Tuesday, June 23, 2009

taking this blog down a gear

So I've decided to slow this blog right down. And I hope no one's disappointed, but then again who really reads this blog anyway (besides myself) so I should be the only one who's disappointed - and I'm not! Because I'm moving myself full time over to my new blog thecattylife, which is far prettier and more exciting than this one!

While thecattylife is just a little bit about food, is it also about me because me and food, we like this (we tight. you know what I mean). So if you do read this blog, come see me at thecattylife instead, I'm sure you'll like it more!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

too much of nothing is a good thing

the general question of the week has been "so, what did you do in Tunisia?". The answer has invariably been "nothing". And I don't know why people look so very perplexed when I say this because they look at me like, what do you mean nothing? Did you check out the sights? Did you get some culture? Did you have some local food (me of all people)? The answer is still a resounding no. We spent two and a half days doing sweet f*** all, just lying by the pool soaking up the rays and our most strenuous activity all weekend was the lazy stroll we took down the beach.

Tunisia is heavenly!

After two almost back to back city holidays in May, I was in dire need of a relaxing holiday, one where I wasn't forced (and I do tell Panu that this has got to be some form of abuse) to walk miles upon miles upon miles. My little feetlings (and my body, mind and soul) needed some pampering, and Tunisia offered just that (at a fraction of the cost of travelling in Europe too).

I even managed to get a tan, albeit I got more than I bargained for in some places. But even that has now turned a great shade of sexy brown. After three days, we were rudely thrusted back into the London gloom (although, it has been less gloom than regular gloom lately)... and Tunisia now seems a figment of my imagination.

More photos here.


Sunday, June 07, 2009

star trek the movie...

...absolutely blew my socks off. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

books that have changed my life

Ok, so these books haven't changed my life. I mean, i'm still plodding along on towards the same destination as I would have been had I not read these books, but they've definitely done something. Maybe I should have titled this post: books that have made a dent in my life.

(in no particular order)

Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume. Aside from the dozens of Choose Your Own Adventure books I read as a child (and being kia-su I used to go back and choose all the different options to make sure I had experienced the best outcome), this is the only book that stuck in my mind. I read it in Year 5, when I was 10, and when my teachers found I was reading this book, confiscated it because there's a sex scene in the book, where heroine sleeps with the guy while she has a period, so they do it on a beach blanket to hide the mess. I have no idea why I remember that! This was probably my first inkling into grown up fiction.

Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. Either Dan Brown had magnificent timing, or he secretly planned the assassination of the millenium. This book was released in 2005 and I read it literally just before the death of Pope John Paul II. Reading this book taught me about the processes of conclave, and the meaning of the white or black smoke. This book also taught me about Rome's architectural history, and fictitious or not, provided me with an enormous amount of appreciation when I finally made it to Rome in 2009. PS - not so crash hot on the movie.

The Bride Stripped Bare, anonymous. Wow, I don't even know what to say about this book except that it clearly left a mark because I've recommended it everyone (except my mother) and it has left the same mark on them. A fictitious story based around the concept of the discovery of a journal belonging to a woman who hurled herself off a cliff, this novel details (and when I say detail I mean detail) her most intimate and explicit feelings, leading up to her mysterious death. Every woman should read this book.

Night, by Elie Wiesel. The true story of Elie Wiesel and his Jewish family, and their experiences in Auschwitz and Buchenwald through the second world war. Slim book, but heavy. Heavy.

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyers. Need I say more? I had to force myself not to place this book on the top of this list, because it is afterall meant to be in no particular order. This book made me fall crazily, shamelessly in love with a fictional character like I have never done before. It made me inhale all four books in the series within a week, it even made me pre-order the movie on bluray, and consequently watched it too many times. It's now made me download the preview to the sequel and secretly watch it whenever Panu walks out of the room. That's dedication!

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. The protagonist of the book is indeed not the Kite Runner of the title. The Kite Runner refers to his best friend and servant, who has the most profound impact on his life - childhood and adult. This book had me in the first paragraph, and I was glued to the very last sentence. It's written so richly that I was so sure it was non-fiction, but it's fiction... and the most colourful humanitarian story I have read in my life... from his privileged childhood in Kabul to his struggle in America, you really do believe Amir is real.

The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls. The complete opposite of The Kite Runner, this book chronicles Jeanette Walls' astonishingly impoverished childhood to her building a successful like in New York. And this story is real life non-fiction. Sure it might be embelished for artistic credit, but the story of her childhood is amazing, tear jerking, and really makes you appreciate what you've got.

