re: Bloggers Recognition Award

embarrassing histories and cool recommendations

I have been happily writing my blog for quite some time now and while you’re somewhat aware of people seeing your posts you can’t be sure of them actually being interested in reading it. It was surprising and lovely to hear that I was nominated for the Blogger’s Recognition Award by Vanessa from WanderlustPlusOne who is an incredible inspiration for the times when you feel that travelling seems impossible – if Vanessa can do it with child in tow, you can do it on your own! I’d love to be as active a traveller with my own family in the future (#momgoals) and will be looking back for many tips!

Here are the rules for accepting the award:

  • Give thanks to the person who had nominated you and a link to their blog.
  • Write a post to show your award.
  • Briefly tell how you started blogging.
  • Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award.
  • Comment on the nominated blogs and let them know you have nominated them and give a link to the post you have created.

I created my first ever blog with a friend when I was around 13. Our aim was to discuss topics on a weekly basis, either chosen by us or suggested by readers, but after writing our introductory post, we were never coordinated enough to make anything else happen. I’m putting the link here for my own reference, I’m surprised it still exists, but who am I kidding, the internet immortalises everything. Anyways, I’m glad we didn’t end up writing more than two posts, otherwise present me would have died from embarrassment (goodbye emo phase). My second venture into ‘blogging’ was a solo expedition into the world of fashion (ref: here), this is slightly less cringe-inducing since I didn’t really write anything, but nevertheless, the twinge of second hand embarrassment is felt. Ushering us all back to present day, my side bar is pretty self-explanatory (for all you desktop viewers out there), I started blogging when I went out on my year abroad to Hong Kong, but didn’t start taking it seriously until coming back to the UK where I started writing about my travels in detail.

Some advice for new bloggers?

  1. It’s terribly clichéd, but start a blog because you love writing, creating new content, sharing your creativity, etc. Don’t be too bothered about gaining millions of followers, otherwise you’ll find that writing blog posts will become a chore. I love to document what I did as another means to keep in touch with people I know and for something to look back on (probably cringe at too) when I’m older. Your memory might not always be as clear as it is now, but at least you have it written down!
  2. Explore tags and interact with others in the blogging community! I love reading about other people’s experiences with places I’ve visited and places I haven’t. It’s a constant stream of inspiration and information that’ll motivate you to keep writing and sharing. Don’t feel that you should only limit yourself to following blogs within your own area of focus either, there’s so many wonderful writers out there – where would my life be without beauty bloggers?

Here are some of my favourite blogs to read: Sorry, I’ve just included 10 as this post was getting rather long!

  1. Travelling Matters

Mel and Suan, you’ve probably been nominated for so many of these awards, but it’s well deserved! I’m always amazed by how many places they’ve been to and there’s always another trip bubbling in the pipeline! There’s never a lack for something interesting and refreshing to read, with articles exploring aspects of travel that I would never have considered.

  1. ah petrichor

I’ve only just come across Ching’s blog recently and I wish I found it sooner! She writes in both English and Chinese (traditional), which is perfect for a language learner like me, looking to improve their reading comprehension. Each post is also accompanied by really beautiful photographs. Although the WordPress app is convenient for those on the go, I’d really recommend taking the time to browse her posts via the desktop site to get the true beauty of her website theme!

  1. The Humble Explorer

Another great blog ran by YipChu and Jotina, I was drawn in by their amazing photographs and their content is equally on par. Each post is helpfully embedded by pins on Google maps, making it all the easier to track down that zoo café in Bangkok you wished you discovered. I love that we’ve travelled to a lot of similar places, yet have wildly different experiences – it’s a sign of a good travel blog that makes you want to revisit a country after you’ve just left!

  1. Jules Verne Times Two

Writing under the mysterious pseudonym of Jules and Verne (inspired by their favourite writer) comes another blogging duo I highly rate! They have a wonderful style of writing that I adore and each post is full of interesting narratives and personal anecdotes that are worthy of being compiled into a book!

  1. Stylish Wanderer

Combining fashion with reviews on travel, Stylish Wanderer has awesome posts reviewing accommodation, which can come in handy if you’re stuck for a place to stay. Her posts on Korea are full of interesting places I wish I had time to visit when I was out there!

  1. The Bellezza Corner

Amanda runs a great lifestyle blog covering a whole range of topics such as fashion, beauty and travel. As a novice in the world of beauty, her posts are filled with really useful information! A simple girl make-up wise, I especially loved her post on necessary nudes and neutrals to have in your make-up collection. Intrigued by the MAC lip-liner, I ended up going in store and purchasing a foundation too!

  1. An Aesthetic Mind

Despite running primarily a travel blog, I’m hooked on all things food, beauty and fashion. Julia’s blog is filled with lovely, clear photographs and everything she owns looks so pretty! I love the mix of travel posts, which initially prompted a follow, interspersed with posts on fashion and other aspects of life.

  1. 90s Kids Travel

Erica hasn’t posted for a while, but I hope she continues to write again! Her posts are packed full of great information and price references, which is very useful for a student like me who loves to plan and budget.

