Little Koo blog posts now on GPSMyCity!

I am very excited to announce that some of my Hong Kong and travel articles will soon be available through the GPSMyCity app!

GPSMyCity is a new type of travel app which really takes into account the needs of travellers. For a start, it has a massive free catalogue of high quality travel articles written by a great team of bloggers, covering over 700 cities worldwide. The articles are easy to search and download, making them invaluable for planning your travel.

However, there is another benefit of this app, because it takes into account the fact that once you are on your travels you may not have ready access to data on your phone (without racking up a massive phone bill). For a small fee you can upgrade your favourite travel article to become a GPS-guided article. This means that the place (or places) listed in the article are downloaded to an offline map, and you are guided there using your phone’s GPS, which doesn’t use data. No more getting lost!

There are two ways to access article apps on your IOS device. You can either click on the link at the end of a blog post that has been turned into an app (if you haven’t already downloaded the free GPSMyCity app you will be prompted to do so). Or, once you have the GPSMyCity app, you can browse by city to see what articles are available. You can then download the article for free or upgrade for offline use and GPS tracking.

And as a little incentive to check out the app, my following two articles will be available for free upgrades through GPSMyCity for one week (until Sunday 20th November 2016):

Eating Chinese Food in Hong Kong

multi coloured xiao long bao at paradise dynasty


A Weekend in Guangzhou

Guangzhou Opera House

To get your free upgraded app you need to click on the link for the article(s) you are interested in. Then follow the instructions to download the GPSMyCity app. You will then be taken to the page for the article app – click on Upgrade and the app will be automatically linked to an offline map and the GPS navigator.

Please also check out my other articles currently available on GPSMyCity!

Places to Visit – Chiang Mai

Xi’an – More than just the Terracotta Warriors

Places to Visit – Hoi An, Vietnam

Note: when you pay to upgrade one of my articles I will receive a small commission

Thanks for reading!



Correct spelling in Hong Kong

I’ve mentioned several times on this blog how good the level of English is in Hong Kong (although I did point out a few of the idiosyncrasies that I saw here), but on my travels around Hong Kong I’ve noticed a few times where the English has been not-so-good, but then corrected! I like to think that those Hong Kongers who do have excellent English may enjoy pointing out mistakes where they see them :)

This first example was on a sign next to some roadworks. The pedestrian crossing had temporary lights on, so the sign is telling pedestrians to take note of where to cross. I had a little chuckle the first time I saw the sign because the English wasn’t right, but clearly someone was on the case and the next time I saw it, this had happened:


Another example is on a restaurant sign in Jordan. I have to admit that it looks like I’ve photoshopped this picture, but it is a genuine photo – someone has stuck the A and the T onto the sign to correct it. Clearly someone didn’t use spellchecker when making the original sign…


I’m sure the Hong Kong English language police are keeping their beady eyes open for any other signs they can correct!

Thanks for reading!


Candid Hong Kong – tropical towers

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

I feel like this photo sums up Hong Kong quite well – tropical palm leaves set against towering residential buildings. This photo was taken at the pool at Caribbean Coast, a massive estate in Tung Chung on Lantau Island. The towers are so tall there, and they were the first thing I saw of Hong Kong when I stepped off the plane at Chek Lap Kok airport the first time I came to visit in 2012! Quite a first impression!

160913 Candid Hong Kong tropical towers

Thanks for reading!


Jumping around with toddlers at Ryze trampoline park

I know I’m very slow to jump on the trampoline park bandwagon (see what I did there?!) but earlier this year I took my toddlers to Ryze trampoline park in Quarry Bay and we had such a great time! Ryze have an under 6’s session between 9am and 10am on weekdays, and my friend took her daughter and said they were the only ones in there so we went along and the same thing happened to us both times we went! It’s great having a trampoline park all to yourselves :)

For those who don’t know, the trampoline park is basically a large room with lots of trampolines in like this:

Ryze trampoline park Hong Kong

And there are also areas with lots of foam blocks in that you can jump/fall into:

Ryze trampoline park Quarry Bay

My twins were two and a half when we went, and they mostly liked to jump around to the loud Disney music that was playing!

Ryze with toddlers



(Excuse the blurry photos, those children jump fast!)

They were unsurprisingly pretty tired afterwards, and so was I! I can’t lie, I had so much fun jumping around myself too. I can see why trampoline parks are so popular!

Have you been? What did you think? I would totally recommend it, especially if you have small children and can get there for the under 6s session.

Thanks for reading!


Candid Hong Kong – Kowloon Cultural District

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

I have some friends who live in Harbourside, a development right next to ICC, so naturally they have amazing views of Victoria Harbour from their apartments! However, I took the photo below looking down from the clubhouse, rather than across the harbour. When I first moved to Hong Kong, this area was wasteland. It had been reclaimed and a massive sign along one side of it proclaimed it to be the Kowloon Cultural District, but there was no sign of culture, other than the festivals that used the space every now and again!

However, in the last year or so, it has turned into a massive building site and is no longer used as an event space (many of the events have moved across the harbour to the similarly defunct area by ICC). From what I can gather, it will be some time before the West Kowloon Cultural District is completed, mainly due to the cost of developing it having risen so much since it was first conceived. But work is well underway on M+, a “museum for visual culture, focusing on 20th and 21st century art” (which forms the bulk of the construction site in the photo below) and Xiqu Chinese opera theatre (which my husband worked on!) which will be the first building to be completed on the site in 2018.

