Belgium

For Christmas this year, my family & I wanted to break tradition of a Christmas and New Years in Hong Kong and indulge in our first legitimate wintery wonderland-esque holiday. Much to my delight, with my extreme fear of flying, we opted to take the Eurostar to Brussels for a 4 day mini-cation. With absolutely no preconceived idea of what Belgium had to offer (apart from chocolate and beer), it was great to have no expectations and the ability to explore.

We spent the first day in Brussels and checked into The Queen Anne Hotel, located conveniently within a 10 minute taxi between the North, South and Central stations. Everything about our stay at The Queen Anne was perfect. The staff were extremely helpful and friendly, the beds were unbelievable comfortable and location was a god send. I would highly recommend for anyone visiting Brussels who doesn’t have a large budget. The only downfall admittedly was having a satanic child staying across from us who was more than happy to scream it’s lungs for no apparent reason for about half an hour each morning.

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Our first day was spent walking around the centre, visiting the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, the Christmas Market (Grote Markt) and my most favourite of all, The Grand Place. The light show was magnificent! so so magical. It’s just one of the things where no explanation will do it justice.

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On the second day, we caught an hours train to Antwerp, where my uncle resides. We spent the day tasting a variety of Belgian beer (Cherry Liefmans for the win!) and Glühwein (in our attempt to dodge the rain), wandering the christmas market to see the Silvius Brabo statue and finishing off the day with a lovely 5 course dinner at Jeanty’s.

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On Christmas Day, we hopped one another train to Bruges. Bruges was filled with cobbled streets, chocolatiers and little beer factories. Such an enchanted little city.

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We travelled back to Brussels for Boxing Day which we spent relaxing and wandering around before our train back to London. My experience of Belgium was one I had not expected and I’ve genuinely fallen in love with it’s town and cities (There are restaurants dedicated to varieties of chips. HEAVEN on earth).

Thanks mother dearest for a great christmas holiday. K

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12 days in Holborn.

For the past two weeks, my boyfriend and I have been fortunate enough to living the hotel life at The Citadines in Holborn. Due to Phil’s heavy work schedule at the European Poker Tour, I’ve had the chance to mooch off of his job perks and explore both Holborn & Covent Garden for the first time. Whilst doing so, I have come across some of the best meals in London I’ve had to date.

One morning, I stumbled across HUSH Brasseries. During the week, I tried nearly everything on the menu and the english breakfast is just on another level! Their menu also includes 5 different types of Eggs Benedict, 4 variations of waffles and pancakes and heavenly pastries.

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On Friday night we headed to Bricklane to celebrate my old friend from uni’s 25th with a little drunken bowling. Had a great time at All Star Lanes as well as one of the best cocktails of my life.

Jumpin’ Jack Flash Cocktail. 
Jack Daniels, Falernum, Agave Syrup, Fresh Lemon juice churned with Raspberry puree, in this cheeky long drink with a taste of classic sherbet.

Although, Brick Lane is one of my favourite ways to spend a sunday, I have to admit that it is quite frightening on a friday. I may possibly be getting more boring with every year that passes but the mixture of screeching teens and buzzed out crack heads does not appeal to me. I guess I’ll have to give it another go before I write it off but boy do I miss Lan Kwai Fong!

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To celebrate the end of the European poker tour and Phil’s manic work schedule, we ventured over to Leicester Square to visit his company’s casino and to sample one of the best steaks in London at the Heliot Steak House. At first I questioned if dining with the view of Roulette and Black Jack tables would be borderline tacky but the food, ambience and service exceeded my expectations by miles. The steak was succulent and bursting of flavour. With the additional garlic butter and peppercorn sauce equipped with a bottle of Cycles Gladiator Merlot and sides, I can honestly say my experience couldn’t have been any better.

With a belly full of food and a week of total relaxation after work, I’m prepping myself for a week ahead of getting myself back into fitness and healthy eating. Wish me luck……

K

8 reasons why I’m grateful for being an expat brat.

