Saturday 22 November 2008

My Anya Loot

Two days ago I ordered a small trinket from Anya Hindmarch (a London based designer brand) for my Japanese friend, whom I worked with when I was still in NEC. It's hard not to notice the telltale pattern from the gifts I received from her - branded. In fact I have just received an early Christmas present from her and they are Burberry hankies embroidered with my name (shocks di ko talaga to sisingahan!). So I am kind of pressured to give her something branded for Christmas. Good thing when I browsed the Anya site, they had some sale items. But still, sale na nga, all I can afford is a small trinket :(

It's small as in small so imagine my surprise when I received the DHL package from Anya - it is a very huge box. So I just thought maybe they didn't have any other box. So I carried the box home and gosh I was even more shocked when I opened it, it contained not just 2 small trinkets but also an evening clutch bag, which brings the total price of the loot to around $400. I just checked my card online - I have been charged only with the order I made. So yeah whoever is in charge with processing online orders in Anya screwed it up big time!

So big a bag for just a small trinket.

A simple looking but very expensive small bag. Gosh ang smooth ng lining nya sa inside ha!

Last night I could imagine my little angel and little devil engaged in a bloody tug of war. My little devil jumping up and down on my left shoulder convincing me to keep the loot - "Georgia you can never afford a clutch like that. So finders keepers!", it said. While my little angel whispered demurely "they're not yours, return it." Hmmm masyadong demure kasi yung whisper ng little angel ko kaya I'm more inclined to just keep the loot because if I am going to return them, I will have to foot the postage fee. Plus processing or sorting out the replacement or refund might take weeks and I can't wait that long! I have to receive and post my Christmas gift to Eriko not later than next week, before I go home to Phil.

Oh darn!? What to do???


Thursday 20 November 2008

Food! Glorious Food!

In just two weeks (14 days to be exact - yes I'm counting) I will be flying to the country, with all its blood pressure raising traffic and not for the faint hearted baha (flooding), I will always call my home. I am excited to see my parents, my getting prettier sister (syempre mana sa akin :p), my handsome fiancĂ© and my gorgeous friends. But aside from that I am passionately looking forward to eat the onli-in-da-pilipins foods that I terribly miss! So to make sure I won't miss eating anything I've been longing for these past 7 months, I am making a checklist... 

List of foods that I MUST eat this December:

1. CNT Lechon from the Queen City of the South. It's been a year since I last ate a tasteful morsel of this lechon - a lechon that doesn't need Mang Tomas – dat’s onli in Sugbu bai!
2. Dampa Dampa Dampa (at Seaside Macapagal) - my mouth is watering just the thought of those succulent prawns cooked in a chili garlicky way. Drool...
3. Kopi Roti kopi bun, french toast and coffee. I am such a good friend so I will dedicate my first bite of kopi bun to Ria and Claire hihihihi. Good thing there's already a Kopi Roti outlet in Cebu so I can go there as much as I want to.
4. UCC Sumiyaki Coffee jelly and Mango Crepe that comes not with ordinary cream but Haagen Daz ice cream.
5. Italianni’s Sicilian Chicken salad and Seafood Risotto. I really miss their focaccia bread. 
6. Razon's halo halo, lumpia, dinuguan at puto, boneless bangus and pancit luglog. 
7. Tapa King sweet and spicy Tapa Queen
8. Chowking!!!! Anything from chowking! But I may just choose the Lumpia Shanghai Lauriat and spicy beef wanton noodles.
9. Jollibee burger steak, chicken joy and any breakfast meal.
10. Humba ni Mama - basta Humba (pork paksiw?) cooked in Cebuano way, which means immersed in lots of Minola cooking oil
11. AA's pork belly, tuna belly and pork barbecue!
12. Yoshinoya beef gyudon overloaded with red ginger
13. Ineng's pork barbecue at Salcedo market
15. Thirsty's fruit salad and any shake
16. Auntie Anne's pretzels. Shocks these pretzels bring back memories of the Makati days - when me and my friends were still poor :-|
17. Starbucks coffee jelly. Though I don’t think it’s possible for me to complete all the stamps and get the planner in just 3 weeks.
18. Breadtalk floss and any cake
19. Any Fuzion Smoothie. Fuzion also evokes lots of happy memories – it was one of our favourite hang out place. I miss the VPALs!
20. Sizzling pork sisig sa Enterprise cafeteria

Literally my stomach is growling while drafting the above list. It's not yet final, most likely I can think of something to add. Grrr too bad I only have one mouth. I wonder if I can really, if it's humanly possible not to miss anything during my 3 weeks vacation. I will be visiting Manila only for 4 days, most of my vacation will be spent in Cebu, so I need to have a plan to cover all the Manila-based foods. Hmmm kelangan ng matinding planning to! Hayy good luck sa bilbil! I really miss the good 'ol days when I could just eat and eat, gobble everything I want without gaining a single pound. Sigh.


