Monday, 29 February 2016

Outfit - Rough Around The Edges

     I swear the holes in these jeans get bigger every time I photograph them - here's their first appearance, for comparison! Anyway, I've gone with another comfy and casual look this week, as that's my standard style these days. I'm in my work outfits most of the week, and don't always change when I get home, so it's really only the weekends that I think about what I'm wearing. This is also another outfit where every item has been featured on here before, but my limited wardrobe in Hong Kong (and I can't buy too much here, or I'll have to chuck stuff out at the end of the year) means I have to mix and match a lot. The scarf is the only new item, which was actually a Christmas gift from our boss; everyone got one, but I've ended up wearing this a lot, since it got colder than I was expecting! I like that it's reversible with two designs, and I especially love the pockets, a great substitute for gloves, and they sit at the perfect level for my arm length.

Rough Around the Edges | casual outfit of grey t-shirt, black cape cardigan, cosy checked scarf, ripped jeans and brown ankle boots

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Top Five Travel Films

     Sometimes you just want to get away from it all and jump on a plane to anywhere else in the world. And sometimes time, money and other commitments mean that this isn't really a feasible plan. So I guess a good alternative is to put on a good travel film, to live vicariously through, inspire you to keep working towards that trip, or maybe find a new destination for your bucket list. Right now, I'm pretty exhausted after my Cambodia trip, so maybe I need a little inspiration to make me want to go away again - after all, my Easter holiday is in just a few weeks! So here are my picks for some of my favourite travel films I've seen, in no particular order.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Lyrics Tag

     Today's is a quick post, as I have a tendency to leave things until the last minute, and don't have time for anything more in-depth today - sorry! This blog is important to me, and I don't want to reach a point where I'm putting up posts regularly, but without much effort; I'd rather keep a good level of quality of course. However, I think the occasional simpler post every few weeks is ok, both to allow myself a break, and I think readers like something quicker to read every now and then. Anyway, today we're doing a little tag post I found, on a similar music theme to last time. The rules are very simple: I'm going to hit shuffle on my iPod, then list the first 10 songs that come up (no skipping!), and a favourite lyric from each of them. Here we go!

Handwritten lyrics to You Me At Six - Reckless

Monday, 22 February 2016

Outfit - Laced Up

     Sometimes all you want to do is fling on a t-shirt and jeans, minimal effort required. The beauty of this t-shirt is the in the details, with its subtle printed patterns, and the laces up the sides. It just adds a little twist to an otherwise simple outfit, making it feel a little fancier but with no extra effort. And how good does it feel when you buy a new pair of jeans and they fit nicely and feel comfortable and are just perfect? It certainly doesn't happen every time, but it did with these! I think everyone has "their" shop for jeans, and mine happens to be New Look. This pair are from their "Supersoft" skinny range, meaning they are far more comfortable than really tight denim. A cardigan is still required, as Hong Kong hasn't warmed up yet, and I grabbed this one at random. I tend to stick within a certain colour palette, with only a few exceptions, which makes mixing and matching, or grabbing the first thing to hand, much easier when it usually matches. Finally, an outfit as chilled as this just needs Converse to finish it off - another set of laces in the mix too! 

Laced Up | outfit of grey and purple print t-shirt with laced sides, blue skinny jeans and dark blue high top Converse sneakers

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Discovering Phnom Penh | Cambodia

     So this post is actually out of order in relation to my other Cambodia posts, which are already published, since Phnom Penh was actually my first destination in the country. However, I left it until last as we spent another night there right at the end of the trip, and there was the possibility of us visiting something else in the city, so I thought I'd leave it all for one post. We ended up doing no such thing though, as we were so exhausted from the rest of the trip that we just slept in before going to the airport. Anyway, I arrived in Phnom Penh back at the start, by myself as Matt had to work for a couple extra days, so he ended up not really seeing much of the city, while I had two days there to explore before he arrived and we left for Siem Reap. My flight landed mid-morning, an hour or so delayed after my stopover in Ho Chi Minh City, and I jumped in a taxi to get to my hotel for the night, NaNa Hotel, which was in the same vein as the rest of our accommodation - cheap and nothing luxurious, but clean enough and did the job.

