Monday, 31 October 2011


They call me crazy.

At 0115 hours, it's as if I'm not working tomorrow.

I spent the whole night researching where I should be in six days time.

Venice, here I come!!

(Despite the homework I did, accommodation may be a bit of an issue. But I did OK, HostelWorld forced me to overbook two beds in two rooms for one of my body. Hopefully the hostel will cancel one bed for me)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Swedish Souvenirs

I just got back from my friend's lovely wedding.

I got back from Sweden a long time ago. Maybe 3-4 weeks now?! Haha, but anyway, here goes. 

I like to buy souvenirs on my travels these days. Before, it used to be restricted to postcards and stamps to send home. Since I started working, I have been upgraded with a bit more buying power and can afford some unique things which I like and think is worth the value it is priced at.

So, whilst at Gamla Stan - Stockholm's Old Town - I bought several items. Some for friends, most (scandalous!) for myself. Ho!
Reindeer leather coin purse
99 Swedish Krona
On the manufacturer's website, it's 89 SK. Kena cheated 10 SK!
Pretty interesting design, isn't it?
Dala Wooden Horse
Guided by my guide book, it recommended that this is a must buy
Anyway, I think any dumbo would have figured that out as the souvenir shops were littered with these things
But at >£10 per tiny horse, even a dumbo would think twice, thrice, four times, etc...
As you can see, I spent a lot of time and thinking about how many I should buy....
There's also the cockerel which a handful of shops sold but that wasn't as pretty and mostly came in black
The wooden pigs weren't even cute 
I love this very clever little thing
It's a candle holder that causes the merry-go-round to rotate by heat convection
It comes with all different animals and characters
Even Moomins.. which I now know is Swedish in origin
This candle holder is actually not new to me as I have seen it in Ireland and got it as gifts before last X'Mas
But the Swedish company that manufactures these particular candle holders in Sweden have also taken designing it's packages to the next level.
Much neater and easier to store than the ones I got in Ireland... with a bonus candle, too!
85 Swedish Krona
Nothing especially Swedish about this
In fact, probably Made in India
But I love this choker
Really chokes... And itches...
Another thing the guidebook recommended buying was the (hand?) weaved tablecloths in traditional patterns
This isn't a traditional pattern
It is (machine) weaved
And was half-price at 79.50 Swedish Krona even the shop owner couldn't quite believe it
I had to have this crazy bargain and she (probably grudgingly) charged me 80 Swedish Krona for it
Parrots by Ekelund
100% cotton
48x70cm :-)
Liten Amanda! That's where I got the Parrots from. Sounds like just my kinda shop, doesn't it?                             
I can't remember what this scary-looking thing was called
It makes wine taste like gluhwein but isn't quite made like gluhwein
Instead on boiling spices with wine, the Swedish would add this to wine, as if it were an essence
Before pouring into a glass, they'd put almond(s) and raisin(s) at the bottom of the glass
This was a gift to YV who likes food and cooking.
Egg White Facial Care
At the back it says it's based on an old Swedish recipe and I think it's good for making the skin fair and shiny              
This was for ES whom I think likes cosmetic products! Hope u like it!

A hook in the shape of a bird
I just thought it looked pretty on the shop's white wall
Hope Z liked it , too                                                                                      
Another Dala Horse
Still haven't given it to K whose wedding was today because I am so D'oh!
We are sensing a theme here, aren't we?
For CT to add to his fridge magnet collection :-)
And, Ta-da! My Swedish Souvenir shrine
I leave you with a penultimate picture of my Dala horse army
And the animals still going round and round the little flame as I type :-) Pwetty!!
I like how the colours really go together and best of all, it wasn't pre-meditated 
Finally, a minature Dala horse for YV which she has pinned on her denim jacket and that's so sweet of her
It looks really cute there and makes good contrast with the blue fabric

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Simple Things

So, I wanted to blog earlier but my flatmate had a little crisis.

Anyway, the clocks go back tonight so I have an extra hour to spend on blogging which I intended to spend on sleeping. But that's alright with me.

