Friday, 25 December 2009

It's Christmas.

It is now officially Christmas. It's nearly 1 am and I am wide awake composing this while watching Season 2 of 'Friends'. I know I will pay the price tomorrow when everybody's sat around the table for Christmas lunch and I'm yawning away but I feel that I need to write this post before Christmas is gone.

For the past week the entire household has been getting the house ready for our Christmas guests.... getting the spare room downstairs tidied and cleaned; bathroom washed; all the dust vacuumed; Christmas decorations up... and this year, thanks to the great Lucy I managed to add a few personal touches to the Christmas tree and am feeling immensely proud of them. These are just a few pictures I took with my Blackberry, as usual the quality wasn't great but you get the idea.

 This snowflake is crocheted, starched and then dried on the radiator.  After I've made the first one, I was so impatient for the starch to dry I ironed out the snowflake and it was a big big mistake because the snowflake became flat as pancake. After that I found the 'ingenious' idea of drying them on the radiator and they dried out in no time at all. I have made a few to give to my colleagues, my friend's mum... and they've all loved it. I didn't make too many because I didn't really want the tree to end up getting too crowded.

There are currently lots and lots and lots of presents sitting under the tree. It will be so exciting tomorrow.... yippie. I do love Christmas....

Anyway I can feel sleepiness kicking in, so I think I'm going to bed before I fall flat on the laptop keyboard.

Have a Merry, merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Four days to X'mas !!

This year I've been feeling really, really 'Chrismassy' so far, and it's not even X'mas Eve yet..

Last year, the extended family rented a place up in Malham, Yorkshire so we didn't really decorate the place much except to put up a tree and also I was sick as a dog and coughing non stop so I didn't really feel the 'spirit of X'mas' much last year.

This year, we're having the aunty and uncle, and Steve's brother for X'mas so we spent the whole of last weekend 'sprucing' the place up starting with putting up the X'mas tree and the bits and pieces that go with it, which was my responsibility, while Steve was cleaning the windows, and his dad vacuuming the carpet...

It was such a nice and wonderful feeling, putting up the tree and the decorations while listening to X'mas songs on the telly ... and the dog was busy sniffing everything and making sure it's okay before I put it up on the tree.... I love X'mas.

So I'm at work now, writing this short entry before I start my day's work.

Hope to see you soon and I'll keep you posted about X'massss....

Jingle bells..... Jingle bells......Jingle all the wayyy.....

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Will the questions ever stop?!

When you first embark on a relationship with someone, everyone is happy for you and they wish you well.

After two years, the questions start coming in ....'When are you getting married?'....'Do you plan to get married?'...'When do you plan to have babies?' ...'Are you getting married soon?'....

So after being with my other half for more than four years, you can imagine the questions come from left, right and centre at all times.

Frankly I am quite fed up with these questions. I know, I know, I know from the bottom of my heart that half of these people who ask these questions are genuinely concerned for my well-being (the other half being the classic Ke-Po-Chi)...

Quite honestly, I do not have answers to all these questions and it's rather tiring having to explain yourself over and over again... and believe you me, the questioning session doesn't stop after the first one.... it is a series of questions with a full-on the end of it, I am often left with the urge to shout to the person's face...BUGGER OFF AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS !!

Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that people are asking these questions... afterall I, like many other girls, have pictured myself meeting the right person, getting married, and having children. I happen to be stuck at the first stage for a long time without proceeding any further and people are beginning to wonder why.

I once heard a friend say something rather casual but it had such a great impact on me.

'When you are too busy worrying about the future, you often neglect to enjoy and cherish the present.'

It is very, very simple and yet very, very true.

With that in mind, I am now a much, much happier person.

Some people may say that I am trying to convince myself more than anything...

But the truth is, I honestly don't mind.

Now, all I need to do is to convince my mother to stop worrying (wish me luck).

On a completely separate issue, I have a question for you to ponder upon...

What would you do, when you are at the check-out at the supermarket, it is your turn to pay and your mobile phone starts to ring? Do you...

a. ignore the call because you know that you can check the missed call later and ring the person back
b. take the call but end it quickly telling the other person that you are at the check out and that it is rude to talk on the phone
c. take the call, expect the cashier to pack your shopping for you, and when she's finished packing your shopping for you, you throw your money down, take the change and then leave the till without even a smile, a glance, or a 'thank you'

Sometimes, it's good to watch our mobile phone etiquettes because it is too easy for people to be rude these days without even realising it. Who knows, you might just make someone's day a less miserable one :)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Click, click, click.

Honestly I should not be allowed to go online.

Remember I told you about the crochet book I bought over the weekend?

Well, I found another book by the same author on Amazon. Instead of crochet, this book is on knitting and yesss you guessed right, within three clicks of the mouse, the item is now on its way to my house. I just love the way the book is written and how the patterns are clearly explained to someone who is 'formulae-challenged' like I am. Apart from a mini diagram illustrating the stitches of the whole project, each pattern also comes with recommendation for the type of wool to use which I found extremely useful. So I am hoping that this book on knitting will also be the same. Really I am extremely excited about starting on a project from the book and to show you how I've done. I have accumulated so many balls of unused yarn really I think it's high time I did something useful with them.

Now, now, don't panic, the American blanket is still very much in progress, so there is no need to judge me just yet.

It's a rainy and wet Monday today.... as the British would say it ....'It is absolutely disgusting out there'.

See you later.

Nineteen Days to X'mas

I have been on a major shopping spree this weekend.

