Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Dear Future Travellers

     This is a letter to anyone considering travelling further afield or for an extended amount of time, or even those considering moving abroad. This is a letter to say do it. It will be one of the most terrifying and stressful experiences of your life. But it was also be the most rewarding, fulfilling, eye-opening experience you will ever have. Do it.

Travel quote "Adventures are the best way to learn" on a map background

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Surviving Long Haul Journeys

     I've done my fair share of long haul journeys during my travels over the last few years, be it 8-10 hours of driving across Central America, a 12-13 hour train journey across Europe, or a 24, or even 36 hour flight halfway around the world. They are definitely not journeys I look forward, nor ones I enjoy, but they are often a necessary part of travelling, especially when on a budget. Long journeys do have some benefits though; you can forget about your problems or obligations for a while, and just relax, since you can't do anything about them while on the road. So, these are some of my suggestions for how to make long haul journeys a little easier, whatever means of transport it involves.

"Surviving Long Haul" text on background of airplane with gate attached on airport runway beside terminal building

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Civilised or Savage?

     Are we civilised or are we savages? It all depends on your definitions of those words, really. With our houses, cities, businesses and commodities, we seem to be a developed (or developing at least) world, advanced enough in our technology to be 'civilised'. We control our emotions, our tempers, our desires, and attempt to blend in as functioning members of this civilised society. But underneath, our primal desires continue to burn; we are creatures of passion and sex, we resort to violence and war to solve problems, we have selfish, greedy desires, and by these accounts we are still savages. But are these things savage, or simply part of being human? Is 'civilised' really who we are, or just a facade constructed by society to dress up and disguise our basal instincts?

"Civilised or Savage" text on campfire at night background
(source - with my text edit)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Outfit - On The Move

     This is a very active variation on this dress; it's pretty short, even for me, so it can be a bit restrictive in terms of movement when worn alone. However, leggings make it so much more versatile, and both items are very comfy, stretchy, and easy to move in - leggings are also great for preventing summer chafing without getting too hot in them! Although a dress feels a little smarter than a top with leggings, this is so simple that it's definitely casual wear, and I'll even wear it for more energetic activities, like walking or hiking; it's a favourite of mine when travelling, as it's easy to throw on for long days of sightseeing, or comfortable for long travel days. My Converse have taken a beating already; normally I get a new pair every 12-18 months, depending but these ones have a pretty sizeable rip after just 7, most likely because I wear them to work a lot. I'm hoping to hold them together with some rough needlework for the summer, and then perhaps replace them after my long, upcoming trip. I threw on some jewellery too, just for fun really, since I never wear any through the week at work, but the outfit is still simple and versatile.

On The Move | outfit of short grey skater dress, black leggings, and red high top Converse

Sunday, 9 July 2017

30 Days of Yoga

     So, I'm not exactly known for being an active, sporty person. Honestly, I hated sports all through school (wth the exception of swimming, since we holidayed abroad, though I was never interested in doing it competitively) and stopped doing any after leaving. I walk a lot though, since I don't have a car, and started doing more hiking in the last few years, especially here in Hong Kong. Yoga is one of the other exceptions, even though I'm quite on-and-off in my practice. I've never actually gone to classes, instead learning via the internet. I used to use an app called Yoga Studio a lot, which was pretty good, but I got really lazy about practicing. I'm also limited sometimes depending on living conditions and whether I have the space to practice. But about a month ago, I came across this yoga YouTube channel, Yoga with Adriene, and decided to try one of her 30 days challenges, in an effort to get back into some regular (albeit gentle) exercise.

30 Days of Yoga with Adriene, YouTube series banner art

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Songs That Saved Me

     Ok, so "saved me" is a bit of an exaggeration, but we all understand what I'm on about here, right? These are the songs that had a profound impact on me, emotionally at least. They are songs that made me feel better when I was feeling terrible, or songs that I strongly relate to. They are songs with a great deal of emotional and psychological depth to their lyrics. Most of the songs come courtesy of my favourite bands too, as I have a stronger attachment to them, and most are bands I've listened to for years, to have built up this attachment. It's a two way thing really; the songs are my favourites because of the bands, the bands are my favourites because they write songs like these. Anyway, I've picked ten songs (by chance actually, I wasn't aiming for a number), in no particular order, which have strongly affected me, and perhaps in my toughest times, even saved me.

