Thursday, 31 December 2015

2015: Year in Review

Collage of images from my 2015, including concerts, trips to Copenhagen & Central America, family wedding, moving to Hong Kong, and Christmas

     Another year, been and gone. While I know that New Year is just another day in the grand scheme of things, and nothing will change overnight, I do think the end of the year is a good time to take stock of what's been happening, and think about what I'd like to achieve in the future. Overall, I'd say 2015 has been a pretty good year. Back when I was in school, every year felt more or less the same, but as I get older I've had the chances to do more exciting things, making the last few years more memorable than those that came before. My year wasn't perfect of course - I doubt any ever are - but there are plenty more good things to remember than bad.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015: Best Of

     As another year draws to a close, we all start taking stock of what's happened over the last year. I will be writing my Year in Review post shortly, but first I thought we'd do a Best Of, taking a look at my favourite things to come out of 2015. Like my own little 'Just Muddling Through Life' awards ceremony. So without further ado...

Best of 2015 text on fireworks background

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Merry Christmas

     Yes I know I wrote a post with the same title last year, but Christmas is a pretty important occasion each year in my house! Especially so this year since I returned from Hong Kong to celebrate back home with my family. It's a little bit sad though that I'm finding that the older I get, the less festive I feel each year. I don't have the energy for all that cheer anymore! It was also strange to be away from the UK during the build up to Christmas, as even though Hong Kong does celebrate and has plenty of decorations around the city, it just didn't feel the same at all. However, some things never change and I do still love seeing decorations and lights everywhere, and eating Christmas dinner, and silly games are fun when I can muster up some energy - this year I ate a curry flavoured chocolate, but drew the line at pie in the face! I still did enjoy Christmas this year though, just differently to when I was a child.

Toy box ornament amongst decorations and lights on the Christmas tree

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Hong Kong: Term 1 Update

     Ok, if we're being technical my 1st term doesn't actually finish until Chinese New Year in February, but we've broken up for Christmas now, which is the first long holiday I've had since starting my job in Hong Kong. And I decided to head back to the UK for Christmas - I'll use New Year and Easter for travel in Asia! Anyway, sitting in the airport waiting to board the flight home could not feel more different to when I was first flying out to Hong Kong. While I'm happy to be going home for a visit of course, I've come to really like Hong Kong, certainly a lot more than I expected to when I was in tears about leaving home four months ago! And while I'll be sad to say goodbye to everyone again when I come back after New Year, I won't be as terrified and reluctant as I was then.

View of Hong Kong skyline, including Central, Kowloon and Victoria harbour, taken from The Peak

Monday, 21 December 2015

Outfit - Fade to Grey

     Grey doesn't have to be boring - one of the easiest ways to make an outfit look classy and elegant is to stick to monochrome tones. It doesn't get much simpler than jeans and a top, but by choosing grey for both, in a lighter and darker shade, it looks effortlessly sophisticated. This cardigan also adds to the effect, as well as creating some interest, with gentle, flowing layers over the top of the rest of the outfit, in classic black. My boots are certainly looking pretty well-worn now, with patches coming off (they're not real leather obviously!), but this sort of adds to the rough & ready biker style that they already have. And I'm excited that Hong Kong is finally cool enough to wear them without feeling uncomfortable! I went for low-key jewellery, to maintain the outfit's simplicity, with only my usual rings and some small earrings with a pop of colour in purple.

Fade to Grey | outfit of long black flowing cardigan, grey geometric print top, dark grey skinny jeans and black scuffed biker boots

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Review - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

     The decision to add another film to such a famous and loved franchise is not one to be taken lightly. Episode VII of the Star Wars franchise could have gone horribly, horribly wrong - just look at the prequel trilogy of episodes I-III. I don't dislike them as much as some people do, but they come nowhere close to the original trilogy. Fortunately, this time around things went much, much better.

(source)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Stanley, Hong Kong

     Stanley feels like a proper seaside place, with the waterfront and the market stalls. The town lies on the southern peninsula of Hong Kong island, and does take a while to reach - approx. 40 minutes on the number 6, 6A, 6X, 66, or 260 bus from Central, Admiralty or Wan Chai, depending on where you take the MTR to. It's a popular tourist attraction though, and certainly worth the journey, and I've been twice already. The first time was just for a browse, and a beach barbecue later on, and then I returned to do my Christmas shopping and check out the German market that popped up. Stanley Market is open year round though, and has plenty of stalls to see, leading you along a warren-like trail. I particularly liked that this market has higher quality goods than some of the others I've been to, and although there is some overlap between stalls, many do have entirely unique wares. There's everything from bags and scarves, to jewellery and ornaments, to children's toys. I bought pretty much everyone's Christmas presents here on my second visit.

