Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Well my friends...

... are you ready for Christmas?

Today is "D" day for us as we fly out tonight and hence have to have every last present wrapped and every bow tied (plus all the packing etc. done) by 9pm tonight. I think I am almost there, although I am sure there are a load of things I have forgotten, plus I have a full day of work ahead of me! Arghhh

I am so looking forward to getting on that plane tonight! It means that today will be over and I can finally relax. This past 2 months have just flown by and I feel as though I haven't stopped. I tell you what, talk about looking forward to Christmas, I am looking forward to January, when I can come home and relax, without having a list of things to do longer than my arm!

Now where's the Christmas spirit I hear you say, and yes, I am trying to remind myself of that! I do love Christmas (it's my absolute favourite time of the year), but it is also the busiest and most stressful time.

Hope you are managing to keep the stress levels down, and enjoy the festive season. I plan on doing that at about 11.30pm tonight when we board the plane and I answer yes to "can I offer you a glass of champagne ma'am?".

I hope to post while I am away, but in case I don't get a chance (highly likely), then let me wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

We get back on 3rd Jan, so if I don't speak to you before then - stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas with your family & friends.


P.S. The pics above are ones I have collected over the past couple of months (mainly from the lovely blog A Pretty Trip), although the first is from here (what a great idea!). I wanted to make sure I shared these pretty pics with you before I left, so sorry that they have all come at once!
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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Merry Christmas from the Holdens (aka the annual Holden update)

Seasons Greetings,

The Christmas season is upon us again, and don't we all find ourselves sitting here wondering where 2009 has gone! I know we say this every year, but in all seriousness, time seems to be evaporating these days. You know what they say though, time flies when you are having fun… and 2009 was a fun (and busy) year for the Holdens!

We have both been extremely busy at work this year, Will started a new project building the Lai Chi Kok Transfer Scheme (a drainage tunnel in Lai Chi Kok), and I have been occupied on an arbitration set for hearing in March 2010.

On the travel front, we managed to fit in a number of fabulous trips. No sooner had we returned from our Christmas trip home, we were off to Cebu in the Philippines for a wonderful week of R&R.

We spent Easter in New York soaking up the sights and sounds of what has to be one of the best cities in the world! We had an amazing trip, and can’t wait to go back and see more.

This year Will commenced his Masters of Engineering in Project Management through the University of NSW. He was lucky enough to be offered a scholarship through Leightons, who have designed their own Masters program in conjunction with the University. In April we headed home to Oz for Will to attend a uni residential week in Sydney. Whilst I didn’t make it to Sydney, I did manage to spend a lovely week at home catching up with family and friends.

June through September were extremely busy months in the Holden household. Zaac & Tracey came to visit, we welcomed a new member into our family (more on that in a minute), we took a short trip to Bangkok to meet up with Ebony & Beth who had been travelling around Thailand on their uni break, we moved house, had a lovely visit from Jess, followed by Val, Simon & Matt, and on top of that, I also had to take a last minute trip to Guam for work.

As you can imagine, by September we were in desperate need of a holiday. It was our 5th wedding anniversary this year, so we treated ourselves to a second honeymoon… 8 nights in Koh Samui! We managed to do nothing except eat, drink, sleep and read for the entire time, and thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

I mentioned before that the Holden clan has expanded. Before you think it, I wasn't referring to a child, but to our gorgeous little puppy, CoCo. On 7 July we adopted a 3 month old red toy poodle. She is just adorable, and we love her to bits. Sorry grandparents in waiting, no sign of a baby yet!

We are heading home for Christmas again this year, and will be around from 23 Dec till 3 Jan. We hope to catch up with as many of you as possible! It’s been almost 5 years since we moved to Hong Kong and we miss you all so much!

We hope that this year has been a happy & healthy one for you and your family and wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Lots of love,

Will, Brooke & CoCo xox
Image from here
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Thursday, 17 December 2009

When I grow up...

...i want to own a big house that has lots of bright open spaces like this! I LOVE the feel of this room (just by looking at the pic you can sense the feeling you would have sitting in there can't you!).

I say when I grow up, cause although some would consider that I may have already reached this point, I never feel as though I have. I still feel like the young carefree gal who's off on an overseas jaunt, escaping reality and living the high life.

