Living the Luxe

This is the second time I have been invited by Fendi to go view their collection in Italy. I again declined. The first time it was I wasn’t up to it, did not want to fuss. This time, unfortunately my family will be visiting and could not work around it; but this isn’t what I wanted to say.

What I needed to say is that, all these marketing is a bit hardcore. Their shop is located right next door to Hermes on Sloane Street. Unless you are an absolute Fendi girl or you are after their fur, one normally would not go into Fendi first. Everyone would make a beeline towards Hermes naturally. Only if there was nothing to buy in Hermes would they then go to Fendi. Then again, its unlikely one would not find anything in Hermes to buy these days.

Texting your clients with photos of new items in your shop would not get you much more revenue, it may deter your clients if not make them feel you are being pushy. Inviting them to go to Italy which is a big trip for some, and although its only a 3 days thing, maybe the client feels meeting your CEO for dinner is rather daunting.

When do you see Hermes inviting clients/customers for dinner with their CEO? Oh, but they throw the most delicious and fabulous parties in town, I must say. I haven’t missed any of their parties. Not one. I actually make time for it. I look forward to it, mark my calendar and make sure I go. They sent lovely invites too, and I do RSVP. However, on the other hand, Fendi doesn’t do it as classy or fun. No invites, just a verbal thing then an email. Boring and just not soooo …. you know what I mean.

I got asked by the Fendi sales, “Come on, don’t you like our bags? I want to convert you.”   I said, “I am sorry, I am a die hard Hermes bag girl. Their bags are nice to wear. They are classy and elegant at the same time, not too loud and fun.” Having said that, I do have a few Birkins, and a Kelly, and a whole heap of other bags, mostly small ones. All their products shows great craftsmanship. I often run my hand along the Swift leather and smile to myself how nice this feels to the touch. On the other hand one wouldn’t exactly enjoy Fendi’s craftsmanship, because their bags are a trendy thing made by machines.

Fendi makes Fur best, and I will go there for fur. Hermes makes leather goods best and I will get their leather goods. As simple as that.

 

 

 

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Salted Caramel Ice cream (Cheat sheet)

The hard way is to make your own salted caramel mixture.
I am always lazy and always finding different ways to cheat on ice cream that calls for first making another product from scratch.

So, here is what to do if you want to cheat:

You will need the following:
1 Jar Williamsonoma Caramel Sauce
3 egg yolks
100ml Whole Milk
100ml Single Cream (Pouring Cream)
200ml Double Cream

Get a machine if u still haven’t got one!

1, Mix up 400ml of creamy solution: I used 200ml double cream + 100ml Whole milk + 100ml Single Cream.
Mix thoroughly. Set aside.

2, Heat in a saucepan on very low heat 1 jar Williamsonoma Caramel Sauce
Slowly pour in your creamy solution and stir until all mixed in.
The completed stage should still be just warm on your finger… like room temp water.

3, Whisk the caramel cream solution slowly with 3 egg yolks, until completely blended and thick.

4, Cover and leave in fridge to cool.
I left it there overnight, but u can go watch a film and come back.

5, Pour it into your machine and follow instructions.

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French Revolution “The French does it Better.”

Poilâne, a trational French bakery, that serves simple open sandwiches & soup or salad, in a casual seating down at Cadogan Gardens, just behind Peter Jones, across the street from Duke of York Sq.
A firm favourite with many Chelsea residents, we see hungry afternoon school children with their dads, trendy moms with babies in strollers and picky toddlers during the busy lunch hours.

I go there any time of the day for late lunches, early suppers and afternoon teas. It was their moist lemon loaf that I’d have for tea, and buttered brioche with a dollop of their strawberry jam for breakfast.

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Scones is a terribly English thing, a staple at afternoon teas, but now this little French bakery has marched over the line! Before today, our number 1 pick had been the fruit scones from the Cadogan Hotel on Sloane Street.
BUT!!!
TODAY!!!
ARRRHHH A shocking discovery! Poilâne now makes scones, and I CROWN them as the best scones of London! Just the right size, not too giagantic, not too hard nor dense. As one bites into it, the crunch is just right. Most of the yucky scones are dry dense and heavy. Poilâne’s are neither too dry nor heavy like the rest of it’s rivalries. Sweetness is well balanced. They serve it with clotted cream, rustic strawberry jam, and whippy cream as the friendly waiter calls it. I strongly suggest you pile all 3 on, in this order: Scone, Clotted Cream, Jam, Whippy Cream — then bite (sharing not recommended) as you just will regret it.

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Poilâne’s marvellously English scones will put the bakers at the Cadogan hotel to tears.
Now the French is more English then the English themselves!!!