American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I don't think this book so much changed my life, nor did it dent it. It did however, throw a complete curve ball at me - I have never read such a bizarre book, with such crazy imaginative authoring... and this is a serious book, tackling the very real issue of modernisation vs religion. If this ever gets made into a movie, I'll be the first in line. Amazing, original, mind-boggling, addictive stuff.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

introducing thecattylife.com

so last week, i blogged about contemplating a move off blogspot. it's actually a thought that's been incubating for the better part of the last few months, and it's not only been a thought about moving my entire blog, but what would i write about? just the same ol' happenings in my life? or should i focus on something, make it a blog with some real content?

i had some ideas in my head, and last week, after finding a home in bluehost and powered by the most fantastic wordpress (i can't believe there was life before wordpress, i'm half thinking of moving this entire blog to wordpress... if only i had the time!), i kick started my new foodie blog, and so thecattylife was born.

thecattylife, as you can see, is about my incessant obsession with food. some might wonder why it took me so damn long to start a food blog, seeing as everyone else noticed that my holiday photos are overrun by photos of food ~ and the thing is, I don't even post all the food pics! Panu, my boss, everyone who spends any time with me constantly comment about my eating habits, or rather, my constant eating and my excitement when a new cafe opens anywhere in my vicinity.

so to do them justice, and to give my foodie posts a true home of their own, I hope you'll check out thecattylife and support it as much as you've supported this blog. I will continue to keep blogspot open, as they are essentially quite different creatures so if food ain't your thang, stay here!

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Gaudi with a side of tapas

Last October, I went to Barcelona for a hens weekend. I was sick the whole time and the most memorable part of my trip was the excruciating pain in my ears as we were landing back into London, and the curse of Heathrow - circling in a holding pattern for over 30 minutes.

So this time round I was fighting fit and we managed once again to squeeze soooo many things into the 2 days. I told Panu that surely making me walk this much was some form of abuse, especially the hike up to Parc Güell, but man was it worth it, and definitely the highlight of my trip.

I really didn't notice it last time, but the entire city has touches of Gaudi speckled in every corner. From the Parc, to La Pedrera - Gaudi's most famous apartment block, to just random buildings which obviously had the Gaudi touch.

One thing I did remember from my last trip was the La Boqueria markets, on La Rambla. If i fell so madly in love with it while too sick to blink, it must've been something! And it's just as I remember it. The food, colours, smells - it was all amazing. And lucky we went on Saturday because I loved it so much I wanted to go back on Sunday, and it was closed! Blasphemy!

Well a closed market doesn't stop me, does it? We proceeded to stuff ourselves with paella and tapas, so much so that i couldn't lay down to sleep and when I did eventually doze off, i apparently snored like the good little pig that i am!

Overall an awesome trip, and I even learnt that churros is breakfast food!

More photos here.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

contemplating a move...

... so i've been blogging for oh my god, almost 5 years now. i started on xanga, whose restrictive nature forced me to find refuge elsewhere, and hence i landed on blogger. after four solid years with blogger, i'm feeling the distinct urge to stretch my blogging legs and get my own domain.

i've started shopping for a good web publishing tool - there's always Frontpage, or Dreamweaver, both costing a small fortune. I've also been recommended Wordpress by mchyl, and noticed that a number of blogs I love are also powered by Wordpress.

i'm this close to giving Wordpress a go - is there any other advice out there?

as for hosting services, I'm keen to go with Blue Host.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

the man himself, Eric Clapton

Last Wednesday night, Panu and I headed to the Royal Albert Hall to experience the man himself, Eric Clapton, in concert. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect because I’m usually very easily impressed by big sets, big costumes and tacky pyrotechnics and here I was thinking, what’s this guy gonna do with a guitar?

Well, well, well. He put me right back in my box. There is a reason why this guy is in his 60’s and still a certified rock star, the least of which is his out-of-this-world ability to jam that guitar (both acoustic and electric) like he has eight tentacles on each finger... which is all self-taught, by the way. And his voice: sexy and gravelly, dark chocolate smooth, effortless, mesmerising and tantalising. I would be totally turned on if he wasn’t so old.. cos that’s just kinda wrong.

He played all the classics – Layla, I Shot the Sheriff, Wonderful Tonight... but what actually topped my night was his soulful rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow, which left me a little weepy, though I don’t really know why... it was just brilliant.

