Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Off to see the bright lights

Hong Kong lights, by vendmr

So I'm off to Hong Kong tomorrow for a whirlwind family reunion. It'll be the first time my parents and siblings are in the same country since my wedding back in 2006!

There'll be lots of eating, a bit of shopping, and I predict buckets of tears when I say farewell to my brother who is moving to Japan (and it's his birthday today, happy birthday B!).

Mr Curious won't be coming as he can't take time off work. I'm going to miss him, but I suspect TLG will miss him even more! Mr C is recording some videos for TLG to watch in HK as I type <3

I won't be blogging during the trip, but I'm getting a local SIM so my iPhone will be in action and I plan to tweet on and post photos on instagram (under mscuriousccm).

Don't miss me too much! I'll be back before you know it ;-D

P.S. I went to the Red Cross and donated blood today. Their blood supply running low so please donate if you're eligible!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Melbourne 2011 Take 2 - Tidbits

As I mentioned in the first post on this trip, Mr Curious and I went to Abbotsford Convent.

Operated by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, it was a convent for poor or vulnerable girls and women for over a hundred years. At its peak in 1912, over a thousand women and girls stayed at the convent or attended the day school. The site is now open to the public and housed studios, galleries and eateries.

TLG would have loved the grounds.

We didn't try out the cafe as we were still full from lunch at Curzao. Instead, we wandered around and enjoyed the tranquil settings.

Mr C took a photo of me soaking up the winter sun.

One of the best discovery of this trip was the work of Nicola Cerini. She has a showroom in the Convent and Mr Curious and I spent a long time admiring her designs. Her partner John patiently answered our 1001 questions.

Cerini designed an array of beautiful fabrics.

I fell in love with this pleated silk print.

I really want to use the fabric for our sofa cushions (I have one behind my back and one on top of my lap as I type) but I'm not sure if the silk is too delicate. John kindly cut a sample for us to keep and I'm going to do some research.

Mr Curious was attracted to Nicola's floor rugs. The Impatiens rug was on display at the studio. Pretty, isn't it?

Mr Curious' favourite is the Alhambra:

If we ever move to a house with floorboards we will definitely consider getting one of her rugs.

I couldn't leave without getting something, so I bought a set of oven mitt and pot holder in this gorgeous Blossom print.

This trip was about Mr Curious and I spending time together so shopping was not high on the agenda. I did pick up a few knick-knacks.

From top then clockwise:
  • A pen holder from Typo for my hair brushes in the bathroom (now that it's all tidy)
  • The Daily Mood, a flipchart with 47 emotions in cute cartoons, and amusing facts about each one on the other side, e.g. 

  • A pair of fortune-cookie themed trainer chopsticks for my FIL
  • A pack of race car stickers for TLG
I also bought a grey scarf for the bargain price of $20 (nothing as fancy as the Missoni scarves of course) :-D

These two buildings are across the road from either other. I love Melbourne's diverse architecture.

Ah, it was such a lovely trip. The next one can't be too far away, can't it?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Lemming: Missoni scarves

A timely shopbop e-mail led me to the Missoni scarf collection. I can't picture myself wearing Missoni clothings (a bit too full on for me) but the scarves are divine. The distinctive Missoni prints are perfect to bring a winter outfit into life. And less than $US200 for an Italian made scarf that can be worn for life is a good fashion investment in my book.

My picks from the collection are:

Zigzag scarf ($US138) - a classic Missoni design that goes with everything.

Multi-print scarf ($US198) - love the contrast patterns, and it's 100% wool!

Knit fringe scarf ($US154) - another pure wool scarf <3

Chenille scarves ($US138) - I love these prints!

When I started writing this post the last scarf was my favourite but now I'm not sure. They're all beautiful!

Which one takes your fancy?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Question Time: What beauty products to buy in Hong Kong?

Photo: Shop till you drop by indigo_girl on Flickr

My Hong Kong trip is just over a week away - it's time to put a shopping list together. I have ideas on what I'd like but I don't know which brand to go for. This is where you can help! Have a read of my list below and I want to know your recommendations :-D

Liquid foundation - I'm using Shu Uemura's Face Architect Smoothing Fluid Foundation at the moment (in 554). I like it and the colour is a good match but I want  to try something with a longer wear and medium to high coverage. I have combination skin so I don't want a very rich formula. Recommendations I've received so far include MAC Pro Longwear and Estee Lauder Double Wear.

Concealer - I bought Laura Mercier's Under Eye Perfector and Secret Concealer last year. They certainly helped but I'm always looking for an HG concealer. Should I try the famous YSL Touche Éclat or Bobbi Brown's popular corrector and concealer?

Eye pencil - Eyeliner is my #1 make up item - I can skip foundation but I always apply eyeliner before I leave the house. Try as I may I cannot master a liquid eyeliner so I'm in the market for more eye pencils. I prefer pencils over kohl eyeliners because it is easier to sharpen the tip. My requirements are pretty basic - easy to use with mininal smudging.