Stanley waterfront with fishing boats in the harbour, Hong Kong

Monday, 14 December 2015

Outfit - Fly Away

     Ok, this isn't quite a cape, and it certainly doesn't have the power to make me fly, but you see the vibe I'm feeling, right? I bought this cardigan recently, as my other black one was getting a bit tatty for work, and I've been obsessed with it since. I wear cardigans a lot in winter, but the shape of this one is so much more interesting than others, and I usually like loose, floaty things like this. I'm starting to wear tights a bit more, as the temperature is slowly dropping, but they're still not essential. The darker colours in this dress (I really like that shade of purple!) and the boots make it feel more wintery though. I also got a new bracelet for work, as my last was losing its elastic, and jade designs like this are typical of Hong Kong, so it will remind me of here even after I leave.

Fly Away | outfit of short dark purple floral dress, with loose black cape cardigan and brown suede ankle boots

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Cute Kindergarten Stories, Vol. 2

     A couple of months ago I wrote this post about some of the adorable and funny things my students get up to - for those who don't know, I teach English to the nursery class of 2 year olds in a kindergarten. Of course, seeing around 50 of these kids on a daily basis means I have acquired even more stories about them, so I figured since the term is nearly over (1 more week!), I'd share a few more of them, for anyone who cares. I think some people I tell agree that they are adorable, while others are probably sick of hearing about them. But when you work 6 days a week, I don't have a whole lot else in my life to talk about for now!



Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Travel Inspiration - Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico

     So if you've been around on this blog at all this year, you'll likely remember that I went travelling through Central America for a month back in June - if this is news to you, I suggest you start here. Anyway, it was the most amazing trip ever, through some truly beautiful countries. I didn't share that many photos in my original series on the trip, so I'm featuring the first of the countries I visited now in this travel inspiration post - Mexico. I only visited a small region of Mexico, but I'd like to return and see the rest of the country one day. My stops were Playa del Carmen and Tulum, in the south-east Yucatán peninsula, before we crossed into Belize. This was my first taste of Latin America, and it was a pretty good start, with tropical beaches and swimming in cenotes. I couldn't capture everything on film, as my camera is not built for the water, and the quality of the underwater cameras some of the others were using wasn't fantastic, so the photos from the underground cenote we visited, and the snorkelling with sea turtles are missing. But hopefully this gives you a taste of what Yucatán has to offer!

Sand and blue ocean at the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Monday, 7 December 2015

Outfit - Pic 'n' Mix

     There is nothing in this outfit that hasn't been featured on this blog somewhere before - the top is here, the jeans are here, and the boots are here. But that's the fun part about putting together outfits, is finding different ways to do it every time. It's an especially good exercise for me at the moment, as I have far fewer clothes with me here in Hong Kong, than I did back home, so I have to keep trying new combinations, or else I'd be cycling through the same dozen outfits all year. The top is pretty versatile, casual enough to wear everyday, but the fun patterns and little bit of sparkle mean I can wear it out, with the right combination. The jeans are so soft and comfortable, which isn't what you expect from skinny jeans - honestly, if you've never tried New Look's "Super Soft" jeans, do it! And I'm finally wearing boots besides my ankle boots, now that the temperature here is dropping considerably.

Pic n Mix | outfit of purple, black & white floral print t-shirt, blue acid wash skinny jeans, and chunky brown biker boots

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Christmas Tag

     The festive season is upon us! Well, from how Hong Kong's been looking, it's been on us since 1st November apparently. I love Christmas, but I can't get into the spirit properly until later November at least! But we're now firmly into December and I'm getting more and more excited! Though it is weird to still be so warm outside. I still need to do all my gift shopping, and we haven't got around to any decorating in the flat yet (though there's a thought for tomorrow...). Anyway, despite my excitement, I'm exhausted at the moment, with a bit of cold, so I'm just generally a bit run-down I think. So today's is another quick tag post, this time with a very festive theme!

"The Christmas Tag" text on a festive background of a bauble garland

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Hiking Lion Rock

      I don't know why I'm suddenly hiking so much more in Hong Kong, since I didn't do it that often at home - see my posts from Mirror Pool, Dragon's Back, and of course, The Peak. But it's hard to resist when it's the best way to get amongst some greenery, and away from the middle of the city. Last weekend, we took on a slightly tougher hike than previous ones. Lion Rock is part of a stretch of hills that roughly separate Kowloon and New Territories - I'm also pretty sure they're the same hills I can see from my window! Although Lion Rock is far from the highest point in Hong Kong, it is perfectly positioned for the best views of Kowloon and New Territories. Stage 5 of the MacLehose Trail covers Lion Rock, but we did a slightly adapted version of this trail, instead doing a circle from Wong Tai Sin MTR, going up Sha Tin Pass Road first, and descending to Lion Rock Park to finish. This site has great directions, and it takes around 4 hours in total.

