Posted on November 29, 2012
Last Saturday I had the opportunity to do a photoshoot with the very talented Mr Steven Chew! Steven is a lifestyle and portrait photographer based in Perth, Western Australia (he also does a mean wedding shoot and dabbles in film, and when I say dabbles I mean rocks it!).
The photos were taken out and about our home and we only had about an hour to shoot as a sudden unexpected storm blew up (I hear there were hailstones in some areas!). Despite the approaching dark grey clouds in the horizon, we had a fun day, and the garden enjoyed its bonus watering! (Both from myself and the storm! Better be getting some mega strawberries now…)I’ll hopefully be collaborating with Steven on something a bit different in the near future (just you wait!), but in the meantime part #2 will be up next week featuring the second “costume change”. Who knew my garden could look so good? Must be a good photographer – that’s mad skillz…But Steven’s way of not only capturing the light but also the heart and story behind the person is what makes his photography stand out. Look out for more work anon!
***What I’m wearing – bird print t-shirt by Design Tshirts Store graniph (I reckon this is pretty cute) via Pigeonhole, Bambi print shorts by Sretsis (check out their amazing cherry print current collection here), cheap-o yellow sandals from the Ladies’ Market in Hong Kong (*sigh* aren’t these nice…), amazing sexy gardening gloves via Bunnings (yeah Bunnings! Seriously almost as bad as Sephora for its deceptive money-sucking abilities)
Posted on November 28, 2012
Then they go along the lines of Japan, Korea…? Still wrong! And then they get desperate and start flinging out random places like Africa, Scotland, Mongolia…? The survey says…? Beeeeh, wrong answer!
My parents moved to Australia in the mid-70s from Burma! You’re right in thinking that we’re of Chinese descent though. Our family tree is somewhat sketchy, but yes somewhere along the way we must have emerged from China. There are some interesting stories about some great-great-great-grandfather of my mother’s being the ophthalmologist to the emperor during one of those decadent dynasties. Well, this great man had multiple wives and concubines as you did back in the day, and we sprang forth from one of his Dutch wives! Fancy that!
Well the point to that rather convoluted and definitely accurate tale is that we have grown up eating a fine mix of Chinese and Western cuisines, admixed with all the other amazing cultures found in Australia (Greek, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, I could go on forever…) but my favourite and most unique dishes come from Burma. Yes, I could eat noodles and dumplings until I pass out (just watch me) but give me one of my mum’s fine Burmese salads or curries and that char kuey teow is left to go cold.
Burmese food is somewhat best described as a marriage between Vietnamese, Thai and Indian cooking, with its quintessential combination of herbs and spices in a cuisine rich with salads, noodle dishes, curries and more. There’s interesting usage of essential ingredients such as dried prawns crushed into a powder to add an incredible depth of flavour to a dish, or tamarind for that perfect sour but sweet tartness that no lemon or lime can deliver. Adding fresh coriander and a drizzle of oil infused with fried shallots transforms a basic salad into something inexplicably more-ish. But to really get to know the food and its specific and delicious palate, you’ll have to come over to my mum’s place…or get cooking yourself!
Burmese people love their salads. And once you get the hang of the few staple ingredients generally used to make a “dressing” of sorts, you’ll start mixing and matching like a pro. These are tasty and quick to whip up, and perfect for our upcoming summer days. I still eat them in winter, but serve them with some fluffy white jasmine rice to ward off the cold and jack up the “comfort food” factor.
Burmese-style chicken salad (tick of approval from Mumsy)
- 3 chicken thighs or 2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I use chicken thighs out of personal preference and boil them til they’re just cooked)
- 1/2 cup shallots thinly sliced and soaked in cool water to mellow them down
- 1/2 cup chopped coriander, throw in a sprig or two of mint as well if you like!
- 1 mild-medium hot green chilli sliced into strips
- Juice of half a lime (around 2 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce (to taste)
Fried shallot oil
- 2-3 large shallots thinly sliced
- Peanut oil (or any other vegetable oil except olive oil)
- Make the shallot oil first. Now the traditional way to do this is to fry the shallots on low to medium heat in a wok until they’re light brown and crispy (not burnt!). My mum taught me the cheat’s way to do this since I hate cleaning the oily wok afterwards. Place the sliced shallots in a small microwaveable bowl and add oil until the shallots are just covered. Then microwave them for one minute, stop and stir, then keep repeating this until you get brown crispy shallots with lightly fragranced oil. Too easy! It usually takes a total of about 6-7 x 1 minute periods of microwaving for me.
- Add the chicken, raw shallots, 2 generously heaped tablespoons of fried shallots (these are the star), coriander/mint and chilli together in a mixing bowl and toss gently.
- Mix together the lime juice, fish sauce and 2 tablespoons of shallot oil to make a dressing, then pour over the chicken mixture.
