Saturday, 17 November 2012

My Newfoundlove: wooden heels

Wood works in wonders.
I have an immense fondness for wooden heels, especially the simple and adorable Swedish clogs ♥ There is  something beautifully unique about wood that makes it stand out. Its solid and sturdy structure blends in so well with leather that it brings about such an elegant appeal!
I would never have thought nor imagined of liking clogs at all. To me, they looked heavy and too traditional. This credulous thought was formed by a picture of these colourful and heavy duty clogs worn by Dutch maids in the medieval times.

The first make of clogs dates back in the 1500s in Holland. Handmaid by artisans, these were usually worn by the working class such as farmers and factory workers to protect their feet. Today, they come in various designs and have become a fashion trend showcased by some of the upscale brands such as Viktor & Rolf, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton.

How about the original Swedish Hasbeens? Oh how I love the natural  High Peep Toe sandal and Jodhpur boots in chocolate!

In a cute little shop in the city, I found myself surrounded by wooden strappy sandals and boots. Like a kid in a lolly shop, my excitement couldn't be any greater that I tried so many pairs! Genuine leather straps came in red, blue, tan, orange, cream, and black. And guess what, I came home with these!

My eight month-old Swedish clogs by Funkis♥

I love how I can wear these with stockings in winter, socks in autumn and bare in spring and summer! 
They are surprisingly light and comfortable too. 
Funkis is an Australian brand that manufactures authentic Swedish clogs made of alder wood and lined with rubber grip soles.
These are my top picks:

Match this high plait sandal with skinny jeans

Natural leather and suede goes with any coloured clothing

Low sandal for an ultimately comfy casual day☺

A pair of wooden shoes is definitely a must-have!
Catch you later! 

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Have a cup of tea and let your heart waltz with Crosby

If in London, I would go to the country side and relish the lush green fields, stay in a fine brick cottage, and delve into some tea and scones in a quaint little tea house. If in Rome again, I would search for cafés in narrow alleyways and find my cure in a cup of cioccolata calda. For it is in the humblest feature that I rest in the warmth my heart needs, and it is in the most hidden quiet places that I find the greatest luxury and serenity I desire.

The cold clammy season is gradually easing in, and in no surprise cafés get twice the buzz with people flocking in for some  good warmth in a cup. It however seems considerably rare to find a tea room or café that imposes the feel of being in a different yet familiar place your essential nature least, for a curious shell like me. Sydney is my home, and in many ways despite the incredible buzz it can make, it never ceases to inspire and surprise me. In saying so, there is a solitary place where you can indulge in heavenly sweets, endless rounds of tea and a pampering ambiance. Such is the remarkable Tea Parlour, a rare hidden gem in the heart of Sydney.

As a food and tea enthusiast, I search for places one can have an exceptional experience that is worth every penny. From a fortunate degree, stumbling upon Tea Parlour is one that I consider historical. I feel, think and talk about it after a fruitful validation of its excellence. Perhaps you might too ☺

Walking into Tea Parlour is like stepping into the glorious Victorian era, mature and delicately feminine in its prime. The small room is blooming in sophistication, from antique mahogany upholstered chairs to fine bone china. It was utterly beautiful and astonishing, just like the owner Amelia Ruby Hepburn who has painstakingly collected every detail in the room.

Amelia. Photo by Ken Hughes-Parry

floral drop arm sofas 
ivory drapes on the ceiling
a crystal chandelier...

and menus in hardbound classic novels 
*very clever!

High tea is of course the parlour's specialty. For $20pp you get a lovely big scone, a selection of delicious cakes and pastries, cucumber sandwiches, and bottomless tea. Bottomless tea??? Oh life is sweet! This is by far the only place I know that is very generous with food and hot water. I could not help but knit brows when I get served a pot that only gives me a cup and a half of tea for more than $4!  But in Tea Parlour, not only can that amount serve about six cups of tea, but there is also over eighteen exotic blends to choose from! I might add another wonder about this place. Aside from running the business on her own, Amelia also cooks and prepares everything by herself ☺

High Tea for two: A humble triumph on a plate

These carefully molded scones were almost as big as my palm! With some homemade strawberry jam and fluffy cream, these soft and delicate scones simply melt in your mouth. A delightful experience in every bite! Monk pear tea goes incredibly well with scones too.  Influenced by my Scottish friend, I have made Earl Grey a staple at home and out. But now I must say, I am loving monk pear all the same! A subtle fruity blend of light bergamot, jasmine blossoms and crisp pear flavours. Hmmmmm!

