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Hello + Abella = Helloabella

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helloabella

Hey guys! How have you been? A lot of people have been wondering where the eff do I get the money to pay for all the fancy gyms and workouts I go to. Well, here’s what I will tell you – I’m usually not sponsored, and when I am I’ll fully disclose it. I believe in paying for things I deem worthy, and only when I try stuff for myself will I feel the pinch of pros and cons for reals.

With that said, here’s the reveal – I am self-paid on Guava Pass. (Been on the $1,588/month 3-months unlimited* classes package – you’re tied in for 3 months but you pay per month). Read on if you want the real truth. #livingmytruth

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me @ Warrior Academy

What is Guava Pass?

It is an aggregator of gyms around town that lets you pay one price and visit all sorts of fancy gyms. Literally the best ones in town, for less than HK$2000/month – meaning less than HK$200/class. Well what’s the catch? You only get to visit each gym 2 or 3 times a month.

I think it started out being a way for people to try out gyms, get a taste of what they offer, or for travellers who just need a couple of classes when they’re in town. But for me, it turned into a hack to save some coins.

Full disclosure of course there are other competitors a la KFIT but I find the selection of gyms on GP is better, and so the price is higher too.

The Pros

  1. Money saved – Instead of paying $2-3000 per month for a membership at a kickboxing, or rebounding, or pilates gym, you pay almost half the price but get the same quality classes. Some of my haunts include Flex Studios, Pherform, Optimum Performance Studio, and Lemondrop Studio. I DIE for some of the kitted out vanity rooms of some places – and honestly isn’t that half the reason one would keep going back to the same gym? (minus the hot trainers)
  2. Variety – Don’t know about you, but I believe in a balanced workout as much as a balanced diet. That’s why most gyms offer yoga to counter the weight training or cardio. But with GP, I get to go the best classes, studios and instructors of my choosing. Kind of like a gym hit list if you will, that you can create and schedule your week around.
  3. Convenience – As a freelancer, I move around a lot. One week I’m mostly around Kennedy Town, the next week I may be stuck near Mongkok. GP lets me choose gyms that are convenient for me to get to instead of lugging my kit on a journey to the gym. It might not make sense for regular worker bees, but it does for me.

The Cons

  1. Money wasted – If you don’t use your classes, you’re wasting money. If you cancel a class late, you get hit with $80 penalty. If you don’t go on at least 10 classes per month on an unlimited plan, each class you do go will decrease in value. All in all, you gotta be disciplined, or be prepared to spend some cash.P.S. you can pause your account when you go on holidays or want to take a short break.
  2. Inconsistency – Classes are harder to book than if you were an actual member of the gym. Makes sense for the gym, but probably not so much for you if you’re looking for some routine in your workout life. I probably only get to the same class once a month. Also probably won’t be able to book the same class as your friends – like I said, spots are quite limited.
  3. Discounted experience* – Gyms you visit aren’t designed for people who come and go. In all honesty, it will be harder to get to know the trainers and be a part of the communities. They might not take you seriously because they assume they won’t see you a second time. But if you’re only in for the workouts, then it probably won’t be something you see as a con.*But on the flip side I have made friends from all the different GP gyms just from one visit!
  4. Inconveniences? – There are times, maybe once or twice a month for me, where classes get cancelled because the class didn’t reach the headcount. But there are also times, where I rock up and unbeknowingly joined a personal training session because I was the only student. I’ve honestly had many a valuable lessons in pilates, weight training, functional training and more because of these accidental 1-on-1 sessions. So to me, NBD when a class gets cancelled once in a while. #yolo
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Me @ Feel Fit Factory

TL;DR

In conclusion… I love GP. If you’re a last minute kinda guy, or moves around town a lot, or want to try out the gyms and workouts before signing up, GP is great for you. If you’re short on cash and want the full experience of boujis gyms around town, GP is probably the only way to go as well. Like of course there are cons, but you take it knowing you are also paying less for the difference.

IF you found this article helpful and want to try out Guava Pass, please do sign up via my link here and get some discounts.

Everyone who has an account gets one, I’m not special or sponsored OR affiliated. Just another girl who’s trying to earn a few free classes from referrals. If you do end up signing up through my link, I sincerely thank you in advance ?

Till next time,
xx


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helloabella

Hey guys! ICYMI, Kammie from the amazing The Lesser Evil blog and I got together one Sunday morning and started chatting about the books we adore, humanity’s future and more. Here is the first cut where we dive into Homo Deus – a book about how far humans have come and where we are heading. If you’re interested in free will, the concept of death, robot overlords and all these nihilistic, fun and light topics, JOIN US!

I have another director’s cut on my IGTV channel (just head to my profile and hit on IGTV – but desktop doesn’t work sorry!), so check it out there for a fuller cut. x x


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helloabella

Hey everyone! I thought I’d find my way back to love blogging by writing a round-up no other publisher would probably take off my hands. June approaches, which means we are well on our way towards the second half of the year. (gasp!) If maybe like me you like to gym-hop or just haven’t found a gym you love yet, here’s a list of places I really enjoyed.

Full disclaimer: I’m self-paid on guava, #notspon unless specified, and obvs everyone have different preferences so don’t @ me! If you’d like to drink the Guava juice, please do join via this link so I can save an itsy-bitsy amount of dollars for referring you. Thank you in advance!

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Murder in the gym

 

HIT45

Literally just pain for 45 minutes straight, but you get it over with and you’d be really proud of yourself. Workouts alternate between special powered-by-your-run treadmills and floor exercises, and depending on the day of the week focuses on different parts of your body e.g. arms or abs & booty.

1/F, Abdoolally House, 20 Stanley Street, Central

TORQ

If you’re a long-time friend/follower, you’ll know I’ve been a day one of TORQ. Being the first spin studio in Hong Kong, TORQ is still killing it with competitive and energetic classes. Your stats will be displayed on the big screen, but don’t worry – you can choose to not do that to yourself. I’m especially a big fan of their spin-off (lol!) HIIT classes off the bike called SWITCH. It’s again just mostly non-stop high intensity floor exercises, but boy is it fun. For half and half action, go for TORQ-SWITCH. Class names do get confusing so make sure you’re booking yourself into the right one.

3/F, Abdoolally House, 20 Stanley Street, Central

Crossfit Cavaliers

This is for people who are serious about their workouts. Who aren’t afraid to lift weights, or *gasp* run outdoors. I go to their Funfit classes which are women-only, and almost always start with a run around the block. Then it’s crossfit-style WOD (or workout of the day for the uninitiated) with a variation of barbell, kettlebell and other exercises involving some sort of weights. Finally, it ends with another run around the block. YEP. Needless to say, it’s INTENSE but I just love how it pushes me beyond my comfort zone.

533 Queen’s Rd W, Kennedy Town (near HKU station)

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Me @ Yoga Dimensions

Finding zen

Lemon Drop Studio

Perched right at the end of Kennedy Town, LDS is something of a favourite of mine. I absolutely love the journey there passing the serene harbourfront, and I ADORE the homey feel that the studio has. Fave classes include the relaxing restorative yoga at the end of the day, or the intense Ab Focus class that, you guessed it, works your abs to the core.

Shop 2, 37B Cadogan Street, Kennedy Town

Yoga Dimensions

I stumbled onto this when I was on KFIT for a bit, and I found their yoga classes to be really awesome. The instructor is strict and pays attention to every detail of your posture, but she doesn’t push you too hard or goes too fast of a pace. If you want to get your foundations right or safely hit the next level, I would recommend checking this studio out.

Wing Lok Mansion, 162 Wing Lok Street, Sheung Wan

believe.yoga.wellness

Similar to Yoga Dimensions, this is another local studio that really doesn’t cut you a lot of slack when it comes to technique. I went to what I thought was a restorative detox class, but ended up getting literally twisted and bent into all sorts of shapes. The result? Genuinely relaxed muscles achievable only through pushing yourself that little bit more. #prettyhurts

Flat C, 7/F, Kwun Ngan House, No.751 A-C Nathan Road, Mong Kok

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Me being extra at Flex’s gorg changing room

Low key killers

Anhao Wellness

Any pilates lovers here? After an accidental 1-on-1 pilates mat class at Anhao (I was the only student who registered), I became a convert. Though it’s no weight lifting or cardio, when done right Pilates easily works you harder than most fitness classes. It practices immense amount of control over tiny and unused muscles, causing you to truly be mindful and get to know yourself. Highly recommend a try.

5 Ladder Street, Sheung Wan

Flex Studio

Xtend Barre is the bomb! It really tests your strength with repeated and small movements inspired by ballet. I took the class first in Flex’s aberdeen studio, then I was hooked and kept going back. Actually I finish Flex’s credit on Guava the fastest every month. Other classes I love include TRX and HIT. It’s just such a calm place… And which other studio brews you coffee in the morning?!

3&4/F Man Cheung Building, 15-17 Wyndham Street, Central
Shops 308- 310, One Island South, 2 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang

Barre 2 Barre

Another favourite of mine in Central. I love Barre bootcamp there when I’m not feeling like I’m up for a workout, though it really works me out without stressing me out with heavy weights and treadmills. Trust me, those weights you’re working in their classes may seem tiny, but you will definitely feel the burn.

