Cherished Memories

Ibyang + Instagram = Ibyangram

While my instagram photos are shared on my twitter page and sometimes on my tumblr and fb page, I would like to have a monthly dump of ibyangrams on AWCL too. It is thru instagram that I share everyday moments and random finds. I use instagram as my real time mini-blog. Every end of the month, I’ll be choosing a couple of photos from my instagram and share it here because I have something more to say about a certain ibyangram.

I love our August! It was the last month of Winter but it was filled with warmth from the company of loved ones. August was life-changing for me. The best highlight was spending a wellness weekend with girlfriends at a healthy resort in Byron Bay. It was an experience that recalibrated and rejuvenated my body, mind and spirit. Our social calendar was also quite busy as we had a friend who visited Sydney so we shared with her some of our favourite sights and eats in our city.

Here are some memorable highlights of my August:
Our Winter Fridate was about bringing out our creativity and exploring the many things we can do with our Lumix mirrorless cameras. Coming across delicious food and coffee were a bonus.

St. Mary’s Cathedral. The most photographed church in Australia. Attended first Friday Mass which was officiated by Manila Archbishop Cardinal Tagle.

Momoka’s last weekend in Sydney. Spent the day at Darling Harbour. Fun times with family. 

The Starbucks Pilipinas Tumbler. I don’t collect tumblers but I appreciate good artwork. So when my friend Leny asked what I want from the Phils, I asked for this tumbler because I like the design. 

The Good Cafe Guide 2014. Coffee is serious business in Australia that we even have a guide to help us find the best cafes that serve great-tasting coffee.

Manly Beach on a Winter’s day. The Husband and I in one of our favourite Sydney beach.

Leny in Sydney. This instagram was shared in the Husband’s instagram account. She’s one of our friends from Manila and she was here for a few days. Took her out for a day and shared our love for Sydney to her.

Wellness Weekend in Byron Bay. Spent a long weekend with three of my girlfriends at a healthy resort. We had a fabulous time! I hope I can blog about it one day. 

Clean Eating. One of the highlights of our wellness weekend was having a taste very healthy food. Such as this breakfast that had Fennel Flower. 

Organic Tea For Take-away. Tea was abundant from where I had my Wellness Weekend. I was able to take home a few flavours I like.

The Create-Your-Own Magnum Bar is back at Westfield Sydney. But only for 8 weeks so visit soon before it’s gone.

The cold can never stop me from enjoying my ice cream. But look closely…I’m holding a bottle of water in my other hand. Need to wash out the sweetness so I won’t get tonsilitis.

Magnum Party Inside Our Freezer. Salted Caramel, Honeycomb Crunch and Gateau Au Chocolate.

I love Shiseido’s Eyelash Curler. So when Hubby’s workmate asked what I want from Japan, I told her I want a second eyelash curler so I can have a back-up. She got me that and replacement rubbers. How sweet! And she even got us lolly & chips. Grateful for her thoughtfulness.

Momoka-san is a high school student in Japan who stayed at my relatives’ place for 10 days in order to experience life in Australia. On weekdays, Momoka-san went with my cousin to school and on weekends, they showed her around Sydney Metropolitan. My Auntie invited the Husband and I to tag along some of their sightseeing so we took this opportunity to hang out with them. It was an enjoyable experience as Momoka-san was very appreciative of the places we took her. It’s a nice feeling to share life in Sydney with someone like her and at the same time, it’s wonderful to learn a few things about her culture.

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Ibyang + Instagram = Ibyangram

While my instagram photos are shared on my twitter page and sometimes on my tumblr and fb page, I would like to have a monthly dump of ibyangrams on AWCL too. It is thru instagram that I share everyday moments and random finds. I use instagram as my real time mini-blog. Every end of the month, I’ll be choosing a couple of photos from my instagram and share it here because I have something more to say about a certain ibyangram.

Past Winter seasons were usually spent hibernating at home. July, being coldness month in Sydney, is when we spend weekends holed up at home, catch up on sleep and do nothing. That premise changed this year as this was probably the busiest July we’ve ever had. We celebrated Christmas in July with friends, found ourselves having dinner in the city a couple of times (so nice to walk at night in Sydney even if its cold!), helped Hubby with a photoshoot assignment and played tourists along with a visitor from Japan.

