jeudi 22 décembre 2011


Festive Burlington Arcade // Serpentine Gallery Pavilion a few months back, blooming with late flowers // Riddle & Finns champagne & oyster bar in Brighton // Reading in Rose Bakery with ginger & elderflower honey tea // Somerset House


...Christmas and happy new year, dear readers!
I shall be back very soon after the month-long and much needed hiatus.


dimanche 20 novembre 2011

Girl of my Dreams XI

Alice Sara Ott, a 23-year-old German-Japanese pianist.
She plays the Appassionata better than anyone else.

lundi 7 novembre 2011

This november, I wish to...

1. Wear glittery shoes indoors. Go to lots of parties, have mulled wine (and champagne)

2. Get on a Caledonian sleeper and wander in the Scottish highlands, wearing my softest cashmere scarf from Island of Islay, embracing the crisp winter wind

3. Cuddle a cat to sleep

4. Dream of Monet's Giverny

p.s. None of the above is going to be realised any time soon, but at least I am going to Cambridge this weekend for formal dinner at Trinity College and a long stroll along River Cam, hopefully in the glorious autumnal light, camera in hand...


dimanche 23 octobre 2011

Cinematic Writing V

'. . . The car slowed down. It had to take its place in the long line of cars that moved at a foot’s pace, now stopping dead, now jerking on, down the narrow street, blocked by market carts, that led to the Opera House. Men and women in full evening dress were walking along the pavement. They looked uncomfortable and self-conscious as they dodged between costers’ barrows, with their high piled hair and their evening cloaks; with their button-holes and their white waistcoats, in the glare of the afternoon sun. The ladies tripped uncomfortably on their high-heeled shoes; now and then they put their hands to their heads. The gentlemen kept close beside them as though protecting them. It’s absurd, Kitty thought; it’s ridiculous to come out in full evening dress at this time of day. She leant back in her corner. Covent Garden porters, dingy little clerks in their ordinary working clothes, coarse-looking women in aprons stared in at her. The air smelt strongly of oranges and bananas. But the car was coming to a standstill. It drew up under the archway; she pushed through the glass doors and went in.

She felt at once a sense of relief. Now that the daylight was extinguished and the air glowed yellow and crimson, she no longer felt absurd. On the contrary, she felt appropriate. The ladies and gentlemen who were mounting the stairs were dressed exactly as she was. The smell of oranges and bananas had been replaced by another smell — a subtle mixture of clothes and gloves and flowers that affected her pleasantly. The carpet was thick beneath her feet.'

- Virginia Woolf, excerpt from The Years

vendredi 23 septembre 2011


'It's not the pale moon that excites me/ That thrills and delights me, oh no/Yes, it's just the nearness of you'

- Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong, The Nearness of You

My heart is still leaping with joy for my friend's wedding in Hamburg last weekend, and also newly laden with sorrow as my boyfriend left London for his gap half-year in the Far East - but I know under the veil of tears and longing, love will see us through, love will take us home. Like they always say, 'Tis absense, however, that makes the heart grow fonder.


mardi 9 août 2011

In flames

Londres, le parlement, by Claude Monet

Riots are about power, and they are about catharsis. They are not about poor parenting, or youth services being cut, or any of the other snap explanations that media pundits have been trotting out: structural inequalities, as a friend of mine remarked today, are not solved by a few pool tables. People riot because it makes them feel powerful, even if only for a night. People riot because they have spent their whole lives being told that they are good for nothing, and they realise that together they can do anything – literally, anything at all.

- Laurie Penny, whose full article can be viewed here

While acknowledging the underpinning injustice and discrimination in the society, I regret to say that such vengeance, such violence cannot be a solution to the problems, nor a justification for any of the grave crimes that have been committed in London and other cities. The rioters and looters are ruthlessly destroying other people's lives, oppressing people who are even more powerless that themselves and shaming the name of wherever they come from. They are symbols of decadence, not of humanity, but of their very own selves.

I am truly, very sad and worried about London.

I hope that everyone in London will stay safe. And amidst the chaos, true justice for all people will be served.

mardi 26 juillet 2011

jeudi 14 juillet 2011

Bookish Club

How I wish I could lounge on a bed, or by the pool to read during the bright summer days - but since I am working during most days, my only reading time exists through the fleeting moments when I am travelling to and fro around town, squeezed between commuters. I did try to embark on Kafka's The Trial but it got too dark and heavy for a leisure read - and mostly, I felt like I am undergoing metamorphosis myself, being squashed in the densest city in the world and transformed into an anonymous being in yet another black skirt and heels.

I have so far read two volumes of Kafka's short works, which I would share next time. Meanwhile I would like to list a few favourite books of mine for your reference - they all employ illness as a metaphor for the human condition, and has transcended the emotions pertaining to the illnesses into something more macroscopic, poetic and illuminating.

Blindness By José Saramago

The Plague by Albert Camus

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby

I especially recommend The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, a beautiful and poignant memoir by the former editor of French Elle editor who had a stroke and was locked inside his own body. He painstakingly dictated the memoir by moving the only possible body part - by blinking his eyelids. Only through his perseverance in breaking the silence of the diving bell could we finally hear the fluttering wings of the butterfly.

What are your favourite books?


jeudi 7 juillet 2011

Things & Places I love about London

I often find myself ambivalent about London - but when I am away, I miss the city a lot - its perpetual buzz, the ever-changing light and how the Big Ben sings in the dark.

1. Covent Garden - with the famous Monmouth Coffee around Seven Dials, the brand new Laduree tea-room in the piazza, Bougie macarons, Notes café and wine bar round the corner and Byron Hamburgers. And of course, the Royal Opera House.

