Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas Antics

I was fortunate enough to come home last Friday, just before Heathrow airport was shut down. Cathay Pacific even offered me 500 pounds and free hotel accommodation to fly a day later, but my mum didn't want me to miss my sister's birthday so I rejected the offer. If I hadn't I would still be stuck in London now!

Don't get me wrong though, London is great. There are just so many Christmassy things to do.

Winter Wonderland @ Hyde Park

Someone decided to bring a touch of class to the market this year!

 I had:
Hog roast


Bread filled with cheese and bacon

Pork knuckle and cabbage stew

I'm sorry, churros. I'll be back for you.
Lola's christmas gingerbread cupcake @ Selfridges

Very gingery indeed!

Spotted @ Oxford Circus
Santa playing crazy hyperactive guitar solos...

Hilarious. First time I have ever tipped an underground performer.

Have a great Christmas! Only a few days left. Hopefully the snow won't be too bad in London.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Candy Cafe (without the accented "e" because it's a Chinese place)

I've been to Candy Cafe in Chinatown twice now and I've concluded that it's definitely a place I want to go again and again!

Okay, so it wasn't great the first time we went. First off, the place is really quite small,  and in the evenings it gets seriously busy. If you have to queue it doesn't take that long, but it also means that you can't hang around for long. The cramped wooden booths are not a super comfy place to sit, but there is a TV playing asian stuff and the atmosphere is acceptable. The guy in charge is very friendly, with a british-born-chinese accent, but the other waitresses can be a bit rude and rushed. But hey, it's Chinatown and I don't really care for amazing service here. People here feel like family; they feed my body AND soul for a low price, and I certainly don't expect them to bow at my feet.

We had the dry dumplings, which are basically glutinous rice balls coated in crushed peanut, coconut and sugar. 

I used to have these as a special treat during Chinese New Year. Now I haven't been at home for CNY for 6 years now so I was really looking forward to these! They were a slight let down though, as they were a bit too hard and not so chewy; perhaps they had been cooked well in advance, which is understandable. It would be a bit impractical to make them fresh when they have to maintain such a high turnover rate.

We also had pearl sago in sweet taro soup, which was good, but to be honest it's not a favourite of mine!

The second time we went was around lunchtime and although it was a saturday, there were much fewer people and the place felt more relaxed. I caved in and ordered a bubble tea - they have an exhaustive list of flavours but I like to opt for the classic version. I try to refrain from buying them in London, cause £3.50?? That's just ridiculous! 

Nevertheless, this was surprisingly smooth. I couldn't compare to other versions in Chinatown though, like the one from HK Diner, because I simply haven't had one in so long.

Pomelo mango - pearl sago in a cold mango soup, with bits of pomelo that add a citrus note. This reminded me of the amazing mango desserts at Hui Lau Shan, a chain dessert shop in Hong Kong. Perfect on a hot summer's day but good in the winter too!

Strawberry Crêpe: woooop this was great! A proper over-the-top Hong Kong style crêpe, dressed lovingly with strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, vanilla ice cream and strawberry sauce.

We also ordered the black sesame dumplings (glutinous rice balls) in syrup, served hot. These were a childhood favourite of mine and are hard to mess up, really. Yum.

I would definitely recommend going during the day and not after dinner, as you feel like you can actually chill for a bit with friends.

Candy Cafe is a unique place in Chinatown that serves many the beloved desserts of my generation, mixing the old and the new. I often crave the items on their menu and previously thought that I wouldn't be able to have them until I got back to Hong Kong. Seriously, my only regret is discovering this place so late! I have actually walked by it so many times but never noticed the small sign on the street. All that time I could have spent expanding my waistline... sigh.

Candy Cafe
3 Macclesfield St

London W1D 6AU


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Laptop Accessories - An Extension of Lifestyle

A luxurious take on laptop sleeves and bags made specifically to fit your beloved notebook in.

These products really reminded me of Luxiraire's amazing handmade camera bag, travel bag and iPad bag.

Mulberry for Apple
Daria Sleeve for Macbook
Bayswater for 13" Macbook

"We wanted a bag that was as special and personal to us as what we held within it. Not simply a container, but an extension of both style and lifestyle."
The Knomo bags are my favourite... I think I'm in love.
Rubi Briefcase - medium
Helena flap brief with removable laptop pouch

I especially love the laptop sleeves. Once I saw them, my mind screamed "I WANT I WANT!"
Patent Mock-Croc laptop sleeve
Bayswater embossed quilt sleeve
Made with faux nappa leather, some even come with a faux-fur lining. All Knomo products come with an individual tracking code, which you can register your bag with. I'm not sure how useful this could be when someone finds it - they'd have to call one of the numbers on the tag - but it's a good initiative nonetheless. The sleeves are £40 each - a possible Christmas gift to myself??

Ianthe embossed leather business bag

Ianthe embossed leather laptop sleeve
It's getting super cold in London. Don't forget to wrap up!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A few things

(South Kensington branch)

I had a Cheeky Monkey (yes, they're all cutely named), consisting of Nutella and Banana filling. It was a case of too much sweet stuff and nothing else for me. Let's be honest, the I looove the branding and the foil wrap is a really nice touch to keep it from being too hot in my hands, but I much prefer the cone-shaped, cream-filled, overzealous variety you can get in Hong Kong, which is really the same as the Japanese adaptation. Now I don't claim to know much about crêpes but man, the Japanese seem to have a crazy obsession with them. Which is all well and good because we all know that Hong Kong people love to copy all things Jap! I'm not complaining here!

My friend wanted a Snog so we went over there. It's literally a few stores down.

