Monday, 6 February 2012

What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It?

Hey guys, it's been a while hasn't it? Sadly these days, the time just flies when you have a job and no home. But here I am, 2 weeks in with a new post spreading the consumerism of Valentine’s Day. 

What does love mean to you? 

It is one of those things that are in reality, everywhere. Four simple little letters that are constantly thought about, talked about, sung about. It can make us extreme levels of anger, confusion, happiness and pain. It is one of the most powerful emotions in the world, so powerful it can make the strongest fall and cry “I give up” with it all, but we never really do, do we? It seems everyone is always trying to find this one little thing however burned we might be.

Love means different to everyone. Squinting awkwardly will always follow one thing about someone’s love life. For instance, I’ll never get use to the fact that someone I know sees love as a battlefield and loves every second of it. To her, love isn’t love without a fight. For others, love is being absolutely content with each other and relying on each other. I’m undecided as to what love is, it changes day to day depending on the situation that precedes me, but is always with me.

However, I am not a fan of this particular day. Love is an emotion that is constantly sung about and felt, but in any of these songs does it say buy me something for me to love you? Well, unless it is meant ironically. For me, Valentine’s Day is a consumer holiday that defies what love should be about. Of course it’s nice to buy something nice for that special someone to show how special they are, but why not do it any other day? The fact that people feel the pressurized need to buy something as well as the expectancy of the right gift which is impossible to achieve doesn’t exactly scream love to me. Love shouldn’t be expected or bought. So exactly, what's love got to do with Valentine's Day?

Nevertheless, here are some nice lovely things to spread the Valentine’s Day love for pretty and useless things!

For Her or Rather Yourself

Love Eco CupHeart SweetsT-Shirt GrafittiForget me not; Butterfly Chiffon; Chalk Board; Primrose Bakery Book

For Him

Love Catapult; This is not a Book; Soft Kitty; Uncharted 3; Paper Plane

What does love mean to you?

Happy Pre-Valentine's Day


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Home Is Where The Heart Is

As you may or many not know, I've been "couch surfing" but not on a couch for the past few weeks and will have to continue to do so for a few weeks more. As much as I love the people I'm staying with, it still makes me miss home. 

A rather disappointing thought entered my head quite recently, perhaps brought on by the lack of stability around me - it is quite unlikely that I will own my own home in the next 10 years. Disappointing right? And I so want a little place to call my own whether it be a small flat or a teeny tiny house in some unknown corner of the city. I blame the economy or the government or some shit like that, wouldn't you? I'm not even sure why but if you got a problem, blame the government! You know it's somehow their fault, or will be their fault somewhere down the line. I highly doubt that someone earning as much as me, with as much student loans to pay back, and who doesn't even know what the hell a good credit rating looks like is likely to be granted a mortgage. The only way I'd get my own house between now and the next few years is if they started giving out homes due to the kindness of their hearts...fat chance!

One of the main reasons for me wanting a house is not because I'd like to settle down because its always been a dream of mine, but because I want to deck the hell out of it! I have such a vivid image in my head of what I want my house to look like and it goes something like this...

Starting with this front door...

Then into this weird combination of Living Room-ness...

Oh what's that yummy smell? Well it's coming from this kitchen...but less green

Yawn, sleepytime... better get to this very unrealistic and probably unlivable bedroom

But before that, one must remember to wash in this who wouldn't want to wash in this bathroom... bathroom

And in the morning...I'm making WAFFLES! And we can eat them outside because my outside bit will look like this...

Yea I have a lot outdoor bits

and for those cosy nights, I will clearly make one of these in the woods that will apparently be by my house 

So, a pretty ridiculous house if I say so myself. Could you imagine it? Bits and bobs poking in and out of the building. I'm sure I'll tone it down a little because this is all a bit silly, or what my friend Rhianney Fanny would call - ridonkadonk. But let's start earning some money that I can actually save before all this yea?

Happy Dreaming


[All Photos available via my Pinterest]

Sunday, 15 January 2012

If You See a Dragon Fly, Best You Drink The Flagon Dry

Happy Chinese New Year! Or as some of us Chinese might call it Chun Jie, which means spring festival. For some reason, spring marks the start of a new year in China rather than the start of the year, but I guess that logic is thought out of habit. Whoever said new years had to be literally the 1st of the new year?
This year marks the year of all those dragon signs out there – this is your year dragons! Well for those who are dragons and don’t be too sure that you are one as the months change every year, this is considered the luckiest year in China! Well done you! I hope your year is full of prosperity and healthy and so on and so forth.

Chinese New Year is obviously a special time for me, being Chinese and all, and I have to admit, the Chinese KNOW how to celebrate! I’m sure we have more festivities to celebrate than I can count. One day it’s New Years and then it’s the lantern festival 2 weeks later. Festivities all around!  

For us, new years is not about drinking so much you can’t remember how disgracefully you started the year, but is more focused around family and food, lots of food. Seriously I don’t think you understand how much food is involved. Think about how much food you eat on times it by 6. Yes, it is one of those holidays where you come out the other side just a little bit rounder and a little less hungry for the rest of the month, but it is a most splendiferous holiday.

