Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Boracay Island | Philippines

     The school holidays mean one thing for me here - where am I going next? Christmas was spent at home, and Chinese New Year was all about Cambodia. However, while Cambodia was great, that holiday did leave me pretty exhausted, and when tired is my natural state these days (you try working 46 hours a week with 2-6 year olds!), I decided relaxation was my priority for the Easter holidays. I still wanted to go somewhere new and do some exploring, but not as intensely as in Cambodia. So I settled on some time in the sun by the sea, by heading for the Philippines. There are over 7000 islands that make up this country, so choosing where to spend my 10 days was important. After some online research, and some advice from the Filipino teacher at my school, Boracay and Palawan won out, as they consistently showed up as the top choices. I knew this would make them the busiest too, but they would be the easiest to get to and to find things to do in, since they're used to catering for tourists like me, so it was a price I was willing to pay. Boracay was my first stop, and after a 2 hour flight to Kalibo, followed by a bus-ferry-van transfer, I was there for four nights. I chose Lazy Dog for my hotel - budget was one deciding factor of course, but this place also had the advantage of being away from the busiest part of the island, but still just a 10 minute walk to everything I'd need.

Palm trees, sand and ocean on White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

Monday, 28 March 2016

Outfit - Holiday Mood

     Going on holiday means holiday clothes of course! There are beaches and warm weather in Hong Kong for me to wear these sorts of clothes sometimes, but going away to a tropical island just makes them even more appropriate. I've got a bunch of summer dresses to share over the next while, but for now, this is my cover-up dress, for throwing on over my bikini, especially when it's still damp from the ocean. You can wear it as a skirt or dress, and tie the ribbons in various ways, but this is my preferred style. It's just a light, easy solution, and I don't really care how much sand and salt get into it. A hat and sunglasses are musts for me at the beach, and these were both recent purchases as my last ones were pretty beat-up (hat) or broken (sunglasses). I like brimmed hats, but not too wide and floppy, and bigger sunglasses, as you can see. Barefoot is my preference for on the sand, but these are my sandals for actually getting to the beach and back.

Holiday Mood | beach outfit of blue 2 piece bikini, with loose purple cover-up dress, with sun hat and sunglasses

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Top Five Superhero TV Shows

     There's been no shortage of superhero TV shows hitting the air in the last few years - just as there's no shortage of films of the genre either! I do think we're close to saturation, as too many more shows of the same type will likely kill of this fad. But for now, there's several of these shows that I'm thoroughly enjoying! These are my top five picks, in no particular order.

The Flash TV show poster

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Musings from the Beach Front

     The air positively thrums with noise. Every sound coming from every direction. The faint summery music filtering through distant speakers. The soft slapping of a million pairs of flip flops on the paved pathway. The whirring and grinding and clicking noises coming from the coffee machine. The clink of cutlery and crockery, being laid out and cleared away. And the continual, incessant chattering of dozens upon dozens of voices passing by, in a myriad of different pitches, volumes, and languages.

People and sail boat silhouettes at sunset on White Beach, Boracay, Philippines

Monday, 21 March 2016

Outfit - Work in Winter

     Yes, I'm still calling it winter in March, because although it's getting warmer, it's still pretty cold here, especially without heating! During these colder months in Hong Kong, I've been wearing most of the same dresses as always, but with a cardigan on top for an extra layer of warmth (sometimes with an extra top underneath too!), but it did get pretty repetitive after a while. So, I've been mixing it up by wearing this jumper over a dress instead, which I do quite like. It almost looks like a skirt instead, but yet not quite (at least in my opinion), so I like that it's a little different. Tights are a staple for school now, sometimes even leggings when it's been really cold. I don't tend to wear dangly earrings, as it's the sort of thing young kids would pull at, but I chose many of my work dresses to have versatility - so with some jewellery like this, I could wear them on other occasions, away from school. The boots are simply for getting through the cold and rain, then I change to indoor shoes anyway. It's a mix-up from my earlier incarnation of this work dress though, right?

Work in Winter | outfit of black and grey striped jumper over short purple dress, with tight and black biker boots

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Top Five Hong Kong Restaurants

     Hong Kong is most certainly not in short supply when it comes to places for eating out. There's restaurants, cafes and food stalls simply everywhere. Of course there's no way I've been able to try everywhere, so this is not a comprehensive list, but over the past few months I have had some pretty good dining experiences. Hong Kong is such an international city that naturally it has many, many choices of cuisine available, so whatever you feel like, you can probably find it somewhere! So this is a list of my favourite places for eating out, so far, and all within a reasonable budget range, and in no particular order.

