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A letter to my 16 year old self

Sunday, June 28, 2015

You're going through a really tough time right now, one that you never really discussed with your friends and family properly. One you've hidden from and also will never reveal but it's kept you going.

You're torn between doing something you love or something that's expected of you. You wish you could figure out things yourself without the pressure of life getting to you and worrying what other people think. Too many people have told you that you can't achieve things and you're dreaming too big, to settle down a bit. Imagining your thirties and hoping that clarity and direction is something you'll have at that age. Just sitting there hoping that you'll achieve the dreams you've been wishing for since you were young.

Let me tell you now, it's been 6 years now and you're so much stronger than you've ever been, things haven't worked out according to plan but you're doing okay. Taking one day at a time and realising that life can't be planned down to the T, you just have to roll with the punches. Independence has become you, although you're flighty, you're independent as hell as you can handle things on your own but the support network you have is full of the best people who love you very much.

You did it, you moved to Hong Kong, the dream that you told your 9 year old self over and over again that you would do, you love it here and hope to keep on striving forward. Make some more dreams happen, you've accomplished one, what's a few more?

You made it through University too, you learnt a lot about people, about life and how to become a little bit more open but closed at the same time, to reveal one ace at a time and not to play all your cards at once.

Yes, you still have that ever naive faith that people are genuinely good, one that hopefully will stay with you but you've also realised who you should put your trust and faith in. You're still super clumsy and fail at life sometimes but people think that you manage just fine.

You've got some clear goals now and you're finding your own way in life, hopefully in another 6 years time you'll do yourself even prouder.

Don't fret, life will work itself out and you've already achieved more than you can imagine. The important thing is that you're okay.

A Weekend in Amsterdam

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amsterdam Zoo
During my 10 day holiday to the UK, I managed to sneak in 4 days in Amsterdam too, one of my best friends currently lives there and I hadn't seen her for almost two years. I went with two of my other best friends and we took an hour flight over. I have to say transport from Amsterdam airport is so convenient, all the transport links are joined together. Trains, buses, taxis are all accessible from the airport.

We stayed at a lovely Air BnB place that my friend found, the place was pretty much a party pad and we got super lucky with it as it was convenient, clean and close to the main train station and subway lines too.

Amsterdam was definitely more quaint than I had originally imagined it. We went over to the Anne Frank House first, highly recommend, it was so sad hearing her story but it was definitely worth experiencing.

Canals and a cyclists dream, Amsterdam is the perfect place for a little stroll, the locals are very friendly and happy to guide you to places if needed to be. In all honestly, we didn't end up doing much touristy activities, but what I enjoyed the most was just spending time with my friends and catching up with them.

However, if you're there I would recommend the following:
  • Anne Frank House
  • Heineken Museum
  • Gouda Cheese Factory
  • Waffles, pastries
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Amsterdam Sign
  • Canal Tour
  • Bike Riding
I'll definitely be visiting again!

Sophia x

Our Goals of 2015- Updates

Sunday, June 21, 2015
A few months ago we wrote down our goals and resolutions for the year of 2015, now we are scarily half way through, it's time for some updates

Sophia's 2015 Goals

1) Drink more water 

As Summer is here now, this is a must, I feel like a still need to keep up with this constantly.

2) Write more 

As I have another secret goal I want to complete by the end of 2015, this so far is going well in a sense, I definitely need to focus more on this and create more content

3) Learn

whether this is learning something new like a language or coding, or making filter coffee- I've been slowly getting back into it. I take any opportunity I get to practice my mandarin and hopefully I'll take an exam this year.

4) Exercise

In the overall perspective I've done better than I thought I would, but this definitely needs improvements as I need to exercise more.

5) Save Money

I've started to put a certain percentage of money in a savings account these past months, every little helps ;)

6) Take more pictures

I've definitely done more of this, my last trip to the UK I took photos with all my favourite people and I'm so happy I have memories to look back on.

Apple's 2015 Goals

1) To learn what's more important to me: standing up for myself or holding it in 

Oh man it's that time of the year already?! I'm still on the path of discovering this... But this year I think i've definitely stood up for myself more. (e.g. I would tell a person who's cutting the queue to get in line, which is something I'd never have dared do before), perhaps it's cos I give less f***s about what people think now.

2) Practice long-term commitment in something

When it comes to money-saving, bailey-loving, coding-learning, I'm happy to say I've been committed so far!

3) Build some muscle, lose more fat

Errrr ....I still have more fat than muscle (sad face, lol). OK half a year to BURN. Might have to succumb to printing out naked photos of myself and pinning it on the fridge so I'd think before I open it.

4) Grow the business

This has been on hiatus.

