November 30, 2012

Christmas Countdown: my handmade Advent Calendar

Ho! Ho! Ho! Christmas is just some weeks away and I can't wait for the festive season any longer! Take a look at my Pinterest page and you'll see I've been pinning Christmas stuff for quite a long time. Luckily tomorrow, December the 1st, we already get to start what has always been one of my favorite Christmas traditions: the Advent Calendar! Since I was a little girl, I've always looked forward to December so that I could start counting down to Christmas. I used to have a new and disposable advent calendar each year, some years the windows were filled with chocolates, while others were just filled with lovely paintings. I enjoyed the latter the most. Basically because the chocolate from advent calendars is of average quality to put it nicely, if you know what I mean! The drawings in advent calendars, on the other hand, were always delightful! Detailed beautiful paintings revolving around Christmas, yet each of them different from one another.

This year, however, I decided to change a bit. Instead of using a disposable calendar, I ordered a handmade Advent Calendar from Etsy that can be used for all the Christmases to come! I came across this beauty in early November while browsing online for this year's advent calendar. My original plan was to make one by myself so I was actually looking for DIY tutorials on advent calendars. After taking a look at some though, I had to admit that craftiness is not among my strong points, and even if I don't think it's impossible for me to make one, it would certainly take me more than a month. That's why I ended up getting an advent calendar that, even if not made by me, is still handmade by someone else with love and care. Compared to the price of a regular advent calendar, this one is quite an investment, but I have the feeling this calendar will stick with us for many years to come, so I say yes to long-term investments! :)

This Christmas Tree advent calendar is the work of homemadebylittleme, or Lee Simons, from the UK. I was a bit worried the calendar wouldn't get to Hong Kong on time but Lee did a marvelous job and dispatched the calendar just two days after I placed my order, and it arrived safely 10 days later! Check out Lee's site on Etsy, she is so talented! There's many many pieces of her work I'd like to own. The calendar has little pockets for every day of December until Christmas, and these last few days I've been preparing the surprises to be included in every pocket. Every day has two pieces of paper with a message, one is for me written by J, and the other one is for J written by me. There's also candy, Meiji chocolate and mini Kit-Kats in the pockets, yay, this year I'll certainly be looking forward to the Advent Calendar's chocolates!

I wish you all a wonderful weekend and better month of December, may the magic of Christmas embrace you all!

November 28, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Our Proposal Reenactment Photoshoot

My wedding is now less than a year away {whoa, I still can't believe it!} and for it, I'm happy to announce a new series on my blog! 

Welcome to Wedding Wednesday, a series for all things wedding! 

I feel it's time for me to start sharing all my wedding planning in a more organized fashion, rather than having spare posts here and there. I have so many things to write about, planning a wedding can be quite hectic! Wedding Wednesday, besides being a bride-to-be diary to be published every Wednesday, will also be a place to write about wedding inspirations {sites or ideas that I love} and, hopefully, a way to get some feedback via post comments from other brides-to-be or wifes who would be happy to share their advice with me!

Today I'm specially happy to share with all of you our proposal reenactment pics. J proposed at home, hence the background for this photoshoot... I love each and every picture, I hope you do too! :) Some of the moments during the photo session were truly touching, reminding us once again of all the joy we experienced that day...


For the occasion I picked this feather dress from Spanish brand Etxart&Panno I bought about two years ago in Barcelona. It's also the one I'm wearing in my about me page. J was wearing exactly the same as he was in the real proposal. As for me I changed my dress because I have way too many pictures with the silver dress from the original proposal...

Let me know how you liked this photoshoot! Enter your email on the "Follow by Email" tab on the right sidebar, so you never miss a post :) You can also follow my instagram @oliviaschoice

Special thanks to Rax Lam and Chung Wong for their amazing work in makeup and pictures.

November 27, 2012

Main St. Deli: a slice of The Big Apple in Hong Kong

A couple of weeks ago I passed by a restaurant that reminded me deeply of my days in New York. I was in a rush and didn't even have time to take a look at the name, but I later on did some research and found out it's Langham Hotel's Main St. Deli, a typical New York deli. The place looked gorgeous and the reviews were good, so I couldn't wait to try it out! Last Saturday we finally had the chance to go, right after finishing our proposal reenactment photoshoot (pics coming up tomorrow by the way so stay tunned!).

We had a burger each. I had the Blue Ribbon beef burger, with blue cheese and caramelized onion, while J had the Monster beef burger with the biggest onion rings I've ever seen! But then everything at Main St. Deli is huge. I'm guessing it's an American thing. One foot long hot dogs and huge cake slices are among the craziness of this place! You can find their menu in pdf here.

The burgers come with fries or salad, or you can add HK$8 to upgrade to sweet potatoes, curly or Idaho fries. I had sweet potatoes and J had the regular fries.
The burgers were truly delicious (the crispy onion rings were the best I ever had!) and they are now our second favorites in town, right after BLT burger in Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, our absolute winner. I really want to try the burgers at Hard Rock Cafe in Hong Kong because I've had them in other Hard Rock Cafes around the world and looove them! Only after having tried those I can do a proper burger ranking in Hong Kong!