Pork and shrimp dumplings - dim sum
I never take food photos actually! Image source.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Ocean Park: Round 2

      Ocean Park is the most wonderful, magical place in Hong Kong, and yes this was my second visit this year, and no it won't be my last, because I blew my money on an annual pass at the end of my first visit. Since it was my birthday at the weekend, it seemed like the perfect time for another trip there though, to see some of the things we missed last time - it's definitely too big to see everything in one visit! And the beauty of the annual pass is that I can go for an afternoon, or even just a few hours, on a Saturday, without feeling like I'm wasting money by not going for a full day, since I've already paid for the pass. My friends headed there before me, since the lucky sods had the day off, which I unfortunately did not, but I met them there as soon as I could get across the city (a little over an hour from Tsuen Wan to inside the gates isn't bad!).

Aqua City Lagoon, Ocean Park, Hong Kong

Monday, 14 March 2016

Feeling 22

     So we're all familiar with that Taylor Swift song, and I've heard that joke many times over the last few days, since Friday was my 22nd birthday. But how does 22 actually feel? Well, not that different to 21 so far, but then I don't think any of us suddenly feel like a different person on any of our birthdays! But with every year that passes, I am getting older, of course, and it feel funny to think that I am considered a real adult now. I mean, technically I was at 21 as well, but I feel like that age has connotations of partying, due to being a milestone year, whereas 22 sounds more grown-up (not just because it's a year more, duh!). That said, while I may feel like I'm getting older, to most of the population, I am still very young - the shocked expressions on my colleagues faces when they learned my age says as much! - and I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

Collection of cards on my 22nd birthday

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Monkey Mountain

     As far as Hong Kong's hiking trails go, Monkey Mountain is one of the easiest, particularly for beginners - and I say this as a fairly inactive person, who survived Lion Rock. It's not a long or strenuous trail, so it made for a pretty easy afternoon out in the country air. That said, it's very much a hike for the monkeys, as without them, it's just a woodland stroll, with no real challenge or view to reward you at the end, or anything that exciting. So if you're not an animal person, it might not be for you! Anyway, it's out in the New Territories, passing through Kam Shan Country Park, and makes up Stage 6 of the MacLehose Trail, the 100km hike across the New Territories. We headed there on a Sunday afternoon, taking the 81 bus from Nathan Road to Kowloon Reservoir. After that, the trail starts right beside the road, and the only tricky part is the sharp V-turn a few minutes in, taking you back towards the reservoir, which we nearly missed at first.

Baby monkey on the roadside at Monkey Mountain hike, New Territories, Hong Kong

Monday, 7 March 2016

Outfit - Hiking We Will Go

     So anyone who's been about on this blog for a while may have noticed that I do a bit of hiking now and then, especially since moving to Hong Kong. That said, I'm not generally an active person, and I dislike most sports, so I don't own much in the way of exercise clothing. Fortunately, I don't do hikes that are so intense that I really need them! Instead, I opt for outfits like this, comfortable and practical for the outdoors, with a tiny bit of sporty flair. A light top is perfect for Hong Kong's humidity, especially when working up a sweat, and leggings are practical to move around in, as well as giving some protection against mosquitoes here. I don't like leggings without something over the top though, so shorts are the best choice for hiking, though if it's really hot I'll ditch the leggings and just wear the shorts. My Converse have seen me cover miles up hills, and even volcanos, so a few weekend hikes here are no problem. I also favour a backpack over a handbag for activities like this, as the weight is better distributed for balance, and it leaves me hands free, That doesn't mean I buy sports bags though, instead opting for this cute one that I can use on plenty of other occasions.

Hiking | outfit of light grey top, denim shorts, black leggings and high-top Converse

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Musically Inspired - Don't Let Them Hold You Down

     Life throws a hell of a lot of obstacles our way sometimes. It's not easy: life is messy, complicated, difficult and confusing; though luckily it can also be wonderful, magical and inspiring at other moments! And what makes life all of these things, more than anything else, is the people you encounter in it, both good and bad. When you find the good ones, hold on tight and keep them around, and you'll be in for incredible adventures and long-lasting memories. When you meet the bad ones, get rid of them and their toxic energy as fast as you possibly can.

Comeback Kid chorus lyrics, by Against the Current (with illustration)

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Travel Inspiration - Switzerland

     Switzerland was one of my favourite stops on my European trip, and the couple of nights we had there wasn't long enough to do the country justice, even if it is small. Some places on that trip, I felt I saw enough of, while others I definitely want to go back to (Rome and Venice were other favourites, and Paris is always wonderful). We stopped off for a few hours in the town of Lucerne, which is postcard-pretty, with more of that glorious European architecture I love so much, though I do remember feeling that there wasn't that much to see beyond a couple of sights. Then again, I didn't research anywhere before arriving! And then, while staying in the quiet village of Lauterbrunnen, we spent a day up a mountain, Jungfrau, which gives a taster of those stunning Alpine landscapes. As I'm not a winter sports person, this was a good way for me, to see the views and play in the snow, without having to go to a ski resort - I might need to investigate other such places! I'd love a snowy mountain cabin sort of trip, just without the skiing! Anyway, here's some of my better photos from my time there.

Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland
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