Monday 10 November 2008

Living Her Dreams

Harley is very proud of his cousin May Ann. And makikisali din ako since she's going to be my cousin-in-law, hihihihi ;-) To say that May Ann is a good artist is an understatement - it doesn't do justice to her talent at all. She is a superb artist! I really love her works. In fact I am such a great admirer of her works that I incorporated her illustrations into my multiply and blogspot themes. Yep, see that gorgeous picture on top of this page? That's hers! Still not convinced? Visit her site and you’ll know why kids and kids at heart (ehem like yours truly) adore her. She's super good!

May Ann is not only acclaimed locally, she has been chosen as one of the 24 most creative Pinoys by Preview magazine, she is also now making a name of herself internationally. Her works already graced exhibitions in the United States and France. Most of her clienteles are foreigners –parents asking her (thru her site) to commission paintings/illustrations for their kids. Someday I’ll have a painting of hers hanging on the wall of our child’s nursery room. Sana may discount kasi cousin-in-law eh :p

May Ann featured in Preview Oct '08 issue

She has just finished a commission for the Department of Tourism. She is the chosen illustrator for the Live Your Dreams campaign; a campaign that promotes the Philippines to foreigners looking for their own place in the sun. And she has done an amazing job of it. Kudos May Ann! Hats off to you! I am again in awe of what you can do m(-.-)m

The official website of Live Your Dreams ( The animation and May Ann's illustrations showcase the Philippines marvellously (maka-ilad :p). The print ad of the campaign has been featured in foreign magazines like the Economist and Forbes.

Live Your Dreams print ad in Forbes 10 Nov '08 issue

I dare say “Live Your Dreams” is a more fitting description to May Ann herself than the tourism campaign. She was born with a hearing deficiency but she was able to overcome it and now can hear and speak like any ordinary person. Most of all she did not let her deficiency deter her from pursuing her passion in art. When we visited her gallery in La Union, her eyes were literally sparkling as she showed us her works. She loves what she's doing. Yes, she is truly living her dreams. For someone so young, she has accomplished so much. She is an inspiration.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Too Many 2-Piece(s)

I've just received a package from NJ, from Sis (Claire).. weeee! It contains my favorite piyaya (although kinuhaan na ni Daria), dried mangoes, Burts Bees lip balm tubes, 2 pairs of 2-piece swimsuits and a beach dress. Thank thanks Sis! You're not just pretty, generous pa! My mama used to say; birds of the same feathers, flock together. She couldn't be more correct! :-|

I really missed this handwriting hehehe (klarex kaayo kinsa nagsulat :p)

the 2-pieceS

Now I have 3 pairs of brand new 2-piece! The first two, from the left, are the ones given by Sis. The third pair is the one I bought here, it was on sale when summer ended. Receiving these swimsuits is perfect timing because Harley and I are going back to Bohol with his family this December. And we already booked a day at a Panglao beach resort. Yeah snorkelling and dolphin watching na naman, and I have new swimsuits to boot! But the problem is, isa lang katawan ko! Panget naman if I'll wear all pairs one on top of the other. Ahhh alam ko na, change costume na lang ako every three hours... that's it, pancit! Problem solved! If only I can also solve the other problem. What is it?!? Grrr, my bilbil of course!


Saturday 8 November 2008

Fireworks and Raclette

Alain invited me to watch the fireworks display at Bishops Park (in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham) with his family and then dinner afterwards since they live close to the park. Alain was my team leader. After our application got released and cleared by System Test last March, the whole team got disbanded. Two went to another project (now working in other locations of Logica) and while the three of us are still on the same project, we are now assigned to different teams. Even so we still have coffee breaks everyday, we bonded maybe because our nationalities both start with an F... he's French and I'm Filipino (oh diva :-|). Sometimes when the Spaniard Carlos (one of the three) is not working from home, he usually joins our coffee bonding.

Last night was the fireworks display - an annual event that occurs during the weekend of Guy Fawke's night. Remember, remember the fifth of November, the gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot? What you don't know that? It's a famous English nursery rhyme, and like all nursery rhymes it has a dark hidden meaning. It talks about Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators' plan to kill the king (King James I) by blowing up the Houses of the Parliament, also called as the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed on November 5, 1605 beneath the vaults of the House of Lords on the verge of igniting barrels of gunpowder. He was then hanged, drawn and quartered. That is, he was dragged on a wooden frame to the place of execution, hanged by the neck for a short time or until almost dead (hanged), disembowelled and emasculated and the genitalia and entrails burned before his eyes (drawn) and the body divided into four parts then beheaded (quartered). Tsk tsk, that punishment was quite harsh! Guy Fawkes’s night or Bonfire Night is an annual celebration on the evening of November 5, to celebrate the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot. Fireworks and bonfires are lit in many parts of Great Britain. Guy Fawkes is also the inspiration of the movie V for Vendetta.

