Tuesday, 25 September 2007

The Venetian

Last weekend we headed over to Macau for a mini-break.

We stayed at The Venetian which is the Casino that originally brought us to Hong Kong (for work silly, not gambling). It opened a few weeks ago and so we grabbed an opening night special and took a much needed night away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong.

From all reports - the place is GRAND and completely over the top!!

The pictures below are taken inside the casino in the Grand Canal Shopping Arcade - yes that's right INSIDE!! The sky ceiling is painted!!

Complete with Gondola's, and Venetian boys to guide you along!!

There are a variety of pools (some of which are not yet open). The plan was to relax by the pool, read a book, sip cocktails and take it easy - but alas, the pool was surrounded by construction and construction noise which did not make for a very peaceful time. We retreated instead to the V Spa for a massage.
I had a relaxing lavender massage, footscrub and facial, whilst Will had a Lemoncello massage, footscrub and facial. The treatments themselves were great but the spa facilities need a little work. The steam room was as noisy as all hell and Will luckily managed to free himself before passing out as the automatic steam release wasn't working and he started to feel a little light headed!!

The rooms themselves were fabulous - they were huge and luxurious. The beds were so comfy, the bath was great and the sunken lounge a nice touch. The outlook was crappy though as we looked over the air conditioning vents and the construction site next door.

We managed to fit in lunch at Fernando's (how could we resist)!! That place has the best Portuguese food this side of Portugal!! I have put in a pic of the scrummy chicken and chips (very low cal - not) and the fabulous wine glasses!!
We also managed to sneak an egg tart from Lord Stow's bakery - oh so naughty, but oh so divine!!

We also headed into the Town Centre for a quick stroll along the cobblestone paths admiring the antique stores and the Ruins of St Pauls.

Back at the ranch we enjoyed a splendid dinner at Morton's. For those not in the know - Mortons is a renowned steak restaurant originating out of the US of A. It serves divine food and the service was superb. Willy had snuck in the fact that it was my B'day and OMG - did they treat us like royalty - complete with a pic for their wall of fame!!
They treated us to the nicest table, a personalised menu, the best service I think I have ever experienced, unsurpassed food, a great bottle of Napa Valley Cab Sav, and a divine complimentary choc pud for dessert (complete with an orchestra of waiters/waitresses singing Happy Birthday)!! It was a great night, and we enjoyed every minute of it. The only thing... "Mrs Holder"!!! Gotta love Chinglish don't you:)
Funny thing - Will mistakenly tried to order a bottle of wine only to have the sommelier come and tell us that he thought the bottle we ordered may be a little too big for just the 2 of us - he had unknowingly ordered a 3 litre bottle (shown in the pic)!!! Lucky they picked up on that!!! Must have thought we were crazy...

B'day cake # 3 (presented to me for breakfast on my b'day)!! Despite the fact that it was breakfast time - it would have been rude not to eat it:)

And finally, a pic of me wearing my beautiful dressing gown that Will bought me for my b'day. I LOVE it!! Thanks babe.

Also thanks to all the folks here in HK and back home for all the birthday messages and well wishes, pressies and phone calls. I felt very spoilt!!
And there it is for another year...

Birthday celebrations

Last Saturday night Will organised an (advance) b'day dinner for me at one of our fav restaurants - Yun Fu.

It was so nice to take a break from study and spend some time with friends.

Some info on Yun Fu to set the scene...

A mystical journey to a basement on Wyndham Street, Yun Fu, meaning "Residence on Wyndham" in Chinese, is a brand new restaurant concept presented by the innovative Aqua Restaurant Group.

With Calvin Yeung as Chief Interior Designer and Executive Chef, Yun Fu takes diners on a culinary journey of Chinese ethnic minorities, with a strong Tibetan influence. Yun Fu is designed to recall an ancient Chinese mansion house with discreet heavy oak doors which open onto the street. Guests descend down a Buddha-lined staircase which opens into an enchanting "dungeon" of ethnically influenced dining and bar areas.

The interior design is characterized by the theme of "circle," which, in Chinese tradition, signifies "unity" and "infinity." Examples of such are the circular bar, the waved ceiling, the curved corridor and the many circular Chinese baskets that serve as presentation and serving bowls.

Baby Shower

Last Saturday we celebrated Stacey's Baby Shower in style with afternoon tea at Georgie's house.

Stacey, who is looking as radiant and beautiful as ever, was showered with gifts and well wishes for the upcoming birth of her and Paul's first child.
Stacey's mum Michelle, had a great idea that we would all give Stacey our favourite childhood book as a pressie to build up Baby O'Brien's library. We had a lovely afternoon opening all the books (which I am positive numbered in the thousand's). Books came from far and wide and you can assured that little Baby O'Brien will be the best read kid in school.

It was such a lovely idea and one that will bring memories to Stacey & Paul for years to come.

Thanks go to Georgie, Liz and Bree who organised a fantastic afternoon for Stace!!
We look forward to meeting the little one soon:)

We LOVE visitors!!

Ok - small break from study to provide a brief update on what the Holdens have been up to lately!!

A couple of weeks ago we received a visit from KT (aka Kristy Thatcher) - was so loverly to see her and spend some time together catching up on the goss from London and what everyone is up to!!

We took her for din's at a little Chinese restauarant in SoHo and then to none other than the Feather Boa for a cheeky cocktail (or 2?). Of course we also managed to squeeze in a little foot massage (and more chats) before she headed back to the land of Oz to start the next chapter of her life.

Thanks for stopping by Kristy!!

Monday, 3 September 2007


You may recall a while ago (subject of previous posting 'I need to catch you up on a little something...') that I was a bit overwhelmed to realise that 11 of our friends (i.e. couples) have had, or are having - babies this year (and 1 which snuck in at the end of last year) - well, it turns out that I was mistaken...
Its not 11 - its 13!!

Add to the list:
Dallas & Sally - who are set to pop out their first bub in Feb next year; and
David & Lisa (old school friends) - whose first baby is due in November this year.

Can you believe it - BABY MANIA I tell you!!!

Here is a pic of Sal at almost 4 months

Cute as a button!!

Dad has finally sent through some pics of our adorable nephew Clinton. He is so beautiful I could eat him!! I can't wait to get home at Christmas and give him lots of hugs and kisses.

As you can see he spent most of yesterday working in the yard with his Daddy and Poppy!! What a nice Father's day:)

Wills been cooking again...

Don't worry - that wasn't a prelude to a disastrous story:)

In fact, Will has become quite the chef (see previous posting 'Chef Extraordinaire'). He has been mastering the art of Chinese cooking - mainly Sichuan cuisine (because its our fav) since I have had no time to cook lately!!
Below are some pics of his 'numbing-and-hot chicken (a.k.a ma la zi ji) and Mongolian lamb.
Yes, thats right the picture of the lettuce, cucumber and lamb is the traditional way of eating Mongolian lamb. It was quite a process requiring marinating the lamb for 2 hours, then steaming it in a bamboo steamer for 2 hours, followed by frying. You then eat the lamb wrapped in lettuce leaves with finely sliced cucumbers, spring onions, and hoisin sauce - delicious.
As for the chicken, this dish is a famous Hunanese dish which (unlike most Hunan dishes) uses sichuan peppers. Sichuan peppers are an amazing culinary delight - when eaten they produce a lip-tingling taste which Will and I love - especially when mixed with chillies. Numbing-and-hot chicken is an old-fashioned dish that dates back to the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty (the 1860s-70s).