We’re back in England

Our adventure in Hong Kong is officially over and we are now back in the UK.

I have no idea what the future holds so I won’t say we are here for good.

 

The last month in the Kong was hectic: packing boxes, trying to find somewhere temporary to live in England, visiting family, friends, places I wanted to see…

Departure day came round so fast and in the blink of an eye we were in the airport saying goodbye to loved ones.

Thankfully the flight was direct and perfect – I really recommend Virgin Atlantic. We made our way bleary-eyed from Heathrow to Birmingham while dragging 3 fully packed suitcases and praying that we wouldn’t encounter stairs.

We’ve been here for two weeks now and things are still all over the place.

We are renting a room via Airbnb and living out of our suitcases – while our 8 boxes of belongings wait for us to have an address to be shipped to.

 

Jeff started work immediately while I take a handful of driving lessons (I’m rusty after being car-less for 6 years) and look for a job.

I can’t wait for us to find our feet… have our own place, a car, jobs… just so we can settle down a bit.

Until then, there may not be any new posts on the blog, unfortunately.

 

 

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Things you see at the beach in HK

You’d think going to the beach is a pretty universal experience. While it generally is, certain Hong Kong beachgoers add a sprinkle of entertainment.

 

Facekini wearing women – this is not a joke, I’ve see it with my own eyes… multiple times. Don’t know what a facekini is? Google it, you won’t be disappointed.

Person completely slathered in tanning oil – to the point that they shine like a disco ball and refuse to move/touch anything in fear of smearing their sleek layer.

Stretching elderly gentlemen– warming up before they swim, just like they are preparing for the Olympics. Doing split lunges on the steps leading to the lifeguard office.

Sun avoiding young lady – sitting under the sun umbrella, with clothes on and never entering the water. ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun is finally out!

We’ve had pretty grim weather in the past few weeks in Hong Kong but finally the sun is back, the smog is (mostly) gone and the weather is just beautiful!

I’m not complaining about the heat and blazing sun because I know very well I won’t have them in the uk… that’s kinda sad.

 

I’ve been looking at Hong Kong skyline and I think I am really, really, REALLY going to miss this city…

 

Wan Chai Expo Promenade & moody Hong Kong

The weather has been quite gloomy (until very recently) and I was tired of waiting for blue sky to take pictures.

First, Hong Kong’s skies are often cloudy, so I thought I should capture this side of this city if I want to give an accurate depiction of it.

Secondly, fellow Olympus photographers have taught me that clear blue skies are boring and I should enjoy days where I can play around with the settings on my camera to capture the moody side of Hong Kong.

 

Since I have been to many of the accessible (= do not require a hike) sunset spots in the city, I browsed Google maps (as you do) until I stumbled across Wan Chai Promenade, just behind the Convention Center.

Once I got there, I was surprised at the number of Mainland Chinese tourists- who were all unloading from the nearby tour buses, but I was even more surprised at the lack of photographers… only  two other people were there.

 

I messed around for approx 1 hour and am quite happy with the results and the fact that I managed to get both sides of the harbour in the pictures!

 

 

 

 

Hong Kong: the last 2 months

I knew it would happen, I wanted it to happen, but it happened much faster than I thought it would.

We are leaving Hong Kong at the end of July to return to the UK.

I love Hong Kong to bits, it’s such an amazing city full of contrasts and adventures, yet there are a few issues that mean it may not be the place where we settle.

These issues are:

  • The job market: simply put, I currently do not fit in.

I am a New Product Development Project Manager, but food companies with manufacturing operations in Hong Kong can be counted on the fingers of one hand. The few times I did see an offer, they regarded Chinese food, which I have no knowledge of…  Additionally, I do not speak, read or write Cantonese AND Mandarin fluently.

Mastering both Chinese languages is becoming increasingly mandatory and only a few sectors are exempt (banking being one of them).

 

  • Housing: renting a small apartment at high price doesn’t bother me too much. However, we want to eventually buy property, yet buying anything in Hong Kong seems unachievable. Not only is the price very high, the flats are tiny and the deposit is hefty. It simply isn’t achievable for us in the short/medium term.

 

  • Work culture: this one concerns Jeff rather than me. People at work are extremely competitive and do not hesitate to backstab colleagues and shoe-shine managers in order to get promoted. I’ve been told this behaviour is very common in certain industries/teams with local staff as it is instilled in people since kindergarten.

