Earlier last month, I was invited to Etsy Christmas Cafe at Covent Garden. I would’ve posted about this a lot sooner but I had my dissertation deadline to worry about and then a stream of programmes lined up after that – now that it’s sort of settled a little, I can finally blog!

They say, pictures say a thousand words. Words can hardly describe the lovely products that were on display. I didn’t bring my camera, so all I had were pictures snapped on my trusty iPhone. However, the Etsy UK team were ever so kind to provide us with some high-res photographs!

I met a whole bunch of beautiful Etsy sellers and had a great chat with them about their products. Most of the new products are not up in their Etsy stores as of now (because it’s not Christmas yet) but they’re definitely coming your way! I’ve got a few pieces in my mind that I am certain to get once they’re up in store!

Here are some products’ photographs from Etsy – these are my favourite picks (in no particular order)!

 

1. a) Calligraphy Monogram Notecards by Cerulean Press – £12 for 10

CeruleanPress.etsy.com  Calligraphy Monogram Notecards £12 for 10

I had mine done too! 😀

b) Pink Bow Notecards – £12 for 10

CeruleanPress.etsy.com Pink Bow Notecards £12 for 10

 

 

2. a) Birds in Hats A4 Calendar by Alice Tam – £12

BirdsinHats.etsy.com Birds in Hats A4 Calendar £12

b) Flamingo in a Tropical Cap A3 – £18

BirdsinHats.etsy.com Flamingo in a Tropical Cap A3 Print £18

3. Cat’s Pyjamas Side Plate by JimBobArt – £25

 

SONY DSC

 

4. Christmas Cards by CecilyMaeHandmade – £N/A

 

CecilyMaeHandmade.etsy.com 3

 

Such jovial cards to be sharing with friends and family, don’t you think? 😛

 

I snapped some photos during the event:-

 

image

“Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. Whatever.”

 

image

I love how creative CecilyMaeHandmade is!

image

image

This amazing machine made all of these cards (below)

image

image

I am absolutely in love with Alice’s gorgeous drawings of birds. Inspired by people around her (and sometimes strangers on the street), this is amazing art. I have my eye on her calendar and flamingo, I’ll be keeping a lookout for THOSE!

IMG_9594[1]

I used to do this when I was much younger, sewing fancy things onto small bookmarks/mobile decoration – it’s really great to see it has gone all large-scale and it makes beautiful (and more practical) gifts now. Helena from POMPOM Kits.

We also received goodie bags upon arriving at the event, here’s mine! Got a freebie Christmas garland from CecilyMaeHandmade – thank you so much! <3

 

IMG_9656[1]

 

All the links will lead you to the respective shops and their products. You should totally check them out. But may I also introduce Zack Mclaughlin who does beautiful art pieces and bird sculptures. They’re really wonderful so I do highly recommend that you check him out. 🙂

 

I had a great time with everyone at the Etsy Christmas Cafe. Once again, thank you Etsy UK for having me there! I look forward to more great things from Etsy! For now…let me save some money for Christmas shopping. 4 months should be good enough, no? 😛

 

 

Toodles. ♥

I love Japanese food. If I could, I would eat it all day, everyday. I don’t usually go for bentos or ramen because I love trying and eating every other option available! Alternatively, I would religiously have my bowl of miso soup in between plates of sushi and sashimi. It’s a must-have in every of my Japanese meal. So when I got an email from Miso Tasty inviting me to celebrate their launch, I immediately wrote back to say I was attending!

I met up with Emma earlier for a short catch up and some good coffee & cake at Kahaila Cafe, a non-profit cafe at Brick Lane. For a decent price, you can have yourself a lovely cup of coffee (or tea) and a large slice of very delicious cake. We had a slice of red velvet cake and my, it was delicious. I am quite wary when it comes to red velvet cakes because I have had my fair share of overly sweet, icky red velvety cakes – and I actually really love red velvet. So when I spoon in my first mouthful, I know that I have found one place (at least) that have gotten it right! So, thank you Em, for the lovely recommendation, we must come back and try the other cakes!

