Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Fashion: I Lust for Thee!

Window display in NYC of the 11 piece luggage set used in the film to be auctioned off for charity.

How adorable!!

I just came back from Wimbledon for the screening of the latest Wes Anderson's Film The Darjeeling Limited. I am so in love with the luggages used in the film, which I found out later reading the trailer that, of course, it was designed by Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton. The luggages were based on the jungle drawings by Wes Anderson's brother Eric. I love, love, love them!! Cutest thing ever! *sigh* if I can ever get a hold of one...

Incidentally, I adore the film.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Cooking: Roast & Bake Sunday

The Pre-Roast.

Smoked Paprika Cinnamon Roasted Chicken with Caramelised Fennel, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Red Grapes.

Served with Couscous (I love that word) and Spinach, Rocket Salad.

Sunday is for roast. This is not a traditional "Sunday Roast" but with the chilly weather this weekend, I crave for a warm roasted chicken. Billie Holiday is playing in the background. An hour of warm aroma of fresh herb (from my own garden, of course) and deliciousness infusing the entire kitchen whilst I watch impatiently like a child, peeking every five minutes through the oven door. I calm myself down with a hot cup of chai tea and catch up on my reading. I've added a sprinkle of cinnamon onto the chicken before it goes into the oven at 220ºC for an hour and a quarter, basting every fifteen minutes. Result is the most delicious, moist, succulent tender chicken that falls off the bone. Red grapes, tomatoes, shallots and fennel all have caramelised nicely and flavour have been condensed to an impeccable intensity of sweetness that nature and oven can ever offer.

I then make a simple couscous (I love that word, couscous. Couscous!) with little onion and sultans with a dash of cinnamon over a little hot chicken stock to go along with the dish. Just for health's sake, I throw in a little spinach and rocket salad. Okay, the dressing is store-bought (Brianna's Poppy Seed Dressing), but hey, I'm not full-time Nigella Lawson nor Martha Stewart, at least not yet.

Cardamom Cinnamon Apple Crumble served with Warm Custard.

As for dessert, a classic apple crumble is crying for to finish this Sunday meal. Although, I have forgotten to pick up ground ginger and nutmeg from the store, which I normally would use, I improvise with cardamom and a bit of fresh grated ginger, lots of cinnamon, sugar, and everything nice to marinate the apples. As for the crumble top, it's a mixture consists of crushed ginger snaps, old fashioned boring ole oats, brown sugar and melted butter. Zara offered to make custard to go with the crumble. Delicious. Anyone will definitely beg for more.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Goodbye Misty!

Misty was stolen from my own garden this morning between 2am-6am (because those were the only hours i were sleeping and didn't hear any noise outside of forementioned time frame). The lock was cut, it was a good kyptonite lock too.

On top of the shitty feeling i've been having, I'm extremely upset (i'm not even going to mention the other stuff). What upset me the most is that I've left Misty in dodgy places overnight, in other rougher parts of Hackney and in the city centre and it was fine, but she was stolen from my own home!!

There were some kids Sunday sitting on the bike and ringing the bell, i was in the kitchen so I gave them a dirty look, they ran away but they were really young though and were just playing football. I suspect is my neighbours, coz they can watch and know what time I'm home and stuff.

Sure, Misty was only £10, plus the tires £30, and lock £40. I've just got used to riding my bike everywhere, it's much faster than taking the bus (plus more environmental friendly and cost effective, transportation is expensive here) but sad news is, I really can't afford to buy another one right now.

I really hope bad karma will happen to the Misty thieves!


Saturday, 18 August 2007

Cooking: Lavender and Lamb by Lam

Lamb with Rosemary, Oregano and Lavender Served with Wild Rice and Mint Yoghurt Sauce.

Even though lavender is popular amongst the French and (few) English baked goods; being a North American, we are mostly exposed to lavender as a fragrance rather than a herb that is used for cooking.

Tonight for dinner, I made pan seared (cast iron, that's the only pan we have in this house) lambchops with a rosemary, oregano and lavender rub (Jamie Oliver style, crushed it all up made a rub), served with wild rice (finally learned how to make rice without a rice cooker! Can't blame me, I'm Chinese!!) and garlic mint yoghurt sauce (garlic, cucumber, mint and lemon zest). It was delicious! I never thought lavender would work but I was inspired by one of the James Martin's recipes I have seen before on his show. It was a lavender and garlic, honey roasted lamb leg. I would definitely like to explore more ways to use with lavender!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Introducing... Misty!

Hello to all bike enthusiasts!

Please, any tips & pointers for new cyclist are most welcome!!

I've been eyeing on a bike for a bit after heavy persuasion from MattK and my new flatmate, Richie. I wasn't going to get one initially until I've settled but as I was walking home from Brick Lane, it was end of the day as all other stalls were closing up, a guy and a girl was selling this gorgeous burgundy bike for £25 (I walked around eyeing on it for a bit) and as soon as the guy put up a new sign "Please Buy Misty, Any Offers", i couldn't resist. I offered all my change which i only had £10 on me.

I had to ask why she was selling it, in case Misty was a stolen. Turns out Misty's previous owner (actually lived down the street from mine) has gone back to America so her flatmate is selling Misty for her for anything. Looks like the bike was well cared for, it's in working condition other than the flat tires. There were already loads of compliments when I started to wheel down the street, I got stopped a couple of times if I'm selling it (the sign was still attached) and a group of people on the patio was complimenting on it.

I walked Misty until Columbia Road, then I rode on it for a bit, then got off as I was crossing Hackney Road, then biked along Hackney City Farm, onto Broadway Market but got a bit frightened as cars were passing by. London drivers are CRAZY!!! So i walked her until London Fields and rode until Hackney Central. I haven't been on a bike for YEARS!! I was quite rusty at first, once i got a hang of it i was fine but soooo tiring coz i'm not used to the exercise.

When I got home, Richie examined the bike for me, he said that Raleigh was a very good brand for bikes back in the days. Misty seems to be in good conditions, the break works fine, just needs a change of tires. He tried to pump it but it deflated after an hour, so he recommend me for a lock and go to the bike shop and get them changed, shouldn't be too much and since i've only paid a tenner for it. He also found there was an Olympic sticker on it and we laughed about that (i have to go re-check what year it was).