4/F, Cheung Hing Commercial Bldg, 37 Cochrane St, Central

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A scorpio doing a scorpion

Kowloon dwellers

Bungee Workout

You’ve probably seen this on Facebook trending somewhere, but the bungee workout is now in Hong Kong! Though located all the way in San Po Kong, this photogenic and liberating workout is definitely worth a trip. After you learn to fly and fall (it’s a little painful and a lot scary), make sure you finish strong with a Thai dinner in Kowloon City.

Unit 903, Port 33, 33 Tseuk Luk Street, San Po Kong

P.S. There is another workout system involving a bungee called 4D Pro Bungee Fitness, now teaching at the more conveniently located and Guava-enabled XP Fitness Hub in Central. I personally haven’t tried it yet, but am stoked to!

Gymbeginner

This is definitely my go-to on Kowloon side. Focusing more on perfecting technique than getting the most reps, Gymbeginner is aptly named and made for fitness newbies who want a comfortable environment to get started in. My visits have always been lovely, and if I was feeling extra, I can add more reps or make drills more difficult too.

Flat 4A, Capri Building, Austin Road, Jordan

Optimum Performance Studio TST

I randomly went into a core training class there once, but the experience definitely stuck with me. The space itself is actually half rehabilitation centre and half gym, and my instructor a super experience krav maga fighter. Needless to say, the hour-plus long workout was intense, and involved ONE HUNDRED BURPEES. LOL, to this day I don’t know how I did it. But hey, I did. The training also starts with foam-rolling and ended with a circuit training, so all in all, just a really good and fun workout.

16/F, 9-11 Hillwood Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui


Pheew, that’s it! Does this at least make up for my infrequent presence?! I sure hope so. P.S. I do a weekly shout-out to my favourite workout of the week, so if you want more updated info, please do follow me on Instagram!

Till next time, leave me a comment la!

xoxo

The post Best Workouts in 2018 So Far… appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! (Sorry I’m backdating this) If you’ve not seen this yet, I not-so-recently FINALLY uploaded my video answering all your questions about my fitness journey.

QUESTIONS ANSWERED:
0:09 Best and worst moments
2:15 Most beneficial workout
3:57 Does it ever get competitive?
5:02 Are group classes better?
6:35 Is it hard to try new things?
8:02 What keeps me motivated?
9:31 Diet & cravings
11:07 Exercising routine
12:40 How do I afford it all?

Thanks for watching in advance la ? x

The post Fitness FAQ: Routines, Motivations and Cravings appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! How has it been?! Happy 2018! Happy Chinese New Year! Happy Valentines Day! Sorry I’ve been missing out on blogging… I really have no excuse, I just hope y’all will forgive me.

So what’s been new in 2018?! I’ve actually been producing content for Instagram consistently, and I’ve recently released a Youtube video reflecting on my year-long love affair with Bounce Limit. If you’d like to learn more about this, please watch the video below:

It’s truly been an extremely transformative year. Many people will argue (including myself) that I’m quite literally a different person. I eat better, I have better stamina, posture, motivation, self-discipline… Basically everything they say is true about exercising has happened to me – all without “dieting”. Again – I’m not going to annotate the entire video in text form, but please feel free to watch the entire video above. I go through basically the whole history, PLUS my story with personal training.

I know I promised a FAQ video and I’ll be releasing that soon, hopefully next week!

Though late, I’m still sending you a whole lot of love and well wishes for the new year. If you’ve not been working on your goals yet, it’s still not too late to re-start. Get on it, and most importantly live well.

K x

The post One year along my fitness journey appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! I know, I know. I’ve been recently reminded of my absence, and I can’t believe it’s been over three months either. So, I thought I’d write up the motherload (sort of) for you to enjoy. As the festive season approaches, I think it’s only appropriate to write up little amateur guide on where to buy eco-friendly things and/or what to buy to help reduce waste – I realise how ironic that sounds but nonetheless I reckon a good start. These are obviously great for personal use, but wonderful for gifts too!

H/T to Kammie from The Lesser Evil for the X’mas gift ideas, make sure to check out her blog and subscribe to her newsletter, it makes my week!

CLICK HERE TO HEAD TO THE STORES SECTION RIGHT NOW

 

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1) Keep Cup

Why: There was a moment in my life, when I realised how quickly I can consume a beverage in a disposable container (minutes!). This meant also meant I produced trash, I TURNED SOMETHING BRAND NEW INTO GARBAGE in a matter of minutes. It was sobering. Plastic wraps, straws, takeout containers, all had a total lifespan of minutes and will spend eternity in a landfill – or worse, in the ocean choking fishes or something. SO, that’s why I got a Keep Cup.

I chose the plastic one because it’s lighter to carry around, but of course, the glass one with a cork band is exquisite too. Most importantly, you don’t have to feel guilty anymore AND you can save a few bucks. Granted there will still be days when you don’t have the cup with you, but then you can still go lid-less on those rare days.

Where: I got mine from Barista Jam, but you can also order from their website, or psst, Taobao.

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Image via Chazi

2) Re-usable straws

Why: Okay I’ll be up front. I don’t actually bring these out often, and I mostly use them at home. I actually lost one the first time I brought it out to use in a restaurant. That said, because I’m an obsessive straw user, even just having this at home saves me packs of plastic straws. And I don’t need to go into the evilness of plastic straws right? PS they make real good gifts!

Where: My girlfriend bought them for me as a gift from Chazi, but you can easily find them at a lot of other green stores (read till the end for full list)

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Nike leggings made from 10 recycled plastic bottles

3) Leggings made from recycled plastic bottles

Why: BOY do I love leggings. I mean, why wouldn’t you? They’re comfy, they keep your muffin tops and spare tires under control, they’re also rather flattering. And my god, aren’t recycled plastic leggings a godsent?! If you’re gonna spend $$$ on KuKuKemons, then why not also look into feel-good brands eh. The only downside to this material is that it’s usually thicker of a fabric, but it’s fantastic for cooler days ahead.

Where: I don’t know if they are still available but I found some from Nike a while back. As an early adopter of Girlfriend Collective, I am very keen to finally be able to give them a shoutout, especially now that they have more than one length and colour. I’ve not personally tried but there’s also many brands in the US and AUS, just do a quick search for recycled plastic leggings ?

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Charity Bottle from Lionrock Press

4) BYOB (Water Bottle)

Why: Same shit – avoid bottled water la. Especially imported fancy “still” water. You’re just paying for unnecessary use of fuel to fly all these whatever spring mineral water, on top of the waste you’ll produce. Remember that next time you’re buying bottled WATER! (Ok la I’ll let soft drinks/teas/juice slide a bit kkkkk). We all want a lightweight bag, but worry not, there are single layered stainless steel bottles that are super light too!

Where: The Lionrock Press has a really cute collection with proceeds going to Plastic Ocean Foundation. 24Bottles has some really handsome looking ones too! Ofc, there’s always Cotton On hurhurhur.

5) Extras

There are some things I have not personally tried and tested, but I still think they make some pretty sick gifts…

  • Bath to Basics Toiletries (shampoo, body wash etc) – organic, local brand, you can even BYOB to refill. They also have some really awesome essential oils and good smelling stuff!
  • Bamboo home stuffs – toothbrushes, soap trays, dish clothes, chopsticks, even toilet paper (from Salvation Army if you’ll believe it!)
  • Wax food wrap – reusable clingfilm basically
  • Foldable lunch boxes – for all ya meal preps and leftovers and takeaways
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via Live Zero HK

LOCAL SHOPS

Here are some shops you can physically/virtually browse for goodies! I’m not gonna start listing brands and this list is in no way exhaustive. Just a little list, ’tis all. There is no order in this list. 

Now-nowaste

Plastic-Free HK

Live Zero

Delightfully Green

Tree Children’s Lodge (note: kids store but has eco-friendly items too)

Ztore (note: online grocery store that also stocks eco-friendly products)

Thorn & Burrow (note: home decor store that also sells some reusable ware like S’Well and straws)

GaoMadYeah (note: Local waste reduction community with mail order available and occasional pop-ups. Chinese site only)


Let me know as usual if you have any thoughts, comments or what-nots!

Peace, xoxo

The post Eco-Friendly Things: What and Where to buy in Hong Kong appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

HEY you! I KNOW you love the feeling of eating guilt-free and delicious food, so here I am presenting you with some options so you can live better without batting an eyelash. Awesome thought, right? You can now forget about stale salads and feeling hungry after a 100 bucks sandwich. Here we go, make sure you bookmark these!

Supafood

My absolute fave around the Sheung Wan area. Go-to item is the Sichuan Beef Wrap with avo, pomegranate, cheese, brown rice, and of course beef that’s a little spicy and plenty saucy. Perfect for a post-workout pick me up and even better with Netflix.

1 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan

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Youni’s Lunch Box

Youni

An extension from the new Goji Studios gyms popping all over town, this place is the one if you’ve got a carefully planned diet and/or want to know exactly what you’re eating. From what I’ve tried at an office bulk order tasting that one time, their stuff is pretty solid. You’ll find a good variety and bonus points for sheer number of locations. PS, they double as a meal plan supplier, so look into it if you’re keen.

