Don’t Be Afraid

Don’t Be Afraid

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I remember being on a red eye flight to Perth once, when I was 7, back in 2004…

Long story short, I was so busy sobbing away. I didn’t want to leave Singapore, because back then all I thought about was being with my friends, not wanting to leave them. Perhaps I was too young to understand what a vacation was. I thought going to Perth was forever. The 1 week vacation felt like eternity. Nevertheless I was crying all the way from the check-in counter to in-flight.

My family didn’t know how else to pacify me, since they’ve probably have tried all kinds of methods. But, it was not until this flight attendant called ‘Vivian’, came around and spoke to me. She had on a cheerful countenance, as every other flight attendant. I remember her donning the SQ’s blue Kebaya (denoting the fact that she was a junior flight stewardess) and that her hair was bun up into a really pretty french twist. Her skin was fair, and now that I think about it, she probably was in her early twenties then.

“Hi! What’s your name?”

And that was all it took to stop my crying.

‘I’m… Vanessa”

“Hi Vanessa, I’m Vivian. I’ll be taking care of you during your flight okay? Would you like a colouring book?”

And.. as you probably would guess, the rest was history. In case you were wondering, yes the rest of flight was as peaceful and quiet as any other red-eye flight. I bet my parents thanked the Heavens for Vivian. Vivian came around very often to check up on me, gave me all kinds of food, whatever I wanted. And she would always joke and ask me what I was busy drawing. We laughed. She was like an elder sister figure. The end of the flight came soon, and a picture of Vivian and I was what I presented to her. A token of a 7 year old’s love and appreciation for a flight crew. That picture changed my life, or rather Vivian changed my life. I wanted to be just like her.

I think when you’re 7 and you say you want to be something, or someone, no one would take you seriously. But over the years things change, you get more level-headed and well, to put it bluntly, you grow up. And when you’re 20 and you say you want to do something, or be someone, people actually do start to take you seriously.

I’ve always wanted to fly, I’ve always wanted to be part of the team up in the skies. It’s amazing how 13 years later, my dream has never changed. And now that there are actually opportunities for me to pursue my dream, well, it’s exciting but scary all in one.

But let’s be honest, no parent would beam with pride and joy if their child tells them they want to fly the skies. And over the years, I have successfully kept mum about my flying dream, having gotten rather terrible comments and disapproval from many family members. I remembered the mocks and ridicule I got, the horrible things people can say towards something they know nothing much about. It haunted me over the years, my secret desire that I’ve been harbouring in my heart. Those nights I wondered if maybe this desire was going to disappear over the years, and sure enough I tried to out grow it but to no avail. Every time I get on a plane, the rush of excitement, the warm fuzzy feeling, it was always the same. Being in the airport, seeing familiar uniforms walking past, even that was enough to churn a longing in my heart.

And, it was not until recently that I truly asked myself: “Will I actually really go for it?”

These few months saw the serious deliberation and contemplation about my flying career. Can I do it? Should I do it? Is this the right thing to do? What will my relatives think of me? Is this what God wants me to do? All these questions consumed me, day in day out. I was so afraid of what people wanted of me, what people thought of me and what people expected of me. Ironically I was so busy caring about what others wanted for me, that I forgot what I wanted for myself. What truly makes me happy.

It was not until I chanced upon this article online which was something I truly needed to hear. Just to be clear, it wasn’t the answers to all my questions but instead, it felt as if God was guiding me into making the decision that’s going to change my life forever.

“Do you remember your childhood dreams? All 5-year-olds know how to dream. You know the typical fantasies. We dreamed of becoming a firefighter, astronaut, ship captain, artist or rock star. But then life happens. Some of us were told our dreams were unrealistic. You may have been one of those kids. Somewhere along the way, you were taught to be realistic, to stay inside the lines and recognise that growing up means you need to show up at eight o’clock, do your boring job and go home to a dreary existence at five o’clock.” ~ DAN MILLER, 2012

That’s when I felt God nudging me to think about what I truly wanted to be when I was a kid. And that was how I knew…

I think as teens, or rather 20-going-on-to-21, it’s so easy to get caught up with what people think of you. We are so susceptible to the chains of people’s expectations and ideas of you, to the point where sometimes I do see people living out careers and lives stemming from not what God wants, not what they want but what people wanted them to do. And that is such a perfect example of who I don’t want to become.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

~ 1 Colossians 10:31.

 

Another thing I struggled with when deciding if I should pursue flying, was whether or not my desire to fly was a self-centred and superficial desire. I didn’t know how God was going to use me if I were to fly and I struggled so hard, trying to grasp how He would do it. It was as if I was trying to take his job. But sometimes, sometimes you got to take a step back and see it from a bigger picture. God is always in control, and if He planted that desire in my heart since I was 7, when I was nowhere near a teen let alone someone who had the mental capacity to understand anything… it has got to signify something even greater. For a 7 year old to know in that instant that that was what she wanted to do when she grew up, that flying was going to be her part of her life… now that means something.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if I will be able to make it in. But what I do know is that God will start what he has finished in me. And after all these years battling the fear and doubt, what I can say now is that I finally have the courage to pursue a dream that lights my heart on fire. So don’t be afraid, I know it can be scary. But a life worth living is one where passion meets purpose.

