Blog

 

 

Give Less, Give Smarter - My InstaReflection

Always be kind to yourself, and help others who deserve it.

But do not confuse being kind with giving unconditionally, because kindness - when presented to someone who doesn't want it - is wasted energy that could be used to empower someone else who truly desires it, or yourself. 

If you're reading this and thinking that I'm talking about you, you're mistaken. 😘

This question -- how to strike a happy medium between helping others deal with their struggles and focusing on my own challenges -- is one that I've been thinking about a lot lately. .
.

Lo and behold, while scrolling through my boring twitter feed earlier, I came upon this article called "Why I Stopped Helping People and You Should Too" by Cammi Pham (link in my insta stories), which gave me the reassurance I was looking for. 

It's time for me to give less, and give smarter. 🤓 💜

Eileen x

關西玉山麵 : 客家炒麵食譜|Taiwan's Best: Mom's Hakka Noodles Recipe

第一次吃到玉山麵是在新竹關西的外婆家。

小時候每次回去看外婆,大姨婆婆總會特地繞來打招呼,順便塞幾包自家做的手工麵給媽媽。簡單樸實的包裝裡是又Q又扎實的麵條,拿來做涼麵,乾麵,炒麵或是湯麵都適合,是我從小到大愛吃的熟悉口味。

Read More

Art in Shopping Heaven: London's West End Galleries

"Monkey Queen"- Banksy. © Eileen Hsieh

London's West End is arguably the busiest area in the British capital. It's home to many theatres (Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera), famous tourist attractions (the British Museum, the National Gallery), retailers catering to all styles and budgets (Liberty, Marks & Spencer, Primark), and countless restaurants serving cuisines from all around the world (Chinatown is here too).

The east-west arterial road Oxford Street boasts more than 300 shops and claims to be the busiest shopping street in the whole of Europe. People may complain about the suffocating congestion in this part of town, but many still return regularly for the largest selection of anything you may possibly want or need - in shopping, entertainment, or gastronomy.

Art, however, is a much lesser known gem of the West End. For example on Bond Street, sandwiched between luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Tiffany, are a number of art galleries and auction houses with carefully curated exhibitions showcasing works by contemporary as well as traditional artists.

"Each In Their Own World"

- Lorenzo Quinn. © Eileen Hsieh

"Horizon"

- Santiago Montoya. © Eileen Hsieh

"Garden of Earthly Delights" 

- Raqib Shaw. © Eileen Hsieh

Just like most museums in London, these galleries are free and open to the public -- the only difference is that if you happen to fall in love with anything you see, you have the option to take it home (and tighten your belt for a few weeks... or months...or years!)  

So, if you get tired of shopping in the West End or simply want to soak up some culture, why not pay a visit to some of the wonderful galleries listed below? In my experience they are almost never crowded (unless Banksy is the headliner), and I always discover amazing artists whose works are previous unknown to me. You can see some of my new favorites on my Instagram

The West End art gallery scene is really like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're gonna get. :)

Hause & Wirth Gallery © Eileen Hsieh

Opera Gallery © Eileen Hsieh


"Churchill" - Banksy. © Eileen Hsieh

Halcyon Gallery - 144-146 New Bond St, London W1S 1SN

Opera Gallery - 134 New Bond St, London W1S 2TF

Richard Green - 147 New Bond Street, London W1S 2TS

Hauser & Wirth Gallery - 23 Savile Row, London W1S 2ET

Annely Juda Fine Art - 23 Dering Street, London W1S 1AW

Beaux Arts - 48 Maddox Street, London W1S 1AY

Blain|Southern - 21 Dering Street, London W1S 1AL

The Fleming Collection - 13 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DU

Sotheby's - 34-35 New Bond Street, London W1A 2AA

Bonhams - 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR

 

* Here's a useful interactive map of art gallery hotspots in London, courtesy of the Guardian. 

Foodie Heaven: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok (2) | 美食天堂:曼谷文華東方酒店 (二)

Al fresco dining at Mandarin Oriental Bangkok. (Image: Mandarin Oriental)

HAPPY TUMMY, HAPPY LIFE

There are about a dozen dining venues on the premise of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, and each is unique in taste, décor and atmosphere.

The formal restaurants cover popular cuisines including Thai, Chinese, French, Italian as well as seafood. For those feeling less puckish, you shall find lighter fares at the bar, cafe or the delightful, recently reopened Authors' Lounge.

One spectacle worth pointing out is the dinner and dance show at Sala Rim Naam, a stunning cultural performance that attracts both tourists and locals to the quieter side of the river bank.

通過胃,抓住快樂

曼谷文華東方酒店裡有十多家餐廳,酒吧與咖啡廳,個個都有獨特的美食與氣氛。

正式的餐廳包括了受歡迎的國際性料理,有泰式,中華,法國,意大利以及海鮮。提供小吃輕食的則有酒吧,咖啡廳,或是來到優雅的 Authors' Lounge 享受下午茶。

酒店有名的亮點是每晚在對岸 Sala Rim Naam 餐廳所舉辦的民俗舞蹈表演秀,結合泰國文化與美食,深受遊客和當地居民喜愛。

Spectacular dinner and dance show at the Sala Rim Naam. © Eileen Hsieh

Tucked away in a pavilion across the river from Mandarin Oriental's main premise, guests are ferried to the sumptuously decorated Sala Rim Naam by a hotel boat. Once here, you'll spend the evening tasting a gorgeous set menu of traditional Thai dishes against the backdrop of a classical Thai music and dance performance. It's feast for the senses, filled with enchanting songs, mesmerizing dancers with long nails and fancy props, and even an invigorating segment of Thai boxing. 

Sala Rim Naam 與文華東方酒店隔河相望,所以需要坐船渡河。餐廳裡的裝潢典雅華麗,正中間便是舞台,是欣賞古典泰國音樂舞蹈表演的絕佳背景。

這兒所提供的表演比我以前看過的精采許多,是感官的盛宴。傳統泰式料理道道精緻美味,表演者迷人的歌聲,舞蹈與服裝則讓人眼花撩亂。

Main course: Teriyaki-style salmon. © Eileen Hsieh

Cake and roses for the happy couple. © Eileen Hsieh

Exotic fruits are part of the dessert platter. © Eileen Hsieh

Service here is also worth a mention. The staff are exceptionally attentive and even have prepared a little surprise for mom and dad, which leaves them both red-faced and absolutely elated! 

餐廳的服務無懈可擊,細心的服務人員還特地準備了一個小驚喜,慶祝爸媽的結婚週年慶,讓他們倆兒眉開眼笑,心花怒放!

Brighte your morning with these colorful fruits and yogurts form the breakfast buffet. © Eileen Hsieh

How I miss these tropical beauties! © Eileen Hsieh

Dim sum for breakfast. © Eileen Hsieh

Delicious pastries and breads are also on offer. © Eileen Hsieh

Another foodies' delight is the breakfast served in the open-air riverside café. The buffet presents a mouthwatering selection of staples from the East and the West from dim sim, pastries to a dazzling array of fresh tropical fruits. Do not miss the heavenly papayas -- juicy, sweet, and absolutely divine!

在文華東方,早餐也是一個可讓人心跳加快的時段。河畔的露天餐廳擺滿了一排排的東西方選擇,有剛出爐的法式糕餅,熱騰騰的港式點心,還有琳瑯滿目的熱帶水果。千萬不要錯過泰國的木瓜 -- 汁多,味甜,絕對難忘!

Refreshment boat by the pool. © Eileen Hsieh

The difference between a good hotel and a great hotel is in the details. 

Mandarin Oriental is peerless in its ability to create understated elegance and pamper its guests in the most inconspicuous manner.

One afternoon spent by the pool proves to us why the Bangkok property, along with the first MO in Hong Kong, hold the accolade as the chain's flagship hotels.

高級酒店和頂級酒店最大的差別,就是在於細節。

文華東方是製造低調優雅的專家,無論是風格還是服務,它都能以最不顯眼的方式帶給客人最極端的舒適。

我們在游泳池畔的經驗,證明了這家曼谷酒店確實值得與香港並列為文華東方的旗艦店。

Frozen treats and fruits at your fingertips. © Eileen Hsieh

The hotel has two pools. One is 25-meter long suitable for laps, while the other is shallow and perfect for children or those wanting a dip. Large, comfortable cabanas and lounge chairs line the poolside, where a selection fresh fruits, refreshments and reading material are within easy reach.