Multiple locations in town

Knead

This one is for the people who aren’t fussed about food labeled for fitness. This is just a good ol’ sandwich and salad shop, and a damn good one at that. Think subway, but with way better ingredients in a very cute setting and a form so you can customize your order. Personal fave: roasted chicken breast, caramelized onions, roasted pumpkin on white ciabatta with allllll them greens.

G/F, 28 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan

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Fete Up’s Lunch Box

Fete Up

Oh my god – we need to talk about this place. No one talks about it, but unhealthy local/Asian food is really starting to become a pain in my tush. SERIOUSLY, what’s a girl got to do to get a warm meal in her belly without paying $108 for a salad and a soup? Fete up is a new fave, again in the Sheung Wan area (sorry!), and is about the only thing that can numb the post-HOME withdrawal pain.

Their concept is simple, pay (electronically, no cash), and pick your rice, protein (UM BEEF GOULASH), many kinds of warm and cold veggies, and FO to eat your delish, warm and Asian lunch without having to feel hungry 1.5 hours later.

Lower GF, 182 Wellington Street, Sheung Wan (next to Noodle LAH)

Fook Luk Sau (福祿壽健康素食)

No, not the rooftop bar, though that place is pretty rad too. This local takeout and lunchtime crowd focused restaurant was my fuel for the longest time when I still worked around Central. Hidden in an alleyway near The Center, Fu Lu Shou serves up 13 kinds of Chinese vegetarian dishes that changes every day, as well as soup and red/white mixed rice. WAIT FOR IT YALL, if you take away, it’s 3 toppings + rice + soup for $28HKD. $28HKD!!! If you eat-in, it’s all you can eat soup/rice. My secret’s out y’all, treasure it.

8 Tit Hong Lane, Central

Peace, xo

The post Sheung Wan/Central: Top 5 Affordable & Healthy Lunch Spots appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella


Hey yo peeps! What’s up! In case you’ve not heard, apparently I’m really not that straight, even when it comes to my hair. It might come as a surprise because nobody, and I mean nobody, has really seen my hair curly, save for some travel companions and past loves.

However, in light of recent personal efforts to “self-love” and live balanced and with less baggage, I’ve decided to finally learn how to “deal” with my true hair – rather late imo, 20 years late really.

So yeah, watch for giggles and leave me a comment if you TOO, are the only person/Chinese kid in the neighbourhood with curls.

Peace, xo

The post Why My Hair is Curly / How to Deal with Asian Natural Curly Hair appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! Alright alright alright. How have you been? Today it’s going to be a info-loading post, but I hope it can answer some of the many questions I’ve been asked about Bouncelimit/rebounding/bouncing/trampolining.

1) Why bounce/rebounding?

I don’t know about you, but this basic b*tch that’s trying to live well is not the person you’ll find prioritizing gym/health over everything in my life. Yes, I may sacrifice sleep for a 7am class, or spend Friday nights at the gym… But you know what I DETEST? Bring a pair of dirty, smelly sneakers everywhere with me. With Bounce, all I need is a pair of cute23 grippy socks (those with dots on the bottom so you don’t fall on your face).

Also – it’s really gentle on your joints, not to mention heaps of fun bouncing to a different playlist and WOD, or workout of the day for you non-gym-rats tsk, every time.

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2) What is rebounding?

Bouncelimit works with rebounders or mini trampolines that are fitted into the floor boards. This means that you wouldn’t risk moving the trampoline with your bounce. You can also do more floor exercises incorporating the trampoline – for example, burpees or TRX.

Rebounding is more than just jumping around on the trampolines. See below.

3) What do you do? Is it just a trampoline park?

It most definitely is NOT just a trampoline park. A lot of people get the confusion that it’s an easy workout. It does not have to be.

There are a handful of classes available, from familiar ones like Pilates, Yin Yoga or TRX, to more trampoline-oriented ones like Beginner/AirBounce (cardio-centric classes) and Tabata (the hottest workout trend to go round in HK rn, it is a kind of HIIT circuit with 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off).

The way you bounce is also wildly different. Instead of bouncing up, you’re bouncing DOWN. It’s hard to explain unless you try one of the classes, but it essentially means you are lifting your legs when you bounce, and you’re trying to achieve quick bounces without letting your body and muscles go out of control and flap about.

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4) How do I choose which class I go to?

I think all first-timers should go to the beginners at least twice. Or once if you’re extremely well coordinated. This is not to say you’re not “fit” or anything like that. It’s just saying rebounding is a workout that takes some getting used to. You gotta learn you way around the rebounder, you have to get used to the terms used and commonly used moves – clowns, basic bounce, etc. It’s best to get the postures and techniques down pat before you move on to other things.

After you’re happy with the basic stuff, you can move on to whatever you want really! Burn calories with cardio, get toned with TRX and go hardcore with TRX circuit or Tabata. I’ve not done combat before but I also heard that gets pretty intense!

Look out for Megan’s classes, she’s the one who’ll teach you all about the right postures down to the tiniest details so you can use the skills in other classes. Chelsea’s classes are wonderfully energetic, Gedville’s Tabata or Airbounce is always a challenge, and Natasha’s classes always make you feel so good and happy. We all have instructors/classes that we prefer, so don’t be afraid to try the same class with different people.

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5) How much is it?

You can check out the price table here, with trial classes starting at $400HKD for two classes. They always have different monthly offers as well, so definitely keep your eyes peeled.

I really hope this helped answer some of your questions! Hmu any time or comment below with your thoughts though. xxx

The post Frequently Asked Questions about Bouncing (Rebounding) appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! What’s cracking. As promised, the “style” posts are back – but in a different way. Today I want to share with you guys a brand that has a cause we can all get behind, thus Shop Well – occasional blatant but sincere brand recommendations. You know what I mean, the kind that checks the boxes with ethical production, transparent pricing, and a beautiful cause that no human being can hate.

(tick box and continue reading if you are indeed human)

If you’re a cool hipster, you may have already heard about and/or know and love Everlane. They are sort of like Grana (which I wrote about previously), except Everlane has a shoe and bag collection that is absolutely to die for. Oh, and they’re also from the US of A.

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Why 100% Human

Because we’re all the same deep down, we fear the same things, we feel the same sadness and loss and love and joy and excitement. Despite people who can be and are mean (probably out of insecurity), we all want love and happiness and to feel like we are part of something bigger.

Here’s a story about buying t-shirts and shopping. In my teens, I used to exclusively buy tees that I resonate with: think hilarious and sassy one-liners the likes of “I’m just like you, except better.”

“Oh my god,” I heard you think out loud as you read this, “she was so uncool.”

I get it now too, but only in hindsight. This also applied to that pink Lotso tee that says “I’ve got a keeper”, or that way-too-small souvenir shirt from a beer festival that says “real women drink beer”.

Have I seen the wrongness of my ways now, you ask? I guess so – but in a different way. I still shop in accordance to my alliance, but the choices are more subtle now. I look for brands that have a purpose or cause (like leggings made from recycled plastic bottles a la Girlfriend Collective), I strive to support smaller brands or at least big ones that donate to a charity with every purchase, I BACK creators with cash dollars by buying their merch (a la Rhett and Link, and Philly D).

And thus explains why I’m telling you about this shirt now. Every tee purchased gives $5 to the American Civil Liberties Union and goes towards helping defend human rights in the US, including LGBTQ and immigrants.

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So you telling me to buy stuff?

You don’t HAVE to buy THIS shirt, or support THIS charity. You can donate to Woman’s Right with this shirt. You can support creators you love via Patreon. You can learn to look into what you’re buying, learn to avoid ingredients or animal testing or non-eco packaging.

I guess what I’m saying is that we should all learn to be ourselves, be great in self-expression but also in that process learn about what you’re buying/backing and how you can send a self-expressing message as a consumer. We’re all human who wants things, and with the internet, there are a million options for us to make better purchases.

I hope you start making the right decisions one beautiful pair of shoes at a time. 

P.S. real honesty right here – hand wash this shirt or be gentle with the thin cotton material because the collar will stretch out after one wash in the machine.

P.P.S. This shirt was gracefully sent to me from Everlane to review – thank you so much.

Till next time, let me know your thoughts below. x

The post Shop Well: We’re All 100% Human appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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Hey guys! Thought I’d do something different this time. The weather has been so sh*tty lately, and everything feels wet, hot and gross. That’s why for food I usually want something light, fresh but still fills me up. Check out this recipe I shared with the Profood crew!

I love making this on a Saturday afternoon when I’m trying to eat light to balance out a heavy Friday night, plus it only takes about ten minutes to put together but still looks beautiful and packs in some great flavours.

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Sweet and juicy figs (the taste of summer) elevate the lightness and crunch of the fresh salad greens, plus you get a luxurious hit of umami from the prosciutto and caviar, whilst the creamy cheese makes the dish feel even more filling; this salad makes for a perfect summer treat as either a shared aperitif or a main.

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Mozzarella, Figs and Prosciutto Salad with Caviar

Serves 4 as a starter, 2 as a main

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Ingredients

5g Adamas Black Caviar
1 mozzarella or burrata ball
2 ripe figs 4 slices/60g prosciutto (or another ham of your preference)
1 medium-sized head yellow endive
½ medium-sized head radicchio
½ medium-sized head frisée
A handful of rocket leaves
Olive oil and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash, drain and tear all the salad greens into smaller pieces. Cut the figs into quarters.
  2. Drain the cheese and dab it dry with kitchen towel.
  3. Plate the dish starting with the salad greens, followed by the quartered figs. Place the cheese in the centre, then add the slices of rolled-up prosciutto around the plate.
  4. Place a generous spoonful of caviar on top of the cheese.
  5. Add a drizzle of olive oil and freshly grinded black pepper to taste. Enjoy!

