Travel Diary: Return to Bangladesh, Dhaka, June 2015

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest manufacturer of garments, most of which are supplied to many of the brands you and I wear. Working in the fashion retail industry means I have become a frequent visitor to the country, more specifically the capital Dhaka. It’s early June, meaning the temperature and humidity is high, as soon as I stepped of the plane I was greeted by the heat, reminiscent of an open oven door in a hot kitchen.
Dhaka city itself is a living contradiction; from the high rise modern buildings, versus the simple shacks many of the city’s residents still live in. On the roads the traditional rickshaw riders have equal standing against the larger buses and shiny 4×4 cars. The common thread being everyone’s desire to beat the traffic and not to be caught in the dreaded “JAM”.

The readymade garment industry in Bangladesh is still relatively new compared with its other competitor countries such as China and India. However the growth has been exponential, making Bangladesh a strong contender in the market of fashion manufacturing.

This growth hasn’t come without its challenges with recent tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, highlighting the need for resource and investment to support this rapidly growing industry.

The people were friendly and as I was a very obvious foreigner I did attract some curious stares, especially in the more remote areas just outside the city.
People Bangladesh Dhaka

People Bangladesh Dhaka

I have an hour to spare so I accompany my colleague to a food market, while she shopped for dinner.
Food Market Dhaka Bangladesh

Fresh produce is easily available, supplied by the surrounding farmlands of the city.
Bangladesh Food

Bangladesh Food

As we drive out of Dhaka city, leaving behind the beeping car horns, crowded streets and congested city life, I get to see the other side of the country. Sprawling forests, green farm land and most importantly quiet empty roads, a complete contrast to the city center.
Bangladesh

My London: Brick Lane shopping

After filling our stomachs with what seemed like all the pancakes at Hoi Polloi Restaurant, Ace Hotel (see my previous post), it made sense to go for a walk to try a burn off some of our very large brunch. So myself and my friend Carina headed over to Brick Lane only a few minutes’ walk from Shoreditch High Street.

 

 

Brick Lane is an interesting place, where you will find some of the best curry houses, vintage shops and street art which line this very unique street. The street style fashion is amazing to observe from 90’s throwback, 80s punk and modern day mod-tailoring. There is a high concentration of people wearing Mom Jeans and a 2.8 average jaunty hat ownership per capita (note these statistics are completely fictitious though probably not far-off).

Brick Lane Vintage shops offer an array of retro fashion, though not the cheapest but you will be spoilt for choice.

Our first stop is the ever popular Rokit Vintage and Retro Clothing Shop, which has everything from old school Puma sneakers to cut-off vintage Levis 501’s.
Rokit

 

The Vintage Market Brick Lane.
Indoor market with various vendors all under the one roof.

Carina tried on this hat for so long I thought she actually had bought it, at only £15 it was a bargain.
Brick Lane Vintage Market

 

 

Today I’m Wearing: Topshop Parka, H&M printed blouse, Daniel Wellington Watch and Vintage Silk Scarf from my trip to Hong Kong.
Topshop with Vintage Silk Scarf

Brick Lane BookShop
I’m not sure when William Shakespeare wrote Othello, he had “MR T” in mind, but I think it works.

We accidentally happen upon a Street Art tour group, and decided to tag along for a moment, which is another great thing about Brick Lane the art is everywhere. Round every corner or side street you can find another piece more thought-provoking than the last.

As the afternoon sun starts to dim we head back to Liverpool Street Station to catch the tube home, I’m very proud of myself having controlled my urge to buy anything, but there is always next time.

Brunch at Hoi Polloi, Ace Hotel

Those that know me well, know I love a leisurely brunch on lazy afternoon, catching-up with friends whilst enjoy good food. On this gloriously sunny afternoon I met with my friend Carina, location Hoi Polloi, Ace Hotel, Shoreditch.

It was my first time visiting Hoi Polloi, though I had been to the Ace Hotel on a number of occasions. The entrance to the restaurant is not the most obvious, as you make your way through a florist or if like me who got very confused the neighbouring bar. Once inside I was delightfully surprised by the spacious yet intimate space. The Art Deco touches, mixed with the soft leather booths and paneled wood, resulted in a comfortable and inviting dining environment. The menu was presented as an old newspaper and our table water is served in old glass milk bottles.

 

However the highlight of the day was the string quartet playing some of the best pop classics, myself and Carina found ourselves pausing in conversation to enjoy the music. I have heard Beyoncé Crazy in Love a million times, but I got to enjoy it as if for the first time and found myself wanting to sing along.

The clientele were what as expected for this part of London; think bearded, clad in denim and ironic take on fashion representative of East London.

I ate stacked pancakes topped off with bacon and maple syrup, undoing all the good work I had done in the gym that very morning. Though there was no remorse as they were wickedly delicious, certainly worth another visit.

Hoi Polloi Pancakes

The staff were friendly and we didn’t feel at all rushed to hurry-up and leave, in fact we could have easily spent the whole afternoon hanging-out and chatting.

