Friday, 31 December 2010

New Years Eve

What are your plans for this evening?

Will remarked during the week that we should really be going out to paint the town red tonight considering it will be our last NYE sans children. That all sounded like a good idea until I reminded him that I would be painting the town red...sober!

I guess, unbeknown to us at the time, last NYE was really our chance to shine! Can't even remember what we did to be honest. Sad, I know.

After abandoning plans of all night partying, we decided that a night in experimenting with our new Kitchen Aid pasta attachment was the perfect recipe (Christmas pressie from my lovely in-laws). Whilst I was getting my hair done last night in prep for date night, Will went and purchased supplies for our feast tonight (an assortment of mushrooms, ever so thinly sliced veal, pasta flour,eggs, delicious cream, truffles (of the mushroom variety) - YUMMO). Fingers crossed the pasta works out...

The thing for me is, I have never really been a big fan of NYE. My favourite day of the year (aside from my Birthday and perhaps Christmas Day) is new years day. The first day of the year. It is (and always has been) really, I mean fundamentally, important for me to spend new years day with a fresh head and a positive spirit. This is somewhat hard to do with a hangover as you can well imagine...

So no matter what I usually do on NYE (and I will admit there have been a few exceptions to this - probably around the ages of 18, 19, 20 - ...), I usually try not to drink too much so as to wake the next day feeling less than 100%.

So now you all want to know what we have planned for new years day. To be honest, nothing extraordinary. We are going to visit a friend's new bub in hospital (I guess this qualifies as extraordinary, especially considering he was delivered super early and did not have the easiest time in his mummy's tummy), then we are going to lunch at a (semi) (sense a trend here) new restaurant in town - 8 1/2 Otto e Mezzo by Bombana (what are the chances he will be cooking on new years day - unlikely I say) (I guess this is also kind of extraordinary considering that I have wanted to try this restaurant for ages and now I finally get to go). Then we are having some friends over for dinner, which whilst not extraordinary (cause we tend to do this a lot), will make a lovely end to the first day of the year.

Usually we are back home in Oz for new years day and hence we spend the day outside in the glorious sunshine, at the beach, going for picnics, spending time with the family.. all that jazz. Oh, I do miss home this year:(

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, make sure you enjoy a glass of bubbles for me:)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Date Night

Tonight is date night in the Holden household (well outside the household to be exact, but you get my gist). I don't think Hubby has cottoned onto the fact that we also have a romantic evening planned for tomorrow night to celebrate NYE. Who am I to say anything - two date nights in a row are fine by me...

So I am off this afternoon after work to have my hair done (desperately overdue btw), then out for dinner at a (semi) new restaurant called Lily & Bloom.

Let's hope our night is not as eventful as the one shared by Tina & Steve in the movie...

The world is such a small place...

... made all the smaller through blogland!

A couple of weeks back I was in London (for work) and managed to snag a day for shopping. I have to be honest, I didn't do the town justice - I only managed to do two shops (but boy did I do them well). Which two shops you ask??? Mama's & Papa's (for obvious reasons) and Liberty (for obvious reasons!).

I managed to spend the entire day in just two shops, and it was heaven! Whilst strolling the floors in Liberty I stumbled across a display of the most delightful tableware ever. I couldn't resist, and bought two matching cups and saucers (the pink & blue one in the pics above). The brand was not one I had heard before, Pip Studios, but boy did I love everything in their range.

Anyhow, I was actually sitting here this very morning sipping my morning coffee out of my lovely new pink cup when I read the post by Cannelle et Vanille and stumbled across this pic and a story about Pip Studios. All of their products are so delightful - I just wish my suitcase had of been bigger :(

Small world hey - who would have thought that my little indulgence in Liberty would turn up in a post by one of my favourite bloggers...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Annechovie sale!!

Yeap - you read right! All stock in Annechovie's Etsy store is 50% until the end of the year...

I have to confess that I might be slightly addicted, having purchased all of the prints below - and I am sure I have forgotten some... hurry on over here and nab yourself some before it is too late!

Whilst I have all of the above in my collection (saving them up for the cluster wall of my dreams) I can't believe I don't have 1 of Annechovie's iconic "Keep Calm and Carry On" prints. I may have to allow myself just 1 more print to take advantage of the sale ... I'm thinking pink ...(does that surprise you!)