View of Kowloon, with smog and pollution, from the top of Lion Rock, Hong Kong.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Outfit - Classy Converse

     Walking a fine line between casual and dressed up here, which is a pretty good balance I feel! I wore this for a night out, and it was such a comfortable choice for the evening - given the option of heels or Converse, I think I would nearly always take the Converse! Those were a slightly tipsy decision, but I think they managed to work with the outfit, and still be fancy enough for a night out. I love a pair of shorts that I can wear out, and plain black denim is simple enough to be sophisticated (although I may have to start pulling out the tights again, as the temperature is dropping!). And this simple, but cute, white peplum top classes things up even more. Lastly, some small silver pieces of jewellery to finish it off.


Classy Converse | outfit of white peplum top, black denim shorts & blue high top sneakers

Saturday, 28 November 2015

An Afternoon in Repulse Bay

     Oh I do love a bonus day off school! We had an event on Wednesday, our school picnic, which meant we then got Thursday off. Days off are great anyway, but it's even better when it's not for a public holiday, as it means the rest of the city is at work, and everywhere is far quieter. Although the temperature in Hong Kong has finally started to drop, it's nowhere near the freezing conditions I'm used to back home, and it's still pretty sunny, so we figured we could still enjoy a day at the beach. Having already visited Big Wave Bay, Hung Shing Yeh on Lamma Island, and Kwun Yam Wan on Cheung Chau, I wanted to go to a new one, so we chose Repulse Bay Beach, on the south side of Hong Kong Island. From Admiralty MTR, you can take the 6, 6X, 6A or 260 bus, which takes around 40 minutes.

Sand and ocean in the sun on Repulse Bay Beach, Hong Kong

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Musings from the Pier

     The ocean stretches out to meet the sky, an infinite wash of blue, interrupted only by the dark vessels drifting along the horizon line. They sky is dirty grey, dreary and still, uninspiring, save for the tinges of pink decorating the clouds, as the sun sets somewhere around the corner. The waters are flanked by two hulking green masses, reaching towards each other as if to embrace, but unable to close the gap between them. They are smooth, isolated guardians, not a man-made structure to be seen from this point. Closer, rock formations peer from the depths of the sea, carvings undertaken by nature as the waves slowly caress them, re-shaping them bit by bit.

Blake Pier in the harbour of Stanley on Hong Kong island

Monday, 23 November 2015

Outfit - Geometry

     Hold the front page guys, I'm wearing more than one layer! Not that I need to since it's still bloody warm here, and this cardigan doesn't do much to keep you warm. However, it is a little cooler here, which is a good excuse to start changing up my wardrobe a little, with jeans appearing more and more often, and adding light, extra layers. This cardigan is especially good for here, as it adds a bit of fun and interest, but certainly still allows me to keep cool - sometimes I struggled to wear it at home, as it was impractical much of the time, failing to keep me warm. The bright pink is also fun against an otherwise grey outfit, and pink is outside my usual colour palette, so keeps things quite different for me. There's also a nice harmony between the geometric design of this necklace and patterned top, and the pattern of holes in the string cardigan. And these grey skinny jeans go with just about anything, and can look quite effortlessly elegant in the right combination.

Geometry | outfit of pink string cardigan, grey patterned vest top, grey skinny jeans and brown ankle boots

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A-Z of My Favourite Films

     So we've covered books and music in my previous A-Z posts - this around, we're looking at films! These are films I've seen at one point or another, but I don't necessarily own copies of them, so I didn't have a proper collection to look through to make this, like I did with my book shelves and my iPod, so it's possible I've forgotten about some things. As with those lists though, it's interesting to see what I did come up with for each letter, as some films I love had to be sacrificed because they shared a letter with something else, while others are only on here to fill a letter, but certainly wouldn't normally be considered one of my favourites. (Amazon links in the titles).

Large, empty cinema with seats and screen

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Day Trip to Cheung Chau Island

     I may have only just visited Lamma Island a few days previously, but I was straight back out to another of Hong Kong's Outlying Islands at the weekend. Cheung Chau was one we'd been hoping to go to for some time now, and we finally got there. The ferry departs regularly from Central pier 5, and takes around an hour, though we caught the fast service that is only about 40 minutes. Some of the day was a little overcast, especially when we first set off, but the sun managed to break through for a few hours in the middle of the day. We went fairly early too, to take advantage of having a full day to explore as much of the island as possible. There's only one village in the centre of the island, which has plenty of shops and amenities (making it feel far more up-to-date than the villages on Lamma), while the rest of the island is greenery and beaches, with a few pavilions and temples scattered throughout.

