Designing with Kids

Designing with kids. Not to be confused with designing FOR kids. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love designing kids’ rooms and some of my first posts on this blog were design boards for nurseries (boys, girls and gender neutral … Continue reading

Boho Chinoiserie Chic in HK

Sometimes, just for fun, I design rooms for imaginary clients.  I LOVE imaginary clients – they are just the best to work with!  They have whatever budget I want them to have, inevitably agree with what I think is best … Continue reading

Likea IKEA

I like IKEA.  Here in Hong Kong, I reeeeeaaaally like IKEA.  Hong Kong has some ridiculously overpriced homewares.  IKEA though, is consistent with its quality, design and realistic prices. It is pretty much universally known. My clients are nearly always on … Continue reading

Razzle Dazzle Basil

* For my American readers, please note that Australians pronounce basil the way you say the name Basil, so the title above actually rhymes when you say it in Australian!

I recently decided to try and see if I could start growing a few herbs at home. We could use some real greenery in the house, both for the visual impact and the air cleaning qualities of plants. I thought I would start small with a single basil plant. That way I could tell if my two year old would allow the plant to live. I bought a plant at the markets two weeks ago and tried it in the lounge room on top of a bookcase but it didn’t get enough light unfortunately, and started to look pretty darn sorry for itself. The only other place I could think of that it would get oodles of light, is our bedroom. Although it is not your traditional bedside table kind of plant, Herb (I named him Herb) is doing quite nicely in his new spot!

I am really liking how his verticality and greenness works so well in the vignette I have for the bedside table. Here is how Herb looks:

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Humble Herb is clearly thriving in his newly elevated position as a bedside table plant! Bonus points to Herb for being useful for cooking too 🙂

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If I get brave, I may try to get a rosemary plant and maybe one other nice smelling herb (lemongrass perhaps?) to put on the window ledge. The key is to find nice pots to put them in 🙂

You all have to wait to see the rest of the master bedroom. In a few months we will hopefully have gotten the two pieces of furniture we need to complete the room. We (or I guess I should say ‘I’) really want to replace the black wrought iron bed. I am going to get the IKEA Duken bed to replace it I think:

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It has a removable fabric cover in light grey. I may keep the light grey and drape a throw over the headboard, but one of the main reasons I like this bed is that I can get a new slipcover made for the headboard. I am very tempted by a navy blue velvet one at this stage, but let’s see how I feel in a few months, eh? Since I can probably get the new cover made for about USD30 (including fabric!) at Shenzhen, I might just get two different ones. So I can switch it up as the mood strikes me! Maybe one neutral and one coloured? Or one classic solid colour and one detailed with pattern and texture? So many choices!!

In case anyone is wondering, the bedside table is IKEA’s Sveio chest. I got it second hand for HK$100 (about USD15). I love it’s mid-century modern/Scandi clean lines and we all know I love a good bargain!

Getting Along in Hong Kong: Three Months

Hello heat!  The warm weather has hit HK.  Like a red hot poker iron on the arse.  Or like a big steaming hot soup that you are trying to live in.  I am not one of those graceful “glistening” women in the heat.  What is that old saying? “Horses sweat, men perspire and women glisten”? Well, I must be a horse.  Most days are about 90% humidity at the moment and it’s killing me.  I don’t think I am alone though. Even people who have been here for years are saying it is an unusually wet May this year. Today, for instance, it is 33 deg C and 90% humidity.  I shudder to think what July and August will be like!  I also have no idea how anyone lives in Singapore, where the weather is like this nearly the entire year!  

So how am I finding things a few months in?  There is no single word that springs to mind, to be honest.  Some things I am really getting used to and finding my feet with (the grocery shopping for instance, and even venturing out to a wet market) and others are still a mystery to me (like the number 4 bus that supposedly goes into town from Will’s preschool but every time I try to catch it they don’t stop…..). Some good things that have happened over the past month:

– visiting the Science Museum with the kids.  Will, in particular LOVES it.  We now have an annual family membership. The whole place is hands on, science-learning fun!  

– Will started preschool!  After a rocky start with a bit of separation anxiety, he is now loving it and his new teacher, Ms. Preeti (pronounced ‘pretty’, which I think is very sweet for a preschool teacher!) 

