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

 

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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:-

 

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“Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas. Whatever.”

 

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I love how creative CecilyMaeHandmade is!

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This amazing machine made all of these cards (below)

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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!

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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

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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

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Aubergine-miso & coleslaw made with miso and tahini

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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!

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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!

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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. ♥

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.

 

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

 

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Cute & vivacious Honey from The Girl Next Shore

 

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Lovely Emma from Bloomzy

 

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Yours truly, no need for introduction. 😛

 

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

 

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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! ♥

From the 28th of April – 2nd May 2014, I participated in a challenge to raise global awareness and funds to fight extreme hunger and poverty.  Together with thousands of people, I lived #belowtheline on just £1 per day for 5 days! Join us!

Photo courtesy of Live Below The Line UK

 

First of all, much apologies to my dear readers for not updating after Day 3. It seemed so far away now, this time 2 weeks ago. It was like getting past the bad times and living the good days now. Funny what 5 days of “poverty” can do to you. The week I was living below the line was also my study week. I had a paper the following week, which was last Tuesday. While I was getting along just fine, by Day 4 I realized I still had much to catch up on and I simply had to go offline from the blog.

 

Well, 2 weeks it has been, my exam is over and now I’m back in the blogosphere. Again, my apologies.

 

Day 4 and Day 5 of living below the line went well and I am proud to say that right up to day 5 I have managed to keep myself in check. May I also proudly add that I have managed to fundraise a total of £113 up to date and it has to be my biggest achievement ever. I don’t believe I have ever fundraised this much for any other cause before and I am eternally grateful for each and every one who has so generously sponsored me, and supported me throughout my journey. ♥

 

This particular week had been a very interesting week indeed. Not only did I have to exercise discipline from reaching into my snack cupboard and chocolate stash, I also had to keep myself sane. Every single night since the challenge started, I have been dreaming about food without fail. I even dreamt about McDonald’s and trust me – I haven’t eaten McDonald’s for what…8 months now? So on the second day, I decided that to control my desires (for food), I will watch all the food channels and cooking shows there are on TV. You must think I’m either insane or some sort of a masochist for putting myself through such…torture. Lol. It’s not. I put myself through it, to control my mind. After a while, I appreciated food presented on TV just as it is. Wondrous, glorious food. Sure, I would love to eat it. But it surprised me just as well when I didn’t seem to want it just as much. I have all these cravings I wanted to satisfy but it didn’t seem as important. Knowing that I had food for my every meal was more than enough for me. In fact, by the end of the challenge, you would think that I would throw myself into a buffet and eat myself crazy. I thought I would too. Lo and behold, I lost all my cravings. I know then I could eat if I wanted to. And I realized that I have somewhat gotten rid of my impulsive eating. I didn’t want to buy food just because I can and then end up having to discard it or anything like that because I didn’t like it or I couldn’t finish it. It was…a whole new experience. The very next day when a friend dragged me for a mini celebratory meal, I was actually wracked with guilt for eating like normal again. Which I think isn’t exactly a good thing because every time after that, I would stare at my meals with such forlorn, you’d think it’s a crime to be eating.  I got over that soon enough but there will always be a twinge of slight guilt and sorrow, sadly. At least, now I am aware. 🙂

 

One thing I also picked up after this challenge was the fact that now after knowing that it is possible to buy groceries under £5, I was getting more careful about what I was buying. I know then it is possible to get cheaper things elsewhere, as long as I know where to look. Sure, it still isn’t practical to go all out of the way but as long as it is still possible & convenient, why not? That spare change that I save could very well go to fundraise this very cause and allowing someone else to have a proper meal, or send someone to school. :’)

 

Day 4 dinner: Rice coated with sweet & sour sauce + veggies. Surprisingly yum!

