Sorry, 2016, But This Was a Pretty Good Year for Me



My favourite number is 13. Not because I was born on the 13th, or that the number 13 has significance in my life, but because I figure that a number that is unlucky for some has to be lucky for someone.

Much in the same way, the year that was essentially a real-life season of Game of Thrones for the world actually turned out to be a pretty awesome year for me personally. And not because I’m a “Leave” supporter or a Donald Trump fan. My year just kind of happened that way.

So sorry (not sorry) to gloat and rub it in your face, 2016, but you did not break me. 2016 had to be lucky for someone, right? Read more

5 Ways to Spend (And Not Spend) Your Birthday in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Birthday


My birthday is the 12th March. That means right now you must be saying, ‘Oh, I know someone with that birthday,’ or, even better, ‘That’s my birthday too!’ – and you are certainly not alone. A 12th March birthday can be a blessing and a curse, and must be shared with everyone else that was born between 5th – 13th March, which seems to be everyone else, period.

But one thing a 12th March birthday is not is uneventful. From summer dress snow days at primary school, to Comic Relief sleepovers throwing up, to pub golf mayhem at uni, my birthday always manages to be memorable, if not always for the right reasons. And moving to Hong Kong has not changed any of that. So, just in case you were wondering how to spend your own birthday in HK or elsewhere, here are some ways to do it (and not to do it):

22 – The ‘White Wolf’ Birthday

Hong Kong Birthday - White Wolf

Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling that 22 is the best age to theme your birthday after your favourite cheap vodka brand. White Wolf vodka, only available at the cheapo store in North Point, is HK$40 for a million litres, and thus the White Wolf theme for my 22nd birthday was born.

Highlights: inventive costume ideas from three-wolf t-shirts to Wolf gladiator lycra suits; getting so wasted that I would apparently only speak to party guests in Cantonese (except my Cantonese is limited to ‘Singapore noodles please’ and ‘Kam Ping Street, North Point’, even now).

Lowlights: taking a swig of ‘snake wine’ before leaving pre-drinks at our flat and not remembering anything after getting off the MTR at Wan Chai; waking up the next morning with no memory, no money, and a makeshift ‘wolf tail’ key-ring digging into my back. Safe to say that The Hangover wolf pack had nothing on my 22nd birthday.

23 – The ‘Harlem Shake’ Birthday

The Harlem Shake Birthday

In the space between my 22nd and 23rd birthdays I had left Hong Kong, lived in Italy for six months, moved back to the UK and then moved back to Hong Kong. Not satisfied with my Wan Chai experience from the previous year, this time I made sure that I would actually make it to Wan Chai by living in Wan Chai, and had everyone round for drinking games on my balcony. It was the spring of 2013 and therefore it was obligatory to make a Harlem Shake video.

Highlights: Ian licking that mop.

Lowlights: if you’re trying to find me in that picture and can’t, it’s because I thought it was an excellent idea to bleach my hair for my birthday.

24 – The ‘Boob Hat’ Birthday

Hong Kong Birthday - Coyotes Boob Hats

The best thing to do on your birthday is move house. Said no one ever. I spent the day in Ikea buying furniture (some of you may remember that this was the infamous year that a certain someone bought me an Ikea voucher for my birthday, ever the romantic), then moved stuff into my new place only to realise I had left all my clothes and make-up at my old place.

Regardless, I continued the tradition of getting drunk in Wan Chai on my birthday by consuming margaritas at Coyotes, wearing a sombrero that looked like a boob.

Highlights: did you not see the picture of the boob hats? Hilarity! And a free hat!

Lowlights: getting drunk and not being able to figure out whether to go home to my new place or old place.

25 – The ‘I missed it, I was napping’ Birthday

Hong Kong Birthday - Nap

The best thing to do on your birthday is move jobs. Said no one ever. I had the day off between moving from one job to another, so I tried to go to the Art Museum for a cultural and classy birthday, but it was closed. Then, I came out in hives for no reason and had to take an anti-histamine, but the anti-histamine made me sleepy so I took a nap. All day.

Highlights: it was a really good nap, though.

Lowlights: no drinking, la!

26 – The ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Birthday

Breakfast at Tiffany's Birthday

And so it arrived. The big 26. What birthday drama or epic fail would incur on this night, this year? Well… I hate to disappoint, but IT WAS THE BEST BIRTHDAY EVER.

Highlights: North Point cooked food market; beers in bowls; Belgian beers; cocktails with chocolate round the rim; Insomnia’s amazing band; TAKE ME TO CHURCH; McDonalds breakfast at Tiffany’s

Lowlights: I wanna do it ALL over again!

Many thanks to all that made it out for an epic birthday night out this year and even bigger hugs and kisses to those who sent cards, pressies, emails and even Facebook messages. It may be my fifth HK birthday, but I certainly don’t feel any less loved than when I had a birthday at home.

So now to my 26th year, the sixth year of being in my early twenties. What do you have in store for me, 26? Older, yes. Wiser? Maybe not yet.

Hiking the MacLehose Trail Stages 1 and 2 in Hong Kong

What better way to spend Chinese New Year than hiking the MacLehose Trail in Hong Kong? This is the story of how we attempted to hike the whole of one of HK’s most challenging trails over the CNY weekend and ended up only managing the MacLehose Trail Stages 1 and 2.

Oh, the MacLehose Trail, you say? It’s only 100 kilometres! You can do it in three days! Hiking only 10 hours a day! MacLehose was the Bear Grylls of his time! (Ok, no one really said that last part).

Contrary to what we heard, it turned out that the trail was not what we expected, as old Mac had a few tricks up his sleeve… Read more

10 Surprising Facts About Chinese New Year I Learnt Living in Hong Kong

Chinese New Year decorations in a shop window in Hong Kong

Red lanterns are up, the banks are packed and preparations are well underway for Spring Festival! Before I started living in Hong Kong, I thought CNY was all firecrackers, dumplings and fun animal horoscopes (and those are definitely a fun part of it). But there’s so much more! So, here are 10 surprising facts about Chinese New Year that I’ve learnt during my time in HK:

Kung Hei Fat Choy! (Happy Chinese New Year!)

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