Traditionally, Chinese new year lasts for days making it the longest and most important period of festivities on everyone’s to do list. There are stages of festivities for every day for a whole 15 days which ends with the lantern festival. But nowadays unfortunately, no one has the time for tradition and usually just happily celebrates Chinese New Year Eve with dinner and is content. Tradition is a dying breed indeed. I had a delicious dinner at the Mayflower, one of the best “hidden” Chinese restaurants known to man-kind. I say hidden because if you didn’t know about it, you wouldn’t find it. And even if you did find it, you wouldn’t want to go in because of its location, but the food is the best EVER! However, I was content with dinner, valuable family time and of course my little red envelope!

Red envelopes to me have always been a tradition for me of when the older folks passes money in a little red envelope to the younger folks like me! For what reason? I’m not really sure, but I’ve never questioned it either. Free money in a little red envelope? Mysterious and alluring, who needs to question those qualities? However, I think it may possibly have something to do with luck.
And on that note, I will leave you all with a very Happy Chinese New Years and a little blurb about the dragon year to come. I hope that you will continue to celebrate for the whole 15 days. Whoever manages to do so... wins!

The Blurb

"The dragon is a symbol of power.
Therefore in Chinese astrology the dragon person born under this Chinese Zodiac sign tends to be a "doer" – they do things and achieve power by getting things done.

A dragon can breathe out fire so the person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon can be a hothead. Watch out if you make them angry!

However, the dragon has a soft underbelly and so in Chinese astrology the dragon person born in this Chinese Zodiac year has a "soft spot" to them. They may get angry at someone who annoys them but they also show great compassion to people in need.

A dragon has a long tongue which is often seen.

So in Chinese astrology the dragon person born in this Chinese Zodiac year has a sharp tongue – they will say things that can be quite sarcastic and biting.

The person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon can be quite a confronting person but if you can reach their "soft heart" they are worthwhile allies.

2012 is the Chinese year of the dragon. So what does 2012 hold for a person born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon?

Such people double their efforts in whatever they do - work, education and other projects. Their natural talent and abilities should stand out with great results.
However, watch out for that temper! Keep it in check and do not spoil your good work."

[As quoted from this obviously reliable site]

[Photos via here, here, here and here]

Friday, 13 January 2012

Ladders, Cracks and Black Cats

Happy Friday 13th to Everyone! 

I don't know about you, but I am a very superstitious person. Not to the extent of avoiding cracks all my life but I will avoid walking under a ladder every now and then if I can help it. For me, this day doesn't really symbolise anything in association with my life or experiences but how about you? Anything about this particular day that stirs a feeling? 

This significant day has suffered through the age-old establishment of being the day of misfortunes. For those who suffer from a phobia of Friday the 13th, or rather in “layman’s” terms paraskevidekatriaphobia, will most likely do well to be indoors all days, wrapped in their duvet, in hope that evil will leave them be on it’s sporadic holiday period.

This Week's Song - I Put a Spell On You by She & Him

Personally, while I am superstitious, I am also quite logical and can never battle it out with myself whether I've decided that this particular actually might be just an unlucky day, or whether the anxiety caused by the myths surrounding it results in people being a bit more accident prone. For some it is a day accounted by bad luck and calamities, while for the rest of us it’s just yet another Friday, which alone is a good enough reason to celebrate!

Happy Clumsy Tumbles


[Photo via Pinterest]

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Materialism Making the Most of the Recession

Hey guys! So here we are, in the midst of what we claim is one of the greatest economic disasters in my lifetime so far...although that's not been very long at all - the recession. You hear it everywhere these days, recession this and recession that, prices for everything is up up and away! Money is the new it topic to talk about whether over coffee or on the news and I have yet to feel the full impact of the damage it has done. I have just come out of university - an institute which involves needing very little of which I have managed to get out of before the prices shot up. I have just started earning my own money, and I have never owned my own home, however I'm sure that now that I've integrated into the corporate world, my problems with the dough will also start to show like everyone else...except apparently those who work within the industries of the lavish.

Have you noticed that despite the three years of financial crisis thrusted upon the economic and political world, the lavish commodity world seems to be untouched, or perhaps even benefiting from it? The past few years have put money in perspective for a lot of people which seems to give everyone a new found feeling of rationality along with a new order of priorities (yes earning more money would be on top). People are working harder, younger and older than ever before and what that leaves is a tired out person lacking the sense of life and meaning. I mean, what is the meaning of life if not to live it? However these days, money is a must if life is to be lived. It seems like capital is the meaning of life nowadays and along with this, people are forgetting what’s important. They are missing out on something that happens once in a lifetime while replacing that loss of meaning with these pretty commodities big brands are pandering to them in exchange for an increased feeling of importance and existence. Due to this, it seems like industries within this sector may actually benefit from our lack of wealth.

Don’t believe me? Well stats show that big brand companies such as Louis Vuitton, Mulberry and Prada have all gained as much as 70% profit growth this last year, while other brands such as Gucci and YSL are all continuously expanding. Whoever is buying those ugly LV and Gucci bags, they need to stop that right now. I mean it.