And I think some of the construction mess is an overflow of the nearby West Kowloon terminus for the high speed rail link to China. I’m sure the area will be nice when it’s finished but there’s a long way to go yet!

160906 Candid Hong Kong Kowloon Cultural District

Thanks for reading!


Ma On Shan Promenade

If you’re looking for an easy, flat (and stroller friendly) walk to pass an afternoon, then Ma On Shan promenade may well fit the bill. I’ve done this walk a couple of times with my kids and the views are lovely. However, it is very exposed so I’d recommend avoiding this walk in the height of summer!

The Ma On Shan promenade stretches from Tai Shui Hang all the way up to Ma On Shan itself. We’ve only done the walk this way round because it then finishes at a park and by a lot of restaurants but you could do it the other way too! To start at Tai Shui Hang, take the MTR to Tai Shui Hang station and leave at exit A (I think, Google Maps isn’t very clear!). Turn right out of the subway, take the first left down Hi Tai Street, then walk one block and cross Ning Tai Road to reach the start of the promenade. It should look something like this:

Ma On Shan promenade at Tai Shui Hang

Looking across the water you are greeted with this view down the river estuary towards Sha Tin:

Sha Tin from Tai Shui Hang

(apologies for the gloomy pictures, it obviously wasn’t a sunny day!)

Turn right and start walking! Along the way you come to a little playground, which kept my children amused for quite some time…

Ma On Shan promenade playground

…and about halfway along there is also a handy set of public toilets.

The view changes as you walk along. As you near the end of the estuary, you are greeted with views across the Tolo harbour to Tai Po…

Tolo Harbour and Tai Po

…and then as you round the corner towards the end of your walk you are facing the Seven Sisters and at the end of them the dam across Plover Cove reservoir (which can just about be seen behind the sailing boat).

Plover Cove reservoir dam

The promenade itself doesn’t change much:

Ma On Shan promenade

Keep going until you come to a large park, which is Ma On Shan Park. If your children have the energy by this point, there are lots of things for them to do in this park. Or you might want to just sit and enjoy it for a bit!

Cross through the park and take the nearby bridge across On Chun Street to reach a shopping mall where you can grab some food or just head home from Ma On Shan MTR.

If you like the idea of a promenade walk but Ma On Shan is too far to go, then I can also recommend the promenade along the waterfront from Tai Koo to Sai Wan Ho on Hong Kong Island. There are a couple of nice stops along the way, such as Quarry Bay Park and Fireboat Alexander Grantham, and you can finish your walk at one of the restaurants in Soho East!

I hope these have given you some ideas for easy short trips!

Thanks for reading!




Candid Hong Kong – transformative street art

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

Hong Kong isn’t known for its street art (although there are some examples around Sheung Wan) so I was very surprised to see this on a building down a back street in Hung Hom. It is on the side of a green minibus mechanic’s shop. A green minibus like you’ve never seen it before!

160830 Candid Hong Kong street art

Thanks for reading!


Candid Hong Kong – not so appetising seafood

Every fortnight week I share a photo that shows a little insight into Hong Kong life. Sometimes they are things that made me smile, classic Hong Kong sights or just really unusual things.

Tom mentioned in his recent blog post about Chinese food that seafood that seems to us Brits to be a bit weird features quite highly in high end Cantonese restaurants, and many less high end ones too! Things like abalone do not appeal to me at all, but the ones pictured below have to be among the least appetising things I’ve ever seen. They are called geoduck, and I’d never even heard of it before we came to Hong Kong but it’s available everywhere here. These ones are in a fish market waiting to be sold but you can also see them in some restaurants’ seafood displays (like this one here). I never tried it and I hope I never do!

160809 Candid Hong Kong geoduck

Thanks for reading!


Patterned paper banner birthday card

I’ve seen a few cards online which showcase a single piece of patterned paper (such as here and here), and if you’ve been following this blog, you’ll realise that I’ve recently built up a little stash of pretty paper and am just itching to find ways to use it! I recently made good use of some on these paper covered pencil pots, and now I want to use some more on a card!

I liked the idea of having a simple sentiment on top of the patterned paper, but rather than just writing in a square, I decided to use a banner going across the card. And this is the result!

DIY happy birthday banner card

I have to admit that the banner is not my idea, nor my design. I got it from The Postman’s Knock, one of my favourite blogs. Lindsey is a very talented calligrapher and letterer and has loads of very inspiring tutorials for cards and illustrations, alongside calligraphy tutorials and tips. In this tutorial, she goes through in detail how to draw a banner, so I just followed her tutorial to draw my own banner.

After a couple of practice goes, this was what I came up with:

Happy birthday hand drawn banner sketch

I wasn’t confident that I could write a nice calligraphy phrase on my banner (like Lindsey did), so I chose to write some simple tall thin letters instead. To make it a little more interesting, I thickened the verticals.

As you can see in the picture above, I drew it in pencil and then went over it with a pen. This was so that the lines would be clearly defined, which is important because I then traced it onto coloured paper in black pen. I used a light box, but you could hold the paper up to a window instead, so that you can see the writing on the paper behind.

Once the banner was complete I cut a border around it in the same way that Lindsey did because I liked the effect.

Then I simply mounted my patterned paper onto another piece of coloured paper and mounted that onto my card blank, and then glued the banner across the front. Simple but effective!

Tutorial hand drawn banner card

Patterned paper birthday card

Do you like this style? Have you made any cards with patterned paper yourself? I’d love to hear more ideas on how to use it!

Thanks for reading!