View of Cheung Chau Island's village and boats in the harbour, Hong Kong

Monday, 16 November 2015

Outfit - Candy Colours

     This is ridiculous Hong Kong, how is it possible still this warm in November? Normally at home I'd be piling on layers, and never dream about wearing a skirt without tights, but here, it's a different story! Even going out at night, short and cool is the way to go. This skirt is quite different for me, as I normally favour skater styles, rather than tight, pencil skirts like this. Sometimes I get insecure about my little bit of a belly, but at the same time, I know it's not that big, and I just think "screw it". Pink is also most definitely not a colour I wear often, but I couldn't resist the funky patterns on this. It's so bold and fun, great for a night out, so I paired it with a plain black top and heeled boots, so as not to be overwhelming. The necklace matches the skirt well, and the boldness of it works well against the plain top. I bought it dead cheap, because it's missing jewels, but not too noticeably - I also painted the missing gap with pink nail polish, so it looks less obvious than the silver backing underneath.

Candy Colours | outfit of plain black top, pink patterned pencil skirt, black high heel ankle boots, and statement necklace

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Day Out to Lamma Island

     Most people's first thoughts of Hong Kong are a buzzing, hectic metropolis, with its skyline dominated by towering skyscrapers. Yet just a stone's throw from the concrete maze, lies many natural treasures hidden in the city. Such examples include the Outlying Islands, each a short ferry ride from Central. I visited my first of them on my recent day off this week, Lamma Island. The ferry leaves from Central pier four, and takes a brief 20 minutes to Yung Shue Wan, or 35 minutes to the smaller village of Sok Kwu Wan. We started our day at the former, the largest town on the island (though still very small!). The ferry ride was pretty smooth, since we weren't far out to sea, and it was a calm day, and it was also pretty quiet, as it wasn't a weekend or public holiday. It was actually Dr Sun's Birthday, which hasn't been a public holiday here since Hong Kong was handed back to China by the British, but my school still gives us the day off.

Ocean and island view from Yung Shue Wan ferry port, Lamma Island, Hong Kong

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Travel Inspiration - Copenhagen

     We're going far away from all my Hong Kong posts in this travel inspiration post - heading all the way home to Europe in fact. Earlier this year, I visited the Danish capital of Copenhagen for a long weekend, and discovered what a wonderful place it is. It felt like a very welcoming, laid-back place, and the cool, overcast February weather didn't even bother me that much! There's plenty of sights to see - the Little Mermaid statue may be the most well-known, but it's far from the only one, or the most spectacular. As with most other European cities, the architecture is stunning - I've seen some amazing sights from around the world, but Europe is unbeaten when it comes to beautiful buildings! The colourful houses on the harbour in Nyhavn stand out in my memory, as do the splendid palaces, of which the city boasts three. Aside from the historic sights, Copenhagen is also home to some quirkier places, most notably the freetown of Christiania, full of artists, crafty stalls, and some other forms of, er, recreation. If the rest of the city feels laid-back, Christiania is the epitome of it. It's also a short train ride up to Helsingor, where Kronborg Castle can be found. Copenhagen also boasts plenty of great places to eat, and some very fun night life, so there's something there to suit everyone!

Colourful houses of Nyhavn by the harbour, Copenhagen, Denmark

Monday, 9 November 2015

Outfit - Shades of Midnight

     A fairly simple outfit again today - despite the fact that it's now November, Hong Kong is still stupidly warm, and I'm not even reaching for cardigans yet, never mind an actual coat! And normally I'd be wearing this with black tights back home, but they're definitely not necessary here. However, while my colour palette doesn't always reflect the seasons, I do feel the dark colours in this combination are more suited to autumn/winter, even if it still feels like summer to me! My favourite old ankle boots also feel slightly more autumnal, even though I'm guilty of wearing them through summer back home. I also like little details in simple outfits like this, such as the pretty lace pattern on the skirt, which you can see a close-up of below. And a big, statement necklace finishes it off nicely, acting as a sort of focal point of interest.

Shades of Midnight | outfit of purple t-shirt, dark blue lace skirt and brown suede ankle boots

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Musically Inspired - Hazy Memories

     Bright lights, pounding music, flashing colours, swarms of people... liquid tumbling down my throat, filling my belly with warmth... the city feels alive and dead at the same time... its energy coursing through me, spurring me on and on and on... darkness all around... disorientating light... hot, stuffy rooms and cold, biting night air... walking, walking, stumbling, falling... shit, broken glass under my feet...

Blurred, hazy colourful city lights at night
(source)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Halloween in Hong Kong

     While there are plenty of things I enjoy about Halloween, I haven't necessarily celebrated it every year - so this time I made up for it by doing it twice! I even had two costumes, which you can see in my last outfit post. Also, apologies for the photo quality here, I never take my good camera when I'm out drinking, so I've only got phone pictures from both nights. The first night was Friday, the day before Halloween, when a friend booked a bunch of us tickets to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I've seen it before, but this was an open air showing, on a 21st floor balcony, with everyone dressed up as characters. I love the film, as it's just utterly bonkers, so I was quite happy for an excuse to see it again! I've heard that showings like this can get quite rowdy, with everyone singing and dancing, but ours was pretty tame. A little disappointing perhaps, but it was still fun to just chill out, watching the film outdoors, with plenty of drinks and snacks on hand! Our night didn't end there either, as the venue was in Wan Chai, which has bars aplenty, so we had a few more drinks before heading home (a decision I may have regretted when faced with going to work with a hangover and four hours sleep the next day...)

