Monday, 27 November 2017

Hazza's press at Palace grounds, Gougeres, and Pompoms

I went to an 18th birthday party for a friend who I have known since she was about 6.
It seems I can only really tell the passing of time with Christmas coming around in what seems every 6 months 
( or is that just the shopping and decorations ) 
and seeing children grow.
She is an absolute star.
 I am unbiased as I am unrelated to her.
She is the only girl - now lady -
 who I say I would go through the travails of motherhood for if 
I was guaranteed someone like her.
Except I have a feeling that being a flaneur and watching Netflix would probably not result in someone like her! 
Her actual mum not only raises amazing children but cooks my husband's favourite cake ever pictured above.

VV Rouleaux did a great shopfront and actually put tassels and pompoms on the outside of their shop!
Isn't this so much fun?
It really put a smile on our faces as we left the restaurant 
the very same evening there was the false alarm incident in 
Oxford Street last Friday.

Instead of cooking turkey for the American thanksgiving, 
I made lunch reservations at Core by Clare Smyth.
It was very good indeed and her pumpkin gougeres should be sold to the retail market.
I would have them for breakfast every day.

I saw a play called the Lady from the Sea at the Donmar 
which left me thoroughly confused that I had to read about the play and plot when I got home.
It was based on an Ibsen work but it was transplanted into a Caribbean setting so the starkness of a swim in the grey North sea didn't translate into blue warm waters as a fundamental.
But I love the Donmar so am glad I watched it.

Here are the press photographers who were assigned the main gate escorted by what seemed to be palace press interns an hour or so after the big announcement of the engagement.
I must have surely been one of the people in the background walking during a German or American live broadcast announcing the engagement of Harry and Meghan.
This was only just after they announced it so it was still a bit sparse.
The press didn't make too much of her wearing a Canadian white coat but then she is in the honeymoon phase literally and figuratively.  I hope the press go easy on her in future.

I did some decluttering.
I am not a huge fan of this pastime as I am the product of a tumultuous last 100 years so think that something might come in useful just in case of emergency/war/disaster.
But I figured 12 year old clippings of out of date kitchen cabinets and photos that can be found on the internet database wouldn't save a life so I finally threw out the vestiges of my pre Pinterest life.

Have you written your cards yet?
Done all the shopping?
Planned a menu?
Me neither xx

Monday, 20 November 2017

This and that in Venice and Seoul

A lot of people in Asia will travel far to get a scene like this and in London all you have to do is go to the parks.

When I go to Asia now, all the palaces and temples don't interest me as much as the little differences in daily life like the food shopping.

Dried fish is a very bit part of Korean cooking.
They reconstitute it like the Portuguese bacalao ( dried cod ) but also use it in stews and season it as a side dish.  It is very nutritious but of course the origins are from the lack of refrigeration.
And as such there are big variations and nuances to dried fish as seen in the picture below.
The different grades and thicknesses of the fish are a different as a cuts of beef for Koreans.

I  am in take your time and be a tourist even in London mode so I took the long way to the gym and I walked through the maze bit they built a few years ago at Kensington Palace.


The highlights of my long trip to Korea was the fabulous weather we had every day I was there - 23 degrees and sunny.

I rediscovered our Han river which cuts through Seoul.

Plus I loved this private library which I thought was a bookstore until I tried to buy a book and they looked at me like I was a weirdo and said this is a library. 
They said to look at the sign.
( the sign does indeed say library but I thought it was marketing.)
But I haven't been to such private libraries open to the public before.

I loved these traditional compacts made by a local Korean cosmetic brand.

I saw the Damien Hirst exhibition in Venice and I was confused to what was impressive.

The art or the setting?
It was the setting actually as you could have had a kindergartener's scribbles in the building and it would have look curated.

Venice was nice but surprisingly I know a few people who just don't like the energy of it.

Funny because I chose this time in November because I wanted to see Venice in the fog and yet it was sunny every single day.
But definitely more pleasant than summer.
People say the water taxis in Venice are expensive but then they go on gondola rides that essentially take you to where they pick you up.
This way - you get a boat ride, a seamless journey from the airport to your hotel, and a taste of the canals.
Don't hesitate!

I like the water but terra firma has its charm for sure.
I went to a Christmas fair and the people were going crazy buying so many decorations.
It was as if none of these people had a tinsel in their storage anywhere.
Design glut when an optometrist has to decor it up and you don't know if you entered a hotel lobby or a banker's hobby art gallery in Shoreditch.

I do like that art has pervaded everywhere despite some lateral off shoots that are eye-roll worthy.
This is a double knot traditional cloth wrapping for presents at the cosmetic store that is now a stand alone quasi museum in Seoul.
Isn't it pretty?

Please excuse the editing - if I wait until I get a hang of the laptop I will never post anything ever...

Stay well! x

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Cultural Feels

I have just gotten back from a long trip to Korea.

I did the usual internal cultural comparisons of food, customs, and daily perceptions of Korea versus other places.

I thought about not only how linguistics affect a mindset of a nation but also the emotional make up.

I had rewatched a film that hit upon this old masochistic Korean nerve.

It is an art film that did also manage to do a great box office back in the 90's.

If you think you are having a bad day, then please watch this movie. ;P

The movie is called Sopyongjae and not only tackles the concept of 'han' but also the struggle of poverty, being a woman, and the plight of an artist.

I wrote in this post about words that are not in the English language - a premise that almost seems unfair with the notion that it is English that is lacking. There are plenty of English words now permeating other languages for words that those respective countries don't have a word for.

But I digress, I was thinking about an episode that Anthony Bourdain had about a specific Korean notion called - han ( please click on link for proper explanation ) - when he did one of his - can only get as deep as a 3 hour dinner party conversation - tour of Korea Town in Los Angeles.

Of course like any Brit yelling at the TV when an American actor does a weak or wrong accent of any region of the U.K., I also felt this frustration at its explanation of that certain yearning.

Portuguese has a similar word called - saudade. This is like 'han' but softer and more tropical.

Japanese have - natsukashii.  Though this is a longing without the pain.

But 'han' is not quite like the Russian word- toska. Toska seems more bleak without the slightly bitter enjoying of the masochism.

All the words have links to give you a proper explanation that I would not be able to really provide.

I think I am now at an age where I finally understand the term - the good ol' days.

I spent a month in a city where I grew up but is now still a bit foreign to me and with the modernisation process, a lot of my physical memories have been bulldozed to make way for office buildings or an ugly pre fab of an apartment building.

I am not sure if certain cultures own specific sentiments and in this politically correct climate wouldn't want to publicly assert any such thing.

However, to conclude I think this might have to do with the universal concept of middle age which every culture seems to have a word for!!!

Hope you are all well x

PS I wish I could have posted more from Korea but latest IOS updates have negated my blogger app...