Louise & Zoe - I am thinking of YOU right now...

I know it is a little late for Christmas wishes - but if I could wish something for you girls it would be a shoe closet just like this one!

Pic from here


One of the most perplexing things about being pregnant is that my taste buds have totally changed. I don't mean that things taste different, but I desire different things than I used to.
A couple of examples...
Whilst I have always liked fruit, since I have been pregnant I can't get enough... and when I eat it, it tastes so beautiful I wonder if I have ever tasted something so yummy in my life. Last night pineapple and cherries were my victims - and they quite possibly were t.h.e BEST tasting cherries and pineapple of my life (I'm not joking). Incidentally, my husband thinks I am mad - I am constantly chucking fruit in his mouth and making him verify how beautiful it tastes...
Milk - I have n.e.v.e.r been a milk drinker. When I was a kid my nanna used to have a milk glass for each of her grandchildren. I never had one cause I never drank milk (and yes, it has scared me)! It's not that I don't like milk, give it to me in coffee aNy day and I am a happy chappy, but I have never been one to drink a straight glass of it. Since I have been pregnant, I am constantly dreaming of tall icy glasses of milk (with a few drops of vanilla essence) - YUM!
These two changes I can cope with, in fact, I would be quite happy if they stuck around after the little critter was born (no disrespect intended, that's the name we/I have given to our little munchkin) - BUT - the next one can disappear as fast as it came...
I have always been a savoury girl - ALWAYS! I worked in a gourmet deli through High School and I am well and truly on the savoury side of the fence - except for now... from the minute I fell pregnant I have had a crazy sweet tooth. It is so weird for me cause I have never been one for chocolate.cake.sweets.desserts.lollies. Ok, well perhaps I have always had a soft spot for ice-cream... but now I can't get enough of the sweet stuff. I now understand when people say that they can't open a pack of biscuits without wanting to finish the entire thing in one go.
This for me is weird, super weird. Going from the girl who would always chose a bag of crisps over a piece of chocolate, I cannot understand how, being pregnant, can change your self of taste. I am constantly amazed by it, and am constantly hoping that I will revert to my normal savoury self! I am not looking forward to the gestational diabetes test - if ever there was a candidate, it was me!
Anyhow, I digress... the reason I started this rambling was to explain that my former, un-pregnant self, would never have though twice about this homemade nutella recipe - I would have admired the gift idea and moved on... but now, oh no, I am a changed woman. This nutella recipe has to be made (and consumed) asap. Doesn't it sound divine. I have no idea what cocoa nibs are, nor whether I can get them in Hong Kong, but I am determined to find out!
The worst thing of all, if I make it, I will have to eat it... ALL!
Photo and recipe via Bon Vivant

A woman should have...

enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants or needs to...

something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

a youth she's content to leave behind...

a part juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age...

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

one friend who always makes her laugh...
and one who lets her cry...

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honoured...

a feeling of control over her destiny...

how to fall in love without losing herself...

how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship

when to try harder.. and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents...

that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

how to live alone...even if she doesn't like it...

whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

where to it to her best friend's kitchen table...
or a charming Inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...

what she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

I love reflecting on this. Every time I read it it gives me a sense of empowerment, and a yearning for self improvement. Whilst there are many things I can tick of the list, there are many more I still need to work on.

I have two younger sisters - 16 and 20. If I was given a piece of paper and told to impart my wisdom for how to live their lives, this would be it! Not because I have conquered it, far from it in fact, but because I believe that as women, you need to be empowered. Empowered and in control of your life.

It doesn't mean that there won't be times when you need to lean on someone for support, emotionally or financially. What it means for me is that you are not dependant on someone for emotional and financial support. That if that person was to disappear, however devastated you may be, you could pick up the pieces and carry on, with the knowledge and ability to know that you can take care of yourself.

Whilst I am c.o.n.v.i.n.c.e.d that we are having a boy... if I am blessed with a little girl, these will be the lessons that I will try to impart on her as she grows up. Easier said than done, I know...