I hope you’ll find the courage, no matter how long it takes, to pursue the hidden and long-lost dreams of your heart.

Always ask yourself, what did 7 year old you wanted to become?

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Picture by: Henning Witzel, city of Los Angeles

Always so much Love to everyone,

Vanessa

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My 2017 Bandung School Trip

My 2017 Bandung School Trip

Hi everyone!

The past few months have been such a blur. I have been so busy trying to navigate my way through surviving school.. and just life in general. And… I got back from Bandung about 2 weeks ago and I am so excited to post these really candid, yet beautiful pictures of my trip!

Just to be clear, it was a school trip, so I didn’t get to explore Bandung as much as I would have loved to, but still I am grateful for Singapore Poly for sponsoring our course to film a documentary there! Any chance I get to travel… I’ll take it!

I can’t go in-depth into my travels because I barely had time to really explore the place but I hope you’ll enjoy my pictures!

1. The Hotel or rather Resort (Blackbird Hotel Bandung, Jl. Sersan Bajuri No.9, Cihideung, Parongpong, Kabupaten Bandung Barat, Jawa Barat 40559, Indonesia)

2. The Food (Some parts of it, we mostly ate whatever our school catered for us, it wasn’t anything too special hence why I didn’t snap that many pictures)

3. The Scenery & Friends

Ta…da!!! Took me 30 minutes to arrange all the pictures together. Bandung’s beautiful and I’m really sad that I was travelling there for work rather than pleasure. But, I’ve already made some plans to go back there in 2018 for about 3 days! I can’t wait.

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I was in my School-T, pardon the really ugly dress-code

Love,

Vanessa

Travel Essentials: Makeup (Bandung Version)

Travel Essentials: Makeup (Bandung Version)

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I have came back from Bandung Indonesia about 2 weeks ago and forgot to put this up! I am super sorry but here it is! 

Hello and I’m back! Woo, it’s been a crazy May and June & first half of July (I was so busy handling school stuff) BUT I’m so glad I am still able to take time off to blog here. I apologise for such a long wait (*gasp* its been more than a month since my last post)

As you all know, I’m flying off to Bandung Indonesia next Tuesday (2/7/17). So, today I am going to share with you guys my personal makeup travel essentials. You can check out my makeup blog here because yes, I do write about makeup too, aside from travel. I started my makeup blog in late 2016 so it’s still kind of new, but just in case you’re curious then… do check it out.

I want to start off by highlighting the fact that I go very natural for my makeup. I would describe my makeup style as the ‘simple/classic’ look. I don’t wear eyeshadow, I don’t wear falsies, and neither do I put eyeliner on. This is just in case you’re wondering why I don’t have that many products listed. Anyway let’s get to it!

When you’re travelling, the goal is to pack light. ‘Travel light’ they call it. And I’m definitely no exception. I love to bring the most minimal amount of products and brushes when I’m flying. I guess its partly because I don’t use a lot of different makeup products so that really gives me the privilege to be able to pack light.

To help you out, I suggest you write down on paper your very own ‘makeup list’. This makeup list consists of what makeup products you need to use on a day to day basis, including at the destination of your travel. Of course if you’re travelling for a wedding, or for a business meeting which requires you to put more makeup (eyeliner, eyeshadow, falsies perhaps) than your usual everyday, then list those ‘extra’ products you would have to bring as well.

Here’s my own list.

GENERAL MAKEUP

  • Foundation
  • Concealer
  • Blush
  • Loose Powder (to set my face)
  • Bronzer
  • Eyebrow Pencil
  • Mascara
  • Eyelash Curler
  • Lip Gloss

This is indeed my list for my Bandung trip. 9 products in total. Don’t worry too much about makeup brushes yet, I will teach you how to identify WHICH makeup brushes are the ones that will complement your makeup list.

Now it comes to choosing your makeup products. For a makeup lover like me, I have multiple foundations, concealers and blushes and so on and so forth. So makeup lovers, it can get tough from here but don’t fret. Let’s talk about choosing the correct foundation you would want to bring.

FOUNDATION

Ask yourself, what is the climate and temperature like at the destination you are flying off to? Is it like Singapore, where it’s summer 24/7? Is it spring time, which means cool temperatures of 18-20 degrees? Or is it winter… where temperatures can reach a whopping -7 degrees? Here’s why it matters.

Warm countries tend to make you sweat more, and for those with oily skin… that isn’t something to look forward to. Hence why you should opt for a medium to full coverage foundation with a matte finish. A dewy foundation is only going to make your skin look even more oily than it already is. For those with dry skin, opt for a semi-matte/semi-dewy finish. I don’t recommend anyone bringing a dewy foundation to tropical country because chances are you’re going to sweat like a grease ball so why make your face more oily than it already is right? For me, I opted for the Revlon Color-stay foundation (specifically for oily skin) since I’m going to Bandung. It’s a medium to full coverage and it has a complete matte finish!

