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20 Things We Are Grateful For

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Albeit this being a post later than Thanksgiving day, there are always things Sophia and I are grateful for - everyday, in the moment, and radiating from the existence as who we are today.

1. Good health.
Experiencing days where I can wake up, feel fresh, breathe right and not have any pains or deformities in my body is a blessing. Many of us take our well-being for granted, but being healthy to fully live your days uninterrupted by bodily discomforts, is something worth celebrating, don't you think?

2. Family
Because there's no one else in this world who loves you more and you care about more than family. And because they are the reason you fight for most of the things in life.

3. Colleagues-Friends
When you start working, it's hard to draw the line between colleagues and friends. What do you call the person who sits two desks away from you but with whom you've also spent the weekend having an epic drunk sleepover with? No matter how shitty a work day is, frolleagues are only a skype chat away.

4. Happy Pets
Bailey and my hamster starts off my day with their happy faces. And bailey will cover me in morning kisses and lots of love for the rest of the day. I come home from work, I see bailey and I feed her and give her cuddles, then suddenly it's like my life has a purpose other than creating excel reports.

5. Love
When you have someone who takes care of your needs, who helps to wash the dishes when you've had a long day, who helps to share the weight of shopping bags, of overwhelming thoughts, of late night chats and gossips, of best movies in the cinema, of troubles, sick nights and healthy days, pots of laughter, of dreams, patience, understanding, compromise, trust, and support. I am so grateful to have found the love that I need.

6. Coffee
Don't know how else I would have survived 9 months of office life without this godsent drink.

7. Happy & content days
I know how they say that being happy is an attitude. Some days, you have the attitude and some days you don't. I'm grateful for the days when something just clicks in my head, and no matter what troubles try to break me down, I still carry a smile and fluffy warmness in my heart - because everything is good the way it is, and I am happy.

8. Witnessing kind acts
Some days, Hong Kong can really get up my nerves. When I am cramped into someone's armpit in a crowded MTR, or when a cashier lady is rude even when I'm the one who's paying,  I feel the fumes burning in my body. But sometimes, once in a while, I see some goodness in people. Like when the young man stands up from his comfortable seat to offer it to the old woman, or when a middle aged woman offers her place in the bus queue to a man in clutches. These little acts of kindness ignites hope and warmness.

9. A good song
It's not everyday that you find a song so good that you just have to loop and reloop for 3 days straight until it no longer appeals to you. When such a discovery is made, I am more than grateful.

10. Home
Paying rent sucks. But having a place to stay, with a kitchen, a bathroom, a bed and enough space to store my belongings - this is a blessing. Also I am super grateful for the supply of warm water during winter days. Like seriously.

11. Fulfilling goals
It was one of my goals moving to Hong Kong and settling down, I'm grateful I took the risk and chance to come over here, some days are tough, but I don't regret this decision at all.

12. New Experiences
Ever since I moved over, I've embraced trying more new things and going to different places. I never got the chance when I was younger, so now at this time in my life and the world is so small- experiencing new things is always something to try. You should at least try something new once.

Travelling is another part of my new experiences challenge, I love going to new countries and see how people live culturally and just enjoy this experience. In December we are going to Guilin for the first time ever, we are pretty excited!

14. Supporting Myself
Working means I have enough to support myself for now which makes me feel the most independent and a grown up, paying rent and bills suck but it's nice to not have to ask for things.

15. Learning
It sounds super geeky I know, but I really enjoy learning- I want to practice and better myself, learning and having great friends that teach me mandarin ;) also learning new skills is always a good thing.

16. Food
This is pretty obvious, but I am so grateful for food, also even more grateful that Hong Kong has so many varieties of food to choose from,

17. Parks
I think Hong Kong has some of the best parks I've ever seen, it's always nice to go for a walk and just breathe in the fresh air :)

18. Books 
Reading a book takes you to a different world, I love sitting down and reading a good book, there's so many to choose from to!