Incidentally his band is also just a little bit jaw droppingly phenomenal. These guys could all be superstars in their own right.

a few more piccies here.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Went shopping today to get another pair of converse All Stars©, and came back with a cute pair of Rocketdog Pippy flats instead. Quite cute, not very me, but I hope to grow into them!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

2.5 years

This coming weekend, Panu and I will have been going out 2.5 years. that's 30 months! i know this is barely a toddler of a relationship in some of your worlds, but for me, this is a record. i wouldn't exactly call myself a commitment phobe, but it appears that i have a tendency to freak out in perfectly good and normal relationships just after the two year mark (if i actually get that far) and more or less make a run for it.

I know some close friends were holding their breath when Panu and I hit two years... and watched closely for any signs of a complete meltdown for a month thereafter. But 6 months on, I think we're fairly safe. He still makes my heart skip a beat, and nothing, seriously nothing, speaks to my soul like a hug from him.

I'm going to sound like I'm preaching here, but there are two relationship myths that i think are true. One is that yes, you do need a few duds to appreciate what's good. and two? you absolutely need to find yourself, before you can find your other.

I'd been in a number of relationships before stumbling upon this one. And no matter how much I feel like I want to erase some memories, I eventually learnt that actually, those memories are what makes me me. Painful as some may be, the spectrum of experiences I've had has shaped who I am today, how I empathise with others, and more importantly helped me learn my own strengths and fragilities. I dont have to imagine how it feels; i know how it feels to fall in love, to fall out of love, to break the heart of someone who loves me, to have my own heart broken by someone i love, to rebound selfishly, to learn to live on my own, and to learn to love being me.

And the path to these lessons, while excruciating at times, i would not trade for anything else in this world. So after all of that, in 2006, Panu and I got together in the most scandalous of ways ~ hooking up at a work conference. *Hah*. It had to be done. And to say i haven't looked back since would be a lie.

The year I spent soul searching and learning to really love being myself was the best year I've ever had, and I will tell that to anyone who'll listen. I had my bachelorette pad in Newtown, Sydney, i was working hard and playing harder and really couldn't give a flying f*** what anyone else thought. It was a hard year to give up, and when Panu and I got together, I really wasn't ready to let it go. For the first few months, it did cross my mind to break it off and go back into the wonderland which i had created, but wow am I glad I didn't.

I can't even put it into words, but I am happy where I am. I'm not a romantic, nor am i an idealist, and I don't say "I love you" often enough, if at all. But as my boss (who is my friend and knows me better than a lot of other people) so insightfully put it: "well, you're living in London aren't you? If you didn't love him, I guarantee you wouldn't be here." Actually, it doesn't take a genius to figure that one out.

So for now, at 2.5 years, I'm cruising along. I'm in no rush to get to the altar, although I'm so clucky I may as well be a chicken. But we'll see, time will tell many stories... and even I'm interested to see how they pan out.

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Friday, May 15, 2009


this week has been a sniffly one for me. sniffly enough to give me a little pink nose, not quite enough to be declared a cold. and with swine flu fever still out and about courtesy of the media, here I sit at my desk, with my anti-bacterial hand gel (and second tube in my handbag, just in case), my anti-viral kleenex (which cost way too much but i found out too late), my multi-vitamins, my clarityn.. oh and junior mints, cos they always make me feel better.

slowly turning into a hypochondriac.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

the shopping man

ok, seeing as I just posted about panu's new love for cooking, i'm now in deep fear that an alien has abducted my boyfriend and replaced him with every woman's dream man. So really, fear yes, complain no.

reason i say this is because yesterday, panu added a significant asset to my current register. he bought me... my very first Burberry Trench Coat. I call this an asset because seriously, in some countries, you can totally buy a house with that coat. Hell, you could probably buy a small country somewhere! but anyway, he offered to buy it, I almost objected, almost, but immediately came to my senses and just accepted gratefully!

Everyone's asking why he bought me the coat - was it my birthday? no... was it a special occasion? no... is he feeling guilty....? well i hope not! I think it was really because I have been painfully, tearfully longing for this coat for the better part of the last year and haven't been able to justify buying it for myself. And yesterday we went to Burberry on New Bond Street and I stupidly tried on the coat, and fell so massively stupefyingly in love all over again.

I wanted to buy it, but decided not to and I was in so much angst walking out of the store that really, you would have thought that I'd just said goodbye to my child or something. He couldn't take it, and herewith, proposed to buy me the jacket. Hey, this proposal was as good as the other one might have been. I promise!

So now I am the proud owner of the new Burberry trench and I love it. I woke up this morning and said good morning to it. Sad, but true.