"The Songs That Saved Me" text on starry night sky background
(source - with my text edit)

Monday, 3 July 2017

Outfit - Girl of Steel

     I call this my "Supergirl off duty" look, and I never refer to this as a Superman shirt (even though that's what it was advertised as when buying) - Supergirl kicks ass on her own! I actually bought it to use as part of a costume last Halloween (Kara Danvers, so it would have been along the same lines as this look), but got sick and never ended up using it, so now I just wear it when I feel like. It's a nice lightweight top for these hot summer months, so it made sense to pair it with shorts and my new espadrilles. It's really too hot to wear the checked shirt over the top, but I wanted to channel that Kara Danvers disguise - tying it around my waist is also a good option too, though it makes the 'disguise' pretty redundant. I went with little jewellery too, with only the earrings to match the top, as Supergirl needs to be ready to jump into action, not weighed down with accessories!

Girl of Steel | outfit of Supergirl logo top, blue checked shirt, denim shorts & flower print espadrilles

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Happy Valley Races | Hong Kong

     Hong Kong has many things which make it unique, from locations to traditions to simple daily quirks observed in the street, with both Chinese and Western influences at work. One of its well-known events is the horse racing - the city has two tracks, where races are usually held twice a week through most of the year. Sha Tin hosts the day races, on weekends and holidays, but its Happy Valley on a Wednesday night that is the more popular choice for most people. It's one of these things I've been intending to do here forever, but only just got around to now! Horse race is not typically, but this is such a popular event here, and I thought it would be a fun one to tick off my HK bucket list. (NB: photo quality isn't the best, as I only had my phone and the zoom is rubbish).

Wednesday night horse racing at Happy Valley, Hong Kong

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Top Five iPhone Apps

     I like to think that I'm not one of these people who is constantly glued to their phone (though I do spend an awful lot of time online, be it with my phone or computer), and certainly compared to many people in Hong Kong who play games with the volume up loud on public transport or who collide with you in the street because they can't tear their eyes away from the screen, I don't think I'm that bad. I do use it plenty though, and would be a little lost without it by now! So today I'm listing my top 5 favourite and/or most used apps on my current iPhone. The Facebook and Twitter apps are probably my most used, but I use their websites just as much, so they're not exclusively apps, and not my favourites - they're just easy for scrolling and checking in with people and news. The links here go to the iTunes store, for anyone wanting to check them out - no commission or affiliation attached - and the images are screenshots from each app.

Top Five iPhone Apps

Monday, 26 June 2017

Outfit - Shades for Days

     I am obsessed with my new sunglasses, and it's definitely the time of year for them (when the rainstorms Hong Kong is prone to let up). This pair was very kindly sent to me by SmartBuyGlasses, in exchange for including them in this post. I chose the Ray Ban Denim Wayfarers, as I've always wanted but never had a pair of Ray Bans, and these were a little more unusual than lots of other sunglasses. Their website also has a huge range of eyewear from various other brands to choose from, and they are based here in Hong Kong, so my delivery time was fast. I didn't actually realise that these had denim material covering them, as from the photos I assumed it was a pattern on plastic, so I was surprised to see the fabric, but I still really like it. My only complaint is that the frames are a little wide for my head on one side, so I have to hook them well behind my ear.

     The rest of this outfit is all pretty new too as a matter of fact; I didn't do a big summer shop, since i'm budgeting, but I refreshed a few items. All my old shorts were getting a bit worn out, so I picked up some new pairs from H&M. I like to have at least one black or grey pair, such as these, that can be dressed up smarter, but still keeps you cool in summer. This top has been in my wardrobe for months, as I got it in last year's sales through the winter, so it's only hot enough to wear it now. I really like the pattern, and the floaty back is especially nice when I get sweaty in the humidity here. The sandals were also new, as I only had flip flops and I wanted something a little bit smarter. These will match anything in my wardrobe, and are good for both day and night (an we also appreciate that I painted my toes for the first time in forever for this post?).

