Hong Kong: How To #DiscoverHongKong in 24 Hours

How & What To See, Eat, and Do in Hong Kong in 24 Hours. #DiscoverHongKong

I wandered aimlessly in and out of the glossy boutiques - paying special attention to local designers like Shanghai Tang - rolling my Tumi cabin bag across the polished marble floors of upscale shopping centre Elements where the Airport Express had deposited me: right in the belly of the beast, so to speak. Despite having to wait the better part of 6 hours for Luxy to arrive I was in an unusually chipper mood - I wasn’t even offended that whenever I spoke Cantonese I was replied to in English, but just how ‘white’ is my accent?! - until I was hit with the realisation we would have only one full day in Hong Kong but we had a to-do list to rival the Labours of Hercules. And yet; despite having time, distance, and a serious shortage of *ahem* honest taxi drivers against us, Luxy and I took on the Fragrant Harbour and WON. Behold our victory, that it may someday pave your hurried but not harried way: this is how you do HONG KONG IN 24 HOURS.


EXTRA SAUCE: 21
May 19, 2017

Hong Kong: How To #DiscoverHongKong in 24 Hours

I wandered aimlessly in and out of the glossy boutiques - paying special attention to local designers like Shanghai Ta...

Melbourne, Australia: 10 Things You Must Do In Melbourne

Melbourne, Australia: 10 Things You Must Do In Melbourne



Oh Melbourne, what a ride you've been. Between eating my way senseless around your endless gastronomical offerings to riding the stomach-churning rollercoasters in St Kilda (in that order, too!) it was an amazing 10 days of coffee, culture, and sweet, sweet lovin'. Melbourne is a city that's rather dear to me because of family and other reasons close to my heart, but even for those without physical and emotional ties to the city there is a smogasbord of offerings that don't involve being punched by kangaroos or getting a lift from bike gangs (if you get the reference, let's be friends). Whether or not you are staying for 3 weeks or 3 days, here are 10 Things You Must Do In Melbourne.


May 12, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: 10 Things You Must Do In Melbourne

Oh Melbourne, what a ride you've been. Between eating my way senseless around your endless gastronomical offer...

Melbourne, Australia: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Melbourne, Australia: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


What goes around comes around. That must be how it looked for a Londoner to travel across the world to Australia, only to find herself in the Melbourne outpost of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Heston Blumenthal is the Willy Wonka of British gastronomy whose name conjures visuals of snail porridge, feeding frenzies at Waitrose for his fancy Christmas puddings, and outrageously fabulous history-themed feasts. So obviously when the second (and only other branch) of the original Dinner by Heston in London opens in Melbourne, the city's collective foodies - especially the ones who missed out on the Fat Duck pop up - got excited. Some even declared it Melbourne's best dining experience. Like hell I was going to let that slip under my nose, or rather past my tongue, especially when the menu featured dishes with an Australian twist created especially for Dinner by Heston Melbourne.
    
DINNER BY HESTON • CROWN TOWERS, 8 WHITEMAN STREET
SAUCE: 12345622

May 10, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

What goes around comes around. That must be how it looked for a Londoner to travel across the world to Australia, only to fin...

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


There are some wars you just don't wage - don't even get me started on the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate - including taking on the Melbourne foodie machine. It's a fight not even the most expansive of appetites would win; what with Michelin star restaurants, too-cool-for-school (and bookings too, judging from some of the queues) brunch spots, and all-round excellent eateries that proliferate the city faster than you can say "pop up hole-in-the-wall matcha dessert bar*". Conquering Melbourne's culinary offerings is at best an uphill struggle - I'm not just talking about climbing up Hosier Lane, post-food coma, in heels - and everyone will have different, passionate opinions about where and what to eat in the city. I did the best I could during my stay despite some hiccups like not making reservations** and recovering from surgery. Here are 11 Melbourne Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Tried and Loved.

*no, I'm not thinking of a specific place but I'm sure one has already existed in recent Melbourne history... 
**the ones that got away: Movida Next Door, Naked for Satan, Naked in The Sky, and Vue de Monde. Sob.

