the train itself.

Woon! we were super excited to be off to France!

my mighty big luggage was a nightmare to travel with :( all thanks to my mom, i told her to bring out the big luggage out of storage for me, and she really brought out this GIANT one omg :( totally regretted it when we ended the choir leg of the trip and i had to pull, push, drag and maneuver the insanely big and heavy luggage up and down flights of stairs and traverse the streets of Europe ;(

lesson learnt: no more giant luggages for me! i'd rather underpack a little and travel lighter.. it was so tiring that it put me in a super foul mood! plus lots of bruises on my legs from being banged about by heavy luggages ;(

finally sitting on the train comfortably, while looking at the scenic landscapes pass us by.


on the train: a random shot of Woon's vintage Olympus-Pen, the forefather and ancestor of my Olympus E-P3.

arrived at Nice Ville after transiting at Ventimiglia: it took about six hours if i remember correctly?

one of the many flights of steps (on the left in the photo) that we had to navigate our luggages down.

we arrived on the streets of Saint Laurent du Var, and our initial plan was to take the local bus which would bring us to Saint Jeannet, but the bus wasn't due to come for another 2 or 3 hours because it was a Sunday :( so we resorted to taking a taxi instead! Fish and Woon approached one of the kind locals, who helped us make a call to book a cab. i was secretly glad, because i was struggling with my freaking giant suitcase and having to find a way to get up a bus with that monstrosity sounded near impossible to me :(

AHMYGAWD. so happy to be on a taxi that's gonna bring us straight to our bed and breakfast in Saint Jeannet! we had some trouble finding the location though, even though Fish had already pre-loaded a map on her iPad for the taxi driver to refer to!

PS. the iPad is really convenient for travelling cos you can download maps via wifi when you have a connection, and then use the maps offline to navigate about on the streets! you can also do research the night before for bus/train schedules, directions and other important information.

it cost us 60 euros for the trip up the mountain, and i think at some point of time, we were wondering

OMGWHATAREWEDOINGHERE
ONTHISOBSCUREMOUNTAIN
INTHEMIDDLEOFNOWHEREALLBYOURSELVES
ANDSURROUNDEDBYPEOPLEWHOCANTSPEAKENGLISH
???

can't say we weren't scared at all, just the three of us in a (very fast moving) taxi going up a mountain and further away from civilisation every minute O.O and the taxi was going so fast i was starting to envision the driver missing a sharp turn or something and the entire car flying down the side of the mountain O.O

luckily, nothing happened to us haha.

after a long winding journey up the mountain, we finally arrived at our destination: the village of Saint Jeannet! what a sigh of relief :X i knew we'd made the right choice to go there once we got off the taxi: the view was BEE-YOOOO-TI-FUL! it's a really peaceful and quiet village, and i was so happy to leave behind the throngs of holiday goers we saw at Nice Ville train station. i think we were just about the only tourists in the village, and we got lots of friendly and curious looks from the villagers!


the first thing we did: to fill our famished tummies with foooood! headed to the nearest restaurant that was still open, and we just wolfed down all the food D:

my very first meal in France: duck confit! ohhhhh it's making me hungry now ;_; juicy and tender duck meat that fell cleanly off the bone. even the sides like the mashed potato and salad tasted so good! the greens were really fresh and tasted nothing like those i've had in Singapore.

Woon ordered the foie gras: it was like 12 or 14 euros for a really huge portion!

rounded up the thoroughly satisfying meal with a homemade apple crumble!

sooooo good a meal until can die from happiness after a gruelling day of travelling and having my arms wrenched out from their sockets from carrying heavy suitcases.

and look at that incredible view from our height on the mountains.

tooooooooo gorgeous. can see for miles and miles until the fog/mist obscures the landscapes from sight!


checked into The Frogs' House! there's an adorable little street sign directing us to the house!

it was tucked into a corner of the village, and looked so welcoming from afar already!

i guess frogs were to be expected at the Frogs' House!

the signs by the front door say: "Corrine and Benoit welcome you to The Frogs' House"

it was Woon who found this tiny gem of a bread and breakfast via the internet: they even won TripAdvisor's Travellers' Choice award! there were multitudes of positive reviews on TripAdvisor, and they even reply each and every review personally.. how sweet! we were so glad we managed to book a room in advance, via email.



our small but cozy room we stayed in for three nights! grabbed this photo off their Facebook cos i didn't take a picture of it.
and the view right outside our balcony. i stitched together four photos to get this panoramic view! click here for an enlarged version!
we were warmly received by Benoit (pronounced Be-nu-ah), one of the owners of the Frogs House, who settled us at ease with his hospitality and friendlyness! here's Benoit giving us suggestions and advice on where to go, and what to eat! he is super duper enthusiastic and knowledgeable and helpful! it was such a comfort to hear someone who could speak English fluently too, because very few of the French actually speak English.

