My winter obsession: UNIQLO heattech

Monday, 29 October 2012

I don't know why I have never heard of UNIQLO heattech before. I know there is a store called UNIQLO, but believe me, I have never ever gone inside the store even just for curiosity's sake. But thanks to my friend Leng for introducing me to it. Now I can guarantee that my winter days are going to be warmer and this is all down to a cheap, but fashionable thermal clothing. 

For the longest time, I have been layering up at least four clothings to keep myself warm in the winter.  I have been buying warmers that really didn't keep me warm (yes, it's true). Until of course I heard about this heattech thing. So about three weeks ago was my first ever visit to a UNIQLO store and I chose the one in Oxford street, just because it is quieter over there and honestly, that's the only Uniqlo store I know. As soon as I got in, I blamed myself for not even giving the store a chance. How could I possibly have missed all those beautiful clothings? I fell in love with the store straight away. I went straight up to the second floor to look for the heattech stuff and there I was, in a panic. There were quite a few ladies looking around and I was afraid that they may run out of size. I read from a blog that heattech gets sold out really quick. I was even trembling as I browse through the clothes. I wanted to buy one each of every coulour and style. Yes, that's how excited I was. But luckily, I came back to reality and realized that I really didn't need that many. So I settled with one long and one short sleeve scoop neck t-shirts and a pair of leggings. On top of this, I bought a T dot long sleeve online. I thought I'd try it first and see how it goes.

So I have worn both the t-shirts and I was amazed by how soft the fabric was. I don't think I have ever worn a fabric that soft in my life. It really felt good on the skin. At first I thought the weather was mild that's probably why I was warm. But then I wore it again when the weather was colder and I didn't feel as cold as I would normally be this time of the year, knowing that I was only wearing a long sleeve shirt and a blazer. Kind of my spring outfit, with heattech underneath. At that moment, I was convinced that heattech indeed works. I am looking forward to wearing it again this week now that it is officially winter in London.

Here are my UNIQLO heattech purchases so far and I am sure I will be buying more. (Photos from www.uniqlo.com)

Women Heattech Scoop Neck T-Shirt (Long Sleeve) for £12.90
Women Heattech Polo Neck T Dot for £12.90
Women Heattech Scoop Neck T-shirt for £9.90
Women Heattech Stirrup Leggings for £12.90

All available at www.uniqlo.com or at any uniqlo stores near you.



tintin x


16k From Paris to Versailles

Thursday, 18 October 2012

It looks like I have finally taken running seriously, because after my Bristol 10k run, I decided to go an extra mile and joined the 16k race from Paris to Versailles in September. But honestly, I won't be probably doing this crazy thing if not for my son who never fails to inspire me. I am doing all this because I want him to be proud of me even if he now lives in heaven. I know he's up there watching over me.

It also just happened that a baby named Jacob from our town is in dire need of help. So I took this opportunity to raise funds for Jacob. We managed to raise 100 pounds for him.

So, on the day of the run we had to get up early to make it to the assembly area which was just at the foot of the Eiffel tower. But since we didn't have our bib yet, we had to go and get them first before we could do anything else. I was so nervous because we were meant to pick up those bibs the day before and I was not sure if we were able to collect them on the same day. I had skip beats throughout the night thinking about it because after all, I was in Paris to run. I would have been really devastated if I was not able to do the 16k. But luckily, we were given our bibs on the day and we were good to run.

I have actually been to Paris four times but never seen the Eiffel tower early in the morning. The whole surrounding felt so calm and quiet as there were not a lot of people around. I was able to appreciate the beauty of Paris more this time than ever before. 

As usual I was wearing a blue t-shirt because it's my son's favourite colour. And since I started running, I have been putting his name and his motto on my shirt. After all, Keith is the main reason why I am doing all this. And of course, my run will never be complete without Keith's favourite toy, Meowmeow.

There were more than 25 thousand runners for the 16k race from Paris to Versailles this year. This was our first international run and the ambiance was entirely different, a bit quieter than the Bristol 10k. It was kind of surreal for me because I never thought that I could ever run a long distance, let alone run in Paris. Never in my wildest dream. But there I was amidst the crowd, waiting for my turn to go. 

As far as I can remember, it was first come, first run. Unlike in Bristol where you run by the colour of your bib. The run officially started at 10am and only 350 participants could run every minute.

I was so excited at the beginning of the run because I knew I was making another history in my life. However, the Paris to Versailles run was not easy. Although someone already warned me beforehand that I should take it easy on the first few kilometers because there would be at least 2k of hills, I didn't expect it to be that bad. But oh my God, it was not just 2k of hills, it was majority of the run I think, or at least it felt like it. We ran through some tunnels and beautiful villages and yes, the forest! That was really unexpected but it was the coolest experience ever. I never really imagined myself running in the woods, but there you go. I have done it with 25,000 others.

I successfully finish the 16k from Paris to Versailles in 1 hour 44 minutes 09 seconds.

