Throwback Thursday #TBT – My Hong Kong Days

It is Chinese New Year today – Kung Hei Fat Choi! and 5 years ago this week I left Hong Kong and returned to Scotland. So I thought I would do a little reminiscing about my (nearly) 2 years in China & Hong Kong.

I left Hong Kong at around 24/26ºC and flew into Glasgow airport where it was around -9ºC. Thankfully my Dad was waiting with a coat and a blanket for me. I spent the rest of the month wearing 2 jumpers indoors much to the amusement of my family.

Jetlag is a funny thing and without knowing it I had become pretty used to Hong Kong so my first week back had a few interesting moments. I tried to reason with my Mum that is was perfectly acceptable to have chocolate cake at 8am as it was teatime in Hong Kong. I accidently swore when I walked into a door in M&S (a very minor swear word as I don’t normally swear at all) and an elderly lady gave me a funny look, I had forgotten that everyone now understood English again. 5 days after I got back we went up to Aberdeen for a University Open Day and it started to snow. I was so confused about time, I was cold and tea with milk tasted funny. My Aunt was pretty shocked when I asked for my tea black, I had previously had quite a bit of milk and 2 generous sugars in my cups of tea. I met up with my best friend who I hadn’t seen in nearly 8 months. I offered to buy her a coffee, when we got to the till I only had HK dollars as I had not been to the bank to change my money. Luckily she took sympathy and bought me my cup of mint tea and cookie. It took me months to get used to UK prices and pounds again. I did not realise how immersed I had become in Hong Kong life and although I was happy to be home it took me quite a while to get used to everything again.

There are certain aspects of life in Hong Kong I think I will always miss but I’m glad I made the decision to come back. I went to university to do a Masters, I got to spend a lot more time with my family & friends (especially my sister) and then I met The Boyo and I’m pretty content with my life now.

Working abroad is one of the best things I have done. I had amazing experiences, met lots of wonderful people, saw fantastic sights and I ate a lot of really good food. However working abroad gave me so much more. I developed many skills and I gained a lot of confidence and knowledge. For the first 6 months I lived in Zhongshan in Mainland China. With a population of 3 million it is pretty massive by UK standards but by Chinese standards not really big at all. There were not many other foreign people in Zhongshan and my height, fair hair and pale skin meant I couldn’t blend in at all. English wasn’t spoken and there wasn’t any media such as books or newspapers in the English Language available. The internet was also censored. In that situation you have to adapt and become resourceful. I definitely enjoyed my 6 months in Zhongshan but I was glad to move to Hong Kong where I managed to blend in a tiny bit more. I could probably write quite a bit on Teaching English as a Foreign Language but I’ll save that for a post another day. Hong Kong was challenging in other ways – it was so busy, working hours are long and then there is a very vibrant social scene. Hong Kong doesn’t really seem to sleep which can be a fantastic thing (Midnight wandering for food of any description!) but also pretty exhausting. The weather is fantastic but in July the heat and humidity are almost unbearable – most people will try to go on holiday then. There are so many things to see and do – Island hopping, treks, shopping, temples, museums, fortune telling, markets, races, theme parks and thats just the first few that come to mind.

Towards the end I was working 6 days a week and travelling for about 3 hours a day, I was tired and wanted to go back to University. I wanted to leave whilst I still loved Hong Kong and although I sometimes look back wistfully on those days I think I made the right decision. Although this week I have longed to go back but I think that is largely to do with the lack of sunshine and long hours at my computer over this winter.

AQua luna Bhudda Hong Kong M&S Many Classes Socialising Teacher Mode Tower of Buns Guilin Sevens

 

Merry

 

 

Merry in The Ferry..

Wanderings & Would Likes

    Wanderings and Would Likes

Dearie me, it has been so long sine I did a post. I have lots of ideas but I’ve had a rough few days and not much energy for work or anything. I have a history of chronic headaches and migraines that I am working on improving, but some dental treatment last week has led to a week of headaches.

The first week in the new house was great. All the unpacking is done and everything seems to be working out really well. We’ve had issues with our internet provider and are switching in the next couple of weeks and I have seen a couple more spiders than I would like (resulting in some scary dreams!) but overall the move has gone very smoothly and the Boyo and I are very happy with our new location.

Wanderings
Our wanderings over the weekend involved a wander around Beveridge Park in Kirkcaldy and then getting lost in the woods above Raith Loch behind the park. http://www.fifedirect.org.uk/atoz/index.cfm?fuseaction=facility.display&facid=ACD495D9-2942-423E-A89B2874D1E99F3A
It was fun and thankfully the weather was pleasant, getting lost and having to navigate bushes, bogs and burns in the rain would not have been so much fun. I was quite impressed with the park – looked like there was a lot to do so we’ll be back at some point. Kirkcaldy is only 20 minutes from our new house so it is a convenient place to go if I need to nip to some bigger shops (eg boots, M&S) that our new rural locality doesn’t offer.