Yay, i'm quite excited!!

Monday, 9 July 2007

Cooking: Lemongrass Chicken

Lemongrass Chicken
(Serves 1-2)

1-2 lbsChicken Pieces (skin on, boneless optional)
2 stalkLemongrass (finely chopped and bruised)
2Green Onion, thinly sliced
1 tspSalt
1 cloveGarlic, finely minced
1 pinchChili Flakes
1/4 tspWhite Pepper
1 smallOnion, julienned
1/4 cupChicken Stock
2 tbspGranulated Sugar
2 tbspFish Sauce

Roasted Chopped Peanuts (Optional)

Chopped Cilantro (optional)

1. In a ziplock bag, mix lemongrass, green onions and garlic.

2. Marinate chicken pieces with salt and white pepper with a touch of toasted sesame oil

3. Add chicken to ziplock bag, and mix it about and let it marinate overnight or at least for 30 minutes. This is also the time if you want to split the portions and put some into the freezer.

4. Heat wok/pan in med-high heat, add oil. When oil is hot, add chili flakes and let it fry for 30 seconds. Add chicken pieces and brown both sides.

5. Add chicken stock and let it cook for a few minutes until some liquid has been evaporated, stir in onion and cook until chicken is cooked.

6. Sprinkle sugar and fish sauce. Cook for another 30 seconds to a minute. Dish up, garnish with chopped roasted peanuts and cilantro. Serve on a bed of steamed jasmine rice.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Art & Culture: Antony Gormley & Damien Hirst

(left) Antony Gormley // Blind Light // 17 May - 19 August 2007 @ Hayward Gallery
(Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX)

(right) Damien Hirst // Beyond Belief & For the Love of God // 1 June - 7 July 2007 @ White Cube
(25-26 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU)

Antony Gormley // Blind Light
Zoe and I went to see Antony Gormley's exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre. As we entered into the gallery, we saw this giantic metal sculpture on our left and the infamous Blind Light installation in front of us. We couldn't help it but to experience that first. "Blind Light" is a glass room filled with fog, where the audience will became part of the art itself. We couldn't see anything but mist when we were inside, we stayed close to each other. It was bizarre, you can hear people but you can't see them until they came up real close.

Next we went to see "Allotment" which is a room full of concrete blocks which was meant to look like urban landscape. Each is cut out with a cube you can look through them and walk through the concrete forest. Then we went back to the main area and looked at "Space Station". A breathtaking sculpture of metal cubes combining together to form space. The upstairs gallery features his wired matrices of himself. Loved it!

Canada Day in London
After the exhibition we walked to Trafalgar Square to attend the Canada Day in London celebration. It was lame. None of the food promised was there, there was no poutine, bison burger was £5. So we went to the Maple Leaf instead. Met up with Matt and Audrey, had a pint of Sleemans and poutine, we went back to the Square and met up with Niki and Paul. K'naan was alright and Sam Roberts was boring. Niki insisted to go back to Maple Leaf, I wanted to meet up with Zoe's mates and Jarvis at The Phoenix. I was so bored at the Maple Leaf, and it was a MISSION to get them outta there. The phoenix was fun, I met Greg, infamous Tommy and his girlfriend Laura, and another friend of theirs. A bit of mix bag of a night...

Damien Hirst // Beyond Belief // For the Love of God
The White Cube itself is quite an interesting venue as it is situated in a middle of a square with offices around. We had to queue about half an hour for the viewing of "For the Love of God". Once our group was let through upstairs, it was curated by a security guard with a long list of instructions to put our bags against the wall, and informed us we'll be entering a pitch black room but eyes will get used to it, no touching the glass and so forth. Zoe and I entered the room, everyone's focus was on the infamous diamond skull. It was magnificent! I love how the skull had a missing tooth, it was the imperfection in the perfection. After about 3 mins of viewing, the security thanked us for visiting and our time was up. Zoe and I went back to the front and see the rest of the exhibition. Damien Hirst explores the fundamental themes of human existence -- life, death, love, truth, immortality and art. We first face a series of "Birth Paintings" which was actually paintings of his son's birth, Cyrus, by Caesarean section. The series illustrates the brutality yet tender images of horror and beauty of a childbirth. Downstairs was the series of "Biopsy Paintings" which we found was a bit eerie since it was based on a series of biopsy images of cancer patients with the rich texture of broken glass, choice of redness "blood" and razor blades. We did enjoy walking through the Natural History series, the infamous half shark, half cows, sheep, fish, butterflies. His last piece "Nativity in The Adoration" was the most amazing, it was a knife through a heart with wings, it is where Hirst questions art, science, faith, pain and religion. Amazing!

After the exhibition, we met up with Gavin at Ed's Easy Diner on Great Newport street for some malt shake and Astro Fries. It was amazing! You can read my review here on TrustedPlaces. We were soooo full!! We went to See Woo for a quicky browse and picked up some rice noodles and said our byes. It was a good day.

Damien Hirst // White Cube Hoxton Square: Beyond Belief
On Saturday, 7th July, I went to the last day of the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Hoxton Square location. I am glad I went to this one after I've seen the one at Mason's Yard. The collection is a bit smaller. But this time the "Biopsy Paintings" has deeply affected me more, especially knowing they were biopsy images of dying cancer patients and lumps of hair in the paintings. The Hoxton Square collection continues questioning about faith. The first piece as you walked in was the stunning "Saint Sebastian, Exquisite Pain" which was representation of the Saint's martyrdom -- glass tank with a black calf with arrows through the body. "Nativity of The Adoration" showed a medical scenario with 3 dead sheep in kneeling position to a silver baby skeleton. "God Only Knows" featured another 3 sheep in crucified positions. Upstairs was a small collection of the post-birth painting series of Cyrus and his wife Maia.

After thoughts
Antony Gormley challenges the human body as a habitation and how the body form interacts with space, landscape and environment. Whilst Damien Hirst challenges the deeper meaning of the human form: faith, technology, love, life and death. Most Hirst's installations were cast in glass tanks where Gormley's were free structured. Although interestingly enough, Gormley's "Blind Light" was a basically a large glass tank and filled with fog, where people can see the silhouettes from the outside and became the subject of the art form. Are we the cut up shark and dead sheep in this case? I like both exhibition, but reckon I have more emotional reaction to Hirst's collection, I suppose it was more in your face and it questions the higher meaning of life and death. But both exhibitions were well curated and I highly recommended to anyone to see them both.