For Extrodinarily plain English scones that tasted marvellously delicious with the UMMMM respond, please make your way to 39 Cadogan Gardens, Londres SW3 2TB.

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The assistant housekeeper is a Taiwanese spy

J replied to an ad that had been posted 4 months earlier. Since the placement hasn’t been filled, we asked her to come for an interview. She looked fine, and sounded logical at the interview, we didn’t think she would be a special agent or a spy working for the Taiwanese government.

Her responsibilty includes light grocery shopping, cleaning, tidying and cooking 3 meals a day.
She did only some cleaning, some tidying and cooked nothing edible in the span of 17.5 days.
Which included 5 days of trail work.

1, Light grocery shopping – on the list: Eggs, a loaf of soft white bread, dairylea cheese spread & Jersey Milk. She got 2/4 only. She managed to find uncooked baguette! And bought the cheese triangles instead of the spread. Sigh..

2, She was meant to cook lunch.

3, She is allowed one hour for lunch and could go out to lunch if her supervisor gives her the permission basing upon that all morning work is done.

First day, she nearly burnt the kitchen down. When the fire alarm went off, she did not have the common sense to turn off the fire and continue to fry the burning food on high heat. By the time I came out, I pushed her aside and turned off the fire, lifted off the lid of my poor fizzler pan to find its bottom completely BLACK with dumplings stuck to it. When asked why didn’t she turn off the fire, doesn’t she hear the deafening alarm going off? She calmly replied: “the dumplings aren’t cooked yet, its still raw.” Then she rushed out to lunch which B clearly told her NOT TO. Returned at 2:15 PM.

Second day she tried to marinate rotten minced pork, When I asked her, can’t you see the colour isn’t pink ?Its GREY!! And it smell very bad! She very calmly replied: “Doesn’t British pork smell bad anyway?” Again rushed out to lunch at 1:26 PM which B clearly told her again NOT TO. Returned at 3PM

Third day she decided to cook scramble eggs with chicken pieces and mash potatoes – JUST GROSS. WE THREW it out. She claimed it to be JAPANESE FOOD.

Forth day, I showed her how to cook. Put the carrot in first, wait for it to soften… noooo she put everything in at once! Sigh.. She may have wanted the pay, but she obviously can’t cook!

Fifth day, I was woken up by the stinging smell of garlic and shallots at 9:45 AM, I dashed out to the kitchen to find that she has chopped up ALL of the 1 KG garlic and shallots to make 3 jars of shallots/garlic sauce with oil & soyasauce. I was so shocked! I asked her why did she do that? At the same time I looked around the kitchen to find it a complete mess, food scraps on the floor, the dining room and table a mess, she had ignored the instruction to clean and tidy kitchen first thing on a Monday morning before doing anything else. BUT No one ever asked her to cook or prepare anything!
She said she planned to cook something for lunch.
Of course I told her to take them home and we don’t use them here.

On the 10th day, she was preparing tea, and didn’t know what she was doing but I remembered her supervisor showed her how to just the week before. Very strange for someone to not know how to make simple tea. Just boil water, heat teapot, put in tea leaves, pour water and brew!!! Led me to think she came here to be here and not to work! What is it that she does at home??

16th day, she called and woke us up at 9:31AM. Late night working we were still in bed. When asked her didn’t she follow instructions? If can’t gain access to residence, wait at lobby for B, why did she have to call? she said: I waited downstairs already (for how long? 30sec?), she said her watch was faster then ours. And she also called B, but B didn’t pick up. How could B pick up when she obviously was rushing to be back in the tube. Does your phone have signals inside the underground? Seriously!!! Are you soooo dumb or just playing us?

Wait a minute.. her watch is faster then ours? then please explain the one hour and half late returning from lunch ???

Her supervisor, the honest, simple minded, loyal & kind B reported that J said: her family are very rich and this job isn’t needed, but her rent is £1400 per month (B asked me why so cheap? She wants to move there too!), she has an antique desk with the leather inlay identical to this one that we have in the study…(mind you, a desk like this one goes for more than her £1400 rented house.)

Another day, B told me that J said her husband is a spy from Taiwan and has a license to kill. Which made B very uncomforatble and scared; because J had already twice been agrassive to B.
This, I took lightly at first, but did warn her not to be impolite to B or anyone else working her.
But when B told me again about the spy thing on another day, I went to ask her myself.

Me: Did you tell B that your Husband is a spy?
J: Yes, and he is.
Me: What? really?
J: yes, like James bond, have license to kill, have firearms…
Me: Right… OK please go mop the floor.