Friendship monument in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Monday, 15 February 2016

Beach Life on Koh Rong | Cambodia

     Well getting from Battambang to Koh Rong was a mission and a half. I mean, I knew this when we made our travel plans, but actually executing them was exhausting. We took Mekong Express buses, having read online that they're one of the better bus companies in Cambodia, and we made it out alive, which was the main thing! They're actually more like minibuses, and you get air con and water, so it's not all bad. However, our driver didn't give us the smoothest of rides, but I don't know if that was his driving or Cambodian roads. Anyway, first we had around 5 hours back to Phnom Penh, a couple of hours to wait there, then another 5 or so to get to Sihanoukville, on the south coast. We didn't have the same stress of buses being late, as we did when leaving Siem Reap, but we did stop in the middle of a Phnom Penh market for about 20 minute, which was slightly disconcerting, and when you're a bus-load of tourists, you tend to get some funny looks from locals. Fortunately, if turned out we were just waiting there for our last passengers. I saw some interesting sights along the way too, such as what were essentially carts of school children, and vans so crammed with locals that extra seats had been installed in the lid of the boot, which was hanging open with them sitting in it... Definitely not something that would be allowed in the UK!

Ocean view from the main pier on Koh Rong island, Cambodia

Saturday, 13 February 2016

The Countryside of Battambang | Cambodia

     Destination number two on our Cambodian adventure was a bus ride away, to Battambang, the country's second largest city. We had already bought the tickets, and arranged to be picked up from the hotel. I don't know the name of the company now, as rather than taking us to the one I asked for, our tuk tuk driver had taken us to another company, which he said offered the same price. My understanding of it was that he didn't know where the other office was. But we got the tickets, and the price was fine, and we were all ready to be picked up at 7.30am, as they had told us, the first pick up for the departure at 8.30am.

     But then 7.30am came and went. As did 8am. As did 8.30am. I try to be laid back on holidays, I do, but this was starting to stress me out. A lot. I asked the hostel reception, where we were still waiting, if they could call, and he told me he was getting no answer. Great. We could get another bus, sure, but we'd already paid for the first, and then there'd be even more waiting around. Eventually, another 20 minutes or so later, the reception were able to contact them, and they said our pick up was coming. Which it did, a few minutes later, a minibus rather than the big one we'd been expecting. However, this was not for a short, bumpy ride to where the big bus was waiting at the side of a road. So at 9.30am or so, we finally rolled out of Siem Reap. The journey itself was fairly uneventful, taking around 4 hours in total, with a rest stop along the way. There seemed to be more locals on it than tourists, though there were a handful of others like us. I would've dozed through most of it, if the driver hadn't been so damn horn-happy. I get you're driving a big bus, and there's a ton of motorbikes whizzing up that road, but they're not moving even if you honk! It got really annoying, really fast.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Exploring Angkor Wat | Cambodia

     So the first official stop on my Cambodian trip was Phnom Penh, but as we're spending another night there at the end of this trip, I thought I'd leave it all for one post later on. The next stop was Siem Reap, the most popular tourist destination in Cambodia, due to its proximity to the famous Angkor Wat, as well as numerous other temples. To get there from Phnom Penh, we braved a night bus. I've heard a few slightly scary things about Cambodian roads and buses, but this was the Giant Ibis bus, which had the best reviews online. And while it was by no means luxurious, it wasn't terrible either. The seat were reclined to a slight angle, and everyone got a pillow, blanket and bottle of water. It was a bit of a bumpy journey to try to sleep on, though I think a lot of other passengers had better luck than I did. My biggest problem was that I was too tall for the seats! I had to have my legs curled all night, apart from when I occasionally stretched them over the edge of my seat (we were on the top deck, right at the front), and I have to sleep on my side or my stomach, never my back, which left the seatbelt digging in rather uncomfortably. But overall, compared to my expectations, it wasn't a terrible experience!