Here are a few unforgettable photos of my July:

Sculptures on Six. An event hosted by Westfield Sydney where we found ice sculptures on the food court area of the mall. Here’s award-winning ice carving artist, Kenji Ogawa with is creation, the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Christmas in July lunch with friends. Had lunch at Criniti’s and caught up with our friends in celebration of June birthday celebrants and Christmas in July.

We finally got ourselves a proper set of photography lights. Currently getting used to setting it all up. Quite tedious but oh so worth it.

Soju to give a bit of warmth on a cold night. And these wasabi green peas that are sooo addicting.

The Husband surprised me with a Cronut from Brewtown Newtown! Grateful for the Husband’s thoughtfulness.

New Tim Tam flavours! The Red Velvet’s higlight was the cream cheese filling which gave the Tim Tam a salty taste. The Peanut Butter tasted like Butterfinger–which I realised I didn’t like.

Weekend Juice: Cherries, Blueberries and Coconut Juice. Rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C, and very hydrating. Perfect for Winter weather. The Snoopy & Lucy glasses were courtesy of my dear friend Hilda.

Birthday Noodles for my Mom’s birthday. Cooked Pancit Bihon in celebration of my Mom’s special day.

New Oliver Brown Cafe in Strathfield. Ordered a cup of Hot Chocolate with Crunchy Cereals coated in chocolate while waiting for the Husband.

Pandesal is Love. Pandesal and Nespresso coffee for our morning meal. 

Egg Pie, a beloved Filipino dessert, a favourite of mine and reminder of my childhood in Manila. Created by Starlight Bakery (Doonside).

Sushi fan from Japan! I love it!

Momoka-san in Sydney. Showed Momoka-san the sights of Sydney on the last weekend of July. She’s a foreign exchange student from Japan and she stayed at my relatives place. We hung out with them so we can also spend time with my auntie, uncle and cousins.

Cabbage Flowers. Purple plants in Hyde Park. They reminded me of dear friend Biselle, who loves Purple. They looked lovely.

Over the years, we’ve somehow made a few family traditions during Holy Week and Easter celebrations.  It all starts with Palm Sunday mass which we attend on Sunday morning. This year, our parish priest, Father Peter’s message was, “As we begin the celebration of Holy Week and place a small palm across our homes, let us be aware of the need to weave the cross through our experiences”.
Good Friday was devoted to attending the Stations of the Cross. After that, we got together with relatives and had lunch together. Once lunch was over, we went back home and spent the rest of Friday and Saturday at home. The time spent at home was a chance at rest, reflection and some quiet time. 
On Easter Sunday, we left home early to hear the Sunday mass at St. Peter Julian’s Church. It was our first time to celebrate Easter in the city. To celebrate, we had breakfast at Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafe. 

For lunch, we met up with our friends at Chinta Ria where we had a sumptous Malaysian lunch. We spent a few hours sharing good food and great company.

In the evening, we met up with relatives once again and had dinner together. Easter Sunday was a long day for us but we enjoyed it with people we love. 

Easter Monday is still a public holiday in Australia. We stayed at home just resting and getting ready for the work week ahead. Easter won’t be complete without Hot Cross Buns so we had a bun each for afternoon tea. We got our hot cross buns from Adriano Zumbo this time and it was very thoughtful that they included a small block of Lurpak butter with our purchase. Zumbo’s hot cross buns had a lot of raisins and apricot bits but quite heavy on cinnamon flavour.

It was an amazing four-day Easter break.  One of the best we’ve had. A time for God, family, friends and myself. All I have is gratefulness in my heart.

Hope you had a great Easter break too!

Ibyang + Instagram = Ibyangram

While my instagram photos are shared on my twitter page and sometimes on my tumblr and fb page, I would like to have a monthly dump of ibyangrams on AWCL too. It is thru instagram that I share everyday moments and random finds. I use instagram as my real time mini-blog. Every end of the month, I’ll be choosing a couple of photos from my instagram and share it here because I have something more to say about a certain ibyangram.

