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?

16 April 2018

Apologies for having been missing in action last week.  We went on a very last-minute trip to Singapore.  Hubby had a business trip there and the kiddies and I jumped at the chance to join him there.  We have been to Singapore a few times and it's always a fun (and may I add easy to get around and safe) place to explore alone with the kids while hubby's at work.  We decided that this trip is mainly an 'eating' trip --to try out local eats at hawker centers.  Apart from Z's request to go to Gardens by the Bay again, we also agreed to check out places we'd never gone to on past visits.

A "supertree" at Gardens by the Bay

Getting around, we mainly took the MRT.  I tell the kids where we're going and I get them to navigate and decide which line we should take and where we should get off.  They did rather well!  

We explored Little India and stopped by for lunch at the Tekka Centre where we had a great mutton biryani (for only SGD6 / USD4.6!) and a bunch of paratha with different types of curry sauces.  We all had either barley juice or fresh coconut juice to go with our food.  The entire meal was under USD9 --all our food + the drinks!

Somewhere in Little India

Z did some research on where she wanted to go prior to our visit and she had the ArtScience Museum on her list.  As it was in the same area, we went to the museum after our visit to the Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay.  Because we didn't have time to visit all three exhibits, we chose to do only Future World and Art from the StreetsFuture World was amazing, but could be more, I thought.  We came to the end of the exhibit and were thinking, "Was that it?"  Following from our art crawl from a couple of weeks back, we decided to check out the Art from the Streets exhibit and were not disappointed.  Really interesting curation.  

One of the Future World digital installations:  "Crows," a four-minute animation that was quite mesmerizing (but made me a bit dizzy!)

Of course no trip to Singapore is ever complete without stopping by Irvin's to get our stock of salted egg chips and T2, my tea haven (and heaven)!  I have stocked up on a year's worth of tea, I think.  But now that Z has taken a liking to some of my tea, I might have to re-stock sooner!

What's happening in your neck of the woods this April?

02 April 2018

I've seen some really cool wall art around town during some jaunts with friends, but did not know that there is actually an annual street art festival (HK Walls) that's responsible for most of these.  Each spring a district is chosen to feature the artwork.  Here are a few of my favorites from this year's batch. I've included where each is located in case you ever find yourself wanting to do an art crawl and hunt for these.

1) This one was outside Burger Joys (LG/F, Tai Yik House, 27-29 First St, Sai Ying Pun).  The artist (Bo Law | Hong Kong) was still at work on this last Wed when my friend and I went, but was finished by Sat when we took the kids back.  So much detail in this one and the artist was carefully drawing each in with a paint marker!  Amazing work.

2) One of my favorites of the lot, hands down.  This one is by Gus Eagleton (Australia) and can be found on 12 Third Street (Sai Ying Pun).  Very "iconically" Hong Kong, this one --the man, the overlay of graffiti (of local "for rent" ads that one generally sees posted on walls around certain parts of town).  You could tell a lot of work went into this one, as opposed to a couple that we'd seen that were just meh.

3) My friend and I had missed this one on Wed, but my husband was a much better navigator and was able to find this one (La Cabane Wine Cellar - 97 Hollywood Road).  Artist:  ONEQ (Japan).

4) Another one of my favorites.  This one is by the side wall of Lush (21A-21B Lyndhurst Terrace, Central).  When we were there on Wed, the artist (Elsa Jean de Dieu | France/HK) was up sitting on the scaffolding working on the piece.  Though finished, the scaffolding was still up on Sat morning we were there with the kids. I love that the bubbles she incorporated into this piece ties in (a bit!) with what Lush sells (bath bombs, etc.).

5) The artists (Carol Mui and Rebecca T. Lin | HK) were still at work on this as of last Sat noon time.  I want to go back to the Naked Hub (Universal Building, 5-13 New St, Sheung Wan) for a look at the finished product just to see. I bet this one will be amazing once finished.

6)  This one by Dan Kitchener blew me away.  Just look at it... the colors, the details, the vibrance.  (The Globe - 45-53A Graham Street, Central)

7)  On a side wall of Stazione Novella (52-56 Staunton Street, Central).  I love how the art seems to just pop out at you.  Artist: Cinta Vidal | Spain

8)  Another one near Burger Joys (see #1 above).  I love how the artist (Sik1 | China) made his art relevant by tying the theme to a nearby business establishment.

9)  Alex Senna (Brazil) is the only artist in the group who has been commissioned to do two walls in this year's festival.  What an interesting choice for this low and very long wall!

We had a really fun day with the kids walking around Central, Sheung Wan, and Sai Ying Pun looking for different street art.  Kind of like a scavenger hunt.  I've included here only the ones that are part of HK Walls 2018, but there are quite a number of other wall art from previous festivals and/or from artists freely 'sharing' their art.

What do you think?

27 March 2018

Lamma, Lamma

My friend and I went to Lamma Island (南丫島) last week.  It is about a 40-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong island.  I love Lamma.  It has a very laid-back, free-spirited vibe to it.  Lots of creative types and hipsters call Lamma home.  

We took the ferry from Central (Pier 4) to Yung Shue Wan and hiked around the island to Sok Kwu Wan (Family Trail: about 4 kms) and took the ferry back from there.  There were lots of seafood restaurants near the ferry terminal (on both ends) and along the way, we saw many little shops selling crafty items, bits and bobs.  On the hike, we passed by Lo So Shing Beach (pictured below). There are also a few barbecue pits nearby.  Perfect for a day out with family and friends.

Singwa - Wed, 27 Mar 2018

The fishing village (Sok Kwu Wan)

It was a lovely hike along a relatively easy trail; very relaxing and with a lovely view of the coastline as we neared Sok Kwu Wan. I'm hoping to go back and take the kids there over the Easter break.

19 March 2018

Causeway Bay, Early Evening

I will have a friend visiting this week, so I'm hoping to take more pics around Hong Kong.  I love, love, love street photography, but I haven't done much of that lately. We might skip the more usual tourist stops (she's visited before) and hit some of the lesser-known ones this time.

This scene below was taken in Causeway Bay, in the early evening on a weekday.  People are getting off work and heading home or off to meet up with friends for dinner.  

13 March 2018

I'm loving the weather we have these days.  Sunshine, but a bit cool still... perfect hiking weather.  I want to get as much in before the weather gets hot and muggy.  I try to get the kids to come with me when they don't have school. Sometimes, though, I have to bribe them with the promise of a meal at one of their favorite restaurants afterward before they would agree to come along.

There's Easter break coming up in a couple of weeks. I'm hoping that it will still be cool enough to go on some hikes then.  Maybe we'll try some new trails; maybe we'll even head out to the outlying islands and do a couple of the trails there.

Singwa - Wed, 14 Mar 2018
Z and a friend

06 March 2018

In Full Bloom

For those who have been visiting here a while, you'll know that I love orchids.  I have eight orchid plants at the moment and five of them are in bloom; three of them in time for Chinese New Year.  Having living blooms at Chinese New Year symbolize rebirth and new growth apparently.  I'm not superstitious, but it's always nice to have blooms around the house.  I love that the orchid flowers last for months and if you take care of them well, they bloom again and again and again.


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