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Happy Colours

Posted on: 27 May 2012

This weekend has been awesome. It's very rare for me to sit outside in the Sun blogging away in the sunshine in the garden but that is exactly what I am doing right now. The cornflower blue skies, fluffy clouds and birds chirping away make me feel as if I am on holiday somewhere...and not at all in a busy Suburban town in the West Midlands.
Sunday Outfit
Front Row label
This scarf was sent to me by the wonderful people over at the Front Row Society, a new fashion platform which supports designers from all backgrounds and gives them an opportunity to have their designs made and for them to earn directly from that sale. The scarf I chose is the Abstract Blossom scarf by Alina Nonu who is a fashion student from Romania. The beautiful abstract print is definitely my kind of thing and the colours make it super easy to style with any outfit.
Front Row Wind
Sunday Details
Such happy colours! My bracelets from random boutiques in Hong Kong
Dune Flats
Sunday Outfit 2
Tee (Illustrated People) Skirt (Topshop) Bag (Random Boutique, HK) Shoes (Dune) Sunnies (Ray Bans c/o Mister Spex)
It arrived when I was in Hong Kong so I have been excited to wear it and see it in person and it didn't disappoint. Plus the guys over at Front Row Society promote sustainable fashion and aims to become 100% ethically sourced. That's kind of cool in my books! 
Front Row Accessories
Hope you all enjoy the rest of the day guys! I am very jealous of everyone that has been having yummy BBQs this weekend (including neighbours - torture!) but I am pretty thankful that it is currently 7pm and I am still sitting outdoors in the sunshine. Happy days!

Hello Summer!

Posted on: 23 May 2012

Honey I'm home! Living in HK for 3 months has been such a great experience. I knew it would be difficult to leave after staying there for longer than my usual 3 week visits but I didn't really expect myself to become so much more attached to the city than I ever have been before. I was definitely a little teary when I was in the taxi on the way to the airport and I could easily have stayed for the rest of the year but I am really glad that I got the opportunity to experience working life in HK. I'm already itching to fly back but next time it will probably be a family holiday with my parents and sisters in tow!
Back to the UK (IG)
Tea, strawberries and blueberries and the Bunting that adorns our UK High streets at the moment in anticipation of the Queen's Diamond Jubiliee
However now that I am firmly on British soil once more, it's really nice to be back in my home comforts, breathe in the fresh air, not think about humidity levels but most of all, sit at my desk in my room with my window open and hearing the sounds of lawn mowers and birds singing in the garden. Life in the UK is definitely a huge contrast to Hong Kong but I still have a whole heap of photos still to blog about so I'm nowhere near finished with those posts yet!

So here is one more outfit post which once again were taken by the awesome Sam. Sadly there are no more of these and so the outfits in my garden will once again return to this blog! Bet you guys have welcomed the change of scenery huh? I know I have! 
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Vero Outfit (By Sam)
Just looking at these pictures reminds me of how hot that day was. The weather was absolutely scorching but surprisingly, I've been lucky to return back home and the UK is going through another mini-heatwave, yay! Even if it's for a short while, the Summer is definitely here! I could certainly wear this outfit today, the baggy tee and the skirt really helped to keep me cool while I was in Hong Kong.

I'm off to London bright and early in the morning and my plans include lunching with friends, a press day and of course, hanging out with fellow bloggers. Of course I'm packing my sunnies with me and I hope you guys have been making the most of the sunshine too!

There's no place like home

Posted on: 19 May 2012

Hello! I've been super behind with blogging but who can blame me when it was my final week in this city. With more family visiting, I spent a lot of time taking my cousin around shopping malls, where I attempted to convince him to buy brightly coloured dickie bows (he wasn't having any of it) and also eyeing up oversized men's clutch bags (aka fancy iPad/Tablet cases) and generally intrigued at all the preppy 'Korean style' clothing that is just as popular with guys as well as girls fashion. K-Pop culture has a firm hold on Asia and popularity has shifted from Japan to Korea which is interesting. This also translates outside of fashion too, for example even Japanese supermarkets now stock a vast range of Korean imports which to a large extent is in response to worries about Japan and it's radiation problems. I guess being back in the UK, we don't really hear too much about the problems in Japan but living in Asia for the past 3 months, it's hard not to notice all the updates and TV shows that are trying to encourage more tourism back to the country after the disasters.