Such amenities are typical at luxury hotels. Many places provide chilled drinks, some may even offer ice cream, but nowhere is as generous as Mandarin Oriental Bangkok in dishing out delicious treats and hospitality. 

酒店有兩個室外游泳池。一個約25米長,適合游泳,另一個則是淺池,適合泡水解暑。池畔有許多寬敞舒適的亭子和躺椅,飲料,水果和報章雜誌也都近在咫尺。

許多五星級酒店都有類似的設施。很多地方提供冷飲,有的甚至提供冰淇淋,但很少地方會像曼谷文華東方一樣慷慨熱情,成天不斷的提供甜蜜的驚喜。

Iced lollipop and red rose smoothie. © Eileen Hsieh

Throughout the day, every few hours or so, a staff member goes around the pools distributing a delightful selection of locally inspired desserts and frozen treats.

Then there's the adorable afternoon ice cream run, a production of vintage charm wth a wooden cart, cow bell, homemade coconut ice cream and a colorful array of toppings. The timing is impeccable too, arriving shortly after our lunch plates were cleared and completely demolishing our will to refuse. 

Alas. Surrender never tasted so sweet.

躺在池畔曬太陽,每隔幾小時就會看到工作人員繞著游泳池分發有當地風味的甜品和冷飲。

最有型的道具就是帶著牛鈴的復古冰淇淋推車,浩浩蕩蕩的呈現著文華東方自製的椰子冰淇淋和多采多姿的配料。它到達我們小庭時,午餐盤碗才剛被清除,讓我們完全沒有理由(也沒有意志)拒絕如此討喜的點心。

哎,甜蜜的投降大概就是最貼切的形容吧。

Toppings for the homemade coconut ice cream. © Eileen Hsieh

How can one resist? © Eileen Hsieh


MY RATING: 10 / 10

At MO Bangkok, I did the unthinkable. I didn't leave the hotel premise once in over 24 hours.

Didn't want to. Didn't need to. 

我的評價:10 / 10

在曼谷東方文華,我做了不可思議的事。在24小時內,我完全沒有踏出酒店。

因為在這兒悠哉愉快,心想事成。不想也不需要離開。

 

MANDARIN ORIENTAL BANGKOK

48 Oriental Avenue, Bangkok 10500, Thailand

Phone: +66 (2) 659 9000

mobkk-reservations@mohg.com

Floating pink lotus flowers by the wading pool. © Eileen Hsieh

 

 

Where the Authors Lounged: Mandarin Oriental Bangkok (1) | 作家摯愛:曼谷文華東方酒店 (一)

Don't mind me spending an entire afternoon in this oasis. © Eileen Hsieh

Here I am, lying under the seething midday sun in a poolside cabana, with Thailand Tatler in one hand and a fresh coconut in the other, indulging in the kind of mind and body nourishments unavailable in my country of residence. 

Just as I begin to drift off in the gentle river breeze, the sound of a voice with handbell stirs me awake.

在曼谷炫麗的陽光下,泳池畔的小亭子成了我的避暑天堂,一邊讀著泰國社交雜誌 Tatler,一邊啜新鮮的椰子汁,讓心情漸漸放空。

朦朧時刻,一個柔和的聲音與清脆鈴聲隨著河風飄來。

View of Mandarin Oriental Bangkok from across the river. © Eileen Hsieh

"Madam, would you like to cool off with some of our homemade ice cream?," asks the young attendant behind an exquisite vintage wooden cart, which carries a tub of coconut ice cream and an array of colorful toppings. 

He carefully places a scoop of white ball into a silver bowl and sprinkles peanuts, red beans and a few other ingredients over it, explaining the procedure along the way. Then, before departing, he reminds us of another afternoon treat that will be served in a couple hours.

Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, can I live here please? 

「小姐,請問您要不要試吃我們的手工冰淇淋,解暑一下?」 一位年輕的服務生對我說,他的身後是一輛精巧的手推車,上面放著一大桶椰子冰淇淋與多樣配料。

他細心地把一球雪白的冰淇淋放入漂亮的銀碗,撒上花生,紅豆等配料,同時解釋甜點的製作方法與來源。他還善意的提醒我們:兩個鐘頭後他將會在池畔提供不一樣的甜點,所以建議不要太早離開。

曼谷文華東方酒店,我可以把這兒當作我的家嗎?

Fresh exotic flowers and giant lanterns are sure ways to make an impression. © Eileen Hsieh

THE PEARL OF BANGKOK

Consistently voted one of the best hotels in Asia and the world, Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and its predecessor The Oriental have been serving travellers to the Siamese country since 1876. 

The low-rise hotel sits quietly on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and is home to the iconic Authors' Lounge, named for the many famous writers - most notably Joseph Conrad - who've stayed at the hotel over the years.

泰國閃亮的明珠

靜靜地坐落在湄南河畔,曼谷文華東方酒店長久以來一直名列在全球最佳酒店的排名裡面。

它的前身 The Oriental 於1876年開幕,標榜提供現代化設備和完美服務,成為了國際文學與政治界人物拜訪泰國最愛的歇腳處。而酒店的標誌性建築則被稱為「Authors' Lounge」,也就是「作家休息室」。

The Oriental Hotel opened its doors in 1876 and is the predecessor of today's Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.  © Eileen Hsieh

We’re in Bangkok to celebrate the Ruby anniversary of my parents, who famously pay little attention to life's milestones and don't ever kick up a fuss about them. Therefore the understated No. 1 hotel in the Bangkok is the perfect choice for this special occasion, and my oh my, does it live to its reputation!

Never have I called a hotel "perfect", but Mandarin Oriental Bangkok comes pretty close to it and has elevated the definition of "utopia" to a whole new level.

這次來曼谷主要目的就是要為爸媽慶祝他們的結婚四十週年紀念。從小到大很少看他倆兒為生日或里程碑大肆慶祝,因此我們選擇了低調的文華東方,全家團聚過個溫馨的假期。我必須承認,曼谷文華東方在亞洲酒店排名數一數二,真的有它的道理。

「完美的酒店」在我眼裡是不存在的,但 Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 是我有史以來所拜訪過最接近完美的旅館,把「烏托邦」的定義提升到了一個全新的水平。

Be charmed by the stunning local arts and crafts that adorn the hotel walls. © Eileen Hsieh

A gilded elephant next to the reception desk. © Eileen Hsieh

Inside the MOB, during our visit, the world IS perfect. 

Every view is mesmerizing. Every dish is delicious. 

Everyone is smiling. And everyday is sunny.

在曼谷文華東方酒店的屋簷下,在我們度假的期間,世界是完美的。

處處景致令人如痴如醉。道道菜令人垂涎。人人笑容滿面。天天萬里晴空。

The elegant, newly renovated Authors' Lounge offers a relaxing setting to enjoy your afternoon tea. © Mandarin Oriental

The hotel leaves a memorable impression the moment you enter its premise. 

From the high ceiling lobby with giant lanterns and fresh exotic flowers, the smooth private check-in (led by two beautiful attendees who welcome us with fragrant floral garlands and show us around our rooms), to the smily staff found in every corner of the property who are always saying hello and offering their help, MO Bangkok feels less like a grand hotel but more like the home of a friend with impeccable taste and a fat wallet, and he's just given us all access to everything under the historic, restored roof. 

一踏進曼谷文華東方大廳,你就踏進了一個新世界。

站在吊著巨型燈籠的挑高天花板下,四處圍繞著清新的奇花異草,每人手裡拿著一串芬芳的花環,看著兩位美麗的櫃檯小姐順暢地為我們辦理入住手續。

酒店裡的員工似乎都很熱情有禮,處處都會有人和你打招呼,噓寒問暖。曼谷文華東方感覺不像是個大酒店,反而像是來到朋友的家... 一個有著無可挑剔的品味,以及鼓鼓荷包的朋友的家。

These charming giant lanterns at the lobby set the tone for our stay at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. © Eileen Hsieh

A quiet corner with understated rattan furniture. © Eileen Hsieh

IF THE WALLS COULD TALK

If Chao Phraya River is Bangkok's artery, then Mandarin Oriental is the city’s modern heart, thumping with strong heartbeats since its birth 140 years ago.

