I’ve finally, finally, finally started working on my massive backlog of travel posts and am now constantly reminding myself not to let them accumulate like that ever again. Overwhelming doesn’t even begin to describe it, good god. Lesson learnt indeed – the hard way, given yesterday’s meltdown of which I shan’t go into details about because it’s simply not worth it. Today however, is another day. So I recomposed myself, sat my driven ass down, and got to work.

You can’t imagine just how colossal this backlog is, but I shall spare you the negligible details and instead say that I now have tonnes of material on hand, which is a good thing. So I thought I’d start with Guildford, which is where the beau was based in back then (you know it’s been a long time when you start using words like that).

Maniacal seven-hour train rides from Scotland aside, I went down considerably often to visit him as Guildford is only an hour or less away from bustling London. And I ADORE London. Although we did take numerous trips to the capital city before moving there for a month, I’m not going to document any London experiences in this post as it shall have its own series because there are just too many pictures and places that I’d like to write about, and merging it with Guildford’s will just make everything a big, boiling hotpot of confusion.

So here’s to clarity, and Guildford’s own wonders.

Guildford is a relatively quiet town in Surrey (my experience in Surrey prior to this was mainly based in Sutton), and whilst it’s no match for London when it comes to busyness and activity, it’s incredibly charming in its own way and was very homey to me particularly because the beau was living there and knew the place well.

As my experience in Guildford was spread out over a number of months, I’ve sort of merged my trips together in this two-part series to prevent any repetition and focus on the highlights of my trips rather than the day-to-day shenanigans we got up to, although bits shall be included every now and then.

As a couple, one of the big things that bring the both of us together is food. We love food, and we can’t get enough of it. So of course, the beau brought me to all the good places he knew in town, where we had feast after feast after feast, and proceeded to roll back to the flat with overstuffed tummies after each and every meal. I think they were pretty worth it though.

One of our favourite places to dine in is at Thai Terrace, a contemporary Thai restaurant sitting on the seventh floor and rooftop of a building in the middle of town with gorgeous views overlooking Guildford. I’ve a gargantuan penchant for rooftop places, so needless to say I loved it. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get any decent shots of the food (probably a bit too distracted by the location – priorities, oh my god) even though we went there multiple times, but we love their dishes and curries.

Thai Terrace

7th Floor, Castle Car Park
Sydenham Road

We enjoy taking leisurely strolls around the town centre after a good lunch to soak up the sights and smells and sounds, and would always end up in one of their sprawling gardens, taking in the detail of their landscapes and the intricacy of their stones. One such place is the castle grounds of Guildford, of which I don’t have any decent pictures to show as well as I took them in the winter and they looked so much better in the spring. They make such good settings for outfit-of-the-day shots as well but I didn’t manage to take any at the time, sadly enough. In fact, the whole of the UK is filled with stunning backdrops just waiting for you to take advantage of them. I think it’s about time we made a trip back, though not exclusively for that alone.

I love these little hole-in-the-wall – literally – eateries and shops, and Guildford is filled with them. I find it to be quite a charming experience to just pop into a warm, cosy alcove and settle down for a hot, comforting beverage after being out in the cold for some time. It’s something you don’t really get to experience when you’re living in a tropical country which is a sweltering thirty degrees all year round.

I actually spent more time taking outfit pictures for the beau instead of for myself – I particularly liked his all-black getup that day (dress shoes!) and I especially love him in coats as it suits his tall frame (it’s so hard to find flattering coats when you’re petite, pft). Damn you, equatorial climates.

We also wander over to his university campus quite often throughout my trips, and I spent a lot of time photographing the surroundings (more in part 2) as they were so lush. Here are some from one late afternoon/early evening when we were playing around with the soft, buttery sunlight. I love UK for its contradictions – cool, crisp air in the warm sunshine, where you still get to style with your outerwear and throw on a coat if you please.

(It’s starting to look more like his blog instead of mine)

The man repping old-school Malaysian labels in Western air.

Another place we frequented for dinner is this quaint Spanish place tucked away in a small lane just off one of the main streets in town, called La Casita. We love Spanish food, and are always scouring for good ones in the area. They serve delicious tapas, both hot and cold, and we always worked up our appetites before making our way there so we can spend the next hour or two stuffing our faces silly.

Top row: Patatas bravas ; deep fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce // Albóndigas de carne ; homemade meatballs slow-cooked in tomato sauce // Lomo de ternera a la plancha ; grilled medallions of ribeye steak served with chips

Bottom row: Champiñones al ajillo ; sautéed mushrooms with garlic and a hint of chilli // Berenjenas de verano ; layers of fried aubergine, tomato, and cheese // Chorizo a la plancha ; grilled chorizo sausages served with rocket and balsamic vinegar

And that wasn’t even all we had ordered.

La Casita

4-5 Chapel Street

There’s a lovely bridge that we have to walk across to get back to his place from town, and in the night the lights from the buildings reflect off the surface of the water. It reminds me a bit of Amsterdam somewhat. And each time I cross that bridge, it seems slightly different, yet completely the same. Somehow. It’s beautiful.

And of course, no post about Guildford is complete without the picture of the rose he gave me the moment I stepped foot in King’s Cross, taken on crisp white sheets in the morning light,

I’ve loved Jane Packer since that very day.

Part 2 on the way!