Monday, March 28, 2011

#3: Burberry Emblem Gumboots

First post in a while unfortunately, as I've barely had a chance to check my normal internet reads and forums, let alone post about what I've been up to! My theatre show has now ended, I got a career progression at work, I was busy helping with wardrobe for the filming of my friend's TV series pilot and in amongst all of that I received my third NAP Shoe Subscription order - Burberry Emblem Gumboots.

I've always wanted a pair of designer Gumboots - Pucci, Marc Jacobs and Burberry were always going to be my pick - but since the UK is now heading into Summer the choices have been diminishing. There was a fantastic Pucci print pair on sale early this year, but my Shoe Subscription hadn't started yet so I had to see them go unfortunately.

But never fear, I settled on a practical Burberry pair in monochrome black. I had my eyes on this studded pair for a while, but realised I could use that money on another pair of heels since it fortunately doesn't rain in Sydney all that much to require gumboots.
I was originally intending to get a pair in the traditional Burberry plaid, but this black pair will suit nicely into any wardrobe and the emblem just makes them pop that little bit more. The delivery arrived on one of my show nights and by the time I had returned home at around midnight that night, I had family members eagerly waiting to see what was in the giant box! My mum helped be my model this time, so here are some piccies. She's already eyed them off for the next rainy day too!

Of all my orders, this is the first pair I've actually had a chance to wear and they're fabulous. I wore them on a dreary rain-filled day (note: it hardly rains in Sydney so we're not very tolerant of it) and I loved not having to worry about puddles and getting soaked. Now I'm just keeping my eye out for a fabulous Burberry Trench coat to match my boots!

P.S A big hello to the team at NAP who may be visiting this blog! They contacted me randomly to ask if I'd be happy to show photos of my purchases on their facebook page and so I naturally directed them here. Hello, if you are visiting!

Don't forget to follow my blog to see my future purchases!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Secret Life of a Call Girl - Fashion

I've been extremely busy lately - between being not too well and being involved with a theatre show - however last Sunday I spent a lovely afternoon/evening watching the British TV series Secret Life of a Call Girl, as based on the books about Belle Du Jour's antics as a London callgirl. It's a fun, flirty and quite compelling show starring Billie Piper, who some might remember from the late 90s as the pop star who sang "Honey to the Bee" (yes, I remember the video clip and everything!). I have to say, Billie Piper's acting is really quite fabulous in the show, which takes on a British kind of approach to the Sex and the City type series.

But besides the storyline, characters and gritty British landscape, I'm really loving the fashion! The Brits sometimes get flak for their fashion sense but because Billie's character Hannah/Belle is a high-class escort, her wardrobe matches that and it makes the show even more exciting to watch. There are aspects of British fashion which don't always suit my style, but I love Kate Moss and her very British style (think casual, laid back but stylised at the same time) and I think Hannah/Belle wears a good mix of streetwear and high fashion. I also love their patriotic dedication to home-grown labels which makes the show feel even more authentic.
Toting a Mulberry Bayswater, of course!
As always, there are outfits which I would feel ridiculous wearing in real life, but I love watching it for inspiration anyway. There's an episode where she wears a fantastic ball gown (that she ends up messying up with a bit of a food fight), and another episode where she wears these fantastic feathered cuffs.
The main cast of the show
The very last episode ever was just screened in the UK recently, but if anyone wants a different show to watch (besides the normal suggestions of Mad Men, Gossip Girl, Glee etc), this is definitely a bit of fun! It's not everyone's cup of tea, but watch it for the fashion and a behind-the-scenes look at her escort exploits.

P.S I just ordered another pair of shoes from NAP, to take advantage of their Free Shipping ending today. Coincidentally, my shoe choice was quintessentially British - both brand and shoe style! Anyone care to guess? Keep an eye out for photos as soon as they arrive :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Holiday Daydreaming

I've got an important exam coming up in June but after that I'm hoping to take a much-needed break and go away somewhere exciting in the Northern Hemisphere, given that it will be their Summer. May/June last year I enjoyed a fantastic whirlwind trip to Europe where I made sure I shopped and ate until I could not take it anymore! After that, I vowed that May was the best time to go to Europe and to be away in general in the Northern Hemisphere, and so I'm thinking, where to next?

I was originally thinking the US - it's been years since my last trip and while last time I was there for 7 weeks and visited at least 30 States, there are still a few places I want to go even if just to eat, shop, take in the atmosphere. New York is of course at the top of that list, but I also want to make a trip to Hawaii, since I didn't make it there last time.