Was at IKEA yesterday and came up close and personal with the Billy Bookcases that escape2 was raving about. They were actually very nice. My favourite was the BILLY BJASTA. I was oh oh so tempted. It's extremely lucky that we have very limited space, otherwise I would have bought half of IKEA.
There was one thing that I could not resist buying though. Knowing full well that I HAVE NOT GOT SPACE for it I bought myself the lovely DAVE Laptop table. There were Black, White and Red, guess which colour I chose? Yuppp... the Red one. I love it.  I love it. I love it. I know that the contrast between my Mac and the table would be so elegant. Never mind that I don't even have standing space in my bedroom, never mind that there would be no space even for a small table downstairs in the lounge, I was possessed by a demon that told me I HAD TO GET THAT TABLE. So now I have the table still in its flatpack leaning against the TV cabinet in the room. Until I decide that something else in the room has to go, until I can get a bigger room, or until I can move into a new place, I cannot unpack it and set the table up. However, I can tell you about this wonderful table. What was clever about this table is that the table top can be tilted and also the stand can be adjusted to different levels. Where on earth can you find such an ingenious design for a price tag of £16.99?? I knowwww !!!! I left IKEA a lot poorer but happier, haha. It's amazing how every little adds up. You pick up small items like Christmas lights and cheese grater, or cereal box container, thinking that they only cost a couple of pounds but they soon add up and the whole bill made me more than 50pounds poorer.

Another precious find this weekend was my very first crochet book from Borders. Borders in the UK has unfortunately gone into administration and they were having a closing down sale and I managed to dig out from amongst a pile of books 'Stitch N Bitch, the Happy Hooker'  by Debbie Stoller and got a 30% off from the original price. What I love about this book is that it's got really clear explanation with pictures and illustrations for all the patterns and not only that, there are some really cute and creative patterns in there that I can't wait to try out.

As weird as it may sound, one of the things I enjoy most is browsing in the shops on my own, taking my sweet time looking and choosing stuff without worrying that someone is waiting for me. Last week, I went to Hobby Craft and got totally 'drowned' in the yarn section. I went up and down the isle hundreds of times, not having any projects in mind but just picking a selection of yarn balls in a nice range of colours and I must admit I was quite happy with my selection and could not stop admiring them when I got home.
Like I said, I don't have any specific project in mind yet, but I'm sure I'll keep you posted about it. The picture was taken with my phone so the colours in the picture definitely don't look as vibrant as they should.

Today, we went to an outlet shopping mall and again the plastic 'MAGIC' card made several appearances and again I came home a lot poorer than before I left the house in the morning.

In my next post, I shall tell you all about it so stay tuned :)

Monday, 23 November 2009

I've been hit by a block

Lately my blogging juice has run dry and I have nothing to blog about.

Can't be bothered to blog.

Too lazy to think.

Matters are too trivial to blog about.

Blanket is slowly but surely growing bigger at a steady speed.

Christmas is creeping up fast and gift ideas have not yet popped up.

I just realised that I've lost my spectacles and they are nowhere to be found and it hurts my eyes staring at the screen without them.

Question for you: Are you currently happy?

Talk to me if you're not....I'm listening.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

My very American blankie

It was a typical evening after work yesterday.

Got home and Bea rang me on my mobile and we decided to have a video chat for the first time because I wanted to show her my ripple blanket.

It turned out to be a really nice video chat where the only thing Bea didn't manage to do was make tea for me like she usually does when I visit her.

So I showed her my ripple blankie so far and she confirmed what I was thinking as well... that my ripple blankie looks extremely 'American'... although at one time, she mentioned something about it being French as well... but what ever it is, I'll let you be the judge of it and you can tell me...

So what do you think?

Looks very American, don't you think?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Spider web on my blog

I was pressured into writing this new entry because Fely has laughingly commented that there are now spider webs on my blog....

I was going to drive down and see Fely in Eastbourne this weekend, but with gale force wind of up to 80mph, I think I have made the wise decision of postponing this trip of mine. Plus, I can't see very well driving in the rain, surely that is a bit dangerous?! And our missus in Eastbourne is busy getting the whole family back to Malaysia for a two-week holiday and I don't want to risk being accidentally 'packed' into one of the bags amidst the chaos :P

Steve is a lot braver than I am so he's taken my car and two friends, to go up to London to have a 'boys' get-together', leaving me plenty of time for my little projects, my cafe world and my 'one tree hill'.

When I was in Reading last, Beatrice gave me a brilliant idea of making a pair of baby booties for a friend's new born and in fact, she managed to find a pattern and made a really cute one.

So since then, I've also managed to find a really useful and simple to follow tutorial on youtube, and successfully created a pair of really cute looking mary jane baby slippers, except that I've taken such a long time to finish them, the baby's feet could have possibly outgrown them by now.

Since I don't have a real baby as my model, Felix the cat has volunteered her pretty long legs for me to test the slippers on and they look just so cute. And digging through my knitting accessory bag, I found some teddy bear buttons that go really well with the slippers. As usual, pictures were taken with my Blackberry camera so quality of the picture leaves much to be desired for. Speaking of camera on my BB, when we were in London, my phone was unfortunately dropped on the floor and the camera ceased working. Rang up Orange, got a new phone to replace the old one.

Everything's good after I have successfully backed up old information onto the new mobile, except I have now lost my 'home-brewed' theme which I spent hours creating and the ability to read and write Chinese characters because I have lost the multilanguage software pack on the phone which I painstakingly installed. Writing a letter to my mum last weekend was a struggle because usually I have a vague idea of the shape of the Chinese character but have to look up my BB to get every stroke, dot and dash in the word right. I studied the Chinese language for 12 years in school and this is how I ended up.

Dad used to tell me, 'Make sure you read and write Chinese as often as you can so that you don't forget'. I know now the true meaning in this advice. Sadly, these days I express myself better in English than in Chinese.  But I get the occasional forwarded emails in Chinese so I force myself to read the emails word for word so that I don't forget the language all together.

My latest project is a crochet ripple blanket with the instruction from the great Lucy in Attic24. I just love Lucy's blog and her posts are really inspiring and uplifting. She's got such charisma and positive energy in her that every time I read her post, I feel like I'm sharing her joys in life. To think that we are all total strangers reading about each others' lives on the Internet, it's truly amazing.

As usual, in my determination to be Little Miss Perfect, I have spent the past two days, doing and undoing, redoing and un-redoing my project because I really want to get the foundation right. So we shall wait and see if this is going to be another one of my infamous 'abandoned' projects, much like the building construction work in Malaysia.

Okay folks, I have duly performed my duty and shall now go back to my 'project' and I will keep you posted with my progress (or non-progress).


