The first leg of this whirlwind adventure was absolutely incredible. I could not even have dreamed of a better start.
Having never been to Asia, I was a bit apprehensive. I'm not quite sure what I expected but there was that feeling that it could all go terribly wrong and I would hate it and set the trip off on a bad note.
Luckily, I loved it. It has an amazing atmosphere and there is so much to see and do all the time!
We stayed at Langham Place (which now comes highly recommended by me). I felt that it was quite centrally located to the places we visited. The Metro system is incredibly easy to navigate and I discovered that nearly everything in HK is people-friendly. It seemed that everything ran very
efficiently and hygienically, thus placing me in the nearest thing to heaven I could imagine.
Our first night we dined at restaurant 369. It's nothing fancy but the food is amazing. Going to this restaurant is a tradition for Justin's family - whenever they go to HK, that's the first food stop. And rightly so. If you ever end up going, I highly recommend the steamed pork buns and spring rolls.
The following morning we had breakfast at Jasmine Garden (aptly named) and wandered through the flower markets, the bird market and an incredible fresh food market. Lunch was, of course, McDonalds (a tradition that must be maintained at all costs!) followed by a trip up the world's longest escalator (which we disembarked half way to have a beer at Cochrane's Pub) before heading back to the hotel for a late dinner and even later flight to Helsinki.
We arrived on the night of the 21st and left the night of the 22nd. So we had one night, one full day and half a night (as we boarded our flight late on the 22nd). HK was a blur of ferry trips, Metro rides, shopping and exploring. It was definitely the right place to start this trip and I absolutely cannot wait to go back and visit again.
working the chopsticks. this also just happens to be the most delicious thing ever: steamed egg custard bun.
the 'big and tasty' was true to its name.
... And I promise that Justin's Mum will feature in photos about Helsinki. She looked particularly cute in her snow coat; you'll see.
I'm going to write a proper post on Hong Kong shortly but I thought I'd better keep updating where we are, in case of emergency and you need to find me.
"Ah, she was last seen somewhere in Finland...?"
Speaking of emergencies, we just had a fire alarm go off in the building. There is some construction work downstairs but it seemed to be a false alarm. Either way, I was clothed (thermals included!) with snow coat and passports in hand in under 5 minutes.
Who do you want around in an emergency?
I got this.
As for right now, it's about 9am Helsinki time and still pitch black outside. It's only just started to lighten outside, but only slightly. So, so cool. I had a shower and washed my hair this morning, the first time since I began this trip. It was Oil City and I thought 'Eff this -10 bizniss, I'm doin' it!' So I did. Then I blow-dryed it. So my dramatics were wasted. You'll be pleased to know it's uber shiny now!
I just had a delicious breakfast downstairs and am now chilling in my room, backing up cameras and updating social media. You're welcome.
Oh, and also - it's Christmas eve and it's snowing. Actual snowflakes are falling from the sky. I was eating my breakfast watching the snowflakes whirl around outside. This place really is heaven and I'm pushing a hard sale with Justin to think about us moving here in a couple of years.
** This post was written at 4am this morning and it is now 11.50pm. I have a problem with timing...
Hello blog world! Things got a wee bit crazy, hence the silence around here, but that is life!
My sickness has morphed into full-blown coughing, sniffling, all round patheticness unfortunately. I had to work a pretty intense weekend, and combined with the family Xmas party, things got worse before they got better. They are getting better though, which is the bonus here!
The Xmas party was interesting to say the least but fun nonetheless. Santa was pretty nice to me this year!
Working a 9 hour shift in retail on the Sunday, not so nice. More of a nightmare really. I was so relieved when that shift had finished - I could not wait to put my feet up!! Thankfully it was my last before the holiday so I've had this week to get better health-wise.
I spent a couple of days this week with lovely girls from university and I am so, so glad that I did. I love finding people that I click with and I love being able to spend time with people without having to worry about the pettiness that sometimes seeps into friendships.
This is too deep for 4am, ha! I'm waiting for episodes of Survivor to finish downloading onto my external hard drive to take away with us ;) but don't tell anyone...
I'm excited to document this journey on the blog and hope you're all excited to somewhat tag along! I think I've mentioned that I shall both write and share pictures, and also share content on my YouTube account if my video editing skills improve! Any tips/suggestions in that area?!
Hope everyone is well and happy at the moment. Enjoy these few pics I snapped when I was in Manly on Tuesday! Any Great Gatsby fans recognise the building? ;)
Well folks, I'm sick. I'm not sure if this is a blessing or a curse. If sickness was inevitable, it's perhaps a good thing it happened before we went away. I still have a little bit of time to kick this before we go!