I have so many things to blog about but on my way back from the supermarket, my weekly shop seemed to take precedence. Funny how the simple things can be the most exciting.

Why? Look at this:
A lot of stuff
I was having a lazy Saturday, had run out of food and by 1900hours, had to drag myself to the shop. It was late and the supermarket was empty. Ah, lovely. I need not brush against other people or dodge them. There were reduced produce and strangely, most things I wanted to buy were on some kinda offer like 2 for 1, 3 for 2, 2 for £4, 2 for £5. I was constantly going, "Damn, I hope I can carry twice as much!"

Self-checked out
My heart was aching when I reached the £40 mark but I reminded myself, offer, offer, offer..
As you can see in the final bill, I got a sweet 25% off the total.
The biggest bargain was this:
£4.56 per tube
On a 2 for £4 offer
I looked at it the price tag again. And again.
It said, "Take one more tube, get that free and 25% off the tube you're actually buying".
I'm not sure who came up with the price and offer but O. YEAH.
Three Halapenos
3 for £5
This one was really like.. "So heavy, but have to buyyyyy...Whyyyyy???"
It gets less and less exciting
Apparently high quality mince priced at 2 for £5
For the chilli con carne or bolognese some day (now in the freezer)
You really wanted to know I bought this...
I'll spare you a picture of the sanitary pads
2 for £4
So, yeah! I was well pleased with myself for bagging 25% off my bill and stocking up on some supplies. :-) And, I craved nachos again. We used to love eating nachos together. Or maybe, I just love eating nachos!

Nachos, X-Factor and cider containing 8.4% alcohol which I have strangely been craving
I got all whoozy and then, had to deal with crisis sitting lop-sided
And, finally. Happy Deepavali to all my Hindu friends!! This week we had our lovely S Jee bring in some amazing foooooooood for us. She should open shop and take over that damned, over-priced canteen.

Onion bhajis to die for.
The sweet of the onion coupled with the mixture of spices was genius!
o(>_<)o Genius!!!!
Warm, spicy (the way I like it) vegetarian samosas
The spicy potato-pea filling reminded me of the karipaps (curry puffs) my grandmama used to make in her canteen back in the day... :'-)
Thank you S Jee <3
Tomorrow, I'll be off to my first ever Pakistani wedding! Stay tuned and I shall blog about it one day (in the not-to-distant future)!

Friday, 28 October 2011

Good Day

I once read one of these prize winning books entitled, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" by Mark Haddon. I remember the autistic boy used to determine whether is day was gonna be good on the number of black and yellow cars he saw.

Today, I saw my friend put up a photo of a double rainbow over London:

An End-to-End Double Rainbow over London
Pow'ed from SJ who pow'ed it from viral images all over the internet
I thought to myself, "With such a beautiful occurrence, what a shame I have to go to work in my windowless place of work".

Then, another friend across the whole put this up:

A Double Rainbow over Kuala Lumpur
Pow'ed from CL
Like the little autistic boy and his yellow cars, I thought to myself, "Two double rainbows and one seen as an end-to-end, it is gonna be a good day".

Off I head to my windowless place of work. It will be a good day. And, maybe some day I will see an end-to-end double rainbow.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


He said, "I cannot live with what I have done to you". Puzzling because I wonder why then, didn't he take it to his grave? Why is he still on the face on this Earth, telling me this?

He said, "It is not your fault" but I am assaulted by his friends, like it is my fault.

A man of his words, he is not. Never was. Never will be.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Little Birdie Chirped

"You lost him through his selfishness".
Deep. A sentence to contemplate atop a grassy hill overlooking nature. Thoughts flowing with the gentle breeze, warmed by calm sunny rays and sooth by happy, fluffy clouds.

Only to stop thinking for a moment when the question, "Why?" cannot be answered before resuming contemplation in a different direction.

