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How to stay positive

Friday, April 29, 2016

I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down...

I won't lie, staying positive is difficult, especially if you're going through things, all I can say is that it will pass and the cheesy things like it will make you a stronger person (it really does). Obviously though, our brains don't think of this straightaway, and we get caught up in the negatives of each situation. I wouldn't say I'm a sunshine and rainbows kind of girl, my cynicism and worrying can lead to negativity but majority of the time I am pretty positive.

I haven't always stayed positive, but in recent years I realised positive thinking is the better way for me to get through things. I found that things always had a strange way of solving themselves and that everything ended up being fine. Some things that I found to help in positive thinking:

Write down/ think about what you're grateful for:
It could be simple things, a bed, supportive family and friends, somewhere to relax in, being healthy, a shelter. Little things add up to a lot. After a long and exhausting day at work, I've never been more grateful for somewhere to sleep and go back to.

Take a break from it:
Enjoy a day of doing something fun or something that relaxes you, whatever makes you happy, it keeps your spirits up and hell, you definitely deserve a break. Sometimes you just need a little time away from the situation at hand.

Don't Sweat the Small stuff:
I've always known about this, but I've never really practiced it. in the words of Richard Carlson himself, one of my favourite things he said from his books was-

'One of the mistakes many of us make is that we feel sorry for ourselves, or for others thinking that life should be fair, or that someday it will be. It's not and it won't. When we make this mistake we tend to spend a lot of time wallowing and/or complaining about what's wrong with life. 'It's not fair,' we complain, not realising that, perhaps, it was never intended to be.' 

Let's get those positive vibes flowing.

- Sophia x

Intercontinental High Tea for Mother's Day

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Next month is Mother's Day in Hong Kong and the USA, so if you were pondering where to spoil your favourite lady, I have just the suggestion. The Intercontinental hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, has several high tea sets to choose from. The cosy lounge means you get a wonderful view of the harbour (weather permitting) and the service is great too.

There are four high tea sets to choose from, feeling spendy we chose the champagne tea set and soon it was flowing. The sets have three layers, savoury sandwiches at the bottom, mouth watering cakes in the middle and jams on the top. As well a warm basket of scones, are you getting hungry?

We made our way up, starting with the scones first, then the sandwiches too. The cakes were all delicious but they definitely get sickly so I would recommend you take it in turns having the savoury sandwiches with the cakes ;) overall though, it was a lovely treat, and something your mum's will enjoy too :)

Ham Tin Wan, Tai Long Wan- Sai Kung

Sunday, April 17, 2016
 Last weekend, after getting jealous of everyone's beautiful beach pictures, we decided to hit one ourselves. Getting to Tai Long Wan is a little tricky, we went to Choi Hung MTR station first, got the 1A green minibus from exit C1 to Sai Kung Centre. Once we reached Sai Kung, we walked over to the pier front and found a boat taxi to take us over to Tai Long Wan. The ticket cost us about $200 which was pretty expensive, but we did get the whole boat to ourselves and the boat ride took around 40 minutes. Tai Long Wan is split into four areas- Sai Wan, Ham Tin Wan, Tai Wan and Tong Wan. We got directed to go to Ham Tin Wan as the beach was bigger there as well as having a restaurant and public toilet facilities. All of the beaches are accessible by the hiking trails.

We didn't end up taking the private boat back to Sai Kung Pierfront, (try to book it at the restaurant as the latest boat leaves around 5pm) but we hiked it back to civilization instead. The hike took us two hours in total, and it was all up hill which explained why we never saw any hikers behind us. Nevertheless, once we hit the top of the mountain we felt so proud of ourselves. The hike is part of the famous Maclehose Trail and walked over to Sai Wan Road.

Ham Tin Wan is a lovely beach, and is hidden away from the usual bustle that beaches have these days. Really relaxing and clean, but it's definitely not as convenient compared to beaches in Repulse Bay. Be prepared to hike, or spend some money on the boat taxis if you don't feel like the two hour hike over and bring supplies. Yes, that man made bridge is terrifying, so wear some comfy shoes.

Our beach video below:

Art Central 2016

Saturday, April 16, 2016
It was Art Week in Hong Kong a few weeks ago and my friend and I were debating which one to go to- Art Basel or Art Central? Art Basel is known for it's international appeal of art work, this time with artists like Tracey Emin flying over to Hong Kong. Whereas Art Central was mostly local and Asian artists, with a few Western artists too. We purchased the early bird that admitted two people for $280 and went over on the last day.

One of the first installations that we saw as soon as you entered Art Central, were these beautiful moving Swarovski crystal art works that would move if you made sound around it. Kids were happily clapping away trying to get it to move, and I was busy stomping to see how it would react. 

 I used to watch the Mighty boosh, and these paintings brought back memories of the graphics that were in the credits screen.
Textile art work made intricately from wool! Imagine how much time this must of taken to make. 

I'll be honest, this was moving and I was terrified it would roll away, haha!

In total we spent four hours walking around and really appreciated how much work went into each piece of art work. The paintings below were my favourites, I love nature as it is but the detail that went into the canvas was extraordinary. You can watch the video above to experience Art Central too :)

3 Easy Brunch Recipes

Friday, April 8, 2016
Brunch is by far my favourite combination meal, there's nothing I love more than having a little lie in over the weekend, waking up and enjoying brunch. I love going out for brunch too, but sometimes I feel lazy doing that so staying at home and making something is the easier option for me.

Here are my go to recipes:

Scrambled eggs on toast

(Double up the recipe for the amount of people you have)

What you will need:
Two eggs, salt and pepper, milk, two slices of bread of your choice.