Shades for Days - outfit accessory details of Ray Bans denim wayfarer sunglasses, silver padlock earrings and double silver fang necklaces

Saturday, 24 June 2017

A-Z of My Favourite Albums

     I was brainstorming what else I could potentially make an A-Z list of, now that I've covered quite a few already, and settled on choosing my favourite albums for each letter. This produces an interesting list, as it means some of my favourite bands are featured multiple times, while other letters throw up albums I don't listen to as often, but I have few other options for that letter - or some letters have nothing at all! This is by no means my all-time favourite albums, because of that fact, nor is this the best albums of all-time, as everything is chosen from my own iTunes library. It's an A-Z of my favourite albums, from the bands I listen to. I've linked back to some of my own reviews, for more details on some of these, and linked to Amazon for those interested in purchasing any of these (I'm an affiliate, so I will receive commission on purchases).

(image source - with my text added)

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Your Feelings Are Valid

     Your feelings are valid. Always remember that. We exist in microcosms and macrocosms, affected by the events of the wider world, and by the small day to day occurrences of our personal lives. Yes, there are terrible things happening in the world, and yes, there are people out there who likely have it far worse than you do. But that does not negate what you feel. That does not mean you aren't allowed to feel sad or scared or angry or anxious. Your feelings matter.

Quote "You have a right to your thoughts and feelings. Your feelings are always valid." on ocean sunset background

Monday, 19 June 2017

Outfit - Tropical Storms

     Summer in Hong Kong means heat and humidity; but that humidity also means rain. And by rain, I mean torrential tropical thunderstorms! It hasn't stopped raining for the past week, and is scheduled to continue for the next one too. Since I finally got my camera back from the repair centre, I was ready to start outfit posts again, but the weather forced me to take my photos indoors again, with my tiny room and less than ideal lighting, but I think these pictures came out a little better than expected after editing, honestly (yes, I'm standing on the bed, it's the only way to get everything in the light!). I got this top a while back, and it's really versatile to mix and match with different bottoms. The rain makes it cool enough again to wear jeans from time to time (by cool, I still mean mid-20s degrees), which I'd been avoiding a few weeks ago in the sweltering heat. And these shoes were a recent purchase; I like the fun print for the summer, and they're super easy to slip on and off, while being just a bit sturdier than sandals, or a good option for situations requiring closed-toe shoes (work, temple visits etc).

Tropical Storms | outfit of purple striped t-shirt, blue skinny jeans and floral print espadrilles

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Summer Tag

     The temperature is rising, and so too is the humidity, at least here in Hong Kong anyway. This does mean some tropical thunderstorms and typhoons, but overall, the weather is hot, sunny, and humid, and I'm having to get used to being a walking bucket of sweat again for the next couple of months. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with summer, as it's normally when I travel most, and I like being on the beach or in the ocean, or able to spend some more time outside in general. What I don't like is being said walking bucket of sweat, nor the bug bites that accompany this weather. So, I thought this would be an appropriate time to answer some summer tag questions.

"Summer Tag" text on a beach backdrop, from Boracay, Philippines

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

An Afternoon in Aberdeen | Hong Kong

     Despite having lived in Scotland for the first 21 years of my life, I've never been to Aberdeen - I lived in the Lowlands, and just never had reason to go. So imagine my surprise to discover that Aberdeen also exists in Hong Kong. There's actually a lot of places here named after places in the UK, but Aberdeen was the first place that the British landed in Hong Kong, all those years ago (don't ask me the exact date). It's a popular tourist site these days, as it was one of the oldest fishing villages, and you can still see lots of boats coming in and out its harbour every day. The local boats are called sampans and there are now dozens of them offering tours around the floating village in the harbour (many people live on boats moored here). Aberdeen is also home to Jumbo Kingdom, the largest floating restaurant in Asia. And I finally visited the area last weekend, after at long last getting my camera back from the repair centre!

Boats in the harbour of Aberdeen, Hong Kong

Monday, 12 June 2017

Yellow | Colour

     It's bright, cheery, and happy. It's vibrant and energising. It's sickly and nauseating.

