Monday, 29 March 2010

I am a hypocrite

Steve suggested to me on Saturday night that we should take a trip to the outlet shopping complex -- Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth to do a bit of shopping. Two words, Gunwharf Quays and shopping, and my head was bobbing up and down in earnest and there was a grin that spread from the right of my ear right across to the left. But, there was a catch, I mean, not really a catch. The thing is because it is quite a popular destination, especially on a Sunday, we decided that we would have to wake up as early as we can, to get to Portsmouth for 10am so that we can get an early start and finish early before everybody decides to leave the complex all at the same time.

The clock moved forward early Sunday morning, which means that when we woke up at 8.30am, my body clock told me that it was only 7.30am - GO BACK TO BED, GO BACK TO BED !! Plus, recovering from my cold, I had developed this annoying cough and I spent half the night coughing and coughing so I was extremely tired and grumpy from lack of sleep. But, in the name of 'SHOPPING' I had to drag myself, and Steve, out of bed and by 9.15am, we were on our way.

When we got there, as we were going from shop to shop in the outlet place, Steve declared that he would get himself another pair of jeans.... 

For no reason AT ALL, I was suddenly convinced that another pair of jeans would take up too much of the already limited space that we have and announced to him that WE need to sort out our clothes and chuck away what we don't need or wear anymore. And not only that, I started pointing out to him which items of clothing I have not seen him wear and which was taking up 'valuable' space. Steve however, disagreed with me and said that he WILL NOT throw away perfectly fine items of clothing because he might need them in future... so needless to say, I wasn't happy at all and actually thought that he does not appreciate the effort that I make in trying to keep our space tidy.

I was about to launch into my second 'attack' when I got distracted by 'Paperchase', a stationery shop that sells extremely funky and cute stationery items. I stopped myself in mid sentence and dashed into the shop and went nearly hysterical when I saw the 'reduced to clear' section... within 5 minutes, I was struggling to hold onto the 101 items that I had picked up and intended to buy...after about 5 minutes or so, I did eventually calm down a bit and decided that perhaps I did not need a fancy diary 2010 coming up towards April; or a self-adhesive photo album since I don't print out pictures anymore; or a fancy and elegant floral journal since I don't write any journal entries; or a set of novelty stickers featuring cats since I'm not 12; or a pack of Pet Champz party tissue pack since I'm not throwing a party....

But, but when I came out of the shop, I did come out clutching a big bag of goodies. And still smiling (Steve had to practically drag me out of the shop), I was feeling great about the things that I had just bought when it hit me like a brick -- I had been such a COMPLETE hypocrite. Didn't I just launch into this whole lecture with Steve about how we're lacking in space?! And what did I just do? Buy a lot of stuff that I probably didn't need at the first place !!

But, but take a look at these pictures !!! And I can TRULY justify that I need all these items !!

As you can see (from left to right), I have a metal pencil case (a new house for my crochet hooks and pair of scissors); a passport holder since I'm travelling with two passports all the time; next to it is a lockable diary for my niece, and the bottom two packs are coloured gel pens and also multi pens and pencils, also for my niece. Now, as for that bag..... I just couldn't resist !! I know I have a laptop bag already and the last thing I need is another bag, but take a closer look....
Don't you love it?! I know it might not be your style but I L.O.V.E. IT !!!! Absolutely ADORE it !! And at half price, I just couldn't say 'No'. But Steve has a better idea, he suggested that since I bought other stationery items with the same theme for my niece, how about giving the bag to her to make a complete set?! ..............*SILENCE*.............. I mean I really, really love my niece.... but, but I just don't think I could do it. It hurts too much... I am still thinking about it, that's why I haven't removed any of the tags from the bag and it's still nicely wrapped in a plastic bag in the cupboard. Between now and May, I might come to my senses.... but for now, THE BAG IS MINE !!!

