Monday, March 28, 2011

Hong Kong diary 2011 part 1 - Island Tang

Although it feels like a lifetime ago, I was in Hong Kong this time last month and it's time to share with CCM readers about the trip.

Our visit was very family-oriented this time around.  There were many gatherings with my sister's family, and most of them were around a dining table :-D

Out of all our meals, the highlight was dinner at Island Tang, a Chinese restaurant in Central.

The decor was a cut above typical Chinese restaurants.


The teapots were charming.


The dinner started with honey glazed barbeque pork, one of the restuarant's signature dishes.


As you can see, it looked a bit different from the barbeque pork from your local Chinese takeaway.

Take a closer look.


It tasted as succulent as it looked, thanks to the highly marbled, almost melt-in-your-mouth meat.  It was probably too rich to have regularly (and I do like the bright red, lean cut cha-chiu), but as a special treat?  Nom nom nom.

Next up was another well known Chinese dish, the Peking duck.  I made the waiter stop so I can take a photo of the whole duck.


I'm not a fan of skin-only Peking duck servings, so I highly approved of the way the dish was served here - with a good sized piece of juicy duck meat.


The pastry was paper-thin, the cucumber and shallots were finely julienned, and the duck was perfectly marinaded.  It was so delicate - not what I expected from a dish that is usually quite heavy.


Other dishes we enjoyed included:

Savoury chicken and cucumber juliennes, jellyfish and spring onions tossed with sesame sauce - the sesame sauce made the dish.  It was like a runny smooth peanut butter with a softer flavour, and it gelled the different ingredients together beautifully.


Baked spare ribs with sweet and sour strawberry sauce - the strawberries added a welcome touch of tartiness to the sauce.  The ribs were a bit too fatty to my liking though.


Overall it was an excellent meal.  My sister picked up the tab (thanks sis!), from my recollection it was not overly expensive (I'm guessing around $A40 - $A50 per person).

I highly recommend Island Tang to any visitor to Hong Kong.  It is a great representation of Chinese cuisine.

Island Tang
Shop 222, The Galleria Plaza
9 Queen's Road
Central
Hong Kong
(852) 2526 8798

Friday, March 25, 2011

City chic

Following up my maiden appearance in my birthday post, here's my first outfit post, in part to celebrate my latest purchase and gift.

This is my look on Wednesday.


Some of you may recognise the dress from an earlier post.  My brother chose the Jeanie Geo from the Ruby by Leona Edmiston collection as my birthday present.

As I expected the dress is very comfy.  The cut of the dress suits my body shape, and I think the print is a lot of fun.  Here's a close up.


When the weather gets colder I'll pair the dress up with patterned pins and black kitten heels.

And yes, I'm carrying my brand new bag in the first photo!  After returning the Z Spoke by Zac Posen bag I'm been on the lookout for a replacement.

A tweet from Net-A-Porter about free international postage was enough to win me over and I bought the Michael Kors Gia shoulder bag in burnt orange (£379).



At 22cm x 18cm the Gia is a bit smaller than most of my other bags, but the shape and the colour won me over.


The tiny pouch on the right holds a small key, it can be used to lock the bag, but it's largely for aesthetics.

The shape and cut of the bag are absolutely spot on for me.  The lines are simple and elegant, the design is feminine without being girly, and what a perfect colour for autumn!


If I can make one change to the bag I'll pick smoother leather over grained leather (like this Marc Jacobs bag, which is very cute by-the-by?). But it's a minor point.


The bag can be carried two way, either with the strap doubled up and carried by hand like this.



Or with the strap fully extended and carried on the shoulder like me in the first photo. I thought the fully extended strap would be a bit awkward in length but it was actually quite comfortable! I ended up carrying the bag that way all the time.

The bag may be small but it fits my belongings neatly.


It is actually quite handy to have a bag with no spare room, because it is easy to tell when something's missing.  When I was at waiting for the lift this afternoon I looked inside the bag and saw immediately that the "iphone slot" was empty, so I went back to my desk to pick it up before I left the building.

So here's my first outfit post!  May it be the first of many :-D

Monday, March 21, 2011

Writing it down

With e-mails replacing letters and cards, writing is slowly becoming a lost art.  This is a fun little exercise to rediscover our relationsip with pen and paper.

Thanks to the lovely Cynthia for tagging me :-D


To join in, all you need to do is write the following on a piece of paper:
  • Name
  • Blog name
  • Blog URL
  • “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”
  • Favourite quote
  • Favourite song
  • Favourite band/singer
  • Anything you want
  • Tag someone (c'mon down Sass and Spice and Miss Kitty-Cat!)
So what does my handwriting say about me (besides the fact that I write like a 12-year-old)?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Birthday weekend part 2

Look what greeted me first thing on my birthday?


