Quick & Easy Korean savory pancakes

Monday, 20 October 2014
Korean pancake 1
Korean pancake 2
Korean pancake 3
Korean pancake 4

When I was living and working in central Auckland, going to a Korean restaurant was a weekly pilgrimage. Having a Korean sister in law is a huge advantage too because we would stuff our faces silly with tteok (rice cakes) and whatever array of side dishes she'd made while our kids knock themselves out with their crazy antics. The downside of being based in Hampshire means that authentic Asian restaurants are slim pickings indeed. It seems rather silly to trek all the way to London for a meal.

A few months ago, I found this rather awesome Ottogi pancake mix which is essentially a lazy cook's secret weapon. It means that I can prepare an easy,  nutritious and pretty darn authentic Korean dish prepared in less than 15 minutes. Toss in plenty of vegetables, shrimp and squid in and you've got yourself a proper meal. There are so many ways you can make it but this is my take. Be careful not to add too much water or else you'll get a soggy and tasteless pancake. For those of you in the U.K, the Ottogi pancake mix can be purchased at most Asian supermarkets. If you can't get to one, it's also available online on Amazon and Wai Yee Hong.

2 cups of Ottogi pancake mix
2/3 cups of water
200g prawns
2 spring onions, sliced diagonally
1 carrot, cut into strips
2-4 tablespoons of oil for frying (replenish for each pancake)

1. Pour the pancake powder and water into a mixing bowl. Mix well until batter is relatively smooth and not lumpy.
2. Add the prawns, spring onions and carrots (or whatever vegetables you're using but make sure they're in small bits so that they can cook quickly).
3. Heat the non stick frying pan and add oil.
4. Once the pan is sufficiently hot, use a ladle to scoop up the mixture and gently pour it on the surface of the pan.
5. Use the back of the ladle to spread out the mixture so it'll cook quicker.
6. Once one side of the pancake has turned brown, gently flip (I use two spatulas, one on either side of the pancake to stop the oil from splattering) the pancake and cook the other side. Make sure you adjust the heat accordingly. Reduce the heat if the pan gets too hot or when the pancake browns too quickly.
7.  Once both sides of the pancake are cooked, remove it from the pan and drain it on a piece of kitchen paper towel.
8. Serve with kimchi if you have any.

10 Cheap Thrills

Saturday, 18 October 2014
Weekend High St

1. Mango pocket shirt   £29.99  (use code 5MNG for 30% discount)
3. Mango double breasted coat £119  (use code 5MNG for 30% discount)
5. M & S lace bandeau shorts  £6 (3 for 2)
8. Zara ripped jeans  £29.99

1. Mango pocket shirt   £29.99 (use code 5MNG for 30% discount)
I've been hankering for a slightly oversized white or blue shirt. I'm still fearful of wearing anything white, only because it's a miracle if I come home unscathed even if the garment was on my body for an hour. 

I'm told that pointy shoes have a leg lengthening effect. When you're this short, you're willing to give anything a go, bar actual leg lengthening operation. I have a closetful of pretty tame looking ballet flats.  Plain Janes don't tickle my fancy these days because my feet think it's time they're in the spotlight.

3. Mango double breasted coat  £119  (use code 5MNG for 30% discount)
While I'm rubbish at following trends, this season's must-have is essentially the good ol' classic outerwear - sleek, tailored coats which will smarten up any casual outfit in an instant.

No doubt there are hundreds of better quality cashmere scarves out there but if your budget is under £60, this one from Other Stories is good value for money.

I'm not one who enjoys flashing my undies to the world but bargains like these favorites of mine from M&S need to be shared. Their lace bandeau undies are ridiculously comfortable, well made, sexy (RAAAWWWRRRR!!) and best of all, very affordable. 

Simplicity with a quirky take on the all time favorite garment - the sweatshirt. 

I've got an overstuffed Amazonian sized wallet which scared a lot of individuals when I pull it out. It doesn't fit into my smaller bags so I've been hunting for a card holder that I can stuff some bills into. They're surprisingly pricey which was why I was taken aback by the more reasonable price tag from Comme des Garçons

8. Zara ripped jeans   £29.99
Remember my infamous ripped boyfriend jeans? The ones which I wore so often that I planned to change my blog name to Ionlywearboyfriendjeans.com? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. I live near North Pole.....well, close to it.......so wearing properly ripped......like showing-skin-ripped- jeans is like asking to be turned into an ice cube. I rather fancy these ones from Zara that are superficially ripped..... There's ripped and then there's you know....riiiiiiippppped

When you're wearing head to toe black or grey, the hat's got to stand out. This one's only £29 but looks expensive despite its affordable price tag.