May 08, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try

There are some wars you just don't wage - don't even get me started on the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate - inclu...

Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar, Luna Park, & more

Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar, Luna Park, & more


With family living in Melbourne including an aunt who lives in St Kilda, it’s a given that I spent many a childhood summer there. During my recent visit to the seaside suburb, which ensued in an observation of characters best described as straight out of a Ginsberg poem, the extend of a parents’ ability to shelter their children became apparent. 
   
For beyond the Victorian mansions and fairy penguin-watching of my childhood, St Kilda is what Lonely Planet dubsMelbourne's slightly tattered bohemian heart” - an amalgamation of families, punks, drunks, and hipsters.  

A jumble of contrasting architecture styles - Moorish apartments clash with Art Deco theatres while colonial houses that line leafy residential streets almost seem to disapprove - dot the landscape of what started life as a 19th century seaside resort. A crusty junkie wanders out of a seedy side street to jump in on a ladies' Zumba class on the promenade before being chased away to the nearest crumbling pub. Instagram-worthy vegan cafés and Pinterest-perfect wine bars with their perfect culinary creations threaten to break the internet. Buses and trams spit out tourists, day tripping families, and teenagers on dates into the open mouth of Mr Moon, where the hordes will descend upon the creaking rollercoasters of Luna Park. It’s brash, it’s bohemian, it’s as chaotic as the gigs a young Nick Cave played at what was once the Crystal Ballroom (now the George Snakepit).  St Kilda is the best of the Mediterranean, Brighton, and Venice Beach - it’s all of these things and yet none of them, but rather a one-of-a-kind enclave with a thousand faces that inspired many a pop culture creation and captured countless imaginations.

May 07, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: St Kilda, Matcha Mylkbar, Luna Park, & more

With family living in Melbourne including an aunt who lives in St Kilda , it’s a given that I spent many a childhood sum...

Melbourne, Australia: 5 Ways To Get The Best & Highest Views of the City


Soaring to new heights - I find 5 ways to rise above it all in Melbourne to get the best views (and the best #humblebrag photos!) of the city.

What it is about humans and heights? Is it a leftover primal instinct from days of evading sabretooth tigers and surveying prey (mmm, wooly mammoth stew) from the tops of trees? Or is it a more recent urge, as a single drop in a convoluted sea of urban overpopulation, to seek space and solitude from the tangled mess on ground level? Whatever it is, as a species many of us are keen to rise above it all - whether from helicopters or in snazzy rooftop bars. I am no exception. I arrived in Melbourne from Sydney and made a beeline for my new digs - a 2 bedroom apartment on the top floor - all the while humming in my head “Started from the bottom now we here...”. There’s no better way to get your bearings in a new city than from a bird’s eye view nor a more impressive perspective to get the Instagram photo that says “I’ve arrived!” so here are my 5 Ways To Get The Highest and Best Views in Melbourne.


May 03, 2017

Melbourne, Australia: 5 Ways To Get The Best & Highest Views of the City

Soaring to new heights - I find 5 ways to rise above it all in Melbourne to get the best views (and the best #humblebrag pho...

15 Cities, 6 Countries, 20 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary for a Austria, Balkans, & Italy road trip

15 Cities, 6 Countries, 20 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary for an Austria, Balkans, & Italy road trip


20 days of summer. 6 European countries. 15 cities and towns (19 if I visit all 5 towns in Cinque Terre)Inspired by this month's travel linkup - in which we writing wanderlusters discuss destinations as a starter (short haul), mains (a looong trip) and pudding (a destination that leaves a lasting impression) - today I share the itinerary for my upcoming trip: My 15-Course Travel ‘Tasting Menu’ across Austria, the Balkans, and Italy. 