 

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While most expat brats feel the need to complain about how hard their lives were growing up in another country due to identity issues and not being able to order a good burger, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. And here’s why:

1. One day during my teens, I remember my dad mentioning to my sister and I that he was extremely proud of the fact that we hadn’t grown up racist. At the time, I couldn’t quite understand how that could possibly be something to be proud of, until I moved to the UK.

Growing up in Hong Kong and attending an international school meant being taught all about the different cultures and religions. Whilst I was naïve to the fact that discrimination existed, There aren’t too many places where your closest group of friends are Icelandic, Spanish, Israeli, Indian and British.

2. Most third cultured kids have a number of identity issues and it can sometimes be a little irritating having to explain that I’m from Hong Kong but have never lived in the UK. (Queue the you don’t look Hong Kong-ish?’, ‘Does everyone in Hong Kong have blue eyes?’,‘Do you ride a panda to work?’ type questions) However, It easily generates conversation when you first meet someone, making it less awkward for all parties involved. I then feel that little bit more interesting and to others I officially turn from that blonde girl to the girl who lives in fricking HONG KONG.

3. How many people can say they flew before they walked?

(And before I sound too cocky, let me state that I’m extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to visit an array of beautiful countries!)

4.  I can swear in a variety of languages…I’m sure it’ll come in handy one day.

5.  The sound of foreign languages actually brings comfort to me, which makes travelling a hell of a lot easier. I can glide through the airport without a stress in the world…until I get on a plane, over 150 flights and xanax’ed up to my eyeballs, I still can’t stand those horrid air gliders!

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6.  I am constantly reminded by my parents and the people around me, what hard work and personal responsibility looks like. On the flip side, it makes pulling a sicky extremely guilt ridden.

7.  We make great debaters, as were aware of current global issues and the latest gossip from the daily mail. (Oh em gee, still can’t get over Kristen Stewart cheating, what a trampire)

8. The thing about third cultured kids is that we generally establish relationships quickly. We’re welcoming, converse with adults well and seem to adapt quick to unfamiliarity. We also infamously know how to have a good time…

ImageKD.

 

Why i’m looking forward to summer being over.

I love summer. I love the feeling of summer, I love the smell of summer, I love the weather during summer, I love going on holiday…… I just flat out love everything about summer. However, now that I’ve been out of uni for over a year, I feel its time to board the grown up train (or at least pretend to..) and stop feeling obligated to continue following university holidays and join the rat race.

Now that summer is coming to an end, instead of dramatically engulfing myself with the post summer blues I’m going to welcome autumn with open arms…and here are a few reasons why.

A Drop in temperature. Don’t get me wrong now, I love the warmth and I will never take it for granted after living through 3 UK winters… but my god, it’s going to be great not sweating buckets during the simplest of tasks. Save money on amounts of deodorant & lower water bills – winning!

No more jealousy issues. Now that I’m working 10-6 I often find myself stumbling upon numerous instgrammed pictures of people at various pools/beaches around HK. I finally understand the pain of constantly being reminded that you are stuck in an office whilst others are out there loving life, soaking up the rays. So uni/high school students/teachers, please do me a favor and kindly eff off back to where you came from :)

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Detox. Finally I can give my body a break. Good riddance pool parties, junks, ladies nights. You will no longer give me a FOMO. And please, enough with the  YOLO’ing. I’m going to YOLO myself back into bed and prevent myself from liver failure.

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Hibernation. I’m not talking about me here, I’m talking about the rancid little creatures (spiders & snakes) that feel the need to pop up when I least expect them. I want to go back to the time where I could walk the mountains freely without nearly stepping on cobra heads and living without the fear of spiders crawling on my arms while I sleep.

At last, HOLIDAYS. HALLOWEEN, FOOD. THANKSGIVING, FOOD. After autumn comes winter…and what happens during winter? ...CHRISTMAS! even more food.

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The time of the year where its fully acceptable to play shitty music, eat as much as we want, actually get on with our families and pretend like we don’t really care about presents. (I LOVEEEEEE PRESENTTSSSSSSSSSS.)

So tar tar now summer, I’ll somewhat miss you.

K.