- Mix again!
- Serve with extra fried shallots (because you never can get enough of these).
- Other options – feel free to add a sliced tomato or a cup or two of chopped iceberg or butter lettuce.
If you have any questions or suggestions, leave me a comment! I’ll get back to you… 🙂
Posted on November 27, 2012
My absolute favourite colour of all time is yellow! I love it in all its incarnations – cheery buttercup (like this skirt) for bright summer days, mustard for the cooler months, pastel shades for a gentle pick-me-up if you’re not in the mood for look-at-me, and who could forget gold for all variety of eye-catching accessories. It’s such a happy, warm and optimistic colour. Whoever said yellow was the colour of cowardice? Try wearing top to toe yellow – now would a coward do that? Pfffft.
***What I’m wearing – cream lace top by Madewell (yes, I have a thing for cream lace tops, I have about seven in various cuts/lengths/lace designs), yellow pencil skirt by J. Crew (Omg on sale right now, and in other awesome colours too! I want the jade one…), suede bow clogs by May (similar here and here), rose and gem necklace by Anthropologie, polka dot wallet by Kate Spade
Posted on November 26, 2012
When we moved into our home two years back, the quiet leafy streets and beautiful lake nearby convinced us to buy bicycles. We went to this awesome place called Pal and Panther in North Perth which custom made our bikes from refurbished vintage bikes. Mine was duck egg blue and cream and of course had to have a basket, and Jinn’s was a fixie with a red frame and white tires – tres hipster. We had big plans to ride them far far away, mayhap into a sunset or two somewhere, and hopefully even get fit somewhere along the way.
A few months later, I was getting into the car to go to work when I realised our garage door was swung wide open. Thinking that was quite odd, I then noticed something even more odd – the bikes were gone, their locks cut straight through. I called the police in a mild state of panic thinking they would rush out CSI:Miami style to take fingerprints and look for tiny specks of incriminating dust that would lead us to the perpetrators, but was told mildly to “leave a description of the bicycles and we’ll get back to you.” Not exactly the jump-in-the-car-sirens-squealing reaction I’d hoped for.
So that’s it. The bikes were gone.
Thinking I was never going to hear from them ever again, I moped around work, sweeping the floor with my bottom lip…when I received a call from the local police station.
“Is your bike light blue?”
“With cream mudguards?”
“Well you better come in quickly before one of us takes it home, it’s gorgeous!”
So that’s how my treasured little bike made its way back home. I couldn’t have been happier because I knew I’d never be able to replace her. Sadly, Jinn’s bike was never found. But a year later and after a suitable period of mourning he’s managed to move on and so we took ourselves and our two-wheeled friends for a wee test drive around the neighbourhood – just like old times.
***Jinn’s brand spankin’ new bike from Jellybean Bikes, mine from Pal and Panther
***What he’s wearing – dark blue t-shirt by Silent Theory via SqueakyTees, light blue shorts by St Goliath (similar), chambray shoes by Pointer via Kaeho, light green backpack by Herschel (colour no longer available), Chicago Bulls cap by New Era, sunglasses by Cheap Monday
Posted on November 23, 2012
1. Adding to our polaroid/instax wall
2. Trying to eat healthy – it’s mango season!
4. Lime tree baby in our garden
5. Happy bee-day Jinn! Crazy birthday candle for Jinn’s birthday from NYC that “flowered” into a mini firework and then spun around and played “Happy birthday” – nonstop. Until we destroyed it.
6. Mr Fleabag (now deflea-ed and glowing resplendently in the sun)
Posted on November 23, 2012
Posted on November 22, 2012
I too am dreaming of owning my very own perfectly formed Chanel handbag one day. I came close to it on our holiday but choked when I couldn’t decide exactly what I wanted (so many amaaaazing choices – how to choose?) and was also plagued by my guilty conscience (i.e. my husband) reminding me how much I’d already splurged on other purchases.
I’m actually intrigued by all the non-classic forms of handbag Chanel have released over the years. Take this bright red creation for example…There’s something so appealing about a flippantly boyish yet luxe backpack, so many crazy and contradictory ideas combining to make one awesome product.
I also have a penchant for the weirdly shaped ones that make you do a double take because you initially think that it couldn’t be Chanel but the exquisitely quilted lambskin and of course that undeniable logo tell you another story. See? You didn’t think Chanel could be “funky”, did you?
And finally, to mix things up even more, why not check out something that’s not in lambskin? Fancy a picnic with your very own wicker Chanel bag? Or conjure up 1950s glam with a wee bakelite tortoise evening bag? Vintage Chanel is a whole other world to explore (don’t even get me started on their vintage earrings – I may not surface for days!) that I can get lost in for hours…Does anyone else have the same unhealthy obsession as me? If so, let me know in the comments below! Help me prove to my husband that I’m not the only one!
