23 October 2018

Hiking



The weather has cooled down now and I am so looking forward to more hikes.  We haven't really gotten back to hiking regularly since the super typhoon that hit us a while back.  There were trees that had fallen that were blocking the trails. We had to climb over the felled trees, go around, or try to go under the branches in one of the trails that we did.  That was two weeks ago.  I think by now,  though, most of the trails would have been cleared.

I love it that we don't have to go far to get on a hiking trail.  Right next to where we live is one. Five minutes away from the kids' primary school is one.  A few minutes away from their current school is another.  There are plenty within the city and many more further afield (but still less than an hour away).



Singwa - Wed, 24 Oct 2018
View from The Twins



Singwa -  Wed, 24 Oct 2018



We get gorgeous views from some parts of the trails.  We get some not-so-welcome "companions" sometimes (hello, wild boars!).  Most of the time when we pass other hikers, everybody nods or says a cheery "good morning."  My friend and I chat and catch each other up.  Then we treat ourselves to a nice, refreshing bubble tea (mine without the "pearls") and lunch afterwards.  So looking forward to hiking again (but mostly to the bubble tea!).



16 October 2018

I had been drooling over this recipe for a while now and had been dying to try it.  The kids are on mid-term break this week and I thought it would be a good time to give this a go.  So full of flavor, quite easy to make.  It is a bit heavy on the tummy, though, but... I did do 30 laps in the pool this afternoon.  So.  I indulged.

Singwa - Wed, 17 Oct 2018

Singwa

Go ahead. Check out the recipe.  A word of advice:  Make sure you have plenty of room for these.  It's hard not to eat just one or even just two or even only three!  My son had six!


09 October 2018

w e d n e s d a y



I am so enjoying the cool, crisp weather that we are having now.  It's great hiking weather... sunny days with a brisk, cool breeze.  I think this is my favorite time of the year.

Life has been chugging along.  The kids will be on their mid-term break next week.  They are looking forward to being able to sleep in.  I am also looking forward to sleeping in!  I am looking forward to days with no scheduled activities, days where we can check out new dining places, days when we can perhaps explore a part of Hong Kong we haven't been to yet.  We haven't made any plans.  We'll just see how we feel and roll along...

Singwa - Wed, 10 Oct 2018


02 October 2018

My City



As with any city, there are good things and some not-so-good things. Hong Kong has been home for me now for over 20 years.  In all the time I've lived here, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.  How the city got through the super typhoon (last week's post) is but one of the reasons.  Here is a one-minute video that gives you a better picture of how quickly the city got back on its  feet.


I love how efficiently things are run. Yes, my knowing how to speak the local language helps, but even if you don't, you can still get things done pretty quickly. Food here is great and (generally) cheap.  There is the convenience of city living, yet the beaches and the mountains are very close by.  

The transportation system here is top-notch - super convenient, super accessible.  Here is another minute-long video to give you an idea. 


There are a lot more things that I love about this city that I call home, but I'll save those for future posts.  Hong Kong is a place that you'll either love or you won't.  Not much middle ground.   You either love it with a passion or you don't.  It can be overwhelming, it can be rather in-your-face. Despite the things I find frustrating here sometimes, though --e.g. the crowds, expensive (and not enough) parking spaces, air pollution, just to name some, --I am happy and proud to call Hong Kong home.

Singwa - Wed, 03 Oct 2018

What do you love about the city where you live now?

25 September 2018

Up and Running



Hong Kong was hit with a super typhoon two Sundays ago (Typhoon Mangkhut).  We knew it was coming and that it was strong.  We've had typhoons with a Signal 10 rating before. We've had typhoons that rattled and shook the huge panes of our windows. The kids had experienced typhoons that closed schools.  They look forward to those!  This is the first one, though, where they actually wished that they're in school instead and not have to be so worried about how much damage the typhoon will wreak.  This is the first typhoon where I was genuinely scared.  The building where we live was swaying (I later learned that it's actually meant to sway with strong winds, on rollers or something to better protect against strong winds and earthquakes).  Facebook and WhatsApp were full of videos and pictures of the damage --windows smashed, (construction) cranes bent, roofs blown off, big trees uprooted, floods, debris all over the place. 

Typhoon 10 was hoisted for 10 hours, after which it went down to T8 for a few more hours, before being downgraded further.  The kids were off school for three days, on account of felled trees blocking the roads, etc.  We took advantage of those days to go to a nearby neighborhood and help clean-up.  