Photo - I am really sorry but I don't have any idea where I got this pic from. If you know, please tell me so that I can properly credit the author

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Most of all...Be Happy

I spent some time over our mini Christmas break sorting out the study (I know, not very festive...). Since the minute I fell pregnant I have had the most overwhelming need to clean/cull/sort out our apartment. My husband jokes that if he sat still long enough he would be thrown out too;-)

As we will be converting one of our spare rooms into a nursery, we needed to decide whether the other room was going to remain a study or become the guest bedroom. It was a tough decision... whilst we do get quite a few visitors, that is the o.n.l.y. time that the room gets used. There must be weeks when I don't even go in there. The study on the other hand (it's actually my craft room, but I call it the study so that my husband appreciates it's purpose and doesn't complain...), we use EVERY day. It houses my craft table and all of my craft supplies, our reference and cookbooks, a stack of containers full of storage items, and my husbands wardrobe. Yes, we need a bed for guests to sleep in, and yes, we are likely to be getting a billion more next year when the little one arrives, but, we also need storage space, and I NEED my craft space:)

The decision was made to make it both a study and a bedroom. Soooo, boxing day we re-arranged all of the furniture to accommodate a bed, whilst keeping all of the other stuff in there too. This meant lots of cleaning/culling and sorting (which I was extremely happy about). Whilst going through a pile of papers, I stumbled across a few verses which I had kept (some since I was a little girl). I wanted to share them with you (and truth be told, I also wanted them recorded on the blog so that I could throw the pieces of paper out - see what I mean about the culling, it has taken over my life - and now my blog!).

I thought this one was a timely, following the most indulgent and consumeristic (is that a word?) time of the year.

Most of All...Be Happy!

Always see the goodness in this world, do your part in helping those less fortunate,
walk hand in hand with those of less talent,
follow those of more knowledge, and be equal with those who are different.
Find your special purpose in this world so full of choices and help lead those who stray.
Become your own individual - set yourself apart from those who are the same.
Have the self-confidence to say no when it is necessary and the strength to stand alone.
Give yourself the approval to love and respect everything that you are and will become.
Reap the fruits of your talents, walk with pride down the road of life, be humble in your successes, and share in the praises and joy of others.

Most of all, be happy. For when you are happy, you have the key that will open all the world's doors to you.

Jackie Olson

Photo via Mary Ruffle

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A little news to share


I think I may have been T.H.E. most slackest blogger in the history of blogging recently. I have been following all my fav blogs on a daily basis, but just haven't got around to updating my own. It's a sad state of affairs really and I feel ever so guilty for soaking up loads of inspiration from all my favourite blogs, but not contributing anything myself.

Well hopefully that's all about to change... I set up this here bloggio to keep our family & friends back in Australia in the loop with the goings on in the Holden household in Hong Kong. Truth be known, the Holden household has been busy, busy making babies that is:) Not really something that I could share with you all at the time... but now, it's a different story.

On 5 June 2011 we are expecting our first little bubba. Very exciting news. Given that our family & friends are so far away, I am going to try and make sure that I update the blog regularly so that they (and you) can be involved in watching this little human develop.

We are in Week 14 now, and things are sailing along nicely. Would be a whole lot nicer I have to admit if I hadn't spent the past 14 weeks feeling so sick. Haven't felt sick since Friday so hopefully (fingers & toes crossed) I have turned the magical 14 week mark and that will be a thing of the past. I can tell you, there were times in the past 14 weeks when I didn't think I could handle it anymore. I have always been prone to car/motion sickness, and living with that feeling constantly for 14 weeks ain't pretty.

Aside from the morning sickness (how the hell it ever got the name "morning" sickness, I'll never know), things are all going well. I think we spent the first 12 weeks freaking out about what it meant to be having a baby, what change it was going to bring to our lives, and whether we were ready to cope with it. We have spent the past 2 weeks contemplating the millions of purchases that we will need to make - it usually goes like this - walk into a shop, look around, get heart palpitations, walk to book section, buy a "how to" book and then run out of the shop.

Now, in Week 14, I am happy to report that the heart palpitation moments are slowly decreasing, and it is starting to become a reality.

Don't get me wrong, we desperately wanted this child, even planned for it in fact... But I am not sure that any amount of planning can calm your nerves when you eventually pee on that stick and find out that you are pregnant. The thoughts that race through your head, the anxious feeling you feel when you start contemplating the e.n.o.r.m.o.u.s. responsibility you are about to take on (have taken on...), it's all a bit overwhelming.