Later that week she was caught reading some sentitive documents. (We have a home office here.) Very strange, we put a stop to it immediately but she was very angry and told us that she must read it to see if it was trash. OK, Crazy and very low IQ. We gave her a warning letter, but she wrote an angry email that night, demanding money as well as using an authoritative tone. We didn’t like it at all. We have to wait for her to make another big mistake so we could fire her for cause.

She wrote us a lot of petty and angry emails to us in the middle of the night and over the weekends, despite the fact that we had repeatedly told her NOT TO. If there are questions, please bring it up at work. Of course she ignored it, and kept writing angry emails with a distinctive authoritative tone. Later in the morning, she told us it was her husband the spy who had instructed her to write those disturbing emails.

She had been asking for her monthly salary to be paid on the 6th day of work, the 10th day, the 17th day and 18th day. But we only got her bank account details on the 17th day. The thing is that this is company PAYEE… from bank to bank! Explained this to her every other day! Had put it in writing but she still kept asking! and from asking, it became threatening.

By the time we issued her final and last warning letter, she was already in rage, and decided to scribble a resignation letter on a crumple piece of paper and threw it at me while I was going through the list in her warning letter. Very well then I thought, since she wanted to leave so bad, & she is completely useless anyway, probably wasn’t here to work but to do her own thing, we dismissed her immediately.

However, when we checked her bags, we found that she stole some documents & photos. AND she absolutly refused to move away from the counter. Also threatened to call the police on us, which we are not sure what for, but we buzzed up the security and the boys came up in no time and REMOVED HER.

The day she was removed from our home, poor B was so scared that we had to drive her home. B was so worried that J would be waiting for her at the station. We thought we were rid of her negativities finally, but how wrong were we??? That very night, an email came and she was very angry. Demanding money in a “if I don’t see my money in my designated account then…” kind of tone.

She told us her husband is WENHSIN YIN a Taiwanese spy who works in London, but we googled him and found out that he is actually the Taipei Representative Office in the UK Assistant Director Yin Wen-hsin (尹文新). If this is really her husband, then what were they after? because we don’t think she was here for work, she seems to be after some documents or info…

The next day while the police was here, (we reported her to the police for harassment) we each recieved another text from her!!!! Saying that she was not feeling well, and can’t come to work today. Isn’t that MAD? Why would you still send such a text when you were dismissed just the day before?

If she isn’t insane, then we are not sure what it was all about.

We speculated that: If her husband is really the Taipei Representative Office in the UK Assistant Director Yin Wen-hsin, like it showed on her British Gas statement, then they might be here for something that they thought we have, but the only business we do here, is making artisan ice cream & bath soak!!!
What does Mr. Wenhsin wants from us???
What does the Taipei Representative Office in the UK wants from us??
We are NOT Taiwanese nor are we from China… We are just an ordinary family who loves homemade ice cream and making our own crafty things – bath soak, baking? and minding our own business.

This is a very strange episode of living in LONDON!!!

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RUDE America

Florida isn’t a spot you want to head to, if you are looking for decent service and a good stay. From the short phone conversation alone, I could tell this was a mistake. I called from England to book an airport car transfer from airport to hotel and was told by Hyatt Regency Staff: “Its 4 miles, just take a cab!” Short, to the point but rude.

Upon arrival, they double sold my room and was trying to assigned another lower grade room to me, not even apologictic about the messed they made, and blame it on the reservations that I made.

At a bar in Fort Lauderdale, I had wanted to buy a bottle of water and was dishing out some coins, and the woman behind the bar, snatched the dollar bills from my fist, and told me “We don’t want coins.” Then placed a fistful of change on the bar for me.

MUTE Cab drivers that doesn’t answer any of your questions. Even though you are sitting at the back patrified of the true whereabouts of yourself was.

Immigration officers told the couple of gay men in front of me, that they don’t believe them and need to put them in a questioning room for further investigation. This couple was on the first class cabin with me, and I had met them at the lounge and been speaking with them. They told were kitchen designers and owns a design firm in the UK, even showed me their portfolio on their ipad. My quick thinking told myself to lie, I must not say I was here for the FT. L boat show, instead, I told them I was there to experience the real Halloween and do some shopping. Of course they let me pass through with a great smile!

American economy must be bad, otherwise this wouldn’t be happening!

Overall, my experience with Florida wasn’t pleasant.
NYC is much better, everyone in NYC were nice, kind and polite. Civilised.
Florida = JUNGLE!

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Not Boasting

The Lowell, NYC
My New York City trip was split into two parts. I first arrived before Halloween and stayed at the Lowell, as Oprah was giving a week stay as a prize to some lucky girls a few years ago. Thought it would be special. It was small, and stuffy. Rooms were big but at a price. Location was excellent for me, because it was just a hop around the corner from Hermes on Madison.
Service was attentive and they made sure their staff knew about you the moment you stepped off the car.
Breakfast was delicious buttermilk pancakes so light and fluffy and crispy at all the right places.