19. Lazy Days
Going to work all week can be pretty draining, so I love a good lay in and lazy day on the weekends, some times, you just need a lazy day at home!

20. City Living
It gets a bit hectic at times but I really appreciate living in a place where things are so convenient, food, travel everything is right at my fingertips.

Cafe Je T'aime review

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tucked away in the little old streets of Sheung Shui, you would definitely not notice this place. But inside, you are taken away with the intricate decor of this place- reminds me of a cute little cafe in my hometown in the UK.

Foodwise, there's only two dishes, so this place is definitely a coffee and cake chill out spot. My friend ordered the white mocha, and banana chocolate cake. I had the orange hot chocolate and tiramisu. The hot chocolate was delicious, definitely reminded me of a Terry's chocolate orange, the desserts that we had were really good too.

did we love it? Yes, the desserts and drinks were so fresh and creamy, and this was such a good place to have a good old natter without being asked to leave because of people queuing outside. One place in Sheung Shui that is packed with people! I'd definitely recommend and come back to this place for another good cup of hot goodness!
blushes- 7/10 (I'd love to see some more food dishes)

Thai Prawn Pad Thai

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I've made this dish twice now, and each time I add different veggies, so feel free (like with majority of my 'recipes' to mix the ingredients up, you should always experiment with food!) I think this dish is pretty simple, it's mostly the preparation that will take you longer!

What you will need (let's call it the basics):
Two packs of Noodles of your choice- E.g. rice noodles, egg noodles
Two tablespoons of Thai Fish Sauce
One teaspoon of Light Soya Sauce
A few drops of Sesame Oil
Half a teaspoon of Dark Soya Sauce
One lime
Vegetables (onions, beansprouts, peppers, etc)

For garnishing:
Chilli Flakes

  1. First boil and drain your noodles as per the instructions, as I used rice noodles, I put some oil into a metal bowl, added hot boiling water, covered the noodles and soaked for 5-7 minutes (till soft)
  2. Then, marinate the prawns, add a teaspoon of thai fish sauce, and half a teaspoon of soya sauce, squeeze the juice of half a lime and add in the garlic. (If you wanted more flavour to infuse the prawns, leave it for a few hours/overnight- essentially the longer the better)
  3. Now, while you wait for the prawns to marinate, chop up all your veggies into thin strips.
  4. After this, heat up your frying pan, add some oil and sizzle your chopped onions first, then add the beansprouts, peppers and prawns. After a few minutes, add in your noodles and other vegetables. 
  5. Here, you add the flavouring to your noodles- add the rest of the light soya sauce, thai fish sauce, dark soya sauce, some salt, and sugar then a drops of the sesame oil.
  6. Finally, serve up! Add a sprinkle of peanuts and chilli flakes, use the rest of your lime here, as well as some coriander (optional) for that fresh crunch and kick. 

Dessert @ Oddies

Wednesday, November 19, 2014
'Dr Oddie' $52
On Saturday, we explored around Hong Kong Island, as Michelle, had mentioned this place to me. After good old google maps, we spotted this tucked away on a side street. This place does a mix of Western and Chinese fushion- Italian ice cream with traditional Chinese toppings (egg waffles!) The shop is teeny tiny, as most HK shops are, it had enough room for two people to squeeze in and place an order.
  I went for a 'Dr Oddie'- Italian soft gelato, with ginger, chrysanthemum jelly, ginger biscuits for the crunch and chrysanthemum soaked pears, sprinkled with raspberry crisps and with the final injection of caramel sauce. The presentation of it looked amazing (yes, it had melted quite a bit when I took this picture ;) ) with the special injection in the side- definitely doctor style!

did we love it? The ice cream was so soft and creamy, the caramel sauce really balanced out the spiciness of the ginger jelly, as I'm not the biggest fan of ginger flavoured food, this was delicious for me! It does get a bit sickly towards the end, so I think two people could share this dessert. For a HK dessert, it is on the pricey side, not surprising as it is HK Island but I will definitely go back for more! 
blushes: 7.5/10 