February was amazing! It was a month of getting things done and preparing for the best travel of our lives. The first half of the month was spent getting advanced work done at the office, seeing loved ones and preparing for travel.  The second half was spent in Japan! The Husband’s childhood dream came true in just a plane ride that brought him to see the things he’s loved in Japan from afar. This travel took years to happen and we’ re very happy that it finally came true.

Here are a few highlights of our happiest February:

The best coconut drink I’ve tried so far. I love that it’s made of 100% water from green coconuts and that it has no sugar. 

Sweet Surprise! While studying maps and bus routes, the Husband gave me a surprise: the new Kit Kat Cookies & Cream.

Pink Roses towering above our book shelf. It brings a lot of life and cheer in this space of our home.

The festival program for Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival. I love this artwork created by Hu Ming. The program holds a lot of information regarding CNY celebrations in the metro, new year markets, boat races, lunar feasts and more.

It’s raining flowers on my desk! A workmate gave me yellow flowers yesterday. The boss gave me pink roses today. They’re lovely! Cheered me up amidst these busy times at work. 

Meat galore at our lunch party with Sydney Tweehearts! Crispy Pata, Roast Pork, Buffalo Wings and Kare-Kare.

Lay-over in Incheon International Airport because we flew Korean Air. The Sunset in South Korea welcomed us. It was a beautiful sight. We had coffee at Caffe Bene where we ate the MakMak macarons we bought in Sydney Airport. Had fun taking photos with Hello Kitty, Charlie Brown and Snoopy to pass the time.

Magical time in Kyoto. Our first adventure in Japan started in Kyoto where we got charmed by our traditional home, a  ryokan. Saw thousands of torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine, an amazing bamboo forest in Arashiyama and the stunning Kinkakuji Temple. 

Morning walk at Nara Park and exploration of the Todai-ji Temple. To wall alongside deers was a fun experience. They’re quite aggressive if they see you with anything brown, they always think that you’re holding deer biscuit. We saw a huge Buddha inside Todai-ji Temple, such an astounding structure to behold.

Food tripping and a little shopping in Osaka. A day in Osaka where we filled our tummies with delicious Japanese street food. From Takoyakis, Gyozas and Okonomiyakis. We also tried Starbucks’ Sakura Frappuccino and Sakura Chiffon Cake for afternoon tea.  

Ten glorious days in Tokyo! Such an amazing city. We went to see Gundam and Sanrio characters. We saw Andy Warhol‘s exhibition and chased sunsets in the afternoon. One evening, we watched the Tokyo Tower lit up and just spent a long time looking down at Tokyo’s night view.

All around Tokyo. Felt like kids inside a store filled with more than 500 gachapons (toy vending machines) in Akihabara, had the best tempura dinner in Shinjuku, witnessed a Japanese wedding ceremony in Senso-ji Temple and got mesmerized by the thousands of people crossing Shibuya’s famous intersection.

Fun times at Tokyo Disneyland and J-World.  Photographing Tokyo Dome.

Snow Day in Gala Yuzawa. Lovely winter scenery, creating a small snowman and having ramen with a view of snow-filled mountains. Ramen and snow? I think this can only happen in Japan. 🙂

Japan has the tastiest food on earth. Sushi breakfast in Tsukiji Market. Strong coffee in Almond Cafe. The best Strawberry Chiffon Cake at Henri Charpentier’s Cafe. Tender and juicy Kuroge Wagyu Beef grilled on the teppan.

Last days of Winter in Tokyo. Freshly-baked Melonpan bread in Asakusa. Coffee klatch with IGmate and now friend, Agatha (with her cute baby Keito). Finding white, pink and fuchsia Plum Blossoms in the nearby park. Crossing Shibuya‘s famous intersection for the last time. 
And now we’re back home. It’s always bittersweet when an almost perfect travel ends. However, the keepsakes and our experiences will keep all our memories of Japan alive in our hearts. Most of all, we just feel very blessed and grateful that it has been a safe and wonderful journey.

If you want more photos of our Japan adventure, check out my instagram (@ibyang) and my Husband’s (@keemps17). 

I will be writing about our Japan travel in the coming weeks. I hope you tune in to this blog. If you have any questions about travelling to Japan, please leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them thru my blog posts as best as I could.
Hope you’re having a great day!