Yellow flower blossom in tree top, with sky and sun behind

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Travel Inspiration - Costa Rica

     I feel like Costa Rica has been gaining in popularity as a travel destination a lot in recent years; it's certainly the country I'd heard the most about in Central America, prior to my trip there (Mexico excluded). It's got a bit of everything I guess, beaches, jungles, volcanos, and a boatload of adrenaline based activities. I didn't get to see all of the country during my time there - we were inland, so no beaches - but I spent time in two of its most popular locations, Monterverde and La Fortuna. I'm not much of an adrenaline junkie myself, and my fear of heights put me off activities like zip-lining and canyoneering. If a harness is required, I'm probably out! I did go white water rafting though, which I'd done before, and is great fun - kind of hard to take pictures of though! I also explored the hanging bridges in the cloud forest, took a tour of a coffee, chocolate, and sugar cane plantation, took a boat tour in Caño Negro, and visited a hot springs resort (again, no photos of that last one, being in the water and all).

Hanging bridges in the Cloud Forest, Monteverde, Costa Rica

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Top Five TV Shows of 2016-2017

      I'm a TV junkie, I really am. It's appalling how many shows I try to keep up with, and every year I say "oh I won't start many new ones this time", yet I still do. Or I binge watch something over the summer, then add it to my list for the new season (i.e. I just finished every episode of Brooklyn Nine Nine, so I'll be watching that weekly come September). Sometimes shows start to decline, and I stop watching, others I persist with, mostly because I've probably been watching for a few years already. But which of my many shows were my favourites this year? In the last couple of years (14-15, 15-16 seasons), I've been a big fan of the DC comics shows on the CW (yes, I watch way too much American TV), and while I still watch and enjoy them, they've slipped from my list this year, as they didn't really stand out for me this year, and many have become too serious all the time, losing the comedic elements I so enjoyed. I've also left off shows like Orphan Black and Game of Thrones this time, simply because they're both starting later this year, in the summer. So, in no particular order, here's my top five from the last year.

TV screen with text - Top Five TV Shows of 2016-2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Review - All Time Low: Last Young Renegade

     Seven albums is an almighty achievement for bands these days, many not making it that far, especially in the non-mainstream genres such as pop-punk and alt-rock. So I'll start by applauding All Time Low for making it this far, after more than ten years together, and still with their original lineup. Recently their contemporaries, like Fall Out Boy and Paramore, have turned their sound towards the pop music of the mainstream, sounding very different to their earlier releases. And after hearing the first few singles from Last Young Renegade, it shouldn't come as a surprise that All Time Low have turned down a similar direction. So how does this release stack up to the rest?

Album cover art work for Last Young Renegade: All Time Low

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Hiking: Mui Wo to Pui O

      I will never get enough of public holidays! It's so refreshing to have a midweek break, and splitting the week in half like that makes it far easier to get through the whole thing. This week it was Dragon Boat Festival on Tuesday. I went to Stanley last year to see some of the races, but when you don't know any of the teams competing, I found it got a little boring kind of quickly. So this year I opted to skip it, and steer clear of the major racing locations (mostly on the south side of the island, or out towards Sai Kung), and use the sunshine for a hiking day. I picked one on Lantau Island, to steer clear of the holiday traffic as much as possible, going from Mui Wo ferry pier to Pui O beach.

Ocean views on the Lantau Trail from Mui Wo to Pui O, Hong Kong

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Summer Sun

     Summer is most definitely here. It is so hot now! Well, it's hot, yes, but it's actually the humidity that lets me know summer has arrived here in Asia. It's been muggy for days now, and the moisture just builds and builds until it has to rain; which arrived today, and will continue for the rest of the week. And then the moisture will start to build again, keeping up the cycle all summer. It's tough to do anything on the really humid days, as you just feel so sweaty and lethargic, and a bit grumpy in my case about it all. But on the not-so-gross-and-sweaty days, Hong Kong is out in force, enjoying the sunshine.

Chung Hom Kok beach, Hong Kong Island

Monday, 29 May 2017

How Does The World See You

     We are unique human beings, each unalike in our personalities and behaviours. Our appearance, our opinions, our various character traits. These all combine to create the sum of who we are, how we perceive ourselves, and how others see us. Each of us projects an image of who we are into the world, radiating our dominant traits. But is that image who you really are?

"Be yourself" quote on colourful paint splatter background

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Musically Inspired - Being Brave

      Let's face it, life isn't easy. It's hard, messy, and complicated. Life knocks you over and kicks you when you're down sometimes. And all of it can make it hard to stay positive, and hold on to the hope that things will get better. Being brave doesn't mean going thrill-seeking or taking huge risks. Being brave can mean just getting up and living your life as fully as possible, despite whatever setbacks you have or may still face. Bravery is not fearlessness. Bravery is doing things despite your fears.

