When Not To Visit The Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens

Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens Hong Kong Zoological & Botanical Gardens

How weird do you think it is to witness a prehistoric-looking hornbill the size of a rooster try to pick a fight with a giant sassy-as-fuck blue crane standing over a metre tall? Very weird. I’m not exaggerating about the sassy crane, either. That thing was strutting around its enclosure like its tail feathers were the best thing since sliced bread. Its companion watched in what I would call mild interest as it tried to kick and bite and unfurl its wings at the hornbill in the next cage over, despite the wonderful steel bars in the way. You’d be glad to know the hornbill decided to humour the angry crane and had a rolling good time pecking at it through the cage. Funny things, birds. Also, goddamn frightening. Continue reading

Chocolate Chip Honey Banana Walnut Muffins {gluten free}

Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Muffins Chocolate Chip Banana Walnut Muffins

One of the best things about making a batch of these healthy, hearty, low-carbish  almond flour muffins is the melded fragrance of warm honey, dreamy coconut, toasty banana and melty chocolate during baking. If I could bottle the scent to keep forever, I would. And here’s even better news: they taste as good as they smell! Actually, they taste even better – sweet and comforting and sinfully moist and soft and decadent. It’s hard to believe they’re entirely gluten free. They were so mouthwatering that I had two of them as soon as they were out of the oven, and then another a few hours later. It seems self-control is nonexistent where tasty banana muffins are concerned! Continue reading

Weekends with Angie & James | Part VII: Beachin’ It Up At Burleigh Heads

Burleigh Heads Beach Burleigh Heads Beach Burleigh Heads Beach

The weather may have been unpredictable the last 24 hours, but Saturday was incredible! Toasty warm sunshine, bright blue skies and hair-tousling breezes – perfect beach weather. So, of course, we made it a point to pay Burleigh Heads a visit. My dear readers, let me give you a photographic tour of this wonderful coastal suburb that every visitor to the Gold Coast should experience at least once. Continue reading

Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyūkan) @ Tempozan Harbour Village, Osaka Bay Area

Osaka Aquarium Neon Tetra Osaka Aquarium Osaka Aquarium Jellyfish

“Jeez, is it school holidays or something? This place is packed!” 

Somehow, I’d convinced James to let me drag him to the Osaka Aquarium (海遊館). It’d be like a romantic date, I assured him. Secretly, I just wanted to take cool pictures of aquatic creatures and fantasise about the possibility of keeping rare species in my own home. James’ role was relegated to being the “photographer’s assistant” – a role that he assured me he didn’t mind (he probably did). Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for James I suppose, the aquarium had become a temporary can of sardines that day (there’s probably a pun in there somewhere) and taking photos was almost impossible with the number of kids (and adults!) jostling their way to the front. I believe I gave up being a photographer at some point and the aquarium visit did end up becoming a date after all. Continue reading

Brisbane Night Noodle Markets 2015 @ Cultural Forecourt, South Bank

Brisbane Night Noodle Markets 2015 Brisbane Night Noodle Markets 2015 Brisbane Night Noodle Markets 2015

The markets were in full swing by the time we arrived at the Cultural Forecourt in South Bank. We were overwhelmed by the number of food stalls scattered all over the place, stretching from the Performing Arts Centre all the way past the Wheel of Brisbane. The number of people milling about was staggering and it seemed like everything was popular. There wasn’t a stall that didn’t have a queue. With so many different Asian-inspired foods on offer, it was almost impossible to choose. Did we want char-grilled coconut ribs with tamarind glaze on rice? Noodles with ground pork and sweet bean sauce? Taiwanese chicken wings with chilli buttermilk? Continue reading

Olive Oil Pancakes with Chia Seeds & Dark Chocolate {vegan}

Olive Oil Vegan Pancakes Olive Oil Vegan Pancakes Olive Oil Vegan Pancakes

Last night, James and I attended the Brisbane Night Noodle Markets in South Bank. Halfway through it all, my mum called to ask: “Did you feel the earthquake we had today? It was a 5.7.” My first reaction had been WHAT? AGAIN?! I was genuinely surprised that there had been another one. I replied with: “No, but I felt the one on Thursday. It was a 5.3 and it made the whole house vibrate for about ten seconds. Fudge [the dog] went crazy.” Continue reading

Lake Kawaguchiko, Corner House Restaurant & A Private Onsen Bath

Lake Kawaguchiko Kawaguchiko Kawaguchiko

Our second day at Fujikawaguchiko (yes, “Fujikawaguchiko” is the proper name for the town – try saying it five times fast) found us waking up to the quiet hush of a drizzly morning. From our guest room window, the lake before us was a shimmering grey mass at the foot of faraway misty mountains. It was almost like a dream. But we had no time to appreciate the view because 8 o’clock was rolling around and that was our allocated Breakfast Time. So we tried to look semi-presentable in our yukata outfits (essentially traditional Japanese garments that look like casual kimonos). Rakuyu gets its female guests to handpick their own personal yukata and obi (sash) upon checking into the hotel, so I picked one with a lovely cherry blossom print and matched it with a bright red obi. James was stuck with the generic pale lilac yukata that all the guys get. Continue reading

Glittering Rocks & Snazzy Geodes @ Yamanashi Gem Museum, Kawaguchiko

Yamanashi Gem Museum Yamanashi Gem Museum Yamanashi Gem Museum

James understands how much of a crazy gemstone lover I am. He was incredibly patient with me as I took my time browsing the Yamanashi Gem Museum’s decent rock collection. They have a lot of shiny jewellery pieces on display, but I was most interested in their raw, roughly cut stones. I don’t care much for over-polished, “brilliant cut” jewels because they all start to look the same (or at least aim to look similar) once they undergo that process – the same refraction, the same transparency, the same sort of colour, the same sheen. At least in their more natural forms, gemstones retain their individual character and beauty. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Continue reading

First Impressions of Kawaguchiko, Yamanashi Prefecture

Kawaguchiko Kawaguchiko Kawaguchiko

Our final morning in Tokyo greeted us with beautiful blue skies – a good sign for our trip to Kawaguchiko. From Asakusa, we made our way to Shinjuku Station on the Ginza and Yamanote lines, and then headed over to the Keio bus station to buy our tickets. When we arrived at Kawaguchiko Station, we were surprised at how much cooler it was compared to Tokyo. A quick Google told us that it’s situated at an altitude of 800 metres, which certainly explained the cool summer breeze. Despite the almost chilly weather, we still bought ourselves some freshly made strawberry ice cream from a cute little van outside the station. Continue reading