     So we arrived just outside Siem Reap at 6am, where we were met by hordes of tuk tuk drivers (the standard mode of transport, taxis are a rare sight, other than at Phnom Penh airport). We were given a driver pretty quickly, and tuk tuks are lovely to ride in, whizzing along in the open air - although it's pretty cold at 6am! However I was rather concerned about our driver setting off when he clearly had no idea where our hostel was, and had to keep stopping to call them and figure out where he was going! He then offered his services to us for the whole day, which is fairly necessary as the temples are several kilometres out of town, and our hostel was quite far from the town centre. We ended up using him for all three days we were there, which was very handy, and Matt (my travel buddy) took a great liking to him. I was slightly less enamoured, as he never seemed particularly cheery, and I felt we were over-charged a bit, though we did get a lot of good use out of him.

Tree growing out the ruins of Ta Prohm temple, Angkor park, Cambodia

Monday, 8 February 2016

The Streets of Ho Chi Minh City

     So first of all, some background to that title - Ho Chi Minh you say, not Hong Kong? I'm on holiday! It's our Lunar New Year holiday, so I'm exploring more of Asia, specifically Cambodia. And no, Ho Chi Minh is not in Cambodia, it's in Vietnam, but getting flights at a semi-decent price during this holiday is a nightmare, so I had to take one with a layover in Ho Chi Minh. It was a long layover too, so I booked into a hotel overnight, and got a very brief glimpse of the city. I chose somewhere near the airport, as I was landing at around 5pm and would have to be back at the airport first thing in the morning, so I was mostly just planning on sleeping, not seeing much of the city.

Not my photo, but it gives you an idea of what I was facing

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Udderbelly: Beardyman

I got so excited when I heard that the Udderbelly was coming to Hong Kong that I went right ahead and booked tickets for not one, but two shows. Round two was for Beardyman, a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, but one that I've never seen yet, usually due to it being sold out, or on limited dates that I can't make. However I've heard many positive reviews, including one friend who keeps going back to see him year after year, and with the premise of his show being "One Album per Hour", it sounded like we were on to a winner.

Udderbelly Asia venue in Hong Kong, next to the IFC and Observation Wheel

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Tai O Fishing Village

     One of my favourite things about living in Hong Kong is its diversity. I live in the middle of a very crowded, hectic, noisy area, but I can jump on the MTR or a bus and within half an hour be in the countryside or on the beach. Tai O is the perfect example of this - a far cry from the skyscrapers of Central, with all those wealthy, high-powered expats, it's a tiny fishing village, with a small population of locals who live simply in their stilt houses on the water. I visited it for the first time at the weekend, while my friends were still here from Shanghai. It's no easy place to get to though, as you have to take the MTR all the way to Tung Chung, and then spend another 40 minutes or so on the no.11 bus. This gets you all the way to the west side of Lantau Island, where Tai O sits on the coast, with a little inlet of water stretching up through the town, which is lined with the famed stilt houses.

Fishing boats and stilt houses on the water in Tai O village, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Monday, 1 February 2016

Outfit - LBD

     Every girl needs a little black dress in her wardrobe. It's such a simple, easy way to get dressed up, and looks effortlessly classy every time. Sometimes you do want a bit of colour or something to stand out from a crowd, but an LBD is a classic choice, especially when in doubt. I haven't had a good, staple one for a while, but I'm always on the lookout, so when I came across this one, I had to get it. The skater style skirt - though in this case, it is actually has inserts for more volume - and the belted waistline are my go-to style, and the black is broken up by tiny velvet pin-dots, though they are't that visible here. Annoyingly, despite following the washing instructions, the dots have started to wear off in the machine already, but it's still a nice dress even if they do vanish. Sometimes I'd pair this with a smart blazer-style jacket, or my leather one, but as these are all back in the UK, I've pulled out this grey cardigan, to break up all the black, and keep a clean, classy outline, as well as keep me a little warmer during winter! Black shoes and silver jewellery finish it off - effortless class, every time.

LBD - outfit of little black skater dress with velvet belt, black tights and flat ballet shoes
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