P.S.

Bon apetit!

Head over to Profood for more ingredients shopping and delish recipes. x

The post Easy Eats: Mozzarella, Figs & Prosciutto Salad appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys, welcome back! Post number two under the rebrand continues to be a very personal one, so I thank you for spending the time to read in this day and age where almost no one wants to digest anything.

I have spent four+ months with Bouncelimit as their ambassador now, and there are a lot of things I have learnt and gained from the journey thus far. If you’ve not heard about this, I talked about how I was embarking on a journey to get fitter in my previous update.

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The results thus far…

I have transitioned from a newbie who exercised about 4 times a year, to someone who goes to the gym at least 3 times a week. Instead of struggling to get through a beginners class, now I struggle to get through a TRX circuit class, I find it difficult to get up at 6am for that Tabata class, I love-hate the intense cardio in the advanced Airbounce class.

Much like those Buzzfeed “transformation” or “celebrity diet” videos, the end message has always been that it’s a lot more about positive habit building than losing a shit ton of weight in 2 weeks. And that’s what it’s been for me. From my numbers alone, I can see that I didn’t lose that much weight or a huge number of inches. It is true that I have been the smallest I’ve been in a while, but that’s not saying much.

What is meaningful though, is how my mindset has changed. 

The thing about thinking… (and how it has changed with exercising)

… Is that a lot is just about how you think. The way you think changes how you interpret your reality and how you choose to react. There have been many significant changes that altered my life just from starting with Bounce, starting to change and getting to that gym on a Friday night.

How I react to results: From the get go I wanted long lasting results, I wanted to build habits. This meant that I needed to find a routine that fit with my life and my lack of self-discipline self. It also meant that I had to accept that I may not see significant changes in my body in the short run. And I’m okay with that. I’m not going to beat myself with a bat that’s my weight or my huge waistline. There is a constant self-reminder about how it’s about the marathon, not the race. That mindset has extended into a larger part of my life – helping me re-focus on the goals I choose instead of getting distracted with fleeting highs and banging lows.

How I find balance: I am very ADD and gets distracted very easily. When I was introduced to yoga, and especially Yin yoga at Bounce (aka holding poses for 1-3 minutes long), it made me aware of my own thoughts and it’s been a constant battle learning to control them. It was this that sparked my interest in learning about yoga, wellness and finding balance. I have since taken up casual meditation (highly recommend the Simple Habit app), tried out different kinds of yoga classes (Odinson has fabulous ones, but you should go out there and try everything) and have become more aware of my own emotions and thoughts.

How I’m treating my body: Though I’m not on the strictest of diets, I’ve given myself a new reason to eat right, sleep more, exercise better. I’m no longer just in a fad diet for the sake of it, cutting carbs then eating it all back the next day, exercising like a maniac for about two weeks then stop for two years… It’s all about finding the right routine – and that in itself is so much more exciting than using number as a goal, because that goal will pass, but wellness is a constant journey and a permanent state of mind.

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The zinger: finding self-acceptance

If you know me personally, you will know I think quite little of myself and my appearance. The whole reason I started helloabella.com was almost like a way for me to learn to be okay with sharing myself with people – hopefully stemming from that gaining some acceptance to validate myself and cast away some self-doubt.

But in the past months, I’ve had to learn to accept myself, by myself. This involved the process of checking in with my mind (through yoga), with my body (through monthly check-ins and measurements), with my self-image (through being in a non-competitive environment of group classes).

Through constant self-observation, a moment finally happened and a thought floated into my mind: “It’s not really about getting skinnier, it’s about learning to love myself.”

This thought of finally accepting my body, being at peace with it, exercising because it is good for my body, not because I’m trying to change my appearance but because I’m trying to feel better in my head and in my body… This is a fucking game changer y’all.

I feel like I’m entitled to self-love because I’ve earned it by treating my body with respect and love. 

This is so fucking important, and so far away from who I used to be, and so new… And so RIGHT. I no longer feel like I need to look a certain way (on good days), I can just let my body be, I can be both proud and work hard towards something at the same time. This used to make no sense to me.

I have also since learned to embrace other parts of me too… But that’s for another story time.

I’m so happy with where I am and so excited about where I’m going with this. Thanks for sharing this moment with me + I hope this little moment will shine a little light on your journey too. Thanks so much for reading. x

The post Getting Fit, Chasing Numbers and Self Acceptance appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys, how’s it going? You may have noticed my sneaky name changes over on Instagram, and soon (if not already) it will happen over here too. Why? What does it mean for helloabella? I know you will have lots of questions, because you’re obsessed with me duh, and I will answer them one by one.

Why Live Well Basics?

It’s because I’m no longer the person who started helloabella. No evil clone of course, or hard feelings. It is just because my priorities in life has changed, and I’m no longer (or ever really have been) a person that’s obsessed with appearances, style, fashion and beauty. That said, I still love shopping, beauty and finding my style – just not especially hardcore about it anymore.

It’s been brewing for quite long inside of me, but a little by little lately I’ve been discovering myself and the spiritual side of me. I don’t mean becoming all hippie and start waving around aura talks (though I’m actually really interested in crystal healing…), it just means taking better care of myself. It means being myself, but being better, continuously finding ways to better myself towards not monetary or career driven goals but feeling better and content and fulfilled.

Are you still with me? So what Live Well Basics, to me at least, means the basic things we all need, simple tricks we ALL can do, to live better, to live well. It also implies that I’m basic as234 and always will be. But why not?

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So you’re going to be a fitness blogger now?

This is not going to be some blog telling you how to go on strict diets, how to chisel your abs or how to spend your salary’s worth on groceries and protein powder. This is, I am, not that kind.

What it will be though, is a record of my journey towards wellness in this crazy city with a crazy schedule and crazy amount of things to do. So if you’re lazy AF, broke AF, and basic AF, join me! Be a friend and (insert plug): sign up for my mailing list to be the first to receive tips, wannabe funny stories and fuckups, and pointers to be healthy however we can. We’re all just coping here, let’s all help each other do that ?

What about all the beauty and fashion stuff?

They will still be there hun! Healthy girls still gotta look pretty. But as my concerns go, I will try to explore more fitness apparel (234 yeah leggings), sustainable + AFFORDABLE brands, as well as how to shop less but more efficiently. Same with makeup – I know we all can’t be 100% cruelty free and eco-friendly, but let’s try working towards that and feel pretty in the process.

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A major disclaimer:

I’m saying it here now, and I will continue to say it. I am, and won’t be, an expert on anything. But I do want to share my journey, and learn about yours too. So why don’t we just become friends? This is a good vibes only zone.

What’s going to happen with everything #helloabella then?

I will continue to have that domain point towards this site. I have also switched my personal (and private) instagram account to that username.

In conclusion…

Please, please continue to support me as I go on this slightly different path. I swear this isn’t just some trick to gain likes or join the trends, and I hope you will be my company as I learn to take better care of myself, and you yourself.

#hippiedippytrippy #motivationalwedsnesday #idekanymore #anyways LEAVE ME A COMMENT TO SAY HI!

As always, till next time. xx

The post What Blogging Did to Me (part II) appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! Today I wanted to share something different, but something that matters to me. I’ll start off by saying that I’m no domestic goddess or green warrior, but I do and have always cared about recycling and not being wasteful. But in recent months, after getting educated about various issues from dairy, to fashion and plastic, I’ve been opening up my life to more changes that reduces waste and stress on the environment in general.

The second thing that I was to disclaim right now is that I’m not perfect. I’m not “good” enough to not do paper, or never use a single piece of plastic, or eat vegan or 100% organic/sustainable etc. But I think, to me at least, the important thing is to try. Every action we do matters, and every little action leads to a little bit of goodness.

I used to just “give away” unwanted clothing or item, and by that I mean putting everything in the donation bin and forgetting about it. Then I go on to buy more. But now, I make my purchases more mindfully. But hey – I still taobao or buy from H&M. It’s all about balance after all. So here, I wanted to share with you a few simple ways to start reducing waste and living more mindfully without going full cold turkey.

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  1. Bring your own cup

    I bought a Keep Cup! Like I said in my Instagram post, it was one of my best, if not the best, purchase I’ve made this year or ever. It is so light weight, easy to clean, has a valve seal so you can hoist it around, AND it really helps reduce waste one paper or plastic cup at a time. This is because I watched this video about recycling paper cups – FYI a lot of places don’t have the right process to recycle these coated paper cups so they end up going to the landfill. By bringing your own plastic cup on the other hand, you can even save a few bucks (depending on where you go – Winston’s, Barista Jam and many more cafes have discounts when you BYOC.)

    Side note: My girlfriend also bought me stainless steel straws, I use them at home now because I always forget to bring them out, but they’re absolutely a dream to use.

