The Philippines

So…You know how you’re always in love with places you’ve never been and don’t think you’ll ever get to? The Philippines was one of those dreamlands for me… And now, here I am, freshly returned from the most mesmerizing place I have ever experienced. Check out the video as well!

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Packed with all the excitement in the world, my bestie and I boarded the flight to Manila where we spent one night at one of the nicest hostels: Zen Hostel Haven Backpackers. Totally recommend it, especially if travelling alone!! While many people can’t see past the business of the city, we’ve discovered some parts of Manila that were extremely beautiful, Puerta Real Gardens and the whole Intramuros area.

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While Manila is a good stop, our real adventure started when we landed in the beautiful Coron Island. As the Coron town is a boat ride away from the island, we booked the Ultimate Tour and island hopped a whole day. The first sights took my breath away, as I have never seen such dazzling views before. We’ve seen Kayangan Lake, The Twin Lagoons, Siete Pecados, Malwawey Reef & Coral Garden and much more! And of course, the lunch was the yummiest ever.

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Next island stop…El Nido, Palawan. As we thought Coron was Paradise, we had no words to describe the beautiful preserved islands, clear water lagoons and white sand beaches that we’ve discovered around El Nido. We’ve done two island hopping tours in El Nido, and the best spots were Small Lagoon, 7 Commando Beach and Matinloc Shrine. Along with the views, we tried some of the best drinks I’ve ever had, Buko Rhum (basically rum in coconut) and Mango Mojito…Safe to say we now understand why everyone was talking about the Philippine rum…

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Our last destination was Nacpan Beach where we enjoyed more pristine beaches and crystal clear water and the most important thing…we saw one of the most divine sunset.

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Even though we have experienced only a tiny bit of The Philippines, this escapade was by far one of the best trips. Here are some of the best moments!

 

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Scoop, a MUST-SEE

Scoop, a contemporary womenswear and accessories trade show, returned to its home this year bigger than ever before. Based in the exquisite Saatchi Gallery, the show hosted over 250 international contemporary designers, introducing new talents and showcasing collections from Nobis, Woden and many more.

Being a jewellery fanatic, I suddenly found myself in heaven. Not to bore you with too many details, here are most elegant yet electric brands:

DECADORN

Their ‘wearable earth collection’ consists of beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind, piece. The used minerals are breathtaking and handpicked mostly from Brazil and Uruguay. Polished and finished in the heart of London, I strongly recommend checking out their products.

S A N S O E U R S

Founded by two Spanish sisters, Sansoeurs jewels have unique shapes that express power and elegance. If you are looking for classy piercings, bold necklaces or diamond earrings, this is as far as you need to go!

XTRA-STAR

Because coloured gemstone jewellers are ageless, XTRA-STAR was hard to miss. Using beautiful coloured materials and contemporary designs, their collections are the embodiment of the modern woman: elegant, strong and beautiful. As they like to say, “Every woman is worth the gem!”

Hand in hand with fashion is food, and Scoop made sure we had the best experience! We enjoyed the shows while savouring a glass of bubbly and some delicious canapés.

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I strongly recommend attending the next show: 16-18 July 2017 at Saatchi Gallery, London

Feel free to share your opinion below, hope you enjoyed it!

With love, 

Raluca 

TOP FIVE LIVE MUSIC VENUES IN LONDON

Having trouble finding what to do on a night out with your friends, family or a date? Live music is the answer. London has some of the best live music venues in the world with a vibrant atmosphere, incredible talent and amazing food.

Here are the TOP FIVE LIVE MUSIC VENUES:

I. THE PIANO WORKS

Located in the heart of Farringdon, it is a non-stop live music venue. One of the best things about it is that the repertoire is decided by the audience and played by two greatly talented pianists and accompanying musicians.

Every Tuesday there is an open mic night that aims to discover talent and celebrate diversity. Additionally, selected drinks are only £4 and a full rack of ribs and sides just £10. Wednesdays, any bottle of wine is just £19. Great opportunity to try a vast variety of worldwide wines at an affordable price while enjoying your favourite song live. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Happy Hour offers are available from 5PM to 7PM with £5 cocktails and £10 house wines bottles. Best place to enjoy amazing food, drinks and live music.

Opening hours:

Mon / Sun: 7PM-1 AM

Address:  Entrance on Ray St. 113-117 Farringdon Road, Farringdon, London, EC1R 3BX

II. THE SPICE OF LIFE

The Spice of Life offers a diverse range of music events. The venue has plenty of room and an outdoor drinking space. It is perfect for after work drinks, chats and nights out, while enjoying the acts of new up and coming artists.

Every Monday night there is an Open Mic Night, while Wednesdays on lunchtime there are sessions featuring a wide range of jazz styles with the best of traditional, swing and mainstream bands and musicians. Coming nightfall, Wednesday and Thursday nights feature some of the finest national and international jazz acts. They aim to provide the new talent with a platform to develop. Thus, they are showcasing bands of many genres. On every first Sunday of the month, the atmosphere changes with the best unsigned country soul artists in London.

Opening hours:

Mon / Sat: 11 AM – 11 PM

Sunday: 12 PM – 10.30PM

Address: 6 Moor St, Soho, London W1D 5NA

III. APPLE AND PEARS BAR

Apple and Pears is one of the best live music venues in east London, with a lounge bar and a late-night basement bar. It is a neighbourhood cocktail bar, perfect for enjoying time with your friends, meeting new people and tasting some carefully crafted drinks. Additionally, you can sneak into the cutest garden area without worrying about catching a cold as it is heated. They offer a programme of live music events and acoustic sessions during the week and DJ nights at the weekends.

Opening hours:

Tue / Wed / Thu: 5 PM – 12 AM

Friday: 5 PM – 1 AM

Saturday: 6 PM – 1 AM

Address: 26 Osborn Street, London E1 6TD

IV. THE HALF MOON

The Half Moon is one of London’s longest running live music venues, with live events seven days a week, both during lunchtime and evening. It is a traditional lively pub with great bands and performances, freshly prepared food and an impressive range of beer featuring locally brewed favourites, English ales and continental classics. Many artists have performed and recorded here, such as Rolling Stones, U2 and many others. It’s definitely worth checking it out.

Opening hours:

Mon / Tue / Wed / Thu: 11 AM – 11 PM

Fri / Sat: 11 AM – 1 AM

Sunday: 12 PM – 11 PM

Address: 93 Lower Richmond Rd, Putney, London SW15 1EU

V. The Vortex Jazz Club

The Vortex Jazz Club is a pleasantly small and unpretentious venue, with a diverse range of jazz from traditional to contemporary and commercial. The food is delicious, the drinks reasonably priced and the staff very pleasant.

Opening hours:

Mon / Sun: 8 PM – 12 AM

The Vortex Downstairs, is the Vortex’s second performance space. However it is open only from Wednesday to Sunday. On Sundays, sessions are featuring the best jazz musicians, on Saturdays there is soulful jazz, reggae and rocksteady, while on Fridays are late night gigs.

Opening hours:

Wed / Thu: 6 PM – 11 PM

Fri / Sat: 6 PM – 2 AM

Sunday: 6 PM – 11 PM

Address: 11 Gillett Square, London, N16 8AZ

Please let me know if this helped with your dilemma and don’t shy away from sharing your experience!

With love, 

Raluca 

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