Benoit even takes guests on guided tours around the area too, to places like the local winery, the lavender fields, the goat farm, and also down into Nice Old Town. unfortunately his tours were all booked full during our time, so we didn't get the chance to go on any of them.
they have a kitchen and a lounge at the Frogs House that's open to all guests, so we boiled hot water to slurp up cup noodles for supper in the comfortable lounge!
the night view from our balcony. definitely no air-conditioner needed because the air gets rather chilly at night, so we left our balcony door just a crack open for some cool air and ventilation. slept really well and woke up to the morning light and sounds of bird calls.. i felt so surrounded by nature and far far away from civilization!

the most homely scents were wafting over from the kitchen, and when we peeked inside, it was Corrine, Benoit's wife, conducting a jam making workshop for their nephews! :D


Corinne is the lady who makes all the delicious jam that we had for breakfast during the three days we stayed in the Frogs House.. i swear i've never enjoyed jams this much! they are so so so so so so so so good we nearly wiped out entire jars of jam for breakfast every morning.

isn't this little boy adorable :D he reminds me of Ron Weasley from Harry Potter! haha.

carefully transferring the fresh jam into little jars.
an array of jams ready for consumption! they are available for sale too, and we brought some back home to Singapore as gifts for friends :)
fresh fruits for breakfast.
and i miss the wonderful jams and bread and breakfast spread there already :(

we had such a unexpectedly wonderful stay in this tiny village, all thanks to the hospitality and warmth of Corinne and Benoit! we felt so at home at the Frogs House, and i wish we had more time to spend at Saint Jeannet, and to explore all the nearby attractions we didn't get to visit.

if you do ever intend to travel to Nice and might be interested in accommodation at the Frogs House, here's their address and website:

***

The Frogs House
35 Rue du Saumalier
06640 Saint-Jeannet, France
06 28 06 80 28

***

i'll end my blogpost here for now, and carry on about our day hiking to the top of the mountain and visit to the local winery in the next Europe travelogue post! don't want to overload with too many photos haha i think there are already alot D:

hopefully it was an interesting read for you, though i suspect some of you are probably bored to tears and might have just skipped reading this entire post :S

anyway, ending off the blogpost with random photos from a "company" dinner last week! my two hardworking minions are both leaving me soon :( oh noooo :( what am i going to do without them! don't even want to think about it now.

we had an enjoyable dinner at Changi Airport's Coffee Club!

Farah, Apple, Trish, Shirl, Eils and myself. we just had a shoot that day, which explains why Apple looks super made up and i look super chui hahaha :X missing Cher who was stuck at work :(
our food. pretty decent and it's not crowded in the restaurant at all! though the service was still a tad slow. my favourite has got to be their mudpie, it's motherfriggin huuuge and is absolutely decadent.

***



(insert random camwhore picture)


supaaa busy weekend ahead with two concert performances at the Esplanade Recital Studio! and my life is going to be living hell next week onwards (i predict) for three months, because DENG DENG DENG i am starting personal training sessions at Amore Fitness, TWICE a week some more! my muscles fats are shrinking in fear already. ok but more on that next time. don't be surprised if you don't hear from me next week onwards (maybe i collapsed in the middle of personal training session) but actually i am really really really very excited to start personal training! will i be a LEAN MEAN FIGHTING MACHINE in three months time?? D: only time will tell.....

until the next, enjoy your weekend and check back again for updates soon!!!
xoxoxo




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Event/Review: ZA X Les Affaires Kissy Kissy Kiss!

hello it's me again! :D

 

ok, so i didnt blog for one week ;( but i got excuse one, cos i was away for a 3D2N trip in Genting! i just got back last night after three days of non-stop stuffing my face with food and also lots of fun fun fun! I know how I mentioned previously that there wasn't much to do at Genting, but I was wrong O.O guess I just didn't do my research properly the last time I was there!

 

did mean to blog while i was there and even brought my laptop along, but we were packed with activities during the three days, so i was too tired to blog D: i will make up for it this week instead, and blog more! don't go away okay! this time it's for real one cos i've already edited all the photos that are just waiting to be posted up only! :D

 

moving back in time: attended a ZA event that was held at Les Affaires, Wisma Atria, last last week!

 

i blogged about Les Affaires here when they hosted me and some readers for a girls' night in, so it was nostalgic to be back in the same space again for another event :)

 

what we went home with from the event: some of ZA's latest products which are absolute love!

ZA Lip Drops (03 Hey Cutie), Pure Shine Lips (02 Nuance Rose) and Eyes Groovy (06 Mauve Berry)

some captures from the event, the new Pure Shine lippies come in an amazing array of TEN different colors, same as the Lip Drops! as for the Eyes Groovy, there are TWO new colors, the other shade you see above is called Glamorous Gold.

