Thursday, December 31, 2009

Have a fantastic New Years Eve!

I shall be spending it on board a Chinese junk boat on Hong Kong's glamorous Victoria Harbour, looking at this view... what a struggle!

Here are some of my New Years resolutions...

1. To make a firm commitment to something, starting with a puppy! Double yay.
2. To get all the odds and ends fixed around my apartment that I keep shifting to the bottom of my 'to do' list
3. To be more myself. That one I might explain at some point!

Have a fantastic night with your loved ones, and watch out who kisses you at midnight! :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

New You Tube video is up!

Simple, Seductive Eyes...

p.s B's mum (mom), sister, and two nieces are here... it's been bliss to have family around again. It's soothing. Warm.

B is Canadian and hasn't seen his mum in over a year. It's a pleasure to see them enjoy some time together. When family lives in a distant land, each and every moment is treasured, heightened.

Today we walked around the shopping hub of Causeway Bay, and then had famous Hong Kong foot massages.

If only every week could be like this! Life is an absolute delight sometimes.

I took this photo the last time I was in Canada, in the mountains of Vancouver. Such a gorgeous country with wonderful people.

Oh and grizzly bears. I don't like those.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Christmas Angel

He's so much fun to have around. Every day is spent with my best friend! Who's also rather dreamy.

I bought him a HD DVD series for Christmas, and it's not working in our machine :(.

As I'm writing this he's scratching his disappointed head and Googling it. I don't think Google can help with this one. Poor thing.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A day out in Hong Kong

The utter chaos that is Christmas shopping in Hong Kong. It's a fight for survival.

Yay Christmas decorations make me happy :-) I wish they could be up all year!

What the heck is a Tonkatsu Burger? Ew, looks gross.

I stopped for a Thalgo facial at my favourite spa, the Chuan Spa in Mong Kok. It's a bit of a trek, but a great view from the 41st floor, and fantastic therapists. It's my little haven! Today was much brighter than it looks in this photo, I think the window was just dirty.

A steaming hot towel and warm Chinese tea... happiness.

There is a cosmetics chain here on every corner called Sasa, and it'll be the death of my bank account. I always have to buy something. Today it was an eyelash curler and pore putty. I have no idea what pore putty is, but it sounded good! Groan.

I also caved in at Mrs Fields cookies... white chocolate and macadamia nut, mmm delish... I also got in trouble for taking this photo!

Standing all the way home on the world's greatest subway. Clean, fast, safe, efficient! Sydney has much to learn.

Back in Causeway Bay - shopping heaven. I have to rush through so I don't buy.

Someone forgot to put the rubbish out.

Safety comes first here... the scaffolding is all made from bamboo! All the way up buildings over 30 stories tall... no wires, just bamboo and a couple of old Chinese workers drinking beer.

You could get crushed just crossing the street in Causeway Bay!

The old, slow and rickety Happy Valley tram that never fails to get me home... it costs 30 cents a ride, no matter how far you travel. Bargain.

There is always a queue down the street outside this frozen meat place... must be good grub!

Arriving in Happy Valley (home)... I hope you had a great day!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do you find this appetizing?

This is the famous crispy duck; one of the signature dishes at one of Hong Kong's most talked about restaurants, Hutong. It's on my mind because B's mum, sister, and two nieces arrive on Sunday to stay with us for a week, and we are really looking forward to having family here!

But, whenever visitors come, so does the inevitable question: "should we take them to Hutong?"

It's very much a show-off place... the sort of place you bring people who think it's a bit weird that you live in Hong Kong (which is most people), and you want to show them that Hong Kong is actually a pretty wow-ish place. The 'wow' moment usually happens when the guests sit down to a Hutong champagne and glance out the window. It literally has one of the best views I've ever seen, of one stunning looking city.

Right above Hutong is its sister franchise, a bar called Aqua which does a serious lychee mohito. So its customary to begin at Aqua and mosey on down to Hutong. With the perfect vantage point for the Hong Kong skyline at 8pm light show - it really is an experience.

It's - of course - not cheap, and is meant to replicate decadent "old world China"... which it does well. All the furniture is made of beautiful and imposing antique wood, gentle silk curtains drop down from the ceiling, and the restaurant is famously littered with bamboo bird cages.

The menu, on the other hand, is where I start to vague out... its based on traditional Northern Chinese food, and is elaborate, spicy, and often features a head or some other body part that really doesn't belong on my plate. Admittedly their crispy de-boned lamb is incredible, but I'm still getting used to Canton food. In this case, my duck arrived with its head split in two!

It's considered a real plus here to receive an entire animal on your plate - brains, booty, the whole enchilada. It proves to the guest that they have received a complete and dedicated animal... um, thanks, but I'll take your word for it!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

10 things I love about B...

These are not the only 10, just 10 things I am thinking about today... and they are in no particular order -

1. He is a truly gifted cook (who never uses a cookbook)... I don't even bother entering the kitchen most of the time
2. He's funny - always thinking of a joke to say or do, and they are (usually) funny
3. He has cute highlights in his hair, they suit him
4. He is deeply kind and gentle, he thinks of everyone else first, and I trust him with my life
5. He doesn't snore (very often)
6. I never get tired of staying up past my bedtime just talking to him
7. He never cares what people think and does his own thing
8. He tells the most fantastic stories
9. He is boyishly handsome
10. He leaves me little love notes every morning

He's utterly smotherable!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My beautiful mother...

