Our trip to Vietnam – Da Nang & Hoi An.

 

Last week I finally faced my fears after 2 years and got on a flight! This may sound absolutely minuscule to someone without an irrational fear of flying but to me, this was such an accomplishment. Feeling like the Queen of Sheba, we landed an hour and half later in a cloudy Da Nang. We made our way to our accommodation to find that the hotel website had not only lied to us but had also cast us in a hotel from hell murder mystery, without our consent. Faster than you could say “Expat Brat”, I was typing my credit card details into booking.com and planning our escape. Now I have stayed in a range of accommodation, from hostels to insect infested Muay Thai camp tin houses, however, I will draw the line at red coloured stained walls.

After an awkward chat with the reception staff, we were on our way to the Furama hotel. Our room wasn’t ready until 2pm so we dropped our bags and made our way to their Italian restaurant DON CIPRIANI’S which totally hit the spot. The tiramisu deserves a special mention! Wowza

The Furama was a beautiful hotel where we spent the next 3 days indulging in utter relaxation, morning beach walks and forced yoga classes (sorry Phil!). Unfortunately the weather was pretty disappointing but with a 5* buffet breakfast, who really cares eh?

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One afternoon, we felt we needed to rip ourselves away from our comfortable little abode and see a little bit more of Da Nang. We first visited Han Market, which is named the best market in Da Nang. Safe to say, we lasted a total of 5 minutes browsing the same identical stuff at every stall and then went on our way to an Australian bar for the best coffee I’ve ever had…. ironically. Vietnamese coffee is on another level! 

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On our third day, we caught a 30 minute cab to Hoi An, just south of Da Nang but embodies a whole different vibe. Bustling with backpackers, stunning 17th century architecture with an array of shops, restaurants and galleries. A far cry from the peaceful, relaxed Da Nang.

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Luckily the weather improved greatly for the remaining 3 days of our trip which we spent at the Belle Maison, exploring and eating our way through Hoi An Old Town.

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One of my best meals from the holiday had to be from a restaurant called  Morning Glory (Thanks for the recommednation Sarah!) . Papaya mint chili peanut salad for me and a roasted pork Bahn Mi for Phil.

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On our last day, we went to An Bang beach to catch some much-needed rays. If you can ignore being asked every 10 minutes to buy something, then this beach is a great day out with great places to eat and relax.

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For dinner, we enrolled ourselves in a cooking course at Mamma’s Gourmet cooking class. Not only did we learn to cook some traditional Vietnamese dishes in a beautiful garden setting but we also had a great time being entertained by Chef Vu.

We cooked three courses of veggie spring rolls, zesty fish in banana leaf and a glorious mango and papaya salad.

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Back in Hong Kong with yet another sinus infection but nothing can take away the great feeling of finally facing your fears :)

 

 

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WEEKEND BLOG: 2 DAYS OF SUMMER

On Saturday, I woke up to chirping birds and light glistening through the window.. It just couldn’t be….. could it? Had our longest, wettest winter finally buggered off for bigger and better things? It was official. SUMMER WAS HERE (for the time being!)

With a jump to our step, we headed to one of our favourite HK spots, Mavericks, Pui O to take advantage of this beautiful weather. As I’ve said in a previous blog, I can’t get enough of the vibe and more so, the decor at this beachside surf shack. Not to mention, dog friendly.

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The food is a little pricey for the what you get but I guess you pay for the atmosphere. I ordered the sweet corn, chickpea and red pea cake with frisee leaves and basil pesto with fries and the boys ordered burgers.

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Now these margaritas were worth every penny!

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After the boys had a few too many, we headed down to the beach to let the dogs have a run around and watch the sunset. It seems that I had forgotten how beautiful Hong Kong can be after enduring 5 months of constant awful weather.

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We started today with a cheeky dragon boat practice before taking my mum out for a Mother’s Day Brunch @ Isola. It’s always a good feeling to be out in the water, especially when the sun is peeking through the clouds.

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Isola is located on the 3rd floor of IFC and boasts some great views. Their lunch menu includes a delicious antipasti buffet, along with a main of your choice, followed by a dessert buffet.

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Luckily for me, there was a vegan option on the menu, Tomato risotto :)

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Happy Mother’s Day to my beautiful Mum! 

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I was pretty gutted when my boyfriend came back with this plate of dessert….

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UNTIL I found out the chocolate fountain used DAIRY FREE chocolate!!

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Pretty grateful to call this place my home. 

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As always, have a great week and apologies for the image heavy post!

Half Term!

This time of year in Hong Kong has got to be my most favourite! The sun is shining, the temperature is dropping and all the best holidays are slowly approaching. And better yet, It’s HALF TERM BABY!

We had originally booked to fly to the Philippines for 8 days but due to the typhoon heading in that direction and my extreme fear of turbulence (ergh), we decided to reschedule to a later date. Even though I am experiencing severe FOMO and wish I could be diving with sea turtles and devouring as much filipino mango as possible, 10 glorious (polluted) days of exploring the city and outlying islands doesn’t sound half bad.

Yesterday we started off the weekend as normal with an early morning session of Grit Strength. I absolutely love the feeling I get once finished but in between all the burpees, clean and presses and spirit breaking plyo push ups, I feel my soul slowly crushing along with my dwindling consciousness. Following the dramatics and post workout adrenaline, we hit JASPAS for some breakie. It was my first time ordering the breakfast bruchetta and WOW.