The fact that I am able to blog about it now, means that things are starting to sink in, we are slowly getting used to the idea, and even in fact, starting to get a little excited:) Ok, a LOT excited!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

soul symphony

something to aspire to...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

How good are Saturday mornings!!

My friends, what are you up to on this lovely Saturday morning?

I woke bright and early to bake a dozen Lemon & Raspberry muffins (a-la-Nigella). Ah, the simple pleasures - how {good} is the smell of freshly baked treats in the morning. The raspberries were so juicy and sweet, I couldn't wait to pop one in my mouth...

Life never stops for the Holden's, we were back in Oz last week to celebrate the nuptials of Kristy & Matt and Gen & Tim. Both weddings were amazing celebrations of LOVE...but mmoorree on that later...

No sooner did we arrive home, the house was filled with visitors. We have 2 of Will's brothers and one of their friends staying with us for 10 days. The boys are off to Macau for the day on a "boyz day" = go-carting, sight-seeing (not sure how much of that they will get done), big feed of Portuguese at the fabulous Fernando's and then on to the casino's. Watch out Macau - the Holden boys are on the loose...

I on the other hand am off to visit a lovely friend and her fam to enjoy mani/pedi's before packing the passport and heading over to the dark side (TST) to help a friend at the Food & Wine Festival. Last years event was H.U.G.E. and no doubt this year will be even bigger. If you are at a loose end (and happen to be in Hong Kong), come visit us at Booth D118 (Margaret River Wines).

Thankfully, we have been blessed with perfect weather today. The humidity is all but gone and the temperatures have dropped - the sky is even blue!

As the boys won't be back till late, I am SOOO looking forward to a quiet night in. I am planning on testing some recipes out of Jamie Oliver's {newish} recipe book Jamie does... I have my eye on the Spring & Summer Minestrone (my motherly instinct has kicked in and I feel compelled to feed the boys vege's), and the Beef Tagine. Full report to follow...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

This recipe ROCKS!!

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the wonderful 64 sq ft kitchen blog. Warda's blog contains her favorite family recipes from Algeria and The Maghreb. Now doesn't that sound yummy!

The night after I made the discovery I was having a couple of friends over for a casual Sunday night supper (BTW - I don't normally refer to dinner as supper but this blog has me hooked!). I had promised said friends homemade burgers done on the BBQ and intended to make my stock standard wedges as accompaniment (potatoes cut into wedges, sprayed with canola spray and sprinkled with cajun = low fat, scrummy fake chippes). After seeing this recipe, I decided to change plans and try something new. Oh boy I am glad I did (and so were my guests), the chips were absolutely delicious!

Warda calls the recipe "Weeknight Potatoes" but I'm afraid that in the Holden household, these would count as "Main Event, Saturday Night Dinner Party Potatoes". They were a real hit!

I have reproduced (copied) Warda's recipe below. I have also included the link above. I know this might sound crazy, but this recipe is a keeper and I want it saved on my blog permanently!

Roasted Spiced Potatoes Recipe: serves 4

Six big Yukon Gold (or any of your favorite yellow flesh potatoes)
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 tsp Harissa, or your favorite hot sauce (Optional)
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven at 400F.

Peel and slice the potatoes into wedges or fries. Put them in a bowl, along with the olive oil, salt, black pepper, ground cumin, paprika and harissa, if used. Toss the potatoes to combine.

Arrange them in a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown and crisp on the outside, turning them over once, about 25-30 minutes.

Mix the herbs, garlic, lemon juice in a bowl. When the potatoes are baked, toss them quickly with the garlic infused herbs and serve.

Image from here

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Monday, 24 May 2010

Hi there !

Happy Monday morning (if it's ever possible to be happy on a Monday morning)!

How was your weekend? Did you get up to anything exciting? Try something new?

Unfortunately I didn't have the best week last week. About this exact time last Monday morning I was getting ready for work and managed to hurt my back (which I later found out meant I slipped a disc - VERY painful)! I was forced to spend the rest of the week flat on my back in bed/on the couch. I tell you what, that experience gave new meaning to the words "cabin fever". By the weekend I was literally pulling my hair out (and anybody else in close proximity).

