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.


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.
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