Sourdough bread topped with diced red onion, garlic, tomato, avo, bacon and eggs cooked to your preference. 

After breakfast, a few friends and I decided to take the dogs on a little hike in Discovery Bay as it was such a nice day out.

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As a child I use to despise any form of physical activity outside of swimming and ballet and my parents would have to literally bribe me with food to go on weekend hikes with them. It’s funny to think that now as I’m the happiest version of myself when I’m up in the mountains with my dogs and friends.

With it being the month of Octoberfest, we decided to try the german establishment, The Berliner, in Discovery Bay, for lunch. I’m not a big meat eater so was rather hesitant at first. Thankfully my boyfriend likes to order a variety of things which allows me to pick at his (I’m sure much to his annoyance).

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Bretzels & Happy Schnappy – Barcadi rum, apple schnapps, raspberry puree, apple juice, lime and mint leaves. We thought the cocktail was a must order due to the glass boot but the novelty soon wore off due to the incredibly sweet and a little too sickly mixture.

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Pork Belly Sliders with onion marmalade and onion dressing. The boys thought this was the only dish worth ordering, they couldn’t get enough!

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I opted for the grilled chicken sausages with creamed leek and crispy roast potatoes. The best word to describe this dish would be SOGGY. There was nothing grilled ,crispy or flavoursome about it. I know menu photographs never normally live up to the presented meal but CMON! The boys decided on The Berliner Sausage with onions and roasted potato which they too described as purely average. I don’t think we will be back there in the future.

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Saturday night a friend had a spare couple of tickets to watch Marcus Brigstocke with The Punchline Comedy Club. It was my second comedy club experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I spent half the time avoiding eye contact with the bloke in the hopes I wouldn’t be picked on.

Sunday morning was spent awaiting the snoring hungover boyfriend to awaken from his deep slumber and cooking up a few healthy fall inspired snacks.

Roasted Chickpeas are incredibly easy to make and packed with good sources of protein and fibre. You can make these with literally any spices or seasonings. I opted for a cinnamon and coconut sugar topping.

Instructions:

  • Drain two cans of chickpeas and scatter on an oven try with olive oil. 
  • Add 3 tbsp of cinnamon and mix 
  • Set oven to 180°C. Cook for 30 mins whilst occasionally turning chickpeas. Grill for 10
  • Sprinkle 3 tbsp of Coconut sugar or honey if you prefer. 

I’m looking forward to a few more hikes, more tested recipes, dinners with friends before the week is over!

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A long weekend of indulgence

You’re never too short of an amazing view around Hong Kong, especially when the weather has been as beautiful as it has been this summer. This weekend was full of indulgent foods and drink, sun and outdoor activities…just the way it should be.

We had originally planned to try out brunch at Boqueria this weekend but due to a few hung-over beings, we decided not to venture out too far and head down to our local tapas joint in Discovery Bay instead.

As we missed out on the champagne brunch, we thought it would only be fair to order a few watermelon Sangria’s with vodka infused watermelon chunks and mint to accompany lunch. Now these beauties are DELICIOUS yet incredibly strong so I wouldn’t advise ordering one if you’re looking to be somewhat switched on for the remainder of the day! We started off with the chilli and garlic prawns which were cooked to perfection.

Followed by Patatas Bravas, roasted asparagus with garlic and rosemary, chorizo and black truffle and aioli fries.

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I’m not one for the beef cheek and pork belly but the boys all raved on about the tenderness and flavour of these two dishes.

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After a few too many sangria jugs, we decided to go check out what all the fuss was about down on the beach and thank the gods that we did. I don’t care what age you are, a giant, steep inflatable water slide is ALWAYS a good idea! Despite having to queue for 40 minutes, it completely made my weekend!


On Sunday, we did our usual hike from Discovery Bay to Mui Wo with the dogs and set off early to beat the midday heat. Once we arrived at Mui wo, we cabbed it to Pui O to spend the day at the beach.

 

I had never been to Pui O before and had heard great things about it so you can imagine my little amount of disappointment when we turned up and the beach was as packed as a Justin Bieber concert. I don’t know what I was expecting but sewage coloured and smelling water certainly wasn’t it! It must’ve been an off day so we decided to make the most of it by renting out paddle boards and kayaks. It was my first time paddle boarding and even though I was lacking hard-core in the core strength department, it was actually a lot of fun face planting the water. After a while I got the hang of it and can confidently say it won’t be my last time on those waters.

After returning the boards, the crowds started to disintegrate so we went for lunch at Mavericks. This Hawaiian styled restaurant/bar was right up my street! Bob Marley playing through the speakers, seats made out of old skateboards, the whole vibe just reeking of summer. With the food also hitting the spot, this place will be our new beach hangout.

We started with an olive, crouton and manchego cheese nibble and my boyfriend and I split a BLT and pulled pork sandwich. Afterwards, he was still a little peckish and ordered a cookie and ice-cream desert. To our surprise, out came a bloody tower!





With a belly full of grease and regret, a simple thank you Hong Kong for being a grade A stunner this weekend!

K x

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