Olá Lisboa! Being a tourist in Lisbon

It's no secret that my Lisbon city break didn't exactly go the way I planned no thanks to me forgetting about one little but extremely important detail: the hot weather. It was far too hot in the day to walk around the city as we did in Rome, and no this had nothing to do with temperature it was about lack of mental preparation (I did fine in Cuba, didn't I?). Henry and I are by no means unacquainted to the sun and heat; he's travelled through African desert and I grew up in tropical Malaysia but you know the saying 'When you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.' Perhaps 'fail' is a bit harsh in this instance, we may have missed out on visiting the Castle of St. George, Aqueduto das Águas Livres, a couple of museums and quite a few cafés, riding the iconic no.28 tram, but we did see some (and ate most) of Lisbon. Anyway, here are some of the more touristy things to do when in Lisbon, not including where to eat, that I'm saving for a different post but in the meanwhile there's my blog post about John Malkovich's fashionable riverside restaurant Bica Do Sapato.

When in Lisbon:


Walk around the city and admire the architecture, especially the balconies and the azulejo---Portugese painted tiles---adorning seemingly every building.
July 31, 2014

Olá Lisboa! Being a tourist in Lisbon

It's no secret that my Lisbon city break didn't exactly go the way I planned no thanks to me forgetting about one little but ext...

Olá Lisboa! Eating John Malkovich* at Bica do Sapato

*or rather 'Eating at John's Malkovich's'. You'll see.


Finally, my long-awaited blog posts on Lisbon! But first, the prologue...
July 30, 2014

Olá Lisboa! Eating John Malkovich* at Bica do Sapato

*or rather 'Eating at John's Malkovich's'. You'll see. Finally, my long-awaited blog posts on Lisbon! But firs...

Cocktail masterclass with The Indytute & Ping Pong


Hello! Here's to Monday and the beginning of a whole new week. I welcome Mondays not with weary trepidation but rather I embrace this most contentious of days in the hope that it heralds a week far more productive than the one before. Fresh starts and all that, what with last week's dismal offerings in the way of blog posts (a measly two). It's not even a case of not having enough content. I have much to share about Lisbon, so much that I'm probably too daunted to start. That, and that I've been busy moving into Henry's seaside flat, turning it from bachelor pad into a place fit for a lady. Hint: it involves many scented candles, oversized cushions, cowhide and sheepskin rugs. Also, don't tell him, but I'm turning his drawing room into a literal drawing room: I'm converting it into my art studio. Hehe.
July 28, 2014

Cocktail masterclass with The Indytute & Ping Pong

Hello! Here's to Monday and the beginning of a whole new week. I welcome Mondays not with weary trepidation but rather I embrace t...

What's in my makeup bag - Daytime look

It's only been four days since I last blogged, but whoa, does it feel like an eternity. 'Tis apparent that blogging is very much a muscle that must be consistently and frequently exercised to stay on form. I am ashamed of my own negligence, being busy and having a life is no excuse, it's a tough world out there. Anyway...! I offer by way of repentance a much requested (and possibly even helpful) blog post and a bribe, both in the form of a makeup blog post and yet another Malaysia Tatler feature...!

Related blog posts:



This is it. All of my 'Society Secrets', as Malaysia Tatler puts it, and the entirety of my makeup bag. 
July 25, 2014

What's in my makeup bag - Daytime look

It's only been four days since I last blogged, but whoa, does it feel like an eternity. 'Tis apparent that blogging is very much a...

#VCPicnic: The Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Final

The old adage goes: "Be careful what you wish for". Apparently my powers of persuasion (or rather desperation) are not to be treated with levity for the sun and perfect blue skies England has enjoyed all weekend has now all but disappeared from London and in its place a horrible muggy cocktail of sticky, humid air and grey sky. Well this has put a spanner in my plan to top up my tan by tanning during my lunch break (Shoreditch House was designed for the out of office worker), and all because I cursed the sun and heat yesterday at the polo, The Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Final at Cowdray Park.

July 21, 2014

#VCPicnic: The Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Final

The old adage goes: "Be careful what you wish for". Apparently my powers of persuasion (or rather desperation) are not to be tre...

Prêt-à-Portea at The Caramel Room, The Berkeley.

What I love most about my Malaysian mother visiting me in my adopted city of London is that I get to do all the things I'd never usually do for fear of being regarded by my jaded peers as 'naff', 'kitsch', or heaven forbid 'fun'. But under the guise as acting tour guide to my tourist parents, all activities once confined to the pages of 'Things to do in London for tourists who will inevitably stand right at the exit of Oxford Circus station during rush hour reading a map and hindering all and sundry' are now accessible to me. Hooray! The London Eye! The West End! Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square!

