Hi loves! -dusts cobwebs off my blog-
I can’t believe I’ve been so tardy that its over a month since my last post! Truth is, I simply don’t have the time now, juggling The Little Bow Company, my various Instagram accounts, giving tuition and of course, being a full-time SAHM. Sophie-doll’s needs – be it nutrition, attention or educational, have been demanding much more time and effort from me and I’m trying to strike a new balance all over again.
Motherhood – never allowing you to rest on your laurels! >.<
But right now, in Hong Kong, curled up in front of the most amazing view at my parents place, with Sophie-doll asleep at 7:30 pm (the earliest, ever!) I finally have a spare hour to blog! And I’m not even going to bother to tackle my backlog because just thinking of it gives me a headache. Instead, if you don’t mind, I’d love to share about the past week we’ve been in Hong Kong with my family as well as some tips and recommendations on where to shop/play/eat. I’m no HK guru because we mainly stay within Hong Kong Island and don’t budge (Kowloon is terribly non-child-friendly). But here goes nothing!
We’d decided to spend two weeks with my family in HK because I felt Sophie-doll and I could do with a break (actually, I felt K could do with a short break from us, he’s been so hands-on with the daddy duties especially during my Europe trip). Also, it was perfect timing with my sister being there en-route back to London and the haze being terrible in Singapore – talk about cabin fever, Sophie and I were so uncomfortable and cranky stuck at home all day!
I had my reservations – it meant that I had to attempt my first solo flight with Sophie-doll!
This is me around 6 am just before leaving for the departure gates. I will admit that I nearly dropped my bags and ran back home – nearly four hours up in the air ALONE with an active toddler was not a prospect I cherished or anticipated. Unfortunately for me, my husband had complete faith in my abilities to pull this off so I had no choice but to lug my stuff and get going. >.<
I decided to skip the stroller because I couldn’t handle two check-in suitcases, a stroller, Sophie’s Trunki, her diaper bag and my Tula at HKG airport, even if it was for a short distance.
Just to share – in that photo, I was carrying about 4 kg (Trunki and toys), 10.5 kg on my front (Sophie in the Tula) and another 4 kg stuffed-to-the-brim diaper bag on my back.
However, I think I already had it pretty good. The Tula helped make carrying and containing Sophie so much easier, the Trunki allowed me to drag her heavy toys along with relative ease, and my Perky Toki Jujube BFF diaper bag helped me access all the stuff I needed easily with their great compartments. The backpack style of the JJB also meant that my arms didn’t ache as much.
Sports shoes for the both of us, to keep warm on the plane and also for comfort. We were also in matching gray tunics and leggings! Our recipe for comfortable travelling after so many trips are tunics and leggings in dark colors. Dark so those (inevitable) stains won’t show up as much and smooth, comfortable bamboo or pure cotton fabrics so you won’t get linty or uncomfortable during a long haul flight.
Luckily for me, Sophie-doll was a beaut most of the time. Perhaps it was because she wanted to give her poor Mama a break or that she knew there was no point throwing tantrums because I was the only one there (and I was not going to tolerate her screaming). She seemed very happy sitting on my lap doing various activities. Here’s what I packed into our Trunki Survival Kit (tips and activities thanks to all my lovely Mama friends and their suggestions).
- ELC Magnetic Drawing Board (she could erase it again and again without getting less excited) – Thanks to Mama Daphne’s tips.
- Stickers and a hard clipboard she could stick them on – from Daiso
- Her favourite Princess and the Pea book
- Her favourite soft Bubble Bamboo blankie – from Auntie Eunice
- Flashcards – because for some strange reason my baby actually enjoys using them
- VTech My First Words electronic book with lots of buttons and some music
- SNACKS. SO IMPORTANT. I had her favourite goldfish, sweet potato puffs, and Percy Pigs in neatly stacked containers. They really helped calm her down during take off and landing.
Et Voila, just before I was getting really frustrated with her wriggling and whining, we had landed! I was SO happy to see my own Mama at the arrival gates – Immigration was a pain and we were shoved so many times by tourists from you-know-where.
