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Having recently flown out to L.A for a birthday party (who am I and what is my life like), our beloved 6ft nuthin’ Chief Party Commander also made sure we got the low-down on local life, even though, y’know, she’s actually from New York herself.

Whilst this did involve some occasional roadtrips and other responsible adult things one does when in California (I added the second part of this sentence here for my parents – hi guys), it mainly included eating. Eating like a BETCH.

Weeks prior to our big reunion, J taunted me with the knowledge of eggslut. I mean when you hear eggslut, you can’t help feeling extrigued (that’ll be acute excitement mixed with a healthy dose of intrigue) without being quite sure what it actually entails, right? As she was not willing to elaborate on the topic to preserve the surprise, I did spend an actual evening drinking wine and analysing just how eggs can be slutty (or maybe more like half an hour on a casual evening with wine).

D-day for eggslut ended up being the morning of ‘Murica’s most patriotic day, which initially threw us off as most places seemed to be closed on the 4th of July (I mean fair enough, right?). Nevertheless, the gods of cholesterol seemed to be on our side as a little while later we found ourselves in the longest queue known to mankind in Downtown Los Angeles.

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Eggslut is essentially a niche fastfood restaurant, priding themself on making the ultimate breakfast sandwiches. You don’t need to have an IQ of 138 to guess from their name that the whole concept revolves around eggs, as it is the staple ingredient of each sandwich.

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Since J had not shut up about eggslut for so many blue moons,  I was rather excited to taste mine after such a long time of being an ignorant European.

And giiirl, let me tell you. This shit tastes goood.

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Would I eat this on regular? Sadly, yes (goodbye non-existing bikini body).

Can I eat this on a regular? Sadly, no – there are currently only 4 eggsluts on this planet, and they’re all in California.

So dear reader, next time you’re in CA – make yourself a favour, and go have an eggslut for me. I’ll be busy crying over here, withdrawal effects and all.

As autumn came knocking on London’s door rather early this year, this blonde took an executive decision to escape the Big Smoke and soak up the last rays of sun before properly enjoying the falling leaves.

I spent all of this week in paradise with my two best friends, and I am currently waiting to board my flight to Pisa to spend another week in between vineyards, under the Tuscanian sun.

Lots of good stories coming up, dear reader – grab yourselves a nice glass of wine in the meantime..

Last weekend, I took the executive decision of escaping to Paris for a well-deserved weekend getaway (fabulous, n’est-ce pas?).

Ready for Paris

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still very much besotted with London (literally a smitten kitten), but lately it’s been all work, work, work and no fun, so this blonde decided to remedy the situation.

Now this may shock some people but – I did not go see the Eiffel tower. I did not have a lovely stroll on the Champs-Elysée. At this point some of you may be asking yourselves “why bother going to Paris at all”, right?

In fact, I spent my whole weekend in one particular area – the Marais – without seeing any famous landmarks, and it was absolutely perfect.

Best part of the weekend? Stumbling onto this wonderful café.

Café Charlot

Located on the corner of rue Charlot and rue de Bretagne, Café Charlot gives off an old-school Parisian bistrot vibe. With a very cosy and initially rather intimate looking interior, do not be fooled – you’ll be lucky to get a seat at this café (and so we were). The menu is extremely tempting in terms of its dishes and more importantly its wine, and considering you’re in one of Paris’ most hip areas, it is a rather affordable outing.

As much as we loved our Charlot experience (anyone ever had waitresses recite them classical French literature quotes just because?), I believe we took the café a liiitle bit for granted during our Saturday brunch, as when wanting to return on Sunday, it was completely packed and the waiting queue was similar to that of H&M’s designer collaboration collection launches.

Café Charlot is a hidden gem in the Marais, feeling like that secret-yet-known meeting spot for locals, and I most definitely will be returning there on my next visit (I see you, Charlot cheeseburger.. nom nom nom!)

Dear reader – got any similar café tips for this blonde?

Once upon a time, I moved away from the city I pursued my bachelor’s degree in. As goodbye’s generate great sadness, my friends and I celebrated accordingly – in true student style, things went from classy (champagne in the park) to hazy (cue the morning after; it took us a good 15 minutes to remember everything about the previous night).

Over time, I had come accustomed to filming some of our random moments spent together, as I wanted to have as many memories as possible. And then one day – I was hit by a million dollar idea (sadly the million dollars remained in my head, and not in my bank account) – why not put all of the memories together in a single video?

I taught myself how to edit on my crappy undergraduate laptop using Windows Live Movie Maker, and soon published my first video. Whilst the editing wasn’t great, nor were the special effects (I am pretty sure it included some pictures I had re-touched in Paint for the LOL’s), it is something my friends and I re-watch every so often and laugh at (a. because of the low level of dignity involved in said video, and b. due to the above-mentioned poor editing).