Monday, 2 November 2009

'Wicked' and Sake no hana

There were two things that we were excited about during our London trip last weekend. First, we were going to watch the musical 'Wicked' and second, we had reservation at one of the most highly recommended Japanese restaurants in London.

We went for the matinee showing of 'Wicked' and there were LOADS of children in funny, halloween costumes and the whole of the Apollo Theatre was jammed packed!! Because we only paid £20 for each ticket so you can imagine that we were sooooooo far away from the stage (the second last row) that the characters on stage were as small as my thumb, haha. We paid £1 to hire the pair of binoculars supplied but we could just about make out the faces of the characters through the binoculars. Overall the musical was good, but not as great as The Lion King, I must admit.

By the time we squeezed ourselves out of the theatre at the end of the musical, we had plenty of time before we had to make our dinner reservation at Sake no hana on St. James Street, near The Ritz Hotel. So we took the underground heading towards Green Park. It was a good job we had ample time as between us, we had two Google maps on our mobiles and still we managed to go the wrong way, twice. 

Upon reaching the restaurant, we still weren't sure we got the right place as  the area around the outside of the restaurant was dark; there was no clear sign board apart from some small letters next to the entrance. The entrance to the restaurant reminded me of the entrance to a secret society. It was dark and gloomy I actually thought in dismay that the restaurant was shut. The glass doors slid open after we stood there for a full 10 seconds and we were ushered upstairs to the main restaurant. Sake no hana is divided into three sections: downstairs is the conventional Sushi bar; upstairs you have the cocktail bar, followed by the main restaurant area where you have the choice of sitting on the floor (not quite on the floor because there are holes where you can dangle your feet), or you can sit at tables.

We chose the 'sitting on the floor' table, mainly because we knew we wouldn't be expected to fold our legs and sit properly like a real Japanese due to the hole in the floor. The interior of the restaurant was a neutral blend of bamboo and wood, with dim lights projecting from the right angle to create a very elegant and soothing environment. Before I had to take my shoes off and settle down, I visited the ladies and as expected, it was as equally impressive as the main dining area. It was too bad I didn't have my camera with me at that time... don't worry, I wasn't about to take a picture of myself on the bog, but the sink area was a spectacle in itself and I can only describe to you what it was like. Again the theme of bamboo and wood blend was evident in the ladies. The hand-washing area is formed by a main tub with a wooden tray sitting in between, for the disposal of used hand towels. There is no tap at the sink. Instead the water comes through two 'chutes' from the wall, into the tub. Washing your hands with water gushing down through the chute was so satisfying that I spent quite sometime washing my hands, haha.

Then came the exciting part of ordering for food from the simple menu of Starter, Salad, Sashimi, Maki, Rolls, Sushi, Tempura and Side Orders. After obtaining help from a really friendly waitress, we decided on our order and when our first order of Warm Softshell Crab with Rocket Salad came, we were well-impressed. Everything tasted as yummy as they looked and as soon as we had finished one dish, our next order materialized out of no where. One thing I must say is that the waitress and waiters were super efficient and super friendly.

Warm Soft Shell Crab Salad with Wasabi Sauce

Duck Breast Tempura drizzled with Sweet Vinegar Sauce (can't remember what the sauce is called)

Dragon Roll -- Eel, Avocado and Tobiko Caviar

My miso soup with tiny mushrooms, very nice

6 slices of Sashimi -- Seabass, Tuna and Salmon (just that plate cost us £15, eek)

We had some mixed tempura of prawns, scallop, pumpkin, courgette and mushroom too but didn't get chance to take any picture before we started digging in. At the beginning, because we knew that we only had a two-hour slot in which to order and dine, we were literally wolfing down our food thinking that we were not going to have enough time. But by the time we were eating the dragon roll we realised that we still had ample time so we slowed down and really took our time to enjoy our lovely and beautiful food. Steve was even persuaded to order some Sake which he really enjoyed tremendously. I had a sip or two and liked it too. The Sake tasted pure and had a full volume to it. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so to make ourselves feel less of a glutton, we shared a portion between ourselves.

The passion fruit cheesecake with yuzo ice cream that we couldn't resist

Overall, the bill should have been a little over £100, but because we managed to obtain a special 30% discount time slot, our whole bill came to £88, which is still a lot for a meal, but it was a special treat seeing that we don't go up to London very often. And it was a truly fantastic and tasty experience.

It was really a great foody weekend : over the weekend we dined at a French restaurant in Marylebone Street on Saturday for steak and chips for lunch; Japanese restaurant on St. James Street for Saturday dinner; and Breakfast at The Brew House Cafe in Kentwood House at Hampstead Heath.

Have to limit my intake beginning of next week.... but it was all worth it !! I shall finish off this blog with some really beautiful pictures I took of Hampstead Heath this morning, a wet but colourful windy morning. Apparently, this is the setting in which Julia Roberts did the filming of her period movie in the movie The Nottinghill (I hope this makes sense).

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Autumn, leading to X'mas

It is a funny time of the year.

You are never sure what to wear because you might get too cold, or too warm.

I am not rich so I cannot afford to have the 'in-between' wardrobe like most people do...autumn cardigan... autumn jacket....

My range of clothes (which are getting more and more limited these days as I have 'outgrown' most of them) jump from summer, straight to winter.

It's crazy that we're now talking about Christmas already. Shops have started stocking X'mas merchandise as early as September !!! (a bit like CNY and Hari Raya at home, no?) With Royal Mail on strike, there is an added pressure now to get Christmas presents sorted as early as possible because we do all our X'mas shopping online.

So Steve said to me that I must start dropping hints about what I want for X'mas. Year after year, it gets harder and harder to get each other X'mas presents. I have not done very well last year for him and I still feel bad about it. Last year he really pulled out all the stops and surprised me with an amazing portable piano and the best thing I got him was a Heston Blumenthal cookbook, The Big Fat Duck Cookbook which was not your ordinary cookbook and it still cost me an arm and a leg. The book weighs around 5.5kg, with glossy pages of scientific cooking methods, stunning pictures and amazingly unusual out of this world's recipes and it's more of an artwork rather than a cookbook. It has got some amazingly unusual recipes for things like 'snail porridge', 'tea jelly', 'sardine on toast sorbet' and 'smoked bacon and egg ice cream', to name a few.