Then, The Oriental was Bangkok's image ambassador, providing top quality accommodation that rivalled the best in the West. In 2008 the property was officially renamed Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.

如果牆會說話

如果湄南河是曼谷的動脈,那麼文華東方酒店應該就是這城市近代的心臟,自19世紀中期開始砰跳。

140年前,The Oriental 是曼谷的形象大使,提供媲美西方的高級住宿。酒店於2008年正式更名為文華東方酒店

View of Chao Phraya from our Deluxe room. © Eileen Hsieh

Today, most rooms at the hotel make the most of its advantageous situation and offer an glorious view of the bustling river, magnifying the notion that you are indeed in one of the most vibrant cities in Asia. 

Our deluxe rooms are elegantly appointed with clean-line furniture and textile inspired by traditional Thai designs. There's a working desk and armchairs, as well as bathroom with large bathtub and a walk-in shower. At 40-sqm (428-sq-ft), the space feels uncluttered and intimate. 

今日,酒店裡大多數的房間都有美麗的河景,充分利用其優越的地點,讓客人時時刻刻感受到這個城市的活力。

我們的客房色系典雅,40平方米(428平方尺)的空間裡有一個辦公桌和扶手椅,浴室有大浴缸和步入式淋浴間,樸實的傢俱搭配著傳統泰式風格的裝潢,感覺整潔溫馨。

Fresh flowers and crisp linen in our comfortable deluxe room. © Eileen Hsieh

Fresh flowers also adorn our spacious bathroom. © Eileen Hsieh

Beautiful lemongrass toiletries. © Eileen Hsieh

Fresh flowers are the star of the room decor, and everyday a plate of locally produced fruits will be greeting you, along with an adorable card narrating their story, so you'll know what you're eating.

Courtesy of our floor's butler, mom and dad are treated with a bottle of wine, a rose-covered heart and a pink cake with a cute chocolate angel, all of which are delicious and gone in a flash! :) 

There is high speed wi-fi throughout the hotel, and it's complimentary for guests who have registered for an online MO profile.

我愛房間裡一盆盆的鮮花,也愛每天提供的各種本地出產的水果,盤子上附張貼心卡片,介紹水果的來源,所以客人知道在吃什麼。

我們這樓的管家還準備了一個鑲有巧克力小天使的粉紅色蛋糕與紅酒,加上紅玫瑰拼成的愛情心,慶祝爸媽的紅寶石婚呢!(當然很快都被吃光了!)

酒店的 wi-fi 無線上網是免費的,只需要在文華東方網頁上註冊即可。


MY RATING: 10 / 10

At MO Bangkok, I did the unthinkable. I didn't leave the hotel premise once in over 24 hours.

Didn't want to. Didn't need to. 

我的評價:10 / 10

在曼谷東方文華,我做了不可思議的事。在24小時內,我完全沒有踏出酒店。

因為在這兒悠哉愉快,心想事成。不想也不需要離開

Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok

48 Oriental Avenue
Bangkok, 10500
Thailand

Phone: +66 (2) 659 9000

mobkk-reservations@mohg.com

Little touches that turn a hotel into a home away from home.  © Eileen Hsieh

Little White Flowers - My InstaReflection

For you... just because. 🌼

Just because I want to say hello with these pretty little flowers.

And to thank you for sending over so much love and support for my #FTBTimeOfMyLife project. 
I write every entry on the day of post. Some take minutes to finish. Others take hours as I wade through decades of memories to identify the one single moment that helped shape me into the person I am today.

Coming up, as I enter a new chapter of life, the posts will be become darker, more complex, and possibly even difficult to digest. 

So you may find me sneaking snapshots that reflect my Present into those of my Past, just to break up the intense emotions that I know I'm about to trek through. 

So here they are, tiny little flowers, so perfect in their harmony, so consistent in their form, no matter how close you look. 

Eileen x

#thankyou 💛

P.S. This comment from viviennejlevick adds so much more meaning to this post:

Made me smile to notice that considering the context, you chose yarrow, achilliea millefolium, or 'soldiers woundwort' - used for centuries to help heal wounds xx

FTB Time of My Life is an exercise to celebrate the things that have shaped our lives. Click here for details on how to participate.

My First Impression: Mad, Magical, Marrakech | 我的第一印象:瘋狂,嫵媚的馬拉喀什

The heart of Marrakech's medina - Jemaa el Fna. 馬拉喀什老城的心臟 - Jemaa el Fna 大廣場。 © Eileen Hsieh

The heart of Marrakech's medina - Jemaa el Fna. 馬拉喀什老城的心臟 - Jemaa el Fna 大廣場。© Eileen Hsieh

To many who grow up in Taiwan, Morocco is synonymous with Arab culture. The tales that capture our imagination in the translated version of One Thousand and One Nights come alive in the streets of this enigmatic nation, where veiled women with mesmerizing dark eyes still dance with handsome turbaned men to the hypnotizing tune of snake charmers.

After years of longing, I have finally made it to the cultural capital of this North African nation. But with just six days to discover Marrakech's countless secrets, where do I even begin? 

To see, to smell, and to feel -- that's all I want from this first trip, and just to get lost in time. 

No amount of planning can help me navigate this city's medieval labyrinth, and no words from my pen can properly capture the aura, energy and essence of those I encounter. Maybe with pictures, I can at least present to you some pieces of the grand and intricate puzzle that is Marrakech. 

* Click on each photo will take you to my Marrakech gallery, where you'll find more images of this magical city. 

對許多在台灣長大,讀過「一千零一夜」翻譯版的人來說,摩洛哥是阿拉伯文化的代表。在這個神秘的國度,我們仍然可以實地捕捉到童話故事裡的幻想,處處是蒙着面紗只露出深邃大眼的美麗女孩,還有包著頭巾的帥哥,在街道上隨著耍蛇人的催眠曲調翩翩起舞。

嚮往多年,我終於來到了這個北非國家的文化首都 -- 馬拉喀什。在短短的六天內,我只想感受她的色,香,味,還有迷失在她迷宮般的古城裡。

再多的規劃,也無法幫我建立足夠的心理準備來面對這個瘋狂的城市,我的文字也無力捕捉她的精神與精華,但或許我照個不停的相機,能為這個嫵媚的古都,提供一些線索。

* 若想看更多照片,請點一下圖片就可連接到我的馬拉喀什相簿


Marrakech is often referred to as the "Rose City" or the "Red City" for its salmon pink buildings and the nearly thousand-year-old ramparts.  馬拉喀什老區處處可見鮭魚色的建築與  近千年歷史的  城牆,為它贏得了「玫瑰城」或是「紅城」的美名。

Marrakech is often referred to as the "Rose City" or the "Red City" for its salmon pink buildings and the nearly thousand-year-old ramparts. 馬拉喀什老區處處可見鮭魚色的建築與近千年歷史的城牆,為它贏得了「玫瑰城」或是「紅城」的美名。

Bicycles, mopeds and donkey carts are the most common forms of transportation in the narrow streets of Marrakech's medina. 機車,腳踏車與驢車是在馬拉喀什迷宮般的老城裡最常見的交通工具。

Bicycles, mopeds and donkey carts are the most common forms of transportation in the narrow streets of Marrakech's medina. 機車,腳踏車與驢車是在馬拉喀什迷宮般的老城裡最常見的交通工具。

Entrance of a traditional Moroccan hammam bath house, where you can get the most thorough body scrub and come out shiny and new. 摩洛哥 傳統 澡堂的入口,進去被刮掉一層皮後(其實是汙垢啦),保證出來全身亮晶晶。

Entrance of a traditional Moroccan hammam bath house, where you can get the most thorough body scrub and come out shiny and new. 摩洛哥傳統澡堂的入口,進去被刮掉一層皮後(其實是汙垢啦),保證出來全身亮晶晶。

Colorful display of dried plants outside an Herbalist in the souk (market), including these pretty cacti. 草藥店外擺置了許多色彩鮮艷的乾燥植物產品,包括染色過的乾燥仙人掌。

Colorful display of dried plants outside an Herbalist in the souk (market), including these pretty cacti. 草藥店外擺置了許多色彩鮮艷的乾燥植物產品,包括染色過的乾燥仙人掌。

Morocco's coveted argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. 摩洛哥有名的堅果油(又稱阿甘油)就是由這種堅果搾取而成的。

Morocco's coveted argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree. 摩洛哥有名的堅果油(又稱阿甘油)就是由這種堅果搾取而成的。

Enter the Herbalist den where you'll find remedies for any ailment or enhancement.  草藥店裡賣有各式各樣的 產品, 治病養身防老回春,要什麼有什麼。

Enter the Herbalist den where you'll find remedies for any ailment or enhancement.

