Saturday, April 30, 2011

Me and my ribbons

I just wrapped a present. And the thrill I got doing so was on par with watching that heavenly fairytale wedding last night. Well, maybe not quite as good but close, very close. While I'm on the topic of the wedding, wasn't it fabulous? The Aston Martin drive by was the highlight for me. Love it. We had a little shindig here last night to celebrate and one of our friends bought this for dessert. Isn't it delightful?

Oh, and this is what happens when you have a cheese platter in Hong Kong. A lesson for us all.

Back to my point. You see I have a thing for ribbons. Not that I ever wore one in my hair as a kid growing up, unlike my sister, who's ribbons were meticulously tied and tied and tied again by my poor mother until they, much like her plaits, her knee high socks and entire bedroom, were nothing short of perfect. Me being the angel that I was, ahem, never worried about perfection as a child. Footloose and fancy-ribbon-free, that was me. It seems, however, that as the years are ticking by, I am rapidly making up for lost time in the ribbon department (perhaps in the perfection department also, but that is a whole other post). 

I now have a whole drawer full of them, a very deep, wide drawer in fact. And I have ribbons in every different shade you could imagine, in little cane baskets. And every time I open that drawer and pick out the perfect ribbon to match the paper for whatever gift it is I'm about the wrap, I get the greatest feeling of satisfaction. And to top it all off, I've also collected a stash of cards as well. Birthday cards, new baby cards, get well soon cards etc etc. The joy of knowing that you don't have to go to the store to buy wrapping, paper, ribbon or a card is difficult to rival in my books. I am a sad old Tai Tai aren't it? Martha would be proud. 

So today, while lapping up the aftermath of one this century's most mammoth occasions, I am also grateful that such a little thing in life, can give me almost as much satisfaction.

Linking up with Maxabella today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm not GI Jane, I'm Attachment Barbie

I heard that line on Grey's Anatomy the other day, "I'm not GI Jane, I'm Attachment Barbie". I literally laughed out loud, stopped the show, grabbed the laptop and typed it into a blog post to make sure I remembered it. Classic. That one little line, a line I heard on a nondescript Tuesday, with a cup of the usual camomile tea in my hand and most probably my 24th chocolate egg in the other, it got to me. It made me laugh and cry simultaneously. Which was clever, yes. But pretty? Ahhh, not so much.

I don't know if you watch Grey's (and if you don't you really really really really should), but if you do, you'll know Teddy. The sexy ex-Lipstick Jungle heart surgeon who recently returned from selflessly offering her skills to the victims of the war and is now saving lives at our beloved Seattle Grace. She basically is GI Jane. Just a really hot one. Anyway, she used the line when she was describing how she had found herself in a personal situation where she knew she needed to be tough, where she knew she needed to be strong and confident and let things go and have thick skin (cue GI Jane), but when it came to the crunch where she needed to be strong and confident and let things go, she was in fact an emotional wreck and weak and taking things to heart and just a plain old babbling mess (cue Attachment Barbie).

That line. It just got to me. "I'm not GI Jane, I'm Attachment Barbie".

I think we're all like that at times, don't you think? Me especially.
Attachement Barbie dressed in a camouflage all-in-one GI Jane jumpsuit.

Tell me I'm not the only one?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Numbers and letters

I found these scattered around Hanoi when we visited over Easter. I fell in love with the way they looked on the dilapated walls, surrounded by bursts of colour. I couldn't tear my eyes (or my camera) away.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Hanoi hustle

Here I was thinking Hong Kong was hectic. Well Hanoi is hectic on a whole different level. The urban population is about 2.6 million and the minute you step out onto the street it feels like each and every one of those 2.6 million people are on a scooter heading towards you at 300 miles an hour paying no attention to what we would consider to be normal, every day, run-of-the-mill road rules. Hanoi gives chaos a whole new meaning.

Once I decided to breathe again and adjusted to what surprisingly seemed to be somewhat organised chaos, the influence of the French colonial era on Hanoi shone through. We stayed in the most beautiful old-school colonial hotel, the Sofitel Legend Metropole (where we also indulged in many a mojito by the pool and THE best Sunday brunch you will ever lay your eyes and your unsuspecting stomach on), we ate the most tasty, fresh local food at Madame Hien, and we strolled some beautiful tree-lined streets to discover the art galleries, fresh produce markets, outdoor haircuts and the strongest coffee you will ever consume while sitting on a stool made for a toddler. Not a city to visit should you want uninterrupted relaxation or opulent grandeur, but certainly one full of action, colour, interesting architecture, endless people watching and a real slice of what Vietnam has to offer.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter with your friends and family and indulged in chocolate the only way one should when it is ever so abundantly screaming your name. I know I most certainly did ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Move over Picasso. I have arriiiiived.