 

we had a little presentation on how to match lip and eyeshadow colors, from playful and fun to flirty and sexy outfits, put together with Les Affaires' super comfy and pretty lounge/sleepwear, which can be worn both in and out of your bedroom :D

and for a sweet treat, the Tiramisu Hero made a special appearance at the event! i LOVE the little illustration/logo by Peggy, it's so adorable! and the tiramisu itself is mad addictive too! go and check out their customised tiramisu, you can adjust the alcohol content, wetness and sweetness to your taste to get that perfect tiramisu for your sweet tooth!

a few photos with the two pretty sweethearts i attended the event with: Tricia and Ling! thanks for the fun night, girls! :D also with Peggy and Aileen when they came down to check how the tiramisu was doing! hehe. i'm wearing TheVelvetDolls' upcoming white blazer and crochet cropped top, with Crayola Shorts in pink launched previously. the shoes are from Sœurs! ^^ if you noticed, Ling's in the Bianca Lace Dress, and Garden of Eden Floral Blazer that i loaned her for the evening! so pretty right! :D :D :D

it was a really fun and girly evening of trying on pretty lounge/sleepwear, as well as getting all excited over choosing shades from Lip Drops and Pure Shine for keeps! we even got to bring home an apparel from Les Affaires too ;)

 

back to the products, i am soooooo in love with the shades that i chose for the ZA Pure Shine and Lip Drops! had the makeup artist at the event pick shades suitable for me, and she chose the perfect shade. i love the Pure Shine lippie especially and have been wearing it on my lips so often!

the Pure Shine comes with moisturising agents like Collagen Complex, Hyaluronic Acid and Evening Primrose Oil, as well as ZA's signature Vitamin E! it has a slightly sheer pigment that imparts color to my lips while keeping it looking very natural. my lips look so soft and moisturized after applying it on! just gotta say it again, i really love the shade! it is super wearable, and gives my lips a pink and pretty hue :D

 

the Lip Drops also contain the same fabulous ingredients, and is perfect to finish off your lip color by adding a juicy and plump sheen to your lips! it doesn't feel too annoyingly sticky, and i gotta say the combination of these two lip products make my lips look oh-so-kissable ^^ i say look only, HAHA. i try not to kiss my boyfriend when i have lip products on, cos i don't want him to get lip gloss/lip stick on his lips! :X

here's a close up so you can check out that amazing shimmer and lip color! looks super juicy and soft, right? :D

and i honestly am in love with this natural pink shade! however, as with most drugstore brands, the staying power of the lip color isn't as lasting as other more expensive brands (which is not necessarily a bad thing because those lippies tend to feel very dry and chalky on the lips!) so you'd definitely want to bring out your Pure Shine for touch-ups!

the Eyes Groovy in Mauve Berry comes with four very useable colors in one convenient quad palette, with the right amount of each color to avoid leftovers! which is extremely smart, i feel. how many times have you bought a palette and found yourself using so much of one or two colors that there's alot of leftover for the other colors even when you've hit the pan on that one color you kept on using? :S

swatch of the four shades. the lighter shades are not as pigmented as the dark purple (shade D) but has a very fine shimmer which looks gorgeous. my favourite shades are shade C (the lilac color) and A (subtle light gold). if you prefer intense and rich eye shadow colors, this palette may not be for you as the color payoff is not very strong, save for shade D, the dark purple.

a simple look i achieved with the Eyes Groovy in Mauve Berry palette: used shade C all over my eye, with shade D on the outer corner and to line my lower lash line! :D

my favourite part about drugstore brands: they are just so mad affordable and easily accessible to the public!

retail prices for the following products as below:

 

ZA Lip Drops - $11.90

ZA Pure Shine Lips - $17.50

ZA Eyes Groovy - $18.50

 

they will be available exclusively in Singapore at Watsons from 30 August 2012 onwards, remember to drop by your favorite Watsons outlet to check these goodies out! :D also, you can visit ZA cosmetics' website here to find out more about these new products :)

 

***

 

instagram-ed: photos from my weekend trip, with Rachell, Zoe and Sarah! i was really privileged to be sponsored for this short get-away, thanks to Nuffnang and Resorts World Genting! ^^

act 一个 chio look :D

day 1: my roomies and travel companions for the weekend! ^_^

with adorable Rachell!

right before we went on the cable car ride teehee.

pretty flowers at the strawberry farm! (i know, super OTT taking pictures with flowers at a strawberry farm lol. but the flowers were too nice not to take pictures with)

macarons for breakfast, amongst lots and lots of other delish food!

me happy with yummy macaron.

outfit from day 2: denim romper upcoming on TheVelvetDolls, together with rainbow cardi and my Bimba & Lola bag :D

while waiting for lunch on day 2 :D we had a crab and seafood feast!!

we went to the theme park tooooo! :D

after taking the freaking scary ride D: but it was like mad fun!

and the last group shot of the trip where we had our lunch on day 3! the 3 days passed so quickly! thanks to these three girls, we had a thoroughly enjoyable and fun trip :D #singaporebloggersingenting hahahaha private joke :S

 

alrighty, that's all! wait for the full blog entry on the trip okay! :D and if you haven't followed me on instagram already, you should follow me (@yinagoh) for my updates on the go! :D

 

promise another blog post soon!

 

xoxo