I've worn my red New Balance sneakers to the ground but they're still my favorites. I hate jogging per se but these New Balance 420 sneakers make feel like I'm running on air. They're fabulously trendy and comfortable. What's not to like? 

Isabel Marant Dicker Alternative Review

Wednesday, 15 October 2014
topshop_boots-3 topshop_boots-1 topshop_boots-2 topshop_boots-4

I've always been a firm believer in splashing out for shoes and bags more than clothes. Expensive designer products equates to quality, right? Well.....that was until I happened  to stumble upon these Isabel Marant Dicker lookalikes for £65. Yup. That's nearly £300 knocked off its very hefty price tag. As always, I was late to the game. There were none in my size online. After placing half a dozen of calls to various Topshop stores, I conceded defeat.

Unbeknownst to me, Sue, my Perseverance Panda buddy (if you're a mom with primary school kids, you'll be familiar with this term) was undeterred. She called her closest Topshop store. And called. And called. And called until she managed to track down a human and reserved a pair in my size. She then drove over to the store and carefully inspect the boots until she was satisfied with the quality (it's a BIG deal if Sue gives her stamp of approval) before shipping them to me.

Just so you know......the boots were made in Spain. Bloody fantastic quality for £65. Sure, the lining isn't as refined as the Isabel Marant Dickers but overall, they're incredibly well made. A word of advice - size up because they run small and are slightly narrower (which I prefer). They're beyond comfortable and I can run in them (the usual story....running for the tube/bus/train).

Will you make a difference?

Monday, 13 October 2014
Keri copy
Heather copy
(from top to bottom) Marlene, Andrea, Keri, Daniella, Hollie, Heather and Anne.

More than a year ago, an idea started to form in my head about using both fashion and social media as a vehicle and the blog as the platform to feature a series that'll stay permanently online. The stories will be aimed to empower women and offer a source of comfort to those tackling various traumatic issues. If I said that this was an easy project to produce, I'd be lying. There were many moments when I doubted myself. Persuading fellow bloggers to bare their soul online? How will I offer a sanctuary for survivors to share their inspirational stories safely? Will I be able to bear the cost of financing the project myself? Many gave their time freely. I will be forever grateful to both Lucian and Adrianan Paraian of Adrienne Photography.

In a commercially driven world where success is measured by revenue and statistics, would a project highlighting weighty social issues and offering hope but going against the grain of the mainstream current be accepted in the blogging playing field? When social media is used for mainly self promotion and sharing, can it not be used to empower women (and men) in a different way? The majority of us go through life trying to project an ideal image even when we're battling with pretty serious issues for fear of being branded a failure. Furthermore, the pursuit of perfection and youth is largely driven by only showcasing beautiful images that'll sell. Would the Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket fail before it would even reach out to the targeted audience?

Most of us are deeply private individuals and our blogs are merely an outlet where we cater to our frivolous side. I was a nervous wreck for months trying to write my story and the week it was published, I wanted to take cover under my duvet and never leave the safety of my flat. I can attest this holds true for all the other women who are involved in the Sisterhood series. 

Sexual attacks are such a taboo that family members and our closest friends take great lengths to avoid the topic at all costs. Not just mine but in so many others who have emailed or privately contacted me after my story was published. Little wonder because 44% of all sexual attacks happen to children under the age of 16. Pretty scary statistics when you consider 1 in 5 women is a victim of a sexual crime. Whether it's depression, post natal depression, abuse, miscarriage or the threat of being homeless, the anxiety the sufferer experiences cannot be ignored.

Perhaps one of the stories may stop a loved one from contemplating suicide (thank you to the person who emailed me) or be a comfort just to know that she's not alone, you have made a difference and change the course of her life for the better. A few days ago, I received another email in my inbox. One that made my eyes welled up with tears and touched me deeply. Grace wrote this on her blog. Another truly inspiring individual, Lucy, the founder of Heal for Life U.K recently reminded me of the story of the starfish. It may be difficult for a single individual to change the course of history but collectively, as a group, we can all make a difference. One person at a time.

p.s. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket series will remain permanently online here. Or you can share the stories using the social media icons below.

Interesting reads for the weekend

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The truth behind Facebook.

The sweetest love story I've ever read.

Learning to say yes the Malaysian way.

Off duty dressing with Miranda Kerr.

A special exhibition for trench coat lovers titled "From Field to Fashion", carefully curated from start to finish by a dear friend of mine is now on at The Discovery Centre in Winchester. More about it here.