5) Be a better person

Mmm...I'm still an impatient, judgmental bitch. But I feel a tad more caring in some aspects. I hope the bitch in me burns with the fat.

Life in your Twenties.

Saturday, June 13, 2015
Basically in the words of Miss Taylor Swift, I'm happy, free, confused and lonely all the same time. Being in my twenties has never been what I had imagined, I kind of glossed over what my twenties would be like but mostly thought about my life after 30 (settled, in a job I loved, maybe married/ have children)

I can tell you now, your twenties is a confusing time, this is the time where you are the most financially free in the sense you don't really have anything tying you down, you have no kids, you can manage your own time, no real commitments but at the same time you have to figure things out.

Things I've learnt so far:

> You'll have panics and crisis of 'what am I doing with my life' 'what do I want to do' all the time, to the point where your friends have to remind you how young you are and you still have time

> If you're in a relationship, you might be settled in it but work your hardest to make yourself and your partner happy too, it's a two way street after all

> If you're single- dating sucks, you'll find it difficult to meet new people, and leave you thinking with 'where did all those choices from university go?!'

> You actually have to start balancing your finances, saving some money for the future, putting some away for a rainy day in case your washing machine, phone and laptop all break at the same time (it could happen)

> You look at settled families and wonder to yourself, how did they do it? How can they raise a kid, work 40 hours a week and balance it all.

> Exercise is a thing, your metabolism will start to slow down and you might have to cut back on that extra slice of cake you usually get

> You start to re-evaluate your goals and delay your previous 'milestones' pushing back job goals, owning property, whatever it is.

> You want to have fun but at the same time be taken seriously, especially at work. 

> You start to love your parents and appreciate how hard they worked to support you, show them some love if you haven't realised this already.

After it all, you remember, life is about the journey not the destination, so take a deep breath, calm down and everything will work itself out. I'm just taking this one step at a time and so should you.

-Sophia x


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Black V Strappy top- New Look

Trousers- Lowry's Farm, Ring- Pandora, Watch- ASOS

Sunglasses- Primark, Bag- Rabeanco

White open toed Sandals - New Look

Met up with the one and only Michelle after being parted for the last 10 days, we had a good brunch at the flying pan (review here!) afterwards we sweated around Central and had a little shopping spree (ahem Topshop & Cotton On)

We trekked over to our happy place- the ferry to TST, after we landed we decided to take some quick outfit pics. I liked the backdrop of this area, however as you can tell from the pictures, it was insanely windy! In typical Soph and Mish antics, we chose the only spot where it was a wind tunnel, everybody was staring at the weird girls blowing away. After giggling at Michelle holding down her dress while she helped me take pictures I got to show off my brand new spankin' shoes from New Look- my whole outfit felt a bit like I went back 30 years and turned up in the 1980s, printed trousers, white shoes, and flowy tops galore.

Of course in true fashion, I can't highlight the 1980s of this outfit without name dropping the one and only T Swift ;)

The Flying Pan Hong Kong

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Dress- H&M, Shoes- Birkenstock, Cardigan- Boutique

Top- New look, Skirt- Forever 21, Shoes- HK Boutique, Bag- Rabeanco

Waffles with strawberries & bananas
Two eggs sunnyside up, avocado, tomatoes @ the frying pan
Before we went to the hairdressers for our pamper day, we decided to go for some Saturday brunch. This was my second time at the flying pan, I had previously been there the weekend before for some pancakes and Apple had been there a few times before.

The atmosphere has a cutesy diner style, and it's open for 24 hours, if you're coming in from a night out at LKF or hoping for a weekend catch up with your friends this is the place to go. They have a huge selection of breakfast foods from eggs any style to things that will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Apple chose her brunch soft spot food- two fried eggs- sunny-side up, with bread, avocado, tomatoes and a fruit salad.

My favourites for brunch are definitely the sweet ones, so I went with waffles and added strawberries and bananas to them. The sweet treats also accompanies maple syrup and blueberry syrup which was delicious.

We chatted happily and enjoyed the atmosphere of the place, I will definitely go back for more.

We rate it 7 out of 10 blushes.

The Flying Pan, G/F 9 Old Bailey Street, Central, Hong Kong 

Balayage Hair: Before & After

Sunday, June 7, 2015
So we've been thinking of doing something new to our hair lately. It was either go crazy (meaning, electric blue & seductive purple) or the other end of the scale was to go subtle. Hair is such a big thing, so we only made up our mind when we were actually at the Salon. Our technicians had to urge us to make a decision or they would decide our life for us.