草藥店裡賣有各式各樣的產品,治病養身防老回春,要什麼有什麼。

Getting lost in the medina leads me to this boutique beauty shop run by a woman, with products made for the modern woman. 迷失在老城裡,竟然撞見這個可愛的有機保養品店,老闆是女生,產品也全是為現代女性所製。

Getting lost in the medina leads me to this boutique beauty shop run by a woman, with products made for the modern woman. 迷失在老城裡,竟然撞見這個可愛的有機保養品店,老闆是女生,產品也全是為現代女性所製。

The boutique owner throws in a couple of these kohl eyeliners as gift, saying they can protect against eye ailments but should only be used on the lower waterline. 老闆娘給了兩隻炭眼線筆,說是可以保護眼睛,不過只能用在下眼線,因為上眼線不好畫。

The boutique owner throws in a couple of these kohl eyeliners as gift, saying they can protect against eye ailments but should only be used on the lower waterline. 老闆娘給了兩隻炭眼線筆,說是可以保護眼睛,不過只能用在下眼線,因為上眼線不好畫。

A variety of hand-made soaps and natural or infused argan oils can be found in the shop. 小店裡賣有 多種類的 手工肥皂與堅果油。

A variety of hand-made soaps and natural or infused argan oils can be found in the shop. 小店裡賣有多種類的手工肥皂與堅果油。

No haggling is allowed in this shop, and the price is still much better than what you'll find in the souk. 這個標榜不二價的小店,標價還是比傳統市場便宜多了。

No haggling is allowed in this shop, and the price is still much better than what you'll find in the souk. 這個標榜不二價的小店,標價還是比傳統市場便宜多了。

Snake charmers entertain onlookers in Jemaa el Fna every evening. Watch the video below to get a feel of the amazing atmosphere in the square. 每天傍晚都有弄蛇人在 Jemaa el Fna 賣藝。不怕蛇的讀者可以看以下的視頻,感受廣場熱鬧的氣氛。

Snake charmers entertain onlookers in Jemaa el Fna every evening. Watch the video below to get a feel of the amazing atmosphere in the square. 每天傍晚都有弄蛇人在 Jemaa el Fna 賣藝。不怕蛇的讀者可以看以下的視頻,感受廣場熱鬧的氣氛。

Dozens of juice stalls compete for business in Jemaa el Fna. The stalls are numbered for easy identification. Jemaa el Fna 大廣場上有十幾家現搾新鮮果汁的攤子,每家都有號碼標示,方便顧客再次光臨。

Dozens of juice stalls compete for business in Jemaa el Fna. The stalls are numbered for easy identification. Jemaa el Fna 大廣場上有十幾家現搾新鮮果汁的攤子,每家都有號碼標示,方便顧客再次光臨。

Tagine (or tajine) is a favorite dish in Morocco. Here's a beef tagine with prunes, walnuts, pine nuts, served alongside a bowl of couscous. 摩洛哥最有名的美食 -- 塔津蓋燉肉。圖是牛肉塔津加黑棗,核桃和松子,配上一碗 古斯米 。

Tagine (or tajine) is a favorite dish in Morocco. Here's a beef tagine with prunes, walnuts, pine nuts, served alongside a bowl of couscous. 摩洛哥最有名的美食 -- 塔津蓋燉肉。圖是牛肉塔津加黑棗,核桃和松子,配上一碗古斯米

Ornate pottery is sold everywhere in Marrakech and makes a popular and affordable souvenir, starting at just 10 dirham (about 1 euro) per piece. 馬拉喀什的市場裡到處可見這些漂亮花俏的盤碗,每樣只要10DH (約ㄧ歐元)起。

Ornate pottery is sold everywhere in Marrakech and makes a popular and affordable souvenir, starting at just 10 dirham (about 1 euro) per piece. 馬拉喀什的市場裡到處可見這些漂亮花俏的盤碗,每樣只要10DH (約ㄧ歐元)起。

Lamp, lamp and more lamp! Take these home and create your very own Arabian night. 家裡放幾隻漂亮的摩洛哥仿古燈,你也可以擁有夢幻的阿拉伯之夜。

Lamp, lamp and more lamp! Take these home and create your very own Arabian night. 家裡放幾隻漂亮的摩洛哥仿古燈,你也可以擁有夢幻的阿拉伯之夜。

Traditional Moroccan leather Babouche slippers come in an array of pretty colors and designs. 五彩繽紛的傳統摩洛哥皮革手工拖鞋。

Traditional Moroccan leather Babouche slippers come in an array of pretty colors and designs. 五彩繽紛的傳統摩洛哥皮革手工拖鞋。

Boutique shops, cafes and hotels line the wide boulevard in the new part of Marrakech.  馬拉喀什新區裡寬敞的大道旁有許多精品店,咖啡廳與酒店。

Boutique shops, cafes and hotels line the wide boulevard in the new part of Marrakech. 馬拉喀什新區裡寬敞的大道旁有許多精品店,咖啡廳與酒店。

The minaret of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech. 源於十二世紀的庫圖比亞清真寺與尖塔,是 馬拉喀什最大的  清真寺。

The minaret of the 12th century Koutoubia Mosque, the largest mosque in Marrakech. 源於十二世紀的庫圖比亞清真寺與尖塔,是馬拉喀什最大的清真寺。

Men sitting outside of Ben Youssef Madrasa (also spelled Médersa Ben-Youssef), once the largest Islamic college in North Africa.  坐在 Ben Youssef Madrasa 外小歇的居民,這兒曾是北非最大的 伊斯蘭神學院。

Men sitting outside of Ben Youssef Madrasa (also spelled Médersa Ben-Youssef), once the largest Islamic college in North Africa.  坐在 Ben Youssef Madrasa 外小歇的居民,這兒曾是北非最大的伊斯蘭神學院。

Founded in the 14th century, the Ben Youssef Madrasa in Marrakech had taught Islam to countless pupils until its closure in the 1960s. 於14世紀建立的 Ben Youssef Madrasa,一直是北非數一數二的伊斯蘭神學院,直到1960年代才停止教學。

The intricate mosaic wall in one corner of Ben Youssef Madrasa. Ben Youssef 神學院阿拉伯建築設計經典,處處都是令人嘆為觀止的拼磚和雕刻。

An oasis outside of the maddening medina, Jardin Majorelle is a top tourist attraction in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle 馬若雷爾花園是城市裡的綠洲,也是旅客的最愛。

An oasis outside of the maddening medina, Jardin Majorelle is a top tourist attraction in Marrakech. Jardin Majorelle 馬若雷爾花園是城市裡的綠洲,也是旅客的最愛。

Entrance of the fabulous Berber Museum. 值得一看的「柏柏爾人博物館」的入口。

Entrance of the fabulous Berber Museum. 值得一看的「柏柏爾人博物館」的入口。

The world-renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle. 名服裝設計師伊夫•聖洛朗 (YSL) 在 馬若雷  爾花園 的舊宅裡。

The world-renowned fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent at Jardin Majorelle. 名服裝設計師伊夫•聖洛朗 (YSL) 在馬若雷爾花園的舊宅裡。

Tropical colors are dominant in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. 馬若雷爾花園裡處處都有熱帶的色彩。

Tropical colors are dominant in the beautiful Jardin Majorelle. 馬若雷爾花園裡處處都有熱帶的色彩。


FTB: Time Of My Life

My birthday is coming up, and I want to mark the occasion by showing my love for... everything that matters to me.

So starting from June 15, my #FTBTimeOfMyLife project begins. Every day, for 40 days, I will be sharing a piece of my memory from the year in focus... that's quite a few years to flip through, and a lot of forgotten events to recollect! 