Luckily, over time I have upgraded my laptop and evolved as a video editor (mainly due to using iMovie instead of WLMM), and I take great pleasure in creating little videos that make for fantastic memories (and make one cringe less). Whilst I ain’t no Sofia Coppola, it feels satisfying to see myself get better and be able to do more things with the program. I recently also purchased a go pro camera, which I cannot wait to play around with come my big trip to Cambodia and Bali.

The latest video I did was about the wonderful time I spent in Rome, and watching it makes me so happy.

If you are interested to see some more of my work, have a look at my time in New York & San Francisco, as well as my last couple of weeks spent living in Edinburgh.

Now for some poll – dear reader, have you taught yourself anything useful?

Whoa, whoa – mic drop – Laura, you haven’t written in over a month!

Indeed, my work-life balance got heavily disbalanced, largely in favour of the former, but this blonde is back (quite literally as I got back from a business trip from London yesterday)! And what better way to buy your readers’ love back than with a little recap from a beautiful weekend spent in the baguette capital, err, an undisclosed amount of time ago.

Paris is where my mother and I embarked on our life adventure; it’s where I first went to school and learnt French; it’s where I started rollerblading; it’s where I got my first kiss from my first crush. It is at the same time a very clear moment in my life, but also one with very few, hazy memories as I was so little.

Since a long weekend was fast approaching, we decided to escape Luxembourg to wander around a very summery Paris. Each time I’m back, I feel like an inbetweener; inbetween being a tourist and a local.

The weekend was perfect. Full of sunshine, fine wine and family, as even my sister joined us all the way from Amsterdam.

It consisted of sightseeing,

getting lost in the city,

cute cafés & being a victim to The Man (self-confessed Starbucks fan speaking here),

random finds

and one regret – not having bought this GAP dress.

I do have to admit that whilst I usually pester about Paris because of its busyness and occasional rude locals, this time I have nothing bad to say.

Paris, maybe we are friends after all.

When life gives you random opportunities to act upon, I heavily believe you should, err, seize the bull by its horns and jump upon it (what an opening statement). And this is exactly what happened not long ago.

Whilst in New York last year, I made a new friend, who in the space of less than 48hrs proposed to me (quite literally, despite being in a relationship), whilst hanging out in the most amazing open air bar overlooking the Brooklyn bridge (random and romantic enough for you?).

September 2013

September 2013

Those 48hrs were all we had, but it seemed that we’d known each other forever.

So when she told me she was making her lifelong dream of travelling around Italy come true, something clicked in my head, and I knew I had to go join her for a small leg of her trip.

Some whatsapp messages, minor planning, expensive flight tickets and hostel arrangements later, it was exciting to think I was going to spend Easter weekend in Rome. And the added bonus? I managed to catch another friend during my layover in Munich airport – winning.

So what did I do in Rome?

I kind of saw the pope during his Good Friday open-air mass (his holy tent was hidden by a tree); I took way too many cab rides; I visited the Colosseum during the worst weather ever (and sorry, not sorry for the weather pun, but I was blown away); I climbed Palatine hill and was full of awe; I saw the Vatican by accident (‘omg, is this St. Peter square?’); I spoke way too much New York English; I spilled my heart to lovely strangers; I ended up at an Easter Sunday mass afterparty in Vatican City, where I drank wine and prosecco with priests (movie moment right thurr); I ate the most delicious gelato; I allowed myself to be surprised by the city. Bref – I wholeheartedly lived in the moment, taking in as much as I could, whilst thinking about how beautiful life is. But I reckon the pictures below will give a better insight of this.

Night time tourism

Night time tourism

The Colosseum

The Colosseum

My tastebuds vs. America - I tasted salty bretzels with nutella

My tastebuds vs. America – I tried salty bretzels with Nutella

The moody sky above Palatine hill

The moody sky above Palatine hill

Viewpoint on Palatine hill

Viewpoint on Palatine hill

Vatican city

Vatican city

An afterparty in a residential area of Vatican city

An afterparty in a residential area of Vatican city

Gelato, dipped in white or dark chocolate

Gelato, dipped in white and dark chocolate

The whole weekend was a dream. It involved very little sleep, a lot of Aperol Spritz, overindulging in pizza, and lots of new random people, without whom I cannot quite picture my life anymore.

Even though it was just a mere weekend, I felt exactly the same upon leaving Rome as I did after it was time to finish my travels in the States – heartbroken.

They say all good things come to an end, and it was definitely the case.

But hey, we say good bye to meet again. We leave to come back. We have experiences like this to motivate ourselves to work, and then do it all over again.

This year I vow to live for the weekend trips, and to save money for grand adventures, somewhere on the other side of the world.

My newly adopted corporate lifestyle has seen me ponder incessantly over the notion of time, as when it comes to professional deadlines and my personal life, it seems to simultaneously drag and run, in whichever manner is the most inconvenient at that exact moment in time.