There is nothing an Oriental* tourist in London loves more than afternoon tea. Call it Anglomania, call it colonial hangover, call it romanticism, call it whatever but I promise you that should you descend on the Caramel Room at The Berkeley anywhere between after lunch and before dinner you will see tables of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, South East Asian ladies tittering at the scones and sipping from tea cups with pinky extended.

*I can say it because I am 'of Orient descent'. I honestly don't understand why the term 'Oriental' is considered un-PC by some, but then again I am Malaysian and we invented racial stereotyping. Not with any malicious or patronising intent, you know, just that we happily call Caucasians 'gwai lo', 'mat salleh', etc.

Why, only last week (or was it the week before?) I brought mummy and her friends to The Berkeley for their fashionista-themed afternoon tea 'Prêt-à-Portea' and what do you know, at the next table was a lovely lady (Oriental, naturally) being proposed to by her boyfriend over cakes and champagne. Befitting of a demure Asian lady, she was sobbing tears of joy quite discreetly into her napkin. But her subtlety did not go unnoticed by me, after all, we are both the same: Orientals at high tea.


Regardless of whether or not you're a tourist sampling the most obvious of London's delights, if you like high tea, fashion, and sweet things I do recommend 'Prêt-à-Portea' at The Berkeley.


Photo by The Berkeley 
July 17, 2014

Prêt-à-Portea at The Caramel Room, The Berkeley.

What I love most about my Malaysian mother visiting me in my adopted city of London is that I get to do all the things I'd never usu...

How to gorge and not get (too) fat.

Olá from Lisboa! 

It's been two days since the boyfriend and I arrived in Europe's sunniest and most Westernly capital, and many a horrified/amused waiter has been left in the wake of our eating or rather, gorging rampage. Did I say Sunday's my gorging day? Monday is too. Did I say one week a month is gorging week? Well I gorge on holidays too, so that makes this week the second gorging week. In 36 hours we've blitzed through the best of Bica Do Sapato, eaten a whole lobster and then some at lunch, laid waste to the city's supply of pastel de nata (Portugese egg tarts), and depleted the Atlantic ocean with our conspicuous consumption of seafood.  

So yes, I eat like a fiend, even more than my boyfriend but I'm not going to pretend that it's not starting to show, slowly as it may. I could go down the route of 'bingeing then purging and pretending to be the blessed, perfect combination of good genes and 'mostly-healthy' lifestyle' but I find that much like lying about one's age and sun damage, these things eventually catch up with you and reveal themselves. I'll just put it out there that I gorge more than I should and it's showing but I do what I can to slow down the inevitable weight gain with my clever (or so I think) and patented tricks. And they don't involve exercise or any discipline! Here's how I gorge and not get fat (as quickly as I should).
July 15, 2014

How to gorge and not get (too) fat.

Olá from Lisboa!  It's been two days since the boyfriend and I arrived in Europe's sunniest and most Westernly capital, and man...

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 4: Arrivederci, Roma

Thus far our Roman adventures had included the obligatory pilgrimage to Rome's more touristy destinations (the Pantheon and Colosseum to name a few) and having eaten our body weight in gelato, pasta, and pizza (even venturing to the backwoods of suburban Rome for dinner), to say nothing of meeting Pope Francis (in a way) and being dazzled by the opulence of the Vatican City. The blisters on my feet remain, even now, two weeks after returning from the Eternal City, testament to our intrepidness. But the true test of stamina was saved for our last day in Rome which also ironically was to be the most idyllic. 

Verily, the view of Rome and the Vatican City from the top of St Peter's Basilica dome is unparalleled in terms of sheer elevation. But the problem with being on top of the world isn't loneliness, it's that the one view you can't enjoy is your grandeur overlording the domain at your feet.


So we scaled the Spanish Steps up to the Villa Borghese gardens where we could appreciate the imperial stature of St Peter's, this time from across the city. 
July 14, 2014

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 4: Arrivederci, Roma

Thus far our Roman adventures had included the obligatory pilgrimage to Rome's more touristy destinations (the Pantheon and Colosseu...

East London Eats: Typing Room, Bethnal Green

I'm breaking out the courier font for this post because duh, Typing Room.

