Recently, I have once again embarked on a journey of vegetarianism. I have been off and on again vegetarian since I was 12, basically only eating meat the last couple of years, after giving birth. Now that I’m back on track, it has been a real struggle to find a wide variety of sophisticated restaurants that cater to a vegetarian palate. I was very impressed by Aqua’s newest healthy creation, that is pushing experimental boundaries of luxury dinning. Aqua is one of the most trend setting fine dinning restaurants in Hong Kong. Their newest concept is based on preparing dishes at 42º degrees or below with ingredients that are extremely fresh and raw they retain many health benefits; and have successfully taken classic Italian dishes to the next level. I was extremely lucky, they prepared my 4 course meal completely vegetarian and it was absolutely beautiful and delicious. However for me when I eat at any fine dining establishment I’m usually left starving and craving a burger after 5 mins.
If your looking to elevate your vegetarian game or non vegetarian too of course. I highly recommend giving this a try. If raw food is not your thing then the views and cocktails will impress even the hardest to please.June 22, 2018
- Photography by Jesper McIlroyOur family was recently invited to be the first guests to stay at Bay Bac Villa, which is a brand new villa located on the property of The Intercontinental Denang. From the moment we arrived at the airport, we were received with 5 star treatment. It’s those little touches, like snacks and cool aroma towels in the van, that really get me going. Ever since this trip, every time we get into a van or taxi, India asks “where are the smelly towels and snacks.” Lord help me, what have we created!While driving to the location of the hotel/villa we were called by our delightful butler, inquiring to see how we were doing, or if there was anything special we needed upon your arrival. I mean, that’s pretty special. The drive to The Intercontinental from the airpot takes about 30 minutes, and is absolutely gorgeous, with views out into the ocean as far as your eyes can see. A 1.5 hours flight from HK and 20 mins to the hotel makes it a super easy destination.Once we arrived, we were blown away. The hotel is located in the heart of Son Tra Peninsular Nature Reserve on a pristine cliff facing the ocean, with a vista unlike anything I’ve ever seen. A hotel buggy took us on a small tour of the magnificent hotel grounds and as we made our approach to our villa we knew we were in for a treat.Bay Bac Villa has a strong post modernist look, which makes it very unique. It feels less like a holiday rental and more like an artists fancy home. The villa consists of 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 pools, a large living room, and kitchen area. It is extremely private and the ocean views are breathtaking. You also have a great view of the hotel from the pool deck.Although the villa is not situated exactly near the main hotel, its a very short walk, or if your feeling a bit lazy, you can always have your butler drive you where ever you like. We loved the walk, which takes you through the lush green property and we loved exploring every nook and cranny.The hotel’s facilities are undoubtably 5 star, living up to its award winning reputation.We started our days watching the sunrise from the very unique Citron restaurant. What makes this restaurant so special is their floating tables that sit above the hillside, 100 meters above sea level, with spectacular views of the entire bay and surrounding mountains. Make sure you go earlier though, as it’s first come first serve, and well worth the early wake up. In our case, We were lucky as Freija basically never sleeps, so we had no problem getting best seat in the house!Our days consisted of dropping the kids off to the kids club, which I have to mention, because it is freaking amazing. We literally couldn’t get India to leave. We had to drag her out though as we wanted to spend time with her too.After the kids club we would chill in the kids pool, which is lovely and shaded. Then we would head to the gorgeous L_O_N_G bar to relax in their beautiful day beds and have lunch. L_O_N_G also has very special design. You are taken back in time to a colonial era with these beautiful big fans and high ceilings. I could stay there all day and read, if I wasn’t travelling with children of course. Most afternoons we enjoyed time as a family in our villa, and watched the cheeky monkeys steal our fruit. There are also other amazing restaurants within the hotel including , La Maison 1888 which is now home to the world-renowned three Michelin-starred chef Pierre Gagnaire. It was also crowned as “World’s Leading Fine Dining Hotel Restaurant 2017 and Top 10 in the World’s Best New Restaurants 2016 by CNN. We didnt have the opportunity to dine there this time as they don’t allow children. That makes a lot of sense to me -God, if I was there with no kids on a romantic getaway, spending that kind of money, and had kids like mine on the table next to me, it would not be cool haha. Just kidding, kinda. We also could have easily hired a nanny, but we decided to make the most of our incredible villa, and spend time together as a family. This trip was to celebrate, my birthday, India’s birthday and Jesper and I’s 5 year wedding anniversary and to be completely honest with you it was the perfect choice. I hope to return soon to this little slice of heaven in Vietnam.June 10, 2018
In what seems like a life time of sleepless nights in reality has only been 2 years. That is 2 years too long in my opinion. We have literally tried everything from essential oils, sleep consultants, meditation to melatonin. All these desperate attempts failed and we had practically given up until Sleeping Duck offered us a single mattress. We are currently sleeping on a king size mattress from them in our room and it is literally heaven. I have often thought if I was able to sleep on it more often, rather than on my kids room floor I could possible have super hero powers from such good sleep.
