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 being 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

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.
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