It is going to take a while to make a full recovery (loads of physio and exercises etc.) but I am at least mobile now, for which I am extremely grateful. I am even going to head off to work today and see how that goes. Hopefully I last the whole day as I have truckloads of work to catch up on, but if not, then alas, there is not much I can do about that.

Due to last week's stresses, I was unfortunately not able to carry on with The Project. It got me thinking though, whilst flat on my back in immense pain, I found myself stressing that I hadn't taken my daily pic. That got me thinking even more, was it the fear of failure in not being able to stick to it that bothered me, or the fact that I didn't have anything exciting/interesting to capture and show you? What/who was I doing The Project for? That's when I decided (I had a LOT of time to think last week...), that I would take The Project "off-line". To be honest, I felt the pressure to capture something exciting everyday too much. Some days I just go to work and come home and whilst there are adventures along the way, they may not be particularly noteworthy, or picturesque. If I am going to do The Project, then I need to feel free to capture stuff that isn't necessarily for your eyes (I mean that in the nicest possible way). Like when I was on the couch in my most comfy (aka least fashionable) attire, looking like I was on my death bed, did I really feel comfortable publishing a pic of that here for all to see. The answer is no! But it was my day, my reality, and if I am to use The Project to capture my daily life, then that was it! It's not that I only want to share the glamorous side of life on here (I try not to make this a brag book!), it's just that a diary is I guess private by nature, and it needs to be in order for the author to truly express his/her feelings in an honest and raw way. Do you agree? I guess to a large extend it depends on the diaries purpose...

Anyway, the long and the short of it is, I am going to try to stick to The Project, but in a more private "off-line" kind of way.

Now that I have got that off my chest, I had better get ready for work. I am looking forward to this week! We got the Award (judgment) on the Arbitration I have been working on AND WE WON!! Of course, we got it last week whilst I was flat on my back, and so the elation of the win will be all but gone in the office by the time I arrive this morning. Nonetheless, there are a million things to do now that it has been decided, and I need to crack on with them. It also means that we are 1 week closer to Will's 30th, which means 1 week closer to his parents arriving (that is a good thing btw - I love my in-laws), and 1 week closer to our Paris/Spain adventure. Oh boy do we need a holiday!

Hope your week is a lovely one. xox

Image from here
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Monday, 17 May 2010

Would you choose this?

Whilst most people dream of living at The Peak, I don't think I could cope with the constant cloud and mist that would shroud your existence. I took this pic yesterday on our walk, looking down from the very top of the peak. It's a bit gloomy hey?

It's not like this is a rare occasion either, I would hazard a bet that this is a typical view - 80% of the time. Last week when I went to visit baby Barrett in the Matilda (which is incidentally also at the Peak), you could not see an inch out of her window. Not to mention how you would ever get anything dry or keep mould at bay (although I am sure peeps living up here don't concern themselves with that sort of thing)!

I never realised, before moving to Hong Kong, what havoc humidity can play in your house. We have to have de-humidifiers running constantly otherwise our clothes, shoes etc. would be ruined from all the damp. And then there is the daily commute, suited up in heels and all. You really have to consider having a second wardrobe at work. These days I usually opt for dresses and wear thongs (flip flops!) to and from work.

The humidity makes you feel alive though, and for me, it is a constant reminder that I am living in Asia - which I LOVE!!

PS. I haven't forgotten Day 10 (it's just that the pics are on someone else's camera:)
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Day 11

16 May 2010

A stroll in the woods.

After taking CoCo for a play in our favourite park (yeap, the one at the top of the Peak), we walked back down the path to the ring road and around to the touristy part of the peak. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, and I think CoCo enjoyed it too!

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Day 9

14 May 2010

Dinner at Bistecca with Zoe & Saf.

Bistecca is a new Italian steakhouse opened in Lan Kwai Fong. Whilst "Italian" and "steakhouse" wouldn't first come to mind as a dining combo, that may be more a display of my lack of foodie insight than anything else. And, it worked well I must say!

Obviously the main thing on offer here are steaks, HUGE steaks! Although there was a range of other Italian specialities to choose from.

Steak and I have a love/hate relationship. Truth be told, I have never been a big steak eater. I like meat don't get me wrong, but I would rather it served in smaller pieces than a big fat slab. I love the thought of a nice steak, but I usually find after a few mouthfuls I am feeling stuffed and bloated, and like on Friday night, totally zapped of energy whilst my body starts the digestion process. Too much info I know!

