A Hong Kong Weekend

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So how does the weekend usually begin for the Wawn family…
Currently like this, Sophie wakes up somewhere round 5am, enjoys a little chat with her teddies, then lets off a few unavoidable & demanding screams by about 5.30.

So up we all get, Sophie undoubtedly woken Archie (who can actually sleep in these days without Sophie the screamer around)
It’s still dark. We’ve finished breakfast by 6 and the kids are getting bored by 7.

So this weekend we decided to stop fighting it and just go with the flow…
(Need to get into practice as next week we will all be sharing a room in Thailand – god help us and the people living next door)

We were all in the car by 8.30 and heading to Stanley Village for breakfast.

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Brilliant, no bad Hong Kong traffic, no daddy getting lost and frustrated in Kowloon.
And the best big comfy sofa seats in the Savannah Bakery.

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There were a few other bleary eyed parents who we shared a mutual appreciation of their early morning get up and go…

The cafe has kids toys littering the floor, lifesaving sugary Breakfast pastries and the much needed coffee.

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And of course the brilliant pirate ship across the way…

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We then had a scoot into the market, picked up Archie some school wellies (hot and showery season is on its way) noticed a group of American cruise tourists and decided it was time to get out of there and head home… Well we had nearly been up 8hrs!
(Unfortunately we weren’t so lucky on the drive home, Hong Kongers tend to surface by lunchtime Saturday) least said about that the better.

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The Waterman kids spent the afternoon with us, stayed over I managed hot dogs for tea, whoopee!
Bathed and all in bed by 7.
Ed and I in bed by 8.30, sod the night out there’s always next weekend.

The next day was Anakin (Archie classmate) Birthday. In Archie’s words the BEST party he has ever been to!

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Sports day races, fab food, stunning home and possibly the most hilarious Chinese clown I have ever seen… Not sure I understood a word he said…

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Tons of fun was had by all…
Although I am secretly looking forward to next weekend version, where mummy and daddy get a bit tiddly with friends on the Friday night then the whole weekend passes in a kiddy action filled blur… Somehow the early mornings seem less painful that way???

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It’s all Chinglish to me…

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The new baby fog has finally lifted… I am now beginning to see the wonderful differences in our cultures more clearly.
It’s a constant source of wonder…

(I am referring mainly to the Chinese, not Hong Kongers, who can at times be more English than I will ever be)

Living quite close to the border with China, we mix with as many Chinese families as expats and HK folk.

I was so fogged up with weariness before and was really just rolling with our new lives without properly taking it all in.
More concerned about how much sleep we were getting, where to get decent priced baby milk and how to get Sophie immunised without it costing more than our amah monthly salary.

But now I see and hear the most unbelievable things and spend most of my time having a quiet giggle to myself… miscommunication a constant source of hilarity here.
(Note – if I was dealing with it at work I might have been driven slightly potty by now)

I don’t have to even have to step out of our apartment for the fun to begin… It’s just brilliant what gets lost in translation when East meets West.

Nina our Amah (who we all love dearly) feeding our new pets the fish, Alex and Eliza, Bisto gravy granules instead of fish food, gave us all (including Nina) a good giggle.

Ed chucking away his dinner and having a sandwich after asking her (I was out for the night) how long the fish he was eating had been in the fridge. 30 days was the reply, she had gotten the words fridge and freezer muddled up.

Living in a house with toddlers where daily, amusing, if baffling conversation goes on and all the miscommunication outside makes daily life seem a bit surreal.

There is a lot of talk about signage over here, when you understand how Mandarin or Cantonese translates with its many alternatives for our one word it’s not surprising we get signs such as;

To take care of safety, the slippery are very crafty!

LOVE IT!

Conversation with the mums at the school gate and can sometimes leave me with a dropped jaw. I was asked recently, do you ever go in your kitchen? and said mum being amazed when I admitted that I sometimes did and actually quite enjoyed it.

Last week I was asked to explain this thing we do (?) going out with husband when kids are in bed, what does it involve? Going to the cinema? Think she was referring to a date night.
In the end she gave up on the idea as she decided her husband wouldn’t have anything to say to her in the evening anyway.