Bravery quote "You're not a mess, you're brave for trying"

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Hong Kong Island on Instagram

     The most famous sights in Hong Kong include The Peak, the Big Buddha, and Central skyline viewed across Victoria Harbour. Sights which have been photographed millions of times, plastered across tourism adverts all over the world. But Hong Kong also has various hidden corners, locations less frequently included in the tourist guidebooks, but of which hundreds of photos still exist, if you know where to look; Instagram. There are so many unusual, interesting locations that are captured and shared online, but it can sometimes be hard to find them yourself, or they're in far-away locations, requiring a long trek for the sake of that one Instagram post. But, last weekend I decided to find some of the most popular of these spots, as well as a couple artsy sort of streets I'd read about online, all located along the Island MTR line. And since this is Instagram themed, and my camera is away for repair, these photos were all, rather fittingly, taken on my phone.

Instagram Pier, Hong Kong

Monday, 22 May 2017

5 Things Tag

     I know I've been doing quite a few tag posts lately, and I'll be honest, it's partly due to a lack of inspiration, beyond my travelling adventures - this post from a few weeks back explains where I'm at in this sense. And now I've got several months without travel, and I've already seen so much of Hong Kong, so I may continue to struggle for a while. But I do think tag posts can be a fun, light read, in between some of my lengthier travel pieces, or slightly more serious life-related ones. And they are a little more personal sometimes, so hopefully some readers can get to a know a little more about myself. The content of this blog varies a lot, depending on whatever had piqued my interest at any given time, but a lot of posts can be a bit impersonal at times. Anyways, this tag in particular seemed fun, and a little different than just answering questions. So, here are some different groups of 5 things related to me.

"5 Things Tag" text on background of 5 differently coloured socks on a washing line

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Life Update: 4 Months in Hong Kong

     It's been four months since I moved back to Hong Kong, with a new job and having found my own apartment, and I realised I haven't really given a proper update since then. I was only returning to Hong Kong for about 6 months, and I'm more than halfway through that now. In some ways, settling back in was pretty easy, since this is a city I'm already familiar with. But things are still very different to my first year here, so there have been some other changes to get used to.

"Life Update: Hong Kong" text on background of harbour view from Kwun Tong, Hong Kong

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Pink | Colour

     It's soft and delicate and airy. It's bright and vivid and vibrant. It's happy and brilliant and fun.

Pink milkshake and cupcakes

Monday, 15 May 2017

How to Move to a New Country

     A title like that makes it sound so simple, but I can assure you, it's anything but. Having moved country 3 times now, to France, Hong Kong, and Korea (4 times if you count returning to Hong Kong), I've dealt with everything it entails, and the accompanying stress, in spades. So, for anyone else considering a move, and unsure where to start, I'm going to try to write a rough guide. Every country is different of course, and so is every person's experience, so I can't provide specific information, and your experience may not look exactly like this one.

"How to Move to a New Country" text on background of stacked suitcases and airplane taking off
(source - with text editing)

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Review - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

     Me reviewing a Marvel film? Unheard of! Haha, anyone who's read this blog before likely knows that I'm a pretty big fan of the MCU films (though I'm not a comic book reader), and I always check out each new release. Obviously there are some I like much more than others, but none have majorly disappointed me thus far. The original 'Guardians of the Galaxy' struck me as quite unusual at first, as it was a departure from the films that preceded it, but it ended up being one of their best films, and one of my favourites (second only to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I think). So of course, I was eager to see how the sequel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, held up.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 - Marvel Cinematic Universe movie - film poster

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Shanghai Disneyland | China

     This is my last post about my trip to Shanghai (see parts one and two), and it only features one day, but what a day it was! I've already been to Disneyland parks in both Florida and Hong Kong, so I couldn't visit Shanghai without going to their's too (Tokyo will hopefully be the next!). It was a good choice too, as the rest of the trip was so laid-back, it was nice to have an exciting day in the middle. We were taking a gamble though, as we chose to go on a public holiday, and we were bracing ourselves for it to be rammed, but it was actually fine! We later thought that maybe the crowds were there the previous days, as it was now the last day of the holiday weekend, and many of the domestic tourists would be returning the home. It suited us fine, as we didn't have to wait more than about half an hour for any ride.