Never Gonna Bring Me Down

My happiness isn't eternal and was pretty much hanging by a thread on Friday. Nevertheless, I felt happy. It was Friday. I was with my friends. I wasn't doing my regular day job. I was drinking too much coffee.

It was all going well, until someone tried to bring me down. I have noted many to be consumed with one general idea without considering the multiple factors that come into play. They have never been there to understand all that has gone on, yet they would like to give an opinion. 

Anyway, won't let anyone stop me from doing what makes me feel better. I will not live my life the way people want me to. Do not, will not, cannot.

On Friday, I made Battenberg-style cookies.
Not going to let anyone foil my plan on making cookies
Chocolate + butter + coffee
On Saturday, I embarked on making chocolate muffins. The recipe I used was for his annual birthday cakes.
Screw him! The recipe is mine and he can eat shit (won't be surprised if he actually does, being a gay man) his next birthday.
Plain flour, self-rasing flour, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa power, sugar...
The wet part: three eggs and 75 ml of (butter)milk

Mixing the chocolate, eggs and dry ingredients
Colourful muffin cases :-)
Mmmm, looks good already

Iced and decorated in all kinds of weird shapes.

Rock cake especially for those who try to bring me down
Delivered from a 10m distance, at an acute angle, at a speed of 10mph, aimed at your damned head

Saturday, 22 October 2011

What A Waste of Time

Being gay is not a choice. This dogma is backed by the sensible arguement that no one would make a choice to be part of a group that has little rights and is socially prosecuted.

My stand on this is, although it is not a choice, it isn't entirely determined in the womb either. Environmental factors have a role early on, too. It's like, someone having a genetic predisposition to a certain condition but doesn't develop it because of the lack of or minimal exposure of risk factors. There's been genetic studies done whereby the gay gene has been determined and it's probably true seeing that there seems to be a link between homosexuality and a family history for homosexuality. There's been social studies that showed no one strong environmental factor that leads to the development of homosexuality but then again, I think the dogma of 'being gay is not a choice (and is pre-determined in the womb)' prohibits any unbiased study being conducted. I spoke with a lady whose husband came out gay and we concurred both our partners had been to single sex schools. And, I think it is not uncommon for individuals from single sex schools to have preference for individuals of the same gender.

Having said all of the above, the issue of whether and how it is a choice or not isn't my main problem. The issue is: despite having no choice on sexual preferences and the prosecution faced by this group, they have the choice and power as to whether they embark on a relationship with a heterosexual person. Choice and power. Choice and power. Choice and power. Homosexuals do have choice and power!

If it is repulsive for a gay man to be with a woman, as it is for a straight man to be with a man then, how does a gay man make the choice to woo and be with a woman? Now, the one left without the choice is the unsuspecting woman or partner. And, the woman becomes the one with virtually no rights (apparently because the gay man deserves his privacy) and will be socially prosecuted because she speaks about the his choice to date her, use her, despite having no choice about his sexuality. So, who is oppressed and hurt now?

Anyway, continue frantically waving the flag at me cos it look so silly from where I'm standing.
Some of you clearly don't quite understand the issue in it's entirety. Or refuse to.
There are people who have their minds set in the dogma of homosexuality not being a choice. The stereotype of the homosexual group being an oppressed one despite wider acceptance still prevails. And, for the straight partners of homosexual individuals, these mindsets are unhelpful; after being slapped by our homosexual partners, the public waves the rainbow flag in our face, ignorant that the issue is deeper than homosexuality being a choice. Also, it seems quite trendy these days to wave the rainbow flag. All very convenient for the offending spouse.

Frankly, I don't really care if someone is heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual as long as they don't bother me! Unfortunately, my ex-boyfriend decided to be that annoying gay git to abuse choice and power for his absolute benefit.

It has been quite clear to me some people are from the group who'd sympathize with the cowboys in Brokeback and overlook their wives. It has also been quite clear to me some people have not understood and  know nothing of the dynamics of my - or any homosexual-heterosexual relationship - before opening their mouths. So, as we say in my slang: shaddap!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Happy Went For A Stroll

Happy left me tonight. And, I sat here crying. Annoyed with myself for crying. I haven't cried in days, maybe a week or two even.

