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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

W/W - Chinese Lunar Year

These pics were captured at the Taoist temple near my mom's nursing home.

The quintessential Lion Dance

Performed throughout the 15 days of the Chinese New Year, the lion dance signifies power, courage and good fortune

The green fruit you see in the pic is a pomelo (think Chinese grapefruit). The pomelo symbolizes abundance. During the dance, one of the lions 'swallowed' the fruit,then sprawled out on the floor and was motionless for a good few minutes. I thought it had fainted from the stiffling heat! What I didn't know was that the front performer inside the lion was carving the pomelo. Suddenly, the lion got up and threw out the pomelo, now sculpted with some Chinese characters, from its mouth. Sorry pallies, I couldn't take a pic of that. I almost fainted myself amid the oppressive heat, haze, pounding drums and jostling crowd!

The lion dance is accompanied by the beating of drums, cymbals, and gongs that synchronise to the movements and actions.

The haze from the smoking joss sticks/coils and firecrackers

Devotees praying with joss sticks

Giant joss sticks (an integral part of the Chinese New Year celebrations) outside the temple

Joss coils - This type of incense is able to burn for an extended period, from hours to days

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Hi pallies! Hope I've been missed! So sorry for not replying to your email and returning visits to your blogs. I was away in my hometown for the last couple of weeks,caring for my 88 year-old mom who was hospitalized for a broken left femur. What a start to a supposedly auspicious Chinese New Year! Thank God, all's good and Mom is recovering well from her surgery. She's now convalescing in a nursing home where she is residing temporarily until she's ready to go home.

Mom (right) with her new buddies at the retirement home

I had abandoned Hubby and the boys for the two weeks so you can imagine the state the house is in!
I'll be visiting your blogs as soon as I'm done with the the chores.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wordish/Wordful Wednesday - Of Chippies and 99

I found these photos in a missing SD card while cleaning out my handbag.
If my memory serves me correctly, I think these pics were taken somewhere around the Tower of London.

Almost everyone around us was snacking on fish and chips and there was this long queue behind one particular fish & chips kiosk. I was reminded of an ex-classmate who travels to London every year just to get her fish & chips fix. How crazy is that? If I had her moolah, I would prefer to visit a different country every year.
I'm not a big fan of fish & chips but I thought I'd give it a go.

There were several chippies (British slang for fish & chips shops) in the area.

This no-frills British classic meal came in a cardboad box printed with newspaper motifs - a clever substitute for newspaper wrapping. Fish and chips meals traditionally came wrapped in a couple of layers of newspaper, but concerns over ink poisoning phased out this practice.

Salt and vinegar are traditionally sprinkled over fish and chips at the time it is served in chippies in the UK.

Blimey! That was bloody marvelous!

Interestingly, Britain's national dish is chicken tikka masala and not fish & chips! Controversy raged throughout the whole of Britain after former foreign secretary Robin Cooke hailed Chicken Tikka Masala as 'Britain's true national dish.'

Some interesting facts and figures about fish & chips

* 300 million portions of fish and chips are eaten in Britain each year.
* There are more than 10,000 chippies in the UK.
* It is said that Joseph Malin opened the first chippy in London in 1860.

And no visit to Old Blighty is complete if you haven't tasted their 99 Flake.

A 99 Flake ice cream, or more commonly known as 99, is an ice cream cone with a Cadbury Flake inserted into it. The ice cream is usually vanilla flavoured. They are traditionally sold by ice cream vans, parlours and now by the world's first amphibious ice cream van - The HMS Flake 99.

Here's an excerpt from the Daily Mail.

The ‘HMS Flake 99′, which has a top speed of five knots and can also run on land, was created to mark National Ice Cream Week and to emphasise the problem of the increasing number of exclusion zones and decreasing amount of ice cream vans on the roads.
The number of vans falled from 20,000 to just 5,000 over the past fifty years due to growing number of bans from housing estates, parks and outside schools because of concerns about noise pollution and childhood obesity, reports Daily Mail.
After a nationwide tour of Britain’s beaches, HMS Flake 99 will be heading to the canals of Venice next year.

There are many theories as to how the 99 got its name.

Here's an extract from BBC NEWS.

The ice cream in question has gone by that name since 1930, when Cadbury's launched a shorter version of its Flake bar - called a Flake 99 - for the ice cream trade.

Which does rather seem to blow one theory - that the bar is exactly 99mm long - out of the water. The UK is only now edging towards metrification - 70-odd years ago, everything was in imperial measures.

Ditto the suggestion that back in the day they cost 99p. True in the 1990s, but in 1930, nothing cost 99p - it was pre-decimalisation, remember.

Another theory goes that the initials of ice cream are IC, which is one way to write 99 in Roman numerals. But the convention is to write it XCIX - but it's possible this was ignored or not known.

Found this in Cadbury's FAQs
In the days of the monarchy in Italy the King has a specially chosen guard consisting of 99 men, and subsequently anything really special or first class was known as "99" - and that his how "99" Flake came by its name.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Billie Achilleos - Louis Vuitton Critters

The moment I saw these in Charlotte Clarke's blog, I knew I had to post about them. Charlotte, a journalist in training from London, shares really cool finds on her blog - Literally...

British artist Billie Achilleos was commissioned by Louis Vuitton to create these adorable leather critters entirely out of LV bags and accessories.

More pics and info @ Literally...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jenni Price - Pancake Artist

Illustrator Jenni Price takes pancakes to a whole new level with her jaw-dropping creations. This talented SAHM of 2 beautiful kids loves painting, creating pancake art for her kids, painting on fondant, and all kinds of artsy projects.

I knew I had to share these as soon as I picked up my jaw from the keyboard after visiting her blog. I found her blog when she guest-posted on bloggy pally Stephanie Darmock's blog.

Check out her awesome blog for step-by-step tutorials here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Pocket Full Of Buttons

Stephanie and I have been bloggy buddies since 2008. If you haven't met her already, let me introduce this multi-talented lady, the author of A pocket Full Of Buttons. Steph never ceases to amaze me with her endless talents. For starters, she wows me with the super cute bentos she makes for her family.

Even Hubby gets a whale of a treat!

This mommy of 2 sweet princesses is a seriously gifted photographer. Hop over to her gallery at S.Darmock Photography and you'll know what I mean.
These are some of my faves

She's also an incredibly talented seamstress who loves to sew for her two gorgeous daughters

Stephanie sells her adorable outfits at her Etsy Shop

Did I mention she's a fantastic cook as well? Here's how Steph describes herself -
"I am a hyper blogging, tattoo loving, amateur photographer and a big time foodie. I am a monster on the sewing machine and a known fabric hoarder. I take my coffee via IV drip to keep up with my two fabulous little girls. I am wife and sidekick to an amazing United States Marine and could not love our life more.

I am confident but shy, passionate but easygoing, complicated but simple, unfettered, protective and loyal to a fault. Some call me an enigma. Love me or leave me, but here is where I stand.

She certainly is a loyal bloggy buddy and I love, love, love this amazing lady!