Hellish Regency Pier 666.
From mid-heaven, I plummet to Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale. What a complete nightmare! They have been doing boatshow season for decades and still couldn’t better prepare themselves? Firstly, my flight delayed and I arrived an hour later than expected. My reservation had been all paid and had a remark of guaranteed late arrival for my notes and to the hotel. Upon checking in at front desk, the staff made no apology to down grading me to a dimly lit tiled floor room in the jungle. I was simply told to take my own luggage to my room with minimal directions : “Go straight turn left.” You’d think Hyatt Regency would do better than this. Not sure if its just their staff being lazy or was it management from Hell. When I stepped into the room they have assigned to me, I knew it wasn’t the room that I have reserved and paid for. This dark room with a view of the jungle wasn’t Tower King. I have always stayed in a Tower King, and seeing what I had been assigned had knocked me out of the mist from an agonising long journey across the Atlantic.
I wouldn’t ever wanted to set foot in this hotel if I didn’t have to do boat show. Nor would you! Don’t ever book the Pier 66 if you don’t HAVE TO. I’d call it Hellish Regency Pier 666.

Greenwich Hotel by Robert De Niro
If you wanted low key homely cozy comforts. Go here. The rooms was big in comparison to the price I paid. $500 per night with Complimentary basket full of local goodies, all mini bar juices and soft drinks and wifi. Large French window that opens wide and overlooking the quiet inner courtyard, made it feel so cozy and very pleasant.
I particularly enjoyed the bathroom. Irregular tiles and marble. A shower room ok, booth. And the hand picked local made organic toiletries from RED FLOWER! I love the bar of organic Ocean Soap so much that I googled RED FLOWER NYC and hopped over to their shop on my last day to get some of their products. SO NICE.
I don’t want to boast about it, and my few words here couldn’t possible describe the true feeling and experience I have enjoyed at this place. You must stay here next time you are in NYC.

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Many blogs but nowhere to start

I own a few other blogs, but I could not find the right place to start this piece.
Its going to be totally irrelevant to what this blog origianlly is about, but hey! this is my own place, I should be able write what I want here.

It all started like this.
Auntie, my father’s little sister lives on a quiet suburbian street behind the high street of a North Western suburb of London.
The family on my father side had always been here, this end of London.
Where as my motherside, my grandfather had been snapping up chunks of Belgravia.
So I had been brought up partially here, and in the posher neighbourhoods of Chelsea, London.

April 2006, I was here from HK, on business, I was sent here to look for a flat to buy as an investment and also a holiday flat for my boss that I was a PA for.
I stayed with Auntie at their 7 bedrooms house.
Every morning I’d walk pass this boarded up corner shop on the way to the 82 bus heading towards central London for my meetings and real estate agents appointments.
I had secretly wished a cafe with double hights floor to ceiling windows serving creamy flat white coffee to open on this particular corner.

June 2006, I had been back just 2 weeks and Auntie called. She never called me long distance, not even if a sunami had pulled down her house. What could it be that’s so urgent that she must call me? In a hushed but exeedingly excited voice Auntie said: “A Taiwanese Cafe just opened on that corner! Our dream come true!”
I hear myself in astonishment, “What? Did you say Taiwanese? as in Bubble pearl teas and Marinated pork trotters Taiwanese?”
“Yes! YES!!! You have to come back!”
Was she out of her mind? She wanted me to go back to London when I was just there two weeks ago?
“Ahahaha, do you hear yourself? Are you out of your mind? I was just there two weeks ago!”
“Yes, I know, but you have to come back now. I want you to go to this cafe with me! And you can have bubble tea.”
“Er.. Auntie, the most authentic bubble pear tea is in Taiwan, and that’s only 3 hours flight from HK. Why would I be in the right mind to want to travel 13 hrs back to London for something that’s only 3 hours from where I am.”
“Oh, come on, Ok ok, I miss you! We miss having you in London with us, and summer in London is so nice. Please come back.”
“I will have to see.”

July 2006, This cafe has speedily become one of our regular haunts. We come here for their Asian style breads, and the oh so delicious basil chicken, perferrably paired up with a bowl of their special pearl rice. I have been coming here often enough to want to blog about it. Its still relatively new, and a lot of people read my blog, so if I want to blog it, I better so it fast. News is not news anymore when it’s old.
Unlike my other blogging pieces on foods, I wasn’t going to comment on a place, this place was new, and I would like to introduce it to my readers. Therefore, a proper interview should be conducted for this piece. Politely, I went over to one of the owners with my proposal, and an interview date was set.

TBC

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