  2. Minimize takeout waste

    I know, sometimes you can’t plan every meal of your day, and more often than not you have to opt for meals al desko. What I find useful is, if I end up going to some place near the office/home for takeout, I opt out of taking the plastic bag and utensils. Maybe I’m too shy (for now) to bring my own container, but at least I’m saving one plastic bag and one pair of utensils (in another plastic bag). Don’t be lazy and wash the office/home forks instead!

    IMG_6742-1024x1024.jpg

    Should’ve recycled this… :S

  3. Think before you throw

    Lol I’m starting to sound preachy right? But I’m not going to teach you the basics of recycling, I’m sure (I hope) you already know that. But what I realised was, sometimes I’m quick to throw away something instead of recycling because I wasn’t thinking. For example, some really sturdy takeaway boxes can be cleaned and re-used or then recycled, I do this all the time in the office so everything from my takeout caused no waste. I also recycle groceries packaging and yogurt pots etc. Just make sure you clean everything before recycling.

  4. Refuse packaging

    It’s a very small gesture, but when you see shop keepers wrapping up your goodies in rice paper or extra plastic bags or ribbons and frilly things, just politely say you don’t need it. I know sometimes pretty packaging is great for the ‘gram, but if you’re not going to re-use or gift it, it’s pretty much seconds from going into the trash. Again – it’s better to not be wasteful than to recycle.

These are just a few of the ways you can reduce waste without making huge changes, but slowly you can amp it up if you feel like it. Rock the bamboo toothbrushes, go sans packaging and shop from wet markets… Everything is a choice and the choice is yours. The key is to be educated, and when you are, you will automatically be aware of the waste you can save.

I’m gonna run off before sounding too preachy… ?
But leave me a comment and share your feelings! x

The post Easy Habits for an Eco-ish Lifestyle appeared first on Live Well Basics.


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helloabella

Hey guys! Today I wanted to share something different, but something that matters to me. I’ll start off by saying that I’m no domestic goddess or green warrior, but I do and have always cared about recycling and not being wasteful. But in recent months, after getting educated about various issues from dairy, to fashion and plastic, I’ve been opening up my life to more changes that reduces waste and stress on the environment in general.

The second thing that I was to disclaim right now is that I’m not perfect. I’m not “good” enough to not do paper, or never use a single piece of plastic, or eat vegan or 100% organic/sustainable etc. But I think, to me at least, the important thing is to try. Every action we do matters, and every little action leads to a little bit of goodness.

I used to just “give away” unwanted clothing or item, and by that I mean putting everything in the donation bin and forgetting about it. Then I go on to buy more. But now, I make my purchases more mindfully. But hey – I still taobao or buy from H&M. It’s all about balance after all. So here, I wanted to share with you a few simple ways to start reducing waste and living more mindfully without going full cold turkey.

IMG_6630-768x1024.jpg

  1. Bring your own cup

    I bought a Keep Cup! Like I said in my Instagram post, it was one of my best, if not the best, purchase I’ve made this year or ever. It is so light weight, easy to clean, has a valve seal so you can hoist it around, AND it really helps reduce waste one paper or plastic cup at a time. This is because I watched this video about recycling paper cups – FYI a lot of places don’t have the right process to recycle these coated paper cups so they end up going to the landfill. By bringing your own plastic cup on the other hand, you can even save a few bucks (depending on where you go – Winston’s, Barista Jam and many more cafes have discounts when you BYOC.)

    Side note: My girlfriend also bought me stainless steel straws, I use them at home now because I always forget to bring them out, but they’re absolutely a dream to use.

  2. Minimize takeout waste

    I know, sometimes you can’t plan every meal of your day, and more often than not you have to opt for meals al desko. What I find useful is, if I end up going to some place near the office/home for takeout, I opt out of taking the plastic bag and utensils. Maybe I’m too shy (for now) to bring my own container, but at least I’m saving one plastic bag and one pair of utensils (in another plastic bag). Don’t be lazy and wash the office/home forks instead!

    IMG_6742-1024x1024.jpg

    Should’ve recycled this… :S

  3. Think before you throw

    Lol I’m starting to sound preachy right? But I’m not going to teach you the basics of recycling, I’m sure (I hope) you already know that. But what I realised was, sometimes I’m quick to throw away something instead of recycling because I wasn’t thinking. For example, some really sturdy takeaway boxes can be cleaned and re-used or then recycled, I do this all the time in the office so everything from my takeout caused no waste. I also recycle groceries packaging and yogurt pots etc. Just make sure you clean everything before recycling.

  4. Refuse packaging

    It’s a very small gesture, but when you see shop keepers wrapping up your goodies in rice paper or extra plastic bags or ribbons and frilly things, just politely say you don’t need it. I know sometimes pretty packaging is great for the ‘gram, but if you’re not going to re-use or gift it, it’s pretty much seconds from going into the trash. Again – it’s better to not be wasteful than to recycle.

These are just a few of the ways you can reduce waste without making huge changes, but slowly you can amp it up if you feel like it. Rock the bamboo toothbrushes, go sans packaging and shop from wet markets… Everything is a choice and the choice is yours. The key is to be educated, and when you are, you will automatically be aware of the waste you can save.

I’m gonna run off before sounding too preachy… ?
But leave me a comment and share your feelings! x

The post Easy Habits for an Eco-ish Lifestyle appeared first on Helloabella.com.


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helloabella

Hey guys, how are you? I just wanted to check in with a quick makeup routine video for nights when I’m “going out”. I did this in under 20 minutes, so with practice I’m sure you guys can too! ?

I know this isn’t the usual *~Instagram Makeup~* but honestly, those only look good in photos/under flash. But honey I don’t know about you, I beat my face so I can actually go out and see people. So yeah, no shade please.

Products used:

Too Faced HangoverRx Replenishing Face Primer

Urban Decay Naked Skin One & Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector SPF 20 in MEDIUM

Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in TAN

Srichand Powder (Translucent)

Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer

NYX Lid Lingerie in GOLD STANDARD 04

Coastal Scents 88 Warm Palette

MSH Love Liner Liquid in BLACK

Aritaum Matte Formula Eyebrow Pencil in GREY BROWN

Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Eyebrow Gel

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder

NARS Cosmetics blush in ORGASM

Aritaum Magic Contouring Highlighter in 02

NYX Lip Primer in DEEP NUDE

KIKO Milano Automatic Precision Lip Liner in 504 (Now repackaged)

Molly Cosmetics Liquid Lipstick in TOPAZ

Tools used:

My damn delicate hands

The Original Beautyblender

Brushes from:
Real Technique (sculpting brush) – iherb is where to buy them bbs,
E.L.F. (blush brush),
Sigma (E36 Blending)

I know you all have some makeup/time-saving tricks hiding up your sleeves too, so don’t be shy and share them in the comments! x

The post Easy Under 20 Minutes Going Out Look appeared first on Helloabella.com.


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So let’s cut the crap – most of the time we I go to a cute cafe is because I want to take a good flatlay for my Instagram or really show off that I am living it up with the hipster lifestyle. But nowadays I have to work from home or away from the office more often, I find myself looking for the best places in town to sit down and not be bothered for 3-4 hours at a time. I’ve tried many a places (though never enough), and here are a few of my go-tos for your reference.

Also, bear in mind I usually show up mid-afternoon or after lunch hours, so if you need a place to work all day, you either need to start your day at Pacific Coffee or double check what time they open.

The Hideout coffee House hk

1. The Hideout Coffee House

This was one of my earliest discoveries, but I really love this place and their coffee. Apart from a cute outdoor patio you can chill at, the upstairs space, though tiny, is where you can really zone out and get your work done. The two down-sides are that it really can only fit about 10 people at a time, and that there isn’t much natural light. But go on a weekday mid afternoon and you should be golden.

Shop B, 63 Third St, Sai Ying Pun

2. Lof10

I love Lof10, they are my favourite coffee place for a good flat white (you can disagree, idc cuz I’m not a coffee snob). Their slightly awkward location also means it usually isn’t very crowded unless it’s the weekend, and you can go undisturbed doing whatever important stuff you need to work on. Wi-fi is rather slow for me… But not so bad that I’d never go back. The industrial raw/hipster vibe is also really strong here.

P.S. $58HKD for a coffee, if you’re not down don’t go.

1 U Lam Terrace, Sheung Wan

Coffee by Zion hk

3. Coffee by Zion

This new contender in Sai Ying Pun is one of my recent go-tos, just because it’s right across from the SYP MTR exit and the staffs are never iffy about you only buying one cup of coffee. They also serve all day breakfast, pastas, and healthy actual breakfast options, so you can practically spend all day there if you don’t mind the higher price tags ($80+ for breakfast). Wifi game is strong, and there are also a couple of power plugs around. It’s a very open and bright space, just mind the occasional noisy folks because the space can get echo-chamber-ish.

87 First St, Sai Ying Pun

4. Pacific Coffee

Haha – okay this one isn’t a joke. I know it’s a chain and everything, but it does have everything one would like from a remote cafe-office sans artisanal brew. I love both the Central branch (opposite G.O.D.) and the Sheung Wan branch (near Upper Modern Bistro) because you can usually find a seat with an outlet, strong wifi and get a giant cuppa that’s actually affordable/cheap. The staff are always nice, toilets are clean and you never get bothered. What’s not to love?

Major plus points for opening from early morning to late night (like 11pm late) – perf for all day working if you don’t mind muffins or sandwiches for meals.