These big branded lavish goods have a legacy for classic core values of fashion and stature which represents class, heritage, extravagance and “savoir faire”. However, in the modern age, these big brands offer something meaningful and extravagant to anyone who feels like they’ve missed out. Who can say that they didn’t spend more this Christmas despite the overpricing of products just because they felt like the recession had deflated the joyous occasion which is epitomised gifts and food? People like to overcompensate what is not freely given just to show that they can and the industry doesn’t feel sorry for us. No they provoke us with excess. Walking into Harrods is somewhat of a sordid affair of excess. No-one needs a pet bakery or a pet gym or even pet clothes! When was it decided that the park wasn’t a good form of exercise, and that standard pet food wasn’t healthy enough or that being a naked animal wasn’t ok? Apparently they need clothes now. And let’s not forget the thoughtful gesture Versace made at the end of last year as she pawned her hideous collection of unwanted failed attempts to H&M. Bad move for the poor consumers who had to be seen in them, great move for her though.

These lavish brands have always stimulated a sense of belonging and existing. Many people believe that their individual fashion sense is part of their identity, and who can put a price on that? The stubborn fashion industry has not bowed to the recession and neither will their consumers. As long as they produce something unusual and of worth, they will stand as an essential set of aspirations to those who trust their commodity to improve and establish their own social stature and meaning in life by association. The fashion world consistently shifts in unpredictable ways to excite and tempt therefore it will always thrive. As the prices of clothes and bags and what-nots rise, so does people’s price range norms and nowadays, they will pay £50 for a jumper and think it reasonable. So if you want to ride out this recession – move into the fashion industry...not that I would really condone that.

Happy Thinking


[Photos via Pinterest]

Monday, 9 January 2012

Your Shot of Espresso in a Cupcake

Hey guys! I'm sure my coffee infused friends will tell you that there is nothing more tempting in the morning than a cup of creamy Joe, and I don't mean "that" Joe you know from the office...I mean coffee. I'm not a big coffee drinker myself because I never understood the caffeine "hype" - for me the shaking should NOT be considered as an inevitable consequence and not only does it not wake me up, it makes me feel ever more groggy and tired. 

However, in spite of this, I decided to make some cupcakes with the taste of "Starbucks" as everyone around me are such coffee enthusiasts, and I must admit that they are delicious (not to blow my own horn or anything). So I thought to myself, I could keep these to myself but where would be the fun in that? If you love your coffee and cake, this is one of the musts.

What you'll need

This recipe serves 12...hopefully

- 60g Butter
- 180g (6oz) Self Raising Flour (of course you can use plain flour, if so then also add about        2 teaspoons of baking powder)
- 180g (6oz) Golden Caster Sugar
- 1 LARGE egg
- 180ml (6 floz) Semi-skimmed Milk
- 2 heaped teaspoons of instant espresso powder
- A pinch of salt

Ok, now that you have that, you'll need to...

- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees celsius
- Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases
- Warm the milk just enough to dissolve the espresso powder into and put aside 
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (for about 3 minutes)
- Sift the flour and salt into the butter mixture and beat well to a crumb consistency
- Lightly beat in the egg
- Little by little add the espresso milk, beating in between until a smooth velvet consistency.
- Pour the mixture into the muffin cases filling it to 3/4 of the way and bake for 25-30 minutes
- Transfer on to wire rack to cool

And now for the buttercream....
- 120g (4oz) butter or vegetable shortening like Trex
- 40ml (1.5floz) Semi-skimmed milk
- 1tspn Instant espresso powder (or more if you prefer a stronger coffee taste)
- 350g (12oz) Confectioners sugar

- Warm the milk just enough for the espresso powder to dissolve
- Beat the butter and gradually add the sugar and milk alternatively until you achieve a smooth, thick and creamy consistency.



Friday, 6 January 2012

Song of the week - I Want To Be a Rainbow!

Hey guys! I've got exciting news. I've officially finished my first day as a "New Business Development Associate" for a new and trendy PR company. It was strange to stop and look around the spacious, well lit room along with the pitter-pattering of computer keys and came to the realisation that I was at my first "real" job as an adult - I am sitting in an office at MY desk, on MY computer with a job to do and getting paid for it. It was a rather amazing feeling followed by hindering nerves of fear. 

I have always said as a child that I would never end up in an office chained to a desk working 9-5, but being there made me feel at ease and secure. It's funny how you grow up and out of certain habits when you pass that inevitable threshold of acceptable child-like-ness to an independent adult. It's all very bittersweet, but I am excited to see where this road will take me. This is actually good advice to people who feel a bit lost with their lives I think, because as long as you believe you are capable of anything, anyone can find a road to something worth their while. I found this out the hard way, but my situation has definitely improved as will anyone else's who can learn to be strong for themselves. 

This Week's Song - "I am Not a Robot" by Marian & the Diamonds

I thought this was quite ironic this week as I have entered the "robotic" corporate working world. However, I have always made a promise to myself that I would NEVER turn into a wobot (working robot) and obviously I will take my job seriously but my "colour" will never fade to metallic monochrome. 

Happy Weekend