One day we will have to pack our bags and head home, and when we do, I am definitely going to ensure that my grown up life is spent in rooms like this!

Image from Coastal Living mag via Beach Vintage blog
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Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas Wish List - UPDATE

Can you believe that I have been lucky enough to have already received one of the presents off my Christmas Wish List!

Today my trainee at work (sometimes I wonder who is in more need of training, him or me!) gave me an early Christmas present. It came as a complete surprise, but boy was I thrilled to receive such an unexpected, but much desired gift. Thanks Alvin!

I have promised to cook him a meal from the book in the new year, and I am determined to keep my promise.
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Happy Birthday Lara & Tahlia

Wishing our (not so) little nieces Lara and Tahlia a BIG Happy Birthday for today! Hope you have a lovely party girls, sorry we can't be there to celebrate with you.

The pic above is of their birthday present (which I hope they have opened by now, so as not to ruin the surprise)! I have been dying to share with you a pic of these gorgeous applique pillows ever since they arrived in my hot little hands. They were made by the lovely Ann over at Southern Sassy Pants, and aren't they just fab!

Happy Birthday girls!
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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Pretty Pics (with a special message)

This morning I wanted to share with you a couple of pretty pics. Whilst I LOVE Christmas (it's my favourite time of the year), I thought I would post about something other than Christmas to break it up a bit.

I love these images above. The first is so bright and cheery, you just wish you could get your nose in there to get a whiff of the scent of those roses don't you!

The message in the second image is so true isn't it? But who can honestly say that they take time each day to be thankful for the things they have in their life. I know I don't. Seeing this picture above reminded me that I need to take time out more often to appreciate all that I have to be grateful for, and I know there is a lot!

Hope you are enjoying your Tuesday.


Images from Joyful Living blog
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Monday, 14 December 2009

The Holdens HK Christmas

As I mentioned, on Saturday we played host to the Holdens HK Christmas. We had 13 of our nearest and dearest friends come over for an afternoon/evening of Christmassy fun!

This year we cheated a bit and ordered a Turkey from the Mandarin Oriental (see the big box in the pic - Will felt so spesh picking it up, little did anyone know that it was actually a Turkey inside!). In addition to turkey we also glazed a ham and cooked a mountain of accompaniments - creamed leeks (ala Jamie Oliver), sweet potato crumble, goose fat potato's, mashed pumpkin, Mary's homemade cranberry sauce, Nic T's vege stuffing, pigs in blankets (also thanks to Jamie), and of course bread sauce & gravy. Louise was in charge of nibbles and did a stella job (as usual), and Nic and Gabs made a lovely salmon roulade with homemade soda bread for starter. We finished the meal off with a lovely Christmas pud made by Zoe (complete with brandy butter), and threw in a few of Will's rum balls for good measure. Oh, I mustn't forget to mention Will's yummy mulled wine too!

Santa was there to hand out the presents, and the muppets made an appearance on the big screen! All in all it was a fabulous day spent with good friends - and after all, isn't that what Christmas is about!
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Friday, 11 December 2009

Christmas decorations

We have been busy decorating the apartment these past few days ready for our Christmas lunch tomorrow. We have 13 of our nearest and dearest peeps coming round for Christmas dinner.

I even managed to get Will involved this year, although admittedly his involvement was inspired by the fact that his tasks all had to do with alcohol, buy the brandy, make the rum balls, brew the mulled wine, etc. etc. Luckily I found some Bundaberg rum for his rum balls (he wasn't that interested in making them before I found this - they just aren't proper rum balls without Bundy rum he said!)

Last night whilst we did some preps for the lunch, we watched Miracle on 34th Street! Now isn't that the sweetest Christmas movie eva.

How are your Christmas preps coming along?

We (well lets be honest, "I") had originally chosen a blue & silver theme for Christmas this year. After making this decision though, I found all of our gorgeous pink, red and green Chrissy decorations and just couldn't bear to keep them in their boxes. So, this year we have a mix match of blue & silver, red and green - and of course, some pink too!