In the end we went for Balayage - a French word meaning to sweep or paint. The effect is a sun-kissed look with softer, less noticeable regrowth lines. The idea is that less is more when creating soft, natural looks.
Read more at http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/blogs/545771/so-what-exactly-is-balayage-why-do-we-love-it.html#OzIGtBfiLzefZYW8.99

Oh by the way, we decided to splurge a little and went to Toni & Guy. Not gonna reveal how much it cost in case our friends and family come across this post and hate us for our extravagant behaviour.

A little bit of background, I've had my hair highlighted before, so I've already got some colour in my hair. Whereas Sophia has only ever tried henna, which didn't really show on her dark hair.

Sophia Balayage : Before & After 

Apple Balayage : Before & After 

Our hairstylists had to bleach our hair too to remove the henna. We know bleach is a huge nono for the hair, but so far we have yet to see/feel the damage.

So what do you think? For me, I feel the difference isn't very obvious, as it seems like I've just replaced my existing highlights with a different colour. The balayage did achieve its natural sun-kissed effect however.

I wonder if you can see it, but there's also a bit of purple streak in my hair, the hairstylist's idea - given that I couldn't decide between brown or purple. The blowout is good, and makes both Sophia and I think we should spend more time on our hair before leaving home in the morning, instead of shamelessly going to work in our bed-hair. Sophia's hair makes her look like a sexy tigeress, whilst her fringe balances out nicely by giving her that, I'm tough but I don't bite look.

My final verdict: price-wise, I don't think it's worth doing a blowout at premium hair salons like Toni & Guy (It was HKD 200-300) because I'm sure any local salon can do just as decent a job. Balayage-wise, I'm hoping that the colours will show more in the coming weeks. The quality of the dye is good though, so far my hair is soft and does not reek.
If I could do this again, I would definitely ask for more purple streaks ;)

Have you ever had balayage done? Or have you had an amazing hair makeover?
Do share with us by commenting below, we're always on the lookout for a good hairstyle :)

A Day in London Tour

A few weeks ago I travelled back over to my homeland roots- the UK, as one of my friends lives near London, we thought it would be best to make a day of it and meet in the middle. After an hour of delayed trains and debating other options (stuff like this really does happen to us), luckily I managed to catch a train and was reunited with her at London Euston. We purchased an all day underground ticket and went on our adventures.

Kings Cross, Platform 9 3/4s

Covent Garden, UK

Covent Garden Indoor Shopping Centre

Green Park

Buckingham Palace

Baker Street

221B Baker Street

Camden Town
The first stop on the tour was Kings Cross Station, which is one stop away from London Euston. If you're a Harry Potter fanatic, take a free picture at Platform 9 3/4s.

Then take the underground to Covent Garden for some lunch, make sure you take the lifts as Covent Garden has 193 steps to walk up. I highly recommend Bills for food if you want to follow my lead, get the crispy crumbled halloumi , hummus and tzatziki for starters to share, then a burger for yourself. If you have some room, get the desserts and sip some green juice to balance all this out ;)

Go for a stroll around Covent Gardens, listen to the talented violinists who play beautifully in the markets and maybe buy some treats for yourself at the independent shops.

Beep your underground pass and take the line to Green Park, walk through the Park and enjoy the blue skies and if you have time, get a free deck chair and enjoy your day. If not, walk further down and saw hello to Queenie, if she's at home the flag will be up in the tower. Take selfies with the guardsmen and do the royal wave.

Afterwards, go to Knightsbridge and pop into Harrods for some window shopping and afternoon tea, the store that's a haven for shopaholics.

Chanel your inner Watson and Holmes and head over to Baker Street, take in the detective vibes and see if you can solve some cases too.

Finish your day by visiting Camden, also the cheapest place to buy souvenirs- go to the food markets if you're hungry for a huge range of food choices. Sip on some cheap cocktails with your best friend and get your Asian Flush on (if you're me)

If you ever visit London, I hope you had as much fun as we did.

DIY Photo Scrapbook

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
For the person that has everything, it was my friend's birthday and as she doesn't usually like a lot of typical girly Hong Kong things, I had the idea of making a scrapbooking album for her. People rarely print pictures anymore, remember those old days when you would sit in the corner and look through your families photo hours and laugh at the bad hair styles? I wanted that same effect too. Something sentimental that you could add more pictures in and to look back on later.

As my friend's favourite animated Disney film is Toy Story by far- so I picked up these Toy Story stickers to add to the pictures. Printing pictures wise, I went with FotoMax Hong Kong and selected their 'fotogram' picture style to get the square sized pictures, you can print as many as you want- I went for the 10 pictures range.

Add some Washi tape, colourful pens for some of your inside jokes and quirks and voila! For the binder and paper I bought them at a local HK stationary shop, you could use any notebooks or albums as you wish, similar item here

Sometimes the best presents are the homemade ones.