Not very Christmasy…

My poor Hubbie has been suffering from a very messy cold for a couple of days.
He has a violent fit of coughs several times a night and it keeps not only him but me and Mr.B awake through our bedtime.
He was filming in a wine cellar in Buckinghamshire one cold day last week and ended up bringing home some nasty microorgasm, it seems. 
I can feel that a head cold is developing inside me as well. However, I am fending it off with eating well and doing a… handstand! I don’t know why a handstand makes me feel better but it DOES!!

To cheer up a very bunged up Hubbie, I toasted crumpets this morning…

Image

Crumpets… You cuties.
I love the name very much too. The sound of it fills my heart with warmth.
After smothering them with a generous layer of butter, I covered one with strawberry jam…

Image

And another one with honey…

Image

Mmmm… Biting into a warm and bouncy crumpet on Sunday morning…
It’s so simple yet so satisfying. Hubbie and I agreed eagerly.

For lunch, I made chicken soup as I was advised from my local chemist…

Image

Again, it was very simple yet soothing…
The broth seemed to ease his sore throat a little. Let’s hope he will feel better by Christmas Day.

The only Christmasy thing in here is a gift I received from Japan a few days ago…

Image

Isn’t it gorgeous?
Thank you, Sahoko-san. You cheer us a lot (^0^)

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ イギリス英語へ
にほんブログ村 自転車ブログへ

The confession of hairdresser

Perching beside my darling Hubbie who is composing the last email of the day and swigging a grande soy decaf from Starbucks, I am slowly recovering my equilibrium.
No, no, nothing bad happened on me at Oxford Circus. Being amidst of that chaos was just very stressful. That was all.
By the way, why we repeat this every year? It’s just for a few day in December, isn’t it? I positively begin to loathe all thing Christmas. I hate roast turkey and can’t face brussels sprout. And christmas pudding! Ugh!!!

Anyway, a book “Recollections of Léonard, hairdresser to Queen Marie-Antoinette”, it is the one which I am reading recently, burning the midnight oil almost every night…

leonardbookcover

Léonard Autie was responsible for the last queen of France’s stupendously constructed headdresses.
He served Marie Antoinette since she was a fresh-faced 16 years old, just arriving from Austria as the Dauphine of France. And his service lasted until she embarked on her ill-fated flight from Tuileries Palace.

marieantoinette

Most of us do tittle-tattle with the hairdresser while our coiffe is attended to. And the conversation tends to waver between social pleasantries  to more personal matters.
What did the most notorious French queen confided to her Leonard who combed her blonde at least once if not a several times a day? My curiosity keeps me awake, and as the result, I am not having a quality sleep recently…

hairdo

So, how do I find him, Léonard the hairdresser? In his memoir, he was deliciously catty and almost cruel about the characters who inhabited in and around Marie Antoinette’s microcosms…

leonard

His observation was insightful, witty and cynical.
I was rather surprised to find out that he never idolised or worshiped his sweet patron, and was in “Camp Antoinette” in superficial means only. He was also not on bad terms with Marie Antoinette’s arch-rival, Madame du Barry either…

madamedubarry

His discretion and diplomacy appeared to serve him well in order to shimmy through the Château de Versailles.
His opinion of Marie Antoinette was critical and time to time, it was even negative. He did not think of her or her spouse as a suitable character who could rule the county competently. He never believed that they had any real zest or tact to reign. In his eyes, they were just  idle individuals  who happened to be born with a silver spoon in mouth.
I suppose the opinion of someone like Léonard, who attained his position because of his hard work and talent, not due to a privileged birth, those high-borns around the royal couple, whose primary interests seemed to be being frivolous and canoodling, his true feeling would hardly be supportive or sympathetic towards them. Even though he was a royalist, never a republican, he must have felt increasingly uneasy about his spendthrift monarch who was also his No.1 client. The milieu in France was changing rapidly. The French people were disillusioned and discontent about the Bourbons and its bankrupting nation.
I wonder how Leonard felt about the looming calamity raising its angry head while he was backcombing his mistress’s powdered coif? Did he behold her with frustration or pity?..