Where to find it:

Shop 1F, G/F, 149 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai 

Penang Food & Sights: Day 1 & 2

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Uchi Coffee (屋子咖啡 ) - Japanese Dessert & Coffee House : Review

If I could choose a superpower, it would be the ability to make good dessert. Because good dessert can magically turn a frown upside down :)

Uchi Coffee is a tiny and sweet coffee house located in the not-so-often-visited area of Tai Wai (大圍). Tai Wai seems to be quite popular for its desserts actually, since we know of at least three dessert places here that can satisfy those of you with sweet-tooth.

Uchi Coffee impressed us so much the first time we were here that we went back for more a week later. 

The design of this place resonates a Japanese minimalist aura, with mainly wooden architecture and cute utensils that make the dish even more desirable. Although this cafe is quite small in size, we didn't feel too clustered or overwhelmed (like some HK cha-chan-tengs can make you feel), and it's definitely a place where you can relax with a cup of coffee and chat with your friends.

Are you ready for some deeelicious back-tingling climatic food porn?!

Hazelnut crumble soufflé
did we love it? Yes! Baked fresh when ordered, this soufflé is fragrant & literally melts in your mouth. If you want to order this yummy dessert, make sure you go on a free evening as you'll have to wait around 15-20 minutes for them to prepare this.
blushes: 8/10

Strawberry & cookies waffle
did we love it? It was okay. We wouldn't say this is their best dessert. The waffle tastes average, the strawberries weren't very sweet either - but was balanced out by the cookies. Though I must say it is a pretty-looking dessert. 
blushes: 5.5/10 

Creme brulee
did we love it? Yes this was a decent creme brulee. With the contrast of the burnt caramel on the top and the rich custard base on the bottom, this creme brulee was made with love & care.
blushes: 7/10

Ice cream coffee
did we love it? The presentation of this was done fabulously, like a coffee cocktail. The coffee was strong, with hints of natural coffee bitterness. The ice cream gave it that natural sweet kick, without making it over the top. So if you enjoy stronger coffees, this one is for you! 
blushes: 7/10

Layered mango pancake
did we love it? Yes and no. This pancake carried just the right amount of sweetness and each mouthful made me feel good but sinful at the same time. After a few bites I felt like the cream was too heavy for my own good. But if you are a cream-hoarder, then this is the dessert for you.
blushes: 6.5/10

Caramel almond parfait
did we love it? Absolutely! This might be my favourite dessert at Uchi so far. Never had a parfait before this day, but will definitely be ordering more in the future. This beautiful frozen dessert enters your mouth smoothly with its creamy texture, whilst carrying the fragrant aroma and taste of caramel topped with crunchy almonds.  
blushes: 8.5/10

Uchi Coffee also serves full meals and teas. The meals are satisfying but not particularly impressive, whilst the teas are very refreshing and leaves a sweet taste in your mouth. So we would definitely recommend you to go to Uchi House in the afternoon for a dessert and a lovely tea break. :)

Where to find it:
49 Chik Shun Street, Tai Wai, Hong Kong, N.T

Review: Lush You've been Mangoed!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

So, I've used 'you've been mangoed'  a few times now and I have noticed that it doesn't receive much love. But when I saw it in the lush shop, only two left, I knew I had to snap them up. 'You've been mangoed' is traditionally a bath melt, but I've always used this as a shower soap/ gel. This has a powerful lemon, grapefruit oil scent, which is personally my favourite type of scent from lush. I wish I could bottle this and use it as perfume- I'm that obsessed with this scent. This also contains a lot of natural essential oils, so it does leave your skin feeling moisturised and smooth. I would definitely repurchase this (and I have!) it's definitely my favourite lush product! I would highly recommend any lemon lovin' people to try this and be thoroughly impressed ;)

Have you ever tried this? What is your favourite lush product? 

