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Filtering by Category: LIFE

AccorHotels: The Hunter Valley

Yan Yan Chan

It's always good to leave home, but it's even better coming back. 

I left for Asia for a spontaneous solo trip, although endless amounts of good times were had, wherever I went, there was a constant yearning for home. City life is great.. but nothing beats the sweet and salty smell of Summer mornings.. endless acres of nothing but green, seeing all the stars shine at 4.00am in the morning and being able to drive without getting stuck in tuk tuk peak traffic. After being away for 5 weeks, I caught up with my best friend Joseph over a weekend trip to Hunter Valley thanks to Accor Hotels.


A little itinerary of our weekendo.. Yan Yan edition.

Night 1

Stay: The Sebel Kirkton Park - If I get back to The Hunter Valley anytime soon, I'll be booking another room.. upon arrival, we freaked out over the rose gardens for about a good 20 minutes and the interior of our suite. Mirrored coffee tables, gold hardware and houndstooth printed chairs. We spent our afternoon sitting on our little balcony, doing work over sunset with a cheese platter and the smell of flowers.. really wish we stayed here another night. 

To visit: After we settled, we got picked up by Bruce from Best Tours for our first ever Wine tour tasting (and many more to come). Among the tour our favourites were;

  • Audrey Wilkinson; The oldest Hunter Valley winery; after a lesson on how to properly wine taste, and 5 glasses later, we picked up a bottle of the Semillon Sauvignon.. I'm not a huge white wine drinker but this beauty is the perfect wine for dinner at the beach with girlfriends. 
  • The Smelly Cheese Shop; Can't go with wine without some cheese. Although I'm a little lactose intolerant I still managed to pick up some pesto and chilli feta.. I've been putting this on everything.. crackers, toast, sandwiches and even dipping celery in. They also have a beautiful array of breads and crackers.
  • The HV Chocolate shop; Rocky road and fresh chocolate fondue with strawberries and banana - enough said.

Night 2

Stay: Mercure Resort Hunter Valley - All I can say... BATH TUB (!!)

To Visit:

  • We love our sleep but we couldn't turn down hot air ballooning.. It was a 4am wake up call and a very pitch black drive to the meeting location. We booked a last minute spot with Beyond Ballooning, and it was one of the most peaceful and breathtaking things I had done since.. well I don't remember to be honest. We floated in the clouds above the valley and for about a good hour and a half, I forgot about reality.
  • Pepper Tree Wines; This was definitely my favourite winery. It was raining all afternoon but it managed to clear up after our first glass of wine, so we moved our table outside on their deck and cruised around their beautiful garden, we stayed here for about a good 2 hours. The wine tasting process was matched with an antipasto board.. one way to win my heart! 
  • Circa 1876; We actually loved the space of Pepper Tree Wines so much we ended up staying and having dinner at Circa 1876, a beautiful guesthouse, using ingredients from their backyard garden. 



Yan Yan Chan

Photos: Joseph Dang


Someone give me my pre-internet eyes.

Let's start from the very beginning, when using the family Windows computer and Motorola Razr V3 were merely a treat. Afternoons were spent at art class, swimming school, dancing, tennis, tutoring or piano - having various activities scheduled after school with limited access to the internet, the thought of incorporating a computer or phone in my then lifestyle wasn't even thought of - my eyes were very much 20/20, in perfect condition and my life was dancing, homework, occasional MSN flirting with the boy I had a crush on and an un-engaged perception of the foreign world; the digital world.

If you asked me 5 years ago when the last time my eyes visited an optometrist, not one care would be given let alone the wonder of whether my eyes needed to be checked; fast forward to 2015, the internet is my life (no exaggeration here; uni, work, blogging - all accessed through this space), and my eyes, in constant direct exposure to the LED screens that is my laptop and iPhone. Dried, strained, occasionally missing the bus and un-capable of reading uni lecture slides AKA good bye 20/20 vision and hello poor eye sight for the rest of my life - are the inevitable side effects of living in the modern world. You can brush this off as much as you can, but the painful truth is that while you are reading this post, either off your computer, iPhone or tablet; your retina's are pretty much staring into direct sunlight.. and slowly worsening.

I've been refusing to rely on my glasses, but after the 3rd time of getting on the wrong bus home, I decided it was probably a smart idea to get my eyes re-examined and get a little eye-ducated with OPSM in their newest World Square store.


 Bare in mind, I am not generalizing the Asian bone structure, but for those who have a similar face shape to myself/just can't seem to find the perfect pair of glasses for their face - we can admit that it certainly doesn't help when most glasses on the market are branded/modeled for a Caucasian fit; and neither am I saying that all brands are targeted for Caucasians either - but having to narrow down specific styles from different brands can get a little tedious.

So, OPSM has simply made it easier for us; through their Asian-fit frames in store experience. They've filtered their wide range of brands to a selection of frames that flatter the Asian face structure.. so say HELLO to my new Miu Miu's and Giorgio Armani's!

(photo below not literally)

After a comprehensive hour of a four part eye test; x-ray scans of my retinal, optical nerves and maculae -  it's safe to say that my retina and macula are all clear of any diseases. All 360 degrees of my eyeball are completely normal and healthy - apart from the tiny factor that I am now an owner of short sighted and long distance glasses.

I won't bore you with my eye exam details - so let's talk about frames.

Myself and many other Asian's who have a petite, yet wide face and a smallish bridged nose, often take a little longer in finding the perfect frame that sit and look just right.