Anyway, the dinner was lovely and as always, it was nice to try something different.

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Friday, 14 May 2010

Day 8

13 May 2010

Last nights dinner!

For some reason, this pile of vege's we had for dinner last night tasted sooooo good. It must have been exactly what Will and my bodies' needed cause we both devoured it whilst licking our lips and making loud "mmmm" sounds.

Will has been feeling a little under the weather this past few days. A fix of vege's should sort him out I reckon. Although, on second thoughts, that dreaded man-cold is a pretty nasty thing. Us girls wouldn't know of course, having never had the experience. I hope he feels better soon!

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Thursday, 13 May 2010

Day 7

12 May 2010

My desk at work. Something a little bright today after the rather depressing post yesterday about the dog poisoner!

I like to start the work week with something bright and cheery on my desk. This usually involves me stopping in to visit the lovely flower stall in the markets on my walk to work. This week they had peonies, which they informed me where HUGE (at the time they were only teeny tiny buds).

I must confess I have had mixed success with peonies here in Hong Kong, despite them being my all time favourite flower. I often buy them with great anticipation of things to come, and then a couple of days later find the buds droopy and dead having not opened at all.

Anyway, I am an eternal optimist (especially when it comes to peonies), so I took the risk and bought some. I took them to work, trimmed them up and placed them on my desk. To my absolute delight, before the morning was over each of the buds had burst! One by one the little darlings opened up to reveal the most amazingly soft layers of pink. They are absolutely magnificent and have worked a charm in keeping a smile on my face this week. They smell good too!

NB: Upon complaining to my florist friends that I was having mixed success with their peonies, they let me in on a little secret. Because peonies are so tightly held in the bud, they sometimes need a little massaging in order to help them open. I know it sounds funny, and let me tell you people will think you are crazy if they catch you doing it (picture me at work lovingly massaging the little buds whilst singing a happy "open up" tune - people think I have finally lost my marbles). BUT, it works a treat so I don't care!

Happy hump day friends!
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Day 6

11 May 2010

Unbelievable! Right behind our house there is the most wonderful walking/running track called Bowen Road. It skirts the city from Midlevels to Happy Valley, with amazing views along the way.

I try to get up there for a walk (and these days, a run) about 2 or 3 times a week. I usually take CoCo, and would prefer to let her wonder off the lead EXCEPT... for years there has been a dog poisoner on the loose laying baits along the track in an attempt to kill as many dogs as possible. Can you believe someone would do that!!

There are all sorts of conspiracy theories as to who might be behind the scheme, but to date, no-one has been caught. I must confess that there have been many a time I have been walking along the path watching out for suspicious persons. It always gets me thinking about what I would do if I caught the culprit... I would not like to be responsible for my actions that day, I can tell you.

Unfortunately for us, this means that CoCo is kept on the tightest leash and not allowed to sniff a thing. I think she still enjoys being in the great outdoors, but I do feel sorry for the little thing.

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Day 5

10 May 2010

Our gorgeous puppy CoCo!

She really is the most adorable little thing (and I'm not biased...!) She is a little over 1 now, so I am not sure if she still classifies for the "puppy" title - but we continue to refer to her as one. She is just so small and cute, and she still runs and plays like a puppy.

I often see older dogs who have lost that puppy energy and I really hope she doesn't lose hers to quickly.

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Monday, 10 May 2010

Day 4

09 May 2010

Baby Barrett's first day in the world (born 8 May 2010, 10am).

Today we went to visit our dear friends new baby. She is absolutely perfect in every way. Cute as a button, and yummy enough to eat.

Aren't new babies just divine - they have such an innocence and gentle presence about them. I could have sat and watched her all day:)

Congrats guys!

I also wanted to wish my ma a big Happy Mother's Day! Hope you had a lovely day mum, wish we could have been there to spend it with you. xox

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Another level

When a new shop opens in Hong Kong it is customary for friends, family & business acquaintances to send bouquets of flowers. Not just any bouquet - a massive one!!

