Friday, September 30, 2011

Hong Kong Day 3 - Disneyland (Part 2)

Following on from after the parade, we headed back to Fantasyland where we had to have a couple of rides on the teacups, both Zane and Lily loved riding in these! 

We were about to explore the far corner of Fantasyland when we spied Sleeping Beauty and made a beeline to her, this is who Zane was dying to see! She was there with Prince Phillip and there was no line up so they got to spend a bit of time with them.  Zane was absolutely speechless, he didn’t say a word, just stared at Sleeping Beauty for ages. They thought he was shy, when he was just completely in awe!  Then he did the cutest princely pose for the photo., without prompting.

We had a look around for more princesses, it was super important that we find Belle! Cathy discovered that they would be out about 5.30 so we went and watched the Golden Mickeys in Storybook theatre, which was a show about Disney films and characters, including Beauty & the Beast, where unfortunately the beast turned into a prince, much to Lily’s dismay – she would be happy if the beast stayed a beast forever!  Once it finished Cathy bolted out to go and line up for the princesses.

Rounding the corner on the way to fantasy gardens we saw her! Belle. Cathy had spotted her and was lined up so Lily and Zane quickly joined her. When it was their turn Lily ran straight up to her and have her the biggest hug…that just kept going. We had to call her name to get her to let go and have her photo taken,  she was so happy to have met her!  When she left she have her another huge hug, so cute.


There were other princesses around but the lines had grown somewhat and we hadn’t even been to Tomorrowland yet!  This is where our parenting skills took a bit of a dive and we thought it would be a great idea to introduce the kids to the world of rollercoasters by taking them on Space Mountain!! Neither Murray or I had too much idea about this ride, except knowing it didn’t go upside down, so that would be okay surely? Both were over the height recommendation…WRONG!
This is the blurb from the guide which I have only just read: Take a thrilling high-speed journey to the far reaches of the univers with ghoulish monstrosities and scary apparitions on this fast and furious roller coaster. Around every  treacherous bend, TERROR awaits.
Uh oh.  Zane wanted to ride with Cathy and Lily with Calle, so Murray and I were on together and sitting behind them. Not much into the ride and Murray is laughing insanely because he realises this is gonna scare them to bits! It was pitch black and the ride was fast and jerky. Zane had no concept of leaning with the ride and was flopping about and asked no one in particular “Are you trying to kill me?” Calle spent the ride saying  “I am sorry” over and over to Lily while holding onto her. I foolishly decided to reach out and touch her head with my hand – yes she told me she thought it was a monster!!  Surprisingly, Zane decided to go on it again, but he closed his eyes the whole way. Lily chose to go on the Orbitron – kids flying saucers instead.
Next up was the wet play area in UFO Zone where everyone enjoyed cooling off a little.

We were running out of time by this stage though so had to decide between the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters or the electric cars  in Autopia – Buzz one as the line up for the cars was amazingly long. Lily chickened out at the sight of Zurg and I think she wasn’t up for another ride in the dark after Space Mountain! Zane loved shooting Zurg, and I am pretty sure Murray did too – they both went on a second time, as there was no line. 

We exited the shop attached to the ride to find the heavens had opened up  so we dashed to the closest food court, the Starliner Diner and Cathy & Calle watched the kids while Murray and I headed to the Disney Store to buy some gifts, including a toy they chose each – a Rapunzel Doll for Zane, and a Minnie Mouse soft toy for Lily.  After meeting back up we all finished up our dinner, stepped outside and the weather cleared up miraculously,  just in time for the magically wonderful  Disney in the Stars Fireworks!!  It was fabulous and the kids loved the illuminated castle with its lovely changing colours. 
Then it was all over and time to get back on the Mickey Mouse train to take us back home. We didn’t get to do everything but we had the absolute best time at Disneyland!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hong Kong Day 3 - DisneyLand (Part 1)

Day 3 and the most anticipated day of all, our visit to Disneyland!!!! We were all super-excited and it didn’t disappoint from the moment we stepped onto the Disney Train that took us to the Disneyland entrance till the magical fireworks display at the end.