PS. You know the pic I showed you last week of the purple Asiatic lillies which hadn't yet bloomed, well that's them in the first picture - not purple at all! Strange hey...
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Chrissy gift tags

To match the blue & silver colour theme for our pressies this year, I made these cute little gift tags. They were so quick & easy to make, and I think they turned out alright...
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Thursday, 10 December 2009

My Christmas Wish List (Part 2)

Ok, so here is Part 2!

5. Jamie's Kitchen - we now have the entire range of Jamie Oliver cookbooks, bar one - Jamie's Kitchen! Want it, need it, have to have it!!!

6. Christian Louboutin at LadurEe - ok so I am dreaming to think that this will appear under the Christmas Tree, but this is my WISH list, so I an entitled to dream! Christian L has teamed up with the folks at LadurEe to release this gorgeous set of macaroons! Divine...

7. Jo Malone bath oil set - not sure how easy this is to get in Oz, and to be honest I have been dropping some not so subtle hints to Will about my coveting of this set of bath oils. You know men though, they do take a while to get the hint!

So there you have it Jas, some ideas to make your Christmas shopping easier - and these are just off the top of my head! I am sure if I gave it some more thought, there would be a million more things I could add, yeap just thought of one, and another...
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My Christmas Wish List (Part 1)

My brother called the other day to ask what I wanted for Christmas (isn't he nice)! He was banging on about how hard I am to buy for so I thought I would solve that problem for him, and tell him exactly what I want...

So, on my Christmas Wish List this year is:

1. a sewing machine (I think I have managed to convince Will to get this for me, although it's been a battle!)

2. Perfume - a girl can never have enough really! I have almost ran out of my bottle of Chloe perfume and had stopped using it (you know how you never want to use the last few sprays, wanting to save it for good...) but the other day I bite the bullet, sprayed it, and was reminded of how much I love this perfume!

You know how a smell can take you to another time and place within an instant? Well Chloe does that for me with New York. I always seem to take a new bottle of perfume away with me when I travel, and aside from the fact that it allows me to smell damn good, I am reminded of those special times again and again whenever I catch a whiff of that particular perfume. Well Chloe was my New York perfume, and I just can't get enough of it (or New York for that matter)!

I also love Narciso Rodriguez, so sexy and nice. I haven't had a bottle for ages, so thought it might be time for another. And while I am on the subject of perfume, I smelt Marc Jacobs new scent Lola the other day, isn't it a beauty!

3. A candle from Diptyque - I am such a sucker for candles, and having heard my dear friend Zoe rave so much about the Diptyque range, I have decided I need to try one for myself. Not sure what scent, do you have a favourite?

4. The Fat Duck Cookbook - one can only dream of being able to whip up creations such as theirs, but I am willing to give it a try!

If this isn't enough inspiration for you Jas, then I will be back with Part 2 in a minute!
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It's better late than never...right?

Last night I finally managed to write some Christmas cards, ready to post today! The receptionists at work have been sweetly reminding me every day that the deadline for guaranteed international post was last Monday, and I am LATE!

The thing is, I had 80 cards to make and write, and the task got somewhat overwhelming. I started with the best of intentions, and actually thought that this year was going to be different. I actually started making my cards in October!

Having made a few back then, I must admit I got a little cocky, thinking that I was all prepared, and boy did those last few months whizz by. Before I knew it, December was here and all the sudden the 10 or so cards I had made, seemed like nothing compared to the 70 I had left to do!

Anyhow, I have managed to make about 65, and I think that's all that I will be able to manage this year. Considering I can't bring myself to buy any cards (that would after all, be admitting defeat), I think some people will just have to go without this year! Sorry folks.

My intention for this post wasn't actually to tell you that story, but there you have it! I rather wanted to show you all our Christmas card address labels which I purchased from the lovely Lara at Sweet Bella Cards on Etsy. The address labels are so sweet, and Lara is such a lovely lady. It was a pleasure doing business with her! Her shop is definitely worth a peep if you haven't checked it out already.
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Wednesday, 9 December 2009

A little bit of Christmas pampering

A few weeks back I was picking up some supplies (i.e. India Hicks products) from Crabtree & Evelyn when I stumbled upon their Christmas range - The Noel Collection, Pomegranate, Citron & Mistletoe.

Always a stickler for testing out new products, I lathered on some cream and was instantly addicted to the gorgeous smell! I couldn't stop at the body cream (which by the way has just the right amount of Christmas sparkle), I had to buy the whole range!