Sophie who talks the most babble (being only 1) thinks we are all mad and on a recent trip to the beach abandoned us completely and spent the day with another group of people entirely… What concerns me she is going to grow up thinking all this bonkerishness is normal…
Quite a nice way to be really…

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Christmas with a Chinese twist?

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Archie came home from school very excited last week.
He said, we are going to have a Chinese Christmas, instead of Santa there is a dragon (Think he means a lion)
Will probably bring on the nightmares if he thinks a lion will pop up in his bedroom in the middle of the night delivering presents.
He then asked, are we Chinese?
Guess he was weighing up his chances of receiving a gift…

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Everywhere is suddenly so colorful there is a buzz of anticipation, bit like xmas in UK.

We have been trying to understand the ins and outs of giving those little red envelopes and how much money you are supposed to fill them with… don’t want to embarrass anyone by giving too little or too much!

The great thing is there is a mountain of chocolate in the supermarkets… Yes that is a Ferrero Rocher mountain, still popular here in China…

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I hear that HK Island generally empties next week, the roads are quiet and the restaurants empty… Great news for a week off school and sightseeing to be done with my parents. We should have the place to ourselves!

Pollution has been pretty horrid these past few weeks…

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It seems all the factories round the corner from us in China are working flat out before the holidays and covering us with their disgusting smoke…
Got so concerned about the kids I went off to a lovely Pediatrician in Central for check ups…
There were actually two lovely nurses in pink, in with the Dr, whose sole purpose was to keep Sophie happy and smiling so that I could concentrate & speak to her!

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The good news it’s been 27 degrees for a few days now, even if we have been chewing the air.
The locals are praying for cold weather otherwise it won’t feel festive, bugger that!

Eating sand with chopsticks…

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Sunday was spent back at Shek O beach with the Watermans & my family

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Eccentric toddlers in tow… Eliza naked but for a pink tutu. Archie who in his excitement to be there managed to widdle all over my towel and beach mat! With all that sand and sea, god knows why he had to have an accident there…

Pad Thai takeaway from the beach shack cafe… Sophie cocked her nose up at the salad and got stuck into the noodles (we only had chopsticks on hand to feed her with!)

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She chucked a couple of large handfuls of sand into the noodles, gave it an interesting crunch…
Little red knees from crawling & a nappy full of sand she was having a ball.

Suddenly the beach got busy with kite flyers, the Hong Kong Kite Association on hand to help our kids make kites then teach them how to fly them – brilliant!

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Locals in love with the blonde children dragged them around the beach on their boogie boards… Love a bit of free babysitting…

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Found a house to rent in the village overlooking the beach… Know where I want to be for my next staycation!

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Coffee shop next door!

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Sophie stealing her big brothers drink… Not sure she really knows what to do with a straw…

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Farewell to the other Wawn’s… naked swimming just won’t be the same!

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Wawn's in Victoria Harbour

Really sorry to see you go, but even Ed thinks a serious detox is now needed

I also probably need a detox from mass marzipan consumption over Christmas… thanks to my Mother in law, in law, for feeding my marzipan addiction…

What a blast, I can’t quite believe how much we packed into two weeks…

Amelie & Archie, looking angelic here, but make no mistake we realised they are both as bonkers as each other, running round in a circle together squealing for 20mins, a favourite past-time of theirs.

Not a favourite past-time of the adults, our small HK flat had a habit of reducing in size whenever they chose to do that.  At least they had plenty of fun together.

Mini Wawn's Victoria Harbour   Sophie & Amelie Tsim Sha Tsui

Hong Kong showed its best side and naked swimming (well kids at least) on Shek O beach on the 29th Dec. was definitely a highlight…

Shek O Beach at Christmas  Shek O Beach

A real find… Shek O, reminiscent of a Thai/Indonesian beach, complete with laid back beach cafes (Thai & Cantonese BBQ) set on the sand in the shade of the trees. Even the beachside shack shops sold everything you could need for an impromptu swim. For only 80HKD (£6) I brought a towel, two pairs swim shorts and a bathing costume for Amelie, complete with ra ra skirt and diamante!