Apart from the portable piano, he also got me a nice, cuddly and fluffy 'tatty teddy' dressing gown which I almost brought round to Bea's in Reading when she told me her house is really cold. I changed my mind because the whole thing bundled up would have taken the entire space of the small backpack I was taking. And it was really cold and I regretted not bringing it. Just to clarify, the person in the picture is not me, hehe. But the dressing gown looks just like the one I've got. Cozy, isn't it? Anyways, so he got me this nice dressing gown, and I got him an alarm clock with a weather station. haha. I know, I know it's terrible. But it is no ordinary alarm clock !!! It's got a special cord which you can stick out the window and it'll tell you the current temperature and it'll give you a very accurate weather forecast !!! Seriously, I thought it was cool !! (I know, sad...)

So this year, I really don't know what he's going to get me. I've got me laptop, got me piano, got me car, can't think of anything else I need, really..... hmm. The worst part is I don't know what to get him !! I got him a PS3 on his birthday this year, his dad and brother got him an exercise bike, so I've run out of things I can get him... SIGH. Any ideas, pleaseeeee feel free to drop them in.

I might ask for a pair of UGG boots though. They look so comfortable and so lovely !! But they are bloody expensive. I've never been able to spend a lot of money buying expensive clothing or handbags. So if Father Christmas is listening.... please may I have a nice, cozy and lovely pair of UGG boots?? Pwetty pwease...

Anyway, we're heading up to London tomorrow !!! Yayyy !! Am really excited about that. We plan to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant in St. James Park after the musical, Wicked, so I'll let you know how it goes.

Mean time, take care peeps and have a good weekend and a great Halloween.

Monday, 26 October 2009

On why it was absolutely justified for me to be NEUROTIC !!

So last night I cried myself to sleep... and this morning Steve accused me of being neurotic.

As it is a well-known fact, I am a techno geek and where possible I always look for an opportunity to get the best software updates for my blackberry and my Mac and I love designing my own themes to be used on my blackberry... you get the idea.

Last night, for the first time, I installed and ran the Blackberry Desktop Manager on my Mac because I had received notification that there was a new software update !! So while watching the TV, I plugged in the phone and started going through all the familiar steps of clicking this and clicking that.

Not even bothering to read the screen for what I was installing because I've done it countless times, I set the phone up to receive the 'latest' software.

When the phone rebooted itself after the update, I picked it up to see what has been 'updated'. The first sign that told me something was amiss was when the screen showed 'As this is your first time using a Blackberry, this setup wizard will guide you through.....'


Before I proceed, I need to layout the foundation of how important my Blackberry is to me... I have ALL my passwords in there, I have ALL my contact numbers, ALL my work and personal appointments on the Calendar, my pictures.... basically, my WHOLE LIFE !!Okay, perhaps not that serious, but you get the drift.

So, I checked my phone directory, BLANK ! I checked my password keeper, BLANK! I checked my Calendar, BLANK !! Blink, Blink, Blink...


By then my fingers were trembling and my heart was beating fast and there was sweat on my forehead.

What followed was a series of frantic revival rescue missions, trying to revert the update and looking up forums to see what I can do to 'undo' the damage... and to make matters worse, the Desktop Manager (as if by fear) has refused to work properly on the Mac, leaving me more frustrated and hopeless than ever...

Steve, as usual, while trying to be positive was saying things like 'It's replaceable'...'I'm sure there's a way round it' and 'Why are you so upset?'.... all of which were not very helpful at that time.

So not knowing what to do next, I started crying (yeah, that would really solve the problem)... I was so upset that I was prepared to throw the Berry on the wall...not only have I wiped out all the data on my Berry, all my other settings must have been affected as well because the Internet refused to work and I couldn't get into my email. I WAS NOT A HAPPY BUNNY AT ALL !

So last night, I cried myself to sleep...

This morning, after waking up and the realisation that I have lost EVERYTHING dawned on me, I became depressed again. I switched on my Mac nevertheless to see if there's anything that can be done. This time, the Desktop Manager has worked again, and I found a file with the title 'Back up' and I began to see a light at the end of the tunnel. So with trembling hands, I plugged my berry in and  click on the magic button called 'Restore'.

I must explain here that I had not thought of doing this beforehand simply because I had not created a 'Back up' file before beginning the installation process so I did not expect that there would be a 'back up' file in the system. (Bless who ever created this feature as an automatic feature in the software)

When the process has finished and I checked my Berry again, I was awashed with relief to find that allllll my passwords were there, my contacts were there and my calendar events were there !!


I knew what was coming but I had to phone Steve to tell him the good news (he had left for work by then) and of course what followed was a series of him mocking me and imitating my 'sobbing' and 'wailing' from the previous night...and him calling me a neurotic.

But I didn't care..... all I cared about was that I got everything back on the phone.....Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...... what a relief.

I think when I get home tonight I shall write down in a secret notebook all my passwords in case something catastrophic like this should happen again (god forbid).

I am not melodramatic or neurotic, seriously.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Sometimes it's a bitch

Normally when there has been a bad episode at work (the one which I have to smile a lot), I usually get over it quite quickly and shrug the whole thing off in a matter of minutes.

For the past two days however, I have been deeply disturbed by a bad experience at work on Friday night. It was not really, really bad, if you think about it, but I just can't seem to get it out of my mind.

As usual, it was around 7pm, I was the only serving assistant at the till and I had four customers queueing at the till. When I was still serving a young customer, the next customer in line  (an old chap) practically shoved him aside and crossed that 'invisible line' where you're not meant to cross until you are being served. So, naturally, being a good customer assistant (kepo and brave at the same time), I tried to say something in the nicest possible way I can to help the customer understand what he's done.  It turned out to be the one thing that I would regret doing later on. Here goes the conversation...