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Cooler countries tend to dry up your skin way more, which can result in flaky skin. People with oily skin should opt for a semi-matte/semi-dewy finish to result in a balanced finish (example: Maybelline Fit Me Pore-less Foundation), where your skin is not too oily and not too dry. Dry skin people… please just go for the dewy foundations… Need I say more? Oh and remember to put an extra amount of moisturiser over your face and keep your lip balms in your purse! Trust me, not only is cracked lips unflattering, it’s also painful.

CONCEALER

The above concept doesn’t really apply that heavily to concealers. For me I think that the main thing when it comes to choosing concealers is coverage. I mean sure you have your ‘more liquid than usual’ concealers, as well as the ‘stick concealers’ which happen to be more drying on your skin. But if you think about it, you can always set your concealer with loose powder to lock the concealer in place and make your concealer appear however you want it to. (*Putting more loose powder on top of your concealer will make it look more ‘dry’ and matte, while putting less can make it look dewy!)

If you want a medium to full coverage concealer, opt for concealers like the Maybelline Age Rewind and the Maybelline Fit Me Concealer. If you are a high-end gal then the Tarte Shaped-Taped Concealer is a great option too.

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If you want a natural and softer coverage, go for the Rimmel Wake Me Up concealer. It’s very little coverage and gives you a natural look under your eyes.

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I suggest not to overthink too much for concealers. Just pick one which suits the needs of your travel. Ask yourself the purpose of your travel. If it’s solely for a 1-day wedding then just bring one medium-full coverage concealer. If it’s for a 1 week trip then bring two types of concealers: one for the natural everyday look and one to shake-it-up a bit if you might be going to a posh dinner date or something! (*winks*)

BLUSH & BRONZER

When it come to blushes and bronzers, bare in mind just one simple question.

“What is the shade that goes with almost everything?”

You know how girls can get. Having 10 different shades of blushes and 3 different shades of bronzers… and not being able to decide which one and having to pack ALL 13 PRODUCTS WITH YOU. Please don’t let that be you…

In my personal opinion, the Milani baked blush in Luminoso goes with my skin tone and literally every outfit of mine so well. So when it comes to choosing blushes I will automatically reach for that one without hesitation. For bronzers, I ADORE the Laura Geller Bronze and Brighten. It matches and goes with everything too. Plus I have the small-sized one which is great for travel. WIN.

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So.. ask yourself. What is that perfect shade for your skin?

EYEBROW PENCIL

I don’t put too much emphasise/attention/care (HAHAHAH) on my eyebrows because I have bangs to cover them up. But I would say, when it comes to travelling there is really no point in bring 2 or more eyebrow pencils.

Pick an eyebrow pencil that lasts. Whether you’re going for a wedding, or for a business trip or even a day out, long-lasting brows are what matters the most. Opt for the Elf eyebrow kit, I think thats a good option comparing to eyebrow pencils (example: Anastasia Brow Wiz) because eyebrow pencil tends to not last as long. This tip comes in useful because if you’re going to a tropical place, please avoid bringing eyebrow pencils. OR if you only have eyebrow pencils, make sure to lock it over using dabbing motions (use your loose powder), that will make them last longer!

MASCARA & EYELASH CURLER

Ok pack any eyelash curler that you deem is effective. I don’t have much to say about eyelash curlers but the Shu Umera one is a classic! I plan to bring that with me to Bandung. A quick tip is to blow dry your eye curler for 8 seconds and then leave it to cool for about 5 seconds then curl your lashes. It helps hold the curl up and proper. You’re welcome! (hehe)

For mascaras, ALWAYS opt for water-proof ones. It doesn’t matter if where you’re going is an icy cold or tropical hot, you shouldn’t risk having your mascara smudge and looking like a panda. It is NOT COOL AT ALL. Other than that, the type of mascara like volumizing, lengthening etc is up to you and what look you want to go for. If you’re going for a wedding or a business meeting, go for the volumizing effect. If you want an everyday natural look, opt for a lengthening mascara. Long lashes tend to look more natural than thick black-coated ones. Choose a brown mascara if you want an even softer and natural look.

LIP GLOSS 

Two words. Long-lasting. That’s the key to choosing lip glosses. Oh and of course avoid the ones that make you look like you’ve just dipped your lips in oil.

I have chosen the Elizabeth Arden High Shine lip gloss! It lasts so long on my lips even when I drink tons of water and eat like crazy. Plus, lip glosses in general are plus points especially if you’re heading to a cooler climate. Your lips will literally thank you!

MAKEUP BRUSHES LIST

Now that we’ve gotten the products settled, let’s go into the brushes. Ask yourself what brushes do you need and list them out right now then continue to read on.

  • Foundation brush
  • Concealer brush
  • Blusher brush
  • Bronzer brush
  • Powder brush

These are the type of brushes I would need. If you have listed foundation and concealer brush, I have good news for you. There are brushes out there which are multi-purposed: brushes that can blend more foundation AND concealer. A perfect example would be the Real Techniques Expert Face brush and the Elf Selfie Ready Foundation brush. So I suggest pick a brush which literally kill two birds with one stone!