Whatever the aliens have done, I love it!

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Thursday, May 07, 2009

the cooking man

While I was in Oz for five weeks, Panu had an enlightening moment and realised that I did "everything" around the house. I'm guessing what he was really thinking was 'what? clothes/sheets/towels don't wash themselves? Meals need to be cooked? you need to buy the food to cook? and the floors don't clean themselves?? WHAT THE F***.'

I think he did the bare minimum laundry, changed the sheets literally the night before I got back, and I dont think he touched the floors, but in order to not die of starvation, he had to cook. And cook he did... and surprisingly, he loved it.

So one thing he's really taken to since I've been back is cooking. He's been cooking not once, not twice, but several times a week. And I tell you what, there is nothing sexier than a man who cooks *rrooowwwrrrr*

And it's so refreshing having someone else cook, and eating something different. I have to admit for the first couple of weeks, I didn't know what to do with myself. I'm used to the routine of coming home and cooking, or gymming and cooking. Now I have the extra time, I'm just wasting it watching Peter & Katie, but what the heck, it's me time.

Let's hope this isn't just a phase!

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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

when in Rome....

Rome. with its impressively untouched ruins scattered haphazardly throughout the city (because anywhere else, these would have been flattened and turned into shopping malls at least five centuries ago), its beautiful inhabitants and their animated expressions, and its impossibly tasty italiano cuisine, Rome stole my heart within the first day that I was there.

i really did love everything about Rome. in fact, so far it tops my list of most favourite European cities, maybe only next to little weedle Brugge, but Brugge is like a block compared to the city that is Rome, so that's hardly fair. But really, so many things about Rome just pure and simply blew my mind, including...

1) the ruins, big broken ruins, just literally scattered everywhere. instead of bulldozing it down, they build around it. and just when you think there aren't any more ruins, look! more! the Colloseum, Palatine and Roman Forum.. these hold so much history that it is so close to being unreal, but when you're there, you know it's real. And it is truly humbling.

2) art... on the ceilings. and the sculptures. my general thought was 'how the f*** did they do that?!' ~ not just the Sistine Chapel but hundreds upon hundreds of other impressively painted ceilings, created by geniuses when they were in their early twenties. I don't only feel humbled, i feel down right useless.

3) and the food. the food. savoury and sweet alike, i had enough to last me a week. each day started with a buffet breakfast at the hotel, followed by at least three or four gelatos, and numerous serves of pasta & pizza. piglet.

my favourite part of the trip? probably having lunch right outside the Pantheon, but there are so many memories, squashed into three brilliant days.

more photos here. or did you notice i created a travel photo-diary strip just over on the left?

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

2 sleeps til Rome...

... and the world decides to break into swine flu epidemic. so much so that I am even going to go to Boots this afternoon and buy me some hand sanitiser, because god only knows I dont want to be catching no swine flu in Roma.

not making light of a serious situation, but rather discovering an innovative way to support it, designer Irina Blok has come up with some great face masks, proceeds from which go toward fighting the swine flu epidemic.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

catty goes to america.. again!

we've just booked our trip to the west coast of the US of A tonight. i am so excited i'm beyond words cos guess what? guess where we're staying when we go to Vegas? *drum roll*

... THE Bellagio....

*squeals with excitement!*

times like this i thank the universe that hotels in Europe are massively over priced. Cos when you compare The Bellagio to an average 3 or 4 star hotel in Europe? well, let's put it this way, it came out cheaper than our hotel for Rome this weekend.

this is going to be the big trip of the year. We're also going to LA (Hollywood!) and San Fran to see my friend Anh, who I've promised and promised and never came... but here I come! And I cannot wait to see her, her two kids and her two dogs! Oh, and Johnny, her hubby :)

oh, and this trip is also sorta in celebration for me turning the big three-oh in September. gotta celebrate in style, right?

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Friday, April 24, 2009

much a'fuss about twitter

So it seems that in the past month, twitter has gone from big-ish to really big, to an application of gargantuan proportions. I’ve been proud a twitterer since 2007, maybe i’m ahead of the curve, maybe i’m a social networking freak, but this my friends is the future of the internet. I mean guys, Oprah signed up last week. If that isn’t a sign of big things to come, I really don’t know what is.

This is the thing: once upon a time we talked about the Internet. Then we talked about broadband, email, www. Now? We are talking instant updates, instant search, the power of utilising every person on the web as a feed. News gets on twitter faster than it gets to the journalists. This is the power of instant social networks.