We couldn't help much with the felled trees and the big branches, but we helped where we could. There were so much styrofoam pieces, big and small, that had been blown in from the sea.  From afar, they looked like white pebbles, but it was staggering  how much styrofoam pieces there were.  The kids, together with a few of their fellow Scouts and schoolmates set about gathering all these foam pieces into trash bags.  We came prepared with gloves and tongs.  Over two days (two hours each day), the kids managed to gather close to 15 big trash bags full of foam pieces, plastic bottles, some glass shards, and just general rubbish.


What was great, though, was seeing people pitch in where they could.  When we were there, there were other people doing the same thing. There were people going around offering bottles of water, offering trash bags. Residents passing by expressed their appreciation for the help.  There was great community spirit.


It is this community spirit and Hong Kong's can-do attitude that got the city up and running in no time. Considering the intensity of the typhoon and the devastation that it wrought, the government and the people, in general, plowed on and things are chugging along as best they can. But for some big trees / branches and debris on the roadsides yet to be collected, it's business as usual now.


12 September 2018

Life Is Like a Camera



Nothing of note seems to be going on, but for some reason, I've been busy.  Life has gone back to "normal" mode, I guess.  Kids are back in school, after-school activities have started, Scouts are back in session, errands galore...  Same old, same old.

Singwa - Wed, 12 Sep 2018


04 September 2018

Zoe's Art



Once in a while, Z gets in a mood for drawing.  She has stopped having art lessons for about 2-3 years now, but it's great to see that she hasn't lost interest altogether.  She would sometimes browse through Pinterest and get inspired and out will come her set of pens and she'd set herself down for an hour or so of quietly drawing.






She's the only one among us who is really into drawing. Maybe she gets it from my mom and dad...  In any case, I love her drawings.  She's come a long way from the little stick figures that she would draw when she was little.

28 August 2018

An All-Time Favorite



Yes, my last couple of posts have been about food.  That might have given you an inkling of how much I love food.  I'm usually game to try new places, new food.  This below, though, is  not really new.  We've been to this restaurant over the years and the food is at the top of my family's list of our favorite eats. It's nothing complicated. It's just pasta and mushroom soup, fares which you can get at any respectable Italian restaurant.  But... (finger raised), it's not just any pasta, not just any mushroom soup.  

The pasta is spaghetti with 24-month old parmesan cheese and truffle paste (tossed in a huge wheel of parmesan and cooked/infused with Bacardi rum).

 The soup is wild mushroom soup with generous truffle shavings.

That's truffle heaven!

I am aware of at least two other restaurants that offer the same (they're cheaper, too), but they just don't taste as good as what we get at Palco Ristorante.  They don't scrimp on the good stuff at Palco's. It's so good that every time we go there, all four of us always order the same thing: the pasta and the mushroom soup. Boring, I know, but we all love it so much that we don't want to miss out on them and order other things instead.  What's more is that every single time the yumminess and the satisfaction level is the lick-your-plate-clean kind. A true indulgence.


What's a dish that you've tried that would be at the top of your list of all-time favorite dishes?


21 August 2018

Drool!



One of the places we had checked out before the kids started school was this place called No Milkshake No Life.  Intriguing name, isn't it?  I wish I had taken pics of the milkshakes, but we were so busy savoring each one of our milkshakes that I'd totally forgotten to take pictures of them.  We each tried a different flavor --mixed berries, taro, peanut butter chocolate, and coffee-Oreo.  They're all pretty good, but I think my favorite was the taro.  I'm not a big fan of milkshakes; I always find them too sweet.  The ones from NMNL, though, were simply divine!  The flavor of each shake comes through really well and best of all, they're not overly sweet at all... just right.  That, in my book, makes the perfect milkshake.

Apart from the milkshakes, they serve gorgeous grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers.  Just looking at the pics of what we had when we were there makes me want to go back and get some more.  Their food has been dubbed "Instagram-worthy" by an online magazine and you can see why.  Not only do they look good, they taste pretty good as well!  That said, my one complaint was that service was rather slow. They have very limited seating inside and we had waited 40 minutes outside just to get a table. Maybe they were short of kitchen staff that day, I don't know.  Food was worth the wait, though.

Bacon grilled cheese

Crazy! Cheers! Cheese! - Melted cheese and pesto sandwiched between slices of pink bread.
Crazy, right?!