Ya'll should know by now that I am super extra. Like, "consolidate my 'save for later' online shopping purchases into a master Excel spreadsheet and picture collage" extra. Extra, extra! Read all about it! So when I picked up the updated edition of Tim Marshall's Prisoners of Geography I naturally devoured the book in 4 days. Then I re-read the Joe Sacco graphic novel The Fixer: A Story From Sarajevo. Curious to fill in the hole that is my lack of understanding on world history (thanks a lot, Malaysian Sejarah syllabus. What were we taught about WWII? Literally only: the Japanese f*cked up our sh*t and then the Americans f*cked up their sh*t. The end. Whut) I did what any lazy person would - learn about it on YouTube. So after watching Feature History - Fall of Yugoslavia, I wound the clock back a World War and discovered that Franz Ferdinand is more than just an excellent rock band from Glasgow.
   
Thanks to this information black hole I've now got the Balkans on my mind. How does one go forward? The only way is Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Oh, and throw in a bit of Austria and Italy too for good measure, why not? This summer I'm spending just under 3 weeks touring *deep breath* Vienna, Maribor, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Plitvice, Trogir, Split, Sarajevo, Mostar, Kotor, Budva, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Pisa. Here is the Itinerary for My Balkans 'Tasting Menu' ft. Austria and Italy.

May 01, 2017

15 Cities, 6 Countries, 20 Days: The Ultimate Itinerary for a Austria, Balkans, & Italy road trip

20 days of summer. 6 European countries. 15 cities and towns (19 if I visit all 5 towns in Cinque Terre) .  Inspired by this m...

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Australia is a country I'm familiar with. It's basically Little Malaysia, the "foreign enough to be considered worldly but somewhat nearby" choice for the college-considering Asian Tiger parent who think they're liberal, but God forbid you suggest to them that you don't move back home with them after you graduate. More than having a thousand acquaintances and friends who've studied in Australia (and a few who've stay on) I also have family there; so I've spent my childhood all over Perth, Adelaide, and Melbourne. I'm thrilled to make my return Down Under (my last visit was a decade ago) with a trip to 2 of its biggest cities. Here are 10 things I did during my short stay in Sydney.




Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
1. BONDI TO BRONTE COASTAL WALK
&
2. ICEBERGS DINING ROOM AND BAR 

No trip to Sydney is complete without visiting the famous Bondi Beach, no matter what the season. Take your cue from the hardy Icebergs who train; come rain, shine, or snow in Australia's most photographed ocean pool of Bondi Icebergs Club - the world's only licensed winter swimming pool, and dive in as a visitor: "Everyone is Welcome". The more horizontally-inclined among us are happy enough to just sunbath on the famously topless beach. My ideal middle-ground between indulgence and activity is fine-dining on exquisitely fresh seafood and Italian dishes at the award-winning Icebergs Dining Room and Bar then burning the calories after with the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk 



Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney


3. CONSIDERED CLIMBING THE SYDNEY HARBOUR BRIDGE, AND RIDING THE SYDNEY SEAPLANE


You know I'd go to great lengths to procure the perfect shot, me being part of that delightfully odd (and rather neurotic) #TravelBlogger tribe. Heck, adverse as I am to physical labour I'd even climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the perfect Instagram post - fear of heights be damned. Unfortunately the BridgeClimb doesn't allow you to bring your own camera (for safety reasons, I'm sure). I'm out. For an even more stunning view and more thrill without any of the exertions, I'd go with the Sydney Seaplane Scenic Flight - that is, I would have if I could've found a willing partner (packages start from 2 people or more). 

If you care more about the experience and don't mind basically spending money to sweat, definitely consider the BridgeClimb; or if you're feeling more indulgent customise a Sydney Seaplane experience - you can charter flights to anywhere within reason.
4. MANLY FAST FERRY


...instead, I got on the Manly Fast Ferry for an alternative view of the Sydney Harbour. The Manly Fast Ferry is a commuter service joining the Sydney suburb of Manly with Circular Quay in the CBD, covering a journey of seven nautical miles in a quick time of 17 minutes. 

