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...