My experience at a Muay Thai Gym

I’ve always been one for a challenge and even though I pathetically found not drinking for a month hard, it just wasn’t the life changing experience i had been looking for. So after a friend suggested partaking in this Muay Thai madness, I couldn’t not tag along!

I had one of the best and most physically challenging 2 weeks I’ve ever had and would highly recommend this to anyone. However, before even thinking about it, have a read through 10 things to expect whilst staying at a Muay Thai Camp:-

1. EXPECT – Limited security. The doors could be opened using the fork and windows broken so I wouldn’t suggest taking anything of high value. I also didn’t take comfort In the fact that there were no guards at the camp! but then again who in their right minds would want to rob a camp filled with a high number of experienced fighters?

2. DON’T EXPECT – A constant array of smiley faces . Don’t get me wrong, I met some really great people over the 14 days.. but don’t expect everyone to warm to you straight away. Remember, you’re at a camp where people have to wake up at 7 to do 2 hours of exercise before you can even mutter the words BREAKFAST… as well as endure a good beating in the afternoon. Who in their right minds would be cheery Charlie’s 24/7 ?

3. EXPECT – lack of sleep. Let me get one thing straight, your pillow will NOT be your friend. Just as you feel yourself dozing off, you’ll hear jab after jab, kick after kick. But you’re in Thailand. Get off your backside and go explore all that magestic Thailand has to offer!

4. EXPECT – Basic Accommodation – I’ve luckily stayed in such a wide range of hospitality over my glorious 22 years and I know a few of my high- maintenance friends would not dare book a room we stayed in but you’re not there to be pampered or waited on.

Apart from the occasional trail of ants throwing a party on your pillow or the cement-esque bed, It’s really not that bad at all. In order to grow, sometimes you just need to step out of your comfort zone.

5. EXPECT – Sweat. Living in Hong Kong, I constantly sweat bullets even walking into an air conditioned room, however this really is another story. All i can say is, bring as much underwear and deodorant as you can.

6. EXPECT – Eye candy. Sometimes you just need a good ole’ distraction. Watching beautiful buff men spar and grapple each other kept me somewhat giggly in times of exhaustion/muscle pain.

7. EXPECT – Increased strength & muscle pain. Watch out arrogant rugby men whom slither around SOLAS, don’t expect me to not uppercut your face into a broken nose :)

Mike Davis

8. EXPECT – Fun, laughter and ‘banter’!
Challenging yourself everyday gives you an unexplainable thrill. You become stronger than you were the previous day, mentally and physically. You meet a bunch of new people, build great friendships with the brilliant trainers and learn a lot about yourself and you’re own strength.

I’m so grateful for the experiences and friendships I built over such a short time and can’t wait to book in a months training next year…..

So, If you’re looking to do something different and don’t mind a challenge, Book yourself into SINBI Muay Thai, Nai Harn, Phuket.

For more info, check our their Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sinbi-Muay-Thai-Training-Camp-Phuket-Thailand/121969431209423?ref=ts

Cheung Sha Beach

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Cheung Sha Beach is located south of Lantau Island. Stretching around 2.5km, Cheung Sha is known to be the longest beach in Hong Kong and to celebrate the long weekend, we found a trip to this beach rather fitting. Packed with 4 bottles of Park ‘n’ shops cheapest wine and desperation of building our tans, we caught a 20 minute bus from Mui Wo to Upper Cheung Sha.

While I feel that this beach isn’t the most scenic beach in Hong Kong, it did provide most of the essentials. Beach chairs, umbrellas and float’s are all available to rent as well as snacks, public showers & toilets and even a variety of restaurants located at the beginning of lower Cheung Sha. I would recommend visiting The Steop for jugs of sangria and South African platters. (http://thestoep.com/about/)

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How to get there:

* Mui Wo ferry from Central Pier No. 5 -> Board bus 1 or 2 bound for Tai O.
* MTR to Tung Chung board bus No.11 to Tai O.

For people who: Enjoy the peace and quiet, BBQ’s, Windsurfing and soft sand.

Beach Scale : 6/10

Our Weekend

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Our Weekend consisted of various parties. A typhoon party (DOKSURI, what a pathetic excuse of a T8 you were), a birthday party, a leaving party and in my head, an end of the week party. The vodka soda’s were flowing, along with my interesting dance moves across Solas.

