Monday, 26 December 2011

Gingerbread cookies

It's kinda cold here in Cyprus (53 degrees F, don't laugh.) In fact, it's the first time since I've been back that its snowed on Christmas day. And don't even start on driving in the pouring rain. It was scary.

But this whole cold thing makes it feel more holiday like. I've watched Elf for the first time this month. Such a good movie. I have my mini reindeer antlers secured to my dog. (What a brat) and the Christmas tree with a couple of string lights up. I am looking forward to going to some Holiday parties, and seeing my family. Mostly though, I am looking forward to those parties where you bring food. Then you show up, and food destroy everyone. Food destroy, you ask? It means your food looks and tastes better than what everyone else brought. You know it, and they all know it. The girl that brought that gross looking orange dip will be staring down you down cause her dish of nastiness is still in tact while your stuff is gone. Yes, I secretly judge you as a person for whatever food you bring to a party. So I encourage you to food destroy everyone when you go to all parties. These big soft gingerbread cookies are a pretty good start. The cute cookie cutter design  will give you extra points.


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup treacle (I used honey)
1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.
  3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. 

Happy Holidays !!! Have lots of food, booze, family, fun and good feelings! 

To all you stragglers out there still reading, go eat a cookie or something. 

Monday, 21 November 2011

A hideously diverse Britain

Planet commuter. It's noisy and dishevelled, but those who live there learn to acclimatise. We read, tune in to our iPod, write - cocooned into our mental space.

I was enjoying that space on a crowded bus from Oxford Street to Paddington commuting with my sister a couple of days ago. I was in the midst of an in depth conversation with her about whether the discounted Philosophy heels I saw earlier were a necessary purchase or not. Serious stuff.

When suddenly that space got invaded. The bus driver made an alarming announcement: "The gentlemen should watch their wallets. The ladies their handbags ; there are pick pocketers on the bus."

The two Spanish tourists in front me looked at each other in confusion but from the way we were all clutching on to our purses and bags, even they could sense something was wrong.

The second incident pricked the bubble. He demanded of the black man (who was standing right beside me!) to come forward and asked him to get off the bus. The man became defensive about this accusation and after a loud exchange of heated words, he fumingly got off the bus. The driver clicked off his microphone and focused on driving the bus.

I turned to my sister, and we both were amazed at the clear distinction being made. She also told me she hadn't seen the man do anything and even looked in his pockets to check his own belongings were intact at the time of announcement.

"I wonder if the others in the bus were aware; what they thought" I thought.

But nothing had changed in the bus. Some were obviously oblivious, distracted by their iPods or Blackberrys. But others must have heard it. It was a bus filled with typically 'well-to-do commuters.'

In my search to find someone to make eye-contact with who shared my value-system, not one person looked up. And so, in that middle class way we do, I put my head down again and at that very moment, I felt hot with shame.

These are anxious times. Stereotyping is quite the thing again. The driver, if confronted, would probably say he was stating a fact; not being racist or controversial. And that would probably be the stance of everyone else who stayed in their bubbles, so unaffected. Step by mundane step. That's how tolerance gradually erodes.

Just another bit of kneejerk racism seeps into our society once again.

What would you do if you heard a racist remark on public transportation?

Thursday, 17 November 2011

No Frills Pumpkin Soup

Brr, I'm freezing. Are you freezing? I know that I am being a child when I say I'm freezing. And yes, I do realize that 6°C is amateur freezing weather and currently London's warmest weather since records began. But it's cold.

So yeah, when we're cold... soup is in order.

Every autumn / holiday season, it seems like pumpkin inevitably take over the menu and in today's case, shopping aisle.

Me and my friend have been making renditions for this recipe for weeks. It comes from an Australian recipe on and is perfect for the chilly weather! From scratch and without cream - this classic is guilt free too!

Wrap a blanket around yourself, put on some socks and let's make some soup!

2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white part only, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1kg peeled pumpkin, diced
  • 1L chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) light condensed milk 


1. Dice pumpkin into small cubes.  

2. Chop the leek, onion and garlic. Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not coloured.

3. Add spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. 

4. Add pumpkin, potato and stock and bring to the boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches

5. Return soup to pan, stir through cream and reheat gently. Season and add a little more nutmeg if desired.

Serve soup hot with a generous dollop of sour cream or yoghurt and enjoy!

Tip: To add some oomph, try this recipe with some horseradish sauce! 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

French Riviera photo diary

Picture perfect breakfast table at the Pain Quotidien 

Upward shot of Nice Etoile shopping centre 

Decadence in Monte Carlo's Hotel de Paris 

Another yacht view, mid restaurant-hunt in Cannes 

Switch out the shoes for wedges and ankle socks for a default rainy day outfit. 

Foie Gras with cranberry and onion chutney that tasted better than they photographed. 

Experiencing major withdrawal symptoms, as I sit here sifting through the photos during our girlie getaway along the Côte d'azur. Everything from a déjeuner français on our hotel balcony to isolated beautiful moments in the city. We spontaneously decided to give ourselves a break from city life and made our journey to Nice, Monaco and Cannes last weekend. The mix of raw nature, slightly warmer weather and scenic beaches could not have been more ideal. 

Highlights included the unexpected torrential rain (and wind) showers, the most exquisite wine I have ever tasted, a movie moment to prove that chivalry is not dead and eating way too much cheese (if there's even such a thing as.) Exciting stuff. No, but really, Monte Carlo is a terrible place to not have access to funds. 

Don't worry, I feel just the appropriate amount of guilt for my lack of 'reading' during reading week. I always say I am going to stay more on top of my life but... yeah. I will say my recent neglect of insane workload, graduate / job applications, and freelancing has lessened my ability to focus while subsequently mastering my procrastination skills. 