5 colours on her...nails

Thursday, October 30, 2014
left to right- Essie 'fiji', Barry M 'Sugar Apple', Sinful Colours 'Nirvana', Revlon 'chic', Essie 'Island Hopping'

Another autumn advantage is changing up the nail varnish to cooler tones, also when you're stuck for choices, why not choose all five? I chose a gradient from lighter warmer colours getting to the cooler ones for autumn.

Mocktail Time- Mojitos

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mojitos are definitely one of my favourite cocktail drinks, minty and refreshing. But as much as I love a good cocktail, a girl's gotta go to work the next day- so mocktails are the next best thing for me. A fancy drink all the same, without getting the 'asian flush', plus if you're not of drinking age- you can try this too!

What you need (for one drink):
Lemonade (about 300ml- depending on your glass size)
White granulated sugar
Mint leaves (10-15)
One lime

  1. First wash your mint leaves (always wash your vegetables, herbs, etc!) and put them along with two teaspoons of sugar (if you're using soda water/ tonic water- you need more sugar), squeeze half a lime into the glass, then use the other half to put it in. 
  2. Next, use a spoon or flat ended stick to mix these ingredients together- this infuses the flavour.
  3. Then, add some ice to the glass (you can also crush some ice as well) and top it off with your lemonade.
  4. Top it off with some left over mint leaves, and pop in a straw- ta da, a delicious drink to enjoy. 

Chargrilled Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

When it comes to cooking, I like to keep it simple and easy. This is super quick and easy to make and tastes delicious. Also you don't have to follow the ingredients that I've used, I literally just threw whatever I had in my fridge together. Mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken, prawns, scallops etc can be some suggestions that I have to switch up this recipe.

What you need (makes one portion- double the ingredients to make two etc):
Half a red onion
One pepper (or any other vegetable you wish to use!)
Olive oil
Extra Virgin olive oil

  1. First, heat up a non stick pan. Wash your pepper (or vegetables) and cut them up into big chunks. Dry them off with a paper towel and put them into the pan. (Don't add any oil to the pan). Keep the pan on a medium heat, and toss the vegetables every few minutes
  2. Put some water into your saucepan and you can use the kettle to boil the water so it saves time. Add some salt and olive oil to the water, then your spaghetti. Stir your spaghetti every few minutes to prevent them from sticking.
  3. Then, by this point your vegetables should be nicely grilled- red onions are perfect for this because they have an extra sweet flavour, add some salt and pepper to season.
  4. Drain your spaghetti- eight minutes is a good time, as the spaghetti should be al dente. Use cold water to wash your spaghetti then add some extra virgin olive oil to it. 
  5. Finally, combine your spaghetti to the vegetables, add a spoonful of pesto (more if you want it to taste stronger) and mix thoroughly.
  6. After taking some pictures of your wonderful creation to put on instagram ;) enjoy!


Monday, October 20, 2014
Just a random thought as I was lying in bed last night. I am so so grateful for everything that I have at this moment of my life, and for everything and everyone that I've had/have in my life that has made me who I am today. I am one of the lucky ones, who has always had most things easy. Shelter, food, love, just enough money, a job I don't hate, friends I could trust, a loving and understanding mum, a boyfriend who takes care of me, pets I love with all my heart.

what more could I ask for?

It's important to stop and think of what one is grateful for every day. Life is actually great, when you just stop and look around.


My favourite face cleanser so far - Lush Angels on Bare Skin

Sunday, October 19, 2014
What beauty product can you not do without? Is it the mighty eyeliner? Or is it your favourite lipstick that you won't leave home without? Or the life-saving night cream that leaves your skin lovely and hydrated for the next day?

