27 Feb 2014

finds for the home - from Hong Kong!

My room was decorated last year, shortly after moving into this house and I've not really made it 'me' yet. Therefore, I bought quite a few items during my Hong Kong trip to try and make it more cozy and lived in. 

On my first day in HK, I saw these money boxes and plushies. I bought one of each so that my sister and I each get a pair. In the background, you can see some A4 folders, my Kindle in its Cath Kidston case and my handbag.

The money box is small and looks super cute on my bookshelf. However, I had a shock when I figured out how to open it to get the money out - you have to twist its head and pull!

Here is a photo of the plushies (along with a chick one) hanging on my wardrobe door:

In the past, I've never bothered with duty free shopping but this time, I found that the perfume deals were just too good to leave behind. My current bottle of Chloe has barely any left and when I received a free sample of Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf last year, I knew I had to invest in this perfume in the near future.

I love the bottles as they are quite feminine and will look great on my shelf with my other perfumes.

Whilst shopping in the market at Mong Kok, I came across this pair of Rilakkuma slippers, and well... I found it hard to not buy myself a pair. They were about £6 and fit perfectly. With HK houses severely lacking in central heating or heating of any kind, these slippers kept my feet nice and toasty when we were at home.

At the same market, I came across these cushions. A touch of youthfulness through these cushions is just what my room needed and I am glad I bought these (even if packing them in my suitcase was a job and a half due to the amount of space they took up!).

In a department store, I found these giant peas in a pod. $599 equates to just under £50 but they were huge. I decided not to buy them but I thought I would share this picture of them anyway as it kind of shows what HK people are into.

My mum bought some baking utensils while we were in HK too, and I am quite excited to see what baked goods she comes up with.

Overall, HK is a great place to get stuff for the home; provided your suitcase has the room to carry them home! If you love cute things, a great place to shop would be Mong Kok in and around the stores and market stalls near Fa Yuen Street and Ladies' Market. However, the markets in Mong Kok have put up their prices a lot since my last visit (I know inflation exists but some of the prices were outrageous compared to four years' ago) and I've been informed that Temple Street market might be a better bet if you want to pay rock bottom prices for cute things. Furthermore, you can get your fortune read there too (something I didn't have time to do unfortunately)!

23 Feb 2014

my week #97

This week has been all about a project that is due tomorrow. It's been a bit hectic (just like every other week...) but having a colourful planner definitely lightens the mood a little. The next six weeks are going to be painful and I am certain that I will be severely sleep-deprived at the end of it all. However, I am enjoying medschool so I'm definitely feeling that it's all worth it :)

How has your week been?

20 Feb 2014

some amazing Hong Kong food

Food is something a lot of people talk about when Hong Kong is mentioned. Or at least, it's something my friends and I talk about a lot! As a result, I thought I would share a few pictures of some of the amazing food I had the pleasure of eating when I was there but I forgot to take pictures of street food and bowls of noodles from cha chan tents.

Anyway, the first picture I have to share is of the vegetarian feast we had with my mum's side of the family. The fish was made of taro, the 'roast pork' was made of a quorn-esque food, as was the 'roast duck' and the crayfish was also made of taro. Tofu was a component of quite a few dishes (deep-fried tofu, water tofu... just tofu in many forms) and taro was also a common ingredient. 

It was a very good meal and also a very healthy one (I avoided all of the deep fried dishes!).

Something I tried for the first time was Korean hot pot. I went to Korea-town in Tsim Sha Tsui with my cousin (her recommendation) and it was one of the spiciest meals I have ever had. The side dish had spinach, bean sprouts, kimchi and something else that I can't remember. The hotpot itself had a variety of meats and vegetables. We ordered some glass noodles to add to the hotpot too and as a lover of glass noodles, this suited me just fine!

Having a burger in Hong Kong sounds like a stupid idea but when the burger is from Triple O's by White Spot, I knew I had to try it. As far as I know, White Spot is Canadian and I have yet to stumble upon it in the UK. The burger was so big that after devouring that beast, I could barely eat any of the chips! And this was when I was absolutely starving. It was a pretty good burger though... but it also came with a pretty big price tag.

Haagen Dazs was where I met up with a uni friend. I hadn't seen her for over a year now (as she had opted to do her masters in Canada) so it was nice to see her and just catch up. The way we were chatting felt like no time had passed though and in terms of the food, I wish I hadn't ordered hot tea with a cold dessert. Talk about a recipe for stomach ache!

Whilst on the subject of desserts, Hong Kong has a lot of bakeries. I decided to give some of the cakes a try after finding myself drooling over their very appealing appearance. However, the cakes were quite an anti-climax, considering how amazing they look.

Now, onto the bulk of this post. I was invited to a wedding and the banquet was amazing. This was my first ever wedding and I loved every single second. From the photo-taking with the bride and groom to the mingling with family, there was not a silent moment in the restaurant. The decorations were also amazing:

The dinner had about eleven courses (I can't remember the actual number) and the first one was of a roast piglet. The eyes had lightbulbs in and these bulbs were flashing - I just happened to take a picture of when they were off!

Next up, scallops and prawns stir fried with vegetables:

Mushrooms and 'hair' (I have no idea what it is called in English!):

Crabmeat and other seafood meatballs:

Shark's fin soup (don't judge me - I didn't make the menu!):

Abalone with lettuce:

A massive steamed fish (one of the best fish I have ever tasted):

Soy sauce chicken:

Stir fried noodles and a rice dish with two different toppings. These two weren't very popular as by this time, everyone had filled up on the previous dishes.