Green tea frozen yoghurt with mochi, cookies and oreos

What has happened to South Kensington this year? First there was the Hummingbird Bakery, and Snog. It was the first Snog too, and we felt so proud to have this hidden gem in South Kensington. They've popped up in various other places since then, and have become an obsession for asian students. Many other frozen yoghurt copycats have appeared - Frog and Yog come to mind (Yog is actually good though!). Then the appearance of Crème de la Crêpe and Wafflemeister have turned South Kensington into a fully-fledged food heaven! I am liking this new wave of dessert places with an emphasis on cute.

Of course, the not-so-cute places are also good. I've been a fan of Paul for a long time now. I don't usually eat sandwiches - their inability to emotionally and physically satisfy me always make me rather depressed - but Paul's tomato/mozarella/pesto sandwich is really good. Probably because it's made with their delicious olive bread.

 I had a yoghurt one day to trick myself into thinking I'm healthy.

Then I stuffed my face with an olive fougasse... Nomnomnom.

 Oh looky here, a random doorknob.


I trawled all the way to Wasabi in knightsbridge a few days ago to satisfy my sushi cravings. It's not the best but boy, is it cheap! 18 pieces cost around £13 - I picked my own pieces and had to unwrap them individually like it was Christmas. My favourite was still the mackerel; I love the combination of fishiness and saltiness. It's good that one of my all time favourites is relatively cheap; it's the same price as salmon in a lot of places.

Can't wait to go home this Christmas and gorge on proper, decent sushi, as well as all kinds of chinese winter dishes. 

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Chambord Mini

So I hope you indulged yourself like I did today.

I only noticed lately that they sold a mini version of the liqueur... it's perfect as I can bring it back home when I eventually leave London, instead of throwing the 70cl bottle away. Besides, I'm not a huge fan of the redesign. In fact, I'm utterly devastated. I can't believe they're letting this gorgeous design go. Trading romance for practicality? Blasphemy!!

The handmade greeting card is by Karrie Barron cards. I bought it a few years back at The Apple Market in Covent Garden... haven't seen the stall since then, sadly.

Oh, and I still have a pair of earrings I got at a halloween party yearssss ago, back in primary school. Adorable, aren't they?

I've just changed my blog name... This blog was originally for detailing my experiences with tinnitus, but I feel like it's evolving to be about other things as well. I did like my old title though... "The Closest Thing to Silence" reflected the condition well.

Anyways, Happy Halloween!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Hotel Chocolat & ... healthy food for once

Creamy vanilla white chocolate with vanilla seeds, from Hotel Chocolat
I'd already eaten half of it by the time I took a picture, apologies. It was hard to resist. And I just love the cute imprint of what looks a lot like the Union Jack (I really hope that's what it's supposed to be, otherwise I'd feel incredibly stupid)!

After my chocolate binge, I went on a Sainsbury's shopping spree. I was actually in a mood for healthy food!

Caeser salad with smoked salmon trimmings
Ciabbata with extra virgin olive oil & balsamic vinegar
I know, I bought the cheapest smoked salmon oil and vinegar. It'll do for now... I'll refine my taste buds when I'm no longer on a budget.

There's a little insect flying around me. Being a lazy mofo I always try to catch them single-handedly, sort of kung fu style, then squash them dead with the fat lobules of my hand. It makes me feel very asian indeed. I wonder if anyone else does that??

On a random note, I got stuck in a lift today. It was much better than the last time I was stuck though, because
a) the lift was bigger,
b) I wasn't alone, and
c) we got out pretty fast, compared to the 45 minutes I spent sat on the floor last time.
However, there was also an elderly, weak patient who was also with us (I have lectures at a hospital). She was so panicky and trembling, I offered her my water. The pretty carton of water from Joe & the Juice, to be exact (see last post). This means I shall have to go and get one again! Cause it's cute : ) We got out of the lift on ground floor again... so we walked the patient up one floor. She was so frail... Anyways, I was just happy to help out. It feels good to be of use to the world.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Take the C1 from White City

I like to take long bus rides. It forces me to sit there and reflect, and at the same time, observe the random things that we may pass by whilst being in my own world. I'm a great believer in having time to oneself; there's no need to smile when you don't feel like it, to make pointless conversation. In fact, I even feel cheated when I get home too soon. Yes call me emo if you like! Social withdrawal is my indulgence of choice.

Btw, my friends bought me the Sound Asleep pillow for my bday.
Sweet, right?
It's alright... not as good as I expected, but for £15 it's definitely good value for money. On the website it says that only you can hear the sounds, "meaning your partner can sleep in peace". Errr not really. To turn the volume up to an acceptable level it pretty much becomes a loudspeaker stuffed into a pillow. And I can kind of feel it inside if I sleep on one of the sides. Still, I have no partner right now so it's not a problem!

So what do I listen to when I go to bed?
Lately I got an iPod Touch. Not the newest one though; I got it for free when I bought a macbook pro. Hehe. Anyways, there are a plethora of white noise apps out there but I've been using White Noise by TMSOFT. I've only got the free Lite version cause I'm a cheapass, but it's sufficient. You can mix different sounds together; I always use my saved mix of rain, thunder and white noise. You can also set the length of time for which you want the sounds to play, so that it can then fade away after you've fallen asleep. There's also an alarm function.

Me and my friends are a bit iLoopy. Seriously, we never chat anymore cause we're all too busy playing stupid games.
All in all, sleeping's not really a problem nowadays, and I don't have to sleep with earphones on for the whole night and run the risk of strangling myself. Of course, I'm still wearing earplugs on noisy public transport and to clubs!