Life: Jobbing Frustration

I feel a bit calmer and decided to put my mind off things and focus on finding work. It was hard to motivate myself and he's right, i need to sort out my life first. Luckily I have a "Power Jobbing" buddy (as we coin the term) to support and motivate each other, and to go over each other's cover letters and such. It's been productive.

I give up on applying through agencies. Last week, I applied for a position immediately upon getting a notify email about the new job posting, 10 seconds after i pressed the send button, I got a rejection email! I was furious. Have they even looked at my CV? Hello???

This week, I have decided to cold call companies to send them my CV. I am going through the 2007 DesignWeek Top 100 Design Firms in the UK, and I am going to send each and every company listed on there my CV. I have send out my CV to the Top 10 Branding/Packaging Agencies, except for Pearlfisher coz i have inside scoop that they've just downsized a bunch of people. I immediately got one rejection by Springetts, they only recruit fresh graduates and to have their career grows in the company. What kind of company is that? That's just taking advantage of cheap labour because they were fresh off school!

On a side of a bit of good news, as I've already mentioned in my previous entry, I had an excellent interview last week with Octagon, I should hear back from them in the next few days should I made the 2nd round of the interview. Fingers crossed. At the meantime, I shall continue cold calling and sending my CV to those 100 agencies. I don't believe I won't get one response from any of them!! Seriously, I don't think my portfolio sucks that bad!?!?!?! ERRRRR!!!!!

ps. Also, i've received my TrustedPlaces card today in the mail. Ahoy for 2 for 1 or 50% off meals!!

Monday, 2 July 2007

Life: All Too Familiar!

It was difficult time for me to pull myself together two months ago. With encouragement from my friends, I've decided to stay and give London a go. Things were looking positive for a while, made some great new friends, Great Escape experience was excellent, a budding romance but it seems I'm back to square one again. Still struggling to find a job, and the littlest excitement i've had has gone down the drain as well...

I really thought things will finally start to look up again last week. After sending 90 job applications, I finally had an interview last Thursday, not only that, it was also the position I wanted the most. It was with an international PR/Marketing company called Octagon. The interview went pretty well, i was there for almost an hour. The girl at the interview shared the same background as me as she was on Holidaymaker initially from Australia. We had similar design background as well, hopefully she'll emphasised with me. I should hear back from them this week if i made the 2nd cut or not. Fingers crossed.

Been casually seeing someone as well, i was hesitant at first but thought to give it a chance. He's honest (too honest?) and he makes me laugh. I enjoyed spending time with him very much even though we don't see each other too often. I was very excited about it, even though we're nothing serious I've started to grown to know and care for him. Thought things were going well as we had discussed a week before but it took an unexpected turn this weekend. Ironically we went to the same places we've started on our one month. Okay, so it's not a very long time but it is for relationship phobes. I haven't been in any for a very, very, very long time even though i've dated people in between. I was fine with us being casual.. i didn't think we were rushing into anything nor have i forced us to be in a relationship, he just wanted us to be "friends" for now, so i dunno. I just dealt with the ordeal of the whole "just friends" bullshite for the past 2 years with another guy. One minute we're "just friends" the next we're "more than friends" to being "not friends". I'm not a light switch, i can't just flick my feelings back and forth, it's totally mind fucking! I really hate being dick around like that and the other guy was never honest with me. It's these fuckers that made me relationship phobe!

To be honest, i didn't expected to be this upset about it, but if i haven't any feelings for him, i wouldn't be upset right now would i? I'm not sure where we'll go from here... we're both not ready to take the next steps but can we go backwards? he said he doesn't want to add more complication to my life right now, having said that but being this upset doesn't do any good to it neither. I'm not sure what to do really...

Contemplating of going to Tack!Tack!Tack! tonight, a friend isn't feeling well so she backed out... but I'm not sure if i want to be home alone at this point, I'll just be crying my eyes out...

I'm going to be bad, i'm going downstairs and buy some Fanta..

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Gianfranco Ferrè (1944-2007)

Booooo! Another great lost in the world of fashion..

Originally trained as an architect, this Italian designer began his fashion career designing accessories and raincoat. With his architecture background, he treated fashion with the same design principles as he would for a building: structure, form and balance. He was known as "The Architect of Fashion and was also known for being extremely critical of trends and fashion gimmicks. Eventually started his own company. He was also the director of Christian Dior in the late 80s to early 90s before he departed and start creating his own womanswear and menswear collection. He passed away 3 days ago, he was 62.

He will be missed and I'll be wearing my Ferrè glasses to honour him this week.


Sunday, 13 May 2007

Cultural Weekend: The Social, Mosaïques Launch Party, The Crimea at Primrose Hill

Friday: The Social

Jarvis invited me to come down to The Social for a drink. It was also his friend's birthday. I got there around 10:50pm, the cozy bar was loaded with people. Jarvis introduced me to his friends, Zoe and Jenny, they're from Swansea, Wales. Jenny is the birthday girl who works at the V&A. Her boyfriend Simon also works there and also there were a few colleagues of hers at the drink. Zoe and I chatted away, we have lots of crafty interests in common. Her boyfriend Gavin is bandmates with Jarvis, Gavin seems cool. They were all very fun and friendly people. We got kicked out of the bar shortly after 1am. It was pouring outside. Jarvis asked if we could meet up for coffee or lunch sometimes. I said yes. He walked me to my bus stop, he texted me an hour later to see if I got home okay which was very sweet of him...

Saturday: Mosaïques Launch Party

Elodie invited me to the Institut Francais for the launch party of Mosaïques 2007. We missed the screening of Transvylvania due to our lazy arses. The Institut Francais is erected in the posh South Kensington. Apparently that's a French area, stores and even corner store sells French imported things. The Institut is quite big and there's a high school attached to it. We were escorted to the VIP upper section of the theatre for the gig: DJ Click featuring Tziganiada. It was interesting, Balkan music with an electro infusion. The dancer was great. Eventually audience broke off their shells and started to stand up and dance, it was great fun. We went back downstairs for our free drinks. I've never heard of such thing as Vodka & Apple Juice, Elodie insisted that it's THE drink in France. It's actually every nice and refreshing. Due to my sucky alcohol tolerance level on empty stomach, i started feeling a cramp as we were on route to Primrose Hill.

