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).