The Year of the Rooster: Making your own luck

This month in Hong Kong we welcomed the Year of the Rooster with much celebration. In Hong Kong, Chinese New Year is a time to be thankful for the good fortune of the previous year and look ahead to the coming year, and there are numerous traditions to take part in to ensure you are blessed with good fortune for the ensuing 12 months.

IMG_0527.JPGCareer, finance and relationships could potentially be in jeopardy and the only words of comfort to be found are “generally, you will stay healthy”. A pretty dull grey as silver linings go. Although Chinese astrology is not part of my culture, I’ve been appreciative to be welcomed into the celebrations here with open arms and it’s got me thinking about luck.

Sam and I constantly recognise how “lucky” we are to be here, to do something we love every day, to have found and be pursuing our passions, to have opportunities and possibilities presented to us at every turn. Us arriving at this moment relied on a series of specific events in which a myriad of variables could have stopped us and we could be doing something very different. As an English teacher I have an embarrassing (or impressive, depending on who you are) talent for being able to draw analogies from Harry Potter at every turn, and, in this instance, arriving at this destination of such an unlikely series of fortunate events feels being hooked to a saline drip laced with Felix Felicis potion.

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While we feel more fortunate than ever, we also recognise that it has not all come down to luck, we worked hard and we took a risk and we’re reaping the benefits, and, while we’re still working hard, we still feel lucky. To quote Dumbledore “I believe one creates one’s own luck.

When you are lucky enough to have an opportunity, or the possibility of an opportunity, or even the glimmer of opportunity on the horizon, it’s up to you to make that luck happen. If you’re in the privileged position to have the possibility of luck, then you have the responsibility not to waste it, because for others, your possibility of luck may just be the glimmer on the horizon.

I spent Chinese New Year in a Casino and I didn’t win a single bet, though I did spend Chinese New Year feeling lucky to be surrounded by good friends, good food and amazing places. I am absolutely certain the year of the rooster will be full of more good fortune.

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The Magic of Silk

Silk is my new favourite.

There’s something special about silk. I really love how it looks. It tucks in and it hangs right. I can throw on any item in my wardrobe and pair it with a silk top and look completely put together. It feels wonderfully regal. Images of kings and queens and Shalimar Gardens spring to mind when I think about silk (largely inspired by the poem “Presents from my aunts in Pakistan”). 

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An advent calendar, of sorts

This weekend marks the official countdown to our Christmas trip home. I’m starting a Christmas project with my year 10s tomorrow so I feel it’s okay to get a little festive.

Although we won’t be here for Christmas, we figured that the next three weeks still warrant some seasonal decor and so introduced a little festive cheer to the apartment.

Here’s our Christmas highlights so far:

This cozy corner complete with sheepskin. Perfect for watching the final two Harry Potter films before a trip to the cinema next week to see Fantastic Beats.


Lattes in the morning and mulled cider in the evening. Winter treats to frame the day.A little red lantern complete with cinnamon scented candle and sleepy fiancé.Some Christmas typography inspired by an early self bought Christmas present, found in a secret bookshop.Which subsequently found a more permanent home next to some cozy linen sheets.
The wonderful glow of this paper tree, because finding a real one in Hong Kong is a bit of a challenge. 
A brilliant roast dinner with fluffy roast potatoes prepared by a talented cook. A rare treat this far from home, made even more Christmassy by Marks and Spencer’s duck fat and Christmas place mats.
A more ambitious bit of typography. Still festive of course!
Looking forward to a glass bottle of coke and a gingerbread latte, that’s how you know holidays are really coming.

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Post Election Pick Ups

The aftermath of the election had me reflect on the importance of our relationships with others. At times like this we need each other. Whatever your political sway, I hope we can all agree that the most important thing is to be nice to each other. There is certainly more that unites us than divides us and I wish that it could be remembered more.

The temperature dropped in Hong Kong this week and it felt like Christmas was approaching. The last few days have seen the heat return with 27 degree heat but it still feels like the holidays are near. We’re travelling home for Christmas and we just can’t wait to see the people we love.

I’ve taken comfort in being grateful for the little things this week. Stopping to pay attention to them has turned them into soothing reminders of the great things in life.

1. A hearty bowl of butternut squash soup with homemade crutons, prepared by my best friend, eaten on a lazy Saturday and again on a lazy Sunday. A lovely reminder that winter is upon us. 

2. Harry Potter watched from the sofa
wrapped in a blanket.
Because it’s too early for Christmas films but it’s nearly time. We’d planned to watch one Harry Potter film each weekend and go to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and where to find them the weekend before our Christmas trip home, but this quickly turned into watching Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire in the same weekend. Never mind. 

3. A cozy Levi jacket to wear as the weather turns a little colder. I’ve absolutely loved the chance to wear something a little heavier and feel a bit wrapped up. Of course there was one day I left with a jacket and realised instantly it was way too hot. Consequently I lugged a jacket around all day.

 4. A special space carved out of a tiny apartment, reserved to pursue a project. Exciting ambitions are being realised from within this drawer.

5. Some shiny bright inks, for writing in vivid gold. Purchased after a relaxing evening of calligraphy jamming at a peaceful studio in the heart of the city.  

6. Dinner with a new friend. Partly for the gorgeous milkshake but mostly for the giggles during a stressful week. 

7. A spontaneous brunch. Where I ate too much because they have Yorkshire puddings and you don’t see those much this side of the world.

8. Seeing my students become engrossed by a book. Literacy is important but unfortunately not “cool”, refreshing and comforting to see them desperate to keep reading.

How about you? What are you grateful for this week?

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