Steak fries

Will I go back? Absolutely yes!

14 August 2018

Yum!



Since we have been back, we've been using up the little time we had before school starts to check out 'new' places to eat.  New to us, that is.  One of most delightful places we'd tried is this small, really local place tucked away in Sheung Wan called Ma Sa Restaurant (孖沙茶餐).  It serves the usual cha chaan teng () fare, but what I was really interested in trying was this humble dish they have --three fried eggs (drizzled with dark soy sauce) over char siu (叉燒) slices, served on a bed of steaming white rice.  Such a simple dish, but really hearty.  What's even greater is that the entire dish costs less than HK$50 (around US$6) --and that's including an icy glass of lemon Coke!


We got there around 11:45 am and got seated right away, but around noon, people started coming in and a line was forming outside (under the blazing summer sun, in really humid conditions no less!).

If ever you are in the neighborhood, do check it out for some really local treats at a remarkable price.  Don't expect anything fancy. You might have to share a table with strangers during peak time.  It's no-frills, humble, but good value for money.


07 August 2018

I'm Back!



Well, sort of.  We've been back from Canada for a couple of weeks now and are over the jet lag.  That said, we're still pretty much in summer / holiday mode.  Taking things easy, chilling, savoring the laid back days with no scheduled activities.  School is starting next week and then we will be thrown back into a whirlwind of activities. 

Canada was lovely, as always. It's great to spend time with family, great to see all the kids having fun with the cousins, great to just chill and go on a few hikes, etc.  We did our annual blueberry-picking and put the kids in summer camp for a week. Oh, the complaints from the boys about having to be in camp! (The girls were pretty happy with their rock-climbing camp, though.)   


I'm trying to make these last few 'free' days count and have been trying to get the kids out --despite the hot and humid summer weather we are having right now.  Bribing them with cool places to eat always helps, haha!  

What have you been up to?

25 June 2018

Goodbye for now...



...until the end of July.  I will be taking a break from blogging this summer, but will be back in August.  I will still be active on my Instagram account for those of you who might want to wave hi; I promise to wave back!

Singwa - Wed, 27 Jun 2018

Have a super summer, everyone!


18 June 2018

w e d n e s d a y



We had a long weekend and it was just nice to be able to chill and spend time with the family.  We played tourist a bit and had a dim sum lunch at the Jumbo Kingdom (a floating restaurant).  After over 20 years here in Hong Kong, that was our first time to set foot there!  I'd always thought of the Jumbo as a tourist trap, but was pleasantly surprised at how nice it was.  The food was good and the service efficient.

It's funny how sometimes tourists have been to more places in your town than you yourself, isn't it?  This picture below was taken at the Man Mo Temple.  Again, this is one of those places that tourists visit when they're in town.  The only times I've been there myself were when I had friends visiting from out of town!


Singwa - Wed, 20 Jun 2018

Are there places near where you live where tourists always visit, 
but you've never been to those places yourself?


12 June 2018

w e d n e s d a y



As the school year winds down, there's so much to do still.  Z just had her graduation lunch yesterday. There's still the school concert, Celebration of Learning day, the leavers' assembly. While she looks forward to moving up and being in the same school again as J, she is sad to be leaving her current school.  The good thing, though, is that most of her friends are also going to the same school, so they're all going to still be together.

My to-do list for this month is over two pages long and every day new items are being added.  I'm just hoping to get through this month without dropping the ball ...and then it's the summer holiday!  I can't wait.

Singwa - Wed, 13 Jun 2018

Are you all set for summer holidays yet?


04 June 2018

Dragon Boat Races



The dragon boat teams have been practicing since April, but now practice sessions are in full swing.  Every weekend, the car parks in Stanley are full, even from 8 am.  You'd see people in rash guards, tanned, wet with sweat, sometimes carrying their own oars (hard core!) coming in to the coffee shop after practice to grab a cuppa.  If you are close enough, you'd hear the rhythmic beating of the drums.  It's such a treat to see the practice races and we always stop to see these dragon boaters in action whenever we can.  The actual day of the races  (Jun 18th) itself is madness.  Forget about even driving into Stanley; no parking space.  Throngs of people everywhere and it's hot, hot, hot!  Such a festive atmosphere, though, and if you don't mind the heat, it can be quite a treat.


Have you ever watched a dragon boat race?