The Crimea at Primrose Hill

We got there around Midnight. The park was huge and it was dark. We climbed the never ending hill following the cheers of the crowd. When we got up to the top of the hill, people were shouting "Andy! Andy! Andy!", and there were quite a crowd there. The Crimea kicked off the launch of their free album (which is available to download for free on their website) with a free gig. Great concept. It reminded me the time that Ninja High School launched their 7" at some park at midnight, I missed that gig. Little did we knew, they've already played a whole set prior to our arrival. We only caught the encore in the end as the police started arriving. The best part was when Andy started playing his guitar along to the pre-recorded Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca". I met Owen's girlfriend, she was lovely. The view on top of the hill was magnificent, you can see the London Skyline. I was caught in the moment and almost had teary eye because I thought Mike was suppose to take me there 2 weeks ago (but was it turned out he was suppose to bring me to Hampstead Heath, which is less posh). Speaking of, I've decided to give myself a break from him for a bit and focus to find work. I've met a few cute guys this week which I have completely forgot they existed because I was so keen on just the one guy! Anyway, after the band packed up their stuff, we then went to a pub called Quinns along Kentish Town, near Davy's. I didn't stay long coz my stomach was still hurting so I went home.

Not sure what I'm doing today. Suppose to play Kickball today but it's pouring outside.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

Fashion: Kate Moss <3 TopShop

Apparently, hundreds of eager shoppers were queued up outside TopShop trying to be the first to see and buy from the Kate Moss collection on 30th April. The much anticipated collection is very "Kate" ranging from her signature look: skinnies and waistcoats, wife-beaters, hotpants, mini dresses, lace-up sandals, pointy-toes mary janes and sunnies.

Elodie and I met up after work at TopShop on the day of the launch (1st May). We were there about 7:45pm. Surprisingly, there were still TONS of pieces left from the collection. I spoke to one of the staff, they re-stock the collection 6 times a day and there are new stocks coming in everyday. I feel sorry for the "fashionistas" who queued for hours who hopes to make a few pounds off Ebay.

I was much disappointed at the collection, it was mediocre and overly priced. I remembered liking a few pieces from the website, but they didn't look as well made in person. I really wanted a waistcoat but in-person, the colour wasn't right, it was yellow and black pinstripe, it was actually nice tried on but the colour wasn't what I was looking for. The off-white pleated fitted jacket looked really stylish but I wasn't going to pay £70 for it, so was the one strap pleated chiffon dress. Gorgeous! Again it was £120! The only item that I wanted to buy was the bow tie, but you can buy them anywhere really. I've been wanting a pair of black skinnies, the KM ones are £50, frankly, I rather buy Cheap Monday.

This the only celebrity/designer highstreet collection that I didn't buy anything from...

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Dining: Boulevard Brasserie

Elodie was invited to attend her friend's Gabby's boyfriend's birthday dinner at Boulevard Brasserie ( 40 Wellington Street, Covent Garden WC2E 7BD, +44 20 7240 2992 in Covent Garden. It's a cozy 2-floored restaurant with a deli attached. We had the 3-course set dinner for £18.50. Starters ranged from foie gras terrine, grilled goat cheese, baked scallops or fish soup. Main included grilled entrecote (ribs), sea bass, duck confit or risotto. And desserts from Crème Brûlée, to Lemon tart, chocolate mousse or sticky toffee pudding (must be the English thing). This is what I had:
  • Half a dozen queen scallops, garlic & herb crust
  • Duck confit served with cassoulet beans and caramelised baby onions
  • Crème Brûlée

Starter was delicious, scallops were covered with a mixture of bread crumbs, garlic and herbs and butter then baked. The duck confit was done to perfection, the meat was easily off the bones, wasn't a big fan of beans in general but the cassoulet beans was tasteful, and the baby caramelised onion worked perfectly well to add a touch of sweetness. Crème Brûlée was excellent, I love it when they use fresh vanilla pod for it, it was amazing.

The company was very nice, sitting across me was Albert who works in finance. Beside me was a guy named Simon who's an accountant, and likes the Manic Street Preachers. We had a good chat, dinner was nice. It was nice to get out and meet new people.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

Discovering London: Borough Market

Borough Market Entrance (London Bridge Station, Borough High Street, Southwark)

Borough Market
Didn't know what to do with my day, Elodie and Andy have gone to Paris for the long weekend, and Annie of course was working. Matt was having a bike around and everyone was either out of town or busy having family affairs. I need more friends. I really miss the girls. I already went shopping the day before, and didn't want to go far, so I thought to go over to the other side of the Thames.

I've been to Borough Market before when I was in London last year. I remember exactly where it was. It was very busy, probably because everyone had the day off.

Richard Haward Oysters

Richard Haward Oysterman
The Haward family started growing oysters since 1792 just a tad off Essex. Talk about local. I started my Borough Market crawl here. I had an rock oyster and a clam. Never had freshly chucked clam before. It was nice. He also has his own shallot vinegarette to go with it.

Then I moved onto Scandelicious. Was a little bit disappointed by their selection, thought they would have other grocer goods as well as homemade herrings and gravlax. Anyway, I bought a small tub of pickled herring.

Ceylon1 is an organic and fairtrade tea company. They have a beautiful Green Tea Earl Grey, I love their branding and packaging. I bought a tea strainer there and I went on to other homemade jam, chutney and marmalade stalls.

Furness Fish & Game
Seems to be the most popular, they had a huge octopus on display. All sorts of mackerels, salmon, tuna, sea bass, smokies. They seem really fresh, was tempted to get some tuna but that also meant i couldn't browse longer and would have go home immediately to fridge it. The only thing I didn't like about this stall is that they had some poor dead rabbits hanging on the wall.. and made me sad to look at it. I have a better pix from last year but I'm too lazy to blog that. You can see it on my London Loves DVD though.