Presented by a smiling TLG, of course!

Then I went back to sleep. *bliss*

When I woke up again, coffee and crossiant were waiting for me - breakfast in bed was awesome.

Thanks to Miss Kitty-Cat's recommendation, we headed to Burnt Orange for my birthday lunch.

Burnt Orange is a cafe and shop located in an old golf club house in Mosman. The cafe is on a verandah that wraps around the shop, so all tables enjoy the beautiful surrounds.


What a view!


I was still full from the crossiant so I ordred something light(ish).


Tasmanian salmon cake served on a crisp salad of baby cress & granny smith apple with a lemon mayonnaise ($21)

For reasons unknown I was expecting something similar to fish cakes from Thai restaurants, but this was very different.  The cake was made with large chucks of salmon with small cubes of potatoes in the mix.  The finely chopped apples bought crispness and freshness to the dish.  Nice.

Mr Curious ordered a pork dish that is not on the onilne menu.  I didn't have any; he assured me that it was delicious.  It certainly looked good.


After the meals I wandered around the shop.  There were a charming mix of fashion, books, homeware and kids' goodies for sale.


Something quickly took hold of TLG's attention.


It was an old-fashioned fire truck ride-on.  TLG was admiring it and the lovely shop assistant offered him a seat.  He even asked me if I wanted to take a photo!  I spoke with him afterwards and he found out that he wasn't meant to let kids sit inside, but TLG had such a big smile on his face he thought it was worth it!

I looked around for a birthday gift for myself.  There was a nice collection of cardigans at one end of the shops and I bought this cotton cardigan in navy.


The cardigan is so soft and fit me perfectly!  The brand is called "Vermilion" which I've never heard of.  I searched online when I got home to find out more about the brand.  They sell cashmere and cotton clothings for adults and for kids.  All their products are made in Nepal and they are involved in charity work in Kathmandu to support the local community. 

I was so impressed with the company I contacted the owner.  She said the company is just starting out in Australia and at the moment she's focussing on the wholesale side, and in the future there will be a list of stockists on the website.  In the meantime, some of their products are available here and here.  If I am more entrepreneurial I'll set up a store myself (ummmm, should I?).

After the purchase I returned to Mr Curious and TLG.  TLG was happy consuming a cookie.  I was too full to have dessert so I ordered a lemongrass tea instead.  It came in a pretty pink teapot.


I really enjoy lemongrass tea, I should really make it at home.

It was a great birthday lunch, relaxing, with comfy food and topped off with shopping.  The service was a bit uneven but it was a minor blemish.  We decided to come back for Mother's Day lunch, and apparently they have already taken 8 bookings for that day!

In a CCM first I'm posting an outfit photo with my head.  I wore a Satch orange maxi dress which was a Christmas present from Mr Curious, and the Just Cavalli sandals that I bought last year.


I was so used to wearing flats I could bearly walk in those sandals, but hey they looked hot :-D

After we went home and I had a chance to digest my lunch, Mr Curious bought out a birthday that was a tad unconventional.


We had no birthday candles left in the house so Mr C used a tea light instead.  And the "cake" was really 2 small pieces of chocolate cake that he bought in a local patisserie.  It actually made sense, since a normal cake would have been too big, and trust me, it was yummo.

We played with TLG for the rest of the afternoon and went to a local Japanese restaurant for a casual dinner.  Some silly TV after TLG went to bed rounded off my birthday celebration.

I turned 35 this year.  A minor milestone I guess.  Now when I fill in forms that asked for age in range I'll be in the 35-44 bucket!  Parts of me thinks that I'm getting old.  But I still have so much to learn and so much to give.  And that is much more important than a number, right?

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for visiting my blog.  I don't offer amazing photography or witty musings or heartfelt stories.  I'm just sharing snippets of my life and talking about things that I like.  Sometimes I don't think that's enough, but the fact that you pop by (and some of you say hi in the comments) means that you get something out of what I have to say, and I am truly humbled by that.  So thank you, and I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming year :-D

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birthday weekend part 1

It was my birthday yesterday.  After the hectic trip to Hong Kong (yes I will blog about that later!) I decided to have a chill out birthday weekend with Mr Curious and TLG.

In the morning, we paid a visit to the Art Gallery of NSW to see The First Emperor: China's entombed warriors exhibition.  We wanted to go since it started but time flew by and the exhibition ended yesterday.  After a brief consideration we decided to brave the crowds.

