Friday, 27 August 2010

we loves bank holidays

it's 4pm on a Friday afternoon. I have 30 minutes left until the bank holiday starts and I'm off for a good three days.

Seville and its obscenely hot weather await me. So tonight I'll be packing my summer dresses and shorts, along with the rest of my sadly neglected summer clothing.

i have a ton of photos I need to upload to flickr, not to mention lots of blog posts documenting and regaling the silliness and adventures I got up to when Ashley visited last week.

In the meantime, I leave you with the cutest wedding video ever. Happy Bank Holiday Weekend!

Lauren + JP from Matt Odom on Vimeo.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Paris - je t'aime (only sometimes)

Oh Paris. City of lights. City of love. La mode, l'arte et l'amour.

My weekend trip to Paris with my mother started off easily enough. Passing through customs and security at St Pancras was a breeze, and the train ride passed with little incident. We arrived in Paris in a mere 2.5 hours at Gare du Nord, ready to start our Paris adventure.

Our hotel had been rated #15 out of zillions of Paris hotels in TripAdvisor. I typically put good faith on reviews, and was quite excited to stay here, especially after looking at the website. Personally I wouldn't stay there again - I prefer to be in the hub of action and this place was a little too quiet and off the beaten path for my liking.

It was my mother's first time in Paris and that meant hitting all the big spots. The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Champs Elysee, basically anywhere you would find a group of tourist following a flag-bearing tour guide, Nikon cameras hanging from their necks and sensible shoes on their feet - we went there.

Exhausting doesn't even begin to describe it.

The lines. Oh dear god the lines. Zig-zagging, meandering and always long. This was followed closely by the crowds and crowds of tourists. Everywhere.

"We need to go see that - it's famous" my mother would say, pointing to said famous object before marching off in a determined fashion, camera in hand.

Still, having not seen my mother in months now, I valued being able to spend this one-on-one time with her. We poked fun at the silly tourists who lined up for hours to take the lift up the Eiffel Tower when we waited a mere 5 minutes to hike up the bloody thing. We sat in a typical brasserie on a rainy afternoon, ordering wine (for moi) and hot water with lemon (for her) until the downpour stopped. We marveled the sheer number of chinese tourists. We gazed at Eiffel Tower at night. We peered past tourists for a glimpse of the teeny tiny Mona Lisa. And we just spent time together. Good quality mother-daughter time.

Merci Paris

Outside the Louvre

Do I even need to say? Although the damn tourist managed to cut off the top of the Eiffel Tower. Ah well... tant pis as they say...

Me attempting to capture the view from our hotel terrace

Stepping off the Eurostar, trying to look very Parisienne

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

OXO Towers - not just a pretty view

I tentatively booked dinner at the OXO Towers last night. Tentatively because I knew it would be bloody expensive and I was wary that it might fall into the category of restaurants with amazing views but rubbish food.

I have to say, it definitely exceeded my expectations.

First of all, we had an amazing table right by the window with clear views of the London skyline. My mother went particularly snap-happy and luckily our waiter happily obliged to take a group photo when we sat down, then again when we got our cocktails, and again when we were served the appetizers...and so on

Secondly, the service was impeccable. My mother has various dietary restrictions and our waiter recommended dishes as well as made substitutions for her.

And finally the food... I started off with seared scallops, which left a lot to be desired. They tasted not quite fresh, which when you eat scallops, isn't the most pleasant experience.

But my entree completely made up for that. Lobster ravioli in a tomato cream broth . I was close to licking my plate at the end. It was that good.

By the time I polished off the cherry souffle, I could barely move, much less waddle out to the terrace to take more photos.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

How to prepare for a visit from ma Mere

My mother will land at London Heathrow tomorrow morning.

I'm at work at the moment, but my mind is racing with the massive to-do list..

1. Set up the spare bed

By "bed" that actually means the random spare twin mattress that came with my flat and which I somehow have to figure out where to place in my already crowded room

2. Clear away random items

This means shoving abovementioned items in desk drawers, behind closed doors, underneath the bed...

3. Fill kitchen with food

By "food" that actually means filling the kitchen with healthy salad-type nourishment to give the appearance that I (a) never buy crisps and (b) am consistently on a diet

...the same goes with hiding all the booze (and by hiding, I may mean drinking it tonight)

Friday, 6 August 2010

A Roommate from Hell

The story about the Craigslist posting from an Apple-hater seeking a new roommate in NYC has been gaining quite a bit of momentum on the online world.

I particularly enjoyed the bit where he proclaims "I refuse to live with anyone that has sold their immortal soul to Steve Jobs", and then goes on to request an experienced Starcraft 2 player.

Wow. I mean... wow.

Having lived with a variety randoms and friends for almost a decade, I've had my share of shitty roommates. Since then though, I've gotten pretty good at filtering the psychos from the good ones.

I wonder - what kind of person will deign to cohabitate with Mr Apple Hater and will they find true roommate happiness?

Thursday, 5 August 2010

is chivalry dead? And who killed it?

I once briefly dated a guy who annoyed me with his chivalry. When we walked down the sidewalk, he would switch places so that I was further away from traffic. He opened doors, held my purse, called me pet names and looked insulted when I offered to pay.

The entire time of our brief relationship, I alternated between exasperation:

'No, really I'm quite capable of walking closer to those cars'

...and gushing adulation:

recounting to a friend 'Seriously, he insisted in carrying me around because my feet were hurting too much'

I almost feel sorry for my guy friends. It's a situation of damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

To be honest, I'm entirely sure what I want... Carrie Bradshaw said it best with this:

'What if Prince Charming had never shown up? Would Snow White have slept in that glass coffin forever? Or would she have eventually woken up, spit out the apple, gotten a job and a health care package? I couldn't help but wonder -- inside every confident, driven, single woman, is there a delicate, fragile princess waiting to be saved?'

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

honing in my inner Martha Stewart

I bought Martha Stewart's Great Food Fast over Amazon a few months ago, and since then my flatmate and I have tackled one recipe - Braised Chicken with shallots. While the rest of the book has remained pristine, this one page is covered with red wine stains, oil splatters and ingredient substitution notes.

I've been planning on making her Lighter Chicken Pot Pie for about two months now. I have puff pastry in the fridge and I'm determined to make this pie tonight. A skeptical Suey declared, "I'll believe it when I walk in, smell it and see the pie"