After overcoming the devastating effects of the typhoon, we spent most of our time recovering poolside. Nothing beats HK on a beautiful day like this! Hope you all had a good weekend!
K.

Top 5 Apps

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1. Pinterest – A virtual inboard which allows you to search for a wide range of images. Everything from recipes, fitness inspiration, interior design, cute animals to photographs. Type anything in the search bar and a range of images will appear. For visual, creative people who love to browse.

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2. BlendCam – A quirky new photo app which allows you to blend images giving a layered effect. For those who love to take photos.

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3. 9gag – An app for 9gag.com. For those who love pointless, funny images.

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4. Openbar HK – Hong Kong’s largest Club & Bar app directory. Search for happy hour deals and discounts. For those who love to party!

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5. LogoQuiz – This app tests you to guess the names of hundreds of logos from different companies. Don’t be fooled, this game isn’t easy! For those who love a challenge.

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1.Temple Run – I actually don’t have that many games, and I’m still a huge fan of doodle jump (first game EVER downloaded). However, Temple Run is extremely fun, so fun that even my mother plays it! It’s also free, so I suggest you check it out.

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2. Snapseed – The majority of my apps involve photo-editing, and Snapseed is one of the best. After eyeing up my flatmates nicely contrasted photos, I gave up and asked her what app she was using. Jackpot. It’s pretty difficult to get used to at first, but it really improves phone taken photos, and If you are the type to take photos of EVERYTHING like me, I suggest paying to get this. And I’m not the only one!!

Here is an example of something I edited using Snapseed:-

3.  Gratitude Journal – This was suggested to me by a bunch of women doing a particular project (Which I shall be writing a post about very soon). It’s super cute and it’s a modern way to keep track of the things you should be thankful for! You can upload a picture to go with the post, and it keeps it all stored on your phone so you can flick through it. Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and sometimes we all need a little reminder!

4. Hong Kong Movie – Speaks for itself, If you’re out you can just check on here to see what cinemas are showing what movies, and all the timings! They have different colours for whether all the seats are getting taken (red,green,yellow) of course. Dying to see Spiderman!

5. Instagram – Yes, I guess this is super obvious, but there are tons of Iphone users who don’t actually have insta! I bloody love it, and it’s the main reason why my battery goes down so fast. It’s like twitter but in picture form, people post EVERYTHING. My fav thing is that you can creep on celebs like Jessica Alba, who is the CUTEST and she takes pics of everything (like food) and she’s not even asian…. HA Jokes. But yes, FUN

Things I’m excited about!

Summer has officially started, most schools are breaking up this week, the sun has started peering its majestic head and my first junk of the season will commence this saturday! I will then be heading to Thailand for a WHOLE month next thursday so I feel I should take full advantage of a HK summer before I jet off to participate in a 2 week Muay Thai Camp (Let me just say again…What was I thinking?!?!).

I have always been obsessed with Jewelry (if you know me well you’ve probably made a joke concerning my oversized rings) and have always wanted to take part in a little DIY Jewelry making but have never really known where to go to purchase the right materials. My dreams have finally come true! Cat has found a haberdashery located in Sham Shui Po. So friday, I will make that shop my bitch. Found some inspiration pieces of Tumblr – so excited to test them out!

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A high school friend of mine, Natasha, will be launching her new bikini line and my god, are they amazing. Can’t wait to get my hands on a few of these! Check out her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MerCulture

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Maiden HK are also set to introduce a new guest blogger, model and PR girl, Karina, who will be writing about Hong Kong’s clubbing scene including up and coming nights/events. So stay tuned !

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18 things to do this summer when it’s overcast!

When I think of Hong Kong Summers my mind casts back to Junk Trips filled with retarded drinking games, beach BBQ’s and sweaty nights dancing on Carnegie’s bar. However, it’s easy to forget that 60% of are summers are often made up of overcast days and typhoons. Here are 18 things to do when the weather is just as shite as the programs Star World plays.