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

 

We made our way to the event, and when we arrived we were greeted by a friendly bunch of miso-lovers all seated around the table and a personalized space for me with my name attached to a dainty soup spoon! Almost immediately, we were served with this amazing glass of sparkling sake (this is so good, I need to find out where I can get this stuff) and we were then welcomed by Bonnie, the founder of Miso Tasty! She then proceeded to tell us (while we help ourselves to a lovely miso snack spread) about how Miso Tasty was started up, the obstacles, the successes, and how the miso was produced. It was a great educational session, I have to say, we now know the fermentation processes of the miso, why and how each miso tastes differently. We were asked to pick our favourite but darn they all tastes so good, each in their own way.

DSC_0456

DSC_0452

DSC_0454

We got to sample our chosen miso soup, my first choice was the spicy miso soup. Accompanied by a spread of fresh ingredients such as spring onion, seaweed, prawns, meat, noodles, tofu (the list goes on actually), I realized that miso doesn’t have to be all plain Jane – creative pimping can liven up the bowl!

DSC_0463

My second bowl, I had the classic Shiro miso. For me, this can be as simple as it originally is and it still tastes just as yum!

DSC_0470

As we chat around the table, Bonnie got into action and seemed to be cooking quite a storm in the kitchen.

DSC_0477

Lo and behold, not too long later we were presented with these amazing dishes cooked with miso.

DSC_0486

Aubergine-miso & coleslaw made with miso and tahini

DSC_0490

Saikyo miso grilled black cod and smoked salmon

These dishes were absolutely amazing! It had never occurred to me to come up with such creations with miso! Bonnie has so kindly agreed to put up some recipes on the website so I’ll be looking forward to that! My personal favourites are the aubergine-miso & and grilled black cod. Bonnie mentioned that it was really difficult to get the black cod but the outcome is well worth the money spent! The black cod has completely taken my heart, I most certainly will keep a lookout for this particular fish the next time round.

And when we had had our fill, guess what? We had desserts! You heard me right, dessert made with miso!

DSC_0497

Freshly baked gluten-free miso cookies! Yum! With chocolate chips too! Bonnie has posted up the recipe for this, so I’m looking forward to try it out soon!

 

The evening ended with gales of laughter around the table as well-fed happy people exchanged stories and contacts. We were each given a rather heavy-laden goodie bag and it did include what seemed like a month’s supply of miso (yay!), a bottle of juice from Organic Miracles and skin care products from Ren. Thank you so much!

DSC_0505

As I sat on the bus on my way home, reflecting on the evening’s event, I realised that this could be part of a solution for work hunger issues. As a nurse, we barely have time to go for a full lunch/dinner break and most of the time we end up eating at ridiculous hours or not eating at all. Miso Tasty might just be a life saver! With only 37 calories per serving, we don’t have to worry about stuffing ourselves with unhealthy snacks to keep our hunger at bay when this is so easy to make. Hot water, miso pack, and maybe pre-prepared tofu or boiled egg that we can pack into a small tupperware and bring to work. How awesome is this?! This makes light, nutritious lunch/snack/pre-dinner and I’m sure my body will agree. I am going to be known as Miso-Missy. Missy is what folks back home call the nurses. LOL.

 

Miso Tasty isn’t shipping internationally yet, but to all my dear healthcare professionals that may be reading this back in Malaysia/Singapore – what do you think? Sure it may not solve everybody’s problems but it’s one step! Hopefully Miso Tasty will be able to branch out internationally real soon, but until then…I’ll be smuggling A LOT OF MISO back for survival. 😛 Also, sharing is caring so friends back home are certainly going to be receiving some miso gifts.

 

Thank you so much Miso Tasty, for the wonderful evening!

 

You can find Miso Tasty in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Whole Foods. Or, make an online order at Miso Tasty!

