Thursday, 20 October 2016

Random Ramblings

I missed blogging.  
I wanted to write a cohesive post but editing all my back up posts was overwhelming.   Alas, I could only come up with this post as I have jet lag again and my body is in shock from the cold after getting used to sunny weather for nearly a month in Korea.

My family worry about me when I start taking pictures of what is mundane to them.

Take this hand dryer / infrared steriliser for instance.

I think my out of town hick ways embarrass them sometimes.
I hope this catches on in London.

In the spirit of trying to get into shape but have fun while at it, I tried aerial yoga which works your body in a different way than any other exercise.  I did have fun learning new muscle memories but don't think I will keep it up in London.

Globalisation does indeed make jet lag the main reminder that you aren't in the proverbial Kansas anymore and yet there are those little touches that make you realise that you are in a different place.

Prada bags are being sold on TV which I found odd but then I was reminded of Net a Porter so I must be more open minded.

Autumn in Korea and most of East Asia is absolutely glorious.

But the cosmos flower fields of Korea are synonymous with fall.

We went to a park that was the former city dump of my youth - there were signs saying to be careful because of all the fumes due to the garbage underneath.

My family gave me a proper tutorial in making the national dish of kimchi.

There are so many different types but we went through a simple recipe of radish kimchi.
Koreans are so healthy and manage to keep trim considering how much they eat and I am sure kimchi is part of the reason.

It wa great catching up with old school friends.
Any Seoulite who were and are expats will tell you how central the Hyatt hotel is to them. 

The airport in Seoul was voted one of the best in the world and the shopping rivalled any world class shopping centre.

I saw these traditional brass dinnerware with lids to keep rice and soup warm.

I would have bought this monkey print based on a calligraphy painting but it wasn't for sale.

I am planning to do a Korean beauty post as I learned a few more tips this trip.

I bought so many sheet masks because in Korea the latest motto is one day/one sheet mask.

I just adore tagging along with anyone who is looking for a flat.

Never gets boring.

It is like art and science and math coming to life.

I nearly froze to death but it was such an emotional reunion seeing these two doggies the other day.

I really do hope to catch up on blogging as I didn't end up posting as much as I would have liked.

Did you see instagram is now doing a Facebook and I got an email the other day suggesting that I should follow my brother's former flatmate from a decade ago, my builder I fired more than a decade ago, a friend of a friend who I find incredibly boring, and the mother of one of my husband's god children.

For that reason, I have put my Instagram account on private. But is it all a futile exercise?

I am going to be a spoil sport and not engage in any Halloween activities but look forward to all of yours x

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

War and Peace, Jetlag, and Pillows at the Hairdressers

Earlier this year, 
BBC showed a new adaptation of War and Peace which I missed out on as I was away on a trip.  ON my flight over to Korea, the flight had all 6 episodes and thought this would be my chance to get through the story that was only 2000 iPhone pages "read'.


After 2000 or so pages, I still had no idea who was who and I was going through the motions and every page I swiped I thought this novel had to be one of the worst on record.

As Woody Allen said about this novel - 
it was something about Russia.

And yet, I was utterly engrossed and certain names rang a bell and I recalled there was a war going on somewhere and things starting falling into place. I should have fallen asleep to start adjusting to the new time zone and yet Napoleon wouldn't let up. 
I was so worried about each and every character up till now even though I know they are ostensibly all dead.

I can see why people would want to reread the book as I am going to do so as well. But this is a book or rather TV adaptation that if I had seen as a teenager I would have moved to Russia the first chance I got.

Jet lag never gets easier and I am still exhausted nearly 2 weeks on but I am enjoying the seasonal fruits which are unparalleled to any fruit anywhere.

I am trying to store up some Vitamin D stores for my return to the British winter and going on gentle hikes to the local hill.

A retiree was carving traditional totem poles to line the hiking paths. Korea is always striving forward that only old people and foreigners appreciate these reminders of a more tribal history.

But back to present day Seoul, I am amazed at the gizmos a public hiking trail is equipped with.
The picture below is a air hose to blow away dust from your shoes and trousers.

My grandmother's dog is a sweetheart and always comes to nap with me.

My family did some replanting of a cactus plant that was growing like crazy so we went and transplanted cuttings. 

This noodle dish with dumplings is a Korean Chinese dish that was brought over a century ago when the Shanghainese fled. It is one of my top 5 dishes in the world full stop and unfortunately only really properly made in Korea.

The bakeries in Seoul are on another level - 
London despite its bread consumption has a terrible choice of bakeries - this is a half bread/half brioche type of loaf glazed with condensed milk.
Out of this world phenomenal.

I went to the hairdressers as I would prefer to do these type of errands without rushing.
There were cultural differences that I might write about on a future post but one thing I think hairdressers should learn from Korea is the lap pillow.

I had seen these lap pillows but never used them myself but they offered me it and it is almost an ergonomic tool for your arms to rest and there is a comfort of weight on your lap that is stabilising.  Hard to explain but you have to try it!

Here's to a fun and productive October! x

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

September 2016 - Carpeted items, doggie paraphernalia, and missing Princess Di

Summer is symbolically over for us in the northern hemisphere.

I didn't ride the pedal boats this summer but I walked around the Serpentine a few times.

Don't you love this British sign - 
it is a "polite notice" to would be thieves.

I love this person's faith in humanity.

Physics says - action results in reaction.