Me : Excuse me Sir (see how polite I am?), this gentleman is still being served, if you don't mind standing back just a little?
Old man : (With eyes glaring like they're gonna fall out of their sockets)YOU DON'T MIND ME DOING WHAT I LIKE TO DO AND YOU CARRY ON WITH WHATEVER YOU'RE DOING. I'M STANDING HERE DOING NO HARM.
Me : (Shocked, a bit red-faced but composed, giving change to the previous customer)Ahem, your change, 12 pounds 75 pence. Thank you and have a good evening.
Me : (Still scanning the items bought by the old man, *toott* *toott* *toott*)That's 3 pounds 76 pence, PLEASE.
Old man : (giving me money and still grumbling, I didn't fully hear what he was saying coz by then I 
had lost interest and was too humiliated to comprehend)

After I had given him his change, he was still standing at the end of the till packing his stuff and glaring at me at the same time so I tried to be as composed as I am and started serving the next customer, just to let him have a taste of his own medicine (I usually like to wait until the previous customer has left the till before I start serving the next customer because I believe it's rude otherwise).

Like I said, it was not a really really bad experience as in I wasn't slapped or being called names but I just cannot get it out of my mind. It kept playing at the back of my mind, the way he looked, his awful facial expression and also the phrase 'have you not got a tongue'. I think partly because I regretted not doing what I should have done. What I should have done was not to sit there and take it in like that. What I should have done was to ring the bell for assistance and refuse to serve the old man for being extremely rude, unnecessarily. Just because we are working at a supermarket, wanting to earn a decent living, it does not mean that we deserve to be treated with disrespect. That's what's bugging me, I think. What I should have done.

I'm hoping that after blogging about it, I will feel a lot better. Next week when I get into work again on Tuesday, I know that I'll be a little wary and phobic in case he should come through my till again. I want to be able to get over this episode and move on.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Mack a Witch

I love listening to Chinese songs. Growing up in a Chinese primary school and continuing onto secondary education in a school populated by 99% Chinese, naturally my pop idols included Aaron Kwok (don't laugh), Andy Lau, Leslie Cheung, Emil Chow, to name a few. All my collection of Chinese songs are built through the years, mixing old and new and some songs really do bring back some fond memories.

I like putting my Ipod on shuffle mode because you'll never know what you're going to get and sometimes it can be an old, old song that really melts your heart. Other times, however, it can be a funny song you've never heard of before and you wonder how it ended up being stored on the Ipod to start with. I recently encountered such a song on my way to see Beatrice in Reading on the train.

One common trait of Chinese songs is that most often than not, you find an English phrase or two thrown into the middle of the song, especially the chorus part, for god only knows whatever reason. This song started off being normal (in Chinese) and true to form, in the chorus section, the guy started singing 'Mack a witch, mack a witch' (must say out loud for the effect)..... so I was trying to decide if he was saying that Mack is a witch? or that Mack wants to be a witch? or could he be asking people to Smack the witch? or perhaps Mack should be the witch?

Then it suddenly made sense to me.... he's telling the girl to 'Make a wish'...................

Seriously, if your English is that bad, why bother? Just stick to Chinese, which you're good at?!!

Another classic example, unfortunately, is in one of my all time favourites.

It's a Happy Birthday song and when it comes to the chorus part, naturally, the guy wants to show off his English talent and started singing 'Happy Burstday..... happy burstday to you...... '

I dooooo love my Chinese songs dearly... but I can't help but laugh each time I hear something like that....

It doesn't make me love my Chinese songs any lesser though :)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Age of Lazy

Have you ever experienced this?

You see the latest entry on your blog and you keep saying, I must write a new blog, must write a new blog but you're just never in the mood to, although there is no shortage of things to write.

I am in one of those moods.

Can't be bothered.

Maybe soon, when that urge comes back to me, you might see two or three new entries at the same time.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

I haven't given up!

Remember a few days ago I was quite upset about the fact that my laptop pouch has left funny stains on my laptop? I know, you must be thinking, OH NO, ENOUGH OF THAT ALREADY?!!

After that incident, I was so desperate for a laptop pouch that there were two occasions where I came very, very close to placing an order for a new pouch. The first one was a funky looking one, and quite cheap as well. Just when I was about to hit the 'place order' button, fortunately I saw a close up picture from another website and realised that it is made from very cheap, tacky and horrible looking denim material, and I was instantly put off by it and cancelled my order immediately.

After that, I found the Applesac, an environmentally friendly pouch made especially for Macs and fell madly in love with this particular one. Unfortunately, this can only be found in the US and hasn't yet become popular here (the more reason to get it). After reading various forums, I found out that ordering from the main website means that on top of the $30 you have to pay for the bag, there is a shipping cost of approximately $34 to add to that as well. As much as I would love to own that Red Delicious, I am not about to pay more than the odds just to have it. So I managed to track down another cheaper method of purchasing it, which it through mygearstore and managed to get the shipping cost down to $9.99. But it still means paying $40 just for a laptop pouch and it's really not worth it so again, I became sensible and cancelled the order.

Then I realised it. The reason I am reluctant to place an order for a new pouch is because I still have not given up on my 'precious' hand-made laptop pouch. There was no way I was going to give up on it so easily.. and my rescue mission has gone another notch higher, and more desperate. After giving it some thoughts, I came up with what I thought was the best solution. I decided that I needed to sew an inner lining in the pouch, in order to prevent any future colour run. Now I remembered that a few weeks back, in my haste to iron my skirt ready for the Conference, I had ruined a perfectly beautiful and nice formal skirt and there is an inner lining just waiting to be used!! As soon as I have established that it is indeed a 'do-able' idea, I quickly got down to work and  started unpicking the stitches of the skirt to take out the lining. And work was underway to stitch it into the shape of a pouch in order to be sewn into the pouch and be turned into a smart looking inner lining. 