Honestly, I got on the ferry just for a literal breath of fresh air - I can't describe how freeing it felt to speed away from Sydney Harbour and leave the chaos of the CBD behind, just letting my mind wander with the waves. But if you have more time, a visit to the beachside suburb of Manly came highly recommended. Manly is enjoying a renaissance with its hot bar scene and exciting dining options, but for an old-school treat it's all about the Manly Sea Life Sanctuary.

A round trip from Circular Quay Wharf 6 in Sydney CBD to Manly is $15.60 - $17.40, depending on the hours.


Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
5. DAY DRINKING AT THE OPERA BAR

I tried, I really did, to appreciate the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I even watched the episode of Modern Family that was basically a huge 'sponsored by Qantas!' montage. But not even Phil "Crocodile" Dunphy's adorkable and infectious enthusiasm could colour me impressed. Andrea clearly felt the same way: without even missing a beat, she steered me to the Opera Bar where we could best enjoy the city's landmarks - seen through a glass of something alcoholic. Hic.


6. CAUGHT UP WITH A GOOD FRIEND
&
 7. MADE A NEW ONE

I finally met Andrea (right), the bridge-indifferent-kindred blogging spirit of Andrea's Passions, because of - of all things - a cyclone. Debbie was tearing up a storm so Andrea had to make a diversion from the Whitsundays to Sydney, where she too was staying with Luxy (below). And this is how the three of us came to be sitting in the living room of Luxy's townhouse in fashionable Paddington, at the dining table, with me hoisting up my shirt to show the girls my, well, girls. Cue Luxy covering her eyes and shrieking with horror, and Andrea nodding and making unflinching observations. Hahaha, talk about Yin and Yang.

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
8. SHOP UNTIL YOU DROP 

Fun fact about Sydney - the shops and stores close at 5pm on weekdays (except for "Thursday lates"). FIVE PEE EM. I asked Luxy, "...but how do you pop in, after work, for a quick makeover, a new dress, or some last-minute champagne before heading out for a party?" Her bemused response: "I don't. It's either shopping on the weekends or during my lunch hour." Oh the inhumanity. 

Local brands to pick up when in Australia include Ecoya soy wax candles, Aesop toiletries, Lucas' Papaw ointment, Becca Cosmetics (give me that Champagne Pop!), classic tailoring by Camilla and Marc, Bailey Nelson eyewear, and gorgeous swimwear by Zimmermann. 

The Strand and Westfield in the CBD is worth a look into, but the best finds are always the unexpected ones. I stumbled upon a bijou pop up shop in fashionable Paddington called Love Story selling high end and designer vintage fashion. I only just managed to resist the heaving rails of CHANEL and adorable leather handbags but ended up with a pair of vintage Hermes flip flops because...I'm in Australia, I needed flip flops. Thongs. Jandals. 

Like its London counterpart, Sydney's Oxford Street - running from Darlinghurst to Paddington - is a diverse mix of edgy boutiques, high-end labels, vintage, and indie designers. Definitely worth devoting an afternoon to.



Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney


9. ART ATTACK

Sydney has a wealth of museums and art galleries (some of them are even free) - from the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in the heart of the CBD to industrial-scale art centre Casula Powerhouse in the outer suburbs of Liverpool. The establishment that made the greatest impression on me was the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It began with a walk on a scorching autumn's day, away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and toward increasingly verdant tranquility as I cut across Hyde Park. 

I was lucky enough to catch The National 2017 - a large scale exhibit focused solely on contemporary Australian art. The National 2017 runs till June and is free to enter. Just as, or even more so important is the collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. These two areas of interest, combined with the collection of Australian art make for an interesting and visual lesson of history and culture. I highly recommend all 3 in one long afternoon, then a brisk walk through the adjacent Royal Botanic Garden to cool down.