For me, I'm a strong believer that when it comes to the face - the most important feature is good skin. That's why eventhough I am quite a careful spender, I'm more generous when it comes to spending on skin care products and food.

source: Lushusa.com

Recently I've become more and more conscious of using products that are more natural and are kinder to the world, i.e. don't do mean tests on animals. Body Shop fits this, but it seems their products aren't suitable for me. Kiehl's is pretty good too, but is a bit on the pricier end. I've recently started trying out Lush' products and I'd like to share my find with you.

Lush stores do have a somewhat overwhelming smell when you walk pass them, which is what drove me away several times in the past. But once i went inside and my nose got accustomed to the smell, it was actually quite nice...

I've heard both good and bad stuff about the Lush Angels on Bare Skin face cleanser. The good being it's great at cleansing whilst at the same time leaving the skin feeling smooth and not dry. The bad being it's quite a pain in the butt to use.

I wanted to find a cleanser that can leave my face soft and balanced for the dry winter weather, and also something that isn't harsh and chemical-filled, so I gave the Angels on Bare Skin a go. I have to admit it's not the best cleanser to use when you're in a rush to get ready for work in the morning; You have to nip some of the clay from the box, plop it onto your palm, add some water to make a paste, groan in frustration as most of the mixture runs off your palm and disappears into the sink, repeat the process again... Sounds like a pain right? But don't turn away yet!! Because the hassle is worth it. I don't think I've ever used a face cleanser that left my face feeling as soft and supple as these Angels. They feel good when you rub it on your skin too, the grainy texture of ground almonds works well as an exfoliator, but at the same time doesn't dry up and leave blemishes on your skin. The smell is quite calming too. My face felt clean, heavenly soft and even slightly hydrated. My skin is now ready to face the cruel winter :) Price-wise, 100g of Angels on Bare Skin cost HKD110, which is not expensive in Hong Kong standard.

My score for the Angels on Bare Skin: 8.5/10

I'd also recommend the yummy smelling Blueberry based face mask: Catastrophe Cosmetic.

All healthy eaters would know that blueberries are awesome because they are packed with antioxidants. Designed to soothe and calm, putting the blueberry mask on your face means preventing disasters like break-outs and undesired blemishes (hence the name). Overall I thought this mask was gentle and had a relaxing effect on my skin, it was also easy to apply and dried quickly (less than 10 minutes). However, I don't think this was perfect - it could have been a bit more hydrating.

My score for the Catastrophe Cosmetic: 7/10

Regular skin care is crucial to having healthy and beautiful skin. Drinking lots of water throughout the day is also the best way to maintain that moisture and glow. Keep it up, girls ;)

3CE Liquid Eye Liner

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
There's nothing better than a winged eye liner and a bold lip look. A few weeks ago we were browsing around the I.T store in Hong Kong and saw the '3CE' make up stand. We sauntered over and spotted some rather good bargains for the price.

'3CE' is a relatively new brand for me, originated from South Korea and has a pretty stocked range from brushes to make up remover at affordable prices. I swatched the liquid eye liner on my hand and was pretty impressed with the colour and finish.

$128 dollars later, the eyeliner was in my hands. Now, application wise, it is so easy to use, if you're an eyeliner noob like moi, this is your best friend. Easy to apply, applies pretty evenly even with the dodgy shaky hand. However, I applied this on Saturday around 9am and throughout the day I noticed that it went a bit patchy and smudged at the sides. 

Overall- I wouldn't purchase this again, I think there are better eyeliners on the market but 3CE if your formulation improves, I'd definitely repurchase this. For now, I think I'll stick to my Dollywink eyeliner. 

8 Benefits of Having a Pet Dog

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Meet Bailey. A tiny dog with a huge personality.

She's almost 5 months old, and in this short time that she has joined our family, she has brought us endless joy. Here are some of the many perks having Bailey (and I believe any pet dog) brought us:

1. You learn how to love unconditionally. 
Having a dog doesn't just mean a furry friend to cuddle with and accompany you on rainy days, raising a dog carries as much responsibility as bringing up a child. You have to make sure she's well-fed, clean,  gets all her injections and deworming done, has a comfortable bed, is mentally healthy...  It takes a lot of time, a lot of trips to the vet, and buckets of love to raise a happy dog.