Lipsticks - Summer is coming and I want to wear bright fun shades. On top of the list is coral, but I'm always on the lookout for pretty pink and reds. Tara from Keeping up with me raved about Dior Addict so I'll give that a try. I'm also going to try MAC's Prep and Prime lip liner on Tara's recommendation.

Face primer - I finished my Shu UV under base mousse a while ago and I'm using FOA's base face primer right now. Cclarebear recommends NARS Pro-Prime Pore Refining Primer or Make Up Forever HD Microperfecting Primer. What do you use?

Eyeshadow quads: I like eyeshadow quads because the colours are always complimentary and it's easy to take one and put in the gym makeup bag. One of Emily Quak's recent tweets reminded me of Chanel's Les 4 Ombres and they sure look pretty. Now which one(s) should I get?

I also want to pick up a few more Chubby Sticks and I'm sure I'll discover other goodies once I'm there.

The floor is now open - I look forward to all your suggestions :-D

Monday, August 15, 2011

Melbourne 2011 Take 2 - The Food

I love food in Melbourne. So much variety, and a different vibe from Sydney - intimate but chilled-out at the same time.

I was reading the onboard magazine on the flight to Melbourne and there was an article about street food in Melbourne. One of the eateries mentioned was Cruzao Arepa Bar in Brunwick. I've never had Venezuelan food before so I persuaded Mr Curious to go there for lunch.

The restaurant was casual with fun artworks on the wall. The middle and the bottom paintings were my favourites.

Cruzao's signature dish is the arepa, a pita-like pocket made with corn, grilled and stuffed with ingredients of your choice. Mr Curious ordered the pabellon (shredded beef, black beans, plantain and feta, left) and I had the llanera (pork leg, tomato and haloumi, both $9.50).

The arepa was soft and moist with a distinct corn flavour (similar to corn chips). The pork leg was in pull-apart territory, and the tomato slices and haloumi worked really well together. I can imagine this being served in street stores as a snack or lunch on the run. Mr Curious highly enjoyed his arepa also.

We also ordered the lequeños (cheese bread sticks with hogao, $11)

They were so good. Straight out of the oven (or frying pan? I'm not sure) it was doughy, cheesy and surprisingly light. The hagao was similar to a salsa but it was more like a paste. There was a small jar of chilli on the table to add a kick to the dish.

We were still a bit peckish after we finished the above so we ordered the empanaditas (filled corn pastries with guasacaca, with beef or cheese fillings, $11)

Don't they look golden and delicious? Well yes they were :-D

Mr Curious had a Brazilian beer and I had a virgin mojito to wash down the food.

I am so glad I found this little gem. I wish there is a similar joint in Sydney!

We went to The Press Club that night. No photo because it was a romantic dinner. My favourite was the eel kroketes (croquettes) that was part of the salmon main (photo here). On the flip side, I was a bit disappointed with the bread. I have a high expectation of bread from a Greek restraurant and it was only alright.

The restaurant ticks all the boxes - slick decor, efficient service and high quality food, but on a whole the dishes were a bit too rich for my liking. Mr Curious was a big fan though.

We were planning to go to Madame Sousou for breakfast (thanks for the recommendation Ling) the next morning but we slept in (bliss!) and with a full schedule ahead, we opted to stay in the CBD. Running in Lulu recommended Il Solito Posto for dinner but it was closed on Sunday, so we went there for breakfast instead.

I was still a bit full from the night before so I ordered the burcher muesli ($12)

I liked the grated apple on top - I'm going to try that next time I made bircher muesli at home. The dish was so fresh and a great way to start the day. There was a nut of some sort in the muesli which I wasn't a big fan of but it was easy to pick them out.

Mr Curious had the Italian scrambled eggs with prosciutto, roma tomato, basil and parmesan ($14) plus a side of bacon.

I was too full to sample his dish. He gave it the two thumbs up.

For lunch we went to our old favourite Ezard. They have a 3-course express lunch with a glass of wine for $55pp which was very good value.

I love the bread with their homemade olive oil and 3 dips (photo here). I can't decide if I like the sweet then spicy rock sugar/chilli combo more or the delicious bonito salt with seaweed.

The highlight of the meal was the pork belly with caramel sauce - rich but yet so refined.

I had the caramelised apple and rhubarb crumble with vanilla mousse and apple cider sorbet for dessert.

It was nice but not as "wow" as Ezard's other desserts.

Mr Curious forced down the honeycrunch icecream, toasted gingerbread and sugar swirl :-D

It was the first time I went to Ezard for lunch. With sunlight streaming in from the windows and less people it was a more relaxed experience which I enjoyed.