But this will be a beautiful exercise, and I hope you'll join me in going down the memory lane and sharing a piece of the puzzle that's shaped your life. 

You can share your thoughts in a few ways -- in post comments, on Instagram, or simply write them down in your private diary.

Now, let's go and explore the Time of Our Lives!

Eileen x

Legacy of a Lonely Baron: Waddesdon Manor | 寂寞男爵的黃金屋:沃德斯敦莊園

Once upon a time, a wealthy and widowed Baron built himself a fairytale castle on a bare hill in rural England.

In it, he filled with the most precious things one could find under the sun: porcelain artefacts with intricate designs, paintings by
masters of the time, exotic birds and flowers from faraway land that people had only heard about but never dreamt of seeing with their own eyes.

He led a life full of opulence and abundance like Aladdin's cave, but no matter how much treasure he acquired, the hollowness he felt inside was never to go away.

This is the story of Ferdinand de Rothschild, and this is his castle. 

從前,有一位富有的守寡男爵在英格蘭農村的山丘上建了一座童話般的城堡。

城堡裡收藏了來自世界各地的珍品:設計細膩的陶瓷,文藝復興時期的藝術真跡,與稀奇古怪的鳥類與花卉,都是人們只從書裡讀過但是從來沒想到能夠親眼目睹的寶物。

他的生活就像阿拉丁的洞穴一樣的富裕,但他內心的空洞是無論再多的寶藏也無法填滿的。

這是費迪南德·羅斯柴爾德的故事,這就是他的城堡。

Waddesdon Manor was built in the style of Loire Valley chateaus, as designed by French architect Gabriel-Hippolyte Destailleur.  © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

When was the last time you found treasure in your own backyard? 

The moment I stepped onto the grounds of Waddesdon Manor, I knew I'd struck gold. 

Standing in front of this magnificent French Renaissance chateau, one can hardly believe that we are still in England. Buckinghamshire, to be exact, just one hour of train ride from London Marylebone station

你曾經在自己的後院找到寶藏嗎?這就是我第一次踏入沃德斯敦莊園時的感覺。

站在這棟宏偉,仿新文藝復興時期法國盧瓦河沿岸城堡而建的豪宅之前,真的幾乎不能相信我們還在英國國土。

事實是我們來到了白金漢郡,距離倫敦的馬里波恩火車站只有短短一小時的車程,可算是倫敦的後花園吧?

The Parterre at Waddesdon Manor has 50,000 plants, and the bedding is usually changed twice a year, in spring and summer. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Waddesdon Manor was built in the late 19th century by Ferdinand de Rothschild - a member of the prominent banking dynasty - as a country house, a weekend playground to entertain friends and family who wanted to escape London during the summer months.

A passionate collector of arts and artefacts, Waddesdon Manor also served as the perfect backdrop to display his vast collection of treasures from around the world, from old master paintings, exquisite miniatures, to furniture, porcelain and tapestries from the French Court.

Rothschild only purchased the best of the best. In 1882 he famously spent £6,300 on a Riesener writing desk made for France's Marie Antoinette, which would be worth around £530,000 today. And this was certainly not his most expensive acquisition.

沃德斯敦莊園建於19世紀末,是男爵費迪南德·德·羅斯柴爾德的鄉間別墅,平時只有夏季開放,時常在週末招待來自倫敦來的上流社會貴賓,其中包括了維多利亞女王和邱吉爾。

「羅斯柴爾德」這個姓氏你可能有聽過,這位男爵就是著名的猶太紅盾金融世家的一成員,家財萬貫,從小就對收集藝術品情有獨鍾,因此沃德斯敦莊園很自然地成為了他展示收藏品的舞台。

莊園裡處處可見法國18世紀的掛毯,牆壁鑲板,家具,陶瓷,繪畫,以及文藝復興時期的藝術作品。費迪南德只購買極品,而且花錢不眨眼,1882年他以6,300英鎊天價買下了一張為法國的瑪麗·安托瓦內斯皇后所製作的小書桌,換算今日的價值約530,000英鎊

男爵熱愛花與鳥,因此花園與鳥園也成為了訪客必參觀的景點。

The dining room, with table laid as it would've been for a house party in the 1890s. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

The china service display includes pieces originally own by the French court. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Baron Rothschild had great love for portraits of beautiful women, as well as chandeliers. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

In addition to planting a grand chateau in the English countryside, the baron was also credited for creating the lush landscape surrounding Waddesdon Manor today.

The legend might have exaggerated when it boasted that Rothschild had planted one million trees on his estate of 2,700 acres, but the result of his vision is undeniably impressive. 

費迪南德興建沃德斯敦莊園,替英格蘭鄉間注入了一股法式浪漫情懷,他也創造了今日莊園周圍鬱鬱蔥蔥的夢幻景觀。

傳說他在佔地2,700英畝的莊園種植了一百萬棵樹,雖然可能誇大其實,但是成果真是令人驚艷。

Sunset at Waddesdon Estate. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Mature trees are plenty on the estate. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Wildflowers on the meadow. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Today the Waddesdon Estate has expanded to 6,000 acres and offers some of the most stunning trails in all of England.

On my 5-mile walk from the village of Stone to Waddesdon Manor, my senses are mesmerized by a wave of pleasantry... giant trees soaring into the sky, fragrant meadows carpeted with wildflowers, and farm animals on the gentle hills exercising their limbs and enjoying their lunch.

今日,沃德斯敦莊園已經擴大到6,000英畝,擁有當地居民號稱是英格蘭數一數二的鄉村美景。

從我住的小村莊 Stone,有一條5英里的步道直通到沃德斯敦莊園的入口。路程中偶爾會看到行車和出來遛狗的居民,但大部分時間都只有大自然陪伴著我。

比天還高的樹林,開滿了野花的草原,和農場上悠哉吃草的牛羊馬兒,四處都是令人陶醉的景色,我一路深呼吸,停停走走,試著捕捉這如童話般的完美感覺。

A view of the rose garden. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

A very English rose, in red and white. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Running a manor of such a grand scale was never to be an easy or inexpensive task, so to keep the property from the possible fate of declining, the Rothschild family bequeathed Waddesdon Manor to the National Trust in 1957, along with some 160-acre of land surrounding it, to ensure proper care of the property for all to enjoy for generations to come.

Scroll down for access information and a photo tour of this wonderful time capsule. Enjoy!

Eileen x

經營如此大規模的莊園不是一件容易的事,開銷也不是常人可勝任的。所以羅斯柴爾德家族於1957年將沃德斯敦莊園以及周圍約160英畝的土地遺贈給國家信託基金,確保男爵費迪南德以及家族成員所收藏的無價之寶能得到適當的保護,同時也開放給大眾參觀,讓羅斯柴爾德家族的輝煌歷史流傳下去。

沃德斯敦莊園是個美麗的時間膠囊,值得一訪。

以下是我的相簿與莊園參觀訊息。Enjoy!

Eileen x


Picture Gallery


Waddesdon Manor | 沃德斯敦莊園

AYLESBURY, BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, HP18 0JH, UNITED KINGDOM DIRECTIONS

https://waddesdon.org.uk/


ADMISSION: 

Free for National Trust members

House & Grounds Access - £20 Adult / £10 Child / £45 Family 

Grounds Only - £10 adult / £5 Child / £25 Family 

House visits are by timed entry, including for National Trust members. Book House Tickets Here

If you’re travelling by train, you can download a 2for1 grounds admission voucher to use on arrival: 2for1 grounds admission voucher

EASY ACCESS FROM LONDON:

Regular trains run from London Marylebone to Aylesbury and Aylesbury Vale Parkway.

There's one daily free shuttle bus service between Aylesbury Vale Parkway station and Waddesdon Manor. Click here for details.

 

 

The Chocolate Box Life - My InstaReflection

A quaint 17th century thatched cottage near Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

I came, to find a quiet place to clear my mind.

I arrived, to find that I still quite like a mind brimming with thoughts, senses and fascination, except now the deafening sirens are replaced by chirping birds, the air is perfumed with wildflowers and horses instead of car fumes, and the skyline is embellished with not highrises but cottages and cattle.

Right now, I'm looking out from the bedroom window of this 17th century chocolate box cottage, watching the morning sunlight dance across the garden and turn a row of rose bushes into sparkly yellow diamonds under the gray sky. 