Rocky Horror Picture Show outdoor Halloween screening at The Hive in Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Monday, 2 November 2015

Outfit - Fright Nights

     I didn't just go out once for Halloween, I went twice! So, you lucky things, today's outfit post is a double whammy, featuring the two outfits I wore. Since I was choosing to dress up twice, as separate things, rather than reusing one outfit, my choices had to be fairly simple. I wore clothes I already owned both times, and simply added a few accessories to indicate what I supposed to be. Nothing incredible, but I think both turned out ok. My first night out was 30th Oct, when we went to a showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (blog post about both nights is coming soon!), where it's custom to dress as a character from the film. I chose Magenta, the maid or 'domestic', and dressed in all black, with an apron - it was also super comfortable for chilling out, watching a film! I also happened upon this bow, and the white frills seemed a bit maid-like, while the patterned tights were the closest I had to fishnets. For Halloween itself, we were going to beer fest, then to try to watch the rugby, so I didn't want an over-the-top outfit. I found this cheap red cape, and figured that would make it pretty obvious I was Little Red Riding Hood. The outfit underneath is nearly identical to this one, since red and black seemed most appropriate. The silver fang necklaces also seemed a bit wolfish! Both nights, my makeup wasn't extreme, but I opted for blood red lips, and bolder eye makeup than usual, and a slightly wild, semi-back-combed hairstyle.

Fright Nights | maid fancy dress outfit detail of black & white frilled bow headband

Sunday, 1 November 2015

25 Questions Tag

     So today's blog post is going to a very quick, lazy one, since I ran out of time to write anything yesterday, and was faced with this post, or nothing at all. That, and I'm currently lying in my bed, munching crisps and nursing a hangover - there will be a Halloween post coming next week! So after a quick internet search, I've found a question tag post, so you can find out some random bits and pieces about me. I was planning to do a few posts like this anyway, seems like a bit of fun!

25 questions tag - title text on a leafy tree background

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Dragon's Back to Big Wave Bay

     I had another extra day off work this week, as we had to work sports day on Saturday, so were given Monday off in lieu. This meant many of the people I usually spend weekends with were still at work, as they are in different schools, so I opted to do something that I wouldn't mind possibly doing again with them (i.e. nothing expensive). The weather is still decent, so I chose another hike (I've done so much exercise lately!), this time going for one of the most popular on Hong Kong, the Dragon's Back hike. The starting point is on Shek O Road, which I reached by taking the no.9 bus from the Shau Kei Wan MTR station to the To Tei Wan stop. It can be a little tricky to know where to get off the bus, but the driver should be able to help, or follow the other tourist-types (as I did). Then get ready for around 2 and a half hours of walking, across hills with spectacular views, and through shady forest paths. Overall, it's not a difficult hike - and that's coming from someone who isn't particularly fit, but does try to walk a lot - but there are a few rocky areas, or long flights of stairs.

Wooden sign post for Dragon's Back Hiking Trail, Hong Kong Island

Monday, 26 October 2015

Outfit - Something Wicked This Way Comes

     Halloween is coming, so I'm channelling something a little bit naughty in today's outfit. I haven't posted any 'going out' ensembles recently, although I have been out quite a few times in Hong Kong - night time fashion here ranges from super casual to super fancy, so this is somewhere in between. I'm always drawn to dark colours, especially for night, and this black skirt goes with so many things, and of course, the skater style is my favourite. The top is actually a peplum style, but I tucked it into the skirt to make it work better here. I love the delicate lace, which combined with the skull necklace and web earrings, gives this a slightly witchy vibe, perfect for this time of year. Red and black are also an excellent combination, elegant but just a little bit daring, particularly when combined with this deep red lipstick - it's pretty bold for me, so I don't wear it often, but it makes a statement when I do. I don't know what my actual Halloween plans are yet, but outfits like this help me get in the mood.

Something Wicked | night out outfit of red top with black lace, black skater skirt, and black ankle boot high heels

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Hiking to Mirror Pool Waterfall

     Wednesday was a public holiday here in Hong Kong - Chung Yeung Festival, a day when many locals go to worship at their ancestors' graves. It falls on the ninth day of the ninth lunar month, making it a potentially dangerous date, according to tradition, but this can be countermanded by climbing a high mountain. We didn't actually know this when making our plans for the day, but we happened to choose to go on a hike anyway! Most people's impression of Hong Kong is a jungle of skyscrapers, densely packed together, and while this is true, Hong Kong is also home to some beautiful, natural places. There are several waterfalls in the area, especially since the city is surrounded by mountains; we were heading for two close together, Bride's Pool and Mirror Pool in Plover Cove Country Park, though it was the latter that we really ended up at.