I’m not about to tell you that this mattress has miraculously made her sleep though the night. That would be crazy awesome, but no. However I can happily share with you that it has helped improved her sleep dramatically. We were getting up with her every 1-2 hours and now since we have been using the Sleeping Duck she is only waking 1-2 times a night and is going back to her bed without world war 3 breaking out in our house. This is huge for us. It is not the end of her sleeping problems that is for sure but it is a huge improvement. When I asked Freija if she likes her big girl mattress she said “yes like Mummies” That is a thumbs up from us.
For more information on Sleeping DuckJanuary 17, 2018
Photography Shawn Kei
As a fun way to celebrate the launch of Lane Crawfords new range of natural and organic beauty products they invited me to come and share some simple recipes incorporating a few of these products. I couldn’t think of a lovelier way to spend a rainy Saturday afternoon than with like minded people who enjoy to learn and create. Thanks to everyone that joined me and especially to those of you who weren’t afraid to get your hands dirty. I really do hope my demonstration inspired you to go home and create your own versions of these 2 very healthy, easy but delicious treats.
Here are the recipes that I shared on Saturday in case you missed out.
BLUEBERRY PROTEIN BALLS
1 1/2 cups of almond flour
1/2 cup dried coconut
1/3 cup of dried blueberries
1/2 cup of dark chocolate or cacao paste
1 serving of Super Elixir Chocolate Nourishing Protein
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean powder
2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- Place all ingredients except blueberries into a food processor and blend until completely combined. This should take around 30seconds – 1 minute max.
- Add blueberries and blend but only to mix in the blueberries not to make them disappear into the mixture. We want the blueberries to stay whole.
- Take about 1 tablespoon at a time and roll into a ball.
- Your balls are now down however you could roll them in chia seeds, cacao nibs or coconut to make them look extra pretty.
These will stay fresh in the freezer for a month or in the fridge a week.
SUPER SMOOTHIE BOWL
2 Frozen over ripe bananas
1 Frozen avocado
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1/4 cup of fresh almond milk
1 serving of The Super Elixir Alkalising Greens
a variety of nuts, fresh fruits or granola of your choice
- Add all ingredients into a powerful blender and blend until well combined. You want this mixture to be thick so use your almond milk to control the texture by only adding in a little by little.
- Once you have a nice thick texture place in bowl and add your chosen toppings. It’s that easy!
These are 2 very simple recipes that literally anyone can try at home. You can make big batches of the balls on the weekend and have them ready for the whole week as a quick snack, pick me up or naughty but nice treat.