Fireworks at Bishops Park

So last night was an extension of the Guy Fawkes's night. I got to meet Alain's lovely wife (Ann Veronique), his two cute and really pretty daughters (Eve and Penelope), and also his daughters’ friends (Sky and Hope). I also met their Italian au pair (Janice). Au pair is a French term of a young woman or a young man from a foreign country who chooses to help look after the children of a host family. He/she is given room and board and paid weekly salary. He/she usually is given a one year contract. Students here in Europe (I don’t know in US) after graduating from secondary school opt to rest for a year and live in a foreign country before going straight to the University – maybe to use that time for soul searching as to what to pursue as a profession. So to have a pocket money, they can do au pair-ing. There are sites where they can post their resumes so couples looking au pair can browse them. Some couples here prefer an au pair to a nanny because the latter is very expensive since it is considered a profession here. 

I spent a lot of time talking with Janice during the fireworks because she’s just 22 - parang magka-edad lang kami :p  She was very happy to converse with me because she wanted to practice her English. She's taking care of Eve and Penelope only 3 to 4 hours a day during the afternoons when they come home from school, while waiting for Alain and his wife to come home from work. Since she's free in the mornings she decided to go to an English school. She's fluent in French as she studied it before for 8 years. She said after mastering English, she'll study Spanish because she wants to be an interpreter by profession.

After the fireworks we went to Alain’s house and I was introduced to Sky and Hope's parents. Sky and Hope were to sleepover there. Ann Veronique told me that Eve (their youngest daughter) was very excited, spent the whole week looking forward to it because it's her first time to have a friend for a sleepover. She told me girls here usually start inviting their friends and getting invites of sleepovers around 3rd grade. Hmmm that's one way to know kung sikat ka pag marami kang invites na natanggap. After both couples sent their kids to bed, we finally had our dinner. Gosh around 9 na yun, kumakalam na sikmura ko - tapos unang sinerve e wine pa! But the dinner was worth the wait. The French couple served us Raclette - a French dish made by melting a kind of cheese of the same name on a hot plate and then pouring the melted cheese on slices of boiled baby potatoes and then you can eat it together with cold cuts. It was heavenly - ang sarrrapppp! Too bad I didn't take pictures. Nahiya kasi ako baka they would find it rude clicking photos while we're in the middle of a classy dinner (classy kasi aside from wine, we had table napkins! :p). Ayoko kaya ma kick out, sarap ng food noh! The 2 couples were very polite, they included me in their conversations kahit wala akong alam about school uniforms and their daughters' teachers. We closed the evening with a yummy dessert baked by Melissa (Sky and Hope's mother). I had a great time. It was already 1:00 AM when I got home.

Here are pics of a Raclette I got from the internet. 

Raclette cheese

with the Raclette equipment

and how it is to be eaten.

I think we can do something like this even without using a fancy Raclette equipment.


Wednesday 5 November 2008

Congrats Barack!

I am still bleary eyed. I stayed up late last night to follow the results of the American election. I don't know what prompted me to do it because I'm not American and will never be an American. I was just really curious how it would turn out. I felt a nagging suspicion that history was in the making and I didn't want to miss it.

Even if the win was expected as he's been topping the polls ever since the campaign started, goosebumps creept up on my skin as I found out that Barack Obama has been elected as the President of the United States of America.

It was indeed unprecedented. He won by a landslide and now he is the first black to hold the most powerful position in the world. It is inspirational. His was not only a personal or his party's victory - it was a victory shared by every African American, Hispanics, Asians or those that have always been tagged as the "lesser" races. And it is a victory for every Americans who just showed the world that anything is possible. That the color of one's skin doesn't determine what he's capable of doing and doesn't limit how far he can go. They are commendable by shutting the door of racial discrimination for good. It is just so hard to hate America right now. 

I was sad when I realized the era of the great leaders had ended - the era of Tony Blair, Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II. But now it seems the wheel of time is turning. A new era has begun. A new person is stepping up and perhaps leading it. He's got so much on his plate right now. Not only is he inheriting the economic crisis, the Iraq war and all the mess the Bush administration cannot solve, people are expecting too much from him - even a lot more than what's required from the President of America. So he needs all the help he can get. Americans should now cast aside the divisiveness that separated the country into two warring factions during the campaign. They should now rally behind their new leader and amaze the world again.