Saturday, 14 January 2017

Seasons of opportunity

Hello all. The last time I wrote a blog post was just about a year ago and the last year truly couldn't have flown by any faster. I wrote last about moving back to the UK and transitioning from having lived in Hong Kong for 21 years of my life. It' was incredibly unexpected but I've moved back to Hong Kong since then and have been teaching as an English teacher at an International Kindergarten. The transition from a teaching centre to a Kindergarten was so different yet so wonderful and I can't express the gratitude I have for the opportunities I've been presented with. 

I've learnt a lot about myself after graduating from University and entering the working world. I've worked part time teaching in a playgroup; I've worked full time in retail and now I'm teaching full time. For my family and close friends you'd know that I was on my way to doing the Primary PGCE this year however I ended up changing my mind and moved halfway across the world again. If anything, I've realised that if you're presented with something – you should seize it. As the saying goes 'nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.'  Luckily in my case I've already been accepted onto next years PGCE intake at UWE in Bristol.

This leads me onto the topic of doing what's right for you at the present moment in time. Although I realise it's important to do things that will benefit you in the long run -- I believe it's even more important to take a risk. I never thought I'd be here now, but I am and it's more than I could have asked for. I used to be really scared of stepping outside of my comfort zone. There's no exact science as to how you can step outside your comfort zone, but with everyone that's happened in the last year it's really helped me thrive and embrace the qualities I was lacking. I thought that moving overseas was stepping outside of my comfort zone, when really doing unexpected things sometimes can be what inspires you the most.

The last year really has been a wild yet amazing ride. I got to meet one of the most beautiful souls (both inside and out) and her wonderful boyfriend. These two had moved to the UK all the way from Australia and who purposely have come to see me two times in one year(!) I met one of my closest friends now who I'm lucky enough to share pretty much everything with (shoutout to you Mari). My relationship with my boyfriend has flourished and grown so much and I'm so thankful for him always being by my side. I've settled into my home in Cardiff with my family and I'm so happy about our beautiful little house in such a wonderful little city.

I've constantly pushed past the boundaries of my comfort zone and now I've learnt exactly how to harness my creativity. I'm so thankful for my beautiful family, boyfriend and friends for constantly supporting me no matter what path I choose to take. I'm really grateful for everything that's happened, the people I've met on the way; and I'm so excited for the many more seasons of opportunities about to unfold. 

Until next time my lovely readers xx

Friday, 22 January 2016

Life as it currently is.

Hello everyone or anyone who is reading this...first and foremost, here are my deepest apologies for being so unreliable at blogging. I packed my whole life up in suitcases and shipped them alongside about 80 cardboard boxes 9784km away from my home of 21 years. Moving houses is stressful but moving countries entails a kaleidoscope of emotions. Being somewhere completely new is something we all have to undergo in our lives, but something that remains unspoken is a palpable fear at the thought of living in a new country. The last 3 months I've really been able to fall back onto my own two feet after graduating. Moving back to the UK I was able to finally figure out what it was that I wanted to do after graduating. It was a big step but I started applying for postgraduate degrees and realised teaching was truly what I wanted to do.

When you move away from a place of comfort for so long, your life really and truly does turn into a journey full of surprises. Not only did I learn more about myself, I learned that I was capable of more than I thought I was. Being taken out of my comfort zones only sharpened my senses even more and for a while, the idea of a 'routine' was just dismissed from my life entirely. Starting afresh was all about new faces, new places, new challenges, and new habits. I started a new job and I am eternally grateful for the wonderful people I work with because they made settling in that much easier. 

Not only have I been able to experience full-time employment for the first time ever,  I've also managed to pick up some great habits on the way. Experimenting more with yoga, cooking and venturing more towards the weight section of the gym - I have cut cardio out of my gym routine (can you believe it?) I've been able to focus more on myself and most importantly focus more on the present. One of the biggest achievements over the last few months I've been back in the UK is that I have now secured a primary teacher training place at UWE. Most of my friends will already know this but teaching, and working with children has always been a passion of mine. Being able to make the most of the situation I was in, having graduated with a Psychology degree - just knowing that I have the opportunity to train as a teacher and (fingers crossed) qualify as one in the upcoming year are unbelievably wonderful. I also spent my first proper Christmas in the UK, which was full of glorious celebrations, food and vino.  If one things for certain, yes you might feel lost to start off with but I believe everyone needs to be able to find a way to live in the present.  Trying to maximise each day to its best potential across the things that matter most - may it be your family, your partner, your work, your friends or your health...can only make you a happier person.

For anyone who is about to move somewhere new and basically start with a clean slate - realise that your life overseas is going to be different to your life back at home. Stop comparing your present to your past, and just make time for your future. The one thing I realised the most after moving was life is full of situations like this. Granted, my situation may have been on the extreme end of the spectrum however life is full of moments we need to seize by the horns and take control of. They will never be the same, so just allow things to unfold the way they will, start living mindfully each day and enjoy the ride. 