I'm in the home county of Buckinghamshire, and I feel home.

Lambeth Palace Garden: The Archbishop's Backyard | 蘭柏宮花園:大主教的後院

Visitors soaking up the sunshine in the garden of Lambeth Palace. 訪客在蘭柏宮花園漫步,享受陽光的洗禮。© Eileen Hsieh

Many of London's most iconic views can be found along the south bank of the River Thames. Sandwiched between Tower Bridge and the Palace of Westminster is a narrow strip of riverside land dotted with museums, galleries, restaurants and seasonal events -- and let's not forget the London Eye -- to keep visitors and locals entertained throughout the year. However once the obligatory pictures with Big Ben are taken, most of us don't often venture westward past the Westminster Bridge, where lies the historic Lambeth Palace.

許多倫敦最具標誌性的景點都座落於泰晤士河的南岸。從倫敦塔橋威斯敏斯特宮之間的一段路上,有赫赫有名的博物館 (如泰特現代藝術館),畫廊,餐廳和季節性活動 -- 還有別忘了倫敦眼 -- 是遊客與居民最愛的休閒娛樂天堂之一。不過,大部分人走到大笨鐘,在威斯敏斯特橋附近自拍完後,並不會繼續往西走,而錯過了一個歷史悠久的好景點:蘭柏宮

A rotunda on the Mound, surrounded by narcissus in the springtime and a black walnut tree planted by Queen Mary in the 16th century. 涼亭坐落在種滿水仙花的小丘陵上,依偎着瑪麗皇后十六世紀種植的黑核桃樹 © Eileen Hsieh

Sitting opposite the House of Parliament next to a busy round-about, this Grade I listed building has been the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for almost 800 years, and houses one of the oldest and largest cultivated gardens in the capital. 

The garden occupies over 10 of the 13 acres of the Palace ground. It's generally not open to the public except for pre-booked tours or special events, but at the request of the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the Lambeth Palace Garden is opening its doors for all to visit from 12-3pm on the first Wednesday of the month between March to October. 

蘭柏宮與北岸的議會大廈的隔河相望,是一級古蹟,近800年來也一直是英格蘭國教會的坎特伯雷大主教在倫敦的官方住所,裡面還有全城最老,規模最大的花園之一。

蘭柏宮佔地約13畝,花園就佔了10畝以上,除了有預約的旅行團或特殊慶典以外,一向是不對外開放的。不過現任的坎特伯雷大主教賈斯汀·韋爾比決定,自三月至十月每個月的第一個禮拜三,蘭柏宮花園將敞開大門,讓大眾有機會接觸,欣賞花園裡各式各樣的植物。

Morton's Tower gatehouse, the main entrance of Lambeth Palace. 蘭博工的正門,莫頓塔。© Eileen Hsieh

The main palace building and courtyard. 蘭柏宮的正殿與庭園。© Eileen Hsieh

The path to the garden is a stunning prelude to the beauty in store. Entering through the red brick Morton's Tower gatehouse, we stroll to the main courtyard where a famous fig tree stands -- planted in 1556 by the last Roman Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, Cardinal Pole. (Then came Henry VIII and the reformation and separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church... etc.) 

Around the corner of the main palace building is where you'll find a small gate leading to the garden. 

前往花園之路,出發點是中古世紀的莫頓塔門樓,也就是蘭柏宮的正門,接著漫步到正殿外的庭院。這兒有一棵大名鼎鼎的無花果樹,是1556年由羅馬天主教坎特伯雷大主教所種植的。(接下來的歷史大家耳熟能詳,就是亨利八世發起的宗教改革,讓英格蘭國教會與羅馬天主教會分道揚鑣...等等。)

正殿庭院的邊緣有扇小門,就是花園的入口。

The rose arbor on the terrace. 露台上的玫瑰架。© Eileen Hsieh

The "Girl and Swallows" statue surrounded by roses. 玫瑰園裡的「女孩與燕子」銅像。 © Eileen Hsieh

The palace garden is loosely divided into three sections: the terrace, the main lawn, and the orchard. Benches and roses line the terrace, allowing visitors to admire the honey-color stone building it's facing. The main lawn is a parkland style space filled with mature trees and colorful plants (including a black walnut planted by Queen Mary), with a solitary rotunda sitting on a mount covered in spring bulbs of narcissus.

The orchard contains apples, plum, cobnut and quince, and behind it is the plant nursery area and a greenhouse that supplies the vegetables consumed by palace staff. 

The entire area is maintained by three full-time gardeners along with part-time volunteers, using organic principles wherever possible. 

花園大致分三區:露台,大草坪和果園。露台邊緣種滿了玫瑰,遊客可以坐在長凳上曬太陽,欣賞正對面色如蜂蜜的宮殿建築。

大草坪是個公園風格的開放空間,處處可見百年老樹與五顏六色的植物,還有一個小涼亭,坐落在種滿水仙花的小丘陵上,依偎着瑪麗皇后十六世紀時所種植的黑核桃樹。

果園提供了多蘭柏宮廚房使用的食材,包括蘋果,梅子,榛果,還有類似梨子的榲桲。

整個花園都是由三名全職園丁管理,義工助理,原則上是盡可能使用有機產品,勤勞又環保。

Lambeth Palace has a special place in United Kingdom's history, as it brings to life the relationship between Church and State in Britain. Its garden holds fascinating stories of its own, waiting for us to explore. 

*For more photos of the garden, please check out my Lambeth Palace Garden Gallery.

蘭柏宮在英國歷史上擁有特殊的地位,反映了歷年來英格蘭國教會與國家之間的關係。蘭柏宮的後花園擁有自己獨特,引人入勝的故事,等待著我們去探索。

*想看更多 Lambeth Palace Garden的照片嗎?請前往我的 Lambeth Palace Garden 相簿


LAMBETH PALACE 蘭柏宮

Lambeth Palace Rd, London SE1 7JU map

 

花園開放時間:12-3pm,3月~10月每月的第一個星期五

門票:£4.00 成人 / 小孩免費入場

Garden Opening Time: 12-3pm, first Friday of the month between March and October

Cost:£4.00 adult / children free 

 

Turning the World Upside Down - My InstaReflection

Westminster Abbey at sunset, after the rain. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

This image is the product of a combination of minor frustrations. And how I love it. 💙

Westminster Abbey at sunset, with soft sunlight caressing its facade, is a serene beauty. As I approach the spot where the building can be viewed in full, I discover that my perfect shot has some unwelcome guests - cars parked on the roadside, and puddles everywhere. 🚙 💦 

Up until now, I’ve taken countless pictures of the Abbey and they all look fairly similar — postcard worthy, maybe, and also run of the mill. 

Not today. 😊

“Do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” - Wisdom of Rumi. ✨

Have you ever had to flip your world up side down? And how did it make your feel?

Eileen x

Life is like a Park Bench - My InstaReflection

Watching our lives go by.  St. James's Park, London. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

An escape to London’s city parks is one of life’s simple pleasures. 🌳

Here you’ll find urban greenery, wildlife, and free entertainment from the entourage of tourists who’re chasing squirrels as if following the Pope. 

Here, you never know who’s going to be sitting in the bench next to you. In any given frame of time, a complete stranger may be the closest person within your reach, and the smallest gesture of goodwill from either side may lead to delightful surprises that will stay with you long after the stranger is gone. 

Occasionally, the stranger becomes no longer strange and accompanies you on part of the journey towards your next destination. 

This is what I call fate, and it all begins with a small smile and an open heart. 

Eileen x

Photography & I: Bringing Dreamscape into Reality | 攝影與我:把夢想帶入現實世界

Happy Instagram birthday to me!

@FollowThatBug is five years old this month, having been actively sharing photos since April 2012.

That is by far my longest happy relationship with any social media platform, and my infatuation with this app and its community is growing stronger day by day.

Not long ago, I received some comments from fellow Instagramers that nearly shot me to the moon with elation. In different ways, they described my editing style as a "professional makeup artist", making whatever that's in front of the camera appear as paradise on earth, and bringing out the quiet beauty of my subjects that others may fail to notice. 

Subscribe to My Newsletter

BEFORE: What my lens sees -- a classic London icon.

AFTER: What I see -- Big Ben and his candyfloss.