For blusher and bronzer, there is another good news for you. Because there are brushes out there which you can use to apply both products! An example would be the Elf Stipple brush. I think its the shape of the stipple brush and the bristles. It’s wide enough to apply blush on your cheeks yet slim enough to contour or bronze the cheekbones.

Now, this leaves us with the powder brush… am I right? Tell you something.

I used to be obsessed with the Real Techniques Powder brush back in 2016. The only downside to it was that it was HUGE. No way am I bringing this to travel! It would take up so much unnecessary space in my makeup bag too. Luckily, I found a smaller powder brush which is equally as good as the RT’s one and thats the Wet and Wild powder brush! It’s way smaller and performs the same. It’s big enough for putting powder all over your face yet again small enough to blend powder under the eyes. How cool is that?!

So as you can tell… you only essentially need like 3 brushes. My tip is really to find brushes which are multi-purposed. It truly helps you save space.

Oh and just in case you’re curious about how I store my makeup, here are two bags that I’m bringing with me.

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Brushes Bag from Cotton On
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Makeup Products Bag from Topshop

I suggest using a solid ‘hard cover’ bag (like the one in my picture above) for the makeup products in case stuff breaks while they load and unload your luggages from the plane.

Well… this is it! These are my own travel essentials. I hope this post has been helpful in one way or another. And if you’re flying off soon, I hope you have a safe and fun time!

Much love,

Vanessa

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: In a Nutshell

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: In a Nutshell

Hi everyone, and welcome to my last post for the Hong Kong Trilogy series!

Finally right? To be so honest with you guys, I have procrastinated so much because I had so much to say and planning this post was insane. I don’t want to over-write, but I also don’t want to under-write. Man, I feel like I put way too much pressure on myself I need to calm down.

Anyway, I’ll be talking about the top 3 things that I love about Hong Kong, as well as my reasons for them. If you don’t already know, Hong Kong is probably my favourite asian city because honestly, I love to eat, shop and eat on repeat (and excessively too if I might add) and I love cities which have the ‘NYC-state-of-mind’ vibes, and Hong Kong is honestly the asian version of New York. It’s a city that really never sleeps. I can look down from my hotel bedroom at 11pm and still see tons of cars driving past. Ok enough of my rambling, let’s get to it!

  1. The Food

Food… *inserts dreamy eyes*.

Hong Kong is known for being a food paradise. Wait… what am I talking about? OBVIOUSLY. Isn’t that what we all already know? Jeez Vanessa I need to stop stating the obvious. Ok I can honestly go on and on about the food in Hong Kong… but I shall not. I promised myself that I’ll only select 3 types of food that I love and move on.

Kam Wah Cafe: 47 Bute St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

I love this place so much, I can literally eat breakfast here everyday. Kam Wah Cafe is known in Hong Kong for its Polo buns, which are basically Pineapple buns. I initially thought it really had pineapple filling, but nope! These Polo buns (or Pineapple buns) are named ‘Pineapple buns’ because they resemble the shape of a pineapple.

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Pineapple Bun / Polo Bun 

I mean… yes I guess it does kind of look like a pineapple right? Anyway, you can eat this pineapple bun plain just like that, with just the butter sandwiched in between the bun, or you can eat it just like how I did, with the ham and yolk filling in it. It was the best thing ever. It tasted sweet (because of the crusted layer) yet savoury because of the ham and yolk. So if you’re someone who wants the best of both worlds, you got to try the pineapple bun!

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Polo Bun with Egg yolk and Ham filling, Egg tart and their peanut butter french toast

Besides the pineapple bun, I also ordered one egg tart (to try since it was highly raved about), and french toast with peanut butter filling. I loved the french toast too, it was so tasty and just great. It came with melted butter on the top, as seen from the picture above. It’s buttery, sweet, but then again the peanut butter wasn’t too sweet so it kind of evens out the sweetness making it just right. The egg tart wasn’t very good, was kind of disappointed because it was quite tasteless. It wasn’t buttery at all and neither was it sweet but that’s ok because it only costed me SGD $0.70 – $0.80 I reckon? The pineapple bun with just butter filling cost SGD $1.50 while the one with ham and yolk filling was around SGD $2.00+? I can’t remember. The peanut butter french toast was around SGD $2.70. Here’s the menu and some other random pictures I took of Kam Wah Cafe!

I definitely recommend this place because food is generally great, and service is fast. The staff is quite friendly and patient especially to us because we were tourists and the menu was in Chinese. So western travellers, beware! If you ever go there, perhaps google a picture of the food item you want and show it to the waiter/waitress, because that was what I did and they didn’t mind one bit. Also in Hong Kong, sharing seats is very common and it tends to get a little crowded if you don’t come earlier. Crowd starts to come in around 8am too. I’m going to rate this place for you guys as a reference point, and I give it an 8/10. I didn’t give 9 or 10 because I literally only tried 3 of their food items and the egg tart wasn’t great. But as of now, it would be an 8 for me. Perhaps when I go back there again, I’ll be able to try more of their food and give you a more accurate rating. Do take note the 8 mainly for the 3 food items I ordered, the staff and service.