After working on it for two days (wish I had a sewing machine coz it's really no fun hand stitching and making sure that the stitching is neat and 'invisible), the project is finally finished and I am pleased to announce that the good 'ol hand-made laptop pouch is very much in operation again (until fresh new streaks are discovered, that is). So I am glad that I have managed to come up with a solution to salvage that much loved creation and hopefully, this will be the end of it and that I shall not be writing another post concerning 'the laptop pouch' (fingers crossed)

Have to go to bed early now and rest that poor neck of mine. Adios people !!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Monday morning

My Monday started off with remembering what a lovely Sunday Steve and I had, driving along part of the Jurassic Coast, chewing on beefy Biltong bought from a South African shop, snacking on naughty Fruity Chutney Nik Nak (similar to Twisties) and drinking some really refreshing home-made Apple Juice made with Dorset apples, bought from the Goldy's Farm Shop. We started the morning at the Urban Reef restaurant at Boscombe Pier with a nice breakfast of pancakes drenched in maple syrup, garnished with strawberries and blueberries. We then drove from Boscombe, along the coast to Southbourne... and stopped at Christchurch to get the Biltong.

From Christchurch we drove all the way to Hengsbury's Head, and through Barton-on-Sea, heading towards Milford-on-Sea. It was such a beautiful and clear day that we could see the Isle of Wight so clearly and honestly if you were to wave at someone standing on the hilltop of the Isle of Wight, that person would be able to see it and wave back at you. It was just lovely and relaxing and the best way to spend a Sunday, pottering about, doing nothing.

It's a shame we didn't have our camera on us so we couldn't take any pictures, but I managed to pinch a few pictures off the Internet and hopefully I don't get done for breaching copyright, hehe.

Here is a picture I found on the Internet, showing you the image of the Isle of Wight from Milford-on-Sea.

Steve said that I am a very strange 'sight-seeing' person. I love going to places, seeing places in the car. When I get to the destinations, it is not really important if I get down or not. I can still fully appreciate the beauty and the novelty of being to a new place, within the warmth and comfort of the inside of the car. That is also called laziness. It is always, always cold and windy outside so I like going to places, but staying in the car (I know, very strange, and also very lazy).

When we were parked at Milford-on-Sea, there were other couples (elderly, haha) who were doing the same thing. They even came prepared with coffee in a thermal jug, newspapers and some sandwiches !! So I am not so weird after all.

I was supposed to meet up with some colleagues from work for some pizza in the evening but that got cancelled because one of them had to work late. Never mind, after all the palaver of organising it and it didn't take place, which was quite funny.

So we had dinner of pork chops and mash potato with gravy and as usual, a whole corn on the cob for me (coz it's my favourite and Steve's dad buys it especially for me)... and we also had spinach from the garden on the side (very nice) ...

It's Monday and I'm loving it... because I had a beautiful and relaxing Sunday.

Now, it's time to get some work done...

Friday, 9 October 2009

My poor laptop pouch

If you remember, not long ago I spent quite some time and energy crocheting myself a laptop pouch and was well pleased with the result and have been using it every day since.

One thing about having a white laptop is that every little stain and mark can be seen easily and the other night after my shower, as usual I was ready for bed and was just going to check my mails before going to bed. As I was taking the laptop out of my lovely pouch, I noticed some funny streaks. At first I thought they were shadows from the light but as I started turning the laptop left and right, the streaks stayed where they were. I GASPED !!!!!! Steve can tell you, where preserving the pristine state of my gadgets is concerned, I am utterly and completely A.N.A.L !!! My Blackberry sits in a holster at all times to prevent scratches; my Nintendo DS Lite has a pink Simpsons case; my Ipod Nano sits in a colourful sock at all times and last but not least, my laptop is kept in the pouch all the time, even if it's just sitting on the bed side table doing nothing. Yesss, I know.. I told you, I am very particular about looking after my things.

So now, my poor laptop pouch is being cast aside ever since that night because although it might seem like the most bizarre logic, there is no other explanation for the light streaks to be on the back of my laptop apart from the possibility that the colour has run from the yarn onto the laptop.

Sniff, Sniff. Imagine, after investing all that time, love and emotion, I can no longer use it.  At the back of all that, Steve 'unsympathetically' said..."Oh why don't you just buy one pouch online, like everyone else?"

I have not given up on the pouch yet. Perhaps I will give the pouch a wash and see what happens.



Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Snuggly Buggly

Today, in fact for the past two days, the weather down here has been quite horrible. It's grim, grey and wet... and you really, really miss the summer time when it gets like this. No wonder there are people who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)... When it's like this, you really have no mood to do anything and I've been mooching around in the office all day. Now that I'm home, hopefully we'll get dinner out of the way, and snuggle upstairs and watch some DVDs. On days like these, onlyy activities like these get me warm and fuzzy inside and when it gets to proper winter and it's cold and possibly snowing outside, it's the best kind of thing to do... snuggle up with a nice cup o' Hot Milo!!!! Ahhhhhhhhhh.......

Dirty Dancing

Tonight, a few of us got together at Luce's place and had a screening of 'Dirty Dancing', our very own personal tribute to the great Patrick Swayze.

Luce made some crepes which went down really well with everyone and although we had arrived at 7 ish, we didn't start the movie until almost 9pm because everyone was just so excited about catching up with one another. So after some crepes were had with Nutella, or sugar with a squeeze of lemon juice, eventually we started playing the movie and it was every bit as good as I remember it to be. It brought back so many memories. I remember watching the movie the first time when I was 17 at my best friend's house, supposedly doing our revision for our exams. We fell head over heels in love with Patrick Swayze then and we all wished we could dance like 'Baby'. And I also vaguely remember us rewinding the tape (those were the days huh?!) back and kept playing the last 20minutes of the movie, over and over and over again so that we could watch the 'ultimate' dance again and again and again... Those were the days.. some really fond memories of my high school days.

What kind of fond and funny memories did 'Dirty Dancing' bring back for you?

Monday, 5 October 2009

The Reunion (Part III)

So we finally and gleefully arrived at Leh-Ces-ter Square and were immediately faced with the dilemma of which Chinese Restaurant should we patronize?! And to decide that, we used the always reliable 'the busier the better' judgement and decided upon 'Crispy Duck Restaurant' or something that sounded like that.