We have a wall. We have many in fact, funnily enough. But this one in particular is big. And white. And blank. And it's the first thing I see when I walk in the door. A big, white, blank wall against a sandy coloured couch. Inspiring? No. Boring? Yes. I will not have it. Soooooooo, I had this grand idea that I would dig into the depths of my being (and I had to dig very, very far) and create something big and bold and beautiful to fill that big old bland space.....

My initial idea was to stretch some groovy material over a canvas. Simple really. Canvas, material, staple gun, Bob's your uncle. Can't be too hard, right? So I headed down to what is supposedly the biggest and best art store in Hong Kong to find my materials. I wandered around for about an hour, gazing at all sorts of equipment like I actually had a clue what the hell they were supposed to be used for, picking them up, knowledgeably (ahem) deciding against them, and moving on, occasionally looking up innocently to see if anyone was actually paying attention to this false facade that I was so meticulously constructing. Shock horror, they weren't.

What I ended up with was a few small canvases to practice on, a staple gun, some paints (just in case I felt the need to express my inner Picasso), a paint brush, and.....some envelopes. The only thing left to find was the fabric and funnily enough, Hong Kongers seem to be far more into Hello Kitty than groovy, vintage, French typography. Oh the shame.

Anyway......I had all this equipment sitting in my house sans fabric for a few days and then all of a sudden yesterday, something came over me. Perhaps it was the anniversary of Picasso's death and he was resurrecting through me, I don't know. But I was channelling creativity like you would not believe and it went a little something like this:

I pressed play on 'Ladies and Gentlemen', George Michael's timeless album. "Hey you're just too funky for meeee, I gotta get inside of youuuu....and I'll show you heaven, if you let me". Dear God I love that man. Inspiration central.
I googled "abstract acrylic painting", found a very useful tutorial on plopping and schmooshing paint around to make your very own abstract artwork.
I proceeded to plop and schmoosh to my heart's content.
And eat your heart out Picasso, I found my inner aaaaartist.

Isn't the text on the newspaper under my canvas ironic?

I may have got a little over-excited a painted the top of our chair in the process. Whoops.

And the final product? Well, here she is.

Sure it may look a little like a 4 year old's first attempt at finger-painting, and there may be white bits of canvas poking through (which I don't think are supposed to be there), but it is supposed to be abstract, and therefore look a little weird, right? That was actually the look I was going for. Honest..... Regardless, it was my first experience of paint on canvas for what, 15 years? And I tell you, I LOVED it! So much so, I've decided to attempt a massive canvas to cover the whole of that big, bland wall. That should be interesting......

Now, all that's left to do is to name this masterpiece! I was thinking something along the lines of 'The Prodigy' or 'Will Take Cash'. Hmmm...... I think I may have left all my creativity on the canvas. Could use a little help....

What do you think I should call it? 

And I mean it, I will take cash....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A street scene

It's just so Hong Kong. The taxis, the traffic, the truck. And a tired old man.

Linking up with Faith, Hope and A Whole Lotta Love.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A few facts about rejection. And a hunk.

Here's a fact: 
Rejection sucks.

Here's another fact: 
Not even getting to the point where you can be rejected sucks even more.

Here's yet another fact: 
After living and breathing fact #1 and fact #2 for 4400 hours (or 6 months), then pretty much getting handed a job that you don't really want and rejecting it because you feel like you owe it to yourself to wait till the right job that you think you deserve comes along, sucks like you would not believe!

OK, thanks. Phew. All done. I feel better now. Just needed to get that out. Well and truly out. Out out out out out.

I am, in case you can't tell, still in the midst of the infamous, hideous, never-ending, slap-in-the-face-with-a-wet-rag-and-pretend-you're-still-smiling, job hunt. It's such fun. Such fun. Urgh. Almost as fun as my gastro on Sunday. It seems that my six Mandarin classes have not quite put me in the same ball park as the many local Asians I seem to be up against for the oh, I don't know, 60,000 jobs I have applied for. I can't for the life of me understand why.

That very part-time, very unpaid work I mentioned I was doing some time ago, seems to have fizzled which has led me straight back to the drawing board. And that job thingy I mentioned that was coming up this Thursday? Fell through. As I said, this job hunting thing? Such fun.

And trust me, I'm thinking laterally about my options. Should I go back to physio (which I really don't want to do), should I have a complete career change, should I teach English? I've even started speaking to a travel writing company to see if they'd take a risk on a kind of left field healthcare girl like me! Not looking promising at this point, but I will of course, keep you posted. If you've got any ideas, please, do send them my way.

Alas, the saga lives on. As does the perennial whinging to my dear husband. Poor sod. That's why I've written about it here today, because I really need to give him a break. He hears and feels the rejection just as much as I do, and on top of that, he feels the guilt for being the one that brought us here. But I have really turned a corner. I want to be here now. I love being here. And I'm so glad his job brought us here. I just desperately need to find a job, for myself. So I can be progressing, moving forward, with a purpose that I choose.