– I had a job interview. A bit nerve wracking to have a job interview for the first time in about 6 years. Very happy to get one though!  I have just started to look for a job so I actually got this interview despite not having any contacts at all.  We shall see what comes of it, but regardless, it has been very helpful to dip my toes into the job market pool! 

– Will has decided he loves the movie, The Sound of Music.  This is one of my favourite childhood movies (along with the original Star Wars trilogy, Indiana Jones trilogy, etc. The usual ones for kids from the 80’s….) For once, the kids are watching a movie that I don’t mind seeing 50 times! 

– I have had a number of social engagements this past month.  It’s been nice 🙂  No best friends yet, but some lovely people and it makes a real difference to have some social interaction. Did you know FB has “secret” groups?  They are groups that you can only see if you are a member of them.  Luckily, one of the ladies who lives in our apartment complex added me to a couple of the secret mummy FB groups here so can hopefully find out when some social things are happening. One interesting experience that has been the result of having social engagements, has been spending time away from the boys.  I have been out more in the past three months than the three years preceding our move to HK.  The kids are currently taking turns in melting down when I leave.  I choose to look at it as a positive thing – at least they aren’t BOTH crying when I leave! And it is healthy for them to learn to be without Mummy all the time.  A necessary lesson, as hard as it is for them. Doesn’t make it any more pleasant for all of us though.  

– I finally got around to framing some of the photographs we got done in May/June last year.  I won a photography session plus about a dozen hard copy photographs from Paper Tree Photography last year.  Originally I was going to do a full gallery wall of them, but I no longer have the wall space to hang them all so I chose a few of my favourites and have framed them. Just good ol’ IKEA frames.  With the prospect of more removals in our future, I don’t want to invest real money into frames – they always seem to get damaged.  I chose a trusty Ribba frame for the two that will go in our master bedroom and tried something a little different for the one I had at the desk in the lounge room. I went with a gloss black frame and black matting. And I am LOVING it!  Here it is:

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Apologies for the reflection on it! I have tried to edit it a bit to make it less distracting. It works really well with the tv gallery wall that it sits next to as well.  You remember this one, right?

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Well that picture at the desk looks much more proportional now, and doesn’t disappear on the wall. It’s a small thing, I know, but I think it looks much better:

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And now some of the lowlights from the past month or so:

– Mosquitos and black flies/midges!  OH MY GOD. The mossies are not too bad here – you can usually avoid them I find- but these little midges seem to be everywhere and they are stealth bugs.  You can’t see them and you don’t feel them bite you, you just suddenly get an itch and then it gets more and more itchy.  I am one of those people who mosquitos love to bite so I am quite used to resisting scratching mosquito bites. But these things are monsters.  They last for 2-3 weeks and for some reason, my skin after just a few little itches, it scratches off the skin and ends up as an awful sore.  And worse yet, Will gets it just as bad, if not worse, than me.  Poor little guy.  He had one so bad the other day it had a huge blister on it and when he was asleep I had to go pop it to let all the fluid out and then disinfect it.  He is such a heavy sleeper he didn’t move a muscle the entire time. I hadn’t heard anything about these things before we got here but I tell ya, I certainly have now!  My legs are covered in bites but I have no idea where I get them. I am pretty bloody unimpressed.  It makes me uncomfortable and cranky. 

– I am learning that HK seems to love rules.  Whether or not they are necessary or even helpful.  They seem to like to take something simple and make it convoluted and complicated. The language barrier doesn’t help in these sorts of situations either.  So for instance, the other day I wanted to (finally) get myself the special card at the grocery store so you can accrue points for gift vouchers.  I get asked every single time if I have one.  So I get myself the paper application (can’t do it online) and dutifully fill it all in.  And it was quite involved, I gotta tell ya.  Not just contact details but all sorts of stuff about what you like to buy, etc.  I get to the end of the form and look for where I need to hand this in or mail it in to.  hmmmm… nothing there.  So I ask at the grocery store. I have to ask a few times to get a cashier who knows what I am asking. Then she hands me a piece of paper with a telephone number and says I need to call that number to get the card!  WHAT THE?! Why the heck did I fill in the twenty question application form if I am just going to make a phone call to get a card?! See? Pointless and unnecessarily complicated! And so Hong Kong! It’s like the whole city is one giant phone/internet company.  (Does anyone else find that no matter what country you are in, phone/internet companies have complicated something that should really be quite simple?!)

 

On the whole though, things are going pretty well and we are adjusting well. I think.