Firstly, crack your two eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt for flavour and a dash of milk. When you've whipped these all together, heat up your frying pan with oil. Pour the mixture in and keep the heat to a low- medium. Now here's the technique- grab a wooden spatula and slowly fold in part of the mixture that looks cooked by dragging the edge of the spatula into the middle of the pan. Keep on doing that by bringing your eggs into the middle (per Jamie Oliver- this is the french scrambled egg method). Then you have perfect scrambled eggs that are a great balanced of cooked with that runny side. Toast up two slices of bread, add the eggs on top and your dash of pepper to serve.
Fluffy American Pancakes
(Makes two servings)

What you will need:
Self raising flour/ plain flour- then add a tablespoon of baking powder, one egg, a pinch of salt, milk- half a cup and fruit/ toppings of your choice

Measure out half a cup of flour (my cup was 500ml), half a cup of milk, and pour this into a bowl, crack in your egg and the pinch of salt, mix this all together. Heat up your frying pan (would recommend you use a non stick one) and carefully ladle up one portion into the middle of the frying pan. Put the frying pan on a low- medium heat and wait for little bubbles to form, flip them over and cook for a few mins. Decorate with your choice of fruit- I love fresh blueberries and raspberries with a drizzle of agave nectar.

French Toast with cinnamon sugar

(Double the ingredients for how many servings you need)

What you will need:
Two eggs, vanilla extract, milk, two pieces of stale bread, white sugar, cinnamon

Preferably, leave your bread out the night before for it to harden or toast your bread for a few minutes. Whip your two eggs, add in a dash of vanilla and a dash of milk. Pour your mixture onto a tray and soak in one slice of the bread at a time, making sure each side is fully covered. Heat up your non stick pan and add some oil, put your bread in the pan and cook it on a low- medium heat. Flip it over so the other side is done and repeat this with the other slice of bread. In a seperate bowl, add a teaspoon of white sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon, mix this together. To serve, layer your slices of french toast together and delicately sprinkle your cinnamon sugar mix on top.

I also have to give a shout out to my other breakfast love- avocado on toast, sadly I have no photos of it but you literally mash one avocado and spread it on two slices of bread! The only difficult part is waiting for the avocado to perfectly ripen. Those avocado problems tho.

Hope you enjoy these easy recipes, and let me know what you love having for brunch!

- Sophia

A simpler life

Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Another ode to decluttering and materialism, keeping things simple at home. In this sense, stop buying shit. I made a mini pledge these past few months to stop accumulating things that I really don't need. Also it helps that the internet seems to be going through the less is more phase.

Sometime in February, I got hooked on Youtube videos about capsule wardrobes and TED Talks about all your life possessions in one box. This led to me feel super overwhelmed with the amount of stuff that I had scattered around my flat. I felt like I was squished and the space I had was getting smaller and smaller. So, I decided to stop buying unnecessary things, what counts as unnecessary you say?

Clothes, I have a wardrobe full, and several suitcases underneath my bed with clothing too. Do I really need any more? The answer is no, so I decided to go on a month cleanse (I realised I had been buying at least one item of clothing every month) and not purchase any clothing. After the month was up, it dawned on me that I could keep on going and I've extended this goal to a further three months. I can't say it's been easy, it really hasn't. Hong Kong has endless streets of clothing, but I just take a deep breath and think about my collapsing wardrobe (it really has fallen on me before!)

Beauty items are something that I hoard too, I have tubs and tubs of moisturiser that are stacked in my wardrobe. For skincare, I decided to group everything that I have in one bag, even the samples, so that if I run out of my current skincare items I would check the bag to see if I had anything that I could use as a replacement. 

Some tips that have helped me:

- The one in, one out rule- Do you own five pairs of black jeans? Do you really need another pair of black jeans? Unless you're working in Zara, I think you don't need another pair. So, each time I've seen something that is similar (you can apply it to anything in your wardrobe actually) I think- do I need this and if I buy this what do I throw out? If you can't bear to part with something, then don't buy something else!

- Stay away from temptation- This is a toughie, but I used to spend a lot of time just browsing through online shops and in store, I've cut this down a lot just so I don't get tempted into seeing something I don't actually need.

- Take a picture of your wardrobe- If you've always bought something that's similar to an item you already own, this tip might save your life. Bookmark the picture and each time you're about to buy a piece of clothing, refer to your wardrobe picture to see if you already own a similar item.

- Take your time- By this I don't mean, take your time looking through clothes shop, I mean if you see something you really want to buy, put it down and sleep on it. If after two weeks you still want it, then go ahead and buy it. Impulsive decisions always lead to more expensive outcomes.

- Timeless pieces- Maybe your wardrobe is full of 'trendier' items, refrain from buying brightly coloured bomber jackets that will only get two wears. Instead buy things that will last, that you can easily pair with other items in your wardrobe and you can get 30+ wears out of them.

- Treat yo self- So, this might contradict what I've been typing up there, but I think if you've not bought anything for a while, or maybe you're saving up for something you really want and it will last, go get it! Right now I have my eye on a sneaky Monica Vinader ring ;) just because I'm not shopping now doesn't mean I won't ever shop again. I always seem to have something on my list....

-Sophia (renowned shopaholic) 

Lai Chi Kok Park

Monday, April 4, 2016
Don't get fooled by the name, this park is actually located at Meifoo. Exit from the MTR and you'll find yourself right in the middle of it. Like most recreational parks in Hong Kong, Lai Chi Kok Park is a breath of fresh air, equipped with all the facilities you could think of.

We had less than an hour to explore so these pictures don't do it justice, but we spent most of our time in the Chinese garden for its traditional design and because Sophia loves these kind of things.

If you're a fan of traditional Chinese architecture, or simply would like a place to go with your family on a sunny weekend, Lai Chi Kok park is highly recommended. Also great for roller-skating, swimming, tennis, taichi, kids playground, and they have a pets area too!

Blushes: 8/10