29 May 2018

w e d n e s d a y



Summer is here... with a vengeance.  I just want to hole up at home with the AC on full blast.  It's been scorching, SCORCHING out there.  That said, I've been seeing gorgeous, clear blue skies.  No film of smog to obscure the skyline, just beautiful clarity. 

We took the kids to watch Kooza.  It was, like all Cirque du Soleil shows, amazing!  We got lucky and somehow got upgraded to seats only three rows from the stage, so we got an awesome view of the acts.  Despite how hot it was that day (thank goodness, there was AC inside the tent!), we were all happy to be out and have caught the show.


What have you been up to lately?


23 May 2018

Basil Love



I love basil.  I always have a few pots around, so that I have fresh basil on hand whenever I need it.  Earlier this year, Z wanted to earn the Planter badge (for Cub Scouts), so we cut off a stalk from one of the plants and immersed it in water for it to grow roots.  Once the roots came in, she transplanted that to a pot with soil.  It's now thriving and we've since harvested from it at least four times.  Because of the warmer (hot, really!) weather now, the basil plants are loving it.  I've since propagated four more baby basil.   Below are part of our "harvest" from a couple weeks ago...




What are some of your favorite herbs?


14 May 2018

Lemon Shrimp Pasta



Weekend activities are paring down and the kids are back to cooking again.  Z made this beautifully delicious lemon shrimp pasta (adapted from this recipe) for lunch last Saturday.  We didn't have arugula, so she used baby spinach instead.   It's light and fresh and just so yummy. Go try it.  It's very easy; Z did the entire dish by herself!





08 May 2018

My kids these days are so into online gaming, watching YouTube videos... basically constantly glued to their electronic gadgets, that it pleases me immensely to see them go back to 'basics' and play a game of chess!  I'm happy to let them have their electronic fun, as long as there are breaks and that they balance out by engaging in non-electronic stuff, like board games, going for some outdoor fun, reading, drawing (even when inspiration is drawn from Pinterest!)... basically anything non-electronic.





01 May 2018

Mint Choc Chip



Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor or a favorite cake frosting?  I do!  I love salted caramel.  I think it's the best thing ever!  If salted caramel is one of the ice cream flavors, I don't even bother looking at other flavors; I have to have salted caramel.  That said, I also love mint choc chip.  For cake frosting, though, mint choc chip trumps salted caramel, in my book.  It's less sweet and has a light, fresh flavor --just feels less sinful overall.

My daughter requested for a mint choc chip birthday cake this year.  I'd never attempted one before, but figured it shouldn't be that difficult.  I managed to find a Swiss meringue buttercream recipe for mint chocolate chip and it was divine!  Divine because it was light and right and just...fresh.  (Side note: If you've ever tried Swiss meringue buttercream, you won't ever want to go back to regular buttercream ever. Trust me on this.)  Instead of regular chocolates, I added Andes Mints instead and that absolutely enhances the mint chocolate-ness of the frosting. I added some fresh mint leaves from our plant and some pastel chocolate 'rocks' to finish off.
I've since realized that not everyone likes mint or even mint chocolate.  Do you like mint chocolate chip as a flavor in anything?  

24 April 2018

I showed you bits of Singapore in black and white last week.  Here is the Lion City this week -- in color this time!


1) The Cloud Forest Conservatory at Gardens by the Bay.  I think if you visit only one place in Singapore, this has to be it.  A very cool (figuratively and literally) respite from the Singapore heat.  It's like stepping in to a different dimension. Cool mists, beautiful greens all around.

2) Marina Bay.  It is such a beautiful area around here.  This is just across from the Gardens by the Bay.  In this complex, you have the Marina Bay Sands and the ArtScience Museum, as well as countless high-end boutiques and shops inside the mall.

3) Peranakan Place.  I love this place. It has kept the look and feel of the early shophouses from years past.


4/5)  Orchard Road.  The main shopping thoroughfare. 



No post about Singapore is ever complete without featuring some of its food.  Below is Singapore laksa... my mouth waters just thinking about it! It's slightly spicy, coconut-y and just all kinds of yummy.

Clockwise from upper top left:  Hainanese chicken rice, pasta carbonara, popiah, rojak
You cannot go to Singapore and not try Hainanese chicken rice. You can easily get it at the hawker centers or food courts around town.  The pasta is in there only because Z insisted on getting it.  No other reason.  Popiah --my favorite of the four featured here. I can have it every meal!  Rojak - my hubby loves it. I think it's an acquired taste.

Would you try one of these dishes?  Which one/s?



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