Enchanted Storybook Castle, Shanghai Disneyland, China

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Shanghai Highlights, Part 2 | China

     The latter half of my Shanghai trip involved a bit more sightseeing on my own, as China doesn't have all the same public holidays as Hong Kong, and Tasha had to go back to work. We organised those days for me to see things she'd already seen and didn't want to do again, or things close to her area. She finishes work much earlier than I do, so we'd still meet up later.

The Bund skyline from the Pearl Tower, Shanghai, China

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Shanghai Highlights, Part 1 | China

     Hooray for public holidays! We got lucky this month, as we had two holidays close together, so my work gave us the day between off as well, making it a long enough break for a short trip. I used up the second part of my double entry visa to China for a trip to Shanghai, the major place I skipped on my last trip - read about Beijing, Zhangjiajie and Xian here - and where my best friend lives and works (she moved there at the same time I moved to Hong Kong). I found that Shanghai has less obvious tourist sights than the other locations, but that actually worked out fine, as I could spend more time just hanging out with her, and having a more relaxed trip, rather than rushing from sight to sight. There's still plenty to see though, so my trip will be broken into a couple of posts.

Pudong skyline, Shanghai, China

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Travel Inspiration - Philippines

     Around this time last year, I spent my Easter holidays visiting the Philippines, visiting the islands of Boracay and Palawan (El Nido specifically) for a few days each. I spent most of time island hopping and lounging on beaches, and it was simply idyllic. The Philippines is a beautiful country, and it's no surprise that both my destinations there were voted the most beautiful island in the world in different years. There are even more sights on the other islands too, like the waterfalls on Cebu and the chocolate hills of Bohol, which I'll perhaps see one day. The beaches and islands I did see though, were simply stunning, so I'm sharing even more of my photos from them in today's travel inspiration post.

El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Top Ten Badass Female Fictional Characters

     For too long, the roles of women in fiction were limited - they were wives or mothers, love interests or side characters, 'virgins or whores', and thus their roles were largely defined by men. As years gave passed and feminism has made progress, our books, films and TV shows now feature more and more feminist characters, who are certifiable badasses. Badass can have a few different meanings for me; it could be a strong, brave fighter, but it could also be someone who stands up for what they believe in, goes out and gets what they want, or just generally displays good characteristics. Originally, I was going to write a top five, but I couldn't choose, so I went with ten, in no particular order. And these women are taken from works of fiction I enjoy - there are plenty of others out there who I couldn't include, or who I don't yet know about. And I'm not saying that any of these characters are perfect, but they are all characters I've admired for various reasons (minor spoilers ahead).

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Musings from a Mountaintop

     Here, the world is different. Different to the world below, a world of buildings and traffic and technology. A world of noise and pollution, violence and chaos. Here, the world is quiet. The world is ancient and unchanged. Here, the mountains stand proud, older than humanity, and will remain long after humanity has had its time.

Avatar Mountains in Zhangjiajie National Park, China

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Xian Highlights | China

     One day, I had just one day to see as much of Xian as possible! Honestly, like most people, the Terracotta Army was my main reason for coming here, but since it wouldn't take up all my time, I figured I'd try to squeeze in some other sights. Technically I was here for two nights, so I did have half of the second day, before my early afternoon flight back to Hong Kong. However this was the last stop on my trip, and after how busy I was in Beijing and Zhangjiajie, and considered I was straight back into work the very next day, I just used my last morning to sleep in and have a little more rest. This just meant that my one full day in the city was pretty jam packed!

Terracotta Army, Xian, China

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Zhangjiajie Highlights | China

     After my whistle-stop highlights tour of China's capital, Beijing, it was time for me to head off to another part of the country, and this time, I was going rural, to Zhangjiajie. This was a little more nerve-racking, as Beijing had the subway and enough people who spoke English to make it fairly easy to navigate. This time, I'd be relying on buses, taxis, and a lot of pointing and gesturing to communicate, as well as liberal use of the Google Translate app, while hoping it was producing understandable sentences for them! I don't think I encountered anyone who spoke English, outside of the airport staff and other tourists, but I got by somehow!