Whenever the weather is hot and we have a few hours to spare, I have a feeling we will be packing up the car and heading over to Southside Hong Kong Island…

Double whammy the discovery of Stanley’s pretty hidden beach right next to the hustle and bustle of the market, once again Amelie had a great excuse to get her kit off and skinny dip…

Stanley Beach at Christmas

Aqualuna

Sailing on a pirate ship… or so Archie imagined
Boxing Day Eve we took a trip on the Aqualuna the beautiful red sail Junk at 8pm to get the best view of the Victoria Harbour lightshow

Not sure the young romantics snuggled up under their blankets with a glass of wine were too impressed when we came on board with three tired children in tow. Luckily the sway of the boat sent them to sleep!

Getting them off he boat was a different matter, why is it that sleeping children can weigh triple their awake weight?  add that to the serious sway of the boat and and the lack of a gang plank… all the fun of the fair!

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Earlier that day a friend had passed on some kids hand me downs, feeling sorry for shivering children I checked what was in the bag… fleeces all round and even a woolly crochet hat (something I never thought we would use in HK) for Sophie, what a star!

Sevva Rooftop Bar   Happy Feet Mongkok   Thai Sai Kung

Sevva Rooftop Bar                                                                     Happy Feet Mongkok (even Archie had a go at having his feet massaged)         Fun on a tuk tuk (in Sai Kung?)

So, after many great nights & days out, exploring HK together we say farewell.

Not much time to feel lonely though as my parents have just flown in 🙂

New Years and that spinning feeling at The Ritz Hong Kong…

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The four Wawn’s and friends celebrated in some serious style this year.  Well you get to a certain age and the thought of tramping the streets and fighting for cabs on NY Eve is exhausting.

After a few NY eve with newborn children in tow enjoying parties with friends in London, we thought we would get tarted up &  see what five star HK had to offer.

With the highest bar in the world on the 118th floor with stunning views of Victoria Harbour at Ozone and food to die for on the 108th floor, the Ritz Carlton, Kowloon was the number one choice.

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The spinning feeling of the Wawn men suffering from vertigo was short lived, they were too busy being gobsmacked by the view from our squishy velvet sofa dining area.

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Once we had eaten our own bodyweight in scrumptious food, washed down with a vat of champagne we headed up to Ozone to join the 2013 Snow party where we stayed till the wee hours.

Twelve whirlwind days of Christmas…

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Christmas is upon us… Happy Hong Kong Christmas everyone…
A huge Christmas hug from the Wawn’s, missing you X

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We enjoyed a whirlwind run up to the big day, K1 Christmas Party, good friends wedding in Sai Kung (the most fun Chinese/Indian/Western wedding, more on that to follow) paid for it though for three days afterwards, partying till 4 in Lan Kwai Fong… Yuk yuk

K1 & The Crèche performing the Wriggly Nativity, so impressed I watched all four performances…

Archie the cow had learnt 7 new songs, incredible & Sophie the adorable Donkey

Wriggly nativity Wriggly Donkeys

 

 

 

 

A quick chill out trip to Thailand the week before the family arrive in Hong Kong, The Westin Siray Bay seriously heavenly, we will be back!

Westin Siray Sophie Thailand

 

The ‘other’ Wawn’s arrive in Hong Kong for a family Christmas

Hong Kong Park

After tons of fun together, riding the Star Ferry across the harbour, the funicular up The Peak, dodgy noodle shops, Hong Kong Park (in the sun) glitzy malls & not so glitzy malls in Tuen Mun.