This is not a new thing, so we are quite used to seeing them. However, the new shop we walked passed on Saturday took it to another level. As you can see in the pics, there were so many flowers that you couldn't even see the shop. I have no idea why this particular shop was so special or popular - but I am intrigued to find out. Perhaps someone famous owns it?

I want to open a new shop just to get the flowers:)

What did you get up to on the weekend? Did you have a lovely Mother's Day?

We had quite a jam packed weekend. Friday night I had a work function, followed by drinks with Em (who has incidentally finished her 4 month dream holiday), and a house de-warming party all in one night. Saturday I took CoCo up to the park with Michelle and her two boys, then headed out to Horizon Plaza (27 story industrial building housing all sorts of shops - and home to our butcher, Pacific Gourmet - num num), then our lovely friends Louise and Kristine popped over for dinner (burgers and these chips)!

Yesterday we did something very random and hired a car (!!), rallied together 4 of our friends, and had a lovely afternoon in the peak park. The dogs played all afternoon whilst we laid around relaxing. The weather was spectacular and we had such a nice afternoon. We popped in to see the Barretts new bub (more on that anon), and then drove out to Shek O for thai on the beach (just because we could - and because we had to fit as much as we could in whilst we had the car).

Sound like a jam packed weekend? It was, I can tell you! I love weekends like this, but then again I also crave weekends where we do nothing. Perhaps we will reserve next weekend for doing exactly that.

Have a lovely week!

PS. For those that are wondering, the shop is actually a Canadian food store (i.e. a store selling Canadian produce). Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Day 3

8 May 2010

The (secret) park at the Peak.

The things you find out when you become parents...parents of dogs that is! When Will and I got CoCo we were on the search for dog parks in Hong Kong. A friend told us about a park at the Peak, not the part of the Peak everyone knows, a secret place. You see, the Peak is not actually the peak - if you keep driving to the top (which is quite a way further up), you get to the actual peak of the mountain. That's where the park is!

We were absolutely blown away with how beautiful this place is! In terms of public spaces in Hong Kong, I'm afraid to say that the Hong Kong government usually gets it wrong. This park however, they have got absolutely right! It is wonderful - there are wide open spaces, meandering gardens, blooms galore, streams, park benches - in fact, everything you would expect to find in a park back home in Australia.

Given how special this place is, you would think it would be filled with people all of the time. Quite the contrary actually, the park is always quiet and peaceful which makes it extra special.

The other amazing thing about the park is that, unlike most places in Hong Kong, dogs are actually allowed here. In fact, it is a designated dog park!

Today, the very friend who told me about the park drove CoCo and I up there with her two doggies (also poodles) for a play. We had a lovely morning in the sunshine chatting and playing fetch with our furry friends. What a perfect way to start the weekend.

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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Day 2

7 May 2010

I work on the 50th floor of Central Plaza. This is the view from my office.

I wasn't intending on capturing this view today. In fact, this is not always the view from my office (and not because we hot-desk)... because most days those mountains in the background are clouded in the most horrible pollution. Yeap, they are usually invisible! Yesterday however, they were as clear as could be, we could even see the satellite towers on top of them. The cloud through the buildings is just morning mist/cloud. I thought it made for the most interesting photo, and a rare one at that.

When we moved here 5 years ago, the pollution was nowhere near as bad as it is today. Some days it's ok (usually after heavy rain), and others it is unbearable! Why do we live here you ask? I don't know, I grew up on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland Australia so I do know what clear blue skies are and if I really knew what it was doing to my health, I would probably feel compelled to move. But complacency is an amazing thing. You just seem to get used to it. IT becomes the norm. The blue skies back home become the unusual...

Incidentally, the view is from Hong Kong island looking back to Kowloon, near Kai Tak - the old airport.

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Friday, 7 May 2010

Day 1

6 May 2010

Walking through the Wanchai markets on my way to work. You can see snippets of a flower stall on the right (not my fav one which is down the road a bit further, but one I occasionally buy from).

I don't have to walk through the market to get to work, there is a side road which I could take if I wanted to avoid it. I don't know what it is about the market, but I LOVE walking though there everyday - it makes me feel alive, reminds me that I am living in Asia, and makes me very thankful. Most of all, thankful that I have this wonderful opportunity to live in amongst another culture.

The market is always bustling, and I ALWAYS find new things everyday when I walk through. If you ask any of our visitors, they usually say that they enjoy visiting this market the most in all of Hong Kong. It's only small, but there are so many treasures to be found.