1. Hike! Hong Kong has SO many beautiful walks to suit every level of fitness out there. If you’re looking for something light but scenic try Chai Wan to Big Wave Bay or Nim Shui Wan (Discovery Bay) to Mui Wo. If you’re looking for something a little more strenuous , try the MacLehose Trail or Sunset Peak.

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2. Fishing in Yuen Long. It’s not the most easiest of places to get to but its great fun spending a day at one of the many fish farms (girls, give it a go!) and very affordable. All the equipment is available to rent for around $40. Take the MTR to Yuen Long Station and then a taxi to one of the many fishing farms. (Explain you want to fish and the taxi driver should know where to take you).

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3. Get friends round for a night of nachos & margaritas. Very easy to make, great for sharing and delish!

4. Get away from the Island and visit Cheung Chau. Take the ferry over from Pier 5 and go exploring. This tiny little island is home to the best seafood I’ve had in Hong Kong, scenic beaches and trails, cute little handmade shops, pirate caves and much more.

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5. Weekend in Macau – Can’t make Splash or Hed Kandi? Macau is always awesome, any time of the year. Find a cheap hotel deal and go crazy! Gamble at the Venetian and then hit club CUBIC at the City of Dreams. And for all you horn dogs, Adult Asia Expo will be held in Macau over the 17th-19th of August. (http://www.verticalexpo.com/eeditor/index.php?expo_id=5&article_id=13)

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6. Hit the driving range. Improve your golf swing at one of the driving ranges in either Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Kowloon, Ma On Shan or even on Hong Kong Island. (http://www.golfinhongkong.com/instruction/driving-ranges.php)

7. Dolphin watch tour. You aren’t a true Honkie until you’ve witnessed a pink dolphin. $380 for Adults (Around 4 hours) and $180 for children. (http://www.hkdolphinwatch.com/index.php)

8. Go see the wild monkeys in Kam Shan. Do not bring food with you unless you want to experience an attack similar to young girls catching a glimpse of Justin Bieber.

9. Ice-skating at Tsing Yi or Festival Walk. I don’t care how old you are, watching your friends fall on their asses will always be fun! Prices range from $55-75 depending on times. (http://www.glacier.com.hk/fun/fun_index.html)

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10. Visit the tallest bar in the world. Ozone Sky Bar. Very pricey but the view makes it totally worth it. (http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/HongKong/Dining/ozone/Default.htm)

12. Champagne brunch at Top Deck. Jump aboard the Jumbo Kingdom Restaurant to experience a brunch buffet with everything including jet fresh seafood, open grills, fresh baked pizzas, Peking duck, tandoori stations, and desserts. $258 for adults (with unlimited champagne and soft drinks); $98 for children. Saturdays, 11am-3pm; Sundays and public holidays, 11am-4:00pm, $448 for adults; $198 for children.

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13. Shop in Mong Kok. Flying back home this summer? Get stocked up on your fake Hermes, Fendi & Marc Jacobs and trick your old uni friends into thinking you’re doing REALLY REALLY well.

16. Kayak in Sai Kung. Visit some of HK’s stunning geology, including collapsed volcanos and caves. Kayaks and lifejackets can be rented for around $50 an hour. (http://saikung.com/kayaking-in-sai-kung/)

17. Watch the Olympics!

18. Indulge in some DIY Crafts. Look on Pinterest for some inspiration.  (http://pinterest.com/celebrations/fun-diy-crafts/)

Cork Coasters 

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Dragon Boat Festival – Discovery Bay

As most of you are aware, Saturday was one of Hong Kong’s favorite festivals. For many expats, it means a day of drinking on boats/beaches and watching teams race traditional chinese dragon boats. Rooted from southern China as an ancient folk ritual, contending villagers have raced for over 2000 years.

For as long as I can remember, my family and I have spent the day on Discovery Bay Beach and it was something I have always wanted to be part of. At the age of 22, I finally bit the bullet and signed up to compete. After two months of early saturday and sunday morning training sessions (mostly hungover), it was time to hit the water.

It was a great day filled with excitement, energy drinks and aching muscles. Growing up in the 852, it was great to form a connection with local tradition and as tiring as it was, it felt great. Already can’t wait for next year!

K.