I also got my hair chopped (very expensive getting colour re-done but now back to natural hair colour with highlghts, hooray) and a very quick (5 minutes!) wander around Fife Farmers Market – enough time to get some Isle of Arran Cracked Black Peppercorn Cheese (so good) and some lavender syrup and lavender sugar for experimentation in the kitchen. An update on these experiments will follow shortly.

Would LikesI thought I’d have a little look online at some of the shops I often buy from to see if there was anything I’d like. I am going on holiday next month to Hong Kong and throughout the summer months my workwear policy is relaxed but I usually try to stick to smart casual. I am unlikely to actually go and buy any of these things before the holiday as I’d like to save my pennies for Hong Kong. I bought a pair of navy chino shorts, a new white vest top and another coral top and that will have to do in next. I am wearing the coral top for a fourth time today so it is already a success. I have a lot of wonderful clothes but I don’t fit into many of them at the moment so finding a complete selection of holiday clothes without buying anything else will be a challenge but if I keep buying clothes that are bigger I’ll never lose the pesky weight that I need to lose in order to fit into my pretty dresses again and improve my health.

Marks & Spencers – M&S dresses can sometimes be great, sometimes not, this is mostly due to my size. Slightly on the bigger up top and tall means that dresses often are not quite proportioned right for my body but the following are definitely ones that I would like to try on!

I thought this dress was very pretty. It would be nice on my holiday but also for work throughout the summer months and it would be a nice one to dress up for a summer party. http://www.marksandspencer.com/floral-prom-dress/p/p22293911

I really like this dress, it is a real classic that could be worn throughout the year for various things.
http://www.marksandspencer.com/pure-cotton-cut-out-prom-dress/p/p22293806

This may be one that I’ll end up trying on after holiday time. I can just see it being very useful.
A very simple summer dress that would have been perfect for wandering around Hong Kong. http://www.marksandspencer.com/tile-print-chrochet-trim-fit-and-flare-dress/p/p22295610

Oooh and a very unusual multi-way dress, I’d definitely like to try this on but no doubt it will just not work with my shape at all. Still nice though. A bit fancier, good for a night out or an evening do at a wedding. http://www.marksandspencer.com/multiway-lace-print-ombre-skater-dress/p/p22288132

And finally, this is one I am going to have to try on. It would be perfect for work jazzed up with jewellery and scarves. http://www.marksandspencer.com/broderie-striped-skater-dress/p/p22274073

BHS – I hadn’t been in a BHS in years but over the last year I’ve managed to pick up a few dresses for work in there. A black dress with cobalt blue and white polka dots has been my most frequently worn item of clothing over the last few months (http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/chiffon-belted-dress-2522736?bi=201&ps=200 ). I also think BHS do fantastic tights. Marks & Spencers used to be the best but then they seemed to adjust their sizes and in order to find tights long enough for my lanky legs I have to get them way too big and they just seemed to ladder so easily. BHS are cheaper, their tights are long enough (hooray) and I think that they are fairly good quality. My winter black ones have lasted 3 years and I wear skirts and dresses and therefore tights nearly everyday for work.

I love this dress. I think it would be lovely for a summer wedding. I can just see myself wearing it with lovely dark blue accessories (or cream/white having found the shoes mentioned below). I have one wedding to go to this summer but I already have so many really lovely dresses. The wedding isn’t until August so I do hope I manage to fit back into my dresses before then, otherwise I may have to investigate this one further. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/organza-check-prom-dress-2831857?bi=1&ps=200

This dress makes me think of the 50s and pretty ladies out enjoying the sunshine… however it is linen and as much as I think it will be so cool and comfortable I know that linen and I just don’t seem to get along too well. Example: I buy lovely linen trousers, think oh these are so smart and comfortable, great, and put them on in morning, all happy with outfit then by lunchtime feel like I am wearing extremely crumpled pyjamas and feel a bit of a mess. Alas. However I do see that this dress is a linen mix so perhaps it would hold its shape a little better. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/blue-linen-fit-n-flare-dress-2763828?bi=1&ps=200

I actually have a dress that is basically the same shape and material as tis from BHS except my one is blue and is covered by butterflies. Extremely comfy. Again one that I can see me thinking about until I actually do go and try it on. Luckily I do not live close to these shops. http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/dresses-1020593/spot-tea-dress-2885567?bi=1&ps=200

Now onto Debenhams and some skirts. Generally I prefer my skirts to be sort of A-line and on or just above the knee. I have a couple of longer and midi skirts which I am experimenting with as although I’ve got the height my librarian-y fashion tendencies (I am actually a librarian not just stereotyping) mean that if I am not careful I can look a bit frumpy. Or mad. Or both.