West Country Venison
Around the corner of Furness Fish, this stall has the longest queue for their sausage and sandwiches. A mere £3.50 can get you a delicious sandwich with venison burger or sausage served with a bed of rockets, fried onions and your choice of condiments, I had it with black current chuckney last year. I couldn't be bothered lining up this time coz the line up was insane. (Again, you can see the pix in my London Loves DVD)

Brindisa, the Spanish deli at Borough Market, London, serves up hand sliced Pata Negra Serrano Ham. You can buy the entire leg and leg holder to slice it up at your leisure.

The Wild Mushroom Company
Organic! Organic local home grown. Has all sorts of organic fruits, veggies and mushroom varieties.

Real France
One of my favourite stall, they have fresh Beurre d'Echire and also these Ferme des peupliers "oeufs au lait" like yogurt that comes in little glass jar, they're the cutest thing in the world! It's 4 for £3.50, or you can buy them for 1 quid each. They cost £1.70 each at Selfridges. I bought 3 "créme caramel" flavoured and 1 cappuccino flavoured.

Sillfield Farm
This is where I got a bit excited! Sillfield Farm located in South Cumbria. They have own smoked bacon of all variety. Also have variety selection of sausages and boar. I bought these "rare breed pork" sausages. I txted Annie to see if she's up for having Wild Boar Burgers for dinner, she said she was in. It was delicious. Very different taste, it was almost like a beefy pork. I quite enjoy it.

This stall carries all sorts of beer around the world. I got really excited when i saw the range of Unibroue brewery from Québec. Blanche de Chambly is one of my favourite as it forever reminds me of spending hot summer nights at the Embassy in Toronto. Their pear cider selection wasn't too great. They had that Ikea brand which i wasn't too fond of. So the search for Golden Cap Pear Cider in London continues...

The Ginger Pig
Heard loads about this place, they were recently nominated as semi-finalists for "UKTV Food Local Hero 2006". The flagship store is actually in Marylebone. Wide selection of sausages to pies. They looked really good and the stall was busy. Didn't get anything from there since I've already bought stuff at Sillfield Farm stall.

Neals Yard Dairy
Had the most wonderful cheese sampler today. It was called "Winworth" or something, I can be wrong. I wasn't going to try it because it has the mouldy crust which I hate but it was very very creamy and the mouldy crust wasn't too bad. This of course, is also an award winning dairy shop.

Paul Smith (13 Park Street SE1)

Paul Smith
Located just shyly tucked on the edge of Borough Market, this cute tiny Paul Smith store also carries a small range of novelty gifts and a small collection of the current line. I saw some really nice runners there, but I wasn't allowed to spend.

Have to sit down and have some sugary tea...

It was such a nice day, Borough Market was packed with people. All the neighbouring pubs had people overflowing onto the curb having pints. Keeping my "I don't drink alone" mandate, it had to hold out on my craving for a cold pint of Magners cider. I walked further down Southwark to the Braham Museum of Tea and Coffee instead for an afternoon tea. I had a scone served with cream and jam, and also a proper brewed pot of ceylon tea.

So i bought from the market today:

  • 1 small tub of Pickled Herrings from Scandelicious
  • 100 g Basil Pesto from Borough Olive
  • 1 Oyster & 1 Clam from Richard Hayward (he's also a very nice man)
  • 100 g Fresh French butter, 4 French Oeuf Yogurt in glass jars (3 in Créme Caramel, 1 in cappuccino) from Real France
  • 2 x Wild Boar Burgers from Stillfield Farm
  • 200 g of Rare breed pork sausages from Stillfield Farm
  • 1 tea strainer
  • Had to most wonderful sampled cheese from Neals Yard Dairy

You can see my complete photos of the day here.

I headed back to Hackney after my afternoon tea. Went to the local Primark and bought the cutest baby yellow summer dress for £8! Then, I went to Tesco and picked up some buns and chips for dinner and I headed back. Tried on the new dress and wanted to take a photo with my Anya Hindmarch bag. As i was playing around with my camera, flipping back and forth from viewing to photo mode. The screen went black!!!! I'm so upset. I bring this camera with me everywhere, everyday! I cannot imagine to live without it. Though my beloved Canon SD10 has been good to me for the past 3 years. It was getting a little wonky at times. I was going to hold out buying a new one, but we'll have to see if this is fixable. After some research on the interweb, it might be a "ccd" sensor malfunction, Canon USA apparently will replace and repair for free (including shipping and handling), alas, I live in the UK. Not sure if they'll repair it here. Will be on a mission later today trying to get it fixed, if not, will have to buy another. *sigh*

Gig 07: The Cooper Temple Clause Panzer Attacked!!

My TCTC tee and ticket stub

After shopping, I went home to drop off my shopping and to change quickly before I head to Victoria Station to meet Cecile and David. Cecile is a friend of Audrey's. Audrey txted me the day before asking if I was interested to see The Cooper Temple Clause on Thursday. Cecile and David were arriving from Bristol, never met them but we've been txting for the past couple of days.

The Cooper Temple Clause // Kubichek @ Shepherds Bush Empire
(Shepherds Bush Green, London W12 8TT)

I was running late meeting Cecile and David at the station. Who knew there were two different entrances. We missed a couple songs in the beginning but we managed to squish our way to the front. It was loud. It was a great show. Cecile and I were singing to the songs and dancing the entire time.

Been Training Dogs
Waiting Game
Film Maker
Once More With Feeling
Music Box
Homo Sapiens
Promises Promises
All I See Is You
Who Needs Enemies
Blind Pilots
Written Apology
Let's Kill Music
Panzer Attack

I tried to look for Steve Lloyd to see if he was doing sound for them. There was a bald guy behind the soundboard alright, but if only Steve put on A LOT of weight! I didn't approached him. Cecile wanted to wait for Jon and thank him for guestlisting but we couldn't get anywhere near the stage after the show was over. I bought the last scoop neck t-shirt. We had time to kill before she has to head back to Tottenham Court Rd to meet up with David, so we went for a drink. The pub beside the venue looked closed, so we headed to the Walkabout. We had to leave immediately upon stepping our foot into the door -- gino beats were on full blast! We quickly left the bar and tried to look for another. The pub we thought it was closed was actually open, O'Neills(2 Goldhawk Rd, London, W12 9NT), so we went in for a drink.