And it was up up up and home, where the air is fresher and the living easier.
I needn’t have worried about Sophie adapting to my parents home – although the last time she was here, she was just 9 months old. She was immediately excited, happy and settled! Of course it helped that her super excited grandparents prepared wooden toys, crayons, books and even a Mid-Autumn festival lantern for her! So touched by the way they dote on her.
And so begun a pretty wonderful week – nothing exciting, we just brought her out to kid-friendly places, or lazed around at home, or took away our favourite HK food to eat in the comforts of our sofa!
In no particular order:
A lovely evening out at the Hong Kong Botanical Gardens and Zoo!
Hong Kong Zoological and Botanical Gardens
Albany Road, Hong Kong, China
Truth be told, it had nothing on the Singapore Zoo and Botanical Gardens. The animals were kind of sad, and there weren’t many of them, and the rest of the foliage wasn’t very variated or particularly well looked after, but it made for a very pleasant evening stroll. Sophie-doll especially loved the huge fountain in the middle of the grounds – fountains and waterfalls are her favourite thing! The weather was quite beautiful, too.
A real plus point is that it is right in the middle of the city, and just 10 minutes away from our home. Some lush greenery right in the middle of a bustling business district, how lovely is that?
One of these days the clocks will stop / And time won’t mean a thing
My happy puff with her puffs. This was just a day after we arrived and she was already beaming and bouncing away happily! Thank God she’s so adaptable!
We decided to push her a little and re-introduce her to the pool. Here’s a happier photo of us before diving in:
And it was a mini disaster lol.
Some background – the first and only time Sophie entered the swimming pool, she screeched like a banshee and refused to let her feet touch the water. She scratched and clawed and screamed at K and refused to let go of his shoulders. So we gave up. We were encouraged by her love for waterplay and waterparks, but as it turns out, she simply enjoys scooping water into pails and splashing around, but has no intention of getting her feet wet. Literally.
Here I am consoling my sobbing child after we tried making her walk in the baby pool and she slipped after three steps and refused to get back in:
However, it was quite encouraging to see that she eventually relented and had some splashy good fun with her favourite aunt (her only aunt, too!)
It was a fairly hilarious sight – my funny Doll couldn’t decide if she wanted to laugh, cry, scream, walk or kick!
Wish us luck, we’re trying again next week. We can see our pool from our bedroom window and Sophie-doll seems to be okay with “looking” at it, so who knows, maybe her answer to when we ask her if she’d like swim will one day be “Yes!” and not “No way!”
My sister and I have also been taking the opportunity to introduce Sophie-doll to all our favourite food in HK. Truth be told, HK is not baby-friendly. We completely avoid Kowloon because the sheer crowds and heaving wave of humanity there is a bit too much to bear with an active and curious toddler.
Just 5 minutes by car from our home is the Peak, where you can get your Tsui Wah or Tai Cheong fix without the crowds and in a far more child-friendly setting!
Tsui Wah @ The Peak
Shop 1A, G/F, The Peak Galleria, 118 Peak Road, The Peak
Oops, we let her try some Hong Kong Iced Milk Tea and, double oops, she loved it.
Just a tiny sip, though! I’ve seen what sugar can do to my girl, and its scaaary.
We discovered to our surprise that our favourite Polo Bun with Cold Butter is actually no longer on the menu at Tsui Wah (Peak branch) but you can still order it directly from the staff.
We were laughing so hard at the way Sophie-doll absolutely DEMOLISHED it. I’ll let these photos do the talking:
“More please” until there was barely a crumb left on the plate!
If you’re there, do buy Tai Cheong’s signature cookie base egg tarts – they are silky, wobbly and all kinds of egg-custardy deliciousness! I can vouch for the standard being just as good as their flagship down at Central.
And then we finally got the chance to let her try our all-time go-to place for the best homestyle cakes in Hong Kong – Fuel Espresso!