Last night when I walked home through the market I went to visit the local tofu lady (who incidentally also sells bean sprouts - which is what I was after). Just as I arrived she pulled out the fresh batch of tofu and proceeded to yell down the street to alert everyone to its arrival (well at least that's what I could make out of her Cantonese). Then I called into the fruit shop to buy some mango's and got caught buying a bag full of fruit - lychee's just in season, the most wonderfully aromatic guava's, and some cute little pink gala apples (guess what we had for breaky this morning - fresh apple and guava juice! YUMMO). Then I called into the thai shop (one of my absolute fav shops in the market) to buy fresh mint, basil and lime. I had a quick chat to the owner (who incidentally used to be my beautician at the Mandarin Oriental before she opened this shop), before heading home to cook dinner.

I thought a shot of the market was appropriate for day 1 considering how integral it is to my life in Hong Kong, and also, just because I LOVE it so much!

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The 365 day project!

That sounds quite daunting doesn't it?

Yesterday I came across an idea which I thought was fantastic. A friend of mine has started a visual diary where she records her days through photo's - 1 pic per day for 365 days. I was feeling so inspired by the idea, that I have decided to try it out for myself. I thought this here bloggio was the perfect place for publication of the pics, considering that the inspiration behind The Holdens in Honkers was to keep in touch with fam & friends back home whilst we were living away. I think this project will hit the mark perfectly!

Hopefully I don't forget to capture each day... wouldn't it be annoying if after 365 days you only had 320 photo's! I guess I could live with that, although I will try my best to complete the project with 365 pics.

My greatest fear is that in the day to day humdrum of life, there won't be much to capture - let's face it, you can only take so many pics of your work desk (which is where I tend to spend the majority of my days). Anyway, I guess it will just force me to get creative which is not a bad thing.

So, here goes. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

I am a bad girl

Instead of working, I am sitting here at my desk dreaming about our upcoming trip to Paris and Spain (Barcelona, San Sebastian, Seville & Madrid). I can't stop thinking about it, and just wish I could fast forward the calender to 15 June NOW!

I really feel like I need a break, not a day off here and there, but a solid block of time to let my mind wander idly, without a thought of work or deadlines or 6 minute blocks of time. I want to be free to roam the streets and discover hidden treasures and spend time with hubby enjoying his company and our general banter about nothing and everything. I want to experience something new and exciting, something exotic and different, something fresh and inspiring - I am hoping for all these things on our trip. I don't think that will be too much trouble considering our destination...

Until then, I need to FOCUS! I have work to do, Will's 30th to organise, in-laws to visit, and loads of other stuff on my plate. 15 June feels so far away today, oh please hurry up and get here!

41 sleeps to go!

To show my appreciation...

for all the assistance the lovely receptionists at work give me throughout the year, I gave them each a little tin full of homemade cookies. I know, it's only a token gesture, but I wanted to give them something little and heartfelt to let them know that I do really appreciate their help.

I felt inspired to make cookies, and came up with the perfect idea of how to use the peppermint Haighs chocs that my lovely friend Louise bought back from Australia for me. I used a Nigella recipe as the base, and added the peppermint chocs (and a peppermint crisp - don't you love those!). Needless to say they were a little naughty (i.e. calorific), but they tasted so yum.

The girls were so surprised to receive the little treats, and I did notice a smile on their faces for the whole day following! Isn't giving such a wonderful thing. The feeling you get when you give is right up there in my books.
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Friday, 30 April 2010

CNY Dinner at the Holden's

I thought it was about time I posted pics from our Chinese New Year dinner.

It was a HUGE effort to prepare 8 courses for 10 people (yeap, you read right!), but it was oh so worth it. We had a fabulous night!

I love HK around this time of the year, it's kind of like Christmas back home. Everyone is racing around frantically trying to get all their preparations done, the streets are overflowing with decorations, and people are generally in a festive mood. The whole town glows red.

Preparing the dinner got us right into the spirit as I frantically raced around sourcing ingredients, decorations, making menu's and invitations, putting together lai see packets for the guests, investigating Chinese zodiac signs, and generally making the most of the occasion.

Here are a few pics from the night that I thought you might enjoy.
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