And it is during exactly one of those ruminating sessions that I realised – scheiße! It’s already been a month since I was in Estonia. I’ve yet to figure out whether I’m shocked because a) it feels like yesterday that I was there, or b) I’ve not had time to think about anything else apart excel sheets and take away coffee.

This trip was unexpected, very last minute and loosely planned, but it ended up being a marvellous one nevertheless (perhaps minus the part where I’m pretty sure I fractured my elbow during Independence day, and I still haven’t had time to go to the doctor. See what I mean about time?).

Every time I fly to Tallinn, the anticipation builds the closer I get to the city. The more I spotted Estonians, the more nervous I got as again, it had been two years since I last went back.

I spent my first four days in the capital, hanging out in cosy hipster cafés, shopping, meeting up with old friends and spending time with family.

For occasions where, you know, you might want a magnifying glass whilst grocery shopping.

For occasions where, you know, you might want a magnifying glass whilst grocery shopping.

Oh, and randomly getting retweeted by the president (hashtag whuut).

One thing that is rather new for me is how many of my friends have gotten children. Whilst it is a perfectly normal, natural phenomenon (enabling me to become aunty Laura), it is always a bit bizarre when it starts happening to your friends. Why bizarre? Probably because despite my twentysomething status, I still feel exactly the same as I felt in school (with the exception that society allows me to drive a car, and I now have to pay taxes), and no one really got pregnant in school.

My journey continued to Tartu, my home city, my hood, where I spent four delicious days playing with my uncle’s children and celebrating one of their birthdays.

Going to Tartu is always heartwarming, because it is where I was born and I thus consider it the most beautiful city in Estonia (as you can see, I am very objective and totally unbiased). It also gives me the opportunity to meet up with childhood friends, that have stuck around despite me barely having lived in Estonia, and to disconnect from my usual day-to-day life. There’s just something about Tartu that makes me forget everything outside of the city’s limits; it’s calm, bohemic, full of friendly people and cool hangout spots.

Beautiful, beautiful Tartu

Beautiful, beautiful Tartu

Returning to Luxembourg was hard, as it meant saying bye to loved ones and coming back to the obligations of daily life, but every good thing ends some point, and leaves us with beautiful memories (except in Eat, Pray & Love it seems – that woman hit the jackpot!).

In addition to the beautiful intangible memories (and the tangible ones I acquired through shopping – sorry, credit card!), I grabbed an additional memory from the airport. As a brilliant initiative, they have created a small library corner consisting of donated books, and travellers are welcome to take a book and read it until their flight starts boarding, or booknap it and return it at a later date, should they have the opportunity to return to Tallinn Airport.

The stamp reads: "Write in this book your thoughts, something for the next reader, or the place this book travelled to with you. Enjoy your trip!"

The stamp reads: “Write in this book your thoughts, something for the next reader, or the place this book travelled to with you. Enjoy your trip!”

Only in Estonia!

Last week I had the opportunity to visit my sister and her boyfriend in one of the coolest cities ever (like, for reaal) – Amsterdam. Ever since my sister began studying there, I’ve been lucky enough to go on a regular basis. This means that over the years, I’ve come to know my way around the city rather well.

Each time I get in, I get excited. Stepping out of the Centraal Station, I can’t help but smile as I take all of it in. The people, the bikes, the trams – all of it mixed with Dutch architecture and beautiful canals.

Amsterdam is a friendly city, full of cheerful and helpful people. The same people also happen to dress really well, so walking around the streets is a huge source of inspiration for me and I always come away with fresh ideas. Home to a vibrant fashion scene (think London but then totally not London), I was excited to hit up the main shopping street – Kalverstraat. Just off of Dam square, it features a variety of known highstreet brands. As Luxembourg doesn’t have some of my favourite shops (Monki!! Bershka! Cos!), spending a day on Kalverstraat is always a treat when in town. Now let’s take a moment of silence for my credit card (eek).

One of my favourite things to do in any beautiful city is to walk around and listen to music, whilst admiring what I’m surrounded with. I did a lot of that in Amsterdam. I also went to my favourite secret café (so cosy & centrally located) and visited the Rijksmuseum (Dutch national museum dedicated to art and history), which was closed for 10 years due to renovation and only re-opened earlier this year. As I was on a tight schedule that day, I only gave myself two hours for the entire museum, which is a total rookie mistake. The museum is huge and I felt like I didn’t get to appreciate everything fully as I had to rush towards the end. I am however very pleased that I got to see plenty of Rembrandts.

My favourite Rembrandt sketch - perhaps because I'm a Leo

My favourite Rembrandt sketch – perhaps because I’m a Leo

All in all, it was meant to be a short trip (we’re talking about three days here, mkay), but I ended up prolonging my trip by two extra days (a matter of hours before my planned departure – how YOLO). And it was the best decision ever. I loved my extra time with my sister & co, and it was just super refreshing to be away from home.

Now let’s hope that my 2014 will feature many city breaks..