Yasas!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014
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Sunbathing

So.........this was my first ever attempt at sunbathing in my entire life. Yes.....I'm a typical Asian in that sense. It's day 3 here in Athens in oppressive 36˚C heat so my friend, Heather decided we should spend the day by the beach. Both her and her husband were aghast to hear that 1) I've never sunbathed  2)  I've never owned a bikini nor tried one on. I was one of very few fully clothed individuals on the beach with the palest skin around..........

Never mind that I came home with a semi oval shaped rosy red shade on my chest (tip to self: remember to re-apply sunscreen) and additional freckles sprinkled liberally across my now slightly tanned face. Heather has decided that we're going bikini shopping tomorrow. For me. *gulp* I've decided that lying still without twitching and fidgeting when it's not bed-time isn't something I do well or enjoy.

We stopped by Melissinos, the famed poet sandal maker of Athens yesterday. It's a necessary pit stop that every tourist make after the Acropolis. I was here nearly 17 years ago and met the current sandal maker's father who has since retired from the business. Was it that long ago when I was in my 20s.....?????! We both left with a pair of "Maria Callas" sandals for €30 each.

Despite every attempt to be good and not over-eat, we've been stuffing our faces with copious amount of freddo cappuccino, loukoumades, donuts the size of my face, saganaki, fried eggplant, fried anchovies, fried zucchini (noticing a pattern here with all things fried?).....etc?






Courgette Spaghetti with Pesto and sticky wings

Thursday, 24 July 2014
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courgette noodles-1

With the heat wave sweeping across England at the moment, it's just too hot and stuffy to eat anything other than salad. Ever since I managed to knock myself out eating pasta with pesto last year, I've minimized my gluten intake. One thing's for sure, I rarely eat bread or white pasta if I've got an appointment to go to unless I want to slur my words and turn into a groggy fool. It took 3 cups of ultra strong espresso to revive me the last time......

I must be the last person on planet Earth to discover courgette spaghetti. It's incredibly filling (who would've thought that?!) and hey, no guilt whatsoever if you're planning to over-indulge.  Since the rest of the family would likely starve to death from lack of protein, I served the dish with sticky chicken wings. I'm terrible with recipes so I just guesstimate as I go along.

The marinade for the wings consisted of honey, sweet soy sauce, light soy sauce and a dash of sesame oil. Do taste before using the marinade. Mix the ingredients together and dump it into a ziplock bag along with the wings. Marinade overnight or if you can't, an hour or two. Bake for an hour or so. Do reserve a bit of the liquid so that you can baste the wings every now and then. Here's an easy recipe for pesto. Bon Apétit!



Tolpuddle, Dorset

Wednesday, 23 July 2014
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If you're noticing that I'm AWOL online a lot more these days, that's because I am hopping from one town to another within England and further afield on photo shoots and filming for a project that will launch in September. I'll be on the road every week using every conceivable forms of transportation until the end of August. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed the company and warm hospitality from many incredibly inspiring women. I can't wait to share more about them with you in less than two months' time. Thanks to them, I've managed to see parts of England I never knew existed.

The sight of the picturesque Tolpuddle with its thatched cottages lining either sides of the narrow main thoroughfare into the village gave me goosebumps. It was akin to being transported back in time to the reenactments of the traditional English village life that I've only ever seen in BBC historical documentaries. Fortunately for me, my visit coincided with their yearly Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival where thousands descend upon the tiny Dorset village to remember the sacrifice of 6 farm workers and celebrate trade unionism. So if you're a socialist.......this may be just your cup of tea.


Interesting Reads for the Weekend

Sunday, 20 July 2014
flowers

35 genius hacks that everyone should know.

Actions speak louder than words. Based on a true story.

How cultures around the world think about parenting.

A trip down the memory lane for my early days growing up in Borneo.



What does traveling mean to you?

Saturday, 19 July 2014
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VCA

I used to plan my trips with military precision. I carried a pile of paper with every tourist attraction, bus/train schedule, restaurant (complete with asterisk and feedback) scribbled on them...... God forbid I should miss a church, gallery or important ruins. Preparation and research began months prior to my journey akin to writing a post grad dissertation. Thinking back, I felt sorry for the poor soul who had the misfortune to accompany me on my grand adventure because it was like doing a month long relentless marathon with an overzealous traveler.

Pretty soon.....one church started to look like another. It didn't matter if it was the longest, biggest, widest, narrowest......or that it was the most incredible gothic/medieval/baroque/whatchamacallit known to mankind, I was getting to the point of saturation.

A couple of decades after my initial O.E (overseas experience) and many subsequent trips, I've done a 180 turn around. These days, all I can manage is my passport, smartphone, boarding pass and wallet. I "sort of" have an idea what I'll be doing the next day but wandering aimlessly, getting lost, people watching and making friends are the tall orders of the day. I have trouble recalling impressive buildings but my fondest memories have been a picnic under a tree with fruits and bread I picked up from the market, taking the longest route from Eze to the bottom of the hill while my husband and Lil L cheered me on (bad knees + downhill  = BAD idea), meeting various individuals who have enriched my life one way or another..........

Traveling has become a way of collecting memories and stories. What about you? What does traveling mean to you?


Swiss Alps

Wednesday, 16 July 2014
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It only took me 27 years to finally make it to Switzerland. I was *this close* to studying hospitality there just as I was about to finish high school. My father thought it was cheaper to educate 4 kids in New Zealand. He was right but of course, I graduated with one of 4 degrees that every Asian kid has been programmed to do from birth (accountancy, business, medicine or engineering). 7 years later, I tried to make the dash across to the Swiss border only to have my passport pick pocketed by a nimble 4 year old gypsy boy in Genoa.

I posted a few snapshots of the Swiss Alps from my smartphone on Instagram and it sparked many "Where's Heidi?" comments. The folklore seems to spring in everyone's mind when one thinks of Swiss Alps.

Lil L and I were guests of Angelina Jolie lookalike, Angela and her two remarkably well behaved daughters. We were bowled over by the warm welcome and hospitality to the point where my own child asked if she could be left behind in Switzerland with them while I returned to the U.K. Should I remind her the agony of labor pains in order to bring her forth to this earth? Yes. Without epidural.

While I'm used to hearing everyone gushing about the rugged and natural wonders of New Zealand, I think Switzerland is simply heaven on earth........as long as you don't check the price tags of anything in the country because it may just induce various cardiovascular maladies. The breathtaking beauty of the perfectly manicured green rolling hills, charming wooden chalets to the mist hovering above the lakes and mountains, the landscape looked like something out of a fairy tale book.

We were taken up in a cable car to a little restaurant on a mountain top to try the traditional Swiss German Alpine cuisine - Ă„lpermagronen, a hearty dish consisting of macaroni, potatoes, cheese, fried onions and apple sauce. I was a little dubious when Angela suggested we gave it a go......I mean apple sauce with macaroni?? BUT...it was unbelievably good even if each mouthful was about 1000 calories. 

I didn't want to inundate you with millions of photos and kill your bandwidth. I'll share the rest of the photos in my next post.




Interesting Reads for the Weekend

Sunday, 13 July 2014
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The agony of Instagram

What is it like to be a P.A for the rich and famous?

Fascinating documentary about the origin of food in China. Little do we know the back breaking efforts that go into procuring food.

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