As we were heading towards the tube station, Cecile suddenly remembered she has forgotten her camera at the venue. So we went back to the venue and luckily, it was still opened and the security made her signed for it. We caught the last train. I didn't went with her to Tottenham Court Rd, I stayed on until Bethnal Green. I couldn't sleep after I went home, I didn't take valerian root, I was still a little tipsy and thought I would be exhausted from walking and dancing. I reeled in bed for 4 hours. I am starting to think that I seriously have a sleeping problem.

Discovering London: Food Finds & Markets (Clerkenwell)

Yesterday I had an interview with Channelfly at noon with Kat and Tom. I'll be interning couple days a week to help out with graphics and other random things for The Great Escape Festival.

Golden Fish Bar (102-104 Farringdon Road EC1)

Golden Fish Bar
I've been wanting to try out their fish and chips for ages. Since I was in the area, thought to try it out. This family-run fish n' chips shop has been around for 150 years. I love how their décor was very 70s but yet cozy and quite clean. There is a daily special on the wall which changes as the day goes on.

I had Rock and Chips with a diet coke. The fish was moist, fresh and the batter was very crispy. The fish was better than The Laughing Halibut (38 Strutton Ground, St. James Park SW1P 2HR) and Fryer's Delight (19 Theobald's Road, Hoborn WC1X 8SL). Having said that, the chips were a little disappointing as they were not very crispy. The best chips I've had in London so far was actually at the ICA.

Notice that it wasn't a Diet Coke but it's a Coca-Cola "light". When I flipped to read the label, it's all in German!

Exmouth Market (Farringdon Rd + Roseberry Ave)

Exmouth Market
Post lunch I went for a walk in the area. I dropped by the Exmouth Market. I've been there once before with Nina, Amy and Elodie, when Golden Fish Bar was closed and searched for alternatives. There were food vendors on the street, everyone was on the patio having lunch and a pint. Along the street there are lots of cute little independent shops from unique clothing to handcrafted gifts and organic cafés. It was lovely.

Leather Lane Market (Leather Lane - Wed-Fri, 10:30-14:30)

Leather Lane Market
Continuing my journey to Oxford Street, I walked along Clerkenwell Road on-route to Holborn, I discovered Leather Lane Market. Almost like the Strutton Ground Market, the market is catered to local office workers going to graze during lunch hour, whether they're picking up sandwiches for lunch, or buying quick fruits for home later or looking for cheap clothes, shoes, jewelleries or designer knock-off handbags. Everything is here, prices are quite keen. A few stalls have overstock from TopShop and Miss Selfridges.

The market essentially lead me to Holborn High Street. Then I went to Oxford Circus and bought some cute summer shoes from H&M: red patent peep toes with ankle tie, seersucker sandals. Then I got a call back from Kat, I'll be starting my internship on Tuesday. I'm quite excited though it's too bad that the position is non-paid. At the very least, this internship will keep my mind occupied, people seems kewl working there and I love meeting new people, hopefully I can get a good reference from it, and I can put this as my "UK work experience" on my "CV".

Bought this amazing strapless laced dress at River Island for a bargain of just £10! I was going to check out the new Primark at Oxford Street but since it was opening day, there was an insane queue both ways around the entire block. I couldn't be bothered, there's a Primark 5 minutes away from where I live.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Erhm.. Fungi?

Mushrooms are growing at the bottom of the palm tree! Elodie then gets rid of them, but in the photo it looks more like she is feeding them to Claire.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Megahangout 2: Blast from the past weekend

What an emotionally and physically exhausted weekend!

I'm glad I stuck it out and get to see my friends. Had a lovely day at the V&A (one of my favourite museums) with Kate on Friday. We went to see Kylie Exhibition and Surreal Things. The Surreal Things exhibit was better than i expected. Got to see a couple of my favourite paintings from the period. Didn't realised there were more forms of medium expressed through during the movement: ballet, wardrobe, industrial design, advertising, film and even fashion. The exhibition was worth seeing if you haven't already and it was well curated. The evening was tensed, I don't want to get into that... but I did met a cute boy named Jarvis who looked like the young Jamie Oliver who plays in a band called Broken Tapes.

The next day, I had breakfast with Mike at Broadway Market. I love these little markets. That's one thing I will definitely miss if I were to go home. The place he was planning to take me wasn't opened, so we went back to La Vie de Rose (2 Broadway Market E8 - Apparently Little Georgia (87 Goldsmiths Row E8) is better, will have to try that one out), a cute lil' French place he took me to a year ago after an emotionally intense night. It was weird to be in the same place, with the same person, also somewhat feeling the same a year later! I went to visit Kate at Pier's studio in Brick Lane afterwards, it was her last day in London. We had a little chat. Then i hooked up with Elodie and Claire, and spend hours at -- TopShop!! Retail therapy was much needed! Baz txt he was in town, so we met up with him and met his girlfriend, Cath. She is sooo lovely!!!! Haven't seen him for years and how time flies! We went for a pint at Pillars of Hercules on Greek St behind the Astoria, and then Claire's boyfriend, Thomas, joined us and we went to Cripsy Duck on Chinablock for dinner since the Japanese place was packed. We were feeling brave and had deep-fried pork intestines for starters (it's actually one of my favourite dishes). We talked lots about food and Baz' history of his veggie days. All good fun!

Of course, the only night that I finally get 6 hours of sleep, I have to wake up on wrong side of the bed. My right side of my body from neck down to shoulder and upper arm can't move. I think i've sprang my tendon. It was the same pain i had last year before the "acupuncture rape incident" but this time more on my shoulders. I can feel a weird muscle bump on my shoulder actually. It got worse after carrying the heavy bag from Tesco. I spend the rest of my night not moving with a hot water bottle on my shoulder. It still hurts today.

It's been 2 months since I've been here. I'm sorta mad at myself by not having accomplished much but I'm just taking baby steps at a time, by starting to focus on my health first. Need to start eating properly again and hopefully will lead to a better sleep at night. I'm taking this time to work on my portfolio. I'm hoping to have it done ASAP so i can start looking for jobs again.

It looks beautiful outside today, but it's not like I can move. So I'm going stay in and try to get some reading done and work on my portfolio.

Okay, so this is almost like the exact entry from the myspace one but I'm lazy yeah?

