Friday, 21 August 2015


Well “worth” the wait

Travelling is clearly one of my passions, I’m sure you’ve all realized that. Nothing beats being able to skim through the many virtual tourist pages of the internet to cherry pick my target destinations beneath the evening moonlight. On the majority of occasions, I’m able to select where I’d like to explore next and carry that trip out the following day.

Train times for today...

 However, there have been a few times where I haven’t been able to immediately meet my goal. One example was my trip to Bamburgh (read here) which occurred approximately three years after I’d noted it down in my to-travel-to list. Haworth, the topic of today’s story, and I encountered the similar issue. Try as I did during my free-time England, heading to this little West Yorkshire village, which was famed for being the place where the Brontë sisters lived, was just a bit difficult for someone residing much further up north that had to rely on public transport.

Feeling tempted to head to Haworth already

Yeah, it was dreadfully frustrating. Especially since all the reviews and amazing photos of Haworth’s shops, views, and the Bronte museum online looked incredibly tempting.

Time to board!
Being unable to reach Haworth straightaway never tempered my dreams about it. So finally, after three long years, fate turned around and gave me the thumbs up. I soon found myself sitting on the train from Leeds to Haworth via Keighley with perpetual excitement.

Memories of Le Tour De France 2014

From electric to steam

To get to Haworth, the easiest way would be to drive. However, adventurers (or people without a driver’s license) would be better off taking the steam train from Keighley to Haworth.

Yes, you heard me, steam.

Inside the train
Trains and I are accustomed to one another. But steam trains on the other hand, now that was a whole new story. Watching the railway workers slowly steer the engine from the back of one carriage to the front of a different one, I suddenly felt as though I’d stepped back in time and visited the period in which The Railway Children was set in. The feeling actually made sense once I’d stepped into the train and was informed, by the sign on the table, that the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway was actually where the famed movie had been filmed. 

Why hello there...

I quickly sprang into action with my camera, snapping shots of burning coal, the carriages’ interiors, and, would you believe it, dog water (it’s important to cater for all members boarding the train you know!).

For thirsty furry friends only

The Bronte parsonage

They say it’s wise to save the best till last, but in this case, heading to the Brontë parsonage museum first was definitely a smart choice. Why? Because there was SO much to see (well, read to be more precise). Unfortunately, photography was a big no no inside the house of the Brontë’s where the museum was based. However, from a scale of 1 to 5, I’d definitely give it 5 stars. Apart from being able to see the original manuscripts and items that belonged to the family, it was truly interesting being able to wander through each room that the famed sisters had once resided in. Will definitely head back again to visit (especially since the ticket you purchase is valid for an entire year).

The Bronte Parsonage Museum

Oh and I totally recommend buying a Brontë novel from the shop – you can ask for a free stamp saying that you’d purchased it from the museum itself.

The Bronte sisters
Also, there is a vintage bus that takes you up to the museum but I’d definitely suggest getting there by foot. Good exercise AND you get to have a good look around all of Haworth’s shops! Don’t forget to take photos of all the quirky little building decorations too.

Bronte bears and more

Eat, Shop, & Walk

Minions, plush toys and home-ware

I think anyone that visits Haworth would find it excruciatingly difficult to avoid spending a couple of pounds or so on souvenirs. With so many locally-made products and gifts, it’s honestly the perfect village for a Sunday boutique shopping spree. It’s particularly suited for vintage lovers comme moi – think 40s-60s clothes, shoes, hats and more!

So much choice!
A colourful and tasty lunch

And after all that walking and shopping, I’m sure you’re bound to be hungry and thirsty. Food and drinks are plentiful in Haworth, given the many teashops and pubs plotted up and down the main street. My choice during my day there was Cobbles and Clay, a colorful café where you can paint while you eat (just pick a piece of pottery and some art equipment to get started). The veggie sandwich I had there was honestly scrumptious.

Sheep and hedgehogs

Hanging out in Haworth and exploring every nook and cranny of it was definitely a Sunday well spent. But like with all stories, an ending must follow. So at approximately 4:30pm, I found myself waving a tearful goodbye to the beautiful little village that I had befriended during my one-day trip. I therefore sought comfort in my new copy of Wuthering Heights as the steam train slowly swept us away.

Beginning a new chapter

My final verdict? Definitely “worth” the wait.

Matcha (green tea) cupcakes

Inspired by travel

Green tea buttercream frosting
One of the things that definitely struck me as memorable during my short trip to Japan (Tokyo) several weeks back was the food. Whether it was from a local noodle shop or a tiny street stall, everything I managed to devour was absolutely SCRUMPTIOUS. Seriously, I'd find it immensely difficult if I had to state what my most favourite dish was - I can't even list out every item we tried because there were too many! Think udon, curry and of course, sushi.

Piping perfection
For any amateur cook (comme moi), there's no doubt that all of the above ingredients can easily become inspiration for exotic, fusion dishes. However, rather than going down the savoury route, I decided to travel on the sweet path and  selected matcha as my special add-on. Also known as green tea, matcha produces a sort of bitter taste. However, when combined with a bit of sugar and baking-magic, it presents itself as the perfect ingredient for cupcakes (and simultaneously transforms them into a beautiful shade of bright green). Not overly sweet in any way, my suggestion for all you keen bakers out there is to challenge yourself to create a green tea buttercream frosting to go with your light and spongy cupcakes. Sure the cakes look great by themselves, but topping them with a swirl of frosting honestly increases their elegance (and also boosts your cake crafting status!).

The (standard) steps of baking (cake mix --> oven --> done)

Oh, and did I mention the cupcakes went down a storm/ very quickly into everyone's tummies? You definitely can't say no to giving matcha cupcakes a go.

The finishing touch
A photo of a photo
And although many of my culinary adventures have occurred through the lone wolf route, I always think it's fun to bake with other keen cake makers every so often (especially since we managed to make so many different treats within the short space of 3 hours!).

Decadent, dainty, & (very) delicious

Share the fun and cake - try baking with others for a change.

One of the tastiest lunches I've ever had! 
Matcha cupcake recipe: 

Matcha Cupcakes and Character Cakes

Sunday, 16 August 2015


A performance worth experiencing

Last Wednesday, I had the privilege of attending the Supernova finals. Originating from 2009, it’s an annual secondary school contest aimed at discovering the best singer or music group among the Hong Kong youth population. It was definitely an enjoyable night. I liked how there was a mix of English, Cantonese and Chinese pieces performed by each of the 12 finalists. However, aside from all the merry melodies and star-studded dances, I had an additional mission during that evening: to support my dear friend Keanne Lee. With all her hard-work and patience, we all knew that she truly deserved to be crowned the champion of Supernova.

I mean honestly, her first song, Rolling in the Deep by Adele, literally blew the entire crowd away (just have a look at this amazing video of her if you don’t believe me: 

Also check out her cover of Speechless - left me speechless too:

Impressive right? The judges thought so too. We were all delighted that Keanne won at the end of the night after 3 rounds of eliminations and sensational songs. Glad that our cheering and voting helped her along her way!