Don’t forget I also have an awesome competition running on my instagram at the moment. All you have to do is tag me @caragmcilroy @lanecrawford and #LCNATURALBEAUTY for a chance to win a bag of Lane Crawford goodies filled with full size natural and organic products from their new range. I will be choosing the winners on the 21st of July so you still have all week to get into your kitchen and get creative.July 17, 2017
- When Nespresso asked me if I would like to create a recipe using their new limited edition ice coffee capsules and aeroccino I of course jumped at the opportunity. Anything to do with coffee is always a yes from me.I wanted to create my version of the “ultimate ice coffee” so whilst thinking of what exactly that meant to me my thoughts drifted to all the delicious ice coffees I had as a teenager. They were filled with chocolate sauce and nothing but sugary goodness I mean badness, bad bad haha. Clearly I’m going to make a healthy guilt free version here. I also wanted to put a more sophisticated twist to my childhood ice coffee fantasy so immediately I thought of chai, my favourite flavour. So here it is for your pleasure always.Vegan iced dirty chai(Incase you didn’t know “dirty chai” is pretty much coffee and tea together)RECIPE3 medjool dates1 tablespoon of cacao2 tablespoons of maple2 Nespresso Leggero on Ice capsules2 chai tea, tea bags1 cup of almond milk( Here is the link to my almond milk recipe, or you can use store bought but homemade is always the best)http://catwalkstocradles.com/vanilla-almond-mylk-recipe/You will also need– an ice tray– blender– Nespresso Coffee machine– Aeroccino Milk Frothing Machine– a nice big glassSTEPSThe night before ….1. Make a large cup of hot water and place your 2 teabags in and steep for 5-10 minutes. Remove the tea bags and throw away. Add the maple to your tea, stir and pop in the fridge to cool down. Once cool place in your ice tray overnight to make your “chai tea ice cubes”Depending on your taste buds you can add more or less maple. I find this to be the perfect amount though. Naughty but nice.CHOC/CARAMEL SAUCE1. Pre soak 3 medjool dates in a small cup of water. Use only enough water to cover the dates. Place in fridge for 2 hours ….. 2 hours later.2. Place your soaked dates with the water they have been soaking in into your blender. Add the cacao and blend until smooth. This is your delish choc/caramel sauce to drizzle in your glass.1. Take a nice big glass and drizzle your choc caramel sauce into the glass. Try and get as much as you can around the sides although it doesn’t really stay there as much as real chocolate sauce does.2. Take 2 Leggero on Ice pods and make 2 espresso shots of coffee, place to the side3. Fill your Aeroccino Milk Frothing Machine with your almond milk and press the COLD button to create a cold frothed milk perfect for iced coffees4. Take your pre made chai ice cubes and fill your sauce covered glass with the cubes all the way to the top5. Add your frothed almond milk on top of the ice, leaving just enough room to add your 2 shots of coffee6. Add your 2 shots of coffee on top of your milk and ice and your all done.This is such an awesome treat you can make for your friends on a summer afternoon. You could also add a shot of vodka if you wanted to make a cheeky choc chai cocktail.The great thing about this is the limited edition pods only cost $6.7hk each so your summer treat doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg!June 5, 2017
PHOTOGRAPHY: Shawn Kei
Im not usually a huge fan of printed shorts. The frill detail at the bottom and the high waist kinda had me sold on this pair though. Sometime you need to break out of your comfort zone.
LOCATION: IFC rooftop Hong Kong WEARING: Georgia Alice blouse, Emilio Pucci shorts from Lane Crawford, Jimmy Choo heels and Gentle Monster sunglasses MAKE UP: Bobbi Brown lip color shade Coral GablesMay 9, 2017
PHOTOGRAPHER: Shawn Kei
WEARING: Adidas/Stella McCartney
The importance of exercise has become so much greater since becoming a mother. It has always been something I believe is crucial to over all health and well being but since becoming a Mummy I now need the strength. As a model it is my job to look good and honestly that’s something that is important to us all no matter what our jobs right? Why, because it makes us feel happy and confident. When we feel good we perform better in our jobs, lives and relationships. It’s not about perfection it’s about feeling and being the best version of yourself.
To be honest lately (when I say lately I mean since my second daughter Freija was born. The last 2 years) I have really struggled to find the time, strength or energy to workout. The life of a working Mum with 2 kids under 2 is a challenge for anyone. Recently due to health issues that have arisen it has become very clear to me that I can no longer make excuses for myself anymore. I can’t blame Freija for everything hahaha. I need to remind myself that there is enough time in a day, all I need to do is set aside 30 mins every other day.
After India was born I was in the best shape of my life. I was back to an even better version of myself than post pregnancy in just 4 months. I did have help. Myself and a few girlfriends joined personal training sessions at a gym called JAB twice a week for an hour each time. There I learnt basic exercises that anyone can do at home and honestly they transformed my body so quickly. Now these hour session were hard, so bloody hard. Sometimes I thought I might vomit but it worked and I always felt amazing after.
So how do I get back to feeling amazing, strong and confident again? With your help. Im going to share some exercises I believe we can all do at home 4 times a week. Exercises that I learnt in the personal training sessions I did after India but a little less intense.
Here is our first set of 3 exercises. Each set will need to be repeated 3 times and will take around 30 mins for you to finish.