2. Your dog will show you what love is.
She will be ecstatic to see you every time you come home - even if you've only left for 15 minutes to get some groceries.  She won't turn away no matter how long you've left her alone at home or even if you've taken away her favourite toy.

3. She'll turn your frown upside down.
Having a bad day? Just looking into Bailey's big brown eyes and watching her playfully nibble on her toys makes me smile. Your dog's bright personality and adorable curiosity will make your day.

4. She will be your best friend.
Whether you are watching TV, making dinner, going for a evening stroll, your dog will be happy to accompany you. What's more, she won't judge what you're wearing, or if you're having a bad hair day - she's just glad she can spend another minute with you.

5. You will have a healthier lifestyle.
It was difficult having Bailey at first, because she would unfailingly get up punctually at 6 every morning, and start yelping. Gradually, waking up at 6 meant I had to go to bed earlier. Now I maintain a healthier sleep schedule thanks to my dog's very reliable biological clock.

6. A cleaner house.
Say what?! Doesn't having a dog mean more dog hair flying around, more poop and pee to clean up, more food and water spills?  Bailey is a short-haired chihuahua, so she doesn't shed much hair. But she still does -so it means we use the dust-roller more, we wipe the floors more, we tidy up after ourselves so nothing is left on the floor that Bailey shouldn't be chewing on. The house is overall cleaner and more hygienic. Oh and a house-trained dog will not pee and poop around the house, so there's no issue there.

7. Less stressed.
Studies show that playing with a dog can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine - which can help make you happier and less stressed!

8. You become a better person.
Having Bailey has taught my family and I how to be more patient, more loving, selfless and responsible. I've seen ways my family treat Bailey that surprised and warmed my heart.

Homemade Grapefruit Mocktail

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This recipe is delicious, quick and easy to make when you want something a bit fancier/ trying to impress some friends at dinner.

What you need (makes one drink):
One grapefruit (or 150ml grapefruit juice)
150 ml of lemonade/ sparkling water
A spoonful of sugar/ algave syrup (optional)
One glass

For garnishing:
One slice of lemon
Mint leaves (optional)

  1. First off, fill your glass with ice, you can crush it- (great for anger management- put your ice cubes in a towel and smash it with a rolling pin if you have one, or just against the wall- think like hulk!) or leave them whole.
  2. Next, if you're using a fresh grapefruit like me, squeeze the juice out and pour it over the ice- one grapefruit should fill the glass half full.
  3. Then top it up with your lemonade/ sparkling water - if you are using sparkling water I'd recommend adding the sugar/syrup because it will be sour. The lemonade already has sugar in it, but you can add the sugar to your desired taste.
  4. Finally, slice up a lemon to decorate your glass and top up with mint leaves if you have some, pop a straw in and you're ready to sip it up! Enjoy!

P.S- you could add some alcohol in this too- rum would be a good pair with this!

Pucker Up With DIY Homemade Lip Scrub

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Now that cooler weather is approaching, I can feel my lips starting to crack and peel. I use lip balms occasionally (Burt's Bees, Loccitane), but this is my first time trying lip scrub.

Lip scrubs exfoliate the dry, dead skin on your lips so they can become more moist and plump.

If you want great lips, you can start making your own lip scrub at home with ingredients you already own.

Today I experimented with a very simple recipe: Vaseline and Sugar.

Vaselin and Sugar Lip Scrub Recipe:

1. Grab 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vaseline

2. Mix the two together in a small container (I recycled a contact lense case). Use a toothpick to mix. The end result should look something like this:

3. Apply a dab of the mixture onto your lips, gently massage for a minute

4. Rinse off with warm water

5. Say hello to your gorgeous and moisturised lips

before: dry chapped lips

after: happy moisturised lips

Very simple yet very effective. Go on, give it a try :)