But another thing I am extremely proud of is that I lived WITHOUT my coffee! Yay! I have to admit, I was really worried at one point before the challenge. I was worried about the caffeine withdrawal but thank goodness I had none of that! I can totally prove that I CAN live without expensive cups of coffee every single day. Yaaaayyyyyy! Well done me! 😀

Day 5 lunch: Egg Shakshuka. Expensive (£0.54??? I scoff!) and I believe I can make a better version of this.

 

I am still considering doing it again but this time, I will definitely change the ingredients. Oh, the guilt is hitting me again. I get so worked up thinking about the fact that we are still able to CHOOSE what we want despite trying to live below the line. I know, it sounds really crazy but I cannot help it. All I can do is just be thankful and weave my way around it. 🙁

 

Day 5 dinner; my final meal below the line: Similar to day 4’s dinner but it’s actually tomato rice! Still yum!

 

Such a humbling journey to live £1/day. I will definitely not look at food the same way again, knowing how even the most basic, or smallest (and possibly insignificant to some) ingredients, e.g. garlic or onion can make such differences in the flavours of what seem like an unappetizing meal (as you can clearly see from my not so awesome pictures). Oh how I will treasure you little bulbs of garlic and that spoonful (or two) of salt that I put in every dish~ *among all my other appreciation of every other food/ingredients available to me.

 

 

If you are taking part in this challenge, do drop me a comment and share your journey with me! I would love to hear all about it!

 

Do contact me (or drop me a comment) if you are interested and willing to be involved. Or, you can choose to join me and participate in this challenge yourself, pick your own charity group that you may wish to fundraise for and experience an eye-opening, humbling 5-day journey. :D  You don’t have to do it this week, this campaign runs until the 30th of June so anytime from now until then!

If, for whatever reasons you are not able to participate in the challenge but still wish to support, you may choose to sponsor me HERE! Remember, this campaign runs until the 30th June! No amount is too small for any cause, and rest assure that all the money will go to UNICEF UK. If you need all your spare change right now but still wish to make a difference, do spread the message and share what I am doing with your friends & family. Your support is invaluable. :D

 

You can also like their Facebook page or follow their updates on Twitter; remember to use the hashtag #belowtheline to stay connected!

 

 

N.B. The Paypal system does not allow donations to get through from Singapore (and possibly from Malaysia), unfortunately. I am still trying to get a list of countries from Live Below The Line UK that allow/disallow donation to get through. If you are interested to sponsor me, please get in touch with me via email/comment, and we can arrange something. I apologize for the inconvenience!

 

 

 

Toodles. ♥

What’s £1 got to do with ending poverty?
From April 28 – May 2 2014, I took part in the Live Below The Line challenge
in support of UNICEF UK. Join me and thousands of people living on just £1 a
day for five days. Fight extreme poverty. Transform lives.
www.livebelowtheline.org/uk

From the 28th of April – 2nd May 2014, I am participating in a challenge to raise global awareness and funds to fight extreme hunger and poverty.  Together with thousands of people, I will be living #belowtheline on just £1 per day for 5 days! Join us!

Photo courtesy of Live Below The Line UK

 

Woke up this morning to a motivational email from Live Below The Line and was awed by the first sentence: “It’s day 4 and I’m sure you are feeling it.”

It’s Day 4.

It’s Day 4 and it’s the 1st of May. Wow. So quick.

Am I feeling it yet? In a way, I’m not entirely sure to be honest. While I am more aware of my hunger pangs now, I am also equally more aware that I can control how I want to feel about this whole thing. I can be all upset and grumpy that I can’t taste my food the way I like it, or that I can’t sneak a cookie or my usual chocolate treats anytime I like…or I can be real about this challenge and be grateful I still have three meals a day (with a cheeky banana every other day). While it was a little sad that I couldn’t go sit in a cafe and fully enjoy yesterday’s sunshine and blue skies (because I can’t quite walk into a cafe without ordering anything, can I?), I’m not too concerned about isolation. It is possible, but it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Honey talked about how she made it through her client’s event yesterday which involved a great deal of free food, free drinks and free everything! She did it, so why can’t we? 🙂

 

Day 3 was alright. I even headed to campus for a short meeting yesterday after my rather filling congee leftovers for lunch, and came back without having to pull myself away from an inviting cafe! I was so proud! Although I did get very hungry by 4-ish, by the time I got home I literally pounced on my unsuspecting banana! Banana has always tasted yums, this particular banana was especially good! Lol. Kept my hunger at bay for a while before I started fantasizing about dinner.