Mirror Pool Cascade, Plover Cove Country Park, New Territories, Hong Kong

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Peak at Sunset

     It's consistently listed as one of the "must-see" sights in Hong Kong, and this week I finally made it up The Peak! Victoria Peak is the highest point in Hong Kong, located behind the Central region on the island, and overlooking Victoria Harbour, and across to Kowloon. On a good day, you can see really far, all the way to New Territories I think, but as you'll see from these photos, our view didn't stretch that far! The most popular way to get to the top is by taking the Peak Tram, but the queues are so long, and it's certainly not the cheapest option. As it was a nice day, and not too hot, we chose to hike up. You can do this from Central MTR, by first taking the escalators to the Mid-Levels, after which there's a few route options - we went up via Old Peak Road, then came back down the Morning Trail. The latter is definitely the gentler slope, which I intend to use in future! Old Peak Road gets a bit steep, but is otherwise very manageable - and it's worth it at the top!

View of Hong Kong, inc. Kowloon & Victoria Harbour, at sunset from The Peak

Monday, 19 October 2015

Outfit - Tartan Takeover

     I wore this outfit one night when we went out to watch one of Scotland's Rugby World Cup games. I don't have any actual strip or merchandise with me, so I had to improvise a patriotic outfit. The team have various twitter hashtags, the main one being #AsOne, but in the past they used #backingblue, for our team colour, and the Scottish flag. This year they started using #tartantakeover too, so I thought a blue top and a checked, tartan shirt seemed like a good way to go! It's also a very casual, comfortable outfit, as I never get dressed up for sporting events, it just seems like too much to me. Naturally, I can mix this up with jeans or shorts, and the shirt worn normally, or tied round my waist like this, depending on weather. I've never done the shirt-around-waist look much before, but since it gets so warm in Hong Kong, it's a good way to add a bit of interest to an outfit, without layering up, which is my usual look.

     Also, since we're speaking of rugby, I'm utterly devastated by the result of the match last night. I wasn't sure that Scotland could beat a team as good as Australia, but I don't think I've ever seen the Scottish team play as well as they did last night. It's more upsetting to have lost when we were so close to winning, and especially because of shockingly poor refereeing decisions. That said though, I know everyone is extremely proud of how well the lads played, so I'm feeling extra patriotic right now!

Tartan Takeover | outfit of blue vest top and denim shorts, with green checked shirt tied around the waist, and blue high top Converse sneakers

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Hong Kong: 2 Month Update

     So it's been two months now since I picked up sticks and moved halfway around the world to Hong Kong. I've written plenty about it so far, mainly the sights I've seen, and a few things about work, but I thought I'd give a more cohesive update about how everything is going so far. Many of my first impressions weren't wrong - I still find the city busy, loud, and chaotic at times, and although I still don't enjoy how crowded it can get, I'm slowly getting more used to it. Though don't ask me to go shopping in Mongkok after work, it will put me in a foul mood every time, without fail, as the streets are beyond crowded!

Hong Kong Island skyline across Victoria Harbour from Tsim Sha Tsui

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wong Tai Sin Temple

     This past weekend, we headed out to see another of Hong Kong's more popular tourist attractions. The city is bursting with temples, but Wong Tai Sin (also known as Sik Sik Yuen) Temple is one of the most popular, with its beautifully ornate, traditional architecture, and numerous pavilions hidden throughout its gardens. It is dedicated to a man named Huang Chu-ping, a 4th century Taoist monk, who achieved enlightenment and became a deity, known as Wong Tai Sin, which literally means "Great Immortal Wong". It's a predominantly Taoist temple, but locals worship the Chinese mix of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism here, with some of the smaller buildings and shrines ebing dedicated to the latter two. It's a particularly popular place to come for prayers and wishes to be granted, and to have your fortune told.

Exterior of Sik Sik Yuen Wong Tai Sin Temple, with traditional Chinese architecture and decoration design | Hong Kong

Monday, 12 October 2015

Outfit - Sailor Style

     There's something quite nautical about blue and white stripes, right? Some people might say French too, but after my year living there, I do not aim to dress like the French (it wasn't my favourite year, if you're unfamiliar with that story). Anyway, more light, easy outfits for the Hong Kong humidity. It was actually gotten cooler this week, but it's still 20-25°C which is pretty warm to me! So I'm still walking around dressed like this, while all the locals are pulling out their jumpers and jackets. It's a nice change for me though, to be able to dress in summery clothes for longer in the year (though I'm beginning to long for the fun of coordinating layers, which I can't really do yet!). There's nothing too complicated to this outfit really - I used to tuck tops in to this skirt, but it's more comfortable to leave it out when it's so warm here, and I'm liking the slight change in style for me. I'm still pulling out my boots pretty regularly too, which is partly due to the fact that they make me feel more confident for some reason, and I think it's important to dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself.