20 actual responses to stupid tourist questions about Australia.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Jacket: Anne

Thursday, 9 October 2014
Photography: Marlene

I thought I was a strong person. I had gone through a tough academic path, lived alone in faraway lands in my early twenties and was told I was more mature than people my age. When I heard about depression, I thought it could never happen to me. I was a person who dealt with her problems and solved them all by herself. Essentially, I thought depression was for losers.
But depression happened anyway. Actually, it had been waiting to happen for pretty much my whole life. When faced with trauma, most children and teenagers block out the memory as a defense mechanism. Like a ticking bomb, it can resurface later in life. I went through several stages.  The first was ‘denial’. “It probably happens to everyone”. “It’s not a big deal”. I avoided it until I couldn’t. I realized that what had happened to me was wrong and the lack of support of people I trusted didn’t make things better. It came to a point where I felt the need to see a therapist because this was an issue I couldn’t solve all by myself and things were unraveling out of control. 
Then, after starting therapy, the ‘anger’ stage began. It actually made me feel powerful: I had this huge amount of energy I needed to release. Then I learned that what had happened to me as a child was worse than I had thought because I had erased some things from my memory entirely. It felt as if I was reliving it, even after 25 years. When you are attacked, your reflex is to defend yourself; however in the case of childhood trauma, you typically freeze in fear only to “awaken” later. And since you can not defend yourself anymore, you turn the hurt onto yourself. 
And thereafter, I entered the phase of ‘depression’. To give you an image, it feels like a huge tsunami traps you and suddenly makes you powerless and no longer able to grasp for air. Negative thoughts became obsessive to the point where they were defining my life and who I was. I thought of resorting to extreme measures to make them stop. I had flashbacks and there were nights where I could not sleep so I started taking strong sleeping pills. I feared the moment when I would have to change into my pyjamas because I was disgusted with my body and avoided looking in the mirror. I had no energy and couldn’t focus. When asked what I did out of my days, I did not know what to answer. (I didn’t work at the time.) I withdrew from the outside world because I had the impression that people knew something was wrong with me and it was out of the question to make friends in these conditions. Even going out for groceries and talking to a salesperson felt like an ordeal. Simply put, I could not function anymore.
I started functioning again when my therapist prescribed Prozac. I had been reluctant to take such medications but it was really a turnaround for me. The negative thoughts were no longer invasive and I resumed a more regular life. 
The New Year came around and I made a resolution that I still keep: every day I note down the pleasant things that had happened to me, even little things like a nice meal. It pushed me to take better care of myself and to realize that life is beautiful after all. I had never been into sports and I started to take bike rides throughout the city every day. It gave me a newfound confidence, a sense of wonder and challenge. It made me more aware of my body and I was surprised to find myself beautiful after having felt so disgusted with myself. I put the people who had let me down at a healthy distance and no longer felt disrespected. I started going to church for the first time in years; the sermons are still a moment I look forward to as they comfort me and push me to do good around me. A wonderful thing happened afterwards: I got plenty of job interviews and was eventually hired at a great company. 
I would have never been able to survive this whole process without therapy. It’s hard to confide in a person you barely know and there were tearful sessions, but it was necessary to open my eyes and get another perspective on things.
Today, there are still issues I need to work on but I am doing much better. My depression was not long ago and is still part of who I am but by no means does it define me entirely. Strange as it is, I feel that I came out of it a better person. I feel more relaxed and smiling because it taught me that my wellbeing is my priority. I feel more compassionate and grateful because it gave me a taste of what it’s like to hit rock bottom. My Prozac dose is gradually getting lowered, which is not always easy: negative thoughts come back to haunt me for a short while until I am stabilized. However, I am proud of myself for dealing with difficult issues instead of staying in denial.
I think I am a strong person, after all.

If you like our video and stories or believe they may help a loved one, please share them using the various social media buttons below. Thank you for your support. 

Sweaters under £120

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

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Last week, the temperature dipped overnight with mostly showers interspersed with sporadic sunshine. There's no denying that autumn has finally arrived. Geeeeez, I sound like the weather forecast dude on T.V. Anyways.....I'm definitely feeling the cold and surrounded by germs galore as everyone around me are coughing and sniffling away.

As I'm dragging out my sweaters, I noticed that I'm well stocked with basic Uniqlo merino jumpers  which I've worn to death. In a bid to keep my closet from dying from boredom, I decided I should ramp up my style with more textured or patterned sweaters. I bought a couple of cable knits from Mango and ASOS a couple of years ago for less than £25 and believe it or not, they hold up far better than most of my designer ones. Mango has a range of stunning 100% cotton knits with prices ranging from £19.99 (unbelievably good value for money).


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J.Crew is hitting all the right fashion notes at the moment. I've got my eye on 4 of their sweaters (in the collage). In fact, a couple of them are on backorder (good for them but bugger!). I don't mind forking out £££ for a superb quality sweater but since my high street ones are holding up so well, I'm temporarily abandoning my usual French favorites.


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