Boy am I loving bath time at the moment...

Do you have a favourite product you like to use at Christmas?


PS. I promise to post some pics of our gorgeous Chrissy tree soon, oh and some pics of the cute little gift tags I haven't quite managed to finish ...
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Monday, 7 December 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like christmas

Whilst I didn't manage to achieve everything on my to do list over the weekend, I did manage to get a few pressies wrapped. I would like to say... wrapped, and under the tree - but alas, CoCo has decided that presents and ribbons are the best (I told you she takes after her mum), and last night we caught her in the corner quietly unwrapping one of them!

I also managed to complete my gift tags (sans string, which I will hopefully get a chance to do tonight!), made about 40 cards (only 20 more to go...), popped into Spotlight for a few last minute supplies (only to find out that Spotlight is closing in HK, whilst this meant 50% off, I would rather have it stay open and pay full price - majorly bummed about this!!), picked up some last minute Christmas shopping, lunched with Zoe and the pups on Saturday, lunched with James & Mary yesterday, had a lovely dinner with Nic & Gabs on Friday night and a fabulous dinner with friends at Louise's on Saturday night, took CoCo to the park on Saturday morning (I even managed to spend a bit of time reading in the sun), went to Ap Lei Chau to pick up some wares for next Saturdays Christmas lunch, and last night, soaked in the tub and then watched (half of) Julia and Julia. A pretty productive weekend all in all!

As a side note, I am absolutely hopeless at staying awake through an entire movie - it's like it is completely impossible for me. I have been wanting to see Julia and Julia ever since it came out. You would think this would have been enough motivation to keep me awake. Nope! I even had a row of projects (painting nails, putting string on gift tags, sticking things on my half made cards) in front of me to try and keep me occupied and awake through the whole thing, but that didn't work either... so annoying!!!!

Hope you had a good weekend!

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Sunday, 6 December 2009

Weekend Flowers

Now that the weather is getting cooler we are starting to see some of the cool climate flowers coming into season. Hooray!

Lucky for me, there was one bunch of tulips left on Saturday morning when I did my weekly flower shop (I couldn't make it on Friday night cause we were meeting friends for dinner and picking CoCo up from the doggie spa where she spent her afternoon being pampered! What a life...).

I nabbed the tulips and a bunch of the most vibrant purple Asiatic lillies I have ever seen. Well, I tell a lie... they haven't opened yet but from the outside, it looks as though they will be the brightest most vibrant purple colour I have ever seen, and I can't wait.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend and getting on top of all the Christmas prep. So far I have managed to knock a few things off my list, as well as fitting in a little time for relaxation!

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Friday, 4 December 2009

Camping out

Sorry I have been so slack with posting this past couple of days. To tell you the truth I have been a bit overwhelmed with the length of my to do list, and am feeling rather stressed. It doesn't help that I have had work related Christmas functions on the past couple of nights and am feeling a little run down.
In fact, I think I need to camp out in this tent for a few days (or even a few hours) and take stock of what's really important and stop trying to get a million things done each day.
I am looking forward to the weekend, where I can hopefully tick off some of the bigger items on my to do list and start clearing my head a little.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Yummy Pizza!

I thought I would share with you some pics of the yummy pizzas we made on Sunday night (bases and all!). The first is spicy salami, olive, and cherry tomato, the second is garlic cheese, and the third is mushroom, gorgonzola, walnut and pecorino.

They were incredibly yummy, although I must admit we still have a little work to do on the bases. Any tips?

I'm funny when it comes to pizzas - as you can see by the toppings above I do like a gourmet pizza (I spent many years during uni working in a gourmet pizza shop), although on the other hand, nothing beats a good Hawaiian or BBQ meatlovers pizza does it! Unfortunately we don't get Hawaiian pizzas in Hong Kong (boo), unless you want it complete with corn kernels and cocktail sauce, a la Pizza Hut - no thanks!

Next time I might try my hand at the old classics and try to perfect those bases while I'm at it.

Oh, and in case you are wondering what happened to our afternoon spent mastering the art of french cooking (and wondering whether my lack of promised reporting was because it didn't go so well!), it didn't happen - friends called over and instead we cooked a BBQ! C'est la vie
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