Yuanjiajie area of Zhangjiajie National Park, China

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Beijing Highlights | China

     Three days. How do you possibly see all that Beijing has to offer in just three days? Well, it wasn't a leisurely holiday, that's for sure, but I gave it my best shot. I had just seven days for my Easter holiday this year, and since the Chinese tourist visa is a bit pricey, I didn't want to make multiple trips there, so I had to construct a busy itinerary. I ended up getting the double entry visa, as there was no way I could do it all in a week, so I'll be back in China some point within the next few months to visit Shanghai. For this trip, I chose Beijing, Zhangjiajie, and Xi'an, to see the highlights of the country.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Innocent or Guilty Tag

     Ok, if you follow me on any other social media, you'll know that I'm currently off having an adventure in China this week, trying to cram as much sightseeing as possible into just 7 days (and if you don't follow me on social media, my links are all in the sidebar!). This doesn't leave much time for blogging - though there'll be plenty travel posts about it next week! - so I've written a few posts in advance, and with the limited time I had, you're getting another tag post today! This one I found on Tumblr, and it's super simple - I just have to declare whether I'm innocent or guilty of doing these things! It's a quite a long list by the way, and some are a bit stranger or more controversial than others!

"Innocent or Guilty?" text on police mugshot board background

Monday, 10 April 2017

Kayaking in Sai Kung

     Oh I do love a public holiday! Last week it was Ching Ming festival, a traditional day of tomb cleaning for the Chinese, which meant a day off work for all of us! The good weather from the weekend had stuck around, so we decided to head back towards Sai Kung Peninsula (after having spent all of Sunday hiking there). We opted for a different activity though, instead of hiking, so we were off to rent kayaks for the day instead.

Kayaking at Hoi Ha, Sai Kung Peninsula, Hong Kong

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Hiking to Tai Long Wan

     I've been wanting to go to Tai Long Wan forever, but I ended up running out of time last year. It's often called "the most beautiful beach in Hong Kong" and from the photos I'd seen, I could see why. I'd been waiting for the right weather too, so when last weekend was a sunny day with blue skies, and it's not yet as painfully hot and humid as it will be in summer, I had to seize my chance!

Landscape ocean view on the hiking trail from Sai Wan Pavilion to Tai Long Wan, Hong Kong

Monday, 3 April 2017

Outfit - Night Skies

     Channelling my favourites of short skirts & chunky boots again today! I've had this skirt for ages, but there's so many ways of styling it, either as casual or dressier outfits, that I keep pulling it out the wardrobe time and time again. This outfit is a great day-to-night look, I think - casual enough to wear through the day, with the simple pieces that make it up, but still smart enough, especially with some accessories thrown in to wear for an evening out too - which is exactly what I did the day I took these photos! The top helps, as it's a little smarter than some of others (even other black tops) and made of a sturdier material. The boots are a little worn out (I actually switched to my heeled ankle boots when I wore this out), but I love the slouch style of them, especially paired with a short skirt like this - I did a similar combination with them last week too!

Night skies - outfit of simple black top, dark blue lace skirt, black tights & chunky slouch boots

Saturday, 1 April 2017

How Are You Feeling?

     Emotions and mental health aren't things I paid much attention to for a long time. I've had a fairly privileged life in most ways, always with a home, food, and a caring family, and was able to attend university and save money myself for travel. I always thought yes, mental illnesses are real and serious and can affect people's lives in large ways, but they're something that happens to me. I felt one step removed from that entire topic. But having all these things that I have, does not necessarily equate happiness, and we all need to remember that.

Mood tracking calendar chart

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Review - Beauty and the Beast

     Honestly, it surprised me. It surprised me more than I thought I was going to, but in a really good way. As we know, Disney has been making a lot of live-action remakes in recent years, and some have been great, giving us interesting new slants on familiar stories - I'm thinking likes of 'Maleficent' here - while others have been carbon copies of the animation, which is pretty and nostalgic, but some of these films really need updating for modern times - think 'Cinderella'. Beauty & the Beast managed to find a pretty good middle ground, giving us everything we all loved about the original animation, while making sure it appealed to our modern sensibilities (as much as something set in the 18th century can).

