Candid Hong Kong – a Thai dragon in Kowloon City

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 saw this amazing dragon creation outside a Thai restaurant in Kowloon City, which is a very Thai area and therefore a great place to get Thai food! (It also is home to the Kowloon Walled City Park, one of my favourite places in Hong Kong) It is so detailed, and made almost entirely from leaves and different types of food. There is clearly a very talented craftsman in residence here!

160712 Candid Hong Kong green dragon

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Taipa Village, Macau

Over Chinese New Year, for only the second time ever, Tom and I took a day trip to Macau. Last time we did the main sights but this time we headed to Taipa, on the south part of Macau.

According to Wikipedia, Taipa was once a much smaller island of its own but the land between Taipa and the adjacent Colaine island was filled in with an area now called Cotai. Cotai is well known for its massive casinos, but Taipa is very different indeed!

There are regular ferries to Taipa from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal in Sheung Wan and the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, run by Cotai Water Jet. Turbojet also runs a few services to Taipa from the Hong Kong Macau Ferry Terminal.

Since we didn’t really know where we were going when we got there, we took a taxi from the Taipa ferry terminal to near the restaurant where we were meeting friends for lunch. Our taxi dropped us off at the end of Rua do Regador, and we were a little early so we were able to wander around the nearby streets a bit before lunch. Taipa village is a lovely mix of Chinese and Portuguese influences, with narrow streets and pretty architecture. I wish I had taken more photos of this area since it was a very nice place to walk around! I did snap one of this square though, with its large Chinese New Year (I assume) centrepiece.

Taipa village square Macau

Our lunch was at nearby Portug√°lia, which I’d recommend. The food was lovely and so was the setting.

Portugalia restaurant Macau

After lunch, our large group slowly wandered up the Avenida de Carlos da Maia, past Our Lady of Carmel Church…

Our Lady of Carmel Church Taipa Macau

…and Carmel Garden.

Carmel Garden Taipa Macau

After the children played for a while on the exercise equipment there (which is really designed for the elderly!), we headed down to the Estrada de Cacilhas. These lovely restored green buildings house the Taipa Houses Museum. Alas, we have small children who aren’t very interested in museums so we didn’t go inside, so I can’t tell you what the museum is like!

Taipa Houses Museum Macau

Across the lagoon is a grand view of casinos. Slightly different from Taipa village!

Cotai Strip Macau

These decorations were also part of the Chinese New Year celebrations…

Chinese New Year decorations Cotai Macau

…sadly these trees were fake!

Fake CNY blossom Macau

If you’re heading to Macau but looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of the main sights and the high rise casinos then you might want to head over to Taipa village. It’s small but I think it’s a lovely way to pass an hour or two.

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Candid Hong Kong – random street appliances

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.

In an underpass near where I live I quite often see this sight: a medium size pile of appliances from around the home which look like they are at the end of their life. Sometimes there are microwaves, hifi systems, fans, fridges, old TVs… and the list goes on. And then they disappear but soon are replaced by more. Where do they come from? Where do they go? And why are they left there?! I have no idea!

160705 Candid Hong Kong street appliances


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Hand lettered triangle stamped birthday card

So it would seem that I’ve been making a lot of cards recently! I’ve recently published a layered name card, this washi tape bunting card and a whole bunch of different designs with masked letters (here, here and here). And I’ve got one more design for you after this one!

This time I was making a birthday card for my brother so I needed something not too feminine, and as usual I didn’t have much time to make it! And this is what I produced:

easy and simple modern birthday card tutorial

I think this was the quickest card I’ve made recently (maybe apart from the washi tape bunting one). I thought I’d try my hand at a bit of hand lettering, and it came together really quickly. Hand lettering is something that I’d really like to get more into – I think it makes a big difference on cards especially. I’ve dabbled a bit with calligraphy in the past (such as with these Christmas cards, and this family tree) but I’d definitely like to take it further in future.