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: BLACKSMITH SURRY HILLS, SKITTLE LANE COFFEE, MR WONG 




10. SYDN-EAT, EAT, EAT
The quickest way to the heart of a city is through your stomach...or something. Just know that it wouldn't be a real trip for me if I didn't sample at least some of the local favourites; be it the dim sum platters at the hottest new Cantonese joint in town or a big hearty brunch heaped with smashed avo. Further reading: Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Cafes, and Bars I Loved


Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney
GETTING THERE: I flew direct from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney on Air Asia, a low-cost carrier that is to South East Asia what Ryanair/Easyjet is to Europe. Even though I paid "budget" prices I flew Business Class, on a flat bed, for an additional nominal fee. Find out how with this travel hack and never again will you compromise comfort for cost.

...next stop, Melbourne! 
April 28, 2017

Sydney, Australia: 10 Things To Do In Sydney

Australia is a country I'm familiar with. It's basically Little Malaysia, the "foreign enough to be considered worldly b...

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved - Skittle Lane Coffee, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, Mr Wong, Establishment, and Blacksmith Surry Hills.

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese... despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of everything. This culinary accomplishment has nothing to do with my being intrepid (unless we're talking about how I collected 9 Kangaskhan in three days) nor there being sweet nothing else to do (quite the contrary - despite Sydney's lockdown laws there is a wealth of arvo activites for the eager visitor) but rather the diversity of offerings in the city and its suburbs. From fine dining by the beach to a classic brunch fry up, here are the 5 eateries that stood out the most in my short but sweet stay in Sydney.
April 26, 2017

Sydney, Australia: 5 Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Loved

Coffee, cafés, cocktails, Chinese...  despite a brief time in Sydney I seemed to have managed to sample a lil' bit of ev...

Sydney, Australia: Bondi Beach, fine dining at Bondi Icebergs Club, and Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Sydney, Australia: Bondi Beach, fine dining at Bondi Icebergs Club, and Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Lunch at the award-winning Dining Room of the exalted Bondi Icebergs Club with a view of Australia's most photographed pool and Sydney's most famous beach on an unseasonably sunny Autumn afternoon - my day out in Bondi was one of superlatives.
April 24, 2017

Sydney, Australia: Bondi Beach, fine dining at Bondi Icebergs Club, and Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk

Lunch at the award-winning  Dining Room of the exalted Bondi Icebergs Club with a view of Australia's most photographed pool ...

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op


It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 weeks traipsing around 4 cities in 2 countries - Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, Sydney, Melbourne, back again to Kuala Lumpur - all while eatsploring (eat + exploring) up a storm in my leopard-print Aquazzuras. Last month I announced my decision and my reasons to be as candid, honest, and informative as possible regarding my choice to go under the knife. I compel you to read that post in its entirety but the TL;DR is that there is the lack of transparency from public figures who've had a helping hand which is not only shameful but dangerous in a culture and society that promotes and rewards unrealistic standards of beauty and perfection. I may lack many qualities (for one: the ability to take a taxi ride without falling asleep with my dribbling mouth open) but candour has never been one of them. So in that 'inform, inspire, and entertain' spirit of Posh, Broke, & Bored; here is the 1st installment of my plastic surgery diaries - the first 4 weeks following a mastopexy (breast reduction and lift) and upper body liposuction...

THIS BLOG POST IS NOT SPONSORED IN ANY WAY OR FORM (HEHE, FORM). ALL OPINIONS ARE SOLELY MINE AND FROM MY OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. NONE OF MY BLOG POSTS ARE INTENDED TO BE NOR SHOULD BE TAKEN AS PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE.
April 21, 2017

My Cosmetic Surgery Journey: Part 1 - Mastopexy (Breast Reduction + Lift) & Liposuction, 1 Month Post-Op

It's hard to believe that only a month and 3 days ago I underwent full-body cosmetic surgery when I've spent the past 3 wee...

Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Dhara Dhevi

Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Dhara Dhevi





PEACE, QUIET, & PADDY FIELDS AT THE DHARA DHEVI CHIANG MAI

April 10, 2017

Chiang Mai, Thailand: The Dhara Dhevi

PEACE, QUIET, & PADDY FIELDS AT THE DHARA DHEVI CHIANG MAI