You see, there are only a handful of universities in Hong Kong, so parents put extreme pressure on their children to stand out from their classmates. This starts at a very young age with kids being enrolled in music, sport, arts & language classes, the only goal being to enter a prestigious primary school, then a prestigious high school and finally university. Children compete with one another on all aspects and this behaviour is carried over into their working lives.

 Hong Kong has so many good points: it’s safe, has easily reachable countryside, varied landscapes and no end of activities to try. Let’s not forget the food, central location for Asian holidays and warm weather.

 

I’ve learnt in the past seven years that no place is perfect and that it’s not about finding the place that ticks all the boxes, but the one that ticks the most important boxes…

I don’t know if England will tick the most important boxes (I’ll be honest and say I am concerned about safety)…but we thought we had to try, so when the opportunity came, we grabbed it.

 

We will try our best, but I would not be surprised if we eventually return to Hong Kong or try another country.

 

 

P.S: I do not plan on stopping the blog for now, even after I return to the UK

 

 

Curly hair in Hong Kong: everything from hairdressers to shampoo

I have noticed my most popular posts are related to curly hairdressers in Hong Kong.
Since they are viewed practically daily, I thought I’d elaborate.

 

People without curly hair cannot understand how difficult it can be to manage. Bad haircut, wrong products, rain, wind, humidity….everything is an excuse for curly hair to frizz and live a life of its own.

 

I struggled with my hair for 18 years until, thanks to the magic of internet; I came across a website dedicated to curls.

There I learnt everything about the Curly Girl Method create by Lorraine Massey, who had grown up in Hong Kong with a head full of curls.

The basics are:

  • Use sulphate & silicone free shampoo and conditioner as these chemicals coat and dry-out curly hair
  • Only detangle your hair with a wide comb, whilst in the shower with conditioner.
  • Dry your hair with a cotton tee-shirt in a scrunching motion (towels and rubbing damage curls )
  • Style your hair, whilst it is still wet, with alcohol free gel or mousse
  • Get your haircut by a specialized hairdresser, who ideally cuts hair dry

 
These steps may seem troublesome, but I can tell you first hand that curly hair cannot be treated like straight hair or you will end up with a frizzy triangle instead of lush locks.

America, the UK and Australia have specialized hairdressers, such as the Deva Salons, Spring is in the hair and Neel Loves Curls, as well as suitable products available at drugstore. But what about Hong Kong?

 

Hairdressers for curly hair in Hong Kong:

We do not have a curl dedicated salon in Hong Kong, for obvious reasons, however we do have two or three people that know the specificities of curly hair.

None of them cut dry, but they have their own technique.
 
 

O2 Studio – Central:

This salon is geared towards the expat community and it’s a good thing when it comes to curly hair.
Both David McIntyre and Lorraine McLelland give great cuts.
However, Lorraine has returned to the UK now and only comes to Hong Kong every 3 to 4 months.
I’ll be honest and say it’s pricey, I paid HKD900approx for my cut, but the results are good.

 
http://www.o2hairstudio.com/
G/F 38 Wyndham Street, Central
Tel: 25222884
David McIntyre and Lorraine McLelland
My review here

 
 

Tommy Hair Design – Central:

Still in central, but this time managed by Edmond, a local HK guy.
He’s got plenty of foreign customers and I found him via online reviews saying he could cut curly hair.
The haircut cannot compare with the work of a curl specialist, but is very decent and affordable. I paid HKD200-HKD300.
 

M/F Union Commercial Bld,
12-16 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
Tel: 2543 6985
Edmond
My review here

 

 

Hair products for curly hair in Hong Kong:

The key is to look for products without silicone, sulfates and strong alcohol.

 

Shampoo & conditioner:

  • Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture shampoo – HKD92 at Sasa
  • Body Shop Rain Forest Moisture shampoo – HKD 89 at The Body Shop
  • Deva curl low poo – only available online on various websites USD20

 

  • Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deep Moisture conditioner– HKD92 at Sasa
  • Body Shop Rain Forest Moisture conditioner – HKD 89 at The Body Shop
  • Deva curl one condition – only available online on various websites USD20

Deva curl is the only brand that is moisturizing and gentle enough for my thick hair, so I purchase it online even though it’s not cheap.

 

Styling products:

  • Giovanni L.A Natural styling gel – HKD95 at Sasa
  • L’oreal Studio Mineral FX gel – approx. HKD40 at Watsons

 

If you go to the USA or Europe frequently, I recommend looking out for these products:

http://www.britishcurlies.co.uk/forums/topic/high-street-cg-products/

 

That’s it for my Hong Kong curly hair round up!
I hope it is helpful to a few people.