Now, because I am most certainly a cup half full person and want to focus on the good and positive things in life, and because I want to thank you all for listening to my whinge (of which I fear there's been a few lately) and to take us all on a journey where all our first world problems melt into nothingness, I have decided to move on for the day and end on this rather superb note. Enjoy. And trust me, you will.

ps. Fancy throwing an unemployed Tai Tai a bone, and voting for me in this Australian blog competition? The button's over on the right of the screen! Thanks!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Urgh. I don't know about you but I detest being sick. Especially gastro-out-of-every-orifice-sick. Especially gastro-out-of-every-orifice-sick-in-Asia. Especially when it's 30 degrees and the air is so thick it feels like you need to use breast-stroke arms to get through it. Especially after you've gloated about being all healthy and zen all week. Karma huh? Urgh. That was my day yesterday anyway, my first Aswan stomach bug. Just what you want on a Sunday. All glamour. Urgh.

Luckily, we have kick-ass aircon in every room in our apartment, and luckily, it gave me time on my couch with Don and Betty and Peggy and slimy Pete Campbell. Muchos time. And luckily, I have the kindest, sweetest husband in the world who drops everything to look after me and make me feel better. What a man. And most luckily of all, my stomach seems to have made some form of recovery overnight and I'm feeling somewhat closer to normal today.

And I need to feel normal this week because a) I've got a very important potential job thingy on Thursday which I need to do some serious prep for and b) it's Easter this weekend and we're off to Hanoi! Wooop!! It's our first trip to Vietnam and I cannot wait! We're heading there with a couple of friends and it's going to be all smiles, laughs, wows, photos, croissants, long lunches and a cracking blog post. Snap!

So, I hope your weekend was somewhat more glamorous, exciting or at least more comfortable, than mine. And here's to a week of health and holidays eh?

ps. We're thinking about a day trip to Ha Long Bay from Hanoi but we keep getting mixed messages about whether or not to go! Anyone been? Any advice? Any Hanoi tips?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Bring back the Zen

photo from WeHeartIt

For a good few years back in London, my sister, a few girlfriends and I used to do yoga every Saturday morning, without fail. And more often than not we'd follow it up with brunch at our favourite French cafe just a stone's throw from the yoga studio. They were happy days. Very happy days. We'd occasionally go on a Tuesday night as well, mostly because we all had a rather relentless crush on our rather sublime teacher. Alexa. Oh, Alexa. She was the most hip, chilled, hot chick with a body to boot who oozed confidence, individuality and just plain cool. She had short blonde hair that was always effortlessly coiffed, an occasional red lip to complement her heavy black glasses and a voice that would sweep you off your feet every Tuesday. It was impossible not to walk away from her classes feeling utterly zen, like you were untouchable. An awesome, awesome feeling.

Since moving to Honkers? Not so zen. Zen-less, in fact. I've done a few classes here and there over the past 6 months (we've been here that long, can you believe it?!), just never consistently. But, last Saturday, thanks to my old yoga buddy who moved here from London too, I did the most brilliant Hatha class and now? I'm very proud to say that I'm baaaaaaccckkkkk!!! I'm well and truly hooked! After tomorrow I'll have done 4 classes this week and I've already noticed SUCH a difference. A calm, a control, a peace that only comes when you're given the chance to focus on it. That is why I adore yoga. Because it allows me to think in a way that I'd never be able to do on my own. It gives me the chance to attempt to clear my mind of all the crap that seems to accumulate there. To free myself of the burdensome negative thoughts that find a way of being more pertinent than they should be. To focus on myself, how my body feels and how my body moves, without expectation or judgement. It's a chance to work your body hard, to stretch, to bend, to twist. To move in ways you just never do otherwise. To maximise the potential your body offers. And to be content. Just as you are.

If you haven't already, try it. It is SO worth it...

This was re-posted on Diminishing Lucy's Drab to Fab 19/5/11.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A sheet will do.

The days are warming up. It's hot in the morning. The sun streams in at 6.30am. The air is feeling thicker. Heavier. The moisture hangs after a shower. The days are bright. Full of gold. The sky is high. Clothes are changing. Flip flops are king. Dresses are in. Windows are open. And then swapped for air-con. It's too hot for noodles. For curry. Even chocolate. Salads are better. Easier. More comfortable. Fresh lime and soda. With ice. Hong Kong ice. People are on the streets. Smiling. People stand still on the escalator. Moving is risky. Even now. In spring. A swim sounds good. The days are getting longer. It's light 'til 7pm. The sun is setting further around the peak. It visits our house. For longer each day. It hangs. Not wanting to leave. To say goodbye. Until it does. And night time comes around. A sheet will do.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: A burst of colour

The northern Netherlands in the middle of tulip season (May)....

Beautiful. Heaven.

Linking up with Faith, Hope and a Whole Lotta Love.

ps. Unfortunately these photos are not my own. My Dad sent me an email the other day and these photos were reference to the amazing photographer though.