bighair

I’ve reached almost to the halfway point. And Léonard is yet to recount how he regarded Madame de Polignac or about that infamous episode, “The Affair of the Diamond Necklace”.
We all know that her life ended really badly. And I have mixed emotions towards her.
The part of me can’t help feeling contempt for her incompetence. She was more like Mary the Queen of Scot, never was Elizabeth I or Catharine the Great. She just didn’t help herself, did she? Then, I also feel compassion for her at the same time. She was never trained to be anything other than a royal breeding stock after all, wasn’t she?
Oh, I must thank for my fortune of existing in this almost meritocratic society even though it is far from perfect…

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ イギリス英語へ
にほんブログ村 自転車ブログへ

The Hobbit @ Barbican Centre

Yes, yes, yes, I saw The Hobbit – Unexpected Journey!
In one sentence, it was a visual roller coaster! It was GREAT! I loved it!!

I am an avid fan of J. R. R. Tolkien and the last film adaptations by Peter Jackson, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I can’t tell you how many times I watched.
So as soon as The Hobbit was premiered, I had to book the tickets ASAP.  Clutching my credit card, I got on with the Barbican Cinema’s web site. Then in 5 minutes, voilà,  I secured two seats for Hubbie and me.  Yipee!!

The screening was from 7:34pm.
And the film was gonna be more than 2 hours long. Therefore, lying my stomach amply  was a must.
I wandered around the Barbican’s Food Hall with a tray in my hands, looking for the dish which would fill me up nicely.
Mmmmmmm… I haven’t had spaghetti Bolognese for a god knows how long.
So I settled for a plate of meaty pasta…

Image

The amount of grated cheese was a tad on the mean side.
Still, I enjoyed my childhood favourite very much.

For a dessert, we shared a slice of apricot cheese cake.
Accompanied by decaf soy latte, of course…

Image

The film was immensely enjoyable, I must say. The CG were mesmerizing.
And especially, that camera work, it induced me a dizziness. Every time the view plunged into the depth and flew around the underworld, I felt like urging to hold onto my seat! I was so mentally involved. So as you can imagine, I was utterly exhausted when the film was finished…

Warning; I am NOT impersonating Thorin Oakenshield, the dwarf prince…

Image

My shaggy Mongolian lamb coat does look like the one donned by Thorin, doesn’t it?
I was wearing it on a very icy night. But for the actor who played Thorin, it must have been boiling for him! Can’t imagine how it is like having to run a long distance wearing this toastie.
Oh by the way, I was at DiGuardo’s Christmas party last week.
It was wonderful to share a glass of bubbly & a heap of panettone with Letizia and her gorgeous gang…

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ イギリス英語へ
にほんブログ村 自転車ブログへ

Valentino: Master of Couture @ Sometset House

My apology for a sudden barrage of my blog updates.
I tend to write my entries while I am on the run. Like when I am on a bus or grabbing a cup of latte at Starbucks, that’s when I become the most productive blogger. Sounds like some background noise is a must for me when it comes to writing, doesn’t it?
Even now, I sit in a car dealer’s office & type away with my iPhone while they are busy fixing my in-car Bluetooth console (nobody knows why it’s in Spanish!).
Some may share the same feeling but such a situation, which sitting at MacBook with rolled up sleeves and trying to conjure up something worth reading, scares me quite a bit. All the sudden, my fingers freeze over the keyboard and my brain goes numb. Even my mouth feels dry, you know? The only explanation for this phenomenon I can think of must be to do with the extremely stressful time when I was working on my essay during my MA study. Ugh! How often I woke up in the middle of night, counting the remaining days? Well, it’s over for a long time now. Let’s not dwell on it…
I shall snap out of  my memory vault and get back to the original subject – the Valentino Exhibition!