Sailor Style | outfit post blue and white striped 3/4 sleeve top, dark blue short lacy skirt, and brown suede buckled ankle boots

Saturday, 10 October 2015

All Work & No Play

     At least that's what it feels like right now. Now don't get me wrong, I knew that getting a full time job would involve a lot more hours and work than I had when I was at university. I was under no illusions about working hard, and losing a lot of the freedom I had back then. I've jumped from 6 hours a week in class to a 46 hour work week. In some ways, I'm handling this fine, and I'm certainly not complaining about everything - I know I've got some pretty good things going for me right now - but that doesn't mean that I've entirely adapted to, and embraced this change.

Chalk drawing of a man holds scales trying to balance work and life / play
(source)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Cute Kindergarten Stories

     So as regular readers will know, I'm now working as an English teacher in a kindergarten, here in Hong Kong. I recently shared what my average day looks like, and the kids follow a very regular routine every day. However, when working with kids, you learn to expect the unexpected. One of them always does something strange or funny, or something will go wrong - naturally, in a kindergarten, 'accidents' are regular occurrences. However, I chose to work with kids for a reason of course, mainly that I enjoy it for the most part. I teach the nursery classes though, who are 2-3 year olds, and are both adorable and challenging! I've been asked by other ESL teachers how I cope with them all day, as their ability is so low, but many of mine would surprise you with how good they are. And as I said, they are simply adorable! I've always got plenty of stories about the funny things they do, so here are some of my favourites so far (a few of these are about K1-3s as well).


Clipart cartoon of a teacher and five young children / students
I can't take photos at school of course, so work-related posts have to have clipart I'm afraid! (source)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Outfit - The Perks of Pockets

     Don't we all get excited about skirts or dresses with pockets? They're so useful, yet so hard to come by sometimes! This skirt has nice deep pockets too, which is even better. It's a pretty simple, casual skirt for everyday wear, so I opted to play that up more by adding Converse, for a very laidback vibe. The top is also pretty casual and simple, but I like the geometric, Aztec-type design that you can see close-up. I find it crazy though that I can wear such summery outfits in October - the weather here is very different to home! I left a lot of my jewellery back home, as practically it weighs too much, and I was worried about losing some of it, so I brought pieces that I never used to wear that much. This necklace was bought for Halloween a few years ago, but I'm glad I've started getting it out again, as it's actually pretty cool and quirky.

Perks of Pockets | outfit of grey patterned vest top, burgundy purple mini skirt & blue high top Converse sneakers

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Review - Paper Towns

     Paper Towns is my favourite book by John Green, and one of my favourite books ever. So you can understand why a film adaptation would make me nervous, in case they got it wrong. It's bad enough when this happens in general, but when it's a book you're this fond of, standards become even higher. While it is possible to judge a film on its own merit, I cannot help but compare to the book when I happen to have read it before. I enjoyed the novel of 'The Fault In Our Stars', and thought the adaptation was good, but it's not a book I'm especially fond of, so I was less invested in the outcome. Fortunately, 'Paper Towns' turned out pretty well.

Paper Towns film / movie poster
Obviously I had to use this as the image, but I actually hate this poster so much.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Celebrating Mid Autumn Festival

     I was lucky enough to get a long weekend off work this week, with Monday being a public holiday, because Sunday was the annual Mid Autumn Festival. It's celebrated throughout China and Vietnam, so I got to experience how they do it in Hong Kong.

Red Chinese lanterns | Hong Kong Urban Mid-Autumn Festival in Victoria Park

Monday, 28 September 2015

Outfit - Crazy Daisy

      Another work outfit today! I actually quite like wearing skirts and dresses to work, as it gives me more freedom to wear clothes I like, than if I had a real uniform, and there's something about floaty skirts like this that makes you feel very pretty! I've been trying to get skirts with longer hemlines, not only because I need to dress respectfully, but it's a lot easier to work with kids, bending down a lot, when you're not worrying about the length of your skirt! I love the floaty layers of this one, and the daisy pattern is very cute. With busy patterns like this, I tend to stick to a plain top, so it's not too overwhelming. And trust me, a watch is a must at my work, when I have to time lessons myself, and I got this one cheap at a local market, and I like how bright and fun it is - the kids are often grabbing at it, and my bracelet, too!

