I really enjoyed Philip Pullman's trilogy (Northern Lights / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass) and thought that Lyra was one of the best heroines ever - both in children's or adult fiction. There's no doubt that Philip Pullman is no fan of organised religion and this comes through in his writing. However, I can't help feeling that the people who rant and rave about the "anti-religious" stuff must not get out a lot. A bit like the people who thought that The Da Vinci Code was ground breaking truth / blasphemy / the meaning of the Universe.
Apart from teenagers (who latch on to anything, bless 'em), I just can't understand this kind of reaction. Do these people not read the newspapers or watch the news? In a world where people hack other people to death, fiction cannot compare with awful reality.
Sorry - back to the film review. Yep it was good. Mr K-E and I are big fans of Lyra and Pantalaimon in the books and we were not disappointed by the film. I was surprised when it finished though, as it ends before the close of the first book. Mrs Coulter (and her golden monkey) are as horrible as they are in the books.
Definitely recommended. Just don't take things too seriously.
Some girls are rucksack girls and some girls are handbag girls. I've always been a handbag girl.
I got this bag from Selfridges today *big smiles*
The bag is from Celine and it really appealed to me because the panelling is unusual and the brand hasn't been "WAG-ged" to death, if you know what I mean. I did look around Dior, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Chloe etc but I don't really want a new bag that people (OK, other handbag fiends) would be able to mentally place immediately i.e yep Dior Gaucho..last season...Chloe Paddington etc...
"Celine" is only shown in a very subtle location - so it's not a bag for waving at the neighbours, hahaha..... And if you guys are as nosy as I am - it was 30% off, and I didn't get much change out of five hundred quid. *whimper*
Quick, here are more shots of the bag to make me feel better.
Here's a rare sighting of Katie-Ella. Taken while I was modelling the new bag and suede boots for Mr K-E.
While we were Tokyo, we stayed in the Shinjuku district which is also the red-light district. It was a great place to stay because there's lots going on during the day and at night. There are cheap restaurants everywhere, big department stores and then at night there is the fascinating Japanese sleaze culture. (well, you know what I mean...) Not to mention the enormous pachinko parlours and arcades.
Mr K-E could barely take the photograph below, he was laughing so hard. It's an innocent pachinko parlour, by the way.
There were services available for both men and women :) but I couldn't really understand the stuff on offer for women. Look at the guys below. That over-teased hair, those coy looks... they look like women!!
Apparently, these guys are not 'hos. You just pay them to keep you company in the clubs and pay you compliments all night. Yeah right! Hahahaha.....
Unfortunately it's not hip, hip hooray because although it's great news; it's complicated by the fact that the Directors want me to stay on in the same team and I really don't want to. Because of this.
Aarrgggghhhhhh. Why is life so complicated? I should be so happy - instead I was really upset. What a crock. I won't bore you guys with the details..... *sigh*
You know what, I must really be getting old because little things are starting to annoy me when they (maybe) wouldn't have annoyed me before.
Now, take Facebook. It's great and the best part is finding people that you have lost touch with. And once in a while, someone finds you...which is also cool.
But why do people send a "friend request" but not even bother to send a message? Like Hi, remember me? I mean, the name might be vaguely familiar and we might have some friends in common - but who are you again? I can't really be bothered to add people for the sake of it. See, I told you - I'm turning into a real grump.
Well I've been neglecting my blog lately because of work (boo..) and also because it's coming up to Christmas, so I've been out shopping, eating, spending money etc (hooray...)
I have also been busy on Facebook or "stalkbook" as I call it. I am such a lurker. And all those applications to waste your time, all those data gathering companies monitoring your every move! Yeah, well I don't mind being watched all the time. "Big Brother" watching my every move? Feels just like home :)
I had my interview for the internal promotion today.
It went well, I think. There were three people there, two Directors and the HR representative. They said that they would tell me before Christmas. They have one more person to interview for the position, so they can't really say anything till then.
Let's wait and see.
On a happy note, Mr K-E got his bonus letter yesterday. :) It's good, guys. I told him I wasn't holding back at the January sales. I think the phrase I used was " ...going to go mental..."
I am so lacking in Christmas spirit this year. I haven't even bought any wrapping paper or gift tags and I normally get those in October.
It's because we went away on holiday in November and when we came back all the Christmas decorations were up, so it just feels all weird.
I have had my team christmas outing...woohoo, stayed out till three on a school night. Burn it up baby! Anyway, I thought I would have a nice easy run up to Christmas at work. You guessed it - manic with deadlines up to the 21st, the last day of work. Aaarrrgggghhh.
I guess every Bruneian in the UK was at the Inter Continental Hotel on Park Lane this afternoon. It certainly felt like it: I heard there were two thousand people there. Holy Cow! As Mr K-E put it, if the population of Brunei is 300,000, then about 0.8% of the Brunei population is in this room. He thought that was hilarious for some reason.
He was also amused when I pulled out my baju kurong from the back of the wardrobe and tried it on last night. It's so bright compared to the clothes I normally wear in England but seemed positively drab compared to the outfits on show this afternoon. Note to self: black is not the only colour.