Meet Eva, my gorgeous mum, inside and out. I love this photo, taken when she was a young model in the 60s. Like so many models mum is from Polish heritage; she was born in Szcecin but came to Australia when she was still in pigtails. I also adore the styling on this shot - the black crochet top, earrings and stunning white headpiece.

These photos remind me of mum's stories of sleeping at her boyfriend's place in her false eyelashes, only to wake up with them crushed and stuck on cheek and chin - so unglamorous! Of course a rush to the bathroom to reapply before he woke fixed everything :).

My mum has also aged beautifully and gracefully. Ahh I do hope I have that same gene. Time will tell!

After TWO marriages to my father (yup, that's romance, however ill fated) she's now with her soulmate, my adorable step-dad Thom who has brought so much to our family.

As so many women say about their mums, mine is absolutely everything to me. She has offered me unconditional love, support and friendship every day of my life, and is one of my best friends. We love catching up over a glass of wine just like the two girls we are - in love with life and the world!

My mum is also a brilliant chef and has two cookbooks on the shelves, designed for cooking when travelling - her other great passion. Check out her website!

Oh and yes, I have a new makeup video up! Wearable 1960's makeup... inspired by Eva. I'm addicted!

Here is the link:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hong Kong video on You Tube!


Here is the link to a little video I've done on Hong Kong, about the fascinating Hong Kong Wet Markets. I plan to do more of these.

Warning! A wet market is a live food market. It's a traditional part of Chinese culture, and very much the norm here. However, best not to watch if you're an animal lover or very squeamish. I don't agree with some of their practises, but it's not up to me to judge! I'm just reporting on Hong Kong life. Nothing is killed on screen.

p.s. I'm speaking live tonight at an event, to introduce my Presentation and Media training courses... yikes!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Yes, I am prone to an impulse buy...

... A terrible hazard when living next to Causeway Bay - one of the most famous shopping districts, in one of the most famous shopping cities in the world.

The sounds you just heard were streamers and cheers at the credit department of the Commonwealth Bank when they heard I was now living in Hong Kong. Oops, someone just popped the champagne.

So I bought these Bollywood lashes today... they are totally mad. I am so not the type to wear these out! Why did I do this?

Perhaps I'll do a makeup video out of them. If I do, I might dare myself to go buy a coffee in them. Punishment for buying something utterly useless.


Don't tell B.

The man I love....

N.B. He is now a fully grown adult, I assure you!

You can always tell a man by how much he loves his dog.
- Natalie Murray

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My local Wonton Noodle joint...

I am ashamed to admit that when I first moved to Happy Valley I refused to eat at this place...

I wish I knew the name of it, but as you can see - it's entirely in Chinese. And that's what threw me. My rule was, "I won't eat anywhere too local".

How painfully princessy of me! Not to mention incredibly boring.

B would be inside happily chowing away and I'd be off to Starbucks, where the menu wasn't scrawled down on paper in Chinese and I knew what animal parts I was ordering. But sour cream pringles and cardboard apple muffins lost their spark after awhile, and B's Wonton Noodles were starting to smell undeniably good. I was also beginning to feel malnourished, and B was glowing from the inside out.

Eventually I decided that being difficult was all a bit - well, difficult - and on one brave afternoon, B managed to charm me inside.

After all, how bad could it be if he was still alive.

I nervously slid into a chair and delicately sipped my Diet Coke while B took the liberty of ordering Singapore Noodles, Fried Chicken Wings, and Wonton Noodles.

A tiny bite here, hold the stomach, wait - nope, it's feeling ok! - and I'd take another slightly larger bite. Damn this stuff was tasty!

As I began to relax - even giving the odd accepting nod to the staff - I looked around me and noticed the place was absolutely packed to the rafters with locals, happily chattering away while wolfing down overstuffed plates with satisfied smiles on their faces. At lunchtime, there was a queue out the door!

And every last one of them was alive.

I really can be such an idiot sometimes.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What I wake up to...

So I've been sick this week, and boyfriend-B's been leaving cute messages on our fridge. He leaves crazy-early and does this a lot.

He's a bit romantic like that.

In Sydney, it used to be little notes and flowers on my car each morning. One morning there was a $10 bill folded into a little note that said "coffee is on me today gorgeous". $10 for a coffee?? He moves in different circles to me, but it was adorable nonetheless.

Now that we don't have cars, (or garages, or houses) he's been writing on our fridge. Here's the one from this morning - I love the sprinkle of sunshine!

In other breaking news, Hong Kong is looking magnificent today, so I'm perking up for a flu-free weekend... yay! B is getting his hair done tomorrow (he turns into a princess once in a blue moon) so I'm going in search of a great mountain hike on to escape the smog and stench of noodles.

Actually... I might head off to get some yummy wonton noodles for lunch! Controversial, I know.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A girl who lives within my heart...