How lovely is this skirt? I even have a lovely daisy necklace that would be perfect with it, and oooh it is reduced! I am on dangerous territory here! http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_028020234460_-1

A long skirt, something I rarely wear. The Boyo is not a fan of long dresses or skirts on me, no idea why he is just odd. He actually thinks I look best in my knee length a-line dresses and skirts, which is my natural comfort zone so I am not complaining. It would be annoying if he was the type of boy who liked me all dressed up in short skirts and nails and hair all perfect because that really isn’t me! Anyway this skirt just looks comfy and easy-breezy for a hot day. Probably not one I’ll actually buy though. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_038010221343_-1

This is actually a Joe Browns Skirt I found through the Debenhams website, I keep meaning to get something from Joes Browns. I basically love 98% of everything they have but I’ve never actually bought anything. Maybe this year.. http://www.debenhams.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/prod_10701_10001_61068+LS258A_-1

Ok Shoes…. I have shoes from all sorts of places. My feet have been the same size since I was 16 so I have some fairly old pairs of shoes as well as some new. I have skinny feet whereas the rest of me is not skinny and I also have dodgy knees. This means I tend to go for shoes with straps and low heels. I already have my sandals looked out for the summer – a black low wedge pair from Clarks – no idea how old, a gold strappy pair of flats from New Look and another green pair I got for a wedding couple of years ago that are nearly but not quite flat. I also have several pairs of pumps that fit my special insoles for those dodgy knees, these have been bought over the years in M&S, Clarks, New Look, and just wherever I find them, very rarely do I ever find shoes in TK Maxx or H&M – they just do not really go big enough. The low heels I wear for work mostly come from M&S and Monsoon. And I have 3 pairs of espadrilles in sunny coral, useful black and green because I like green things. I like most colours really. I’m not picky where I get my shoes from, just that they are comfy and practical and usually are colourful – shoes are a great way to finish off an outfit. My sister says that they don’t finish an outfit, that they start an outfit. So when choosing what she will wear she always thinks about the shoes that she would like to wear that day first.

I just bought these Cobalt Blue pumps in BHS, £10 = bargain and I will get lots of wear out of them this summer! http://www.bhs.co.uk/en/bhuk/product/women-1020590/flat-shoes-2841030/cobalt-ballerina-shoe-2652278?bi=1&ps=40

I can’t wear sandals with the toe post thingy – just makes me feel squeamish! (The thought of toe socks positively give me the heebie-jeebies so I must just be odd about toes!) I like these ones from Accessorize. The colours mean they would go with a lot of outfits and would be great with shorts, dresses, skirts or jeans. I’m unlikely to actually get these as they really don’t offer much support, I did have a pair of Acessorize sandals that I wore to death when I lived in China, they were really super so if you don’t have knee issues like me I’d suggest having a look at these. http://uk.accessorize.com/view/product/uk_catalog/acc_3/5950689939

I love these heels from Monsoon, they much more expensive than my normal shoe budget so it would have to be for a very special occasion. They actually would be nice with that pinky-coral dress from BHS I mentioned above. Or be lovely for a bride who was going for a more 50s tea length style dress (I am not getting married, this is not a hint or a clue!) Anyway they are pretty and play to my love of vintage style things. http://uk.monsoon.co.uk/view/product/uk_catalog/mon_4,mon_4.22/5430134642

I think these shoes are FAB! I’ve not bought anything from Schuh in a while, but I’m so tempted by these. I’d actually wear them for work (tiny bit quirky/mad I know), they are also available in a floral colourway. http://www.schuh.co.uk/womens-navy-and-white-schuh-tap-dance/1223575970/

Okay I think that is probably quite enough. I’m now very tempted and everyone reading this is probably bored! What do you plan on wearing this summer? Any fabulous holiday plans?

Hoping I’m now getting back into the swing of things, a thought for Thursday post and Foodie Friday should be on the way over the next few days! We haven’t yet planned our weekend wanderings for next weekend. I’m working on the Sunday but Perthshire is definitely beckoning on the Saturday… and my favourite tearoom – Spill The Beans in Dunkeld is long overdue a visit! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spill-The-Beans-At-MacPhails-of-Dunkeld/285674418153297

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