The first said, "Yes, your friend is prettier than you". I swallowed that shit.

The second knew what the first said and told me, "That was an awful thing to tell you".

But, the second told me, "That girl. She's great. So gentle, so kind, so understanding, beautiful". And, I asked him, why he didn't date her instead. And he shrugged off my question. He adored her and never could betray her. Who was I? Someone he loved out of guilt. Who was he? A hypocrite.

In my anger and hurt, people who don't know me and the things I went through with him, continue to hurt me. These people, shoot me down when I am wounded because they disagree with me. It is like punishing the slave for beating his master who hurt the slave.

People can judge me like they judge a book. "You'll never truly know someone, even after years", a wise friend said. I certainly didn't know and no longer know him, even if I thought I did after four years.And, these people claim to be able to tell who I am in a few weeks. Excellent. Ex-cel-lent.

But it's ok. He and them may have wounded me and continue wounding me but if they haven't killed me, I will always get better, somehow, someday.

This is a song about feeling bad and feeling better:

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Look For Better

"Why don't you find someone better than me?"

"Why?When I am happy with you? And, that's good enough for me"

When I was in secondary school, I live by the motto: There is always someone more clever. We were all academically driven or made to think we should be academically driven. I did my best, was never the best and was usually content with the result because I knew I could be Number 1 in class but there would always be someone better than me, some where. So, why bother and just be happy and content with my potential? After all, God only helps you if you help yourself. I helped myself and got what I expected in return.

And over the year, the motto has become more general: There is always someone better. He kept asking me if I wanted to be with someone better. That I should be with someone better. I was contented and never thought about needing to be with anyone better. Little did I know, it was he who wanted someone or something better.

And I leave you with this, if you have not seen it already.

Monday, 17 October 2011


I woke up today, turned my phone around to see how many more hours I could sleep. Hmmm, I had a missed call from an unknown number and I didn't quite remember the time except there was still time to sleep. I couldn't quite fall back to sleep; that's why I usually check my clock these days because any 'activity' on my phone is bothersome. But, in a blur haze, I check the time on my phone this morning

Unknown caller. Could only be one person in the early morn. Him.

So, it was eventually time to wake up. I thought I'd check my e-mail on my phone because I had asked ES to e-mail me a document pertaining to work the night before; she said she would and so, I eagerly checked. It was more emotional for me to discover ES didn't send me an e-mail than it was to find an e-mail for him in my inbox.

It was momentous; to feel unfazed by him. Like, he no longer exists and never existed in my life.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Saturday Indulgence

Met up with my kaki (regular hang-out friends) again today at Westfield, Stratford. Hai, I wish I had the money to buy a flat in Stratford when I was in my final year at school but unfortunately, despite being the only child I cannot afford it. Maybe next time...

Anyway, I was 30 minutes late because there were rail track works but luckily not as late as last week! WMT, CT and VY were there already buying some soap at Soap & Co. There are two Soap & Co shops in Westfield and OMG, these people are like sales sharks. Stop and suddenly you've bought something. I was at Westfield on Thursday night and one of these sales sharks tried flirting with me to get me to stop but I said, "Sorry, got friends to meet!". These people would have made good candidates in the first few seasons of The Apprentice?

We headed to Las Iguanas on the top floor where I had dinner with my old colleagues on Thursday. It's a place serving Mexican/South American dishes with Happy Hour Buy One Free One between 12 noon to 7 pm.