To make this hypocrite feel even more guilty, when we got home, after looking at the wardrobe, out of the 5 stacks of clothing we have, only 2 belong to Steve *gulp*. (which he gleefully pointed out to me)

Before I end my post, just a couple more pictures to share with you my lovely foody weekend in which Steve made all of my favourite food. 
These are terriyaki chicken on sticks and they are lovely. Steve used meat from chicken thighs so it's tender and juicy. Although we didn't have time to marinate them overnight, the rich taste from the marinade still managed to penetrate through the meat and they were delicious. We thought that we'll have plenty left after the meal but it turned out that we were more hungry than we thought so there were only two left and am going to have that for lunch today with my pot noodle *yummy*
 So at the same time we were preparing the terriyaki chicken for Saturday night dinner, we also started preparing this Chinese Roast Duck for Sunday Roast, first blanching the outside of the duck with hot water, and then getting the inside of the duck marinated with a blend of sauteed five spice and spring onion and hoi sin sauce.. and other bits and pieces, and then Steve had an interesting job of 'stitching' up the bum of the duck to prevent 'leakage' of the good stuff. Finally the entire duck was brushed with honey and vinegar before being put in the fridge to marinate for 24 hours. The result -- this picture showing the ready to be eaten version on Sunday evening and it was absolutely Y.U.M.M.I.L.I.C.I.O.U.S !!! and I ended up eating so much rice because of that !!! There goes my getting-ready-for-summer diet...

Thursday, 25 March 2010

This is a test...

well for quite a while now i’ve had the software MacJournal and i’ve been trying to use it to publish my blog entries. i haven’t been successful because the pictures never seem to end up in my blog. after reading various online forums, i managed to find some tips which i am hoping to try. i took these pictures when i was on sick leave yesterday. one shows a rare moment -- sasha resting her head on my leg, and the other shows my project growing bigger and bigger...

let’s hope this post goes on successfully and the pictures will show.

keep fingers crossed.

IMG00186-20100321-1342%282%29.TY3NC5P3Wyoi.jpg IMG00189-20100324-0921.bPlTlrK4dmwD.jpg

London Weekend

steve's brother is on holiday in peru so his house in london is unoccupied so we thought we'll make use of this opportunity to have a 'mini' free holiday in london town last weekend...

steve complains that he is always the planner for our past holiday trips so i took it upon myself to plan and reserve the restaurants for the london weekend (i went to the length of making a fully timetabled schedule, accompanied by a detailed tube journey plan)... 

but the weekend didn't turn out the way i had planned at all (sod's law)...

first of all, steve came down with a cough and cold before we left (i did say we should cancel but he said he was fine, in case you wondered if i twisted his arm to drive us down to london)

then when we got to his brother's house in london after a mad hectic rush after friday work, we found out that the workmen who he had hired to paint the downstairs weren't finished when they were supposed to have finished the job, so everything was covered with cloth so no telly and no relaxing space for us and the whole house looked like it was struck by a tornado because they must have packed and left in a hurry (as you would....)

so we retired upstairs to the room...the super king size bed made up for the lack of telly... steve's brother loves reading and he buys all sorts of books so it was like being in a library so we each picked a book we liked and soon were happily reading... 

the next day we didn't get out till after 12noon coz steve wasn't feeling well, then when we got to the italian restaurant (highly recommended according to timeout london guide) for our lunch reservation there was NO ONE in there so steve refused to go in and look like two pumpkins... so we went into a nearby sushi bar instead, Itsu.. it was great and it was heaving !!! so that was good....

When we went in, luckily there were two empty seats left at the bar so we quickly sat ourselves down and even before we settled down we picked our first dish to gorge on...

Tuna sashimi coated with sesame accompanied by a very unusual and delicious salad...

then we went to oxford street and it was raining so i made steve hold an umbrella over himself in case his cold worsened.. and then i dragged him into john lewis so that i could look at some overpriced yarn... and then we went to have a custard puff in the famous papabeard in oxford street... 

days leading to the weekend, i promised him we would shop at china town in leicester square, get some goodies and i would cook him a lovely chinese meal on saturday night but the kitchen was beyond rescue so we had to forget about cooking so we didn't get anything from china town, didn't even get dinner...

we went back to kentish town at 6pm and by 6.30pm we were on the road back to bournemouth...

so overall, didn't turn out as planned but it was still a semi great weekend in london :)

Friday, 12 March 2010

On the living and the dead

I don't see myself as the type with green fingers but that doesn't stop me from buying dying plants from waste after I've finished work in the evening.