2. Favourite Eateries -

Busaba Eathai for happy thai food
Koya for handmade udon with fresh veggie tempura
Wright Brothers for the taste of the sea
Yumchaa for a pot of tea, then Cha Cha Moon for amazing noodles
Lick for the best gelato in town

3. Bloomsbury - for my flat, uni, British Museum and my favourite dwelling ever - the London Review Bookshop (they have an excellent cafe where you can read books accompanied by a pot of Mariage Frères tea with rose and pistachio cake)

4. For a lovely stroll and a good look at the arts, go to the V&A, the Royal Academy, the National Gallery (they open until 9pm on Friday night!)

For an equally lovely stroll in the famous markets, go to the Pimlico Farmers Market (Saturdays), Borough Market (Thursdays to Saturdays), Brixton Market (filled with independent restaurants and stores, opens daily), Portobello Road Market (Saturdays), Spitalfield Market + Brick Lane (Sundays), Columbia Flower Market (for flowers! Sundays).

5. Favourite picnic spots - St James Park (eat with the pelicans!), Regent's Park (for the cherry blossom trees), Hampton Court Palace (Henry VIII's palace with a truly magnificent garden - they filmed the New World there)

For more posts on London, check out the London tag on the side!


mercredi 29 juin 2011

Q&A with la [min-ya-'net]

Thank you sweet Joanna of la mignonette for inviting me to participate in the first interview of her q&a series, which you can read here:)


screenshot from Vivre Sa Vie, since we both like Anna Karina!

vendredi 24 juin 2011

A little chanson

On s'est connu, on s'est reconnu,
On s'est perdu de vue, on s'est reperdu de vue.
On s'est retrouvé, on s'est réchauffé
Puis on s'est séparé.

Chacun pour soi est reparti
Dans le tourbillon de la vie.
Je l'ai revue un soir aïe aïe aïe
Ça fait déjà un fameux bail.
Ça fait déjà un fameux bail.

My favourite tune for a drowsy, dreary afternoon.

mercredi 22 juin 2011

Musings from the Cubicle

I am forever fascinated with the many ways of how people make a living - in Paris I marvelled at the entertainer who sang funny songs and attracted children like a magnet, wondered who build those little black and white pillars in Palais Royal, and almost asked the poete public to compose me something, anything.

This summer I am working too; not in the medical field but in the government, working as an intern and researching on child welfare policies. The work is fun and stimulating and feels strangely familiar but the cubicle itself embodies boredom, dullness and rigidity. Every afternoon I try to go out for a little stroll round the busiest bit of town, where every corner is flooded with an overflow of people and always in flux. Only when the streets are bloomed with such buzz and vitality can I finally experience the transient romance of the busy work life.

jeudi 16 juin 2011

Cinematic Writing IV

'For having lived in Westminster - how many years now? over twenty, - one feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense (but that might be her heart, affected, that said, by influenza) before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; the the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air. Such fools we are, she thought, crossing Victoria Street. For Heaven only knows why one lives it so, how one sees it so, making it up, building it round one, tumbling it, creating it every moment afresh; but the veriest frumps, the most dejected of miseries sitting on doorsteps (drink their downfall) do the same; can't be dealt with, she felt positive, by Acts of Parliament for that very reason: they love life. In people's eyes, in the swing, tramp, and trudge; in the bellow and the uproar; the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; brass bands; barrel organs; in the triumph and the jingle and the strange high singing of some aeroplane overhead was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.'

- Viriginia Woolf, excerpt from Mrs Dalloway

dimanche 12 juin 2011

Adieu, room

Pictures of my current room; leaving in a week's time!

With the radio on all day through the never-ending drizzle, I stayed at home and packed. Packing is a sentimental journey through the past, the present and the habitual. It is about partitioning life into boxes, categorising, keeping or discarding all the pieces that daily life leaves behind.

I am excited about the new place (a top-floor room scattered with light) but also incredibly nostalgic of my room of one's own, the two years I have spent in this place, my lovely friend whom I shared the flat with.


samedi 11 juin 2011

Une Chic Fille

A greek friend of mine bought some clothes that she will only wear in Paris. "They don't deserve it, here they would not be seen. Athenians don't care, it's in Paris that these outfits make sense, that their poetry can spring."

- Caroline Parson, Guide Paris 2010

Only in Paris could you find such an air of effortless chic and grace, an indescribable elegance evoked by the profound appreciation of life, beauty and aesthetic shared by these women - if you have not read the Secrets of French Girls by Ellen Wallace already, you should do so!

mercredi 8 juin 2011

Rue Madame

A.P.C. sells the best clothes (I would wear anything there!) and also has the calm and minimalist atmosphere that you would love. Their original store and warehouse along Rue Madame, near Jardin du Luxembourg, are definitely work checking out. I regret not taking more pictures!

Got myself a bottle of Fleur d'Oranger as a souvenir (for 20E only! I was shocked), boyfriend says it's the best fragrance I've ever owned. I love how it evokes an air of orange blossoms with a hint of jasmine flower.

38 Rue Madame 75006

mardi 7 juin 2011

Musée Rodin

'It is the artist who is truthful and it is photography which lies, for in reality time does not stop...'
- Auguste Rodin

A visit to the museum filled with summer roses and sculptures. How did sculptors manage to instil vitality and sensuality into a piece of bronze, transforming it to exhibit the most fluid movements, the most intense emotions, the most beautiful form of life?

I recommend the musée and jardin for everyone - even if you are only in Paris for a day!

79 Rue de Varenne 75007