Feed Your Nerves HK

5. Feed Your Nerves

This one’s for the peeps on the other side of Hong Kong who enjoys a place with a more local touch. Started by young locals, this cafe serves up some amazing Asian eats along with coffees and teas. Don’t get discouraged by their bad-titude, they’re not mean just mostly indifferent. You can also explore their small shop upstairs selling dry flower bouquets and other misc. accessories.

434 Portland St, Mong Kok

Extra pick: The Coffee Academics

I love their flat white. And Causeway Bay space is huge, though TST also n Wifi game strong, not sure about outlets.

So these are my top five, but there are also a few other options I would like to explore/have heard quite a bit about/have in the bank for rainy days:

  • Wired Cafe at Hysan Place
  • Bound by Hillywood (I did NOT enjoy Cafe Hillywood – horrid experience for me)
  • Holly Brown in Central, esp upstairs
  • Noc Coffee & Roaster on Graham Street (lovely coffee, but looks like a small space)
  • Lof10 in Causeway Bay next to WTC (much bigger space)
  • Knockbox in Mongkok (aaahmazing coffee, but unsure about small space)
  • Urban Coffee Roaster in TST (great coffee, but doesn’t feel like a space I’d spend hours in)
  • Other co-working spaces like The Hive, WeWork or even ones in Cheung Sha Wan / Lai Chi Kok etc.

Alright, that’s it from me for now. If you guys know other kwel places, please comment below! Catch you guys soon. x

The post My Favourite Cafes in Hong Kong (with free wifi + power) appeared first on Helloabella.com.


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helloabella

Hey guys! How are you? Some of you may know from my Instagram that I’ve been trying to be healthy (i.e. torture self with clean eating and exercise), and one of the ways I pursued that cause was to go on a meal plan with NOSH. Before I go on, this is in no way sponsored or initiated by NOSH, I merely chose it because it was the most affordable/made the most sense to me.

So what is a meal plan?

If you’re like me and have troubles dealing with temptations/self control/food in general, and is too lazy/busy to meal prep, meal plans are golden tickets towards diet success while making sure you don’t pass out from hunger or malnutrition.

You can opt for different menus and days according to your target calorie intake and schedule. I opted for the five-day signature LEAN plan with 1500 calories a day. It comes with 3 meals AND a snack, delivered to your door/office everyday. You can choose to go higher calories or lower, 2 meals or 3, and however many days you want ranging from 2 to 5 days.

How much was it?

When I first opted in, it was $1000HKD for five days. (Shout out to Green Queen for 20% off first trial!) But now, they’ve raised the price to $1500HKD for five days. It worked out to be just $200 for 3 meals + snack so I thought it was a bargain, even by my always-broke-and-local standards.

So… How was it?

It. Was. Actually. FANTASTIC. I was a little skeptical about how it was possible for them to even maintain cost to deliver food to my TST office every damn day, but they did it! They packed it in a paper bag with separate recyclable containers, very much to my semi-eco preferences’ content. On top of that, they’re now also switching the bags with reusable thermo bags too (they get collected with your next day’s delivery, neat huh).

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Food wise, I’ve got to admit many a days they were not pretty. Here are some snippets, though I apologise in advance for not taking photos of everything cuz I AM HUMAN AND I WAS TOO HUNGRY AND I FORGOT. ALSO THEY’RE MOSTLY HALF EATEN CUZ AGAIN – KAREN HUNGRY.

NOSH signature meal plan

My first breakfast was not an appetising or an easy to chew one….. The grilled chicken burrito bowl for dinner was amazing though.

NOSH signature meal plan

Breakfast quiche, SO ON BOARD. But quit with the weird fruit salads drenched in soy sauce, that was HORRID.

Overall I leaned very much towards the meals with meat (put that on a t-shirt), but not fish cause they usually get fishy and unappetising as the day goes along.

It was so comforting to know I have all of meals sorted, in the fridge, and ready to go whenever I needed them. They were so filling, I was never hungry in between meals or in the middle of the night – much unlike the times now when I try to meal prep but get so hungry at 4pm and 9pm.

This was also much much better than meal prepping in bulk because you get so much more variety so it feels like you’re eating like a normal person, except everything is calorie-counted and good for you. Like, this part was my favourite thing about these damn meal plans. Their menus also change every week, like gaddamn Nosh who you tryna impress?!

How did it feel? Did you lose weight?

My colleagues were all very intrigued and were all so sure I could be tempted by other snacks etc., but hey. Seriously. Even as a girl who loves her siumai now and again, I cross my heart and hope to die did not crave any other food.

I felt cleaner, better than everyone else cuz I ate healthy, and could control my diet so much better because I could eat anytime (a.k.a dinner at 6 like a grandma) because they’re already there. I probably didn’t lose weight, but my system definitely felt better and detoxed, even though I still ate full meals 3 times a day.

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Sweet potato mash and soba with edamame YES.

Conclusion?

If you’ve got $6000 food money lying around every month, you should DEFINITELY hop on this bandwagon, honey. But if not, once in a while instead of splurging on fancy dinners, you (like I) should do five days of this once a month just to keep you on top of the health game.

As long as you can look pass having no social life and/or eating some grey stuff (a la beauty and the beast, it’s delicious).

Anyway, I know I sound very like BUY THIS but this really was a 100% true, tried and tested review by yours truly. And you know I hate liars + fakers! ? 

Till next time, leave me a comment so I know you’ve been. xx

The post NOSH Meal Plan Review (Self-paid) appeared first on Helloabella.com.


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So how many times have you heard me (or anyone) say they’re going to start being fit, but then totally give up after like a month? I get it – I’ve been through the yoyo-ing phase and got stuck at the top. But if you follow me on Instagram (#helloabellabounces), you may have realised that I have started the healthy routine again.

Before you brush this off as being a sponsored post, even though it is, I just want to be honest with you. This is my chance to get healthy and jump (couldn’t resist….) into what hopefully will become a lifelong habit of relatively well-behaved eating and regular exercising of some sorts. It’s been a month now and I just wanted to check in with my process + results. So…. see this as a review. Or not. Up to you.

What went down?

Basically I told the lovely Megan at BounceLimit that I wanted to TRANSFORM. Not just do a few #sponsored posts on Instagram, but fully watch and follow my progress because that’s what matters. So I got measured. And got told that I will ease into a program of regular and multiple classes a week along with a mindful diet.

For the first month, I had to go to two classes a week: Pilates and Beginners. No diet watch yet.

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Bouncelimit Fitness Assessment

How are the classes?

I usually go for the Wednesday 7am class and one of the Saturday afternoon ones. The 7am ones are brutal because I’m up and out by 6:30am. But morning classes to me, are the most rewarding ones because you get it out of the way when your body is sorta too tired to even feel pain, and then you’re golden for the rest of the day.

Rebounding (the technical term for mini-trampolining) isn’t just jump all you want. It is a lot of control, and when you’re trying to do different actions while using your core and legs and hands and back, it could get overwhelming. But is it fun? HELL YEAH!

When I went to my first class I almost died. But after the mindfu*k that was the first class, you slowly get into the groove, and by groove I mean how to balance and jump side to side while rotating your arms etc., and it’s all painfully fun after that. Plus I use to spin, love group classes and hate boring things (adhd hands up!) so bouncing to top of the pops puts this right up there for me.

Usually for a beginners class it’s a mix of mostly cardio and some core exercises. It introduces you to the basic technique and gives you a taste of what it feels like to “ski” or “clown” around on a rebounder. Spoiler alert, it’s not like a trampoline park.

BTW, running on a rebounder is (insert number I forgot, either 3 or 6 times?) better and more effective than running on the ground. Oh and it doesn’t have as much pressure on your joints. I only care about the first part because I hate running with a passion.

Also, if you want to try a free class, let me know! I’ll hook my fam up.

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Did I lose weight though?

I don’t know? Because weight isn’t the goal here. It’s about getting fit, feeling better about myself and my life, and having a mind and body balance.

But hey, I did get measured again just in case. I lost inches in my waist and glutes. But that’s not what’s the most important thing for me. Check out my posture below!

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Bouncelimit before and after

LOOK AT THIS. Even though my first shirt made me look preggos, yes, but my posture is so much better. My measurements tell me muscles on both sides are balancing out, and because I’m more mindful of my posture, my shoulders no longer rolls over as much or tilts to one side.

Why is it a huge thing? I use to wear my bag on the right side only and I get huge pains with the unevenness. My right shoulder muscles were bigger and tighter and always in pain. With better mindfulness and exercises that work out minute muscles in my body, I was able to start correct these horrendous postures and pains.

PS, PM me if you want a trick to both work out your abs all day and make your stomach look smaller ?

Anyway…

So if you want to cheer me on or watch me keep on keeping on, please do follow me on the ‘gram and leave me a comment! I would love to hear from you. This journey will be 3 months long at least (if not longer), so please show this sista some looooove. I will also be writing my review for the NOSH meal plan next, so stay chooned.

Maybe one day I’ll take one of those sports bra only after photos. Who knows eh.

Till then, remember to recycle!
xx

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Hey guys! Welcome back ? I was so excited to swatch these for you guys because they’re just so pretty! When they arrived in the mail (thank you Benefit HK team ladies!), I was like omg, is Benefit finally doing lips stuff?! YAY!