Who knew there was so much dining drama going on in Bethnal Green? I have come to regard this charming little pocket of East London as gritty yet serene village within a city, no doubt thanks to the juxtaposition of Victoria Park facing townhouses and the V&A Museum of Childhood against rude boys cruising around the estates in their (borrowed) Beemers and hooded figures in Ion Square trying to sell you ganja in the park. Yet even in this verdant bubble of almost-there gentrification (long may the dusty gentlemen's clubs live) there was some titter surrounding the defection of Nuno Mendes from Viajante at Town Hall hotel to Maryleborne's snazzy new Chiltern Firehouse, and the excitement over the new restaurant replacing Viajante. In its place is the newly-opened Typing Room, run by Lee Westcott. 


Happily, Typing Room retained the open kitchen that was once a huge feature of Viajante. 
July 10, 2014

East London Eats: Typing Room, Bethnal Green

I'm breaking out the courier font for this post because duh, Typing Room. Who knew there was so much dining drama going on in Beth...

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 3

Release the cats!


At the birthplace of fight night and Russell Crowe (long may he live).

I smugly waved two tickets for the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill in Henry's face. As I flapped them about they gave off a faint heat, they were still warm from being freshly printed. 

"You know how they say 'A Roman queue wasn't finished in a day'? You'll see it for yourself when you get to the Colosseum and see the queues to buy tickets. You'd think they'd figure out that you can buy them online."*

*What my smug self was not prepared for was the torrential thunderstorm that rained all over my historical parade. 

Henry's face lit up. "How ever so lovely! I have not been here since I was a lad. I do hope the Colosseum has not been cancelled, I am so looking forward to watching thieves being eaten by lions. T'would be more fun than the World Cup."
July 09, 2014

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 3

Release the cats! At the birthplace of fight night and Russell Crowe (long may he live). I smugly waved two tickets for the Co...

Aqua at The Shard

Food porn-photodump-time...!

Isn't it strange how divisive food photos can be? You have people like Henry who detest (badly taken) photos of food and write snarky comments on his Facebook friends' mobile uploads of lunch which I suppose is fair enough, a blurry snap of a Pret sandwich with the caption 'eating at my desk...again :(' is more depressing than enriching. But then you have that strange breed of commenter hiding behind the comforting anonymity of the internet who say rude and ridiculous things that they'd never dare say to anyone's face in person, let alone a social media feed of a stranger that they follow. And it's always women that get the brunt of it. It's one thing if a man eats a heart-attack inducing meat monstrosity worthy of This Is Why You're Fat. But when a woman constantly and consistently uploads photos of meals that aren't salad, quinoa, or water her eating habits are called into question...how can she eat so much and isn't the size of a whale? Is she bulimic? Does she photograph her meal and pretend to eat it but really just takes a nibble and flings the rest of the food to waiting dolphins? Etc. 

I can't speak for everyone. There are people who do all of that that I'm sure, but myself, it's quite boring really. I just gorge one week a month where I dine out everyday, every Sunday is also gorging day (and sometimes Monday too), and the rest of the time I eat healthy home-cooked meals. Why right now I'm grilling nice chunky vegetables (butternut squash, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions) sprinkled with olive oil, rock salt, pepper and rosemary to compliment pork and bramley apple sausages. For breakfast. Which makes the most sense really, you should eat meals with a lot of energy early in the day so you can release it and burn it off throughout the day.

Nosy, baffled, food-shaming spectators aside I have no shame in my food porn photos. They're a damn sight more attractive than a sad iPhone shot of a frozen dinner and besides if one doesn't like it one can unfollow me. Expect a few food porn blog posts to come from last week (gorging week!). 

Here's a few snaps of what I had for dinner at Aqua at The Shard.

July 08, 2014

Aqua at The Shard

Food porn-photodump-time...! Isn't it strange how divisive food photos can be? You have people like Henry who detest (badly taken)...

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 2

Wednesday, 25th June 2014.

On the morning of our second day in Rome I woke up early to the sounds of the hustle and bustle of Rome drifting from Via Cavour up and trickling through the old-fashioned windows of our studio apartment. T'was most convenient as I am the sort of tourist* who endeavours to wake up early, see and do as many things as possible (God forbid if one item on the itinerary goes unchecked), and be in bed by the very respectable hour of midnight. 

*A happy side effect of travelling is that it enforces a rigidity so often lacking in the schedule of a freelancer, even now, two weeks later I bolt out of bed at eight and review the day's tasks. This is hardly groundbreaking nor innovative for those who commute to 9 to 5 jobs working for other people. But I work for myself and this is revolutionary, dammit! I'm even contemplating buying a Nespresso machine for mornings!