This was my colleague's dish on Thursday night
Steak with (three!) sweet potato chips

This was my dish on Thursday night. It came with a little 'burner' that I doubt did very much..
Seafood creamy coconut stew-like thingy with rice, toasted coconut and tangy salsa

Not sure what my friend ordered but looks like chicken skewers with (three!) sweet potato chips for lunch today.
Blazin' Bird
Half a chicken with habanero sauce (not that spicy), coleslaw and fries.
At £8.90, it gives Nando's a serious run for it's money
I was soooooooo stuffed after this :-) Lunch + dinner settled
Squished cupcakes from Buttercup Cake Shop
Was craving this after I saw it on Thursday...
Priced at a steep £2.50(!) each, it makes Scandinavia a relatively cheap country.....
Top left: Elvis Presley - everything peanut and peanut butter
Top Right - Peanut Butter Chocolate (PB icing with chocolate base)
Bottom Right - Banoffee (Toffee? icing with banana cake base)
This cost me 19 Swedish Kronas in Stockholm which is approx £1.90 and was much larger than the above cupcakes
Seriously, London is E.X.P.E.N.S.I.V.E
So, we just wandered around, up and down the whole mall. It was sooooooo crowded and we found a place to sit at the fast food, food court and just chatted. The crowd seemed to thin by 6 -7 pm and we had to leave, too. WMT went with me to M&S to buy some body butter. With the 'Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price' deal, I think I got carried away.....

M&S's La Maison de Senteurs range 
"Opening with a delicate floral accord, blended with gardenia oil and combining subtle citrus top notes with rose, white lily and soft florals, resting on a bed of warm amber, white musk and romantic woody tones".  Beautiful!
Top: Gardenia Rose EDT £9.50
Middle: Gardenia Rose Body Butter £5 (50% off later)
Bottom: Gardenia Rose Candle £5
M&S's Royal Jelly & Pure Honey range
Top left and far right: Intensive Body Butter £5 (50% off second product)
Bottom left: Intensive Facial Moisturiser £4.50 (I hope it's good! It's >10x cheaper than Dermalogica's Super Rich Repair!)
Middle: Sugar Scrub £4.50 (50% off with the facial moisturiser)
Left: £1 talc powder!
Right: Neroli & Sandalwood Body Cream at £3.75 each. 25% off for being a new product
So, I now have six tubs of body butter to last me at least a year. Yippee! I can have nice, smooth, supple skin which hopefully won't wrinkle so quickly in this dry and cold weather. All of it cost me like £45 and I thought that was a pretty good bargain considering a tub of body butter from Body Shop already costs £12.50.

And finally, Garnier sent me a sample of their B.B. Cream which I will try tomorrow and update in the captions... :-)

B.B. cream by Garnier

Friday, 14 October 2011

Stockhom Day One

Wow, it's been a week since I left for Stockholm and came back. I've been busy since then with work, a presentation, catching up with sleep and my life in general. So, haven't had much time to update in the last five days. Eventful, eventful.

Last Thursday, right after my night shift I got home, showered and zipped off to the airport with my packed luggage. I reached an hour and a half before the gate was gonna close; I was nervous I'd miss the budget flight! Strangely, Stansted Airport was relatively quiet that afternoon compared to the times when I needed to rock up at 4am for a stupid 6am flight. I was in the departure lounge in like, 15 minutes of arriving?!? Gee, why did I ever book flights at ungodly hours?

Rather proud of my bus ticket
Survivor of an extremely nauseating journey where I held back any urge of throwing up onto the guy beside me.