Until next time xx

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Oddies Foodies: Throwback to being a child again.

Situated in the middle of Wanchai amongst crowds of people and sweltering temperatures is the infamous little takeaway ice-cream shop Oddies Foodies. I discovered this place after hearing about it constantly via the Instagram community and decided that I would go for once and for all. This genius eatery combines the genius concotion of Italian low fat gelato with the much loved traditional Hong Kong eggettes (aka Daan jai). 

What I liked most about the concept of this shop is that as a child I have an unsummable amount of memories of these crispy hot egg waffles I used to get with my mother and brother down the hot, twisty streets of Mong Kok. I remember waiting by these street vendors and watching them spoon this doughy like batter into a iron pan...only to have a hot golden, bubbly sheet handed to me a few minutes later. The contrast between this crispy childhood delicacy and the creamy gelato is absolutely amazing and is such a treat to the taste buds. Luckily enough this creative eatery has a  wide variety of eggettes to choose from and 3 different ice cream + eggette concoctions.

Of all the amazing choices available we chose to get "The Night Wolf." This consisted of Italian low fat gelato with 66% dark chocolate and cookie crumbs, caramelised banana ice cream, passion fruit panna cotta, and crispy hot chocolate brownie eggettes. Looks wise, this concotion was visally stunning. Situated around the vanilla gelato with a matte dark chocolate finish, the finished sheet of eggettes was a lovely golden brown colour and the creaminess of the gelato was perfectly balanced with the sweet banana ice cream. Tastewise, this dessert brought me straight back to my memories of the eggettes I would buy as a little girl.

Luckily enough the shop wasn't too busy when I came with my boyfriend and friends however I've also read that it can get quite busy at be prepared to have a prolonged wait as this is currently the their only store in Hong Kong (unfortunately!). Another precautionary warning for my readers - Oddies Foodies is not open on Mondays as I learnt the first time I attempted to go with a big group of friends. To avoid walking home dissappointed and empty handed make sure you come from Tuesday-Sunday. Until next time!! xx

Address: 149 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong
Telephone: 9155 5185

Thursday, 2 July 2015

My 21st birthday, it's the company that matters.

Hello all - I've constantly had this post in mind but never really got around to it. A month later, I thought this seemed to be an appropriate time to talk about my 21st birthday. Usually I celebrate my birthday with my family (on the day) and at a later date I like to celebrate with friends. Both celebrations are always good fun, resulting in a lovely time with lots of laughter and cheer. This year I have to say was probably one of my favourite birthday celebrations ever, being almost perfect. The only thing that would have made it better would have been if my brother had been able to arrive in Hong Kong a week earlier and had been able to celebrate with me.
Every year I like to choose a restaurant for my family to go out for a nice meal. This year I wanted to venture out and try something new. I had a few recommendations given to me and after copious amounts of searching on Open Rice for al fresco restaurants, I narrowed it down to Wooloomooloo, Al Molo or Brick Lane. Although my mother is a Buddhist, I know that Buddhism itself doesn’t have any proscription on food itself. However, she doesn’t like to eat beef and although this choice may not be religious in nature, in order to respect her food restriction I decided Wooloomooloo would have to wait.

In the end, Al Molo was my preferred choice of dining. Directly translated, Al Molo means "on the pier." The restaurant is located along cruise ship harbour in front of Harbour city with one of the most gorgeous waterfront views in Hong Kong. Upon entering the restaurant it was extremely busy and had a really good vibe about it. The restaurant was dimly lit with candles providing a very homey atmosphere. Upon sitting down, my parents, boyfriend and I were greeted by friendly staff and the menus. I hadn't had Italian food in ages so this was an absolute treat for me.

After debating what we wanted - we decided to go for the Mista di Campo (Mixed green salad, tomatoes and white balsamic vinagirette), the Sedanini pasta (Tube shaped pasta, manila clams, squid, spicy tomato), the Risotto (Acquerello risotto with wild mushroom and parmigiano), the Prosciutto pizza (Proscuitto di Parma, mozzarella and rucola) and the Salmone pizza (Smoked salmon, tomato sauce, mozzarella and red onion). The pizzas which are cooked in a special walk-in oven were absolutely excellent. Although I am a thick crusted pizza kinda gal, these thin crusted pizzas were heavenly and didn't have the same problem alot of other restaurants appear to have with their pizzas and their soggy mid-sections. The Proscuitto pizza has also been highly recommended by the staff at HK-Magazine with the "crispiness of the pizza, richness of the cheese, the acidity of the tomato sauce, the savouriness of the proscuitto and the freshness and spice from the arugula" which make it a true masterpiece. 

My favourite dish after the pizzas was one of Chef Michael White's signature dishes of risotto. I kid you not when I say the Acquarello risotto is the best I've had of all the Italian restaurants I've ever ordered risotto at, and safe to say was better than any risotto dish I've tried to cook (even my final IB food technology dish). This dish was velvety and creamy, with the mushrooms giving it an earthiness and a nice crunch. The pasta and salad dishes were also good but didn't scream amazing to me however everything was eaten and we left the restaurant with satisfied bellies and big smiles on our faces.