Oh well, that was another achievement for me. I am still considering running a half marathon next year. I hope I will be able to do it.


tintin x

To Paris by Bus

Monday, 8 October 2012

Two weekends ago was my first time to travel from London to Paris by bus. It has always been an option, but for some reason we just didn't see the reason why we should travel that long when we can be in Paris in less than two hours via Easyjet. But because we were working on that Friday, we won't have much time to prepare and then travel to Heathrow airport for another hour or so. And so we decided to take the bus from Victoria Coach Station at 2130.

The bus is bigger than the usual coach that I take whenever I go to Bristol or anywhere in England. It is a double decker bus, but all passengers stay on the upper deck. I actually didn't realize that until I asked Don, and he told me that the lower deck was all for the luggage and the toilet. The space between the seats are a bit wider than the normal, but not that much. We were lucky to get the front seat as it is the most spacious of all. And that also meant that I was able to put my feet up. This is what Don and I always do to get the best seats: we stand right in front of the door as soon as we get to the gate and wait there until they allow passengers to get in the bus. I always stay in the queue while Don sorts our baggage. It saves time and it allows you to get in the bus first before anyone else. It doesn't always happen that way, but it's always good to try.

So, let's start from the top. Just like any of our other international travels, we also had to check in. I was not aware of this, but luckily we arrived at the coach station early. I just assumed that because we were just taking the bus, we would just queue like normal, but no. Saying that, there was no baggage security check at this point. They just asked us how many luggage we had then they gave us a tag and we were good to go. 

The travel time written on our bus ticket was at least 9 hours. I thought that wasn't too bad. It is actually just like going from Zambales to Baguio City. But  I was so silly to even think that I would be able to sleep the whole time. I didn't realize that the bus had to make a few stops: one, passport check and two, to take the ferry. They say ignorance is bliss, but that didn't work for me this time because I hate it when my sleep gets interrupted. So, we took the ferry ride from Dover to Calais, France for a total of 90 minutes. We had to get off the bus, which really annoyed me because that meant I had to look for somewhere else to sleep. We hung out in the cafe and I slept on the couch for  at least  45 minutes. Then we had to get up to get in the bus again. And that was the only time that I got to sleep for 4 solid hours. It went so quick that I didn't even know we were already in Gallieni at 0630. 


The bus station in Gallieni


Our bus trip back to London was a bit more interesting as we were met at the counter by angry passengers from the bus before us. Apparently, they were supposed to leave an hour before but was told by the bus driver that the bus was already full. So, imagine how angry they were and they won't let us queue until they were given seats first. That delayed the whole process, so our tactic didn't work this time. Besides, the bus gate in Gallieni is not as organized as it is in London.

From Paris to London there were to passport checks, one from the French Immigration and one from the UK Border Agency. And there was also a baggage check, including handbags and any bags (be it a paper bag or a plastic bag) that you brought from Paris. 

This time though we didn't take the ferry. Instead, the bus went inside the train. I was so happy I was hoping I could sleep better because we didn't get out of the bus. But I couldn't sleep anyway because it was boiling hot inside. I could hear some people talking and laughing out loud outside the bus and people inside the bus were "ssssshhhhhh-ing" them. Haha. 

But apart from the interrupted sleep, which is expected I guess, it's okay to take the bus. I would still prefer to travel at night though because then you won't waste a lot of time. But if you were to ask if I would take the bus to Europe again, yes I will. I just have to make sure that I am off the following day as you will never know if there is going to be any delay. And 9 hours on the road is very tiring, so you need a good day's rest afterwards.


tintin x

I Left My Heart In New York City!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

My trip to New York last month was my fourth, but it was only then I realized that I can and will live in the City That Never Sleeps. This is probably because this time, I allowed myself to experience New York in a different perspective. For once, I wasn't just a tourist. And this is the reason why I now love New York. Yes, it only took me four trips to realize that.

And here's what I did in the city:
Morning runs and then meeting Jeff, the guy who gave me a free bottled water because we didn't have a change.

Hanging out in the West Village
Gaining a new friend, then getting drunk in the middle of the day.

Tortilla Flats
767 Washington Street
New York, New York 10014

Spending more time with old friends:
With one of my high school bestfriends , Alena.

Jollibee
62-29 Roosevelt Avenue
Queens, New York
11377

Our friend from California (Rose Ann) also joined us for lunch at Maharlika NYC. I finally had my favourite sizzling sisig.

MAHARLIKA
111 1st Avenue 
New York, New York 
10009


The City:


And the highlights of my trip:
A visit to the National September 11 Memorial
Dinner with  friends

SEA
835 Washington Street
New York, New York
10014

Walking in the village at night
First ever night out in New York City.

230 Fifth
230 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York
10001

This is the place to go to if you want a spectacular view of the city. Luckily, we were with friends who know how to party. I will always be thankful to these guys for making my first night out in NYC unforgettable. I must say that the drinks are quite expensive. A bottle of Hennessy, which by the way is not on list costs about $380. Maybe it's best to visit this place once in a while unless you always have extra money to spend.


After this trip I actually want to go back to New York every year. I am still not ready to move for good, but now I know I will eventually.

Now tell me, who doesn't love New York City?


tintin x


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