Tim Ho Wan: IFC Mall MTR Shop 12A,, Central, Hong Kong

I am so sorry that I didn’t take much pictures for this, but the food was way too good I gobbled everything down before I could even snap proper photos. Tim Ho Wan is a 1-star michelin restaurant is one of the world’s cheapest michelin-star restaurant.

We ordered like crazy as you can see from the photo. I think my favourite dish was the BBQ pork buns. I love love love them. Sadly as I’ve mentioned above, I forgot to snap a picture of the pork buns up-close but here’s a picture of them in the Tim Ho Wan restaurant that I ate in, in Singapore.

The BBQ pork buns tasted really similar. But the ones in Hong Kong was bigger, and was way more ‘flat’ in shape. I think the crust was also a little sweeter in Hong Kong compared to the ones in Singapore. But filling-wise it tasted and was presented the same way. Serving wise was also the same.

The queue though, was insane. My family and I literally spent 40 minute queuing. But service and staff were good, and the food really made it up for the time spent waiting. We were given menus and were able to write down our order while waiting in line, so that was clever and wise of the staff. While waiting in line, my family and I even made friends with this Thai couple from Chiang Mai, who were around the late 40s to early 50s. The man studied in Singapore in the 1990s for College and has never been back to Singapore ever since which rang a huge bell for us because we were literally shouting ‘You must go back to Singapore one day because it has changed so much!’ I honestly love meeting fellow tourists in a foreign country. It kind of makes you feel like you’re not alone, and you’re all in this together – travellers got to stick together am I right?

Anyway, the other dim sum dishes like the sui mai and fried carrot cake were obviously delicious and they really tasted genuinely so fresh. I guess it’s also because Hong Kong is the king of dim sum so… of course it would taste just like Hong Kong *laughs*.

I would give Tim Ho Wan a 9/10. I love the food, ambience, staff and service. We only waited 10 minutes for our food. I guess it’s also because we were busy talking to the Thai couple, so it made the ‘wait’ for food much more bearable. (Yes, they were seated next to us too, what a coincidence!) Price point, it’s roughly about the same as Singapore’s pricing, but it tasted just a little better over in Hong Kong. (Maybe I am biased *giggles*)

I would definitely recommend you trying out Tim Ho Wan, especially if you’re flying to Hong Kong and don’t have Tim Ho Wan in your country. There are several Tim Ho Wan outlets all over Hong Kong too, so don’t worry and go to the nearest possible outlet if you can.

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Some of the more ‘well-known’ and easily accessible THW outlets in Hong Kong

Kee Hwa Bakery: Level B2, Langham Place, 8 Argyle Street, Mong Kok

Ok this last food item is a snack. It’s called “Dark Brown Sugar Chinese Sweet Crispies”.

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Dark Brown Sugar Chinese Sweet Crispies HKD $26 / SGD $4.70 per pack

This is like, the best thing ever. I kid you not. It is apparently a traditional Manchu delicacy. Manchu is basically an ethnic minority in China. Anyway, the crispies are sweet and crispy (duh as evident from ‘crispies’) and is made with flour, eggs, honey and syrup. There is a classic version with no dark sugar added, but I forgot to take a picture of it. It is HKD $25 which is SG $4.50, 20 cents cheaper. That’s less sweet of course BUT it still tastes good. Just in case you were wondering, I have a sweet tooth so I ended up buying the dark sugar version.

The pack can be broken up into 4 pieces of crispies, so it’s great for families to share within themselves. It’s very easy to bite and chew even though it is considered ‘crispy. I would highly recommend this if you have a sweet-tooth (like me) and if you just want something to munch on in between your meals. It is a great snack for travellers especially, and can be eaten on-the-go. The packaging makes it easy to open so that’s convenient for us travellers (I should use the word tourists instead but its alright) so we don’t need to carry a pair of scissors in our bag-pack. Also, there isn’t much fall out so you can just eat it without getting worried over whether or not the pieces will drop on your clothes or dirty the seat or floor. A huge yes and a big yay for me! I give it a 10/10!

Also Kee Hwa, the bakery that carries this food item can be found in many MTR stations and malls (like Langham Mall) so don’t worry, it can be easily ‘hunted down’ in Hong Kong! Make sure to buy 10 packs to bring home with you too! *winks*

2. The weather

Can I just start off by saying that Hong Kong has the best weather? Ok but for me, though Hong Kong has summer and it’s like 28-30 degrees during that season (oh hey, it’s summer now in Hong Kong by the way), I still don’t mind it because it’s cooler than Singapore. Singapore’s like averagely 32-35 degrees almost all year round so, no complaints Hong Kong… no complaints. And spring time is the best because it’s between 14 (when it rains) to 22 degrees! I went to Hong Kong in end March so it was about to turn into the summer season but the temperature was like 18 to 22 degrees. While I was in Hong Kong on the 26th of March, a Sunday (wow my memory skills are amazing), I can remember that it was colder than usual (15 degrees), because apparently there was some storm, causing the temperature to drop. But hey, 15 degrees is amazing. You can still wear a t-shirt and jeans out with sneakers on and not ‘freeze-to-death’! The weather in general is just right. Almost all year round, I can wear a leather jacket and not sweat BUT I can also wear a t-shirt and not freeze-to-death. It’s really a win-win situation, sign me up Hong Kong!