I was so looking forward to this exhibition.
Ever since I knew about  it, I was determined to be there and I booked tickets for not only me and Hubbie but also for Letizia & her beau Peter, as well as for Fei.
However, just a few days prior to the D-Day, I started to feel a familiar yet dreaded throbbing sensation in the back of my nose. Oh no, some pesky germ had entered into my system! I took to bed with a hot water bottle, ate tons of high calorie foods… Nothing worked. And I was still fragile on Sunday.
So my last ditch attempt was a plate of hearty fry-up with a mug of steaming tea…

Image

Mmmm… Even the photo is blurry.
I felt marginally better after this though.

Then, a fine & crisp day at Somerset House…

Image

Their courtyard was transformed to a seasonal ice rink.
The people were circulating around like a school of fish. And their chatters and giggles peppered with occasional squeals made a perfect BGM for this grand yet amiable backdrop.

The exhibition seemed to be very popular and it was already heaving with eager visitors  when we entered.
Behold the main attraction, Mr.Valentino’s haute couture collection…

Image

The exhibition design was a triumph.
Instead of being placed on pedestals like in V&A, the garments were dressed on mannequins in rows. and besides them, empty chairs bore names of the famous faces, such as Jacqueline Kennedy or Audrey Hepburn, who were fortunate enough to receive Mr. Valentino’s personal attention…

Image

The degree of detailing on each dress was breathtaking. A mass of appliqué and embroidary adorned the short dress which might have been for wedding?

Image

Candidly speaking, his work does not inspire me. It is too traditional and conservative.
The elaborate way it was constructed was in itself, a piece of art.
However, the cut or the form was hardly an innovation. I mean, not as ground breaking as Mary Quant’s mini dresses or Mcqueen’s bumster trousers.
Therefore, for me, his creation is like a masterpiece of classically cut fine jewellery. It’s perpetual and historic. Or like a grand opulent palace, which existed  exclusively for the privileged few.
The era in which his sartorial elegance reigned, now belongs to a bygone time.
It is undeniable that the present popular culture / Pop culture has taken over the elitism which existed in the previous decades. The privilege becomes more democratic in some ways. And the very idea of luxury seems to be shifted towards less cultured or intellectual. More like just “bling”?

I couldn’t help feeling a nostalgia tinged with sadness while I was immersed in Mr. Valentino’s micro universe. Because the world we belong now is definitely much less glamorous than the one Mr.
Valentino, the master of haute couture, flexed his couturier’s muscle…

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ イギリス英語へ
にほんブログ村 自転車ブログへ

Tea & cake @ Corinthia, Northhumberland Avenue

My Korean friend, Sabrina, invited me to the first BKWS (British Korean Women’s Society) meeting at Korean Cultural Centre on Northhumberland Avenue.
So I asked Fei to come along with me.
We were treated with a mini concert of Korean harp. It looked and sounded very much like a Japanese “Koto” harp…

Image

After a few speeches from the committee members and hearty hand clapping, we moved on to the main hall and nibbled on their delicious 
Korean buffet.

Fei brought a few sample from her latest sunglasses collection. So I tried them on.
Mmmmmmm… I really want this pair…

Image

So was my friend, Sabrina…

Image

Even though the design is on rather outlandish side, this  frame looks great on almost every wearer. A clever design.

The meeting dispersed around 9 o’clock. So Fei and I crossed the street and had tea & cake at Corinthia.
I loved their decor, especially their chandelier. It’s so simple, modern and spectacular…

Image

One of the benefits of having tea at hotel is you can eat cake anytime of the day (or night). A staff who was smartly clad in an elegant grey dress obliged to our whim and checked their kitchen if there were any cakes left.
After a while, she returned with black Forrest gateaux…

Image

and Kirsch flavoured sponge cake…

Image

The outside was rather miserable with wind & rain…

Image

However, my evening was nicely rounded with a much-needed girl’s talk…

にほんブログ村 英語ブログ イギリス英語へ
にほんブログ村 自転車ブログへ

Blog at WordPress.com.