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Gig 06: Damien Rice - Hammersmith Apollo

Damien Rice // Fionn Regan @ Hammersmith Apollo
(Queen Caroline Street London W1)

Elodie wasn't feeling well, I accompanied her to Hammersmith Apollo (not Palais this time) to see her favourite, Damien Rice. The venue was quite packed as we arrived. It was size a tad smaller than Massey Hall without seats on the Orchestra level. We missed the support act but we made it in time for the headliner. We located ourselves near the front onto one side of the stage. Poor Elodie kept sitting down half the show as she wasn't feeling too well. I've never seen Damien Rice at all, but heard lots of great things about him and now I know why.

The best part was the encore, where he rang too much wine whilst telling the audience the story during "Cheers Darlin'". "The Blower's Daughter" was the song that blew me away and left me almost had tears in my eyes.

The Professor/La fille danse
Older Chests
Coconut Skins
She Comes Out so slow (on piano) one verse >>> into Rootless Tree
Random Man on the Motorway
Me My Yoke and I
Dogs >>> aborted
Baby Sister
Amie >>> spaceship effect >>> Sex Change >>> Eskimo
I Remember


Cheers Darlin'
The Blower's Daughter

Cannonball (2nd encore - acoustic)

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Gig 05: Idlewild - Hammersmith Palais

Idlewild // Now It's Overhead @ Hammersmith Palais
(230 Shepherd Bush Road W6 7NL)

It has been a frustrating day dealing with inconsiderate people. Elodie called for a girly pre-drink with Annie at Match Bar Clerkenwell. They agreed that my friends were being insensitive as well but there was a little people can do about it, though Elodie and Annie are on my side and will support me. I needed a drink. One daiquiri after another, we proceeded to Cicada for more drinks.

Elodie and I walked to Holborn and took the tube to Hammersmith. Except, we went to the Apollo not the Palais. When we finally got to the correct venue, Idlewild has been playing for a bit already. We walked in when "Love steals us from loneliness" was playing. They seemed to be covering all specs from new to old favourites. Roddy seemed fine despite the sickness on tour that they had to cancelled 2 shows this tour. It's also the debut of the new bassist, Gareth. It was great to see them again, they were still great as usual! I miss them!

Below was a setlist:
When I argue I see shapes
You held the world in your arms
If it takes you home
Live in a hiding place
No emotion
American English
Once in your life
Little discourage
Love steals us from loneliness
A modern way of letting go
Future works
These wooden ideas
El Capitan
Everything (as it moves)
In remote part/Scottish fiction
- - - -
In competition for the worst time
Everyone says you're so fragile
(I am) what I am not

We were later told that this show was one of the last shows at the Hammersmith Apollo as it was to be tear down the following week after. This is the last look inside the venue.

After the show, I went down to the soundboard to look for Richie. It was so nice to see him again. We went to the aftershow area, we sat down and had a drink. We met Madeline's sister and had a long chat. She was a newly wed and quite lovely. Turned out that it was Madeline's birthday at midnight. Richie went backstage to fix us some drinks. Also saw Dom, he didn't remembered my name. But when I told him I was a friend of Kimmy's from Toronto. He remembered that we went for sushi. We didn't talked long as he was always in a hurry, always had things to take care of. I was on route to the bathroom and I saw Allan walking towards me. I didn't thought he would remember me but i said hi anyway, he was like "Wow, i haven't seen you for years" i told him i recently moved to London. He was like "yeah i know. i read it on your myspace" (REALLY?!?) We talked a bit. He said, "it's hard to sum up the past few years innit?" At the end of the night he saw me leaving so he came over and said bye and wish me luck here. And he said "YES, COME TO SCOTLAND AND SEE DESALVO!"

Aww.. Allan. I adore Allan! x

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Fashion: I'm Not A Plastic Bag

Anya Hindmarch has agreed to design an environmental bag for We Are What We Do. Due to popular demand, the website has stopped taking pre-orders. The snobby fashionista Dover Street Market's waiting list for the bag was also full and has refused to take down any more names. The website announced there is a small limited quantity available in the Anya stores, Harrods and Harvey Nichols on 20 March, 2007.

On the day of, I got to the Notting Hill location half an hour before the store opens. The queue was all the way around the corner already. I was about 75 people in queue. Surprisingly, there were lots of unfashionable looking "men" in the queue. Possibly queuing for e-bay or for their stylish girlfriends/wives. There was a 2 bags per customer policy. The lady in front of me actually had her mum at Harrods lining up for the bag. Good strategy. I was just one horse man since Elodie has to work. I would have bought a couple more if I could. After waiting for an hour and a half, finally got into the store and got the bags!!

The limited quantities have been sold out. There will be more available across nation at Sainsbury's on 25th April, 2007. But Elodie and I can enjoy our bag a month before everyone else!

Check my photoblog here for the photos I took that day.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Food Finds: Paul Boulangerie & Pattiserie

Paul Boulangerie & Pattiserie (29/30 Bedford Street, Covent Garden, WC2 - 020 7836 3304)

Window display at Paul's

Delicious and decadent looking cakes and macaroons

Been hearing about Paul Boulangerie & Pattiserie for ages. I finally went to one to search for my favourite croissants in London. I ordered a pain au chocolat. It was slightly disappointing. It was a bit stale and dry, perhaps it was the end of the day. But the display of various flans, cakes, tarts, claufouti and sweets sure look delicious!

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Fashion: Giles for Gold

Giles Deacon has agreed to design 4 collections for New Look this year. Yesterday launched the first one. I went to the New Look flagship store around shyly after midday, there were still lots of merchandise left (wasn't as crazy as the Stella McCartney and Viktor & Rolf lines for H&M).

Here are some pix of me trying on some of the pieces for this collection.

Due to my jobless status, I'm only allowed to buy one item. I bought the bling-bling skinny jeans.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Cooking: A Very British Dinner

I made a very British dinner tonight: Bangers (Pork & Apple) and Garlic Mash with sautéed Savoy Cabbage and Mushroom Onion Gravy.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Sighting: Luna Eclipse

Luna Eclipse - Saturday, 3rd March, 2007

Londoners queuing up on The Strand trying to catch a glimpse of the rare Luna Eclipse

Niki and I met up at Harrods, and we walked to V&A hoping to see the newly opened Kylie Exhibition. We got there too late, all the tickets of the day for the exhibition was sold out. We just browsed around the permanent collection until it was time to meet up with her friends at the ICA.