The only complaint I have about this restaurant is that although everything on the menu sounded absolutely tantalizing; the prices of each dish are quite expensive. You are paying alot for the view sat right outside the restaurant as the dishes weren't that big... however as this was a special occasion I would recommend this restaurant to everyone. Overall, I had a glorious evening with lovely company and Al Molo definitely offered a fine dining experience for my loved ones and I.

My wonderful parents and I.
My wonderful parents.
My wonderful boyfriend and I before my birthday celebrations.

Al Molo Ristorante Italiano
Shop G63
Ground floor, Ocean Terminal
Harbour City
7-23 Canton Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Telephone: +85 2 2730 7900

Until next time! xx

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

My very own health and fitness journey.

I’ve been thinking lately about the health transition I’ve made since I was about 18 years of age and fresh out of high school till now…a 21 year old graduate, older and all the more wiser. Before I embarked on this journey I didn’t know what being healthy really was. I always believed that if you wanted to feel good, you had to look good… Taken at face value, this involved 18 year old me thinking that you could just follow a ‘diet’ which would help you lose weight quickly and in turn this would give you all the self-confidence you needed. 

It wasn’t until after my first year of university that it really dawned on  me how many health gimmicks  there are which we really need to stop being so susceptible to falling for. Even though deep down we know that there isn’t a single quick fix to help us lose weight and become fit and healthy, we are still prone to trying or purchasing these ridiculously persuasive health gimmicks. From countless detoxes, to diet shakes, to diet snacks – at the end of the day we have to shift away from these and move towards better nourishment and fuel for our bodies.Once I had fulfilled this aspect of my life I started abandoning fast food, alcohol, sweets and chocolate altogether, and this was probably one of the best decisions I have made. After all, as German Philosopher Ludwig Andreas Feurbach said, “man is what he eats.” But bear in mind that treating yourself is great too because lets be honest I do have an occasional treat now and then and a night out with my friends where I have a couple of drinks.Of course, eating healthy is important as many people have heard the saying “30% gym, 70% diet.” 

However, it takes more than just food alone to provide your body with the balanced nourishment required for ideal health. When you start to nourish your body with the adequate amount of exercise you may obtain many different health benefits. I have listed a few that I think were the most prominent changes for me – better sleep, improved physical appearance, elevated mood & reduced stress levels, increased energy levels…but really, the list is endless. I also found that committing myself to a certain amount of exercise was truly rewarding. After a while, I would actually look forward to going for a run or going to the gym just to sweat it out and release some endorphins.

This journey is still ongoing for me – I still strive to find new recipes to experiment with and try new exercises that I’ve never done before. As people may or may not know I love my cardio. I am absolutely head over heels for cardio, may it be jogging, cycling, swimming or sprints. However, I am still trying to incorporate more strength training into my exercise routine as I do really want to join the small but sculpted minority of women who lift.At the end of the day, we all wish that we weren’t so concerned with changing our bodies…but we are. So why not step on the bandwagon and just try to nourish and nurture your body as best you can. With this in mind you must also nourish and nurture your mind as best as you can. Everyone wants to look good, but we all want to feel good too. Do what you like and do what makes you happy, and make sure you are striving to feel good AND look good instead. 

Monday, 22 June 2015


你好! Hello all! I haven’t posted in forever, forgive me. I've decided to start a new blog because I hadn’t posted so long on my other blog that it just seemed a little too disjointed for my liking. So first things first, I'm Jennie Hemmings. I'm 21 years and 14 days old at the moment and have just finished my third year of University studying a BsC in Psychology.  

I’m currently back in Hong Kong aka (香港; “Fragrant Harbour”) spending time with my family, boyfriend and friends. When I’m not enjoying the free time I have here, I’ve also been teaching English to infants, toddlers and cheeky little pre-schoolers. I was lucky enough to have been in touch with the English playgroup centre I had worked with last summer and now have been spending a lot of my days prepping for lessons & having the privilege to work with little children again. It still feels strange to be back in Hong Kong after being in the UK for so long…however, settling back into life here was quick and easy as it always is. For me, Hong Kong truly is where my heart is.  No matter how far away I am, regardless of time zones and awkward time differences – this hustling, bustling city has stolen a piece of my heart.

The move back home also made me realise that having given all my work in, and being on a gap year I can finally focus on a few thats that I really want to do...right before I embark on my journey of training to become a qualified teacher. During this gap year I really want to dedicate my efforts and time to towards focusing namely on saving, travelling, health, fitness, happiness and blogging consistently.It will be a year where I can truly deepen my practicial, professional and personal awareness. Hopefully my blog will be something people will enjoy reading - if you've liked it so far, read on and follow me on the excursions of my life. I hope you're all having a great summer wherever you may in in the world. For now, it is not a goodbye but a mere speak to you soon. I already can't wait to blog my next post...