Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hubs to Sonny-boy, after I've just returned from one of my many retail excursions:

"Mummy has to stop shopping - she's killing our bank account!"

Them are famous last words indeed.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 5:46 am

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Of Trash Cans, Nespresso And A Pasta Maker In A Pear Tree

Hubs is a monthly subscriber to the Nationale Postcode Loterij (National Postcode Lottery) and while we haven't hit the big Kahuna, we have, from time to time, won little items like tubs of Ben & Jerry's ice-cream. These are always welcomed in Cookalot.

Last month, Hubs received yet another prize - a 400 euro gift voucher for use at fonq, an online life-style store. We were like kids in a candy-store, utterly spoilt for choice. In the end, we picked a trash can, a pasta maker and a Nespresso machine.

A footnote about the trash can. I've been eyeing it for years now but the crazy price tag ( come on, for a refuse recepticle?) was a huge turn-off. Never mind if the design is retro, the colour red and the good people at Brabantia assures it will outlive you, I just could not bring myself to justify the purchase. At least not with my penchant for kicking the trash can in moments of anger and extreme emotion (it's funny how angelic looking kids can bring out the devil in one, especially if said kids are yours). We've already gone through three - trash can, not Sonny-boys - in five years, but you didn't hear that from me. Better the can than the boy, I always say.

Father-in-law has informed us the pasta-maker is now sitting in his house (we forwarded the loot to them) and the rest are on its way. Ack! I now want to run home to churn out pasta! Angel Hair! Tagliatele! Ravioli or lasagna sheets! Not to mention caressing my red Brabantia. As for the Nespresso machine, I already have a spot for it on the bar counter. Can't wait to see all the booty when we return for a visit during Christmas.


As I'm being blocked from my own blog, this is how I'm going to reply to comments until I get around it or am in a country where they are a little less ridiculous restrictive.

Chicchicbaby: K, unfortunately...... NOPE! LOL.

Beau Lotus: S, it was precisely because Hubs saw the nifty gadget in your kitchen that we picked the Nespresso machine. As for the pasta machine, I've been scouting around for one. No space in that big kitchen of yours? LOL. I agree, Brabantia has loads of nice things. Did you finally buy anything from the sale? One more thing - how does one get into such private sales? Inquiring minds want to know.

Yup, still shopping away, whichever side of the pond I'm at. In my defense, I've been bargain hunting and with some sort of sale going on every which way you turn, they are practically pushing the merchandise in your hands. :P

Webmaster Brabantia: I have since edited the link. Thanks! And if the bin survives me and my temper, it'll survive anything.

Singairishgirl: D, I've missed reading your blog too. :(

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 4:49 am

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Busy, Busy, Busy

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's been hectic since we arrived.

There's always some errand I have to run or things I have to see to. In fact, I've been so busy I haven't had time to stitch - it was just last night I put Lady of the Mist back on the q-snaps. You can't imagine my satisfaction when I made the first jab into the linen fabric. Talk about bliss!

Eversince I whinged about the Great Firewall, Hubs has offered to buy me my own domain. However, that means I have to upload my old entries and template onto a new site. I honestly do not possess the gumption to go there. Also, being the Village Idiot about all things HTML, I don't want to have to tinker about with new webtools or whatchamightcallit. The fact that I wrote my own template on Blogger is a miracle unto itself. I call it beginner's luck and don't want to push it. Besides, Blogger has all these features I've grown very fond of and they keep adding new ones all the time so I'm just going to stay put. Assuming all goes as planned, we'll be home next summer so till then, I'll just put up with it.

So yes, I shall still be continuing with the blog - it takes more than 30,000 faceless draconian censors to get me down - it's just that entries will be fewer than normal until we move into our own place.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 3:01 am

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The Great Firewall Of China

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Coming from a country where there is almost no censorship to speak of, Beijing is taking abit of getting used to.

I am currently using the hotel's complimentary (at least I hope it is) in-room computer to browse the internet. I've read about the heavy online censorship and can now proudly confirm it's all true. I can't access, Wikipedia and all blogs hosted by Blogger, Wordpress, Typepad etc. It's all very vexing, especially the blogs which are my daily bread. Ironically, I can't even view my own blog even though I can make entries to my little heart's content. And while is banned online, BBC World is being aired on the telly. Go figure.

I brought it up to Hubs and he says it's possible to by-pass the local server and access the no-no sites via foreign networks. Or something. I got lost when he mentioned proxy network and access cards.

Sonny-boy's not a happy camper in this aspect either. His beloved CeeBeebies website, which is under the umbrella of is off-limits too. Yes, I can see how a site which contains The Tweenies, Bob The Builder, Charlie and Lola, Clifford the Big Red Dog can be lethal to the morals of the average citizen. Thank goodness the Dutch children's sites are still accessible.

Anyhow, I'm still being optimistic - perhaps it's just the hotel's firewall that's blocking us and not the Great (Fire)Wall of China itself.

We'll see when we move into our own apartment.

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:47 am

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Another Year, Another Place

Monday, January 07, 2008

So here we are - in the grand old city of Beijing.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, none the worse for wear even though we had been on the road for sixteen hours. We caught a transit flight from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt and thereafter, to Beijing. As a farewell treat, I bought myself a small bag of Godiva to take on board. The flight itself wasn't half bad. We flew business all the way and it was very comfortable. However, if you're the Queen of motion sickness like I am - I get seasick, carsick, airsick, you name it - it doesn't matter what class you are on the plane, you suffer, albeit in varying degrees.

And as per our normal post flight routine, Hubs and Sonny-boy would go claim our luggage whilst I make a beeline to the nearest toilet and empty the contents of my gut.

Beijing, like all other big cities, is noisy and congested. It is fairly clean, cleaner than I expected, save for one aspect. People spit here. Alot. No really, I mean alot. Hygiene aside, it's really gross witnessing another human discharging fluid projectiles with deadly accuracy on the ground. Almost all the men do it here so I take it as 'one of those things'. On my part, Sonny-boy and I have been playing Dodge The Spittle when we are out on the streets. Over the weekend, I'v already been attacked by The Used Chewing Gum and while trying to remove it from the heel of my boot, cursed the fellow who spit it on the ground. I thanked heaven it was an old pair.

That aside, it's been rather nice here. We have a spacious hotel room which comes complete with a working kitchenette but with all the restaurants every which way you turn, damn if I'm doing any cooking. The one big thing I missed sorely in Europe was Japanese cuisine so for two straight days, I sashayed down to the sushi bar situated in the shopping centre below and sashimi-ed and sushi-ed myself half silly. And pig that I am, I can't wait to go back for more this week. I've been making mental notes of where and what we've eaten and am saving them for when I have access to our own computers and can download photos. It's just no fun talking about food when one can't show the pictures, you know?

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The Dutchess of Cookalot whipped this up at 11:06 am

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