The food was good but please, why can't we have some chairs? My poor achy feet.
And yes, I got my cash. Woohoo! Thanks a lot Your Majesty!
(Background: The Sultan of Brunei and family usually visit London around this time of the year. The Brunei High Commission holds a reception for students and other Bruneians in the UK and Ireland. There's nice food in a big ballroom packed full of Bruneians, the royal family make a short appearance and at the end you get a cash "gift" from His Majesty. Errr, that's it in a nutshell.)
Yep, it's that time of year again. Mr K-E and I fought the crowds in Selfridges on Saturday and bought Christmas presents for his family. Whew, at least the women in his family are taken care of now. Can't say more in case they read this and it spoils the surprise!
I also chose some of my own presents, mainly makeup and body goodies from Benefit (oh how I adore Benefit) and Clinique. *happy me*
On Thursday night, Mr K-E and I went to see Macbeth at the Gielgud Theatre. Patrick Stewart aka Jean-Luc Pickard of Star Trek Next Generation fame played Macbeth, which was one of the reasons Mr K-E was keen to watch it.
We thought it was good, but unfortunately I was tired (still slightly jetlagged?) and yawned my way through the second part. It was set in a Stalinist environment with the witches dressed as nurses and the characters wearing Eastern Bloc type uniforms. Lady Macbeth was evil and power-crazed, as she should be.
It was completely sold out with a very limited run. Mr K-E says it's moving to Broadway, so it must be good, huh? Some people have complained because Patrick Stewart got laryngitis a few weeks ago, so his understudy took over. That would have pissed me off - the tickets were expensive (£50!) and people don't pay that to watch an unknown.
I just have one slight niggle : I have always imagined Macbeth, Banquo, Macduff etc as battle-hardened soldiers - think dirty, bloody, sweaty, toughened killers fresh off the battle field. Definitely rough and ready men. What we got was a group of theatre luvvies. Patrick Stewart may appeal to some women, but I'll pass, thanks.
Sigh. We are watching England lose to Croatia 2-0. Oh dear, no European championships for England next year unless there is some kind of miracle.
On another note, we got an e-mail from an old friend a few days ago....a baby boy for him and his wife. It's great news from them but it feels scary that all our University friends are having kids like it's going out of fashion. Some are even on Baby No 2. *shivers down spine*
Hey, we're back from Japan. It was fun but I am completely knackered now from the 12 hour plane ride plus 2 hours in a taxi in Friday night London traffic.
I need to sort out the photos before I can post them here. As there is nothing on earth more tedious than looking through someone else's holiday photos; I will probably post them in chunks over the next few weeks.
Japan is not expensive compared to London. But as London is astronomically expensive, that's not a very useful comparison. Eg London tube ticket Zone 1 = £4 , Tokyo Metro ticket = about £1. Japanese lunch for two in a cheap and cheerful Tokyo cafe = £12....probably the same in London.
I know it's a cliche but Japanese people are really really polite and the service in shops is excellent. The sales assistants/waiters go out of their way to help you ....me and Mr K-E basically survived using sign language.
Things work in Japan. Trains, toilets, ticket machines....all fantastic.
Japanese society is not as bizarre as depicted on UK TV. Mr K-E trawled through the channels in our hotel TV to find those crazy gameshows that are always shown on UK TV. Despite his efforts, he couldn't find a single naked obstacle course race or cockroach eating competition.
Last night I was at another Black Tie awards dinner. My company had two "products" up for the same award, which was very good PR etc etc.
Alas, my product didn't win. I'm not sure if this makes me feel better or worse, but the other team won. Grrrr. I hate losing. We joked earlier about me putting on my "Oscar Face"; you know when the camera focuses on the losers at the Oscars and they have to look pleased - not bitter and pissed off.
I've been tagged. OK, here are 7 random facts in a hurry before I have to go to work. Yep, working on a Sunday....sigh.
1. I enjoy what I do for a living. I find it challenging and (dare I say it)...satisfying.
2. I'm scared of worms. To the point that I hate picnics (won't sit on grass) or walking on grass (even with shoes on) in case those bastards come out. I think my fear stems from rainy days in primary school when they used to come out in the drains....*shudder*
3. I'm not an easy person to get to know. I'm a very private person. Mr K-E says I'm "stand-offish". It doesn't mean thatI'm unfriendly.....just...guarded.
4. I can burn up that dance floor. Men (and women) watch in awe.
5. I hate any kind of stupid "styled" facial hair. Especially the "tufts" - little triangles that people (mainly New Zealanders, it seems) cultivate under their bottom lips. Goatees are for goats.
Well, we finally got ourselves a set-top box so we are a digital household at last. Mr K-E finally cracked after years of dodgy reception and went down to Maplin on Saturday to get a digital receiver.
Now Mr K-E can drive me even more crazy.....flicking through dozens of channels before he decides that there is nothing on TV and wanders off.