Dessert: sweet soup.

More dessert: a fruit platter (not shown) and some other sweet treats in the form of jelly and biscuits.

Apart from all this food, I also sampled some Vietnamese food, various noodle soups, the cheapest McDonald's meal ever (a large McDonald's meal for less than £2?! Had to be done!) and macaroni soup (a personal favourite). All in all, my belly had a very good time in Hong Kong.

16 Feb 2014

my week #96

This week was a lot more full-on than the week before and I'm glad my planner doesn't show it! Blank spaces are a relief during a busy week. Also, in terms of jazzing up my pages, I've definitely done a lot less - and I like this! It's a bit easier on the eye but still interesting enough to keep me interested in staying organised.

How has your week been?

13 Feb 2014

the best foods are found in Hong Kong... confectionary edition

If you thought Hong Kong had cute stationery and stickers, then you will probably like the fact that snack foods are wrapped in aesthetically well-designed packaging too. I will be doing another post focussing entirely on cute sweet packaging soon too so keep your eye out for that.

First up, some Japanese soda candy. If you've ever tried Japanese soda, you'll know that it can come in glass bottles with a marble top where the marble keeps the air in and to open the bottle, you have to press down the marble. The sweets on the right of the image below taste the same as the soda and although the bottle is the same design as the drink, there is no marble top so they are very easy to open. I don't really know what to compare them to (in terms of sweets you can find in the UK) so I won't even try.

In the image below, there are chewy sweets, chocolate crisp sweets (kind of like crispy M&Ms) and oreo wafers. The boxes at the bottom are also chewy sweets but don't you love how adorable the packaging is?!

If you've ever tried Meltykiss, I found a cheaper version from the Edo Pack brand.

I looked all over the place for pretzel M&Ms but to no avail unfortunately (maybe I was looking in the wrong place) but I did find peanut butter ones. How I wish they had these in the UK!

I also found Goldfish in some interesting flavours: Vanilla Cupcake, Grahams S'mores and Graham's Fudge Brownie. Can I get a 'yum'?!

In the UK, you'll be able to find Pocky but most probably only in more 'boring' flavours, such as chocolate or strawberry. There were a lot more flavours to choose from in HK though:

They also have biscuit sticks from other brands in other interesting flavours:

But best of all, I found some Hershey's chocolate!

They also had Hershey's Kisses... something I found I couldn't leave a shop without:

Hong Kong is definitely a haven if you love food as much as I do. I wouldn't say I have a particularly sweet tooth but the sheer array and variety of snack foods available in Hong Kong is something I sorely miss since my (what felt like) brief two week trip.

9 Feb 2014

my week #95

I can't believe we are already six weeks into 2014! Time flies, eh? This week's weather was horrendous - I haven't seen so much rain since I was in Hong Kong during monsoon season in 2007. Aside from that, my workload was just as horrendous but somehow, I managed to get all of this week's work done by Friday so that I could go to a friend's for some Star Wars Risk. Yes, really. 

If you hadn't already noticed, I'd been colour coding the events of my week but I don't really think this serves any purpose because I forget what each of the colours refer to. Maybe I'm using too many colours? However, I do like how colourful they make my pages look so I'll keep it up for the time being.

How has your week been?

6 Feb 2014

stationery heaven... in Hong Kong

My mum always said that if you can't find it in Hong Kong, you'll probably not be able to find it anywhere. This is how I knew that I'd be able to find some stationery that were designed with people like me in mind. I bought a lot of stationery whilst in Hong Kong so this is the first post of a few on some items I had bought.

You've already seen the stickers I had bought whilst in HK but prepare to see some mega cuteness in this blog post.

For those of you interested, Hong Kong has a lot of independent stationery stores dotted all over the place. In my local area, there were four (and it's only a large village/small town) but if you look in side streets, you'll often find one or two due to the rent costing less (usually!). These stores are cheaper than major department stores and they sell a lot of notebooks, pens and all other kinds of stationery. The stores are usually look quite small on the outside but inside, there can be a treasure trove of items.

Anyway, first up, the following stapler. How cute will it look on my shelf?!

These note tabs: ideal for highlighting things in my diary pages or for bookmarking things in textbooks/my revision notes.

Of course, I took a trip to one of my favourite stores: Muji.

I picked up these pens as I like how well the ink flows but also, because the pen has a hinged clip.

There were also these Rilakkuma note tabs and some re-positionable ones in pastel and neon colours:

Some biros and double ended highlighters (similar to the Muji ones but for a fraction of the price):

They were $10 for five (less than £1!):

And here is how they look on paper:

The biros have fine nibs (just how I like my biro nibs):

Next up, some cute multi-pens and a memo pad:

I also picked up this cute tipp-ex roller:

And also some mini ones which will be perfect for me to take to uni on a daily basis due to their small size and insignificant weight:

Although I could have bought a lot, lot more; I limited myself to these things (and a few more you will be introduced to in another blog post or two). Hong Kong is an amazing haven for stationery lovers but that alone isn't enough for me to want to live there. The city has changed so much since my last visit four years ago, and not for the better either. It has become a lot busier and ruder (people were rude before but I am quite appalled by some of the behaviour I witnessed or was subject to).

Anyway, this is all the stationery I will share for now. I know this post is more of a show, than a tell, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same.