After the museum, we went for tea and a sit down gossip on Knightsbridge. We walked to ICAsince we had time to kill. We had dinner there after we purchase our tickets for "The Bridge". A critically acclaimed documentary about suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge. The documentary left us quite uneasy.

After the film, we decided to go to The Strand for a pint. As we were walking, Niki and I couldn't help noticing the moon looked different tonight. Then we saw people queuing up, so we asked what it was about. Turned out that it was a luna eclipse and everyone is trying to look at it in between the buildings. We joined and looked for a while. Niki's friends said goodbye. I was still quite excited about the eclipse as I've never seen it before. I wanted to share this moment with someone, so I txted Mike. Surprisingly, he replied quickly. He was packing for his conference in Colorado. Niki and I went for a pint at the pub and chatted more afterwards.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

A Weekend in Cambridge

Pre-dinner photo of Mike and I at his flat

Mike invited me to attend a black tie dinner with the Canadian Ambassador in Cambridge. I've been excited about this for a while, especially looking forward to see him. After meeting up at Cafe Nero on Market Street, and quickly changed at his apt we were off to Trinity College for our sumptuous dinner. We first started our evening in the champaign room. I met the organizer for the event and a famous judge who asked me to held his glass whilst he put on his Canadian pin. We then proceed to a small dining hall for our feast.

This is us at dinner.

Below is the menu:
  • Starter: Fresh Crab Meat Salad wrapped with Smoked Salmon served with Lambs Lettuce and crushed Black Pepper
  • Served with Mission Hill Chardonnay
  • Main: Medallions of Suffolk Venison with Caramelised Apples, Calvados, Berny Potatoes (mashed tatties with pine nuts, rolled into a ball and deep-fried), and selection of Fresh Vegetables (snow peas, baby carrots and beans)
  • Served with Mission Hill Cabernet Merlot
  • Dessert: Pecan Pie with Cinnamon Crust served with Chantilly Cream
  • Port, Coffee & Truffles
During dinner we met our table neighbours, Dave, who is an aero engineer from Calgary, working on combustion issues on Rolls Royce engines. Grace across from us was from Vancouver and currently studying in International studies. James who was from Szecheun, working on his masters in bio studies. Also met some other students there who were on the local hockey team. There were a few awkward moments when a couple of people thought and asked Mike and I were a couple. When I hesitatingly shook my head, they said "Oh.. sorry, I thought... but you both look great together!" Oh, life is an irony!

I was quite drunk already so I wasn't planning on drinking more, though I thought Mike wanted to have a drink with our newly made friends. We decided to go back to his place, chatted a little and we went to bed. I couldn't really sleep that night. Actually, neither of us did...

The next day Mike took me punting. The weather was nice, almost like Spring, pairs of ducks quacking (err, more like mating calls), Cambridge was soooooo beautiful. The scenery was all like a painting, and the architecture was grand, almost made me feel i was wrapped up in history. I almost feel like we should be reciting some poetry. We had a good laugh by making fun of the Chinese tourists. Mike made punting looked so easy, when it was my turn to try, it wasn't so. First off, the pole was twice as tall as me, and it was heavy. I suppose to put the pole perpendicular to the water and then push to make the boat sail forward. I could barely push it! Okay, so i'm a weakling! after slowly get the boat going, i hit the wall and almost hit a pair of ducks. At some point our boat was sailing sideways blocking the entire river!! I suck! hehe So basically he punted the entire hour and i was just on for 5 minutes.

Post punting, he took me to a local restaurant called Tatties, where he had sausages, eggs and beans and i had a bacon, sour cream & cheese tatties. It was huge but tasty. He looked at my pictures from Finland whilst he waited for me to finish eating. After breakfast, we went back to his apt to gather my bags, and we said our quick, sorta awkward, goodbye as he hurried to work. I watched him disappeared into the crowd. He never looked back. I was planning to stay and explore Cambridge a bit, but I had some mixed feelings, I wanted to leave. I then got a text from Elodie saying that she was coming down a cold. So I went through the Market and picked up some veggies and headed back to London to make her some soup.

Friday, 5 January 2007

R.I.P. Malaco!!

It's a bad omen. What a bad start for the new year!

I had another bad omen dream before the holidays and it sorta became true.( *sigh* I've given up any hope on that one for now.) Even though 13 is my favourite number and so forth, in a way, I'm superstitious sorta in more of an intuitive way. For instance, if something leaves me a bad feeling in my mouth, it usually will be true and it's not the good truth. Hmm.. I dunno. Damn Chinese superstitions can be creepy though! Many Feng Shui fanatics believe that this is just an old wives tale, but amongst the Chinese, we believe fish brings good luck and represents fertility. So when a fish dies, it represents something bad was supposedly happen to the owner but the fish "absorbs the bad luck" and sacrified itself instead. Not very reassuring for someone who is about to make a huge change in her life eh? Yeah... EEP!

My purple/red betta fish named Malaco (named after the company who makes Swedish gummy fish) of 3 years has been ill, he was given to me from a dear friend, Ryan, couple years ago as my birthday present. Betta fish's lifespan is 2-5 years. Recently, Malaco has been hanging out at the bottom of the bowl and lost appetite for food. I goggled up the interweb that he might be suffering from depression?! Fish does that? That they might starve themselves to death. Also been noticing that his fin has been shrinking as well, might have indicated that he was suffering from an infection...

I was suppose to be seeking potential new parent(s) for him but instead when I got home an hour ago, I found him completely flipped over on his back but didn't float up on top like a dead fish suppose to do. Instead of his normal red/purple colour, his body was pale and turned almost white. When I tapped on the bowl and swirled around it a bit, Malaco had shown no reaction and had no sign of breathing.

When Malaco first got sick, Amy has been consoling me that maybe he knows that his owner is leaving. I dunno. I don't deal well with deaths. I certainly don't want to flush him down the toilet. I might "free" him tomorrow to the pond in the park across from my house tomorrow morning. Returning it back to nature is the best way I can think of doing right now...

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