3. The Ambience

Ah… the city view.

I am a true-blue lover of Hong Kong. There I said it. It’s not so much of the food, the people or the weather. I think it’s really more of the ambience, the vibes I get when I’m in Hong Kong. It’s the second city that never sleeps, and it’s full of passion and beauty.

Though it’s an urban city, some of the buildings are really old and I guess that’s what I love about Hong Kong – the contrast, the concept of ‘old meets new’. It has a bit of everything and it makes the place so beautiful and I’ll forever be in awe.

I get a lot of questions, whether I’ll migrate to Hong Kong next time. I can’t give you guys an answer yet. I would however, probably want to work in Hong Kong for a year or two but to stay in Hong Kong… I can’t answer that just yet because I don’t know Hong Kong 100% yet. So far… I’ve only seen 50% of it and truth be told I do love it. So, to answer everyone’s question, I don’t know. But we shall see, because who knows?

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If you’re someone looking to get away from the stress and harsh realities of life in your home-country (like I was, after a tiring school semester), go to Hong Kong. Sure the streets are crowded, yeah the country is all about the hustle and bustle of city life, but there’s something about Hong Kong that turns the craziness of city life into something beautiful, something peaceful. You see the millions of people who walk past you, the way they talk, they way they rush from place to place…you get fascinated by how different yet similar we are. It also makes you realise how small you actually are. And just by standing at my hotel room’s window on the 29th floor, watching the world go by… makes me realise how the world has so much possibilities. It reminded me that my problems that I have in school, in life or whatever, are so small compared to this world. There’s really an entire world out there, just waiting for me to explore. Any second spent complaining or whining or being upset, is time wasted because look how much there is in the world. And to think of it, this is merely a tiny fraction of the world. So, stop wasting time and get out there into the world! Travel as much as you want, eat as much as you want and laugh as much as you want. Time spent not doing all these things, is time wasted.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I’ve officially come to the end of my Hong Kong Trilogy series. Writing this was an honour for me. It’s funny, because before visiting Hong Kong (for the second time in my life), I didn’t think I would find it peaceful, I mean Hong Kong is NO Bali, or Switzerland. It doesn’t have mountains for me to see or lakes for me to walk past. But somehow, somehow, I was still able to connect the dots and find my serenity in the streets of Hong Kong. And I hope that you will too.

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My mom and I at Mak’s Noodles at Ocean Terminal, Hong Kong

With love,

Vanessa

 

 

My (‘very amateurly-taken’) 2010 Hong Kong Pictures

My (‘very amateurly-taken’) 2010 Hong Kong Pictures

Hi, as I’m still busy collating my 3rd and last, Hong kong Trilogy post, here’s another photo diary – this time in Hong Kong 2010! I was 13 at that time, and travelled with 3/5 of my family (my parents and I).

I can’t remember much either, since it was like 7 years ago but we stayed in Holiday Inn – located in Tsim Sha Tsui. The hotel has an amazing location as well, because just right outside the hotel is already the shopping district where you have all the branded stuff like Miu Miu, Chanel etc, fashion clothing stuff like H&M, Zara, and beauty stores like Sasa. So convenient.

And I remembered going to see the Symphony of Lights at Victoria Habour, as well as the Peak which is accessible from the MTR station called “Central” (on the blue line). Ok if you are wondering…

Um… why does Vanessa seem to remember more about her 2010 Hong Kong trip than her 2009 Europe one?

Well, I feel that I know my way around Hong Kong way more because I literally visited Hong Kong like 2 months ago. (I went Hong Kong in 2010 which is this photo diary, and in 2017) And since I’m 20 now, the roads and directory in general seem to make more sense to me. When I was 13, I didn’t really pay much attention to my surroundings and blindly followed my parents wherever they went. I visited the same places in Hong Kong, (from when I went previously in 2010) and realised where it was located, how to actually get there etc. I guess when you’re almost nearing adulthood versus a newly-turned teenager… things are different. Everything starts to make sense. Anyway, I should stop talking now since this is supposed to be a ‘photo-diary’ post. Enjoy the pictures and stay tuned for my last post of the Hong Kong Trilogy series!

Holiday Inn (Hotel) Pictures

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Hong Kong Pictures

(I didn’t use slideshow, because it loaded too slowly)

Hong Kong is really such a dream, I miss it and will want to go back there again hopefully this september, or next year!

With love,

Vanessa

(ps, all pictures shot using a Canon Digital IXUS 110 15, how ancient!)

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cordis Hotel at Langham Place

My 2017 Hong Kong Trip Trilogy: Cordis Hotel at Langham Place

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Entrance of Cordis Hotel at Langham Place (Film Effect)

Hello, and welcome to the second part of my Hong Kong trip trilogy. If you made it this far, congrats! I hope my content will continue to keep you entertained and hopefully it makes you smile too.

In today’s post, I’m going to walk you through my thoughts about the hotel. As reflected on my post’s title, my family and I stayed in Cordis Hotel at Langham Place for 4 nights. Let’s get to it!