  1. Under Clouded Stars

There’s something romantic about writing poems and this blog is sure to alight a desire to visit every place that is covered. Her photographs fit the tone of each poem so perfectly and it’s lovely to see how thoughts and experiences can be clearly conveyed in just a few words.

  1. Awkward Introvert Traveler

With a blog name I can relate to, I am vicariously living through Luke and Des’ posts from when they embarked on a road trip around the US (it’s on my bucket list!). I’m just discovering how stunning America’s national parks are and their posts are just filled with wonderful photographs to highlight this. Make sure to check out their Instagram page too for more amazing photos.

re: Hong Kong

Off The Beaten Track, pt. II.

Pt. II of Off the Beaten Track, because I like small bite-sized blog posts.

If possible, I would just skip the idea of a ‘holiday’ altogether and live in Hong Kong for a couple of months, explore its offerings at a lackadaisical pace and soak in the sun.

Kowloon; the suburbs.

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Venturing a bit further out when visiting Kowloon and you’ll find another local favourite, BBQ! From my experience, it’s around £20 for all you can eat food, usually without a strict time limit on your stay. Depending on the place, this can also extend to all you can drink, or be limited to just one free drink. In any case, it’s always good to carry a bottle of water on your person at all times when in Hong Kong.

I’ve written partly about this about this before, but if you’ve already trekked out to Kowloon, why not make a day of it? Go for a bike ride and work up an appetite to truly take advantage of the all you can eat deal in the evening! It’s another local past time and it’s easy to see why. Being away from the inner city allows for designated bicycle lanes and you can follow one route that takes you all the way from Tai Wai to Tai Po. Don’t worry about the cycle back either, you can return the bikes at another location and take the bus or taxi back to the nearest MTR station once finished. There’s really no reason not to do this when visiting Hong Kong, you’ll find your view of the city thoroughly broadened and return with a fresh perspective that most visitors won’t have acquired.

CNY: Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree

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Finding yourself in the city during Chinese New Year, make sure to visit Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree! During the festive period, the area’s full of interesting sights from food, souvenirs and traditions. It’s a small but packed occasion, enjoyable nevertheless for visitors who wish to experience the community spirit of a 700-year old village. The wishing tree presents a fun opportunity to take part in a tradition wherein you attach your new year’s wishes onto a (fake) clementine (satsuma? orange?) and throw them up into the tree. The higher the branch, the more likely your wish will come true! I made two attempts at this when a young girl snatched up my orange (and wish!) before I could pick it up again. Equally hilarious was watching my friends throw their oranges only to accidently bump some poor stranger on the head.

Regarding the TST parade, this you can definitely skip. We secured a spot quite early on and found it not worth the wait. Rather than a continuous flow of music and celebration, there were 5/10-minute wait times between each section and the while the performers were wonderful in their own right, the majority of (if not all) floats were pretty much just decorated pieces of advertisement. I can appreciate a celebration of a country’s brand and businesses, but this was too much.

So this concludes my series of posts on Hong Kong! I hope this has proved useful or at least enjoyable for those who slogged through and read what I have to say – it really is appreciated, thank you!

re: making friends

You’re my globe-mate.

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One of the best things about university is meeting new people. When it came down to confirming my choices, I chose the University of Nottingham not only because of its study abroad programme, but also due to its many international links. With campuses in China (Ningbo) and Malaysia (Semenyih), not to mention the vast amount of students either exchange or full-time coming from all over the globe to study, your once limited worldview is fantastically broadened.

Of course, it is easy to research and keep informed about major international events, but speaking to individuals native to a particular country makes a larger impact on oneself than expected. You can read about shocking laws, such as the now eradicated one child policy in China, but for me, it didn’t seem real until talking about the topic with my friends from mainland China. Naively I thought it was something blown out of proportion by the media, a hazy rumour serving only to stir up xenophobic feelings in the western world. Thus, it was startling to me hearing their experiences and opinions, of growing up without siblings, of distrust towards their government and of confusion as to what to believe (i.e. the self-immolation incident in Tiananmen Square).

Studying in Hong Kong is no different. Through lectures and meeting locals, I have learnt about Hong Kong’s national identity crisis, more about the umbrella movement of last year as well as political controversies within the school. Conversing with other international students, I was so surprised to discover that South Korea still enforces conscription on its citizens, (further chats with friends told me that the existence of conscription is still quite common). Learning about these topics definitely makes me more conscious of the world outside my little localised bubble, as well as making me more active in seeking news not just pertaining to the UK, (after all, there’s only so much of David Cameron’s antics a person can take).

While making friends from other countries can make you more mindful of political issues, it also brings to the table many hilarious and amusing differences. In casual conversation with friends you might notice minute differences, which can lead to furious debates on what is ‘correct’ and what is not. (Bell pepper or capsicum?? Australians. Queue or line?? Americans.) Even well established holidays can be a topic for debate – you thought Christmas Day is safely on the 25th? Prepared to be challenged by the Germans who regularly celebrate the 24th instead! So, from friendly chats to late night conversations, there is a wealth of information to be learned about a person as well their culture. Being much more of a listener than a talker, this suits me just fine.