The stroke of genius was the decision to do Disneyland on Christmas Eve, without the bus loads of Chinese, we had a front row seat for the parade and managed to see the fireworks and lights, truly magical… And then it started snowing, fake Disneyland snow of course

Disney Christmas Eve

And so after all that here we are at Christmas Day

Drinking Bucks Fizz, eating sushi, watching The Snowman and waiting for our PekingDuck lunch to arrive x

 

 

 

Smart and alluring in Lan Kwai Fong…

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Is how the crowd that frequent Lily+Bloom are described…

After a day of kids Christmas party, dash to Christmas St. in Kowloon(manic on a Saturday) to buy tree and then two hours erecting tree, I am not sure how alluring and  smart we were feeling when we left home.  Nothing that first drink and the fab company couldn’t put right…

Lily and Bloom LAN Kwai Fong

A beautiful venue.  It seems their usual clientele can attribute their stunning willowy ness to the food served though, most of us had Iberico Ham & Manchego to start, I was so busy yakking, not too bothered, I assumed they had forgotten to put any Manchego on my plate.  Found it at the end 5 little finger sized cubes hidden under a couple of rocket leaves… So bad, I couldn’t stop giggling when I found it…

Lily and bloom

We were having fun and the mains were great, so who cares that the dessert was shameful, just made us giggle all the more.

Lily and bloom

Whenever we eat out with Sonia and Nic we always seem to be seated under a really impressive chandelier. This one had shades of Phantom looked like it might crash down at any second!

Finished the Christmas tree this morning with a thick head… Even the kids get a tree this year courtesy of Christmas St.   imagine they were destined for Europe but probably got nudged off the back of a Chinese lorry, yippee!

Christmas treeKids fibre optic tree

What to do in a tropical depression…

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With boating, walking on the peak & general sightseeing plans gone to pot due to rainy Hong Kong, mum and I had to get creative…

A tradition here is the long lazy Sunday Brunch… All you can eat buffet with free flowing champagne. Nothing like your Leicester Square all-you-can-eat for £5. Oh no, this is Hong Kong after all, 5 star all the way.
Oysters, lobsters, prawns, dim sum, foie gras, Sirloin on the bone, racks of lamb, Peking Ducks, french cheeses, tapas, medallions of beef, mini desserts, chocolate fountains and much much more. £30-40 per head for 5hrs of eating. Best enjoyed with a group of friends…

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Sophie pretty much tried everything mum brought back from the buffet. She especially enjoyed chewing on a crab leg to sooth her teething gums!

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The Gold Coast Hotel Band cheesily cover 70’s and 80’s classics with a bit of Gangnam Style thrown in for the young ones!
They wear the most gravity defying heels which means they can only shimmy to the music (which the men in our group loved!)

Probably the most relaxed way to spend a Sunday, the kids serve and feed themselves (although had to drag Archie back when I found him emptying the mini Haagen Dazs ice cream fridge and trying to carry the contents back to his mate) The music is so loud the kids can be as noisy as they like, they were kept busy dancing and painting their own canvas.

We also took Archie ice skating (he desperate to join the 3year old Ice Hockey team) and came across some spectacular Christmas displays in Elements Mall complete with a Japanese Alice…

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Spent my birthday at The Conrad Christmas Fair, with Tapas and Prosecco and Peking Duck for dinner with girlfriends, Ed busy working although he made time to head to Kowloon and find me a lovely present in Shanghai Tang.

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And finally a trip to Shenzhen in China for the day… A Mecca for shopping at rock bottom prices.
Mulberry Christmas presents all round.
A lace Prada jacket, Bottega Veneta shoes, Tom Ford sunglasses… Even Ed had a ball buying watches and having shirts made… Friends were amazing introducing us to the best shops. Can’t wait to visit again.

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A tropical depression…

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The week we brought the car one of the windscreen wipers fell off, in such lovely weather we stashed it in the car and didn’t think anymore about it.

Last week I thought I had better get a new one. Mum arriving the next day thought the car looked a bit shabby with one windscreen wiper and a stump.

The next day I drove to the airport in a rainstorm… phew! unfortunately it hasn’t stopped raining since and looks like its going to be the same into next week.

Its actually cold, had to dig out jumpers and the air-con has gone on heat a couple of times. I don’t mind but its really messed up mum’s trip. All our fun plans gone to pot.

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Oh well, doing quick trips out then making our own fun at home… apparently this a freak one off, hopefully when they back again in Jan they will see normal Hong Kong weather (the kind where you need to stand in the freezer section of the supermarket to feel cool!)