My Rose-Tinted Lens

Filters were what initially attracted me to Instagram. It was like trying on new clothes, I got a lot of satisfaction accessorizing my pictures with different layers of effects, then taking them off and starting all over again, and again, and again, because I could never decide which style I liked the most.

I became BFFs with the filters. Not only did they add colors to my images, they also camouflaged any imperfection that I didn't know how to remove.  

BEFORE: What my lens sees -- a lonely bird overshadowed by the shiny yellow blooms.

AFTER: What I see -- a sweet little creature enjoying the view from her flower castle.

Finding "Me"

Slowly, as I gained more confidence in my photographic expression, I began to see filters in a different light.

I still loved them, deeply, but I also realized that as Iong as I continued to rely on them to gain attention, I would never be able to develop any style that was truly, uniquely "me".  

Filters were someone else's creation, someone else's vision. They showed me the amazing possibilities of effects and manipulation, and now I wanted to be that "someone else" and leave my own stamp.

BEFORE: What my lens sees -- intricate craftsmanship from a bygone era. 

AFTER: What I see -- ray of hope and possibility shining through from all directions.

Painting the Stories of Our Lives

I'm a storyteller, and I appreciate the power of human touch.

When appropriate (this is key!), I like to run my hand over things that catch my attention, so I can feel their heaviness, their bumps and cracks, try to peel of their layers and see what hides beneath.

More often than not, I discover a diamond in the rough, ready to shine.

So what is my 5-year Instagram birthday wish? Make the world sparkle! And I'm taking concrete steps to help make this vision a reality, so watch this space. :)

And if you like, I can keep you updated on my progress -- just sign up here.

Eileen x


Related reading

5 Tips For Taking Amazing iPhone Photos

Eileen Hsieh, iPhone Photography School

What does it take to create amazing iPhone photos? Apps can help with editing and special effects, but you can produce beautiful images using just the iPhone’s native camera and a few simple composition techniques. In this tutorial, you’ll discover five highly effective tips that’ll help you take stunning iPhone photos that you’ll be proud to share. With just a few small tweaks to your technique, you’ll have the tools you need to become a really great iPhone photographer.


We Are London - My InstaReflection

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. © Eileen Hsieh / Follow That Bug

You may break our bodies, but you will never break our spirit.

On March 22, 2017, London joined several other major European cities in becoming a target for extremists using vehicle as a killing machine. 

In the heart of British politics, in broad daylight, a car rammed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and the assailant tried to force his way into parliament. Five people died as result of the attack, including one police officer.

Londoners had been bracing for an imminent attack for quite a while, so many of us were not completely taken by surprise when the incident took place. The real hero here were the Met Police, who dealt with the situation swiftly and contained the damage to a minimum. 

It's noteworthy to point out that it was just in November 2016 that the New Scotland Yard moved into its new headquarters right next to parliament's Portcullis House, with a clear view of Westminster Bridge and the Thames. 

As this article states, Scotland Yard is on the front doorstep of London life. To me, it's also a pillar of the city, keeping us safe and free to go about enjoying our lives in the great British capital.

Eileen x

Eileen's Top 5 Light Meals near Big Ben | 雅琳推薦:大笨鐘附近五家優質小吃店

Generally speaking, there are two types of people who get off at Westminster Underground Station: civil servants, and tourists. 

With a high concentration of ministries (Parliament, No. 10 Downing Street, the Foreign Office and HMRC) and famous landmarks (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms and Horseguards Parade), it's no wonder that this part of Westminster is one of the most congested spots in all of London.

在倫敦西敏地鐵站下車的乘客大致有兩類:不是公務員就是遊客。這個地區是政府機構的大本營,國會大廈,首相官邸唐寧街十號,外交部與稅務局離地鐵站都只有一步之遙。

長久以來它也是倫敦的藝文重地,英國最有名的地標 - 如大笨鐘和西敏寺 - 還有熱門的邱吉爾博物館,皇家騎士軍隊閱兵場,聖詹姆士皇家公園和白金漢宮等等,也都位於此地,難怪這兒是城市最擁擠的區域之一。

Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and St James's Park are just some of the popular attractions within a short walk from Westminster tube station. (Images: Eileen Hsieh) 

One would naturally assume that an area with such heavy foot traffic would be blessed with an enviable selection of gastronomical delights. But in reality, what you will find is an uninspiring range of chain coffee shops, pubs and a few high-end restaurants more suitable for business lunch than a quick bite on the go. 

平時只要有人潮的地方,美食佳餚一定隨之而來,所以照理來說西敏地鐵站附近該是有無數的好餐廳,只可惜事實不是如此。這個熱門觀光區的餐飲種類貧乏,放眼看去,大多是不會讓人食指大動的連鎖店:如咖啡廳,三明治小吃,酒吧或是超市。當然也可以去較高檔餐廳的享用商業套餐,這就是個花錢又花時間的選擇了。

Some of the cute pub signs in Westminster, St James's Park and Victoria. (Images: Eileen Hsieh)

I live in this neighborhood, so I know the hidden gems that are only minutes away from popular sights which the tourists never seem to notice. Whenever I go out to pick up a takeaway meal, I often get asked by hungry, frustrated and exhausted visitors where I get my food from, all anxiously searching for somewhere with decent food that won't deplete their budget. 

So, in hopes of making Westminster a more inviting destination for visitors, I'm listing my personal Top 5 Picks for Light Meals in its vicinity -- all within 10-15 minutes of walk from Westminster tube station towards Victoria and St James's Park, where good food, good service and a chilled out atmosphere are guaranteed, so you can refuel and recover from a long day of sightseeing.

Here's to a pleasant dining experience in the shadow of Big Ben!

我住在西敏地鐵站附近,所以我和當地居民都知道這一區好吃的東西並不少,許多離景點也不遠,只是遊客通常忙著照相,找路,所以很少注意到這些藏在羊腸小徑角落裡的獨立餐飲店。

常常在路上會碰到飢餓疲憊的旅客,指著我手裡提著的外帶餐飲,問我哪裡可以買到價格合理又美味的輕食。用了Google地圖和一堆肢體語言後,也不能確定他們能不能找到我所介紹的地點。

網上關於 Westminster 附近可靠的餐飲消息真的不多,所以在此向大家推薦我個人最喜歡的五家輕食餐廳,全都離西敏地鐵站步行10-15分鐘內,往 Victoria St. James's Park 方向走。這幾家餐廳的食物美味,服務親切,氣氛悠閒,所以也是小歇的好地點。

當然我最大的希望,就是旅客們以後來到這兒也可以輕鬆享受優質的餐飲經驗,而且不做冤大頭喔!


1. BLUE BOAR BAR

The Perfect Place for a Long Conversation, or a Nap

Comfortable leather Chesterfield sofa and tartan cushions at the Blue Boar Bar. (Images: Eileen Hsieh / Blue Boar Restaurant)

Around the corner from Westminster Abbey is this inviting restaurant/pub inside the five-star Conrad hotel. This is also where you'll find me 2 ~ 3 times a month. My first visit here was for a business lunch, then I keep returning for delicious food, nice drinks and impeccable service.

Housed in a grand 19th-century building opposite St James's Park tube station, the Blue Boar may look fancy and stuffy from the outside. But the moment you walk through the door, you'll be charmed by the friendliest staff and quaint decor inspired by the British political landscape.

The vibe here is both intimate and understatedly luxurious, with a mixed menu of healthy and comfort dishes, and oversized leather chesterfield sofas and wing back armchairs positioned next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, the perfect place to watch the world go by.

Do not miss the apple and blackberry crumble with pouring cream. It is pure indulgence and very addictive! 

自西敏寺轉個彎,就可以看到我每個月光臨好幾次的溫馨酒吧 - Blue Boar(藍野豬)。

第一次來到 Conrad 五星級飯店附設的酒吧用餐,是和朋友見面吃商業午餐,之後就愛上了這裡的食物,雞尾酒,還有無可挑剔的完美服務。

這棟19世紀建築位於聖詹姆斯公園地鐵站對面,宏偉的外表可能會給人沈悶古板的錯覺。但一進門,我相信你也會深深的被笑容滿面的服務生,和英國政壇的主題裝飾所吸引著。

酒吧的氛圍低調親切,有超大的皮沙發和高背椅,許多面對著落地窗,可以在這兒舒服的耗時間,談天或發呆。

菜單提供多樣化的英國傳統美食,也有健康的沙拉和三明治。千萬不要錯過了蘋果和黑莓派,配上香濃的 pouring cream,很容易上癮的!