Homemade and heavenly

The beautiful Amelia always wears a smile on her face, especially when she laid this two-tier cake stand filled with her delectable creations on our table. It stands with pride, and so it should.

Indulge! Whatever is left, you can take home ☺

Lemon tart. Love at first bite ♥

Nestled within the border of a vintage-y stylish suburb Surry Hills, Tea Parlour extends the entire experience of vintage with cruising harmony and melodious vocals. Aaaah! My heart flutters as I sip my tea and hear the charming Bing Crosby! I knew only too well the bliss in that moment. It truly transports you to the olden days where women are ever so modest in their elegant frocks, and fine men so earnest in their love for a woman and their country. It transports me to the colourful and happy days of my grandparents  very meaningful.

There is a rare sense of satisfaction in the depth of my perception. Amelia has inspired me to continue my teacup collection and hopefully own a café in the future. Her passion resonates in every corner of the parlour. Her collection, independence, cooking, and generous serving make Tea Parlour a genuine treat for the humble soul.

Tea Parlour
569 Elizabeth Street, Redfern NSW 2016
0414 335 224
Open Friday-Sunday *weekends by appointment only

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Speak to On SDC's 2 One Another

Listen. Take my hand. We'll go together. Confused. Why? Isolation. Trust. Attachment. Passion. Pain. Love. Courage. Conviction. Freedom.
I found myself on the edge of my seat in complete astonishment as these magnificent bodies unfold on stage. 

Friday, March 23, 2012 marks my very first time to set foot on a Sydney Dance Company performance. Long have I waited for this moment. Honestly, the thrill and excitement I had that night was sky high! It felt like I was about to participate in a dazzling royal experience! 

The 896-seat theatre was packed, almost a full house. You would imagine the whole clamour in the room but when the light slowly dimmed, silence took its triumph. The curtains gradually unveiled the dancers. It was such a stunning picture! They began in darkness, with simple and minimal yet precise movements in unison. There wasn't any musical accompaniment as yet which I believe held the attention of the audience to a captivating feel in the subtlety of each movement. 

There were sixteen dancers, sixteen of the best ones in Australia. The physique they hold is evident of years of constant training and faithful health maintenance. I could tell you from my view how incredibly sculpted their bodies were. Their fully toned limbs exude unparalleled power and grace all at once. 

From the center of the stage, the dancers gradually evolved in pure refinement on all points of the set. Leaping, crawling, bodies interweaving, I found it very challenging to keep up. The intricacy of the dance has taken place. There was always something happening on every corner of the scene. The adrenalin was constantly present, rising and dropping in various levels. The music was gripping, lights were exhilarating. I would literally say, I was left on the edge of my seat. I truly felt the powerful intensity rushing through my veins.  But choreographer, Rafael Bonachela's brilliance comes to be even more surprising when all these scenes come together and once again form a synchronized flow. 

In this performance, each dancer has a story. They channelled me into their world, where every story is a microcosm in the lens of human interactions.  Bonachela says he began this work with a simple idea of “how we entered into this world with nothing, from that point on we are shaped by our experiences and relationships with the people we meet". The emotions when interacting with other people could be subtle and intense, even our relationship with ourselves. It's amazing how this simple fact could be made as a concept of a fresh and new creation, transformed into a beautiful work of art, a masterpiece. 

I couldn't help but reminisce on my dance performance at the Opera House back in 2007. We had some similar concepts such as a collage of minimal movements and intricate sequencing of scenes. It wasn't easy to do at all, but I miss it. It was a beautiful experience. Aaah, contemporary dance is bound to ignite our hearts!

Dance speaks in volumes. What does it tell you?

Listen. Take my hand. We'll go together. Confused. Why? Isolation. Trust. Attachment. Passion. Pain. Love. Courage. Conviction. Freedom.

Let dance take you on a journey.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The heat is on for the perfect scone!