 

If anyone of you have tried it, leave me your thoughts? 🙂

 

Toodles. ♥

It was just one of those days, I was scrolling through Twitter, and I chanced upon one of Emma’s retweet – introducing me to Stranger London. What caught my eye at first was THIS picture (c/o Stranger London):

Embedded image permalink

It was definitely love at first sight. <3

Composed of dried forget-me-nots, daisies and baby’s breath enclosed in a crystal clear glass bubble and linked on a silver sterling chain. I absolutely adore the idea. According to Yasumi, it was inspired by Victorian botanical illustrations and old books with flowers pressed within their pages. Indeed, it is the epitome of vintage + Victorian.

I contemplated for a good 6 days before finally making the ultimate decision of buying it! It was actually only then that I realized that it’s a one-piece only edition and once sold, bye bye! I jumped at that and well hello there, necklace! YOU ARE MINE, RAWR! 😀

 

Patiently, I waited for its arrival and finally on Saturday, look what turned up!

By the way, I love your handwriting, Yasumi!

Look at this beauty! Yasumi from Stranger London (& also from WorshipBlues) so kindly included a pretty pen and a lovely handwritten note. I was literally hopping with glee! Now I will be carrying with me not simply just a little bubble of lovely flowers, but a bubble filled with whispers of wishes and secrets, of dreams and of broken promises. My whimsical little secret.

 

I am definitely sold and if you guys haven’t heard of Stranger London yet (you mean to say you haven’t yet clicked on her link the minute I started raving about her 10 minutes ago???), I URGE that you do so! Now!

 

I must admit, I fell in love with Stranger London the minute I browsed the whole collection. Handmade with love and limited editions only, what is there not to love about the rarity of her vintage designs and ideas? Not forgetting, each piece has its own story!

 

I will most certainly be keeping my eyes out for new items! It seems like I am not the only one, because just last week Emma from Bloomzy posted up her review on Stranger London’s handmade coasters! Read it here.

 

And if you missed out my last post, do check it out – it was totally inspired by Yasumi’s post here on WorshipBlues!

 

 

Toodles, for now! ♥

Last Saturday was Nuffnang UK’s very first birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, NUFFNANG UK!) and yes, I got invited to the party along with all the other Nuffnang bloggers! I was looking forward to it the past whole week because it would be so lovely to finally meet the other bloggers whose blogs I have been stalking for months now!

The party was held at Netil 360 Rooftop Retreat  with an amazing view of East London.

Netill House

Netil House, right before we reached the entrance of Netil 360. This looked scary already.

 

Don’t be fooled by its’ dodgy looking entrance (it was really creepy, if I were alone I’d have freaked out) because as you climb up the stairs to the rooftop, you will see some adorable and interesting graffiti on the walls. For instance,

Graffiti

 

When we stepped out onto the rooftop, we were greeted by some great music, a burger and taco bar, not to mention the lovely view and of course….balloons!!! Almost immediately, we were served with Pimm’s (never had it before, didn’t know it’s alcoholic and DAMN it was delicious! I thought it was some fruit punch or something!), and lovely Jesse came to distribute our name stickers.

 

Balloons-2

 

It seemed like we had it all for a wonderful photoshoot – the location, the props and the people! So that’s what we did!

 

DSC_0084

DSC_0082

Cute & vivacious Honey from The Girl Next Shore

 

DSC_0090

DSC_0095

DSC_0097

Lovely Emma from Bloomzy

 

DSC_0099

Yours truly, no need for introduction. 😛

 

DSC_0126

DSC_0127

Our beautiful and amazing organizer, Jesse from Hecticophilia. Loving the pretty jacket, Jesse! 😛

 

DSC_0146

DSC_0149

 

I also met a number of fantastic bloggers (some which I have been stalking for a while now, hehe) and got to engage in wonderful conversations with them. It was an afternoon well spent with lovely people, yummy Pimm’s and oh them vegan tacos!

I met Marlene from Chocolate Cookies & Candies and Steph from Faiiint, both had so many interesting stories to share with us it seemed like an afternoon simply wasn’t enough!