Beauty and the Beast film poster - live action 2017 version

Monday, 27 March 2017

Outfit - Hooded

     I feel like it's been a while since I posted an outfit of this sort - a short skirt or dress, chunky boots, and some sort of big cardigan to keep it casual. These sorts of outfits are my staples and my favourites, but I feel like I haven't been wearing them lately - probably because I'm at work all week, then tend to throw on jeans a lot at the weekends. I loved walking about in this for the day though, as they'e all individual items I love, and I really liked this combination. The boots are firm favourites, but sadly the heel is starting to break so they won't be around much longer. And I love the contrast of the dress, which can be worn dressed up, with this super comfy, casual hoodie.

Hooded - outfit of large grey zip-up hoodie, green tartan print dress, slouch black suede boots and tights

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Seeking More Than Ordinary

     Today has been an ordinary day. I ate, I drank, I wrote, I read, I watched TV, I ran errands. A perfectly ordinary day, where nothing bad has happened to me. Which is a good thing, right? Ordinary is good, is safe, is secure. But what if ordinary isn't enough?

     Don't get me wrong, an ordinary life can be a wonderful life. A life with good health, a comfortable living, and loved ones around you sounds pretty fantastic, when you remember that there's plenty of people in the wold who aren't lucky enough to have all those things.

"We are going to do something extraordinary" quote in chalk text on blackboard background

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Hong Kong Flower Festival

     I love it when an event comes to town! As I've proven recently, there's still plenty more areas of Hong Kong I haven't explored in my time here so far, but when there's some sort of event or festival happening, and it may be my only chance to see it, it makes living and traveling abroad even more interesting. For the last week, Victoria Park (near Causeway Bay) has played host to the Hong Kong Flower Festival. I heard about it by chance, when a co-worker mentioned it, then I noticed a few adverts in the MTR and such. It perhaps isn't something I would instantly jump to - like last year, when the Udderbelly rolled into town and I HAD to go - but I figured it could be nice, so why not? Warning, this is a very photo-heavy post, because it was all so, so pretty!

Floral display at Hong Kong Flower Festival 2017

Monday, 20 March 2017

Outfit - Night On The Town

     So this was my outfit of choice for my birthday night out the other week. I'm obsessed with these leather shorts, but I don't wear them all that often, since they're quite dressed up, and definitely strictly party wear, and sometimes nights out are more casual than that. My birthday was definitely an occasion to get dressed up though, and I just think the shorts look great, and are super comfortable too. I only have a couple of tops I usually pair them with - see another outfit with them here - but this top is a more recent purchase, which, I was happy to discover, works really well with this combination. Sometimes I wear flats for going out, especially for dancing, but I've gotten more comfortable in heels than I used to be, so figured I'd go for it.

NB: Excuse the lighting etc, I only had one day free to take photos this week and it was raining, so I decided to experiment with shooting in my room, or else I'd have been skipping today entirely.

Night On The Town - outfit of zigzag striped purple and black top, black leather shorts and tights

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Travel Inspiration - Nicaragua

     Welcome to the land of volcanos! Yes, that's really what Nicaragua gets called, there's a ton of them, and plenty are active, though full-blown eruptions don't happen too often as far as I know. This was another country I visited during my Central America trip, almost two years ago now! We stayed in Granada, and Ometepe Island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, which is actually formed from two volcanos and a strip of land connecting them. There were certainly plenty of volcanos to see, as I visited an active crater just outside Granada, then hiked a portion of Maderas, the smaller of Ometepe's two peaks. There's more than just volcanos too, with markets of handicraft goods (featuring lots of wooden items), stunning architecture in the city, and plenty of opportunities to relax in the water, in lagoons and mineral springs.

Granada, Nicaragua

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

23rd Birthday - Ocean Park Round 4

     It was my birthday, hooray! Well, is it still a hooray? When you're a kid, getting older is really exciting somehow, since you get presents and cake and maybe a party, and as you get older you get to do more things. Now as an adult, I still get presents and sometimes cake, but I can already do pretty much most things I want to. Now my birthday just means I'm getting old, haha! Let's be real though, twenty-three is still very young in the grand scheme of things, but I do feel like it sounds a bit more grown-up than twenty-one or two did. The older I get, the more I feel like I should know what I'm doing and be less likely to fuck up - which is not true at all! Overall, I don't feel different at all to twenty-two, and I doubt much will change between this year and last, at least in terms of how I act and live my life at this age! Anyways, on to how I spent my actual birthday... at Ocean Park of course!

Grand Aquarium & Aqua City lagoon - Ocean Park, Hong Kong

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