I am luckily getting to see some loved ones though - first my sister came to visit me, and cannot wait to go home for Christmas. 

Mostly for my suitcase's benefit and maybe also partially cause I didn't feel like shopping, I didn't buy anything but a few retro-inspired souvenirs, and a berry lipstick from Sephora that I cant wait to try for fall. 

But it's exactly as beautiful as you want it to be in real life. That's always a little surprising when it happens. 

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Ever seen a ballet stiletto ?

Calling all shoe-a-holics!

I seriously urge you to head down to Brick Lane's Loading Gallery which is showcasing an exhibition to feed your addiction by displaying every kind of shoe imaginable. And I mean ANY.

Tea time anyone ? 'Alice in Wonderland' by Nicholas Kirkwood 

Shoes For Show: The Sculptural Art of High Heels shows off the fanciful and fabulous creations of famed shoe designers and their quite literal 'mad skills.'

Rupert Sanderson's strappy gold numbers, made for Verdi's Aida at the Royal Opera House, resemble footwear from Greek mythology. 

Visitors spiralled down a 'rabbit hole' of visual art by British Fashion Awards winner Nicholas Kirkwood's beautiful design adorned with red roses in bloom, tiny green leaves, silver chains and chessboard-patterned heels. Another creation included a glittering green pair, with candy floss pink and shiny flaps.

What undoubtedly had me swooning were the infamous Swarovski encrusted beauties made for the English National Ballet. 

Clearly, there was NOTHING flat about these ballet pumps. 

From Beyonce's futuristic Gareth Pugh toe-tapper booties she wore in the 'Run the World' music video to couture queen's Daphne Guinness' donated one-off pair of shoes. 

Scroll down for an exclusive look at these couture pieces that give a new meaning to 'beauty before function.'

the famous Beyonce numbers 

Joanne Stoker for Selfridges, 2011

Katie Eary for Nike

Turkish Baths shoes, 1890s

You can't have a shoe exhibition without the designer of shoes that are 'better than sex' as coined by Madonna - Manolo Blahnik !
Sophia Grace Webster, Manolo Blahnik 

Chau Har Lee, 2009

 Presented by online shoe store, the exhibition showed off everything we love about fancy and fantasy footwear. Even if they are just for their two minutes of catwalk fame.

"The Shoe... a sign of recognition. Just as the ring slips onto the slender finger, the glass slipper will fit but the most delicate of beauties." - Jean Paul Roux , 2004 

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Mulberry Catwalk S/S '12 Press Day

Remember that exciting new project I had lined up?

Well, it's officially underway and I am pleased to announce I am The Malaysian Women's Weekly new freelance writer! Apparently, all that hard labour, endless hours, unaccounted number of times dozing off at the backseat of a taxi, coffee-runs, paid off! 

Anyway, enough about me. Let's talk fashion.

Mulberry's catwalk collection was a treat. An ice-cream-sorbet-candy-floss treat. And if Emma Hill couldn't be clearer on where she'd like to indulge it - at the beach of course. 

I was greeted at the catwalk press event by the lovely Press Officer, Emma Moran and a zoo of balloon animals bursting at the entrance (naturally.) 

Inspired by the 'British summer holiday,' the collection quickly transformed from a safari to a wonderland of a funfair scene. 

So we had rain macs and flowing pleated skirts, fun rain jackets and then sundresses in a palette of mint, lemon yellow and salmon pink layered over long-sleeved T-shirts. The more animal-themed pieces came as embroidered and appliquéd jackets and dresses staying true to  that quirky and quintessential Mulberry mix we all know and love. 

These flip flops are too cute for words ! And at a slightly more affordable price - (any one got £100 lying around?) 

I must say this time round, Emma has re-vamped that 'doe-eyed English girl' look with more glamorous pieces like bling-embellished skirts,dresses, and  bomber jackets.

The show-stopping all over Gem Dress !!! The detailing is exquisite and this dress took 'forever' to make. (and very heavy, I might add)

You can't talk Mulberry without talking bags.  Joining the girl gang- Taylor, Tillie, Alexa, Lily and most recently Polly- Effie and Evelina will vie for your love.

There were quirky evening bags with sparkly peace signs, channelling the Seventies hippie vibe as well as the larger leather classics. There was an awesome bright yellow version that is impossible NOT to catch your eye as well as several takes on the ever-popular and my personal favourite, Alexa cross body satchel.

I saw interesting textures and exotic prints on some of the satchels, but if you prefer your bags natural you can expect a surprising amount of your trusted leathers and tans. 

Here are some of my favourite looks from their latest LFW runway collection: 

I've always liked the 'don't take yourself too seriously' idea that the brand wants to put across. 
Frankly, I thought some of the pieces were too saccharine - even for me, but I was excited about this new unexpected twist. Let's see what Mulberry has in store for us next season! 

As with any hobby/interest, there are always established hierarchies of awe that are ingrained into our minds when it comes to insider figures. Speaking of which, I SAW HILARY ALEXANDER. Like in the flesh. One metre away from me. 

Yes. Trying to keep your cool and sound (and look) professional, it being my first time at a Press Day within the presence of one of the most recognized and sought-after fashion writers in the UK is not the easiest thing to do. 

Other paraphernalia forms a protocol behind the fashion 'industry' that I have learnt include: attending fashion shows, press days,  PR's press releases, the coaxing 'you-scratch-back-I'll-scratch-your's' attitude that exists in fashion.


wait for it.............

 I AM GOING TO INTERVIEW EMMA HILL. By email - which means I can pretend to be this socially-put together young professional act for a little while longer ! 

And there I was worrying that I was growing up too fast.