What would be better than lying snug on the lounge, tucked in with your hands wrapped around a warm cuppa in a cold winters day? Nothing I suppose. But this could probably be deviated to a similar and yet enjoyable experience with some company, of course!
It was a Saturday afternoon, and having clocked out from work much earlier than expected, I decided to check out the Aroma Festival at The Rocks. This place is my stomping ground ♥ (Walking through old edifices is like venturing history. It simply lights up my spirit!) So I got there and learned it isn't starting 'til Sunday. I thought I could just take a stroll and fully satisfy my admiration for this place.
I had my eye on this little Irish shop on George Street. They had everything lucky, clover, green-everything Irish! But there was something else. Just at the rear of the shop was a café. The squeaky wooden floor and narrow corridor led me to a surprising sight- a little heritage brick tea room that's probably a century old! There truly is something about small cafés like this. The type that features a rustic figure, and a beautiful hint of vintage usually epitomizing the "traditional" of cultures. This brings about a heartwarming experience-transporting you to a totally different place-a place you'd always want to go back to.

This Irish café previously known as Tara Tea Room, is now the Tea Cosy. They serve scones *like your grandma used to make*, and hot bevvies. But  with scones, there has to be a twist-a choice from an interesting assortment of jams, with real clotted cream of course! I immediately felt the urge to come back and try their devonshire tea (scones with tea or coffee). And so I did...the following day!

Jacqui, Darwin and I had a quick look at the festival. We started off with devonshire tea for breakfast...under my influence *wink* First impression of the place: "Wow, this is really cozy". Our faces glistened with joy and satisfaction as we chatted along and sipped our tea. I love being in a place like this, a humble atmosphere that values friendships, conversations and the comfort your heart needs ♥ You'll never even think it's in the middle of the busy city!

Irish Breakfast tea and freshly baked scones 
with pawpaw, lime and passionfruit jam

A genuinely scrumptious scone is light and moist in texture, best served warm and the ultimate favourite that reminds you of home. Not all food joints manage to take it to this point though. Pastry and bread-making are indeed extremely arduous jobs according to most chefs, needing time and expertise to perfect. But moms and grandmas will always and naturally instill that first and last delicious bite of homemade scones-the ones made with honesty and love beyond compare♥ Exactly what this place is all about!

So why not drop by and have a taste of a cozy Irish treat on a Friday or weekends and awaken your senses with these beautiful jams. I always go for something new and absolutely loved the subtle sweetness of pawpaw (papaya), and the perfect punch of lime & passionfruit! Beautiful combination. 

It feels great to walk out of a café with a happy heart, soul, and tummy!
Tea Cosy just made me ☺

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

This way to the famous café!

Are you in Sydney? Well if you are, been or will be soon, find some time to venture La Renaissance Café Pâtisserie located at The Rocks.
Their little courtyard café always set a perfect mood for locals and visitors alike. This is, by far my favourite café here in Sydney. I've been here thrice after writing about their famous macarons, and will most certainly be expected to visit the place more often ♥

♥ Roulade Pistache et Chocolat ♥
(Pistachio and Chocolate Scroll)
Just the right sweetness. An unforgettable taste of light crisp pastry and soft dough inside. I've gotta say, this is by far the best scroll I've ever had!

♥ Tarte au Citron ♥
(Lemon Flan)
 The smooth piquant curd is very refreshing! Not to mention the delicate shortcrust pastry, oh-so yummy! It'll tantalize your senses! Certainly my ideal summer dessert.

♥ Amande Croissant ♥
(Almond Croissant)
There certainly is an art in this perfectly flaky croissant their patissiers have mastered. Varying textures of soft, crisp pastry and smooth crème d'amandes (almond cream) filling will make you say "Ah! Heavenly!"
This is simply delicious that I got another one to bring home for mum! And yes, she loved it too!

♥ Macarons ♥
(Flavours above from L-R: rose scented buttercream, pistachio white chocolate ganache, chestnut, and chai)
You can't leave the café without trying their much famed macarons! Read my post .  La Renaissance's macarons are now made fresh in the pâtisserie kithchen of Baroque Restaurant, since the two have merged. If you're into chocolate, you'll love the Valrhona ganache! It is divine! I also recommend the chestnut for its genuine flavour, and my favourite...salted caramel-a wonderful balance of sweet and salty (I'd get a whole dozen of this flavour only!), an absolute winner!