I have to say, the highlight of my meals so far has always been dinner! I tend to put more thought into dinner because I’m a night owl you see, I would rather be more satisfied for dinner than the other two meals. 😀 Last night, I finally decided to make garlic egg fried rice with veggie & tuna!

I nearly burnt my onions, though. This would make some awesome fried rice with some soy sauce and garnishing. And more chilli! Taste-wise it’s a little bland. Just a little. But the veggie and tuna (which were sautéed earlier with garlic in the pan) gave it a lovely fragrant mix to the rice. Still made me happy though! 😀

Garlic Egg Fried Rice with veggie & Tuna

Serves 2

Ingredients:

200g

Rice

150g

Sweetheart cabbage, shredded

¼ pc

Onion, sliced

1 tbsp

Sunflower oil

1 pc

Rocket chilli, finely sliced

1 tsp

salt

2 cloves

Garlic, chopped

½ cup

water

Directions:

1) Wash the rice and cook (preferably the night before, otherwise an hour or two beforehand).

2) In a large pan, heat the oil and sauté the chopped garlic, chilli and onion until fragrant and soft.

3) Add the vegetables and put on the lid for 5-10 minutes to soften the veggies.

4) Add in the tuna and cooled rice, mix well with the veggie. Fry it for about 5 minutes.

5) Add in ¼ cup of water to moisten the mix (or else you might burn it!) Crack in an egg and stir it well into the rice mixture.

6) Taste and season well. Dig in.

 

Oh right, before I forget – Here’s how much each meal cost me so far:

Day 1: £0.98 (Breakfast – £0.22; Lunch – £0.47; Dinner – £0.28)

Day 2: £0.64 (Breakfast – £0.11; Lunch – £0.28; Dinner – £0.25)

Day 3: £0.82 (Breakfast – £0.22; Lunch – £0.25; Dinner – £0.32; A teabag – £0.03)

 

Look out for Day 4’s journey! 😀

 

If you are taking part in this challenge, do drop me a comment and share your journey with me! I would love to hear all about it!

Remember to check back daily for them recipes and of the journey. I will also be sharing photos on my Instagram, as well as live updates on my Twitter.

Do contact me (or drop me a comment) if you are interested and willing to be involved, i.e. we can form a team! Or, you can choose to join me and participate in this challenge yourself, pick your own charity group that you may wish to fundraise for and experience an eye-opening, humbling 5-day journey. :D  You don’t have to do it this week, this campaign runs until the 30th of June so anytime from now until then!

If, for whatever reasons you are not able to participate in the challenge but still wish to support, you may choose to sponsor me HERE! No amount is too small for any cause, and rest assure that all the money will go to UNICEF UK. If you need all your spare change right now but still wish to make a difference, do spread the message and share what I am doing with your friends & family. Your support is invaluable. :D

You can also like their Facebook page or follow their updates on Twitter; remember to use the hashtag #belowtheline to stay connected!

 

N.B. The Paypal system does not allow donations to get through from Singapore (and possibly from Malaysia), unfortunately. I am still trying to get a list of countries from Live Below The Line UK that allow/disallow donation to get through. If you are interested to sponsor me, please get in touch with me via email/comment, and we can arrange something. I apologize for the inconvenience!

 

 

Toodles. ♥

What’s £1 got to do with ending poverty?
From April 28 – May 2 2014, I am taking the Live Below The Line challenge
in support of UNICEF UK. Join me and thousands of people living on just £1 a
day for five days. Fight extreme poverty. Transform lives.
www.livebelowtheline.org/uk