We barely had the three separate menus in our hands for a full two minutes before our Fely decided that we should order this, that, that, this and that!!! Like she mentioned in her post, thank god we can both eat like pigs for I gladly went along with her suggestions. And before long, we had four different types of dim sum in front of us, and with half a chicken's claw dangling from our mouths, we decided that we would also order Braised Pork with Yam!!

And that is to be followed by a platter of roast meat and some noodles. But thank god we came to our senses and stopped ordering after the pork coz we were stuffed like pigs after that. But it still didn't stop us from ordering a mango pudding and yam with taro balls for dessert! Haha. It was yummy scrumptious and absolutely delicious and we even dedicated the mango pudding to Bea who was supposed to be joining us but couldn't coz she's working!

ps: This is for you Beaaaa...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The Reunion (Part II)

So I arrived in London in good timing at around 8.10am. Walked from the coach station to the train station and text-ed Fely to let her know I'll be standing outside HMV (so old-fashioned, haha).

Seriously, one word of advice, never travel within London on the public transport during rush hour. The people streaming out of the trains, through the gates, into the station... they have no souls.. they are just empty shells with one single objective in their minds - must get to work, must get to work, get OUT OF MY WAY, get OUT OF MY WAY !!! Every single one of them have a dazed look in their eyes and crossing their path is a huge huge mistake and if you're not careful, you'll get run down by this constant stream of human traffic.

So there I was, with me tea in my hand and standing outside HMV, mentally preparing myself for the arrival of a friend whom I've not seen for 8 years. When she arrived, I knew that all the mental preparation was not needed, she looked just like she was when we said our goodbyes after our graduation in Mint Hotel in 2001. It's amazing huh, after 8 years of not seeing each other, and after a longgggg hug, we picked up from where we had left and started yakking as if we're on one of our weekly coffee meets.

Without wasting time, we made our way to the Malaysian Embassy to get the serious business done before we can have a proper pig out at Leicester Square (Leh-ches-ter Square, as we were constantly making fun of it) as formerly agreed. I was on a mission - to get Fely to the embassy as quick as possible so that we can get an early appointment and be done with the application in no time at all !!! I became one of those empty souls with a single objective in my mind and elbowed anyone who stands in my way!!! So all thanks to the forever useful Blackberry, we didn't get lost and managed to find our way to Belgrave Square where lots and lots of embassies were situated.

After getting Fely's passport renewed, we then had time to walk slowly and to take some really nice pictures..

PS: Remember I got dressed in the dark, and in a haste :P so don't be too harsh on what I was wearing... :P

Saturday, 3 October 2009

The Reunion (Part I)

For the whole of last week leading towards Friday, I went about my usual chores and activities in a state of constant excitement and a high state of elation.

I was meeting up with Fely in London town, after 8 years of not seeing each other. Our first attempt was back in July but it got canceled three days beforehand due to bloody swine flu. So this time round, we were a lot calmer and we did not even start counting down the weeks like we did the first time (but we counted down the days, of course).

On Thursday night, I finished work at 10pm and came straight home without buying anything (except for three donuts for the journey) because I knew that I had an early start the next day to catch the coach to London at 5.25am. I went to bed happily, knowing that I had set the alarm for 4.30am.

When I woke again, it was Steve nudging me and telling me that it was 5.05am.


Steve said... I can run you down there in 10 minutes, but the question is, can you get ready in time? Good question.

I remembered moaning (aloud) while attempting to dress myself up sensibly and in a presentable manner fit for London town.

No time to brush hair, rushed to toilet to have a wee, and into the bathroom to have an express teeth brushing (don't want Fely to faint)...

By 5.15am, we were in the car heading towards the coach station.

Thank goodness there was no traffic at that time of the morning... but of course we were stuck behind a slow cab once (it's rather unthinkable to overtake a car in the UK on a non-dual carriage way) and it took us a while before we could overtake the cab... then we were stuck behind a truck....and after several agonizing turns on the road, we finally got rid of the truck.

By sheer luck and speed, Steve managed to get me to the coach station just as the coach driver was about to start the engine !!!!

So I was safely on the coach heading towards London and my heart was singing while I was enjoying my donuts~~

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Being positive

There is nothing in particular that I'd like to share with you... but I came to realise a very important point about life just recently...

The key to a happy life is really and truly having a positive attitude and mindset. I know it sounds very very cliche but I find that I often forget that too easily, and life becomes more and more bitter and miserable for no apparent reason.

So for the whole of this week, I promised myself to be positive, to think happy and smile all the time. This is what I have been consciously and purposely reminding myself of constantly and really, it did help brighten up my day and it makes you realise that when you're down, you bring others around you down as well and that is a very selfish attitude.

Today I was sourcing online for materials on fair trade and other global social issues so that I can produce some materials to be used on the exhibition board and I came across Book Aid International, a charitable organization who deliver donated books to Africa, support and collaborate with local organisations in Africa and make it possible for children in Africa to be able to enjoy reading and borrowing books. On their website, there are stories told by a few African children on how the books have changed and enriched their lives. These are stories that change your perspectives of life, take you 'out of your normal context' and make you appreciate your life and your surroundings. Simple things in life that we take for granted for, more often than not make so much difference to another human being on another part of the world.

When you read the facts and figures, it's unbelievable the kind of social and economical injustice that exist in our world. For example, something that I read not long ago read like this (a rough estimation but it gives you an idea).. For every cup of coffee that you pay for at a cafe, only 0.05% of the profit goes to the coffee grower... is that fair? How about banana growers in Ecuador who had to subject themselves to harmful substances used in the pesticides at all times which caused major problems like organ failures, impotency or even blindness? Or those poor children in the Ivory Coast who got sold into child slavery to work in cocoa plantations so that they can help produce cocoa beans used in chocolate that they have never had chance to taste all their lives?

Anyway, sorry for straying off the topic so much.

Like I said, it's nothing in particular I would like to share.. just some random thoughts and reflections...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

The night I dressed up to be a punk girl.

We were invited to an 80s fancy dress birthday party months ago and at that time I knew I was working that night so I didn't even bother thinking about going because by the time I finished work at 10pm it would be too late to join the party in any form of fancy dress.