Anyway, so apart from being a shopping guide to my cousin, let's return to where my last post left off. Following my day of Afternoon tea and Taiwanese shaved ice with Sam, we returned the next day to Dessert Kitchen to try out the Japanese Brownie (crunchy brownie wrapped in a layer of Mochi) and some Uji Green tea ice cream!
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I totally wish that the soft ice cream had been Green tea flavoured, instead it was vanilla with green tea powder sprinkled on top and a layer of red bean which was still good. After walking off the desserts we made our way over to Central. It was a super super hot day, blue skies and scorching sunshine but despite the heat, it was fun walking around and taking photos of the awesome architecture of Hong Kong. Seriously, there is no place like this city.
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The twin office buildings of the Lippo centre are easily recognisable with the interlocking design which looks like it's about to untwist itself and become something else entirely - there is definitely something very robotic about it's design.
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The Government headquarters building is made up of two massive towers with a linking section which makes it a crazy structure to stand underneath. All this architecture makes me feel very very small!SDC12145
Our walk around in the hot sunshine lead us to Vero Chocolate Lounge, a place where you can sit and eat lots of chocolate based goodies from cake to iced chocolate drinks. Lots of calorific goodness.
vero and me
It seemed it was just about to relocate and according to Sam, it's had a bit of a menu revamp and not quite as good as she remembered. Despite this the dark chocolate iced chocolate was delicious and as you can see by Sam's pic, I found them very instagrammable!
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In contrast to the shiny commercial buildings, here is one last shot taken from my grandparent's bedroom, the contrast between the high rises and the lush green mountains is one of my favourite things. I have always said this about Hong Kong but it is such a city of contrasts on many, many levels. From the thriving supermarkets to the old market sellers that sell random veggies at the side of the road. Even more obvious are the Ferrari's and Porsche's that roar past the old ladies that collect old cardboard boxes just to earn a bit more of a living and a harsh reminder of the divide between rich and poor in Hong Kong.
SDC12152*Thank you to Sam for pics 2, 7 and 8 and also for being the most awesome guide to HK desserts (haha) and of course being all round excellent company. See you soon!!

I can't believe I am flying home tomorrow night! I had a busy day running around Hong Kong earlier today, buying last minute goodies for my parents/sisters which involved battling through Sogo department store which is currently holding a big sale and means that it is like boxing day back home, everyone pushing and shoving and lots of one way systems, nightmare! The Supermarket downstairs was chaotic with people frantically buying pumpkins which by the looks of things must have been quite the bargain, literally everyone was holding one. This all culminated with a meal with my family and then back home where I have packed all my things and I am now all ready to check in tomorrow.

I've had the best 3 months here and I can't believe that it's time to go home already. One thing that I've learned is that no amount of time with family and friends is ever enough, especially when they live on the other side of the world! Of course I'll be back soon as HK has always been a home away from home but until then, I am looking forward to reuniting with my friends and family back in the UK. Blighty, you better warm up for my arrival, I hear it is about 9 degrees!

Who cares about Calories?

Posted on: 14 May 2012

Wow, prepare yourselves for some amazingly clear photos which are all thanks to Sam (my partner-in-dessert-crime as you will soon find out). If you haven't seen her blog already then pop on over as she has a rather beautiful blog. As I mentioned a few posts ago, Sam and I loaded up on a helluva lot of sugar and spent the beginning of our so-called 'Day of Desserts' having afternoon tea at the lovely Mandarin Oriental hotel over in Central. 
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Scones, Rose Jam, Raspberry and Lychee cake, American Cheesecake and lemongrass and ginger tea was how we began our calorific day. Well, sometimes you have to treat yourself right? 
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It is definitely T-Shirt weather in HK and I totally struggle to choose clothes when it is so hot. HK is the land of super high humidity and icy air con and a cardigan is a must when you escape indoors. Still I shouldn't complain as I'll probably miss not having to wear layers when I am back in Blighty - I hear it is super cold back home?!
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T-Shirt (Monki) Skirt (Topshop) Belt (Accessorize) Necklace (COS) Shoes (Zara) Bag (MCM) IMG_3712
Um so yes that is an MCM bag and the newest addition that has been added to the pile of new things that I have acquired while in HK. The brand totally makes me think of Kit and her love for the brand! I was casually speaking to my aunt about splurging on an MCM purse and she suddenly remembered that she had this bag stored at home. 23 years ago, she attended a MCM party and they gifted each of the guests this limited edition bag. It's engraved with Hong Kong and the date of the party which is pretty cool and she kindly gifted it to me - oh my gosh!! The bag is super tiny though and it just about fits my HK essentials, my iPhone (purely used for Instagram) my HK phone (which is my sister's old Blackberry and confuses me greatly), lip balm, keys and Octopus card. Since it is so tiny, my aunt has never used the bag and 23 years later, it has finally seen sunlight!
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So let's get back to the food! Later on in the day, Sam and I ventured over to Tsim Sha Tsui where we were on the quest for some Taiwanese Shaved Ice when we stumbled upon the newly opened Dessert Kitchen. Hello to my Mango shaved ice with Sago, star jelly, tapioca and ice cream mochi. Honestly, I was grinning so much when this arrived, it is the happiest looking dessert ever! We were so impressed that we went back the next day (oh yes indeed!) so stay tuned for more dessert action.
IMG_6878 The one thing I love about all the people I have met in HK is that they are all massive foodies. HKers are always thinking about the next meal, the newest restaurants and the latest reviews on Open Rice (HK restaurant review site). HKers are spoiled for choice when it comes to Asian cuisine, since it's my favourite, I'm totally going to miss it when it is no longer on my doorstep. Another fellow foodie is Charmaine who is lucky enough that writing about food is her career of choice! Obviously I can't get enough of tea and cake and all things sweet so when she suggested meeting up at Initial Cafe in Tsim Sha Tsui earlier today, of course I was up for it! I totally realised that Sam also posted about this place in a recent post (HK is really small!). Charmaine is definitely my kind of person and all we talked about was food and our mutual love for 13 Going on 30 (come on, it's an adorable movie!). It was so nice to finally meet up with her after sharing so many tweets and also visiting her Food blog
photo Iced Latte, Ice Green Tea and half eaten Blueberry cheesecake. 
I mentioned to Charmaine about how strange it was that we have never met before today but we had so much to talk about. It's times like these when I realise how many lovely friends I have met through blogging. So cheesy I know but trueeeee!