I don't know if you recall from an entry I posted last year? I rescued a bonsai plant from being thrown away and felt extremely proud and noble about what I did because I had managed to turn the dying bonsai into a healthy looking and thriving plant. I even got her a little friend, and side by side they sit, happy and healthy looking. Okay, they (Big tree and Little tree) were doing great to start with. Then I went away on holiday to Turkey in August and it was after that, that things started to take a bad turn. I carried out all sorts of revival strategies --> watering them everyday; not watering them so often; putting them in direct sunlight; taking them away from direct sunlight........ still there was nothing I could do to help prevent what was coming. They started to lose their leaves and soon, they lost all their leaves and what was left was a skeleton of what used to be a healthy looking bonsai (both Big tree and Little tree together, sob sob)
They have been like this for a long long time and I refused to admit that they might be 'dead' and I continue to display them on my table, hoping for a miracle to happen one day, and also hoping that they are 'hibernating' during this winter period. (I found out through the internet that this is unlikely to be the case, sigh) So you can imagine my desk at work is not looking so great at the moment with two possibly dead bonsai plants sitting on it.

Things have changed this morning, however. 

Last night, again I was tempted into buying a dying plant in the illusion that I'll be able to nurse it back to health. This morning when I brought it in to work it looked very, very sad indeed but still I wasn't about to give up hope. 
You can see from the picture that the leaves and the flowers are really looking sad and droopy. So I wasted no time and quickly watered it. I must admit that the reason I was drawn to this plant at the first place was the extremely cute metal pot that it's sitting in. Don't you think that the pot is simply delightful?! Anyway, after I watered it, I left it and started doing some work. When I looked at it again after a while, I was amazed by the changes that have taken place.
Can you see that?? The flowers have 'come to live' and the leaves have perked up in that short period of time!!! I know it has been said many times but doesn't it show you how important 'water' is to living things??!!

I am absolutely delighted and excited beyond words but I do not want to give myself false hopes, not after what has happened to Big tree and Little tree. I shall keep very grounded with the development of this Polka Dotted Delight and see what happens next. But oh my can you sense my joy??!! I know I have probably not shown you very well the 'before' and 'after' comparison but I can tell you, the difference is definitely evident !!

It's Friday today and I am excited about the things that I might do over the weekend. I am feeling a bit more relaxed than usual this weekend because I have booked Saturday evening off as a holiday. Since the financial year is coming to an end and there is holiday to use up, Steve has sensibly suggested that I take two Saturday nights off which I thought was a brilliant idea!! So last weekend, and the weekend before that, I had attempted to bake some rasberry and white chocolate muffins but never got round to it (Steve said that it would never happen by the loooks of things). I have got all the ingredients that I need in the pantry (which Steve has kindly provided me with) so there is to be no excuse, really. So this weekend, might be the weekend that I'll make it happen. I bought some rasberries and strawberries last night and if they last long enough through the weekend, by the end of it, with a bit of luck, there might be some freshly baked muffins from the oven !! Woohooo !! The difficulty is I have got so many other things to distract me -- knitting, crocheting, designing my bespoke house on Sims 2, playing guitar hero on PS3, bugging Steve to take me on a car ride and hopefully stop for some ice cream and enjoying it while we're parked on the cliff overlooking the beautiful ocean)... So you can imagine that baking some silly muffins would come way way down the list of my priorities !!! But for you, I will give it a go because I would like to share the end result with you (if there are any successfully baked muffins, of course). If there aren't please don't ask me about them ... 

Right-T-Ho.... I think it's time for some lunch -- Thai Red Curry with Jasmine Rice from Marks N Spencer. 

Yummy (I hope).

Monday, 8 March 2010

I can't do without them (Part 1)

Hello people.