I've brought my friends here and they loved it!
When is your next date?
Jot this on your diary now!
La Renaissance Café Pâtisserie

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Downton Vogue

Britain's hit series Downton Abbey is now playing in Australia! And because one episode a week truly pains me, I've decided to treat my excitement with a marathon of the entire first season. By far, I have delighted myself threefold ☺

I have an immense interest in old English films-long beautiful frocks, fascinating hats, cozy cottages, magnificent mansions, evergreen fields of daisies and daffodils, tea time anytime, sensible dialogues, and of course the lovely English accent, and sometimes Irish and Scottish too!

Downton Abbey is based on the Edwardian era housing a family of five (Lord and Lady Grantham, their three  daughters) and at least eleven servants. Each character has their own story, interesting in every way. Although there has always been a strict boundary between aristocrats and servants during that time, writer Julian Fellowes created a story equal for both parties and showed how their lives were all intertwined. What's happening donwstairs (servants) is just as interesting and intriguing as that of upstairs (Crawley Family).

Boasting genuine English style, frocks this beautiful and elegant are most seemingly paramount in every woman's life ☺ These are my top picks!

Lady Grantham/ Cora Crawley
Ivory frock embroidered with black patterns
feather and flower adorned tea hat 
a pair of lovely lace gloves
and a dainty wrist-strap bag
An overall standout at the horse races or garden party ♥

I rarely wear black, but offer me this one and I'll take it in a flash!
The wide V-neckline of this silk chiffon angel-sleeved frock flatters the angle of the shoulders.
With a black collar necklace and a pair of pearl drop earrings, this shall make a perfect evening outfit!

Lady Mary Crawley
Dainty blue and white really do complement each other. I love this top's unique features-from its white ribbed collar, ruffle crest-cut bodice, and angled ruffle cuffs-ever so pretty! I would pave London's countryside with this in a glorious sunny day. 

Burgundy and gold always remind me of queens and princesses in the renaissance period-reminiscent of royal colors. This frock truly complements Lady Mary's fair complexion and deep black hair.

Silk looks beautiful and feels beautiful. How I'd love to have the best of both worlds in this wrap around frock entwined with a classic embroidered motif. Teal is also a rare color for a frock. I would feel like a princess for a day in this outfit! 

♥Spring is just around the corner for a uniquely fresh look. I would enjoy a cup of tea in a garden party in this 2-way striped frock,
a flower adorned flapper hat and a pair of matinee gloves. 

Lady Edith Crawley
I absolutely adore this pale violet red empire frock. Its floral embroidery, fabric braid outline, and petal sleeves make it very princess-like. 

Lady Sybil Crawley
Here's a smart casual attire I would love to have in my wardrobe. 
Blush pink collared top clasped with a slim waist belt and a navy blue slim skirt.
Perfect for a social gathering, Sunday walk at the park, or a visit in the village's historical churches.

♥ My personal favourite ♥
Teal silk chiffon frock with white details, satin waistband and beaded pearl trimmings
Very sophisticated in every angle, ravishing day and night.
I would be honoured to pay the Queen a visit and wander in her royal gardens with this outfit! 

Sybil and I have something in common...a thirst for something different! 
This pair of Persian inspired silk harem dress pants is detailed with fine patterns.
Also notice the handcrafted headband with blue sapphire gemstone embellishment.
My ultimate Princess Jasmine outfit is a million dollar look!

Violet is the apple of my eye. 
I'd find myself prime and proper in Jane Austen's world in this gazar frock. 
The wide V-neckline and pointed flat collar makes it a youthful fashion.

So there you are!
Celebrate life in elegance and be inspired.
Watch Downton Abbey ☺ 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Meet my Royalties!

What a wonderful way to be woken up this morning by George (the delivery man) and find out that my most awaited darling has finally arrived!!!

No, no not them!

His name isn't really George by the way. As a matter of fact, I don't know his real name, but he does look like a "George" to me = )

So, my parcel arrived earlier than expected...which makes me a happy bee!

Anyway, I was sooo excited and couldn't wait that I immediately opened the box! 

It was safely and beautifully packed...and guess what, my smile was just ear to ear!

I couldn't believe this 17-piece set I have been eying upon for more than a month is finally here...with my hands!

It shall be named Lady Guinevère

My first cuppa! Aaahh! Now this will most certainly make my daily tea time more enjoyable!


there's another royalty ought to be introduced.

Lady Isóbel...

This high tea stand is etched with the traditional Old English Rose and a touch of gold that makes it look so elegant and classy, like a real royalty!

Now I feel like having a tea party!