This is Joanna Jones, or 'Joey' to me.

She's an awesome girl; we met in Sydney nearly ten years ago. I was on a blind date with a flaming-red-haired bass player, a magnetic man who would naturally go on to break my heart (as all bass players do, every now and again).

For our blind date he had invited me to his gig and I had foolishly accepted, surrendering him the upper hand from the word go - he must have known his rendition of Play That Funky Music would send me a little lolly-eyed. And oh it did.

The only other person who stuck out that night was Joey. She was the singer in his band, originally British but living in Australia with her family. Joey was a wild, funny, bright-eyed, spark plug of a girl - and an amazing singer. Bass player had had too much to drink on our blind date so Joey drove me home, and somehow we had become lifelong friends before we'd even reached my house.

It was one of those effortless, instant soul connections... amplified when bass player broke up with me, and Joey nursed me through my crushed heart. She really helped me through a hard, hard time.

When Joey needed a place to live we soon became flatmates, and soon after that, workmates. Joey needed a job to support her singing career, and I had become jaded about the pretentious world of television and wanted out. We decided to become nursing assistants at our local nursing home, specifically, in the dementia ward. It was possibly my life's most rewarding year - working with some of the lovliest, sweetest, people I have ever met - who are now long gone. Joey and I would chat and laugh about our weekend plans and latest boyfriends, while doing the most perilous of tasks. There was toileting, cleaning, showering, and tending to people who died on our shifts. We look back on those times and still can't believe we did it. And I secretly miss it. It was an honourable job.

Soon after, Joey's family were given terrible news... after four years in Australia, their visa had expired and they were required to leave the country. Even though they were a working, tax-paying family of five, Australia wouldn't have them on a permanent basis, and after a series of long-winded appeals - and almost begging at times - they were deported. It was a heartbreaking time - not just for them - but for me. I was losing my closest friend, and I took it hard. Joey and I stayed in close contact over the next couple of years and our friendship wasn't broken. We visited each other, bought calling cards and spoke regularly. Joey always planned to move back to Australia as soon as she had finished her studies, which would have qualified her to do so. An incredibly ambitious girl, she was always working, studying to become a music teacher, and was in a new band in with her sister. Jo worked so hard on her dreams, and with her talent, I was sure she would be rewarded in the end.

The last time we spoke was on Facebook, about two days before April 1st, 2009. I wished Joey luck for her weekend in Venice, a belated Valentine's Day break with her new boyfriend. She had just completed her studies and had finally become a music teacher. Joey never even made it to the airport. While turning into the carpark at the airport, she was caught in a horrific accident and killed instantly. Everybody else in the crash survived. It was B who broke the news, and I remember believing it was some kind of dark April Fools Day joke. It had to be. When I logged into Facebook and saw so many messages of grief, I knew it was real. It was impossible to contemplate. I couldn't imagine never seeing Joey again.

What got me most of all, what kept me awake in tears every night as B stroked my back, was the sheer cruelty of this tragedy. That a 28-year-old girl, who had her whole life ahead of her, that had so much to live for - marriage, children, her music - was all taken from her. She was a sweet, caring soul, who loved animals. She never did anything to harm anybody.

A couple of weeks before this, my boyfriend had been offered the big move to Hong Kong. While I was genuinely considering coming along because I wanted to be with him (plus a chance to explore the world and shake myself up a bit) I had a really good job as an entertainment reporter in Australia that I'd worked incredibly hard to get, and I had been having nightmares about leaving it. I wasn't sure I could.

Joey's premature and tragic death was the one thing that convinced me that there was more to life than interviewing Angelina Jolie. I decided to accept an opportunity that she will never have and see the world. I'm so sorry I never got to tell her as I had been saving it - she would have been so excited!

I don't believe Joey will ever truly be gone... as all lost loved ones do, she lives within the hearts of people who loved her - and as she was... carefree, youthful, healthy, and full of hope. While memories preserve life, the impact of one person's kindness can echo in the world for an eternity. I truly believe that. I miss her. And if I really listen hard, I can hear her singing with the angels.

Wow this has been a really long post! If you have made it this far, thanks so much for reading it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Is it wrong to work in Betty Boop slippers?

I'm sick this week. Being sick is really quite tiring. And depressing. And pointless. Actually not altogether pointless --> it makes me appreciate being well so much more! Which I often forget.

I often work from home, it's a slight addiction. Even when I have nothing to do I invent something. I've always been a career-girl, and I had to begin again when I moved to Hong Kong. This was incredibly difficult. Still is.

So I attempted to work today, in my Betty Boop slippers. But no such luck, body too sore, head too foggy. Sentenced to watching movies on the couch.

Last night B came home, smelling great, looking great, with medicinal gifts. He then made homemade chicken soup... reeeally good homemade chicken soup! Then he stroked my head as I rested. He even kisses me when I'm sick.

The man is GENIUS.

Sometimes being sick is almost worth it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mirror-balls inspired makeup

I'm editing this makeup tutorial for You Tube today - it's a 'disco blue' look, inspired by the mirror balls on my Christmas tree... purretty!

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