We arrived and it was the hottest and most humid day we have had so far, but we immediately spotted Mickey & Minnie Mouse and sent Murray into the queue for us while the kids sat in the shade. It was a long wait but worth it when they got to meet them. Mickey & Minnie were decked out in Halloween costumes, which was a pity as Lily had on her red & white spotted skirt which would of looked really cute next to Minnie Mouse! (Only a scrapper would do that) The kids didn’t mind though and loved meeting them and we did get a nice family photo with them – Murray deserved one after standing in line all that time.

Of course after that the kids were hungry and they spotted a Mickey Mouse waffle so we bought one for them to share – it was delicious, if not a bit too cute to eat!.  

A quick check of the guide map and we headed up Main Street into Adventureland , where we crossed the river by raft  to Tarzans Treehouse.  Then we went to the Theater of the Wild to enjoy the Festival of the Lion King show.  A fabulous show which unfortunately was interrupted twice with technical difficulties and had to finish a few minutes before the actual end of the show. Still it was a great show and we all enjoyed it immensely.  (The next day Lily was interrupting a game here and Zane were playing due to technical problems – funny what they pick up & repeat).

Tarzan's Treehouse

Still in Adventureland we decided to take the Jungle River Cruise, which was cheesy & fun as we took in the sights of Adventureland – with elephants, zebras, hippos and natives about to attack. The highlight was coming around the mountains and hearing a loud gush as steam poured out then flames burst forth, including flames sitting on the water. It looked great, but poor Lily was sitting with Cathy and at the noise she hit the deck!!  Good self preservation skills my little girl has.  

Great special effects

We exited the cruise and walked past the leaking Tikis and into our favourite land of all, Fantasyland. Here we immediately spot the cute and cheeky Tinkerbelle.  Another line which takes a while as she is quite a chatty little fairy.  She was quite entertaining and had both the kids laughing, then for the photo she suggested they get their wings ready.  Zane got his ready with a dramatic swoosh, resulting in much laughter from the crowd, and Tinkerbelle told him she thought he might have done this before! (Yep, a few times!!)

My fairies

It was already lunchtime so we went into the Royal Banquet Hall , resplendent with pictures of Disney films and statues of the princess and their princes.  The kids oohed and ahhed over these – Lily particularly over the Beast.  After lunch it was time to enjoy some rides!!  Lily couldn’t wait to go on the Flying Dumbos so this was our first stop, she says this was her favourite ride. Next stop a lovely ride for us all on the beautiful carousel.

With the parade due to start within 45 minutes we made our way back to Main Street to find a good viewing spot, going via Fantasy Gardens where we greeted Goofy & Pluto!! We settled into a spot half way along the parade route.  It was so hot waiting, we took turns ducking into the shops to enjoy the aircon! Zane amused himself by doing a little dance in Main Street. 

The music began and the most beautiful floats made their way down main street.  Dumbo led the way, followed by a band and marching girls in fabulous costumes!  Mickey Mouse and all his gang were next, Winnie the Pooh and co, along with guys on stilts in Tigger costumes and girls dressed as honey bees performing acrobatics! 

Two pairs of the most beautifully dressed couples lead the way in front of the princesses float and the parade stopped while all the cast kept everyone entertained! One of the beautiful ladies came and grabbed Zane & Lily and took them into a circle with a group of girls dressed in princesses costumes and they all got to dance in the parade! So glad Murray was filming the parade!  They were both so excited to be a part of it!