Location of Cordis & Nearby Food

The hotel used to be named “Langham Place Hotel” but it revamped in 2015 and it changed its name to Cordis. It is operated by Langham Hotels International.

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Lift Lobby
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The 2nd floor view, from the main lobby
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The main lobby

It is located at 555 Shanghai Street in Mong Kok. This really was a win for me because I always wanted to stay in Mong Kok. For those of you who don’t know, Mong Kok is like a very happening place in Hong Kong, it’s considered the ‘central’ area, since it’s situated on the red line of the Hong Kong’s MTR (MTR is their public train system). It is also 3 stops away from Tsium Sha Tsui! And it lies between Prince Edward station and Tsium Sha Tsui – all these locations are very ‘happening’ and are popular shopping districts. I won’t go so much about the other mtr stations, but the hotel itself is connected to Langham Mall (take the lift to the level 4 of Cordis hotel, if I remember correctly, walk past the concierge and there is a link bridge thing which connects the hotel to the mall, it literally is just a few metres away from your hotel room) which is a huge shopping mall with 50 over stores – H&M, Coach, Timberland, Hush Puppies, Pandora, Cath Kidson etc. For my Singaporean readers out there, Langham Mall is basically the “Raffles City” of Singapore. Food wise, there are so many options too but my family and I didn’t really go to Langham Mall to dine because we wanted to eat the street food and restaurants – which is what Hong Kong is famous for. But if you are curious, here is the mall’s directory which I managed to snap a picture of!

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Langham Mall’s directory

Additionally, opposite Langham Mall (like seriously across the street, the street is next to Coach) there is a huge SASA and Bourjois stall (Bourjois is like the Watsons plus Venus of Singapore all in one). These stalls sell mainly beauty things. You can find brands like Maybelline, Revlon, Loreal etc. The prices are about 10% cheaper than in Singapore but their sales are insane. I bought a Revlon lipstick for $12SGD! Singapore is selling at $19SGD. Insanity!

You’ll never grow hungry if you stay in Cordis, because not only is it connected to Langham Mall (which I already mentioned earlier) but, it’s also a 1 minute walk away from Chan Kee Roasted Goose restaurant! Chan Kee is one of the most popular place in Hong Kong for roasted Goose. Literally it is the best thing on earth. Chan Kee is located directly behind Cordis – the back alley of the hotel. The address: 427 Reclamation St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong. 

My family and I ordered the same thing during both of the times we ate there. Service was good too, but partly because it wasn’t crowded, so perhaps the staff were still able to manage. And yes, they provide english menus too, you just have to request for one from the waitress. So western travellers, don’t worry Chan Kee and I got you covered! For other details, I won’t go too much in-depth since this isn’t a food review.

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Roasted Goose, Chicken and Pork with sausages > HKD$198 / SGD$36 

Another amazing restaurant that is nearby Cordis, which roughly is about 5 minutes away (and yes it is just behind the hotel AGAIN), is Tsui Wah Restaurant. The address: 244 Portland St, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Tsui Wah is very popular for tourists, because the staff are very friendly and will take the time to explain to tourists what is highly raved in the restaurant. They also have an english menu too which is great for westerners and Singaporeans who have 0 knowledge of the cantonese language… even chinese how embarrassing. Anyway, it is extremely common to find the restaurant (sometimes) packed with tourists.

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My mom with her shrimp and spinach dumplings w/ noodles in fish soup > HKD$34 / SGD$6.13
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Close up picture of what my mom ordered
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My fish balls and fish cake w/flat rice noodles in fish soup > HKD$35 / SGD$6.31
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Special Breakast Menu > HKD$36 / SGD$6.49
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I ordered the speciality breakfast in the end

Looks yummy yeah?

The best part is that it tastes as yummy as it looks, perhaps even better. You’ll definitely NEVER go hungry in Hong Kong, but Cordis just happens to be located right smack in these food places which is a huge plus point for tourists! For more food reviews, stay tuned for the next post where I talk about Hong Kong as a whole where there’s a mini food part!

Oh and just in case you need a reference as to where Cordis is, as mentioned earlier it’s nearest MTR is Mong Kok station. Mong Kok is linked underground, to Langham Mall’s basement, and Langham Mall is also linked to Cordis so its a win-win situation for all!

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Hong Kong’s MTR map, Mong Kok is the nearest station from Cordis 

Room

Ok… I have to admit, I was too excited and totally forgot to take a picture of my room. I only have a video of it! But since I’m not a premium wordpress subscriber, I don’t get the luxury of uploading videos. What I did was I uploaded the room tour on my youtube channel. I created this youtube channel just for this, so don’t worry I’m not like an active youtuber or anything like that.

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The view from my hotel room, on the 29th floor

I booked the “Family Trio Room” which is on the 29th floor. It was amazing I love the room so much. It’s 37m² which is considered a large room for Hong Kong’s standard. (Hong Kong rooms in general, or rather housing, is/are very small in case you didn’t know). Some of the key things about the room is their 40-inch television, marble-themed bathroom (which you can see in the video) and their complimentary smartphone (with 4G, fully paid by Cordis of course) which you can bring around with you wherever you go! How cool is that?