Design wise I think seeing so many curated and styled out fashion, interior, and art vignettes have made me crave the naff and wonky.

If I had the space I would have bid on this carpeted folding cupboard.
Utterly useless but would have been enough "off" for any room.

It must be in the waters because Miu Miu had a carpeted table in their windows.

Furry slippers is huge this season and you know they were channeling Cookie Monster who was my favourite Sesame Street character when they did the blue pantone option. 

Sunday, 21 August 2016

What is it about the Pioneer Woman?

They say what you like or hate about something or someone says a lot more about you than it does about the adored/hated.
Pioneer woman is my alter ego's frenemy.
She's everything I am not.
She lives out in the plains of the Oklahoma.
I live in one of the most congested areas in one of the largest cities in the world.

She has 4 children whom she home schools with a cowboy ranching husband.
I have a canine niece that I babysit once a week and need to recuperate for two days after the event and married to a bloke who can't put up a shelf.

She is so sweet.
I am a bitch - to name a few differences.

I should kinda hate her or at best sneer at her but I don't.
Yet I can't say I exactly idolise her either.
I respectfully admire her more like.

Unlike sexual relationships where the people involved think it a very complicated situation but it very simple, I consider my relationship with her to be complex.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Highs and Lows of Italy - Puglia 2016

I love Italy the way so many people in the blogging world love Paris; but it is a slightly withered affection.
It is the type of fondness you feel for someone you used to fancy but you knew would only end up in heartbreak and endless attempts of breaking up trying to free yourself from the dysfunctional co-dependency before you finally regain your senses. 

I toyed with the idea of moving there 10 years ago and spent a good chunk of a summer there to gain a feel of how things work if you wanted to do more than order pasta and get a suntan.  I didn't get much more done than that and luckily I have never really considered it again.
Does this nearly 1000 year old fresco look familiar to you?
Well it should for Grand Design fanatics because this was the fresco that was the inspiration for one of my favourite heartwarming episodes ever. ( The link is in Russian but serious fans will know which one I mean!)
Italy is as some will refer to as France in a good mood.
I always refer to it as the useless friend who always screws things up and turns up late but they always get away with murder because they are so damn good looking and charming. 

My excuse is that my command of the Italian language is very poor so misunderstandings are inevitable but there is a reason why despite the beautiful and blessed topography, gastronomy, and culture the emigration rates are one of the highest in the world.

Why is it that an unfinished wall in the bedroom I stayed in Gallipoli, Puglia is so charming and yet in my downstairs loo I lose the will to live?
How is this makeshift simple kitchen so much more desirable than any bespoke concoction that a Somerset carpenter comes up with?
Why are these religious iconography by the stove so charming and yet I am suspicious of superstitious brainwashing of any symbolism in London?
Why do I want to be a part time fisherwoman and contemplate a whole new existence in Italy?
Is it because the bait used in catching the fish is on par with the daily special at Nobu?
I always wonder how people ever get anything done with such beauty that surrounds them all - the - time?! 
 I could never get anything done.
I find my lapsed religion so fascinating in Italy but it might be all the Dolce Gabbana accroutrements.
The majolica tiles and ornaments that look like earrings but 30 times in scale.
And then I see the holy ghost.
Not that I am a mystic but this...
Excuse my French but I was literally like - Holy shit.
Freaked me out.
And you didn't even have to be there to really "get it".

But religion is very much alive in Puglia more than the northern parts of Italy.
The local priest was like a rock star and the locals all stopped him to grab a few words.
But the truth is that there is a lot that Italy is about that people don't think that might even associate with Italy but then again these types of buildings don't get instagrammed.
Truth is Puglia, a province of southern Italy has become rather poor or rather stayed that way.
Not everyone lives in deserted former palazzos.
Many places look like the sets on Game of thrones where princesses sulk and saunter about aimlessly waiting to get married.

I feel that no one can possibly have everything and indeed that applies to countries too.
Lecce has two ancient amphitheatres dating back to the Roman empire yet hardly any employment.

Italy is very much the descendant of wealthy forebears that are living on the remains of a former grand estate who is looking to sell their family silver next. 
But then you forget about the Italian banking woes and the fact that the ATM's are only being refilled once every other day when you see still lifes like this.
This was a side street in Lecce right infant of a upholsterer.

As I said when I put this on my Instagram feed - 
things like this seem to happen naturally whereas the rest of us mortals and professionals who work at magazines like World of Interiors seem to have meetings about it.
More vestiges of a grand past.
Lecce rhymes with the Italian word for 'luce' which means light.

I think it very apt.
This was just a place for guests to sit while having a pizza.
Were you into the Da Vinci code?
Well this is one of the signs left by the Crusaders on their way up or down to the Holy Land.
Lecce was one of their pitstops.
If I were an artist like this painter, 
I could imagine setting up shop but if my aunt were a man she would be my uncle if you get my drift.
But you can't help but feel artistic and in touch with one's right brain when even windows entrance your senses.
No surprise to regular readers that this antique shop blew my mind in so many ways.
The owner was lovely and working on a piece he was preparing.  It seems that a lot of northern Italian dealers come to this town to search for treasures unappreciated.

Lecce has a particular limestone that is very carvable and the city uses the material to its best characteristic.
Yes I know Florence and Rome are beautiful and they deserve every accolade but Lecce is a neglected beauty.
Have a lovely weekend x