July 07, 2014

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 2

Wednesday, 25th June 2014. On the morning of our second day in Rome I woke up early to the sounds of the hustle and bustle of Rome dri...

Brompton Food Market


I chanced upon this little gem in South Kensington while killing time between a visit to the Natural History Museum (Henry pointed at the taxidermy and said "This is a terrible zoo, the animals look really sick!") and dinner with mummy. 


Wandering along Thurloe Place for a spot of pre-dinner to whet my appetite, we stumbled upon the newly opened Brompton Food Market and got a little more than we bargained for. Brompton Food Market, a mix of a butches, fishmonger, greengrocer, and deli caught my eye with its charming decor...
July 03, 2014

Brompton Food Market

I chanced upon this little gem in South Kensington while killing time between a visit to the Natural History Museum (Henry pointed at ...

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 1


The ceiling of Santa Maria della Vittoria church which I thought was grand enough until I visited St Peter's Basilica.

Rome wasn't visited in one day. Henry and I valiantly attempted four. They say the test of a relationship is to travel together with your significant other and if by the end of it neither have tried to rip out the other's throats then maybe, just maybe, the relationship will work. (The true test however is whether a couple can survive a trip to IKEA together) Anyway, true to form I planned this short trip down to every last detail, itinerary and all (the only exception was Cuba, that was Luxy's pièce de résistance). All Henry had to do to was to say 'yes dear' which as every smart man knows is the key to a happy union. Boyfriends and husbands take note!
July 02, 2014

Rome wasn't visited in one day: Day 1

The ceiling of Santa Maria della Vittoria church which I thought was grand enough until I visited St Peter's Basilica . Rome w...

Vatican City

Last week Henry and I Pope-d over (hee) to Italy and Rome-d around (heehee) the Eternal City and Vatican City. 

Now, I'm not especially religious. I'm not an atheist either. I'd say I'm agnostic. I am spiritual, very superstitious, I believe in the supernatural, the world of spirits etc. and I do believe in a higher power. I don't believe that this higher power necessarily takes on the form of a anthropomorphic, fatherly figure nor that this higher power must be called by a name and have a face. The way I see it is that the crux of all religions are the same: be a good person, help those in need, chew with your mouth closed. Whether you pray to Jehovah, a nameless faceless presence, or nobody at all, the enduring message that religion wants you to keep close to your chest is to have faith, love, help, and protect your fellow (wo)man, and just don't be a d-bag.

The thing is, for a few years I had a great disdain for religion, more specifically the religious (This was during the inevitable socialist-communist-atheist phase I went through during university. I also wore Doc Martens and shaved a side of my hair just because). I thought of the devout as sheep. I thought of religion as the cause of most of the bloodshed recorded throughout the annals of history to present day. I sneered as religion as a tool of oppression. An atheist (and in hindsight a savant snob) I was dating at the time said, with curled upper lip, that 'Religion has one purpose and that is to keep the wretched in check. Without the promise of being rewarded with a better life after death in exchange for good behaviour they would have nothing to lose and therefore threaten polite society. Only the desperate and the stupid would believe such dogma.' My personal view on the religious while not that extreme was incredulous. How could anyone unquestionably agree with everything they were told was gospel truth? How could anyone dismiss evolution and say that science should not be taught at school? How could anyone in their right mind agree with a twisted preacher who insists that his interpretation of the Holy Book dictates that we should hide and oppress women? Add to that the corruption in the Catholic church, people telling me that I'm going to hell for not picking a side (or rather their side), and people trying to convert me against my will. Is there any doubt why my view on religion is so tainted? 

So for a long time I couldn't see the forest for the trees. I chose to focus on the details I disliked about religion, specifically the Catholic church. That it was outdated with its dismissal of contraception and the persecution of those they deem 'heretics', the hypocrisy of denouncing gays when there existed a subculture of male priests sexually abusing male adolescents...need I go on? In short my view of Catholicism was a bunch of out-of-touch old dudes telling everyone they were going to go to hell which was ironic given that they were covering up atrocities within their walls.

Then along came Pope Francis. Need I say more?


I wanted to see for myself the Pope who embodies what I believe a religious leader should be: a humble man who serves the people, eschews grandeur and opulence (he said no to official papal apartments, opting to live in a more modest 'Vatican hotel' and wants to take the bus to work), has the common touch and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty, gets with the times. And who can forget 
July 01, 2014

Vatican City

Last week Henry and I Pope-d over (hee) to Italy and Rome-d around (heehee) the Eternal City and Vatican City.  Now, I'm not espec...