I mean, I use my twitter for just talking shite really, but hey, at least I’m using it *grin*

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

the lion king

on sunday afternoon, i took panu to The Lion King musical @ Lyceum Theatre. It was my third time, and you know what, it truly does get better and better every time.

Panu was never that interested in the show... I'd ask if he wanted to go and he'd umm and ahh enough that i'd get distracted and forget that i'd asked. anyway, eventually i just bought two tickets, awesome row F, and we went. Brilliant decision.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

the host

Like many other fans of the Twilight series, when i got to the final page of Breaking Dawn, i felt lost, helpless, hopeless... and without a desire to ever read any other series again. Ever. I'd wander through Borders, touching random book covers and reading blurbs of books whose spines had caught my attention. But... nothing. In despair (oh, me the drama queen), i picked up the other Stephenie Meyer book, The Host, hoping that well, if she did so good with Twilight, she might just do good again.

The Host for me, was a roller coaster ride... I didn't immediately take to it, but then I grew to love it. And then I lost interest... and then it peaked again. And then i hated it. So, I can't recommend nor can I not recommend this book to anyone. I think it's up to you. The storyline is original, set in an alternate Earth where alien souls have taken over human bodies (and wipes our minds in the process). A particular soul Wanderer, takes over the body of a girl Melanie... who refuses to give up her mind. So together they go in search of Melanie's lover (who is still human and in hiding)... and together they become friends, and both fall in love with Jared....

Again, Stephenie Meyer has managed to turn a potentially thrilling sci-fi story into a love story instead - a great art she mastered with the Twilight series. I did like most of the book... but not the ending, and it's a pity that's what sticks in my mind.

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

eastery weekend

it's Sunday morning and i've just painted my nails. Painstaking french tips which look all right from afar, but ridiculously amateur close up. so don't look too closely. in an effort to not bodge my creation, i've resigned myself to be infront of the netbook for the next hour, so what better time to blog about the easter weekend than now.

Easter fell on the weekend four days after my long sojourn to Australia. We didn't plan any grande trips away just in case i didn't return in time (work and visa dictated). When I did find out i would be back before the long weekend, it was probably too late to book anything overseas (or too expensive, either way!) so we chose to stay in England and do some local sight seeing.

On Friday we joined a day tour group and headed to Leeds Castle, followed by the very small town of Rochester.

Leeds Castle I loved. It was peaceful, well kept and unbelievably beautiful. Rochester on the other hand, i thought was the tiniest and most boring town I have ever ever been to.

We were only given about 2 hours to wander around Leeds Castle, which is just not enough time. The castle aside (which isn't massive and takes maybe 30 minutes to wander through), the grounds cover something like 500 acres, including beautiful waterways, a duckery filled with peacocks and other more interesting feathery things than just ducks, restaurants, a hedge maze, amazing flowers and sprawling green grass for one and all to laze and picnic on. My recommendation to anyone thinking about going is to allocate a whole day there, it really is worth it.

After Leeds Castle we piled back onto the tour bus for a short ride to Rochester. Rochester is only famous for the fact that Charles Dickens lived there, and referred to several locations in the town in his various books. Our tour guide had said that Rochester is a very small town so don't worry, you won't get lost. Boy was he not joking about that. The high street of Rochester is, and I am not exaggerating at all, one street, spanning maybe four blocks. Along this street there are pubs. and second hand stores. and a candy store. I shit you not, this is the entirety of Rochester. Oh yeh there is a castle (as with almost every town in England) and a cathedral, but they too were just on the high street, within the four blocks. Yawn. So bored we were that we headed back to the meeting point almost an hour early and sipped on some bad coffee while we waited.....

On Saturday, Panu and I went renegade on our own and headed to Brighton - a beach town on the south coast of England. Pity the weather was dreary, because Brighton I also loved, and can see the amazing potential of this place on a warm sunny day.

Brighton was more than I expected it to be. It was buzzing with life, much larger than I thought it would be (especially after being to Rochester), and totally groovy. There's an area appropriately named The Lanes, which are intertwining little streets, some closed off to traffic. The shops are eclectic, the people even more so and the cafe culture is oozing from every pore. Reminded me too much of my beloved Newtown. We spent the night in Brighton, at a plush hotel known simply as The Grand. Loved every minute of it.

The only thing I didn't get about Brighton? Pebbly beaches! You can't even walk properly on it.. how. do. you. sunbake?

As usual, the rest of the photos from the weekend can be found here.

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