Speaking of going, I loved everyone's tips on my last post! So helpful -- thank you! I've taken note of all of them and really appreciate it :-)
I wanted to share our itinerary in the hopes that you guys can recommend wonderful things to do and see in each city! So, starting from the top...
Christmas will be in Helsinki, and I've been told the Christmas markets in Helsinki are amazing. New Years will be in Bruges and I am so excited to have a really casual New Years. I'm not one for big crowds and crazy shenanigans, which is why Europe in the dead of winter is ideal because it's basically tourist free ;)
So what are your suggestions? I would love to hear any places that you've visited and loved, or visited and hated!
And don't worry, we are already doing a Sound of Music tour in Austria. Got it covered guys! ;)
My holiday is starting to feel more and more real. It's less than 2 weeks away now. And before you all ask, no, I have not attempted to pack my suitcase. I shall leave that until the last minute and then have heart failure when I realise I can't bring everything.
I'll probably film that, put it on YouTube, become an overnight sensation, make millions of dollars and need years of therapy.
In the meantime, for all of those worldly travellers out there (Bobbi, I'm mainly looking directly at you and raising my eyebrows suggestively), what are the necessities? What should I absolutely take that I probably wouldn't think of?
And I feel like I should mention that I'm pretty aware I need my toothbrush and feminine hygiene. And deodorant. And underwear. And my Mary Poppins umbrella.
I'm not much of a traveller and have never experienced anything this... big. Six weeks is a long ass time and I feel like there will be things that I will wish so badly that I had packed.
So, help me. What should I definitely not leave behind? And suggestions for books to read? And what exactly do I need for long haul flights in the cabin?!
Oh and just to give you an idea of how I pack... (I really am going to film me packing my suitcase. You'll all die of laughter at how easily I freak out.)
What a crazy week! I am so proud to announce that I have the world's cutest nephew, born on Dec. 5 at 8.03pm. His name is Christopher and I'm dedicating an entire post to him reeeeeal soon.
Until then, though, it's time to get even more Christmas than I already am. Didn't think it was possible? Well I'm here to prove you wrong. Because Niina is a babe after my own heart, she started this Christmas tag and it is my duty, nay honour, to do this tag. You're all so, so welcome.
The Grinch of course! It's whimsical, sometimes sad, mostly funny and all round great.
2. What's your favourite Christmas colour?
I feel like red is the only safe answer.. I'm lucky in that it goes with my skin tone just amazingly. The classic red-and-green combo is pretty good too, but silver and white are fun too.
3. Do you like to stay in your PJ's or dress up for Christmas?
I stay in my PJ's most all day every day anyway... But Christmas Eve is all about the PJ's, as is Christmas morning, but Christmas day is all about dressing up. And by dressing up I mean adding reindeer ears to my flashing Christmas shirt...
4. If you could buy one person a present this year who would it be?
I just think he is so unappreciated. The reindeer get carrots and he gets a glass of milk and a cookie. What about that travel book he's been eyeing off all year? Or that new Kindle? Santa wants presents too!
5. Do you open your gifts on Christmas eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning. It takes all of my willpower though. Christmas eve is just the most tempting time!
In all honesty though, Justin's mum made me open a present early this year (yes, already). I had no choice!
6. Have you ever built a gingerbread house?
I have indeed. My last gingerbread house was more of a gingerbread tent but that's okay, it's a part of life. My first ever gingerbread house was amazing though - it was so covered in candy that no one believed it was a gingerbread house any longer.
7. What do you like to do on your Christmas break?
Read, sleep, swim. This Christmas though I should ideally be frolicking in snow, sitting by a fireplace, shopping the Finnish Christmas markets, reading a good book and drinking some unusual beverage.
I AM SO EXCITED.
8. Any Christmas wishes?
Please, please, please let there be snow on Christmas day. PLEASE.
9. Favourite Christmas smell?
Roast lamb in the oven on Christmas day. You know ish is getting real when you smell the lamb.
10. Favourite Christmas meal or treat?
May have already answered this question! Although, can't really look past candy canes. At no other point in the year is it acceptable to eat candy canes.
11. What's your favourite holiday song?
ALL OF THEM. I am particularly loving Michael Buble's rendition of White Christmas featuring Shania Twain (weird but wonderful combo) but my old school favourite is It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Do the tag (or the Grinch really will steal Christmas) and let me know!