I reckoned I have left my blog for too long, the memory of ever having a blogpage is beginning to fade slightly.

And what's worse is that everytime I tune in and look at Fely's blog she has managed to make nice little changes to her blog page and that really puts me to shame, staring at my out-of-date and out-of-style blog with its layout dated back to the Japanese era. (By the way Fely, I lurveeeee your blog design, so country, so quaint and so stylish at the same time!!)

Anyhooooo, back a while ago, Fely shared with us a list of things she is thankful for...not wanting to be left behind, I have also decided to share with you the things (non-living) that I simply cannot do without, and also not in any order of importance.

1. My Blackberry (you knew that was coming didn't you?)

Well, where do I begin? I know I sound like a techno freak when I say that life is not the same since I've got my BB but it is indeed very, very true. One of my most favourite hobbies -- take random pictures and share them on FB. I love it !!! I don't really care if people will look at them, but I just love sharing random, irrelevant, photographic moments !! These are some of them...Can you guess what they are?!

When I used to catch the bus to work, while waiting for the bus I used to read all the headlines from around hundreds and hundreds of different sources, all thanks to Google Reader. You know sometimes you see at the bottom/top of a webpage that says 'Subscribe to RSS feed'? Well basically, you click on that, and choose to subscribe that page on Google Reader (you must set up a google account, obviously) and Google Reader will pool together all the latest updates and news from the webpages that you subscribe to and you can read them through Google Reader and you can also organise them into different tags like 'technology' or 'blogs' or 'crafts' or 'cookery' !! I get all the latest blog updates on there as well so basically I am up to date where ever I go and it's a never ending supply of things to read, the latest celebrity gossip, the latest news about the Blackberry technology, gaming, computing, the latest news headlines and I am never bored where ever I go. And not to mention the latest thing that Fely and I do, which is having a daily conversation on the BB messenger. It is a must for us !! Even if it's just to say a quick 'hello' or to send each other funny pictures of what we were up to at the time (we draw a line at pornographic images) and I am really thankful to be reconnected with my MPIK soulmate again. It's really changed my life (thanks Fely, HUgS). And also the other little conveniences that a Blackberry brings to you like being able to go online anywhere, so looking up the telephone number of a restaurant or the opening times of a shopping centre, finding out the directions to a certain place, or checking prices and information of certain things have become much much easier. It's basically any information at your fingertips.

2. My knitting bag

Okay okay, this is screaming the 1960's with a granny style !! But I honestly love finding new projects to do (although I hardly ever finish any) and collecting new yarn to add to my collection, again quite pointless seeing that I never finish any projects that I have started. Yessss, even the American Blanket is now classified as an abandoned project (but I might pick it up again, you'll never know). And not to mention I now have 3 crochet and knitting books and I have got all sorts of knitting needles and crochet hooks of varying sizes. Project to date -- ONE, perhaps two, or maybe three... One of my most successfully completed projects is of course my laptop pouch which I am immensely proud of. Till today, I am still struggling to churn out another proud project like that one. Wait for it.... miracles DO happen, people!!

3. My Mac

Well, what can I say?? I love my Mac. Mainly because it is hassle free installing and deleting programmes. And it takes no time at all to start up and shut down the computer, unlike PC. Most importantly, the gamessss I am hooked on, on my Mac. Before this, I was really into playing my Cafe World on FB, and now, my latest craze is discovering the joys of building and designing a dream home on The Sims 2. Although the game has been out for yonks and there is even The Sims 3 out in the market now, I have just got really into it and got all the software and extension packs installed on my Mac. So far, I have picked a valley and built a house by the edge of the sea which I have named 'Ocean's Edge' and with Steve's suggestions and ideas, I have created an open plan house with a really big kitchen area and a bar... this is when I make use of my knowledge from watching episode after episode of Grand Designs on TV. Tonight, tonight I shall be building my bespoke bathroom with state-of-the-art bath accessories !! Can you sense my excitement?!!

Okay, I have spent long enough on this entry and it is time to do some proper work.

I shall continue with Part 2 in my next entry and mean time, keep well and have a happy week.