Lets #getmoving together
FULL SIT UPS
- Lie on your back on an exercise mat. Plant your feet about hip distance apart and bend your knees.
- Place your hands on the back of your neck where it attaches to your head. Point your elbows to the side.
- Exhale and pull your belly button into your spine while gently raising your torso to a position a few inches away from your thighs. Hold for 1-2 seconds.
- Slowly curve your spine to return to your original position.
1 set is equal to 20-30 times depending on your fitness level. Repeat 3 times with a short break in between each set.
- Stand facing away from the bench. Place one foot flat on the bench while keeping torso upright.
- Slowly squat down bending your back knee and keeping your posture straight.
- Your back knee should almost touch the ground and your front knee should always remain behind your toes.
- Slowly return to original position and start again.
1 set is equal to 10-15 times per leg depending on your fitness level. Repeat full sets 3 times on each leg with a small break in between sets.
- Place your forearms on the ground with elbows aligned under shoulders, clasp hands together. Lift up onto your toes while keeping back flat.
- Slowly draw one knee up to the same sides elbow.
- Do your best to make your elbow and knee touch (I still have a little trouble touching)
- Return to original plank position and repeat on opposite side.
For this exercise I find it best to try to do it as many times as you can within a time limit. Start with 1 minute if you can. As you get stronger you can increase this time. Your doing 3 sets though so don’t go crazy. Then take a minute rest in between and repeat 3 times in total.
xxMay 5, 2017
PHOTOGRAPHY: Shawn Kei
I always imagined feeling right at home in the 70’s. The era where it was all about “Freedom” and expressing your individuality. Big beautiful bell sleeves, printed dresses and of course flares. Not to mention the beginning of casual chic. Sneakers and denim were the epitome of cool. Denim flare perfection is what this post is all about.
LOCATION: IFC rooftop Hong Kong WEARING: Victoria Beckham blouse, Esteban Cortazar denim flares both from Lane Crawford, H&M hat and Jimmy Choo heels, Karen Walker sunglasses from Parlay OpticsApril 28, 2017
Before becoming a mother of two little girls “Mini Me” styling was quite strange. Very cute, don’t get me wrong but I never thought in a million years I would be the one to embrace mother daughter matching outfits especially in pink. Well how things can change in such a short period of time. Introducing Laura Egloff by the creator of one of my favourite children’s brands Velveteen. Now grown up versions of your favourite Velveteen styles are available for big girls. With looks like these you can’t help but want to match your kids, and I hate to say it, but this won’t be the last time.April 21, 2017
India recently turned 3 and outgrew her infant/baby sleeping bag a long time ago however she is constantly trying to squeeze into her sisters that is miles too small. To be honest Freija can only just fit in it now. Every night as we zip Frey Frey up together India sobs that she wants one too. I mentioned this to my sister as I wanted to know if she had access to toddler ones through her store iDecorate. The superstar did. The new sleeping sacks at iDecorate have solved my problem. India loves and use’s her sleeping sack every single night. I wanted to share this with you as it’s so hard to find high-quality bed linen that is super cute and at a fair price in HK.
My sister Shana Buchanan who is the CEO and Founder of iDecorateshop.com has made it her mission to bring the coolest brands from overseas to Asia but what she loves most is working with the people behind the brands, like #supermum Li Ann Scott who designed the ‘sleeping sack’ for her brand Sack Me. Li Ann is an absolute dynamo, an incredibly savvy business woman. Raise your glasses to supporting other working Mums I say!
iDECORATE x CATWALKS SPECIAL OFFER FOR MY LOYAL FANS & FOLLOWERS
Visit the new flagship store 9/F Shop 926 Times Square Causeway Bay and purchase a India and the Pirate Headband and receive a free iDecorate True Romance vase plus HK$100 store credit. **Offer ends 1 May** Check out iDecorateshop.com to view over 2000 products
Additional links – Check out LiAnn’s interview with Sassy Mama https://www.sassymamahk.com/style-interior-design-kids-bedding-sack-me/
YouTube – watch the Sleeping Sack videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uI3zNR2EWtM
Additional links – Shana’s interview on Sassy Mama with decorating tips https://www.sassymamahk.com/style-interior-design-kids-nursery-axel-scandinavian/April 14, 2017