Succulent steak. (Image: Blue Boar Restaurant)

A burger from the Blue Boar Bar, just one block away from Westminster Abbey. (Image: Blue Boar Restaurant)

Humorous political caricatures are part of the Blue Boar's charming decor. (Image: Blue Boar Restaurant)


2. CAFE NUVO

Cheap & Cheerful Full English Breakfast and Stuffed Jacket Potatoes

Cafe Nuvo offers simple and tasty breakfast and lunch items and a comfortable upstairs seating area. (Images: Eileen Hsieh)

Where can you get a good full English breakfast for under a fiver near Big Ben? Cafe Nuvo on Artillery Row is the answer. 

At this local gem, you can get a plate of bacon, sausage, egg, baked beans, two thick slices of toast plus tea or coffee for just £3.95. That's at least £1-2 cheaper than any other cafe within a one-mile radius.  

And the portion is large, like American-style large. The sausage is my favorite item in the breakfast, always perfectly cooked and never greasy.

The cafe is open from morning to late afternoon and offers a variety of reasonably priced pastries, panini, jacket potatoes, salads and desserts. It also has a lovely upstairs eat-in area to enjoy a leisurely meal.

This Cafe Nuvo is an easy 10-minute walk from Westminster Abbey and popular with both office and construction workers. Be sure not to confuse it with another sandwich shop with the same name in Covent Garden. 

一早跑來看大笨鐘,想吃正統英式早餐卻又不想花大錢,該怎麼辦呢?答案就是:去 Cafe Nuvo 吧!

這家獨立咖啡廳離西敏寺約十分鐘腳程,只要 £ 3.95 就可以享用份量十足的英式早餐,有臘肉,香腸,煎蛋,焗豆,厚厚的吐司,還有一杯咖啡或茶,價錢比附近的早餐店便宜最少 £1~2。我最喜歡這裡的英國香腸,煎得恰到好處,絕不油膩。

除了多樣早餐選擇以外,Cafe Nuvo 也提供焗烤三明治,烤馬鈴薯,沙拉和糕餅甜點。這家咖啡廳二樓還有舒適的用餐區,深受當地上班族與建築工人喜愛。

編輯註腳:柯芬園 (Covent Garden) 也有一家同名為 Cafe Nuvo 的咖啡店,請別混淆。

CAFE NUVO

12 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RZ

MAP 地圖 | MENU 菜單

OPENING HOURS 營業時間:

MON ~ FRI 6AM - 4PM

SAT 7AM - 2PM

SUN 8AM - 2PM


3. LOW, SLOW & JUKE 

The Ultimate Southern Comfort... and Diet Buster

Southern comfort can be found in this cozy basement restaurant near Westminster Abbey. (Image: Low, Slow & Juke)

Low Slow & Juke is the newest arrival in this part of town. Opened in February, it promises to bring southern smoke BBQ and cocktails to the UK capital. 

Just a two-minute walk from Westminster Abbey, this bar/restaurant is tucked away in the basement of a corner building off Victoria Street and very easy to miss. Inside you'll find a full bar, comfortable seatings and a private dining area spread over two floors.

I was thoroughly impressed with my first meal here. The slow smoked St. Louis Slab Ribs was perfectly charred, tender but not fatty, while the Black + Blue burger with blue cheese sauce was juicy and flavourful. The beer and wine recommended by the friendly staff were excellent too. 

With cute decor, southern hospitality and amazing BBQ (that's way better than Bodean's for about the same price), I think we've got an all-around, finger-licking-good winner here.

Low, Slow & Juke 標榜為美式燻烤慢烤,今年二月才開業,是倫敦最新的肉食者天堂。

自西敏寺步行兩分鐘,就可以看到這家藏在小街裡的地下室餐廳,室內設計寬敞舒適,很有美式南方鄉村風味。

第一餐我們點了服務生所介紹的BBQ,漢堡與啤酒。聖路易斯碳烤豬肋好大ㄧ片,肉質焦香酥脆,嫩而不膩,而藍奶酪漢堡也是香味撲鼻,多汁美味,配上美式涼拌高麗菜,大家都吃得很開心。

若要與倫敦最有名的連鎖美式BBQ餐廳 Bodean's 相比,無論是肉質,燻烤秘方,服務品質,還是價格,我都一定會給 Low, Slow & Juke 打比較高分的。

好高興能在倫敦吃到正統的南方烤肉!

Low, Slow & Juke wants to win over London with slow smoked BBQ and cocktails. (Images: Low, Slow & Juke)


4. ICHI-RIKI SUSHI HOUSE

A Little Slice of Japan in Westminster

Ichi-Riki is a tiny Japanese restaurant that packs a punch. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)

The house specialties are posted on the wall for easy viewing. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)

There's a little slice of Japan in the heart of Westminster, and it's called Ichi-Riki

This traditional Japanese sushi house was established 15 years ago, offering an authentic taste of Japan at an affordable price.

Located 2 minutes from New Scotland Yard on a cobblestone street, this basement gem is sandwiched between a hair salon and a cafe and can be easy to miss.

The somewhat dingy stairs lead into an intimate, old-fashion space with spartan seating and a sushi bar. The menu is simple and covers the basics: sushi, tempura, gyoza, seaweed salad, green tea desserts, and of course Japanese beers and sake.

The restaurant is popular with the locals especially during lunchtime. They don't take reservation for lunch, but you can book a table for dinner or order take-away or delivery

西敏區的中心有一家傳統的日本壽司屋,名叫 Ichi-Riki

坐落在倫敦警察廳(New Scotland Yard)附近的一條石板街道上,緊夾在美髮沙龍和咖啡館之間,一不注意就很容易錯過這家地下室小店。

壽司屋已有十五年的歷史,室內裝潢簡單,菜單也很有日本地道風味 -- 壽司,天婦羅,餃子,涼拌海帶,綠茶甜品,當然還有日本啤酒和清酒。

Ichi-Riki 走平價路線,很受當地人喜愛,午餐時間總是空無一席。他們只接受晚餐預約,也有提供外帶與外送服務。

Ichi-Riki is sandwiched between a hair salon and a health food cafe on a cobblestone street in Victoria. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)


5. IRIS & JUNE

Ozone Coffee Roaster Serving Undoubtedly the Best Coffee in Victoria

Some say Iris & June serves the best coffee in Westminster, if not all of London. (Image: Iris & June)

Coffee lovers - this one is for you. 

Since Iris & June opened its door in 2014, caffeine enthusiasts have been flocking to this Antipodean cafe for the perfect Ozone coffee. Each cup is made with precision and care and the proof is in the taste. 

Hailed by many as the best coffee shop in Victoria that serves good food, the lunchtime queue here can get very long. 

The cafe is located on a quiet street just behind House of Fraser department store. The space is airy, comfy with a touch of industrial chic, and the free wi-fi makes it the perfect place for work, meeting, or just relaxing.

咖啡達人,看這裡。

現在要介紹的是倫敦人公認的特優咖啡館:Iris & June

自2014年開幕以來,這家紐西蘭人經營的獨立小店吸引了無數咖啡族的忠誠。這裡咖啡的做工慢條斯理,先要磨豆,再秤重,然後加入濾杯慢慢加水沖泡多次,讓每一口咖啡都成為值得細細品嚐的藝術品。

甜點和新鮮健康的午餐也是 Iris & June 的賣點,常常可以看到個體餐飲店的腳踏車來送貨。

咖啡館坐落在 House of Fraser 百貨公司後門的一條安靜街道上,裝潢簡潔,有濃濃的極簡工業風氣氛。顧客可以免費上網,所以許多人抱著筆電來這兒工作,一坐就是一整天。

The cafe is opposite the back entrance of House of Fraser department store. (Image: Eileen Hsieh)

Breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea, anytime is a good time for an Iris & June coffee. (Images: Iris & June Instagram)

IRIS & JUNE

1 Howick Pl, London SW1P 1WG

MAP 地圖

020 7828 3130