So without further ado, you can either watch the video above, or read on below for my take on these lippies.

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Packaging

These don’t usually come in individual boxes, so fret not, you can just invest in a single colour of your choice instead of bombshelling on all eight. They do look like the They’re Real mascaras, but the lightweight metallic tube looks really different from other lippies – which I love.

The one thing that needs getting used to how you push up the product. To be precise, you need to twist the bottom (instead of the body). Other than that, I wish they had better indication of the shade other than a tiny sticker at the bottom!

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The Shades

There are eight shades in total, with most of them circling around reds, pinks, corals and one nude. You may be worried that shades like Flame Game (bright orange) and Fuchsia Fever (bright pink) are hard to carry, but from what I’ve swatched they’re pretty sheen, so you can either lay it on a clean lip for a subtle hue or use it on top of primers to make the colour really pop.

It’s got a good range I’d say, and the teardrop design really does make your lip look more 3D, but only like A TINY BIT. I wouldn’t say it’s the most obvious thing in the world. *ahem, kind of reminds me of the Laneige 2 tone lip bar…*

The Wear

When I read that it self-proclaimed as a LINER, I was like, no way. So… Sorry to burst your bubble, but this isn’t a liner in a sense that it WILL rub off.  BUT I guess it IS a liner in a sense that it does give you the idea of lined lips because it’s darker on the lines of your lips (because the top half of the teardrop is darker).

With a few smack of the lips, the colours will blend together so it’s not something really obvious (see above), but I’m not mad at it for being natural. The texture is buttery and feels like lip balm, and wearing it doesn’t feel drying – so for girls who want another go at lipsticks but are scared of too much colour pay off or dry AF lips, these are the way to go!

I would happily throw one of these in my bag (nude scandal fuh sure) as a cute upgrade from lip balms, but sadly they won’t be replacing my liquid lips anytime soon.

I hope you enjoyed my review! If you did, please leave a comment below + let me know the next product to review! ? Thank you so much for dropping by.

K x

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How are you guys liking the new layout? PLEASE do let me know your thoughts, I am insecure and need reassurance. My personal issues aside, my previous post was lucky enough to be selected for the ifb round-up this week, so if you’re looking for some cool reads and advice for the weekend, here they are! Enjoy xx

Links à la Mode, February 23rd

SPONSOR: Amazon’s Shopbop A.L.C., Eddie Borgo Jewelry, Tory Burch Shoes, CAMI NYC, Romanchic, Stevie May, High Volume, Metallic Mini Bags, City Sandals, Men’s Rochambeaucvo.gif?cvosrc=sponsored%20bloggers.lalam.2222017

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Lots of people are aspiring to be bloggers, influencers and key opinion leaders nowadays… but what does that really entail? As a self-proclaimed blogger for, gosh it’s been like five years now(!), I was inspired to give my slice of insight about what it means for me. After all, one of my most popular posts was What Blogging Has Done To Me.

Just a disclaimer: obviously my views don’t represent everyone, and I’m not writing this to tell you how to be a blogger (though here’s a starter kit).

Being a blogger could mean a lot of things, and at times it is thrilling, breathtaking and eye opening. But I’m not here to talk about that. Here are a few things being a blogger is NOT…

1. It doesn’t mean you’ll be rich

Oh yes. Being a super successful blogger could mean having your own business, your own company, even leading you to amazing/lucrative gigs. But that doesn’t happen to everyone. Success isn’t guaranteed and it could be one in a million.

Truth is. Your blog might never take off without a controversy or a whole lot of mental and financial investment. It might not even take off AFTER those things. Your readers could only be your mother, your boyfriend, and your cat. That’s why those who stick it out, does it for their passion.

2. You could be rolling in freebies

How’s that something DON’T want, you ask. Before you dismiss me as cray cray, hear me out. Yes, bloggers LIVE for new experiences and being the first to try products. But if you have a niche, a passion and integrity, there are going to be times where you won’t like what you’re given.

As a polite but opinionated person (#consideratebitch), I sometimes find freebies restricting. A) because you need to maintain good relationships with PRs and brands, and B) because you can’t be someone who loves everything. So basically, sometimes you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Honesty is a great policy, but even if you dgaf about money, it just feels so much better to have the liberty to write your opinions on your own dough.

PRO TIP: if you ever don’t love something from the get go, you can politely refuse it. If it’s post-usage, you can always inform the PR first and not write something instead of writing something semi-fake.

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3. It’s not easier than having a normal job

It’s sort of the same deal as point one. It might seem like it’s easy, even like a dream, to live going to glamorous events, snapping selfies and casually reviewing free products and meals. But hey, you’ll be surprised how much work goes behind a casual blog.

Even for a person who barely does any work for her blog, there are content to plan, photos to take, videos to make, stats to look at, and people to network with. Not to forget pitches you have to make, cold emails you have to send, ideas you have to dream up, the blogging scene you have to keep up with.

But the scariest of it all, at least to me, is how it can take away the joy in the things you love (like most passion jobs). When you’re tasting 10 times a week, when you’re stepping onto chairs and stooping down for a good angle, when you’re planning and re-planning your content and can’t seem to get an actual word in about your feelings, when you’re made up on a Sunday just for one photo or tutorial… To me, it takes a bit of the fun away. And honestly? This 24/7 isn’t for everyone.

4. So why do it? How do I make it?

Honestly? I don’t have an answer for you. And if anyone says they do, I’ll take a pinch of salt with that offer. Because no matter the amount of strategy and e-courses and incentives and campaigns and plans you have, the blog runs on your passion. It is a labour of love, it is a hobby, it is you, having something to share with the world, putting yourself out there ready to be judged.

And if you don’t love it, I honestly hope that you find something else to start a business with! If you’re not ready to work HARD on something that will sometimes feel boring, uninspired, pointless, even down right a waste of time… then you’re not ready to be a blogger.

But if you are? Oh you’ll be joining the most wonderful of communities, filled with fun, friendly and helpful people. You’ll be meeting new and inspired people, having conversations that will fuel your dreams. You’ll have opportunities to do things you’ve never done before, see things you won’t ever see otherwise.

If you’re a blogger, I hope you find fuels beyond monetary gains, I hope you find joy and support from this strange but mostly lovely world of internet and blogging. If not, well FYI – it takes a shit ton of work to look effortless.

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till next time,
xx

(very very old) Photos by Gabrielle Salonga,
hat tip to Maisha Concept for the gorgeous frocks.

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Hey guys, I’m going to skip the whole new year’s resolution thing because I think there are more than enough blog posts about that. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the most important thing I learnt to do last year, and that it has benefitted me on many occasions.

For friends that know me, you’ll know that I’m slightly ADHD, with a tendency to be very scatter-brained and forgetful. I can also be very impatient and sometimes let my emotions control my actions without really thinking about it twice.

Spoiler alert: the deep breaths and count to ten thing DOES NOT WORK.

I’ve been trying to get my life into order, and though bullet journaling and exercising did not work out (YET…), I’ve actually learnt to meditate accidentally. Whaaaat?

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HOW TO START MEDITATING

Personally, I started with apps because I’m on my phone 24/7 and I find it so convenient to have it with me on the go. I tried Headspace, but landed with Simple Habits (not an ad).  I was surprised to find all sorts of use for meditation, even curing colds and training your EQ.

It lets you meditate for intervals of 5, 10 or 15 minutes, and there are different audio meditations for different situations. I’ve benefitted especially from the introductions, waiting/in transit, frustration, and deep sleep. It has simple instructions and soothing music, which worked better for me than free tutorials on Youtube (which also cost more data when you’re streaming).

After using the app for a few weeks though, I’ve decided to ditch the paid subscription (not a must – you can use some parts of the app for free) after I learnt a few basic tricks and decided it was downloading too much data still, even if it was just audio. Guess I was using it too much lol.

THE BASICS/HOW-TO

Basically, it’s about focusing on your breathing. It’s about learning to calm your mind, notice your thoughts and feelings, and keep them managed and gain clarity. I know I sound very hippy dippy, but trust me, it has done wonders for helping me focus.

The EASIEST way I can explain it is: You sit in a comfortable position (I’ve even tried walking), focus your sight on something and start to *space out*. By spacing out, I mean starting listening and narrating your breathing – in through your nose, out through your mouth. Check out this cool video from Huffpost explaining it:

Once you start doing that, you’ll start to see that your mind only has focus on that. I also slowly repeat the mantra once I’ve focused on my breathing – “Allow things to be as they are, right now, in this moment.

This has helped me especially when I’ve been in a pickle, felt frustrated, angry, short of patience or tired. When I need to relax, I focus on my body, part by part, and focus on any sensations or tenseness I’m feeling, then I continue to breathe deeply and release my thoughts and tightness.

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What it did to me…

You know, I’m no professional in any shape or form. But if you find yourself needing a peace of mind or just new ways to focus or relax, I definitely recommend trying to be more mindful – it’s even recommended by your iPhone. (don’t believe me? Check out the mindfulness section in your Health app.) It also helped with self-reflections and better control of my emotions and impulses.

If you have a major short attention span like I do, you might think you’ll give it up before you start. But try it! Try it anyway and see where it takes you. *insert life quote* But then again what do I know. I started wearing crystals. ?

Let me know how it goes for you! I’d love to know.