Shop 3023, IFC, Central., 港景街1號國際金融中心3023號舖
I can’t say much about their espresso, but their classic-style cakes are to die for. Their carrot cake has the perfect moist crumb with just the right amount of carrot and on-point cream cheese frosting to cake ratio. And their chocolate cake is insanely rich in the best way possible with an impossibly silky and darkly chocolately ganache. Their banana cake is faultless too – moist but fluffy, not weighed down by too much fruit and extremely fragrant.
For maximum enjoyment, we order them to go (they are often sold out of the more popular cakes by mid afternoon) and there’s usually a healthy crowd from the business district near by. Savoured from the comfort home with a cup of hot milky tea, they are pretty much perfect.
As you can see, Sophie-doll has made her full initiation into becoming the next up and coming purveyor of fine cakes in the Soh Family. What can I say, she has great taste!
In case you’re wondering where to get your groceries/sundries/baby food in Hong Kong Island, here are the places we frequent!
These supermarkets have a great selection of organic veggies, fruits, high quality imported yogurt if you’re looking for that kind of stuff. For my own consumption, I am fine with almost anything but with Sophie-doll, I try to buy organic and buy fresh!
City Super IFC / Times Square
Its obviously pricier than regular local supermarkets, but its really convenient if you’re looking for imported brands or organic vegetables air-flown from other parts of the world. Of course only shopping there would render me completely broke, but if you’re on holiday and just need to buy all your organic baby stuff, it is a great one-stop.
We go there to get Sophie’s organic veggies, her 5am vanilla bean yogurt, free-range eggs and some Japanese snacks =x
Market Place @ The Peak
If you’re looking for a familiar place to shop for your groceries, I’m pretty sure Market Place will put you right at home. They are run by the Cold Storage people and the layout will be something you’re used to. Just like City Super, they stock many imported brands of fruits, veggies, baby food, and the like. I come here for Sophie’s fix of Goldfish crackers. She attempted to consume them without paying for them. But of course.
More reasonably priced supermarkets you can go to for your groceries are:
Wellcome Supermarket at Causeway Bay
29, 25 Great George St, Causeway Bay
(The fish here is very fresh and they also de-bone, gut and fillet to your preference on the spot. Fresh fruit range is also extensive and they have a huge baby section)
Park and Stop at Wanchai
Hopewell Centre, 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
B2/F, 555 Hennessy Road, 軒尼斯道555號, Hong Kong Island, Causeway Bay
I also buy Sophie her cheeses from SOGO at Causeway Bay! Along with lots of other kawaii knick knacks and baby items which are just too cutesy too resist!
Here’s our haul from two days ago. Disney Candy Cheese not pictured because my greedy gums ate them all up!
Little Twin Stars BPA Free Bottle with Strap (for when Sophie goes to school) – Kids Department, SOGO
Chu Chu Baby Wipes (small pack, recommended by Jo @ Lady J Musings and I looove them!) – Kids Department, SOGO
Limited Edition Pale Pink Ultra Light Miffy Thermos – Kids Department, SOGO
Hello Kitty Suction Bowl with Lid and Spoon – Watson’s Baby, Times Square
Hello Kitty Furikkake (Rice Seasoning) in Fish and Wild Vegetable – SOGO Supermarket
As for nature walks, you mustn’t miss the walk up the Peak – it used to be our weekly activity when Maddie was still living in Hong Kong and the view is amazing most days, as is the weather. Be prepared to encounter squirrels, salamanders, centipedes (giant ones) frogs and lots of other friendly and not-so-friendly mountain residents on the way! If you take a walk in the evenings, you’ll even have some eagles for company soaring in the skies above you.
That’s it for now, next week we head for Stanley and Ocean Park, so more to come!
Leaving you with a beautiful shot my sister took of Sophie-doll and I – I love it! Its so precious to me especially now that my babywearing days will soon come to an end. I still love that she comes to me for ups and cuddles in the Tula when she’s tired or cranky, but one day my little girl will grow up and not want to be carried anymore (can you hear my heart splintering into a thousand pieces?)
Stay safe and indoors from the haze everyone! I hope this post comes in useful for you all 🙂
Libby and Sophie-Rose