Beauty, Beijing

Bangs Hair Salon – Central Park Beijing

Autumn is here. It’s gloomy. The temperature has fallen and skies turn to grey earlier each day, thus you’d get a feeling of impending doom, but a gloomy mood has no rival preparation for the onslaught of winter.  We’ve also been spending an awful lot of time at home the past few days with nowhere to go due to the horrible smog outside.

One day I woke up and decided to try something different. No, only kidding as I’ve been staring at my rather flat and lacklustre hair for the past month and decided that I needed to fix something. I’ve walked past our neighbourhood hair salon, Bangs countless times on my way out or towards home within ‘The Village’ (of The Park). There can be no better advertising than its location; the salon would be hard to miss unless you walked blind. If I left Beijing without having my hair done there at least once, then you are right to agree that I should contemplate suicide.

So I made an appointment for an evening 8 o’clock hair cut session. Late I know, but better late than never as it’s one of the rare times I have time to myself when the husband is at home to look after baby J. Hence apologies for the tardy lighting in my photos.

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They sit me down for a hair consultation immediately with my stylist – Yoyo. It’s not easy to forget as the name reminds me of the popular brand of stroller, Yoya which folds into a compact size and fits perfectly into an airplane’s overhead compartment. The Yoya is still on my purchase list, thus tucked away safely in a small compartment of my brain. Funny, the kind of stuff that gets retained in your post baby brain, anything unrelated to parenting or babies bear the risk of being wiped out to the point of no return, just like how I recently forgot the name of my ‘favourite’ kind of cheese.

Anyway I digress, so back to the haircut. After explaining my requirements to Yoyo in a mix of perfect Chinglish, a rather polite shampoo girl whisked me away to have my hair washed. She started the tap running with hot water (short of boiling point, thankfully!) and started to give me a head scrub (I would have also very much liked a head massage). The scrub was nice but water was too hot and thus my confused brain couldn’t decide between the conflicting sensations of pain or pleasure so the entire session was finished in hot water in true Chinese style. Did I forget? They also have a thing for doing dishes under hot running water.

Done with my hot wash, I was ushered to sit and she asked me how I would like to have my hair parted. How what?! Dumbstruck, I started to wonder who was actually going to cut my hair – perhaps there had been a prior miscommunication?!? In my semi-alarmed state I managed to calmly tell her where my parting was. She proceeded to part the hair and left me to ponder about the strange ritual. Stylist Yoyo then appeared again and got down to business.

In my past experiences, most professional salons would offer their customers a choice of beverage and also leave them a stack of magazines to keep themselves occupied. In this case, I guess a glass of water and my smart phone would suffice. After the cut, they blew my hair and styled it nicely with the help of curling irons, enhancing the layered effect in my hair. My verdict?

For a simple trim and layering request, I would say that I did leave feeling lighter and my hair more voluminous. Overall, the entire experience took about 50 mins and for me. However, the true test of the hairdresser’s skill lay in the weeks ahead – whether it would still look great self-managed and having grown out a little bit.

Turns out that my hair did pay attention to its new cut and stayed obedient effortlessly, thus I’ve already booked my next appointment for colour treatment with another of their stylists, which I will write about in another post 😀

Overall Rating:

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Beijing

Temple of the Sun (Ritan Park)

Apart from baby duties, eating and sleeping are the only forms of exercise for me. No, seriously. So when dad came over to visit, I finally had an excuse to get out and work out my sorry a**. Here are some photos of our jaunt at the Temple of the Sun, or Ritan Park – whichever you prefer.

Child or adult, we all love freshly pressed juice on a hot summer’s day. A vendor with a simple crate setup was churning out extremely refreshingly looking beverages with his manual press, a 100% real and straight out of the fruit!

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The stone boat. Here you can sip coffee, read a book or just watch the world go by. Personally, I think it’s a nice and peaceful spot for quiet moments of reflection.. haha.

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What better place to play a round of badminton? (mural depicting the sacrificial ritual to the Sun).

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The park itself is fairly large and you will find it a pleasant visit overall, but don’t expect to find plenty of frills. Nice shady trees, plenty of park benches to rest sore feet and a proper track to exercise, what more could one ask for at the fringe of one of the busiest business districts in Beijing?  xx

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Thoughts On Expatriation

Every once in a while I sit back to take stock of my life. Becoming a first time parent, this means I have lesser time to reflect than I am used to, but carving out time for myself when my baby is asleep is a necessity that helps me keep my life in perspective.

Moving to a new country is never easy, even after having done it twice and now, third time. Everything we knew and have become familiar with is suddenly reset – the place we called home, our creature comforts, relationships and even our study or work environment. Having spent four years living comfortably in Singapore, we find ourselves packing for our next new home, Beijing.

We have been warned about the pollution, food safety issues and general disregard of civic conciousness amongst China’s locals, not to mention the severe disadvantage of looking like a local but not being able to speak like one. It is difficult to for us to truly know the extent and impact of what these ‘dangers’ would do unto us, no matter how well prepared we are for them.

One thing for certain is that facing adversity makes more sense when your sense of purpose is clear, and feeling afraid is a part of being alive. One of my favourite quotes sums up perfectly why we decided to take the leap of faith.

“Life begins at the End of your comfort zone, here is where the Magic Happens.”

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