There was a fair queue at the gallery for ticket purchase when we arrived around 9:15am, and the exhibition halls were packed.  Having hundreds of people in the same room did take a bit away from the experience, but overall it was great.  The effort involved in creating these terracotta soldiers is mind blowing - there are estimated to be 8,000 figures (soldiers and horses) in the tombs, and each one took around 150 days to make!

Photography was not allowed within the exhibition halls, however there was a display of a chariot in the entrance court.


We didn't know how TLG would behave at the exhibition but he enjoyed it.  He was fascinated by the horses, and there were a lot of "why" questions, most of which I couldn't answer!

We bought a mask and some stickers for TLG, a post card to send to my nieces, and a cute singlet onesie with a cloud pattern for my nephew-to-be. 


We also bought a coffee book on the exhibition about the Qin dynasty, the excavation work, and details on the terracotta soldiers on display.  I'm looking forward to reading about it.


Here's a tip - if you want to purchase bargain merchandise, visit the museum in question on the final days of the exhibition.  Most of the items are marked down - the beautiful book was only $25, and the onesie was discounted from $26 to just $10!

We gave TLG a chance to romp around the gallery a bit before we left.  I love the vibrancy of this painting.


After the exhibition we headed to Hyde Park.  TLG was acting up because he was hungry (he only ate a small breakfast).  Mr Curious and I were wondering where to go when I saw the Westfields building, and I thought "Why not the food court on level 5"?

We were there early (around 11am) so we grabbed a table in the corner of Castlereagh and Market Streets.  We walked past Cloudy Bay Fish Co and TLG was quickly sold on the (sword)fish and chips ($18.50).


I had to take off all the herbs (he called them the "green bits") on the swordfish before he would eat it.  He had a great appetite and ate about half of this adult size dish.

I remember Chocolate Suze raving about the Reuben at Eat Deli Kitchen so I ordered one ($13.50).


The Wagyu salt beef was all kinds of awesome, and I even ate the pickles which I usually avoid.  With all the ingredients it was quite an overwhelming sandwich and I wish I could taste the beef by itself.

Mr Curious was smarter than me and ordered the beef with veggies (around $17?).  Just look at the meat *drool*.  I'm going to order that next time!


With our stomaches nice and full we drove home.  TLG didn't fall asleep in the car as we planned so we took him to a park.  At the park I met a little boy called Finn who shared the same birthday as me.  Happy birthday to you too Finn!

After TLG fell asleep I asked Mr Curious to drive me to Chatswood for some retail therapy but I left empty handed.

On the way back home I asked Mr Curious to drop by the little homeware store opposite Victoria's Basement in Artarmon.  I've been eyeing a clock in the shop but I wanted Mr Curious to have a look before purchasing.  He was happy with it too, so after looking for years we are now proud owners of our first wall clock!


Isn't it adorable?  It is the Pip clock from a German designer called Koziol ($80).  We have a red feature wall in our living room so this will fit well with our colour scheme, and it's just so much fun.

There are more fun to be had on Sunday :-D

Friday, March 11, 2011

Leona Ruby birthday surprise

Hi CCM readers

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Since our return from Hong Kong on Monday night, work had been hectic (I went in today even though it is usually my day off), and TLG was out of sorts due to the time difference.  He is finally back in sync today, hurrah!

Of course there will be a few posts on my trip, but they're going to take a bit of time, so please be patient.

My birthday is coming up this weekend and my brother asked me what I would like for presents.  He bought me gift vouchers for Christmas so I guess he really had no idea.  I have been admiring the new Leona Edmiston Ruby collection, and I receive complements from our new EA when I wore the Nicola Wavy today, so I suggested he choose a dress from the following shortlist.

Trina Triangle is Nicola in a vibrant print.  The cut of this dress is really so flattering.  It is PERFECT for hiding the tummy.


Meg Multi - 3/4 length sleeves are great for transeasonal fashion.  I think this dress will be really flattering as well.


Jeanie Geo - the purple ascents brighten up the dress and it looks so comfy!


Classic Claire is classic indeed!  Very pretty.


Leona Edmiston's Facebook page has a few teaser photos of other Ruby dresses.

This wrap dress looks very promising.


And I like the look of the dress on the right - black and gold is a nice combo.


As a bonus, the Ruby dresses I own are so easy to look after.  They can be machine-washed and if air-dried they do not need to be ironed.  So it's perfect for someone like me.

Umm, which dress will my brother pick?  Which dress(es) do you like?

ETA: See which dress I got here.

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