What's the problem with all this? The airfares after my exam are upwards of $2000 to the US. I paid $1990 to fly to London on an A380 last year! I figured for $2000, I might as well make a trip to Paris and just spend 2 weeks there (I cannot describe how much I adore Paris). So at the moment I'm still daydreaming of all the exciting locations I could holiday to. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I'll continue to daydream. Of the sights, sounds, food, experiences and the shopping of holiday destinations around the world. Yes, I take shopping seriously, and if this blog wasn't proof enough, here's a snap of my sister and I's Europe shopping haul...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Annie Leibovitz + Zumbo

If you're in Sydney and have the chance, you should definitely check out the Annie Leibovitz - A Photographer's Life 1990 - 2005 exhibition at the MCA (incidentally, one of my fave places in Sydney). I went to have a look around on a beautiful Sunday a few weeks back and it was brilliant spending some time enjoying the harbour surrounds before Summer ended.
Anyway, about the exhibition itself - it was a lot larger than I had expected and it was fantastic to see a wide cross section of her work presented there. The breadth of her work is just amazing - from her personal snaps of her family, to fashion photography, photo-journalism and portraits. My favourite had to be the photo collage which, while cramped and all thumbnail sized pics, I loved the overflowing abundance of visual stimulation and being able to look at all the photos in one 'corridor'. I also loved the mural sized landscape type photos which I could've spent hours just staring at for their sheer beauty.

Even if you're not interested in her work or if you know nothing about her, it's still a great exhibition to just take it all in and enjoy some fantastic and beautiful shots.

A tip for anyone planning to go - download the curator's talks from the MCA website and upload them to your ipod as a podcast. Armed with my iPhone, I made my way round the exhibition listening to two of the curator's talks as background. Even though I couldn't quite follow which photos they were talking about, it was nice to have some background anyway.

So after the exhibition, I had planned to grab a macaron from baroque but they were unfortunately closing. So instead we took the short drive to Balmain for some Zumbo! We've been regularly going to Zumbo for several years now - way before the Masterchef hype. His macarons are certainly the best in Sydney (after all, he learnt from the one-and-only Mr. Pierre Herme) and I have hundreds and hundreds of photos of all the cakes, desserts and macs I've bought from there over the years.

Stay tuned for more Zumbo photos, but here's some of the tasty treats I've eaten from there over the last few months.
Eucalyptus and Peach Tea
That close-up above is of a chocolate coated macaron aptly named 'Lucky Dip' because it's a surprise which macaron flavour you're getting until you take the first bite. Perhaps it's a little too close up because you can even see the fingerprint on the melted chocolate! But it was so tasty...

 And finally, some cakes from a while ago with some of the favourites (especially the Passionfruit tart front of my ultimate favourites because it's so simple, but completely party-in-your-mouth worthy!)

Annie Leibovitz - A Photographer's Life 1990 - 2005 closes on 26 April 2011. See for more details.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

NAP-ing: March

There is a ritual I partake in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday without fail: I check for new arrivals.

I look forward to it with much excitement, always wondering what new items might be uploaded each week. Particularly with the new season arrivals occurring in hoardes at the moment, there's just so much eye-candy to look at.

So of course I've been doing my normal NAP-ing trying to see what I might like to buy in my next order. These are a few things on my wishlist at the moment:

Miu Miu Matelass√© clutch  £167

Unfortunately this one is sold out (having done-so once before already!), probably because the price is just too good to resist. I'm a bit bummed I missed out on this, but at the same time, it's just a black clutch (of which I have many) and I'm hoping something even more exciting will turn up. Realistically, whenever I need to use a black clutch I would probably just turn to a beautiful vintage Dior clutch (with gold chain) that is my mum's from the 80s instead!

Yves Saint Laurent Arty Resin Ring £102

This is just because it's (relatively) cheap, and it's a stunning accessory to have for those moments you need that ornate gold cocktail ring (or perhaps trying to chanel Rachel Zoe?). My day-to-day jewellery is silver (silver banded watch, silver rings) so that's why I'm a bit reluctant to buy this, but it stays firmly on my wish-list in case I suddenly decide I must have this.

Smythson Leather Passport Holder £64
I absolutely adore British leather goods brand Smythson. It screams of classic luxury and if I had all the money in the world I would deck myself out with all the Smythson accessories - Agenda, Business card holder, purse. You name it, I would buy it.

Anyway, this passport holder is just too cute (and in real life the leather is sturdy but plush). It took a lot of self-control to not buy this when I saw them on sale at Harrods in London. Perhaps I have an abnormal love for small leather goods from my many years working at one of Australia's most well-known luxury leather goods company, so please tell me if this is a totally OTT stupid purchase!