Once the floats were moving again we saw the princess, Lily’s favourite Belle blew her a kiss, but she wasn’t watching and thought she didn’t see her, once again happy to have it filmed so she could see it!  The Lion King float was next, Tinkerbelle in a float and her fairies all riding lady beetles, Lilo & Stitch and a bevvy of hawaain dancers and finally Buzz Lightyear complete with all characters, even the soldiers! Jessie & Woody walked alongside and Zane was super happy to get a high five from Jessie. 
It was a fabulous parade!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hong Kong Day 2 – Ngong Ping Cable Cars, Tian Tan Buddha, Po Lin Monastery & Lantau Bay

Sunday we set out to Lantau Island to see the Big Buddha & the Po Lin Monastery.  Arriving at the Ngong Ping Cable cars we were met with hundreds upon hundreds of people all waiting to do the same thing! There was a festival on of some kind. Lily fell asleep in Calle’s arms waiting.  Zane was really well behaved considering the wait.  Almost 2 hours later we got onto the cable cars…
It was an amazing ride! 5.7kms of stunning views – Tung Chung Bay, Hong Kong Airport, Lantau country park and the Tian Tan Buddha.  When you come past the mountains and see the big Buddha it is very impressive.

This is the best pic of us - haha!! Imagine the others!

Imagine walking this!

Breathtaking views

We wandered through Ngong Ping village, with a detour for the kids to play on a jumping castle, up to the foot of the Big Buddha.  There are 268 steps to reach the lotus platform upon which the Buddha sits – it reminded me how low my fitness level is and that I really should remedy that! We all made it up eventually and gazed up in awe at this magnificent statue.

Not sure what is up with Lily, Zane displays the overused peace symbol!

The Tian Tan (Alter of Heaven) Buddha is a 34 metre tall bronze statue, weighing 250 tons, surrounded by 6 smaller bronze statues “the Offering of the 6 Devas”.  It took 12 years to plan and build the bronze Buddha statue, symbolizing the stability of Hong Kong, prosperity of China and peace on earth.

Isn't it just amazing!
The kids took delight in running around the platform and up the stairs. I managed to snap a few photos but they tired of that quickly and it was super windy up there, so after a while we headed back down all those stairs (going down is so much easier!!) and headed over to the Po Lin Monastery.

Temple door and more peace signs!

One of the 6 Deva's - super windy!!

The Po Lin Monastery was first established in 1906 but the Main hall was built in 1970. We are greeted by the strong smell of incense burning and just before we enter the Monastery there is a big cauldron known as the Reunification Cauldron made to commemorate the return of Hong Kong to the Peoples Republic of China.

Reunification Cauldron

We entered the monastery through the main entry, the Hall of Bodhisattva Skanda. This contained the Buddha Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) and the Bodhisattva Skanda, a general that tames all evil & demons. The walls are surrounded by the 4 Heavenly Kings.   I took photos while everyone else hurried through to the main courtyard. Here Zane & Lily were captivated by all the flowers and wanted to stay and rest. 

One of the 4 Heavenly Kings

The court area leads to the Main Shrine Hall of the Buddha.  Stone Lions guarded the entry, and stone carved dragons adorned the supporting columns and bright red lanterns sway in the mild breeze.  Inside the Buddha’s of the Three Worlds are enshrined – Buddha Sakyamuni (of our World) in the middle, Buddha Bhaisajyagura (Master of Healing ) on the left and Buddha Amitagha (Buddha of Unlimited Light and Life Spans ) on the right. The ceiling is adorned in painted frescos.  It is quite stunning, full of vibrants reds and golds. 

The Buddha's of the Three Worlds

Of course none of this was of particular interest to the kids who were starving because we were way past our lunch time so we jumped into a taxi and headed to the beach where we enjoyed a late lunch at The Stoep amidst the pouring rain!! The kids ate their usual – fish and chips for Lily and a burger and chips for Zane, while we enjoyed a variety of meats and fish in African BBQ style.  
We have noticed that rain never lasts long in Hong Kong and it cleared up but was still overcast. The kids really wanted to have a swim, so they stripped off to their knickers and had a great time splashing about till it was time to leave and catch the fast ferry back to Hong Kong Island.
The things you can do when you are under 5

The Beach at Lantau Bay

Facts about the Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery from here:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hong Kong Day 1 - Victoria's Peak

Our first day in Hong Kong bloomed sunny and humid. We set off through the air-conditioned comfort of the underground tunnels that lead to the MTR (railway network) and Pacific Place shops, and then eventually popped out at the Hong Kong Gardens. The kids had a ball running around the fountain and admiring the koi & turtles.