Anyway, I had a vague idea that I wanted the hand lettering to be made of quite round serif letters with thick sides and thin lines elsewhere, and after a couple of practice runs I just sized it to fit onto the card, drew some guidelines and drew the letters in pencil. I made the middle of the letters 10mm high, and the ascenders and descenders were 8mm high, which fitted really well on this DL card blank. Then I went over the outlines with a gold pen and filled in the thick sides with squiggles. I think I may have left too much space between the letters but overall I’m quite pleased with it.

triangle stamped DIY card

To make the triangles, I cut a triangle shape into the end of a pencil eraser and randomly stamped the triangles above and below the text using ink pads. These two colours are the only two colour ink pads that I have but I think they work well together!

pencil eraser triangle stamp

I think the card has quite a modern look and it came out better than I was expecting!

hand lettered birthday card

Have you tried hand lettering? What’s your favourite style? Please share your designs below, I’d love to see them!

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Candid Hong Kong – Victoria Harbour sunset

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 do love riding the Star Ferry – it’s a very quiet, peaceful place in the busy-ness of Hong Kong. And one evening about a year ago I was treated to this beautiful sunset as I looked out west to the end of Victoria Harbour and the islands beyond. Bliss!

160628 Candid Hong Kong Victoria Harbour sunset

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Hong Kong Heritage Museum Children’s Gallery

In search of something to do on a playdate with our kids, a friend of mine suggested the Heritage Museum in Sha Tin. I’d not been before so we agreed to go and we all had a really nice morning there!

Firstly, it’s very cheap, only HK$10 (approx. ¬£0.80) for adults and free for under 4’s so that’s always a good start (and like all museums in Hong Kong, it’s free on a Wednesday but we went on a different day). Sadly, my friend drove us so I can’t tell you how to get there! But this page on the museum’s website looks like it will do that for me :)

I have to admit that we didn’t see most of the museum, we just headed to the Children’s Gallery on the ground floor and stayed there for the morning. It’s not a huge area but they have packed a lot in and if you have older children (mine are only 2 years old!) then they could genuinely learn a lot. But even at the age of 2, my twins enjoyed looking at all the different exhibits, playing with the more hands-on ones and generally running around. It was really quiet too and we were the only people in there for most of the time we were there.

A large part of the main room was devoted to learning about local wildlife and habitats.

Hong Kong Heritage Museum Childrens Gallery

The twins enjoyed being able to look inside the fish tank!


And this exhibit which involved posting plastic coins through slots and watching them roll down was a really big hit. But I can’t remember what the point was!


Behind the main room was a toy museum with lots of toys from previous decades on display.

Hong Kong Heritage Museum Toy Museum

There was a large game on the floor to play with (checkers?) where our children enjoyed collecting up the pieces to make towers! There were also some educational electronic games to play with which my kids enjoyed pressing the buttons on.


And that all kept us busy for a couple of hours! So, if you’re looking for a nice indoor activity for you and your kids (great for the hot summer!) then why not pass a morning at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum Children’s Gallery? You never know, you might learn something too!

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Candid Hong Kong – unearthed cannon

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.

Near to where I live in Hung Hom is a very large estate called Whampoa Gardens, which was built on a shipyard run by the Hongkong and Whampoa Dock Company Limited. Most visitors to this area are immediately struck by the massive fake ship in the middle of the estate (the bow of which can be seen in the photo below) which was built in recognition of the area’s past. The boat houses some restaurants and part of the Aeon department store so it’s not really very boat-y at all!

But just to the side of the boat is something else, something that I didn’t notice until I had lived in Hung Hom for a while – a cannon!

160621 Candid Hong Kong Whampoa cannon

I’ve taken a photo (below) of the plaque next to the cannon which explains that the cannon was unearthed during the construction of the Whampoa Gardens estate and is thought to be from an old warship. Things in Hong Kong don’t stay the same for long, so this was a nice acknowledgement of a piece of its history.

160621 Candid Hong Kong Whampoa cannon inscription

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