For the family trio, it’s HKD$2450 per night, which is SGD$441. I have to admit, because it is a 5-star luxury hotel, the prices are definitely on the higher end. One has to also take into consideration the location – Langham mall and Mong Kok MTR just minutes away, and popular food,shopping and beauty stalls nearby, again just minutes away, it is no wonder that the price will be slightly higher. Here is the Cordis hotel’s website, specifically the room that we booked for reference!

Amenities

Cordis has a total of 41 floors.

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In the lift, my room is on the 29th floor 

Cordis is known for this famous Michelin-starred Cantonese Restaurant called  “Ming Court”  that is on the 5th floor but unfortunately, we didn’t know we had to book a table several days in advance!!! So for people who want to try out Ming Court, remember to make a reservation first before even coming to Hong Kong.

The hotel’s gym, spa and swimming pool are on the 41st floor. Yes it is the highest floor!

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The pool on the 41st floor
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The women’s gym
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The general gym
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Walking through the spa rooms

I can’t really say much for the amenities, because my family and I didn’t use it at all. But from a “superficial” point of view, it is pretty cool and impressive. The pool was extremely beautiful, and the spa and gym were super overwhelming. Based on the appearance of them, they do live up to the standard of a luxury hotel.

Service

The service and staff in Cordis are amazing. When we checked into the hotel, the counter staff (Nicole Tang) was so polite, and was very initiative when it came to starting conversations. She asked us things like – was it our first time in Hong Kong, was it our first time in Cordis etc. And we weren’t first time travellers to Hong Kong, but it was the first time we stayed in Cordis, and Mong Kok in general so we were quite unfamiliar with the Mong Kok area. She then took out a map and wrote down all the places to eat and where to shop etc. How awesome is that? And she even pointed out that if we needed extra help, we could always call her or any of her staff to help us out! Thanks Nicole Tang!

Another impressive staff is this bellboy whom I forgot to get his name. During the morning of our second day, we were about to walk out of the hotel and he helped open the door for us and casually asked us how is our stay in Hong Kong going. We told him that we really wanted to eat beef noodles now – like right now (then) because my family and I had a sudden craving. And guess what! He immediately turned to his staff and said “I’ll be back in a while” and offered to bring us to this beef place right behind the hotel (yet again) that sell really delicious beef noodles. Can you believe it? He brought us all the way to the stall’s doorstep!

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What we had: beef noodles

And it was only HDK$25… and to highlight, this is BEEF BRISKET! How worth it right? Gosh, but seriously that bellboy’s service was A*. He really went the extra mile for us and we were insanely impressed.

And to top it off, the hotel staff always pressed the lift buttons for us. We can be in the lift lobby and when a hotel staff comes, they would ask which floor we were going to and pressed the button and the button inside the lift to the floor we want to go to. Like seriously?! THAT is the kind of service we get to enjoy!

Overall Thoughts

Ok, I will start with the price first. I think that $441 per night for a family trio room is expensive. Probably $300-$350 is alright but $441 is way too much. BUT I feel like the location, service and amenities make up for it. What a pity that I didn’t get to use the amenities but since I’m not really the gym-goer/spa-goer… then well I don’t regret it so much but the $441 does include the gym and pool usage so… maybe I do regret it. (HAHAHAHAH) Anyway as I was saying, the location is really the main deciding factor and it was what really won me over. My family and I saved a lot on transportation (MTR) (ps, we took a cab from the Hong Kong International Airport because we were lazy to drag out luggage through public transport) because Cordis had so much food and shopping, so we rarely needed to use the MTR to go anywhere. (other than Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay) I mean, MTR is quite affordable, but if you can save, even if its $1, how can you say no to that right? So in terms of location, we did save a lot on transportation and that kind of evens it out. Because you see, if I stayed in another hotel that doesn’t have that great a location then I would have spent more on transportation right? So… it depends, what your wants/needs/preferences when it comes to choosing a hotel.

Ultimately, this hotel isn’t for everyone. I’m honestly not a hotel snob, so staying in a 3 or 4 star hotel is fine for me. But if you’re someone who wants really a luxury experience, hotel staff who literally would do almost anything for you, and an AMAZING location… then sure go ahead! I would also advice you to make your money more worth it by using the gym and pool too. If you are someone who doesn’t mind staying in a less luxurious hotel, and do not mind the fact or possibility that you might not get the best hotel service in town then, Cordis might not be the hotel for you. If you don’t mind saving on accommodation, and spending the money on food and shopping, I recommend staying at Holiday Inn (which is located literally right smack within the shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui) because it’s generally a good hotel (4 star hotel, and I’ve stayed there back in 2010) and the location is equally as BOMB as this one! Service, room and amenities might not be THAT luxurious and perfect but it is stay-able!

Hopefully I am not deviating too much, but anyway…

Cordis gets a 9/10 for me because this is honestly one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in my entire life. The missing 1 point is for the price. It could be slightly less expensive…*frowns*.

Anyway, my hands are getting tired so this is it! Hope this review was entertaining enough and stay tuned for the last post of the Hong Kong Trilogy!

With love,

Vanessa