The flight to Stockholm Skavsta took an hour forty five. A small terminal but a bit less basic compared to Leipzig Flughafen, Germany. The only way of getting for Skavsta to Stockholm was buy either taxi at a whooping £240 (approx) or by bus for a £25 return ticket (approx). OMG, I kinda realized WHY it was a budget airport on the bus; it was a crazy and nauseating two hour bus ride into Stockholm. When I got to the Central Station bus terminal, I had to sit around or collapse with nausea lest I risk being admitted to a Swedish hospital for investigation re: collapse. It was so mengecewakan (disappointing) to find out that Arlanda Airport was a 30 minute train ride to Central Station........... although it was consolation that RyanAir didn't fly there.
The sleek interior of Central Station, Stockholm
Unfortunately, some renovation works outside that didn't inspire picture-taking
Olympus OM-1N + 23mm Hoya OM fit
Three coffee shops within 10 metres of each other, Central Station, Stockholm
What was interesting in Central Station was the numerous independent swanky-looking coffee shops in every corner
Unlike National Rail Stations in England, Central Station wasn't dominated and monopolised by one rubbish looking coffee parlour. In the UK, that'd be AMT Coffee.. and maybe a Costa
Beautifully finished Vanilla Latte from the middle shop in the picture above...
And, I told the barista it was beautiful <3
Olympus OM-1N 50mm Macro 2:1
Finally, after wandering around Central Station and drinking the closest thing to sour - Orange Juice - I managed to persuade myself to find my hostel. I didn't quite survey or read the reviews on HostelWorld when I booked to stay at CityBackpackers Stockholm. The ratings were good and I was pretty confident that a Western European and Scandinavian hostel would provide a decent bed, shower, Wi-Fi and the all-importing heat. I learnt after Greece and Milan, nothing mattered if the place was: 1) clean and 2) warm. It was nice to discover my hostel was only a 10 minute walk from Central Station and nicely situated in the City area of Stockholm. I was super duper impressed with the interiors of the reception area.

City Backpackers,
Upplandsgatan 2a,
Stockholm 11123Sweden

The reception, outdoor lounge and several dorms are on the ground level whilst there were at least fifteen dorms on the lower ground. Pretty impressive revenue this place could generate.
Retro-modern and very functional interior and decor. There was a large weigh-scale useful for the backpacker trying to avoid an extra charge from RyanAir and many computer terminals to allow free (flight) ticket printing to avoid further (flight) charges, too.
Left: The upper landing/lounge where we had to remove our shoes according to Swedish custom before entering. Like!
Right: The outdoor lounge area which was a bit too cold and wet to sit out that day
The lounge area with a large flat-screen, four iMacs, two PCs, leading off to all the dorm rooms, WCs and shower rooms.
Kitchen area with lots of freezers. One for each dorm which are named after areas of  Stockholm
My 12 bed dorm, Grinda with a really dodgy combination door...
Left: My comfy bed! Was sooo ready to crash
Middle: View from my top bunk
Right: The other end of the dorm round the corner with wall sofas to watch the morning sun...
After an hour or two of checking-in, settling down and getting over the wow-ness of my hostel, I finally decided to go look for dinner. Bought a DK Stockholm Guidebook - which looked relatively out-dated judging by the 1980s and 1990s hairstyles of the people in the book - and it recommended a restaurant called Bakfickan some where in the City area which it gave two dollar signs. Plus, the book also recommended trying the Swedish meatballs which I was craving for.

Operakallaren Bakfickan
Kungliga Operan
Karls XIIs Torg
111 86 Stockholm
Not quite so easy to find, this resutaurant is  situated close (actually beside) opera houses and is popular with opera-goers. The Swedish guy who sat beside me at the bar was telling his new-found American buddies that it was one of the oldest and most popular restaurants in Stockholm. Lucky me!
Olympus OM-1N 50mm Macro 2:1
Was the lone loser sitting at the bar and admiring the 'pelapik' (cover). I think all the couples felt sorry for me. Lol. Was I bothered? Not really.
Olympus OM-1N 50mm Macro 2:1
I was offered a selection of many different breads and crisps breads with butter before my main dish of veal and pork Swedish meatballs arrived with an accompaniment of pickled juniper berries and cucumbers.
Olympus OM-1N 50mm Macro 2:1
Rawr!!! All this for a reasonable 160 Swedish Krona.
I loved the sweet juniper berries and the freshly picked cucumber was just the sour thing I craved.
The sauce was lovely albeit a bit salty but this was offset by the meatballs and rich mashed potatoes. Was pretty stuffed by the end and couldn't bear dessert, unfortunately.
If you said Scandinavia was expensive, you haven't lived in London.....
Olympus OM-1N 50mm Macro 2:1
And, I left with a full stomach, happy, satisfied and wondering what beef tartare tasted like before knocking out back at the hostel.... to look forward to Day Two in Stockholm.