THIS IS THE WEEK! In 2 days time, there will be a baby nephew. My SIL is going into hospital tomorrow night and is being induced, so Wednesday is the day.
I only wish I smoked cigars.
I want to sit in the waiting room, with my bow tie on, smoking cigars and then pacing anxiously and have the nurse come out and say "It's a ____!"
Except that I'm not a man, I don't wear bow ties, I don't smoke cigars and I know the sex of the baby. I will still probably pace anxiously. I want to kick up a stink in the waiting room and demand something ridiculous. I'm working on it.
Alternatively I want to sneak into the delivery room and peak out from a cupboard or something. Preferably from a good angle though... As in, I don't want to see him being born. Sorry little buddy but that's just not cool. I don't think that's likely to happen though.
Regardless, I will be taking oodles of photos so stay tuned! (That is, if I'm allowed to share them..?)
The past week has been much preparation for Europe. We leave on December 21st and will be gone for 6 weeks. I'll be posting some pictures of the packing when I get around to it... You should presently see my room. I can't quite see the floor anymore. It's like a game... Sort of... Except it isn't fun... Anyways, enjoy!
Justin and I have recently discovered the joys of 24 hour Kmart. We love it. We are both night owls and relatively anti-social so shopping when it's really late (1am) when there's no one around is perfect for us. Jack accompanied us one of those nights and got the world's cuddliest teddy bear and then we decided to impulse buy a bean bag and 200L of beans. Let me just say that it was interesting getting those beans into the bag... The good news is we were successful and now have a really comfy bean bag chair!
The first Christmas tree I saw up this year :-) the lights were flashing and in my head there were carols playing. Speaking of Christmas, everyone meet my snow jacket. I am just a tad excited about it and thus am wearing it in not-so-cool conditions because I'm cool. You're likely to see many photos just like this whilst I'm on my holiday. Hope you're all excited about that!
And to finish the week, I saw a beautiful car the other day! Very old school and vintage. I was quite jealous of whoever the owner was! And last but not least, I snapped a shot of this on my way to work the other day. See if you can spot the problem ;)
Hope everyone has had a lovely week! Stay tuned for baby updates! I'll most likely be spamming the crap out of my Twitter and Instagram (links below) so follow along :-) I shall also be doing a bit of a haul post soon of all the stuff I bought today (A LOT!) so get excited yeeeeeah?
Before I get stuck into this post, two very important notes.
Firstly, thank you for the generous comments on my last post. You should all be very pleased to know that Justin has been walking around with a slight swagger and his chest puffed out since I posted it and (foolishly) told him about all the praise he was getting for the ring.
Secondly, this was meant to go up yesterday (being the 1st and all...) except that I wasn't at my house last night and I had a 21st and I didn't take my laptop and thus, today it is. So without further ado, let's all sing...
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
the littlest reindeer :-)
For those that are religious, Christmas has a very specific point. For those that aren't, a la me, Christmas means something a little different. As much as I love the presents and decorating the tree and singing to carols, at the end of the day Christmas is about being with people you love. It's about celebrating what is good in life and rolling around in your presents.
With that in mind, I thought I'd create a little list of 24 things that bring me joy and that I am thankful for, one for each day until Christmas.
2. My health.
3. My brother.
4. My dog + Justin's dog.
5. Mothers-in-law and fathers-in-law.
6. Opportunities to travel.
7. The ability to give back to people.
8. Books. Seriously.
9. The chance to say 'I love you'.
11. Pots of tea.
13. My car.
14. My bed.
15. Being able to see. I think I would hurt so much if I lost my sight; reading is so important to me.
16. Stories you hear from your grandparents.
17. Well-fitting shoes.
18. The scent of the flower 'Jasmine'. It really does smell lovely!
19. Long drives at night.
20. Make up. What?
21. The chance to further my education.
22. The ability to communicate with loved ones overseas.
23. My iPhone.
24. The beautiful people in this world.
Some of them were the tiniest bit superficial but that's okay. Those things bring me joy and allow me to do other things that bring me joy. For example, my iPhone allows me to communicate with loved ones overseas whilst driving in my car, which is conveniently the vehicle I use for long drives at night. See, it's all part of the puzzle of life.
I wanted to put in all the wonderful things I anticipate being thankful for when I go overseas, like snow and thermals and heated floors and fireplaces but that's jumping the gun a little. In order to get me out of my inevitable post-Christmas funk, I'll just have to rewrite the list! :-)