HK you are awesome

Posted on: 10 May 2012

HK Skyline TST Hi guys! Let's start off with this stunning night view of the HK Skyline, taken over at my favourite spot over in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST). It's stunning right? Hong Kong is made up of several islands and it's the Hong Kong Island Skyline that you so often see in everyone's holiday pictures. My family live over on the HK Island side so we never get to see this view unless we head over to Kowloon side. It's pretty awesome and I am like a small child every single time I come back and get to see this view. It just makes me smile because HK is always full of such happy memories for me.

My family and I had dinner over at Harbour City (big, fancy mall full of Luxury shops) and had a yummy spread over at a Vietnamese restaurant called the Golden Bull. Hi food.
Vietnamese/Golden Bull Of course we had to have some of their Vietnamese Spring Rolls which were really good. We also had fried cuttlefish balls and Bahn Hoi. Bahn Hoi is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes, little noodle parcels topped with peanut, spring onions eaten with a crispy lettuce leaf and their traditional fish sauce (the yellow sauce with the sweet chilli).
Cuttlefish balls and Bahn Hoi My grandparents absolutely love this Chicken dish below, it's a crispy roast chicken that is on par with a restaurant that they love in Macau (To To Koi, see this post). I swear I could have eaten the half chicken to myself!
Vietnamese Roast Chicken Curry and Garlic Bread Oh man, I really should be paid to write about food. I know that Sam and I would be pretty keen!! The Beef curry above was ok, nothing special. I personally prefer Malaysian and Thai curries over Vietnamese, they're a lot more fragrant. We had to finish off the meal with their Sticky rice dessert (Bahn da lon) which is made from tapioca, mung beans, coconut milk and a whole lot of pandan paste. Super sticky!
Vietnamese Sticky Rice DessertSo here is the bad news, while the restaurant is pretty good and there is a fantastic view of the harbour, for what you get, it's severely overpriced! I was told that it's had a massive price increase and might be the reason why they now only have one restaurant in Kowloon, as opposed to the second location that used to be in Times Square, HK Island. OK for special occasions I guess but not for a normal dinner out.

After the shock of the bill, we escaped outdoors and I insisted on being all touristy and taking a picture with the view to the amusement of my family, seeing as they usually try to avoid touristy spots like the plague. I'm totally kicking myself for not doing the typical Asian pose and throwing a few happy peace signs in your direction!
Me and HK So it's coming towards the end of my 3 month stay. With just about 9 days to go, I am doing lots of last minute shopping (mainly for family!), stocking up on my favourite cosmetics and having lots of lunch dates with friends. I'm kind of looking forward to being back in cool 10c England, 33c (and climbing) in HK is not that much fun! Though, something tells me I will probably be shivering from the cold when I arrive back on British soil. Until the next post!