 

For more about Hoi Polloi Restaurant visit: www.hoi-polloi.co.uk

 

Hoi Polloi, Restaurant Review

Under the weather, then out comes the Sun…

Under the weather

So I have been under the weather of late, I’m not sure why but my body seems to have become a beacon for all germs. The Easter Bank Holiday was supposed to be jam-packed with an an array of exciting interesting things I planned to do, while in reality I have spent the last few days hauled-up in bed, watching bad reality TV.

But the time was not wasted, instead I used my time to think, really think long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life. This included the direction I want to take my blog in and the content I want to share with you all. My whole blogging experience has been tentative and at times hesitant as I have tried to understand my blogging vision.

The main objective was to really understanding my personal point of view and bring that unique voice to this site. This has given me a renewed push and motivation and I’m really excited to share all my new content.

So I’m now off to try and utilize the very last of the fading bank holiday weekend before returning to the daily grind we all call work.

Today I wore: River Island “Los Angeles City” sweatshirt,  ASOS Jersey joggers.

Thrifty tips: Chrysanthemum Flowers revived

A New Year resolution I’m actually sticking to, buying myself flowers all part of my “make me happy” campaign. Each week I select a different type depending on my fancy. The whole thing has become a bit of a weekly tradition, cementing the end to what usually is a busy and stressful work week.

From Borough Market to my local Waitrose, where I buy my flowers varies depending upon my mood and weekend activities, the one thing that is consistent is the feeling I experience staring at a new fresh bouquet in my kitchen.

Over a week ago I bought a delightful bunch of  dusty pink Chrysanthemum’s, relatively cheap and just happen to catch my eye among the sea of petals that particular Saturday.

 

Its been over a week since I bought them and I noticed they were looking a bit sad, a little attention was needed to revive my wilting bunch.

I trimmed away the wilted leaves and cut down the stems

Jar as Vase

 

Jar storage seems to be having a moment of late and can be used as a vase or even drinking glasses. I simple washed out a Homepride pasta sauce jar and removed the label.

Happy kitchen, Happy me, Happy Sunday

Chrysanthemum

Look Book: Vertical Stripes served with lunch

Its a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon and I’m spending time with my lovely friend Joké . Its our first meet-up since the New Year so loads to catch-up on. Due to the bad weather we didn’t venture far and headed to the nearest warm place, serving hot food, which happened to be Cafe Rouge Tottentham Court Road.

Joké is wearing:

Vintage shirt from her Grandma, Jeans BDJ Urban Outfitters, Zip Front Cardigan H&M, New Balance Trainers and Necklace from  Accessorize 

Joke

Read more about Joké including her amazing Mexico adventure at: www.jorisocentric.blogspot.co.uk

Dishoom Bombay Café, Kings Cross

Indian restaurant in the heart of London.

It’s late December post-Christmas and just happens to be my birthday, after working a full day in the office I made the short journey down the Euston road to Dishoom King’s Cross, located at the newly developed Stable Street. The restaurant was slightly tucked, meaning very easy to get lost which some of the attendee’s to this special dinner found.

It was my birthday, yet it wasn’t actually my birthday dinner, I was invited to celebrate with my friend Carina. Who by coincidence has the exact same date of birth as me, down to the year making us “twins from another mother”, as we like to refer to ourselves.

I was a little nervous about attending, as I knew the fellow birthday girl but I wasn’t familiar with the other attendee’s. As part of my New Year’s resolution I have decided to say YES more frequently so when Carina extended her kind invitation to me I immediately said yes, and then fretted about it after. I knew this would be a great test of my introvert nature and opportunity to exercise my New Year resolve (more about my New Year resolution coming soon to the blog). Anyway I have completely digressed, let me get back to the topic in hand …. Dishoom!

Dishoom

I had been planning to visit the restaurant for some time, since it opened late 2014, however was put-off by talks of 2 hour queues just to get to the bar. However on this occasion we had pre-booked and were seated upon arrival.

We were a large group, so instead of ordering separately, a number of different dishes were selected to create our very own custom buffet, including my highlights of Garlic and Cheese Naan bread, Chicken Tikka and my surprise favourite of the night Okra Fries (who knew such a thing existed).

The venue and décor were impressive, think 19th century Bombay colliding with this historic former railway shed and you start to get a flavour of what I’m talking about. The restaurant literally oozes history, from the tiled floors to the dark wood table tops. I was also surprised by the size of the venue, you will find a basement lounge, ground floor restaurant and mezzanine level bar all under the one roof.

Dishoom

I will return again, this time to sample the breakfast menu.

www.dishoom.com

Change can be good

My Magnolia Sky

I am now MyMagnoliaSky.com

So I have been at this blogging game only for a minute now, but within this short space of time I have learnt so much and I’m still learning. Like with anything new you do, I have made mistakes and the whole experience has been an eye-opener. I’m constantly making minor adjustments to the layout of my site as I understand more, also my social media engagement has stepped-up, to help promote my blog to a new audience.

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