Visited on: November 24, 2012 
Overall Quality: 4.5*
Price: KH$148 + 10% service charge for an 8oz burger with fries (-15% with HSBC credit card!)
Value for Money: 4.5*
Would I recommend it? Oh yes! A yummy New York style deli in Hong Kong! What is there not to like!?

November 25, 2012

Passion by Gerard Dubois

Ah, Sunday, beloved Sunday...! There is no denying this is one of my favorite days of the week! Today was even more special because I had something to celebrate. Yesterday was 1 year since I started working in my current company. It's the longest I've ever been in a company so this first anniversary had to be celebrated! So J and I made of this our excuse to go to Passion today, a French style bakery and cafe by chef Gerard Dubois, and boy did we love it!

Passion by Gerard Dubois made me feel as if back to Europe again. With delicious French pastries and petit fours, and illy coffee accompanied with Italian biscotti. 

We had a Peach Danish of superb quality. I've only ever eaten a similar quality one at Mandarin Oriental's Cake Shop. We also had the Rasberry mille-feuilles, another masterpiece to remember. Our third choice was the Passion chocolat, which turned out to have some passion fruit inside. For one reason or another I didn't really like this one, but then chocolate cakes are never my favorite.

This is a cafe worth a visit. On weekends you may need to wait before a table is free, but it's all worth it!

Visited on: 25 November, 2012
Overall quality: 4.5*
Price: $170 for two cafe latte, one pastry and two petit fours.
Value for Money: 4.5*
Would I recommend it? Yes, and when you do come, you will want to come back, for there are so many things to try, you can't possibly eat them all in one visit!

November 23, 2012

Sushi One after 10pm: Best Sushi Deal in Town

One of my favorite things about Hong Kong is its amazing Japanese food. This doesn't mean I don't enjoy the local delicacies, but the Japanese cuisine in Hong Kong is to die for! I have never ever come across a Japanese restaurant in Europe that comes even close to the ones in Hong Kong. 

The high quality and low prices of Japanese food in Hong Kong make of this city a dream come true for Japanese food lovers. Sushi, ramen, Japanese BBQ, pastries, you name it. Everything is available in Hong Kong at good prices and superb quality.

All of the above very well applies to Sushi One. With six branches in the city, it's probably the most famous sushi restaurant in Hong Kong. A big reason behind their success is their daily 50% off promotion after 10pm. Taking into account that the regular prices at Sushi One are already very reasonable, you can imagine what a bargain half priced sushi is. People start lining up for it before 9pm, and a long queue is formed within minutes.

These are just some of the dishes we had, with HK$100 per head you eat until you're full!

Visited on: November 20, 2012 (that was the last time but I go to Sushi One several times a month!)
Overall Quality: 5*
Spending per head: HK$100
Value for Money: 5*
Would I recommend it? You bet! This is one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong!

November 22, 2012

Getting Pampered at Kiwi Spa

This month I was lucky to be one of the bloggers to be invited to the newly open Kiwi Spa in Central. Kiwi Spa was launched on November the 1st, and I was sent a press release and an invitation for a 30 minutes foot massage to be used within November.

Upon my arrival at the spa, I was warmly welcomed by the staff, and directed towards the foot massage room. I had read Kiwi Spa offers iPads for you to browse the internet while getting pampered but during my visit there were no iPads to be seen. Oh well. Sooner than I knew it, I was wrapped in green towels and my feet were getting soaked on a hot water bassin. I relaxed like this for about 5 minutes while sipping my drink {complimentary tea or water} until the masseur arrived and 30 minutes of foot massage indulgence followed. I can tell the guy knew what he was doing! The massage felt like glory to me after having been sick that day, and when the time was up my body was still craving for more.

I have had foot massages plenty of times, most of the times in Mainland China. The prices in China beat the ones in Hong Kong by so much. An hour massage in Shenzhen, half an hour from Hong Kong by train, would cost less than HK$60 (US$8), while in Hong Kong the price goes up to a rocketing HK$300 (US$39), and that's already considered cheap! In this sense Kiwi Spa beats other spas in Hong Kong with more affordable prices but keeping the good quality. The 30 minutes massage I had is priced at HK$150, the 50 minutes one at HK$215 and the 75 minutes one at HK$285.

If I had to make a guess, I'd say Kiwi Spa is about 60 square meters in total. Used to the big spas in China, this made quite a difference! Kiwi Spa has 8 seats for foot massage, and two individual rooms for body massage.

Kiwi Spa is conveniently located in Century Square, at the heart of the Lan Kwai Fong area. With long opening hours from 10am till midnight and good prices for Hong Kong standards, there's no excuse not to fit a massage into your schedule! 

Kiwi Spa
14/F, Century Square
1-13 D'Aguilar Street, Central