Not forgetting the dynamic duo Jason & Chiara from goantolondon! 

It was unfortunate that I only had very brief contact with Holly from Petite Promise, Tom from Day Dream In Blue, Kylie from Little Outdoor Kylie, Sara from Hello The Mushroom (we managed to squeeze in a selfie, though!) and Emily from Emily Jayne. It was still very nice to have met them all! But I think it was such a shame that I didn’t manage to speak to a lot of other bloggers! Good thing for Twitter (and blogs!), we are still able to keep in touch! Here are some bloggers I didn’t get to say hello to: Francesca from Fall For DIY, Afra from Mad Mum of 7, Diane from Nomad Seeks Home. I’m pretty sure there were more D:!

 

 

 

Pimms

THIS DRINK! WHAT IS IN THIS DRINK YUMMMMM.

 

Tacos

These tacos were really good!

 

Victoria Yum

Headed down to Netil Market to scour for some sweet treats by Victoria Yum!

 

Besides the joy of meeting new people, it was also wonderful to see some familiar faces again! Angela from The Awkward Blog was there, Iris from Whatever Gets You Through The Day was sporting a lovely blue top to support Italy in that evening’s football match, and of course prosecco loving Sarah from The Prosecco Diaries who posted a lovely write up of the birthday party as well (featuring moi in some awkward laughing and props handling in the photoshoot).

 

 

All in all, a big thank you to the Nuffnang UK team for such a wonderful party! We had so much fun, we wished it didn’t have to end so quickly! Most certainly, I will be looking forward to more future events and catching up with fellow blogger buddies! Until then, we will be Twittering and blogs-hopping. 😀

 

 

Toodles! ♥

So last Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Jesse, Angela, Iris & Emma for lunch at Fika London located at Brick Lane. ‘Fika’ is a Swedish word that basically means having a coffee break. Lucky for us, Fika London does the whole package: breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea/coffee, dinner, cocktails…you name it. Unfortunately for me, I was too absorbed basking in the beautiful sun & heat that I have forgotten to take pictures of the place. (Not to worry, I am pretty sure I’ll find myself back in this quaint cafe/restaurant real soon). However, do read this lovely review here by Angela. We made our reservations earlier (all thanks to Emma) and we were seated on the rooftop (?). It was very comfy looking, with the artificial grass beneath our feet, lovely wooded tables and benches adorning the area. Not forgetting the whole area bathed in the summery sunshine and warmth. It was like having a luncheon with some close girlfriends at some garden. I had a lovely plate of Swedish meatballs and it was YUM. Very happy with my dish! I didn’t have a very good picture of it because I simply couldn’t wait to devour it. I recommend having it with their homemade iced teas; my current favourite right now is their peppermint, elderflower and mint (£3.50).

 

photo (4)

Homemade Swedish meatballs with skin on potato mash, red wine sauce and lingonberry jam (£10.20)

 

The beautiful afternoon beckoned us to leave the comfortable cafe and to take a nice walk around Brick Lane with coffee in our hands. Emma & I had to leave the group, who was going to enjoy the rest of the sun, and made our way to Piccadilly Circus to meet Sarah for an Instagram workshop at 180 Piccadilly Flagship Cath Kidston, organised by The Indytute (you guys should check them out – they’ve got a whole loads of interesting classes and workshops lined up for the whole year!). “Instagram with Jess Macdonald” was the workshop. I was extremely eager and curious about this workshop because 1) I am actually really envious of people with beautiful feeds & 2) I need to LEARN THESE SKILLS, whatever they are.

Jess has several accounts and one of them is just filled with interesting photographs of the Underground. All taken & edited by iPhone only, I was piqued and wanted to know how to make full use of my iPhone 4S who has served me well until now.