As always, beautiful photography by Gabrielle Salonga. 

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New year, new you! Happy 2017 everyone. How have you spent your new year so far, or is that too premature of a question to ask? Anyways, I think if you live in Hong Kong, you would’ve felt the hiking heat by now. That’s right, the it thing to do after boozy brunching and getting married is now HIKING.

To be fair, HK’s nature side is quite worth the literal hike and I, like many other young boys and girls in their sports bras and 2XU tights have taken to the mountains for instagram-worthy snaps and a breath of fresh air. One of the most memorable hikes I’ve taken is the Tung Chung rescue trail – here now in all its glory in image form. Enjoy.

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Where do I start?

You can take off from the Big Buddha/Ngong Ping like I did, or go from the other end and start from Tung Chung. The trail takes you from one end to the other, and is not a loop. Check out this link for all the useful details you need.

P.S. make sure to stop for some tofufa/tofu pudding at the Big Buddha before/after your hike.

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The actual hike

… takes about 3-4 hours. Be warned that this trail isn’t for the extremely-faint-hearted, because once you’re half way in, there’s no turning back. It comes with a large amount of stairs and steep hills. You’re essentially walking below the cable cars and up AND down numerous small mountains.

You’ll arrive in different service stations of the cable cars, and that’s when you know you’re on the right track. You’ll also get to check out the airport from above, and get a giant dose of nature on the way.

There are no pitstops/benches, stores or toilets in between. GET PREPPED before you head in and be sure to bring some snacks and water with you. Don’t litter either, kids!

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Look at these stairs… They’re so steep they’ve got a gantry and sign warning you of danger.

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The other side

After you hit the last peak, you’ll hit the jackpot view – see top photo. Then, it’s downhill from there. It can be a bit scary heading down steep flights of stairs with nothing on your sides, so go with friends (definitely) and bring a hiking stick (recommended).

It’s crazy rewarding and I highly recommend this trail if you’ve got no intense fear of heights. It’s really zen! The trail is also very well constructed because it’s a rescue trail, so you don’t need to buy hiking shoes or have any special equipments other than a water bottle and legs that won’t quit.

If you go, definitely show me the photos! Enjoy xoxo

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Hey y’all. Instead of being apologetic about why I don’t post that often, I’m just going to write. I’ve never done this before, but people – you ask me so much about food that I think I’ve just got to do these once in a while. If you follow me on socials, you know #helloabellaeats is where you get the good stuff, but this annual roundup I think would be a great way to bring the year to a close and also let you know when + where to go!

Mind you, I’m doing this on the fly, so just bear with me if you think something’s missing. Leave a comment instead! Also, everyone’s taste is different, so if you don’t agree, just agree to disagree. x (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER… HERE WE GO, best restaurants in HK 2016!)

P.S. All photos MINE. 

Best hot pot when you’re balling: Drunken Pot

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Price: ~$500+ per head

Pros: Amazing settings, great selection of tipples (loved the sake), and the selection of hot pot food is really big, fresh, and some very original. You can also choose to do the popular steam seafood thing so you can be healthy and all. Apparently their new Causeway Bay outlet also has a killer view, so I definitely recommend this place for special occasions.

Cons: Skip the cocktails and expect to pay up. P.S. we had a birthday party there for ~20 people and it worked out to only be ~$400 pp! PRO TIP = go with more people.

Best new hot pot concept: Craft Hot Pot 101

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Price: just under $300 pp

Pros: Giving a twist to the usual chicken hot pot, you finish the Taiwanese spicy chicken stew (三杯雞) before adding soup to continue your hot pot journey. Each person gets a serving of beef and fresh seafood, plus all you can eat sides and non-alcoholic drinks. It’s not those shitty frozen ingredients and the flavours are dynamic and heavy! THEIR SOY ROLLS ARE BOMB.COM

Cons: Again go with a big group as they give you far too much food! If you’ve not got the stomach for heavy flavours and large portions, I’d advise you to stay away as well.

Best bang-for-buck atas/high-class restaurant: Alto

Alto Causeway Bay

Price: ~$500 pp

Pros: (sorry for the shitty photo…) The winter menu was creative, fun and full of contrasting flavours and textures. My favourite was the foie gras with pistachio ice cream, but I couldn’t forget about the gnocchi full of root veggies and winter feelings, or the steak on a salt slab either. Full disclosure, I went for a tasting, but cross my heart I really did enjoy it – especially it being a Dining Concept “design” place and all. I think for the price (starters ~$100, main ~$1-300), it’s a great place for date night especially with that stunning harbour view and killer rooftop. 

Cons: I’ve heard mixed reviews. But I quite enjoyed it. Also, gets bit dark so bring your flash and good camera.

Best eat in Central: Beef & Liberty

Beef & Liberty Central

Price: ~$100-300 pp

Pros: Affordable. In the middle of LKF. Cute decor. MADE ME LIKE BREAD/BURGERS. Their lamb burger was so good… My girlfriend had the Beans and Liberty which she enjoyed but couldn’t finish. Their Notorious P.I.G. burger is also to die for. FD: I “won” an instagram contest for brunch, but for two people we didn’t even finish the $500 quota.

Cons: errr….. it’s fat for you. That’s it. Oh and the alcoholic shake was not my thing – too heavy!

Best eat in Sai Ying Pun: Okra

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Price: ~$400 pp

Pros: Expect the unexpected with this hip Japanese eatery in SYP, complete with feet-thumping music, erotic wall art and unusual ingredients/taste palette. Sake selection on point. P.S. Don’t sleep on the fucking tofu – I’m serious.

Cons: Don’t go with a big party. Unless it’s so big you can occupy the entire downstairs (about ~15 people).

Best hidden cafe in Central: Sogno Cafe+

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Price: ~$100 pp

Pros: Hidden in plain sight upstairs near Japan Home Center on Wellington, this place is a haven for midday coffee break and sweet treats. Savory options include pastas and other generic cafe dishes. I go for the cute cartoons and warm decor, but stay for the banoffee and coffee.

Cons: Can get crowded if you go during lunch/weekend prime hours.

Best lobster roll that doesn’t rip a hole in your wallet: Master Kama

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Price: ~$200 pp

Pros: Comfy spacious seating area, no queuing or squeezing. $398 for lobster roll and fries and udon AND grilled lobster – enough for a couple to share. Major props for value.

Cons: … idk. I guess if you were a “foodie” who had something to say about everything you’ll prolly be like oh it’s just ~okay~.

Best hidden find EVER: Ebina Tsukemen

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Price: ~$100 pp

Pros: YES to everything hidden and hard to find. Located off Sham Shui Po almost to Cheung Sha Wan, this is a sister store to the pork tsukemen hidden inside the Apple Mall of Dragon Centre. Famed for their prawn soup base tsukemen or dipping noodles, it’s especially worth the queue if you hit the jack pot with their uni/sea urchin tsukemen – with only a ridiculous number of bowls sold a day (something like 10…)

Cons: Queuing if you don’t like to queue. Small space so don’t bring a party.

Honourable mentions

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Lobster Bobo for the best lobster noodles

Block 18 noodles (18座狗仔粉) which I crave for 24/7

Chuan Po Po (川婆婆) for fuckyeah Ma La Tang (麻辣燙)

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華南粉麵茶餐廳有限公司 for some awesome cow innards/beef brisket noodles supper

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Moonshine & the Po’Boys for seafood bucket holyshit that was good

12,000 Francs I really liked for the unconventional palette and exciting menu

Goobne for KFC that is BAKED (whaaaaaa)

HOME eat to live for that damn NOURISH shake and Clouded Leopard flatbread

Second Draft cuz everyone knows their Mapo Burrata be BOMB.com

Ma Ma Lat Lat (嫲嫲辣辣) & Sijie Sichuan for amazing spicy good lovin.

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All-star all time faves that are DEFINITELY ALWAYS good: Le Bistro Winebeast (!!!! srsly), The Optimist, La Vache

Bars that are 100%: 001, Ophelia, Iron Fairies, J.Boroski

Phew soooo… I think that’s all I can think of right now. If I can’t remember it, it probably wasn’t that good. To be honest many of my friends have been saying 2k16 hasn’t been that good of a year for the F&B industry but if you really pound the pavements, you can always find something hidden and amazing to try. But if you’re too lazy, there’s always openrice lulz.

Sorry again for the wavering quality of my photos, I don’t be like people who carry pro cameras out with me all day long. Hope you guys enjoyed the list though. And as always follow me on Instagram (#helloabellaeats) for the latest goss.

Extra extra cheeky bonus bit:

Not to step on any toes, but just wanted to give you guys a heads up on places I thought were just okay (meh)… Chi Chi Cham (Soho), YOKOZUNA Japanese Noodle Shop (Yau Ma Tei), Kuma Ramen (sheung wan), Mr & Mrs Fox, One Minden Kitchen, Papa Rich, Mad for Garlic, Artisan Garden Cafe (fucking expensive), 18 Grams Mongkok (for brunch, fucking slow service no good food), QMO, Tung Bo (overpriced), Seafood Room, Ancient Moon (DID NOT LIKE), Le Pho by Naked, Modos egg waffles (don’t get the hype)…

ok g2g before someone tries to assasinate me.

Comment below with YOUR fave high & low eats for the year!!

till next time,
xx

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