Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In Stockholm for Easter

These stone lions are on every street. I haven't figured out what the significance of them are.

Over Easter, K and I decided to do a quick weekend getaway to Stockholm. I have to admit I knew nothing about Sweden, and the only things that jumped to mind were Ikea, meatballs, tall blondes and H&M. Yes, I admit I am an ignoramus. But I guess that's why it's good to travel - to broaden the mind.

Anyhow, I now know that Sweden (or at least Stockholm) is not just about the abovementioned things..for starters, I didn't see that many blondes around, gasp!

The trip was planned pretty quickly, and since both of us were busy at work, we didn't really have time to plan detailed itineraries. Luckily, I had a Lonely Planet guide to help out, and some colleagues' recommendations on places to visit. Here are some photos of the few places we visited:

Gamla Stan
This is the 'old' part of town, and I loved wandering around the little cobbled streets and exploring the alleys. It's a pity the shops were closed because of the public holiday.

More pictures soon!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Satisfying weekend dinners

After a few weekends of travelling and catching up with friends, this was one of those weekends where I made absolutely no plans and didn't leave the house. Ok not quite, there was a quick run to Waitrose on Sat and a jaunt to Peter Jones today, but apart from that, I was happily ensconced at home like a slug.

I think I should plan to stay home and cook more often, because I really love pottering around our kitchen. There's a large workbench to work on, lots of space to move around in. I guess it also helps to have nice equipment like a Neff induction hob and oven, and of course an appreciative audience to cook for.

Seeing as I had only cooked a rare few times ever since moving to my new place, I decided to make dinner for everyone. My landlady had a Nigel Slater recipe for meatballs which she really wanted to try, and since we had most of the ingredients, I decided to give it a go. To complete the meal, I also decided to do a warm Meditarranean salad.

Pork mince
Handful of parsley, chopped
6 sprigs thyme, leaves picked
6 anchovy fillets, chopped ( if you like the taste, I think you can put more)
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
White breadcrumbs (I used dried ones)
1 lemon
Flour, for rolling the meatballs in lightly
Olive oil
Chicken stock (I cheated and used a chicken cube dissolved in boiling water)
1. Mix mince with thyme, parsley and anchovy.
2. Grate the lemon to get the zest, and add that into your mixture. Cut lemon in half and squeeze the juice in as well.
3. Add the cheese and breadcrumbs, and mix thoroughly.
4. Season with some salt and black pepper.
5. Roll them into little balls and coat them lightly with flour.
6. Heat up butter and oil, and place meatballs in, cooking them on each side until golden brown (in my case, I left them on one side for a little too long, but that didn't seem to harm them too much)
7. Let them cook through, turn down heat and pour out the fat.
8. Add the chicken stock, and let the meatballs simmer in the stock until it reduces somewhat.
9. Dish up and serve! (Can also make some spaghetti or rice to go with them)

Warm salad
3 capsicums
1 red onion
Salad leaves (I bought a pre-mix of salad greens)
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Brown sugar
Dried apricots, chopped up into little pieces (optional)
I got this recipe from my cousin, who served it up during one Chinese New Year, and it was absolutely delicious. It's super easy to make too. Just slice up the capsicums, onion and mushrooms and grill in some olive oil. Add balsamic and brown sugar in the middle and let it caramelise over the veggies. Once they're ready, serve on top of salad leaves and scatter the apricots on top.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All it takes...

Top: from The Sartorialist, Friday April 4, 08; Bottom left: Piksi's flickr, Bottom right: Borderline

...is for me to see a few pictures and start an obsession on ankle length trousers. Uh-oh.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Head case

What it takes to maintain my hair

Reading Who What Wear Daily's post made me realise how much I spend on my hair. Before, a shampoo and conditioner and a quick blast with a hairdryer was enough, but gradually, I've found my list of "essentials" has grown to: shampoo, leave-in treatment, conditioner, heat protection spray, serum for dry ends, not to mention a special ionic hairdryer and a good brush. Let's not forget the optional extras like hair rollers and straightening cream.

The post also reminded me of an article I read a while back, as I felt it was a good reminder to myself to read the ingredients label on shampoo bootles. Essentially, it’s ok to stinge on buying shampoo. Best to get those that state SLES or TEA Lauryl Sulfate and steer clear of those that contain Ammonium:
Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate - very harsh
Ammonium Laureth Sulfate - harsh
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - still harsh
Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) - mild, great choice
TEA Lauryl Sulfate - gentle, good choice
TEA Laureth Sulfate - gentle, also a good choice
This has made me a very happy camper as now it means I can stop buying Kerastase shampoos and channel the money into other things...like more haircare products.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

This April, I am into...

April 2008
Wearing: Laura Mercier concealer, Shu Uemura lipgloss (it's not as red as it looks), buys from H&M and COS, black three way coat from Spitalfields market, Aveda Rosemary Mint body lotion, over-the-knee socks, grey gradient scarf from Massimo Dutti
Toting: my new pink LG Shine ...ha!
Watching: Hong Gil Dong, Heroes season 1, Top Gear
Eating: Way too much chocolate, M&S dinners
Travelling: Berlin for work and driving a Trabi
Enjoying: lamp from Bolagret in Sweden, my nicely scented cupboards thanks to Crabtree & Evelyn sachets

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I just realised my flight to Berlin this Sunday leaves out of Terminal 5. Arrrrgh!! I don't want to lose my bag!