We made new friends quickly while we were sent off to perform our three given tasks: Taking three different types of photographs – a lifestyle shot, a window shot and of course, what is Instagram without a portrait or a selfie shot?

image

Featuring Emma as my portrait model, Ruben & Jazmine in the fun, selfie shots; they are so much fun to work with! Plus I got some tips from Emma on how to behave in front of a camera. I may be an amateur behind a camera, but I am still completely useless in front of one. Takes great courage to be posing for anyone. But it sure is such great fun to work on this challenge, because we learnt that the one ultimate way to look genuine in front of a camera is to get distracted and pray that the photographer gets the au naturel shot. Like so (credits to Emma):

 

Cath Kidston shoot

I also really like this red cardigan now, anyone wants to get me a belated birthday present? 🙂

 

So here are some tips we picked up from the workshop:

1) No Instagram filters!

Surprised? Well don’t be! If you’ve been on Instagram long enough, you would know by now that the filters which were once so interesting, are now looking quite tacky indeed.

2) Photo apps!

Jess recommends using apps like Snapseed and VSCOCam to enhance your photos. Personally, I don’t quite enjoy using Snapseed, way too much finger control for me to handle and it was too intense to get it right (I am so very lazy). VSCOCam on the other hand is my all-time favourite. Filters are interesting, there are a couple which are a little dramatic but yay for filter controls, we are still able to manage the level of intensity of the filter.

3) Jess mentioned the Rule of Thirds which I have never heard before (shame!) and Emma explained a little about it before I got home to Google it. However, she did tell us about a rule of her own – the 3 Ss: Silhouettes, Sunsets, & Symmetry. 

4) Follow a few of them famous Instagrammers and check out their feeds. Mimic their style if you can but I would think having your own style will always do you a favour. Also, it does help to build relationships with other fellow Instagrammers, i.e. by replying and leaving comments.

5) Using hashtags – be mindful on what you’re using. While your picture may be #beautiful, using that as a hashtag isn’t exactly ideal. You want it to be relevant to your picture, and not too many hashtags as well.

6) I am slightly obsessed about keeping my feed symmetrical, i.e. I really like them as they are – the Instagram square style. However, I have used Whitagram to fit certain photos and no doubt, that has ruined the nice square pattern. Jess suggests either we stick to using the squares or using borders of the same size. She also suggested we could perhaps alternate it, if we want.

7) Selfies! Some people are good at it; but for some (like me) are probably crap at it. So what you can do is you could always get someone to take a portrait selfie for you! Unfortunately, as I have mentioned, I am quite hopeless in front of the camera so even if I got someone to take it for me, I would look rather awkward. :-/

8) Taking a photograph of a stranger. This is one thing I haven’t gotten the guts to do. You see someone strutting down the street with style, go up to them, strike up a conversation, drop in a compliment or two on their smashing look and maybe ask them for their permission to capture their look! I’m still working on that. 😛

Well, that’s all I remember guys! I do hope it helps you some way or another! Perhaps inspire you to work on taking better pictures on your phone! With better photos, come more followers (if that’s what you are aiming for!). I am truly inspired myself, and can’t wait to build on my Instagram feed! 😀

 

It was indeed a fun Sundate! A big thank you to Sarah for the invite to the workshop and Jaz for her lovely hospitality. Not to forget Jess with her vast knowledge on Instagram and sharing them with us! You can check out our feeds here:

 

Emma: @bloomzy

Sarah: @sairey_bearey

Ruben: @rubostars

Jazmine: @jazzabellediary

Yours truly: @alexianatouillia

 

 

Enjoy the rest of the long weekend & may you have a great one!

 

Psssst! Let me let you in on a not-so-secret little piece of gossip – on the 26th May, Fika is letting you pay what you want for their food and all the money will be going to charity! Check it out here (so if you happen to read this during the day, time to get ready for some fun tonight!). Also, if you become their member (free!), you get a cute little keychain and a tote bag on the spot; not to mention, you also get to join in the exclusive Monday Meatball Day where you have a little fun trying to beat the clock and letting it decide how much you pay for them yummy dish of meatballs! It’s definitely worth going for, I say!

 

Toodles! ♥