Temples and Milk Tea

Posted on: 07 May 2012

Hong Kong is a funny old place. Right now I am sitting in the apartment with the sounds of cars beeping their horns, the noisy demolition of a nearby building (HK is constantly tearing down old buildings and replacing them with shiny new commercial ones) and also the beep beep beep of the pedestrian crossing down below all of which are drifting in through the open window. However, despite the constant hubbub and the chaos of the city, there are some lovely surprises to be found. HK blogger, Sam from Sam is Home has fast become one of my favourite people in HK and she took me to Chi Lin Nunnery, a stones throw from Diamond Hill MTR where an excellently well looked after garden and temple can be found amongst the high rises and busy HK life. 
Chi Lin Nunnery
The site itself isn't particularly old and dates back to the 30s but it was rebuilt in the 1990s following traditional methods. It's such a lovely tranquil space (perhaps a bit distracting with the zen style music that is pumped through speakers in the gardens) but you can't complain when it's free admission. It's definitely worth a visit!
Chi Lin Nunnery 2
Thanks to Sam here is the outfit I wore that day, check out the high rise apartment blocks in the background, such a contrast to the temple. I have to admit most of the things here are all new buys from HK. I'm really dreading packing, I bought so many clothes to HK for my 3 month stay and I am leaving with a whole lot of new things too.
Chi Lin Outfit Blouse (Random shop, HK) Skirt and bag (Kwai Chung Plaza, HK) Belt (Topshop) Shoes (Zara) Watch (c/o Guess and H Samuels)IMG_3674 IMG_3672
Massive thanks to Sam for the two detail shots above and the one below. Man...I need to upgrade my camera!
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Here is the lovely lady herself! We both completely relished drinking the ice cold HK milk tea and on such a humid day, it was extra awesome.

The Nunnery is full of Bonsai trees which are all carefully tended to, lots of unusual looking rocks and quiet corners. It did make me want to swan about in traditional Chinese costume, ornate hair pieces and servant girls trailing behind me. Yeah...OK, maybe I should stop watching those Ancient Chinese dramas.
Bonsai
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On this particular day, we had a bit of a shop and then stopped for Sushi but a busy Friday night and torrential rain meant we missed the opportunity for Desserts. On that note I am off to meet Sam for our 'Day of Desserts' to make up for it! Mmmm chocolate cake....

Holiday Mode

Posted on: 03 May 2012

Oh I have definitely enjoyed my first day of 'holiday mode' in HK which was spent eating Vietnamese with a friend and then mooching around the shops with my aunt. It's definitely been nice to experience working in HK and while I expressed my desire to stay a little longer in my last post...it's something that is certainly do-able in the future but not right now. High on my list of things to do when I move back home is to find a job in London and move there pronto. I suppose I'm lucky that I get to come back to HK often and I know the next time I'll be back will probably be with my parents and sisters in tow, maybe in a year or two! But let's not jump ahead too much, I still have a few weeks which means lots of lunches, meet ups and shopping with friends and family. Excellent. 

A quick outfit picture below but it is now far too hot for tights. In HK, the humidity levels are announced everyday and these days it's been 31c and humidity in the high 80s. I can't believe I arrived in Feb when layers and jumpers are needed and now I am bare legged and wishing for air con most of the time!
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Blouse (HK) Skirt (Miss Selfridge) Shoes (Converse) Bag (HK)
A few of my favourite buys this week have been some Canmake products. If you're not familiar with Canmake, they're a Japanese brand which is affordable and available in Sasa (which is so much better than Boots/Superdrug back home!).
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The eyeshadow in Perfect Brown Eyes 03 is slightly glittery which is popular with a lot of Japanese cosmetics but the lipstick is LOVE! I bought it in Sweet Cherry 03 which is a reddish-coral colour. The colour in the tube is fairly bright but the application is sheer but pigmented and buildable which is awesome. I'm tempted to buy another tube as a back up! I should probably take a photo of me wearing it next time.
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Funnily enough, I'm not really a bracelet kind of girl but things have changed. I used to wear a crazy amount up my arms during my teeny bopper phase, only for me to switch quickly to wearing none at all because well, they just got in the way. However my friend sent me the little friendship bracelet (so nice to receive mail in HK!) and I bought the plaited bracelet randomly. They go really well together but I'm tempted to remove the tassle because it's just going to get super dirty. Anyway, I'm back on the bracelet bandwagon.
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I should probably mention that my healthy detox is over. My 21 day detox basically consisted of no carbs, gluten, pork, sugar but with with the addition of coconut oil incorporated in your meal somehow - often I just added it to Chinese soups or used it as a salad dressing. The detox cut out SO many foods including fruit, soy products and flour which was torture as HK streets are full of temptations but it really made me feel healthier and my skin was clearer. The aim was to flush out toxins but you also lose a little water weight. It's not really advised to detox for longer than 21 days as you do need some sugars and carbs but it certainly made me view food in a different light! Still...my Instagram (find me as diamondcanopy) food photos are now back in full force, Yay!

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