We arrived at the Peak Tram and after a short wait the tram arrived, and took us up to Victoria Peak – a very steep up – a gradient of 4-37 degrees according to the brochure.  It was quite an amazing ride, looking out the windows all the buildings appeared to be on an angle.

Once we reached the top of Victoria Peak we headed to The Lookout restaurant to enjoy lunch. We sat outside and enjoyed a gorgeous garden setting and view of the mountains.  Then we hit the shops! Madame Tussauds is there but we didn’t go in, though Bruce Lee was out the front, the kids refused to go anywhere near him so I made Murray pose instead.

We then discovered this shop and I most definitely needed to take a photo LOL!

The main reason you go to the Peak is the views, so next we headed over to the Peak Tower Sky Terrace deck with 360 degree views of Hong Kong.  What a view!!  We took a few pics … but I will just show 3!

Zane & Lily found it particularly hot and headed back into the air-conditioned comfort of the shops.  A ticket box for Disneyland was on the lower level, made up to look like a castle with a Mickey Mouse statue out the front. The kids ran for it and we snapped a pic of them with Mickey Mouse. (Mainly as I was unsure if Zane would go near the real ones at Disneyland, he has avoided them in the past).

Lily decided it was her castle and stayed in the arch of it for ages.  It was here she was about to discover that everyone wanted a photo of her and she was only too happy to oblige, quickly learning that a popular way to have your photo taken is to give the peace sign!

After quite a full day up on the Peak we headed back down on the Tram and walked into the central shopping area of Hong Kong, it’s just like you see in the photos, but I didn’t take any I realised.  We checked out a few shops and stopped off to enjoy ice-cream - this was to become an integral part of our days!  Then it was well and truly time to head back to the apartment to enjoy the convenience of being able to order almost anything you want home delivered – especially tubs of Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice-cream which was divine!


Hong Kong Trip 2011

We have just gotten back from 7 fabulous nights in Hong Kong, staying with our wonderful friends Cathy & Calle. She warned us her apartment was small, but we somehow managed to fit us all in and they were wonderful hosts, taking us to the main sites of Hong Kong - Victoria Peak, Big Buddha, Lantau Bay, DisneyLand, Ocean Park and Stanley Markets. 

I am currently writing up our holiday and hope to share with you the fabulous time we had! The posts will be quite long &  picture intense, and I hope you enjoy reading about the time we had.

In the meantime, I have done no scrapping but as you will see I have a few new photos to work with soon!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Weekend Scrapping

Another crop day with All About Scrapbooks and more chatting and laughing than actual scrapping of course!!  The girls who do the kit pages really liked my page, which made me happy!

Here are the two layouts  I managed to complete:

I love this one of Zane and attempted an arty/grungy style. I am very happy with how it turned out. the photo was one from our recent family photo shoot. I have edited it though.

And one of Lily, also from the photo shoot day, and using the gorgeous new Random collection by Crate Paper - divine! I saw a big butterfly in a recent SBM mag and used that idea as the base of this page.

There is another one half done, but I am just getting slower at these days, but they are so much fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Scrap Space

The second last week of the Location, Location challenge at Scrapz and it was to scrap about our scrap space.  We weren't to clean it up, but we could take some creative pics so you can't see the mess. I am not a tidy scrapper!!

I have used the colours in my scrap room red & aqua on the page. As you can see there is the start of some aqua paint on the walls, I still have to finish off the decorating, hence my title!!

The layout needed to be based on this sketch:

and to include something more than 12 months old and something from on our desk. The on our desk part is easy when you have as big an area as I do - I have 3 desks taking up two walls!!  I had a whole pack of Cosmo Cricket papers sitting on the desk aswell as the cute blue doily. My older item is the ribbon which came from an old Ticklez kit and I am pretty sure those Thickers are more than 12 months old...

This week is the last round and we are scrapping our messy drawers!