We were let down by the service though. We ordred the oyster shooters but they were never delivered (by the time we received our first course it was a bit pointless to ask for the appetiser) and the bill we received initially was incorrect (they didn't include the desserts). I didn't leave a tip. I didn't give them a reason and I wonder if I should've written something on the bill.

I will still go back to Ezard for its food, I'm hoping the below-par service was a once-off.

Overall it was another wonderful culinary journey. I can't wait to be back again. MoVida is on my hit list and I want to go to Madame Sousou next time!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Early start to summer dressing

Last week's weather was such a tease - sunny and a maximum of 24-25. It's back to winter this week but that preview was enough to make me all excited for summer and new additions to my wardrobe.

A tweet by Glamour UK on 50 dresses under £50 led me to the Dorothy Perkins site and there are some lovely summer dresses on sale at the moment. I've never bought from them before but I'm tempted. Here are my picks.

Green block dress (on sale, £21) - I love the colour blocking trend!

Ginger block dress (on sale, £17)

Multi print oriental dress (on sale, £25) - what a fun print!

Multi check zip back dress (on sale, £17) - I picture this with a lightweight denim jacket

Navy stripe zip front dress (on sale, £10)

Red abstract print dress (£32) - I love the print but Mr Curious thinks it's hideous. What's your verdict?

Black/white cat print dress (£28) - what a fun print (click to enlarge)

What are your picks?

Update 13/8: I tried to place an order last night (for dresses #1, #2, and #6) but the DP site didn't accept my credit card (it's a 28 Degree Mastercard which I use for online purchases with no problems in the past). I went back to the site today and a lot of the prices have changed - some up and some down.

I ended up buying only dress #2 from the list above (now down to £12!) but chose another 3 items.

Purple floral sequin dress (on sale, £17)

Blue stripe tie waist dress (on sale, £15)

Lime cornelli scallop hem top (on sale, £20)

The 4 items came to a total of £64. Postage to Australia is £10.50 but for some reason I received a £10 discount so postage was practically free! The website still didn't accept my credit card so I used Paypal (which is linked to the same credit card) instead.

As an aside, The Dorothy Perkins website is a delight to use. I like the review system. One of the drawbacks of online shopping is that you can touch and feel the product, and it's really useful to hear other shopping's comments. I ordered one the dresses in a smaller size because the feedback was that the dress runs large. Negative comments of a particular item may affect sales but the whole system provides shoppers with more information and gives them confidence in making a purchase so it's a big plus to me.

A small bugbear - the search box on the top right of the page needs to be bigger!

I also wish DP (and other online shops like ASOS) allow user to filter by fabric. I don't like wearing polyester, especially during summer, so I exclude all dresses made with polyester. At the moment I have to find out one dress at a time. It'll be good if I can just exclude polyester in a search.

I hope they arrive before I go to Hong Kong later this month so I can put them into good use before summer in Sydney!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Melbourne 2011 Take 2 - The Art

Mr Curious and I were very lucky to travel to Melbourne for a romantic (i.e. kid-free) getaway to celebrate our 8-year dating anniversary.

It is very hard to go to places like art galleries with TLG, so we took the opportunity to visit a few exhibitions during our visit.

Thanks to Mrs. McAwesome's recommendation we went to Abbotsford Convent and visited the c3 contemporary art space, which featured an interesting mix of artwork. Here are some of my picks.

Jill Herman

John Harris

Aaron Carter

Nik Papas

The idea of presenting photos as postage stamps is such a good one I may just create something like that myself.

We also went to the Vienna Art and Design exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. The NGV is becoming one of my favourite places to visit in Melbourne. Both their permanent and special exhibitions are of excellent quality. I think I can spend days in there!

The Vienna exhibition was really enjoyable. It was an all-emcompassing program, from traditional art forms like painting and sculpture, to architecture, interior designs, decorative art and fashion.

I was fascinated by the rise and fall of the Secession movement. In their works I felt the passion of the artists gathering to create something completely different. With a group of people of such talent and strong individual visions, I guess it was inevitable for internal divisions to bring down the group. To me, the period is like a shooting star - short-lived but burnt brightly while it lasted.

The exhibition did an excellent job of telling the story of an ebullient period of art history. I enjoyed immersing in the world created by these talented artists.

Now, some of my favourite works:

Gustav Klimt - The Beethoven Frieze (1902) - there was a reproduction at the exhibition

Otto Wagner - Lobby of the Postal Savings Bank, Vienna (1906)

Armchair designed by Wagner for the Bank (1904-5)

Josef Horrmann, Postcard No 74 (1907)

Koloman Moser, Then Enchanted Princesses cabinet (1900)

Koloman Moser, plate 27 from Flächen Schmuck series (1901)

Koloman Moser (designer), Wiener Werkstätte (manufacturer) - Flower basket Model no. S 781 (1906)

Art at its best enriches one's soul. I was certainly inspired and rejuvenated by their brilliance :-D


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