Crazy Daisy | outfit of black top, floaty black daisy pattern skirt & green strappy sandals

Sunday, 27 September 2015

A-Z of My iPod

     A while ago, I took you for a tour of my bookcase, from A-Z, so this time I thought we'd visit one of my other great loves in life, my music collection. I'm one of those very rare people who still buys physical copies of music - and not even vinyl, I still buy CDs to upload to my computer - so I have several boxes of them at home, but my iPod is the most convenient way to carry it all that music around. Any regular readers should have a fairly good idea of my general music taste, but there may still be a few surprises on here! (Artist names are Amazon links).

Red 5th generation iPod touch, in red leather flip case, with white headphones

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hong Kong: Places of Worship

     Despite not being a particularly religious person, I do find the notion of religion, and the many different faiths that exist around the world quite interesting. Having grown up in a largely Christian community, in a country whose dominant religion is also Christianity, I'm fascinated to now be living in a city where so many different religions co-exist. Even the school I work in, which calls itself Christian, celebrates Christmas and Easter, but also Chinese holidays like Lunar New Year and the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival. Having visited many cathedrals across Europe, I thought I'd take a look at some of the oldest places of worship on Hong Kong Island.

Lanterns & incense in Man Mo Temple, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Monday, 21 September 2015

Outfit - Casual Comfort

     I love it when I manage to throw together a really easy, comfortable outfit, that also looks really good. I think the key piece in this combination is the top, as it's so loose and light - it has a tendency to slip off my shoulder form time to time, making it even more relaxed looking. Typically with skirts like this one, I tuck my top in to create a strong waistline and a contrast with the wide hem of the skirt, but I ended up really liking how this looked left out, with both top and skirt looking loose and comfortable. A simple pendant is a good necklace for a simple outfit, and of course, many will know by now how much I love a good pair of boots, and ankle ones are best for HK's heat.

Casual Comfort | outfit of loose grey top, black skater skirt & brown suede ankle boots

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Travel Inspiration - Disney World, Florida

     I was lucky enough to visit Disney World in Florida around 6 years ago with my family. I'm planning on visiting the Hong Kong park at some point this year, so this seemed like a good time to take a look back at the only other Disney park I've seen. I wasn't as into taking photos back then as I am now, so I kind of wish I could go back and get more shots, especially of all the unique details you can find all over the park - it's clear that a lot of effort went into the designs! I know Disney as a whole can be problematic in some ways, but it's very emblematic of my childhood, and I remember loving the whole trip, and getting to see all that childhood magic come to life.

Cinderella Castle - Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Florida

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Review - Bring Me The Horizon: That's The Spirit

     If you wanted a record that sounds like Bring Me The Horizon's early releases, think again. Talk about reinvention. The band's latest effort, That's The Spirit, moves away from metalcore, and instead effortlessly blends elements of their older, heavy style, pounding with angry guitars, with a newer, more melodic tone, infused with electronic beats, and replaces screaming with sung vocals. And all of it is executed remarkably well, resulting in a truly epic sounding album, big and brash, and firmly putting themselves on the map in today's music scene.

Bring Me The Horizon - That's The Spirit - inside cover of album artwork, with umbrella logo and rainbow swirls
(source)

Monday, 14 September 2015

Outfit - Simple Stripes

     This outfit is another one I use for work - where the requirement is that I wear a dress or skirt, appropriately conservative for working with children. To be honest, some of the other teachers wear dresses that I would say are too short, yet seem to be allowed, but I err on the side of caution, both because I'm still new, and because longer hems are much easier for when you're bending down all day with the kids. Anyway, this dress is very much in my style, with the skater style skirt, and it's a very comfortable, stretchy material. I've always liked stripes, and the big, boldness of these makes it seem more work-like to me. I prefer to wear it without the cardigan, but its an unfortunate necessity as my bra straps are just visible next to the dress straps, which is not ok, and I have to cover them. The shoes are getting a bit past their best, but I only wear to get to work before changing into my indoor Toms. And again, jewellery is at a minimum when working with young children!

Simple Stripes | outfit of black & white striped skater dress with black flat shoes for work

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Nan Lian Gardens & A Symphony of Lights

     Last weekend I spent my Saturday afternoon with a friend, and we headed to Nan Lian Gardens, on the recommendation of some other teachers. It was an absolutely beautiful sunny day, though pretty hot, but it was lovely to find somewhere outside to enjoy it. The gardens were stunning, an idyllic little patch of green amidst the massive skyscrapers of the city. One of the more interesting features were the rocks puffing out clouds of steam - not very sure why, but it was different! The orange traditional-style pavilion in the centre of a pond was certainly a photo-worthy centrepiece to the place, standing out amidst the greenery. There were also some cute water features, including a couple of waterfalls, and a water wheel, with plenty of other pavilions and arches. These made a welcome change to see a more traditional style in the middle of a very modern city.

Nan Lian Gardens, Diamond Hill, Kowloon, Hong Kong

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