Next door to Steve is a fancy dress shop (how convenient) and being a typical man, he left it till Thursday before he decided to look for a 'cool and suitable' costume to rent. He got me into the shop with him so that I could help him decide between a Jedi master (that looked really cool) or a Top Gun pilot. Although the Jedi master outfit would have been cool and unusual with a 'light saber', in the end we decided that the Top Gun pilot jumpsuit would be a more sensible and practical choice. And there I was, standing amongst many many fancy dress costumes and my decision of not going was beginning to waver... and Steve urged me ... Oh go on, try something on, you can always ask to leave work an hour or two earlier and join us... it'll be fun.

It didn't take much persuasion before I started browsing the rack through various types of Madonna's outfits, and choices of random skirts and tops from the 80s. It's not fair that guys have so many choices but girls only have Madonna or other random unknown costumes. In the end, I settled on a punk dress purely because I could fit in it quite easily. And the lady who runs the shop gave me some ideas like wearing fish net stockings and other accessories to create the effect. And we really went all out and I got myself a pair of lacy fingerless gloves, a choker, some plastic rings to create fake facial piercing and even a can of red hair spray!!! Then it occurred to me that there is no way I'm going to finish work at 9pm, get ready in the locker room and be there to still enjoy the party. So I decided to get someone to do my shift on Saturday night. Not only have I spent money renting a costume, I was also going to lose money not working that night (I must be mad).

So anyway, we were busy during the day leading to the party in the evening because Steve was catering for the party so we started preparing the food before noon and got all the food ready and delivered by 5pm, and we raced home to get ready. Now this is the exciting bit, making my very Chinese-looking-self look punk (I know).

I changed into my dress, got my fish-net stockings on and I honestly did not look a bit punk and I was really disappointed. So I went over to my neighbour's house and decided to enlist her help. So she painted my nails neon orange, green and yellow. And then she crimped my hair to make it slightly puffy and the last bit was creating streaks of red on my hair with the hairspray and that did the trick !! And to finish it off, she applied some eyeshadow on me and some colour on my cheekbones and thank goodness I started to look slightly 'punk'.

It was such a night and there were other costumes like Banana man, the hulk, other punk boys and girls, miami vice.... it was fantastic. We danced and partied our way through classic songs from the 80s and we got home at almost 3am and I had to jump into the shower and washed my hair before going to bed so that I didn't stain the pillow case. I nearly fell asleep in the shower.

Overall it was a great night !!!

PS: I didn't have the fake piercing in the end because it was too painful on the nose and the ears :P and the rings refused to clip firmly onto my eyebrows !!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

This is it !!!

For the past few days I've been working really hard on the project... first because there are people out there waiting to see what's happening and this is definitely not the kind of project I can abandon.... second every minute I spent on it brought me closer to the finish line and I got more and more excited as I raced towards it.

So on Sunday night, I finally finished it but by then it was 2am so it would be crazy to start taking pictures and to blog about it.

Then I got home from work on Monday and Steve helped me take some pictures of it, with me posing left, right and center. Just when I was ready to blog about it after having picked a few good photos, the WIFI upstairs refuse to work !!!!! So I was in my dressing gown and couldn't be bothered to go downstairs to use the pc.

Tonight, here I am, ready with me photos and to proudly show you my finished product. Well, I don't really want to build up your expectations at this point. Now thinking about it, it's actually a bit embarrassing the way I'm fussing about it because really and truly, it's just a tiny and humble project which is a very practical thing that I am desperately in need of.

These three pictures show the project in its mid phase. As you can probably see, the third picture is showing you what it will turn out to be. And yess you guessed right, it was a pouch for my new laptop.

(click on the collage to see bigger images)

This collage is a collection of pictures showing the pouch from all angles. I hope you can see the doggy wooden buttons clearly. I really love those buttons and don't regret paying £1.85 each for them. I just love wooden buttons and think they're perfect for the pouch. I know it's just a simple rectangular pouch but when it comes to bags or pouches, I love simplicity and always stick to 'nothing too funky or funny'. Although it's a simple looking bag, it was quite a job trying to make the stitches look 'invisible' during the final stage and avoid making it look 'messy'.

So there you go, my home made laptop sleeve that is both practical and useful (I saved myself about 10 pounds as well) and I am extremely chuffed about it and cannot stop running my hand over the line pattern. :)

What do you think?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Progress so far...

I know, I know, Friday is supposed to be the grand finishing day but try as hard as I may, coming back from work each night at 10pm and toiling away, it's unlikely that it will happen Friday so I thought I'll reveal its current status, without giving away too much of what it's going to be. So you can see the progress from this poor quality pic which I snapped with my blackberry camera out of sheer laziness (I know, the modern human nature who can't be bothered with using a proper 7megapix digital cam sitting in the drawer and having to upload the pic on the pc). For those who have a thing for needle craft you can probably tell that the pattern has changed slightly from the last picture and it's now got a beautiful line texture to it (again I apologise for the poor quality) and I do not regret at all the first four times I had to re-do, un-do and re-do before I got it right.

And many have commented on the nice blend of colours. It's very soothing and I really really can't wait to finish this project and I promise to use a proper camera when taking pix of the finished product to show you guys!

Sorry Bea this one's a keeper. Perhaps if I have more yarn left after this project I'll make you something from it :) but you know me very well, don't hold your breath on it (at least I made you a scarf with flowers bah!!)

Can't wait to see you all again soon for the BIG finish day! Xx.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Monday, 14 September 2009

What is it going to be?

As Bea and Steve can tell you, I am the queen of unfinished projects when it comes to knitting, crochet and cross stitch. Lately, I've picked up me needle and yarn again and started making something that was on my mind. Today I'm having an off day, having worked last Friday when it was supposed to be my off day, so am enjoying a great Monday with the TV remote and my project.

Since I've never finished most of my projects and am totally embarrassed by my lack of determination, I've refused to disclose to Steve or anyone else what the project is going to be. And I keep telling people, you'll see, you'll see (or not), haha.

So people, keep watching this space and you might be lucky enough to see the end of my project with a picture of my finished product!!

Can you guess what it is??!