Carven Asymmetric Silk-Taffeta Dress £430
I love how this dress is a classic LBD with a twist. It reminds me of the candy pink (not unlike the Smythson Passport holder colour above) Chanel Haute Couture dress worn by Cameron Diaz at an Awards season night a few years back. It was featured on Rachel Zoe, because she blasphemously dared to ask Karl Lagerfield to alter his HC design to make it more "wearable" for the red-carpet. It looked absolutely stunning on Cameron and had the same asmmetric quirkiness as this Carven dress has. Admittedly, being vertically challenged, this dress probably wouldn't look great on me, but I love it all the same!

So any thoughts - are there any other things on NAP which I have missed? Or should really be looking at instead of some of these lust have (not must have) purchases?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Malaysia Kitchen Laneway Food Festival

A few week backs, Sydney played host to the "Malaysia Kitchen Australia" Laneway Food Festival/Market in the small laneway behind the State Theatre. It's a Malaysian Tourism initiative that has been run around the world but with this being the first time it was held in Sydney, they started small with less of a food hawker market style affair but a mini restaurant setup. On offer was a meal for $10 with several renowned Malaysian Restaurants taking part. Of course, I thought I'd check it out, and here is my fairly long story/rundown of how the night turned out:
The entrance to the "laneway"
So I turned up before 5.45pm on the first night expecting there to already be a queue (with the night starting at 6pm) only to find hundreds of people already queued up. I joined the queue somewhere near the Hilton, which Sydneysiders would know is a fair way down from the actual laneway! Within 10 mins (and still before 6pm by that stage), the queue had made a U-Turn and started to snake back towards where it had started with literally hundreds of people causing a traffic nightmare.

With there being some confusion about what exactly was in store, I had expected hawker stalls where, for $10, you were perhaps given coupons that you could redeem at whichever restaurant you wanted to visit. When I arrived, my enquiries uncovered that you infact would get a sit-down several-course meal served to you, with each course being provided by whichever restaurants were participating for that session. Perhaps I should have cottoned on by this stage that 1) it was a small lane-way and 2) that full waiter style sit-down service would take a while, but having joined the queue and waited for some time already I figured it wouldn't be too long a wait. Perhaps I would get in by 7pm? Not bad for a special, once-off event. Plus I got there before opening, so I figured by the time the first lot of people were seated and served, surely it wouldn't take long for me (presumably in the second seating) to gain entry?

How wrong was I! Turned out the setup was for a mere 80 diners. Yes, you heard right. By the time it hit 6.30pm, there were at least 500 people queued up. The numbers really started to not add up.

Now it felt like I was quite close to the front of the line, so I perservered and maintained my spot in the line. We waited....and waited some more...and waited even more. Come 7.45pm, we were still a fair way from the front and we our hunger was making us snitchy and eager to get answers. Would we get in? Would we be turned away after already waiting so long? What exactly were we waiting for?

To cut an already long story short, come 8.30pm, the security gaurds counted out the last group of people allowed to enter (because they only had enough food to feed an additional 40 people). We luckily just made the cut, with only another 5 people after me being lucky enough to join us. For all those behind us (some of whom would have been waiting for just as long as we had been!), there was shock in their faces. They had waited for more than 2 hours only to be turned away!

After all that, we were probably too ravenous to really be able to enjoy the food. Anyway, here are the long awaited photos (I'm missing a photo of the laksa...but it wasn't fantastic):
Roti and Satays from Mamak
Nasi Lemak from Jackie M
Apologies for the bad photo - Nyonya style sambal fish from Chinta Ria
 My verdict - the food was decent, but definitely not worth waiting all that long for. I am the first to admit I'm fairly good with queues and have a high tolerance for them (the longest I've queued for anything is almost 7-8 hours, and I often find myself queuing for things with little annoyance), but with all the participating restaurants being places you can visit yourself it didn't seem all that exciting. For $10, it definitely was great value and I'm glad to have satisfied myself that I was able to see for myself what it was about. I had low expectations of it - after all, I can eat Malaysian food anyday without needing to go to a food fair - and I knew it would be over rated, but there's nothing like seeing for yourself what all the fuss is about.

Overall, there is no doubting that it was badly organised and they definitely should have foreseen more than a few hundred people turning up. On the night, many of us in the queue discussed how easily it would have been for them to organise it so that they didn't anger hungry fans who would now boycott the event. Personally, I think it was a fantastic location and vibe, but better suited for a month long "pop-up" restaurant sort of event where people could visit the restaurant on a first-come first-served basis (especially given the 80-person capacity).

There was a DJ mixing tunes for the night