Me (sitting with laptop in front of the TV): Stop that! It's making me nuts. Just watch one thing. Mr K-E: Why do you care? You're blogging anyway. Me: Just stop it OK. It's really distracting. Mr K-E: Jeez, you sound just like my mother.
I really like this recipe and it's perfect for a chilly winter's evening. It's a pretty standard beef stew, except for the magic ingredients - smoked pimenton, which is smoked paprika from Spain. It comes in two types, sweet or hot. Delia uses both types in her recipe and they make the kitchen smell so delicious and smoky.
I added some button mushrooms to the recipe for extra yumminess.
The whole point of making a stew or casserole is to make a delicious meal out of cheaper, tougher cuts of beef, but it takes organisation to start cooking hours before eyou you actually want to eat. This recipe calls for 2.5 hours of "stewing" - after two hours, you have to stir in some sliced peppers to cook in the final half hour. I guess if you put them in too early they get too soggy.
Then just before serving, stir in some sour cream....mmmmmm. The photo doesn't look that appetising, but believe me, it was delicious.
Somehow all my plans for mid-week blogging went out the window. Now it's Saturday and Mr K-E is watching the Rugby World Cup Final. I am squiffy. Too much Grolsh too quickly. Even a giant bag of Kettle Chips (Honey Barbeque) didn't help.
Mr K-E is very happy. England has beaten France in Paris to enter the Rugby World Cup final.
I still can't believe it. Normally for most big games (football, rugby, cricket, whatever) England start well and then things start to go wrong, and before you know it, Mr K-E is holding his head in his hands groaning No, no, no.....
Mr K-E says I don't care what happens now. We've beaten the French and that's all that matters. Silly man.
I am watching the post-match analysis now and the England fans are singing Oasis' Don't look in anger. Is that a rugby song? And also on a good note, she's back. Woohoo!
Very Good! Sensitively written with interesting characters that you really care about.
This book caught my eye in the local bookshop and looked intriguing. I wasn't disappointed and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The Kite Runner or God of Small Things.
It's set in Cairo around the time of the first Gulf War and describes the lives of the people living in the Yacoubian building. Some people live in poverty in the roof, while others live in the faded glory of the apartments. The book ties in the lives of a varied group of people, from Taha the doorman's son to Zaki Bey, an aging playboy clinging on to his aristocratic past.
None of the people in the book are "perfect" or do the "right" thing; they are alive and real from the first pages. The writer does a good job of drawing you into the characters, making you care about them and their struggles or triumphs.
My favourite character was Busayna, a young woman from a very poor family. She has no choice but to put up with the advances of lecherous employers, and she faces these ordeals pragmatically in order to support her family. However, day by day her bitterness grows and you can almost feel her self-belief ebbing away. How she reconciles what she has to do to survive with her deep, sincere religious beliefs is sad and sharp at the same time.
The book was originally written in Arabic and was the bestselling Arabic novel in 2002 and 2003. I knew this when I started reading, so I was surprised by the sympathetically written description of homosexuality. It addresses corruption, Islamic fundamentalism as well as human weaknesses and strengths. Read it!!! It's really good!
It was announced at a black-tie awards ceremony a few nights ago in a central london hotel. I hadn't heard anything for ages so I assumed that we hadn't won anything, but then last week I got a phone call saying - uh, are you actually coming to the ceremony, because you might have won something. None of the Directors could make it so it was just me and one other person, luckily I managed to fill a table of 8 with industry guests.
The speeches themselves were incredibly boring and my guests had that "eyes glazed over" look during some of the more technical speeches.
I met my cousin at Victoria Station, dumped his bags in the left luggage and headed on to Charing Cross Road for some dimsum lunch. Victoria station was in chaos, so I gave up and we got a taxi instead.
Mr K-E joined us in the afternoon and we wandered around Covent Garden and Trafalgar Square for a bit. The usual protests were on - this time for Burma.
Doesn't Mr K-E have a lovely eye for a shot? Look at Nelson framed dramatically against that sky.
Then we headed to Harrods. Aaahh, Harrods - home of overpriced plastic shopping bags and expensive biscuits that you buy for folks back home. Yep, I bought one of those tacky vinyl bags that says "Harrods" on it as a gift for a cousin back home. No point trying to resist. Just pay the money and move on. :)
I haven't been to Harrods for years, so I had forgotten how OTT it is. I certainly don't remember this bust of Pharoah Mohamad Al-Fayed. The man really has no shame.
lives in London, far far away from Brunei Darussalam where she grew up. She likes Italian food, Hugh Jackman and disco dancing round her living room. She doesn't like men with greasy hair. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is too scary for her - even the afternoon children's version. If a genie could grant her one wish, she would love to be Beyonce. If that is beyond all magical powers, then she wants world peace, of course.
This weblog represents my personal views and does not represent the views, opinions or experiences of my employer, my family or my friends.
The posts on this weblog are a snapshot of my thoughts at a particular time, and naturally my opinions may change with time in response to new experiences and ideas.
I also assert all my rights.