*** All rare vintage Chanel***
1. Quilted lambskin backpack – my fave!
Posted on November 21, 2012
Perth City has undergone somewhat of an overhaul over the past two years, and in no place is it more evident than William Street, Northbridge. It once used to be a road lined with strip joints and bad restaurants, and I would certainly never have wandered down it alone after 8pm or so (and even if accompanied, at a very brisk pace!). Now the gorgeous old buildings have been restored to reveal their gorgeous late 1800s faces and are attracting more and more lovely new occupants! Tiny shops filled with racks of pretty vintage clothing, hole-in-the-wall coffee bars, and hip new restaurants are now filling up the spaces.
A more than welcome newcomer, Ruck Rover, has moved from its old home in Mount Lawley to join the now trendy crowd along this street. They stock a cute collection of clothing for guys, girls and children, as well as a wide range of gifts that would have nearly everyone on your Christmas list covered. Funky and brightly coloured beaded necklaces for your sister or BFF (I caved and bought one for myself!), polaroid cameras and film for any hipster in your life, sweet diaries that would impress any obsessive compulsive mum, and even homewares for the newly moved out.
I personally left with the aforementioned necklace, some earrings, a bunch of gorgeous greeting cards and the 50th issue of Frankie (yay for Frankie!). The place is dangerous I tells ya. Wandering further north up William Street we somehow also managed to acquire a new print from Outre Gallery by Matte Stephens, and an old Nina Simone record (an original pressing!) from Noise Pollution.
We may have travelled onwards but I hadn’t worn sensible shoes (now there’s a money-saving tactic!) so we stopped by Little Willy’s to enjoy their fine coffee and homemade pink lemonade. Now there’s a perfect ending to a perfect afternoon.
***What I’m wearing – ivory scallop lace top by Madewell, fuchsia petal skirt by Leifsdottir, black and tan wedges by Country Road (similar here and here), earrings by Kate Spade (similar), lip tint by Tarte in Spirited
***What he’s wearing – chambray shirt with dog embroidery by Pigeonhole (they don’t have the dog one anymore but they do have the duck one – here!
Posted on November 20, 2012
This outfit is a bit more “dramatic” and dark than my usual style but I just had to have this Lover Serpent Lace Dress when it came out earlier this year. I’d seen the gorgeous bright red version on Mirander Kerr but ummed and ahhed way too long about it and then was completely devastated when it sold out. This awesomely moody and romantic teal version was meant to be a post-exam present to myself but I just couldn’t wait so it turned out to be a pre-exam splurge! I wasn’t going to let it slip through my hands again…
***What I’m wearing – Lover Serpent Lace Dress in teal, black suede heels by Robert Robert (similar – these are cooool…), vintage Louis Vuitton clutch, diamond and ruby earrings (similar), my favourite red lippy by MAC (MAC Red), navy blue nail polish and caviar manicure by Ciate (here and here)
Posted on November 19, 2012
Wall art by Robert Jenkins
Hope some of you made it to the Beaufort Street Festival! It was a fun day with plenty of different sorts of activities – food, wine, music, art, fashion – seriously you’d have to be some kind of grouch not to have had a good time. Here’s a pick of a few things we did.
It was initially a rather sweltering 34 degrees but it was not long before a sweet breeze picked up and made the heat more tolerable. We ducked into the area hosted by the Ellington Jazz Club to hear Odette Mercy & Her Soul Atomics play a feisty set – mama’s got one hell of a voice! They just looked like they were having way too much fun on that stage, even with the boys dressed in full suits in the heat!
After thirstily downing a delicious and heat-defying raspberry and apple icy pole (Jinn had lime and mint – jealous…), we wandered further down the street, resisting the temptation of the stalls full of multicultural treats – paella, tacos, goslemme, murtabak, okonomiyaki – yes, we had to be very strong! Someone was blaring Justin Timberlake’s Senorita song…no wait, someone totally aMAzing was singing JT, and completely blowing our minds! He sounded just like him (if not a bit better, i.e. less whiny) and he had a sweet band backing him consisting of a keyboardist and drummer. And they’re all music teachers…whaaat? Yeah, they were advertising a teaching company – sign me up boys! If anyone can make me sound/play like that, I’m in. You can find them here.
Sadly I couldn’t stay any longer as I had a hen’s party to go to, but that didn’t stop me having fun! These festivals/street parties are becoming more common here in Perth in the warmer months and I for one am all for it!
Photo art by Keith Clements
***What I’m wearing – navy blue playsuit by Gorman, tan embroidered belt also by Gorman, tiny yellow flower earrings by someone that escapes my memory (similar), brown leather sandals by Jeffrey Campbell via Urban Outfitters (similar), tortoiseshell sunglasses by Robert Marc